Fun With Horrible People

Those wacky kids are having a field day with the utterly tone deaf photo of Steve Mnuchin and his horrible wife Louise Linton, visiting their money. The “money shot” heard round the internet was just rife for mocking, and the internet did not disappoint.

Some Friday funnies:

These showed up after someone noticed that Linton was dressed like Kylo Ren from “Star Wars”:

The Mnuchins are truly horrible people and I shall make fun of them until they are run out of Washington, D.C. Someone said if your signature were on the U.S. money you’d take that photo too; maybe, but I sure as hell know better than to Tweet it out to the world.

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Filed under Housekeeping

Why Now? Because Journalism Happened

UPDATE:

And now the locals come out to say yes, everyone knew:

“These stories have been going around this town for 30 years,” said Blake Usry, who grew up in the area and lives in Gadsden. “Nobody could believe they hadn’t come out yet.”

And …

“Him liking and dating young girls was never a secret in Gadsden when we were all in high school,” said Sheryl Porter. “In our neighborhoods up by Noccalula Falls we heard it all the time. Even people at the courthouse know it was a well-known secret.

Everyone ALWAYS knows…

—————————————————————————–

Oh, the delicious irony in learning that the Bible-banging wannabe Senator from Alabama with a 10 Commandments fetish is a gigantic creepazoid perv. I mean, who saw that coming? (Note: everyone saw that coming).

Now that we can add Roy Moore’s name to the ginormous dungheap of shit heel evangelical hypocrites (Ted Haggard, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Paul Crouch, George Rekers, Ralph Reed, Mark Sanford, Lou Beres, etc. etc. etc.), let’s address those excuses wingnuts are throwing out. Oh, they’re so desperate to convince themselves this story is no big deal or, worse, a “Democrat plot.” But, nope. Sorry folks.

The most compelling is the “why now?” defense, as in, Why are we only hearing about this now, a few weeks before a major election? That’s actually a damn good question, because timing is everything and I can see how it would look suspicious. And yes, we all know the myriad reasons why victims don’t come forward, the fear of retaliation, the shame, the not wanting to relive the incident, etc. I’m not talking about that.

The real answer to the “why now” question can be summed up in one word: journalism.

It took a journalist from a national newspaper following the Moore for Senate campaign to hear the rumors that had been swirling around Alabama politics for decades. And this journalist followed up on them, something no Alabama reporter had done. The current post-Harvey Weinstein climate I’m sure had something to do with it; outing creepazoid pervs and sexual predators seems to be all the rage these days. But make no mistake: the victims didn’t come forward to break this story. Two journalists sought them out:

Neither Corfman nor any of the other women sought out The Post. While reporting a story in Alabama about supporters of Moore’s Senate campaign, a Post reporter heard that Moore allegedly had sought relationships with teenage girls. Over the ensuing three weeks, two Post reporters contacted and interviewed the four women. All were initially reluctant to speak publicly but chose to do so after multiple interviews, saying they thought it was important for people to know about their interactions with Moore. The women say they don’t know one another.

[…]

This account is based on interviews with more than 30 people who said they knew Moore between 1977 and 1982, when he served as an assistant district attorney for Etowah County in northern Alabama, where he grew up.

Note the emphasis: more than 30 people were interviewed. Moore’s thing for young girls was nearly as much of an open secret as Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior.

Teresa Jones, who worked with Moore as Deputy District Attorney in Gadsden, AL, told CNN:

[…] Moore often went to high school events and to other local hangouts. “It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls, everyone we knew thought it was weird…We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall…”

She also told the network that co-workers thought the situation was odd, but no one confronted him about it. “You really wouldn’t say anything to someone like that,” she said. 

When asked on Twitter why she did not bring charges against Moore, she posted: “At that time, in that atmosphere unless the girls came forward with specifics, then no, no charges could have been brought. The Weinstein, Hoffman, etc. revelations have made it far more palatable for women to come forward.” 

“Why now?” is a question Alabama voters should be asking their local political media, not Twitter, CNN, and The Washington Post. Roy Moore was a known perv and pedophile, and nobody did anything about it. Alabama voters should rightfully be angry that someone who was elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2001, twice ran for governor, and again was elected Chief Justice in 2013 had this known history, and nobody said a thing about it. I’d be pissed. But sometimes it takes an outsider to do what those too close to the situation can’t. Sometimes it takes a change of circumstances, such as the one that we’re experiencing now, to make it “palatable” for the predators among us to be outted.

There’s a Bible verse that Roy Moore and the rest of the shit heel conservative evangelical caucus might want to remember, and it comes from Luke:

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

You want to know why? Because journalism. Because the Bible said so. Take your pick.

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Filed under Christian Right, Media, religious right

Coal Is Still Dead

I’ve read enough articles about cheap natural gas supplanting coal to conclude that these folks right here are morons:

WAYNESBURG, Pa. (Reuters) – When Mike Sylvester entered a career training center earlier this year in southwestern Pennsylvania, he found more than one hundred federally funded courses covering everything from computer programming to nursing.

He settled instead on something familiar: a coal mining course.

”I think there is a coal comeback,” said the 33-year-old son of a miner.

Despite broad consensus about coal’s bleak future, a years-long effort to diversify the economy of this hard-hit region away from mining is stumbling, with Obama-era jobs retraining classes undersubscribed and future programs at risk under President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget.

Trump has promised to revive coal by rolling back environmental regulations and moved to repeal Obama-era curbs on carbon emissions from power plants.

“I have a lot of faith in President Trump,” Sylvester said.

You, sir, are an idiot and I am tired of being asked to feel sorry for you.

Coal is not coming back. Certainly not in any significant way. Definitely not in any long-term, community-building way. It’s that free-hand-of-the-market thing you guys are always yammering on about. Technology has made other energy sources cheaper. It’s not environmentalists and tree huggers doing this (last I checked, those folks were pretty staunchly against fracking), it’s just good ol’ fashioned economics.

So. Read the writing on the wall:

“production levels remain near lows hit in 1978”

… and take advantage of the help being sent your way. Or, don’t:

“…120 people have signed up for jobs retraining outside the mines, far short of the target of 700…”

and

“I can’t even get them to show up for free food I set up in the office,” said Dave Serock, an ex-miner who recruits in Fayette County for Southwest Training Services.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people? Is this nostalgia for days gone by? Republicans are going to cut funding for all of these job training programs. Now is the time to take advantage of the help being offered because it will be gone next year. The turd in the White House does not give a shit about “coal country” or workers beyond using their plight to stoke further divisions in the country. Wake the hell up.

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Filed under clean coal, energy policy, energy production

And Then There Were Four

When a reader requested more furbaby pictures, I’m sure this wasn’t what he had in mind. But, sad news from the Beale household: yesterday we had to say goodbye to our little Oscar.

Oscar was literally found in the street by our house and named by blog commenters. He was FIV+, so we knew he wouldn’t have a long life, but the end came suddenly and unexpectedly. He started having seizures a couple of days ago and they got increasingly violent and frequent. One seizure at the vet’s office left him blind. So yesterday we helped him across the rainbow bridge. He died in his favorite place: my arms. He was six years old.

Farewell, little buddy. You were a bundle of love in your short life. You are missed.

Oscar’s First Christmas Tree

Oscar’s 2nd Favorite Place: The Porch

Hiding From The Vet

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There’s Something About Milo

Here’s a weird story for you: Donald Trump’s hedge fund moneybags the Mercers have embraced the odious Milo Yiannopoulos, apparently in an effort to “make conservatism cool.” From Vanity Fair:

In 2012, they invested $10 million in Breitbart and then watched it turn into a blazingly offensive news organ for pro-Trump opinions; with the founding of Milo Inc. this year, they hoped to break into the next generation. “The interesting thing about the Mercers is that they’re the only people on the right who fund anything that’s cultural, which has always been the big weakness of the right and conservatism,” said Internet conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, chalking it up to conservatives simply being bad at understanding culture, much less participating in it.

In this context, Milo Inc. can be viewed as the Mercer version of the conservative movement’s oft-failed attempt to Appeal to the Youths. (Watch any Republican attempt to prove their hipness and the struggle is immediately clear.) In keeping with their goal to construct a parallel cultural universe, the Mercers, according to one person with direct knowledge of their fund-raising activities, were curious to see whether Yiannopoulos could create a media empire that could bring in younger voters, make money, and drive a wedge in the culture war.

I emphasized the “conservatives simply being bad at understanding culture” bit because, isn’t an old white hedge fund billionaire using Milo Yiannopoulos to appeal to “the youth” the very embodiment of that? If you want to sell to the kids, shouldn’t you find a cool person to do that? And is there anything even remotely cool about Milo Yiannopoulos? At all?

I realize I’m a little past my prime, but I do know and work with a lot of young people. Maybe I’m out of touch but Milo strikes me as the exact opposite of cool. His “brand” is self-serving, douchey, attention-whore narcissism — a gay, British Donald Trump, if you will. And yes, his anti-politically correct persona may be in sync with today’s bootstraps conservatism, but will salt of the earth Midwestern kids really look to a fur coat wearing pedophilia apologist like Milo for their cultural cues? Not on your life.

This makes no sense to me, but I’ve been wrong before. And the Mercers are so rich, they can afford to drop $10 million on a bauble like Milo.

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Filed under conservatives, Donald Trump

Where Am I?

Though I FEEL like hiding under the bed during the awful Trump era, I’m actually just busy teaching, dealing with some health issues, writing my Senators and Congress Critters, cooking, going to hockey games (go Preds!) … you know, having a life.

I’m sorry I’ve abandoned the blog. I just haven’t felt up to writing during this absurd Trump era. Everything that could be said is being said by people smarter, better educated, better paid (ha!), and better equipped to handle the craziness of this modern America. When even Senator Bob Corker and I agree that the current occupant of the White House is a toddler, well … you know American politics has jumped the shark.

But I know some of you miss talking to each other and I forgot that my blog stops accepting comments on a post after two weeks or so. So here is a “fresh sheet,” as we used to say in the Atrios days.

Feel free to vent about the toddler-in-chief, the completely crazy idea that Roy Moore might actually be going to the U.S. Senate, our pending nuclear showdown with North Korea, your favorite chili recipe, or what have you.

I’ll be back someday, I promise. Right now, the world is just too sad.

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Filed under Housekeeping, politics

Thanks, Third Party Voters. This One’s On You

I am completely tired of the never-ending 2016 election post-mortems but this latest blockbuster from McClatchy bears discussing:

By Election Day, an automated Kremlin cyberattack of unprecedented scale and sophistication had delivered critical and phony news about the Democratic presidential nominee to the Twitter and Facebook accounts of millions of voters. Some investigators suspect the Russians targeted voters in swing states, even in key precincts.

Russia’s operation used computer commands knowns as “bots” to collect and dramatically heighten the reach of negative or fabricated news about Clinton, including a story in the final days of the campaign accusing her of running a pedophile ring at a Washington pizzeria.

What this McClatchy piece reveals is what we’ve all long suspected: that the barrage of fake news and out-of-context emails released by WikiLeaks wasn’t a “document dump,” it was a surgically precise operation aimed at a specific audience in targeted voting districts. The audience was the far left and “independent” voters, not the far right and conservatives. Conservatives were already signed on to Trump; his support was baked in early. No, this slanderous smear campaign against Hillary Clinton — stuff like this false claim that the Clinton Foundation paid for Chelsea’s wedding — was pushed at what I call the “clothespin crowd,” people who would only vote for Hillary with a clothespin on their nose and needed just a tiny nudge to go third party.

These people found Trump odious — I think most voters did. I think it was clear that Trump’s support was maxed out at number insufficient to win him the White House, no matter what. Trump wasn’t going to get more people to vote for him. What he needed was to peel away Hillary’s support to third parties. You know that old piece of Sun Tzu wisdom, “when your enemy’s forces are united, separate them”? This was that. Oldest trick in the book.

So thanks to all of you Gary Johnson, Evan McMullin, Jill Stein and write-in voters for playing along. You were the audience for a Russian propaganda campaign, and you let yourselves be duped. Thanks to you, we ended up with this shit show. Fuck you and your principles, I hope they keep you warm at night now that we have a Supreme Court stacked so far to the right the entire nation is at risk of toppling over. Fuck you and you principles as healthcare is snatched away from millions and an iceberg the size of Delaware is headed for our shores. But Hillary gave a speech to Goldman Sachs so, you know, same difference. Fuck you all.

What I find just so amazing, despite all of this, is that Hillary still got more votes. She took on the far-left Bernie purists and Susan “give me revolution but don’t make me miss my pilates class” Sarandon types. She took on the Republican Party, which has been slandering her for 20 years. She took on Vladimir fucking Putin. She took on voter suppression in places like Wisconsin, which targeted the Democratic base. And she still got more votes! (News flash to progressives: you are not the Democratic Party base. You thought you were? You’re not. The Democratic Party base is people of color, African Americans, Latinos. Welcome to the new liberal world order. Try reaching out to these folks because right now, I’m not seeing a lot of love between white BernieProgs and political POC.)

Hillary got more votes despite all these things, but the precision with which the Russian propagandists unleashed their bot army allowed them to target those swing districts. And here we are today, with a president who “won” the Electoral College and lost the popular vote.

So thanks, third party voters. This one’s on you.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election

Shooting Tourists Three Years In A Row

Happy July Fourth, Nashville! Our responsible gun owners accidentally shot at least two people celebrating the Fourth in the only way your well-regulated militia can: by forgetting about gravity, gun safety, and all the rest of that gun-grabbing libtard nonsense:

Amberly Buckner said she is relieved her 7-year-old son wasn’t home Tuesday night when a bullet came flying into her bedroom in Hermitage.

“It was probably 11-ish when I went to lay down,” Buckner said. “I laid down on my bed, looked up and there was a hole in my ceiling.”

She had spent the evening watching television behind the noisy backdrop of neighborhood fireworks.

“I didn’t really hear anything out of the ordinary. It just sounded like Fourth of July,” Buckner said.

She had no idea some of those noises were actually gunshots until she saw the bullet beside her bed.

[…]

While watching the mammoth fireworks show on 5th and Broadway, a tourist from Michigan, 48-year-old Paul Lickteig, felt pain in his chest. Police say he thought he’d been hit in the chest with a water bottle. It turns out he’d been shot by a falling bullet. He was treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and released on Wednesday.

Another woman who drives for both Uber and Lyft said she was stuck in traffic watching the show when a bullet flew threw her front windshield.

“All of a sudden, I hear this loud pop and the glass shattered, and I looked down and glass was all over me and then I see blood on my hand,” said the woman who did not want to be named or pictured.

“I got so lucky,” she added, pointing to the bullet hole just inches from her seat. “My head, I was driving. My head was here and you see where that’s at.”

This is the third year in a row that tourists attending Nashville’s massive Fourth of July celebration downtown were hit by “celebratory” bullets. A 2015 effort by Democratic legislators to ban celebratory gunfire was rebuffed by gun lobbyist John Harris, however:

“It’s perfectly acceptable conduct,” said John Harris, executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association.

[…]

“Because it’s their right to do it if they want to,” said Harris.

Harris says if someone wants to celebrate that way, the government shouldn’t stop them.

Got that? Shooting your guns into the air willy-nilly like a crazy idiot is perfectly alright, according to the gun extremists who own our Republican supermajority.

Who does this make sense to, exactly?

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Filed under gun control, Guns, Nashville

Going Backwards

The Senate’s “Better Care” reconciliation bill appears to be the shit-show we all knew it would be. You can read the non-partisan CBO report here. But I’m sure we’ve all heard the “22 million more uninsured” talking point which has come out of the report.

I feel like “22 million” doesn’t sufficiently illustrate the situation. So just to explain what this means: according to the CBO, there will be 49 million uninsured Americans if this reconciliation bill passes, compared to 28 million under the current law.

From the report:

49 million.jpeg

Just to remind people: in 2008, when “the crisis of the uninsured” became a major issue in the 2008 presidential campaign, there were 47 million uninsured in America.

This bill doesn’t just take us back to the pre-Obamacare days, it makes it worse.

Carry on.

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Filed under health insurance, healthcare, Obamacare

Laboratories Of Democracy

If the states are, as Justice Louis Brandeis famously once said, “laboratories of democracy,” then Kansas has just proven that “trickle down economics” doesn’t work. Like other forms of snake oil and quackery, it should be banished from any serious discussion about the economic remedies we need to fix whatever ails us.

In case you missed it, Kansas’ Republican-dominated legislature has just handed Gov. Sam Brownnback a huge defeat, overriding his veto of a bill that would finally raise taxes after years of starvation budgets that resulted in Kansas schools running on shortened schedules and crumbling infrastructure going unfixed. (Let me add: Tennessee just did a similar thing with the official passage of Gov. Haslam’s IMPROVE Act, our first gas tax increase in almost 30 years. It appears Republicans have finally gotten the message that stuff needs to be paid for, and cutting taxes isn’t the way to raise money. I know, weird, right?)

Unlike Tennessee, however, Kansas’ governor remained stubbornly attached to the idea that cutting taxes has some miraculous stimulus effect on a state’s economy. Kansas citizens were willing to give Brownback the benefit of the doubt until they had finally had enough, and let their frustrations be known in the last election. Now, moderate Republicans could join forces with their Democratic colleagues to make a veto override happen:

The legislation undoes the essential components of Brownback’s reforms, which he famously described as part of a “real-live experiment” in conservative governance.

Brownback had reduced the number of brackets for the state’s marginal rates on income from three to two. The legislature will restore the third bracket, increasing taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents from 4.6 percent to 5.2 percent this year and 5.7 percent next year.

Marginal rates on less affluent Kansan households will increase as well, from 4.6 percent to 5.25 percent by next year for married taxpayers making between $30,000 and $60,000 a year and from 2.7 percent to 3.1 percent for those earning less than that.

The legislation also scraps a plan to bring those rates down even further in future years, one of Brownback’s promises to conservative supporters.

Finally, the legislature eliminated a cut Brownback had put in place to help small businesses. Analysts said that the provision had become a loophole, as many Kansans were able to avoid paying taxes entirely by pretending to be small businesses.

Initially, the state forecast that about 200,000 small businesses would take advantage of the break. As it turned out, about 330,000 entities would use Kansas’s new rule. That discrepancy suggests that tens of thousands of workers claimed that their incomes were from businesses they owned rather than from salaries.

“What we were able to do in the last 24 hours can allow us to start down that road, to begin repairing all the damage done after living with Gov. Brownback’s failed tax experiment for five years,” said Annie McKay, who is the president of Kansas Action for Children, an advocacy group in Topeka.

Tuesday’s vote was a rebuke not only for Brownback, but also for Republicans in Washington who have advocated similar cuts in taxes at the national level — including President Trump.

This should forever end the discussion about tax cuts being some magical tonic to lure businesses and increase revenue. Trickle down economics is a fairy tale. Or, for people like our president who prefer a visual representation, let me offer this:

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Filed under budget, economy, taxes