March 27, 2015
Wingnut Week In Review: Cruzin’ For Bruising
Let’s be clear. Sen. Ted Cruz is not going to be president. Nor is he going to be the Republican nominee. But his wingnut tendencies will make 2016 a headache for Republicans, and more entertaining for the rest of us.
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March 26, 2015
Black Unemployment Report Shows Need For The People’s Budget
Yesterday House Republicans passed a budget with no new funding for job creation. Today a new report on black unemployment shows the urgent need for investment in job creation.
In a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, “Projected Decline in Unemployment in 2015 Won’t Lift Blacks Out of the Recession-carved Crater,” economist Valerie Wilson finds that black unemployment rates remain higher than pre-recession levels in 28 states — even though unemployed rates for whites, Latinos, and Asians have dropped to within 1 percentage point of their pre-recession levels. Black unemployment levels are projected to drop significantly in only two states — California and Illinois. Nationally, a black unemployment rate of 10.4 percent is projected for the end of 2015. That’s slightly lower than the 11.0 percent rate at the end of 2014, and still more than two percentage points above the 8.6 percent rate before the Great Recession.
These numbers are just the latest to demonstrate the need for the federal government to actively invest in job creation. Last night, House Republicans passed a budget proposal that — as I noted earlier — contains no new funding for job creation.
The People’s Budget, proposed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, incorporates the kind of investment needed to change unemployment numbers like those in the EPI report. Subtitled “A Raise For America,” the People’s Budget details a plan to create 8.4 million good paying jobs by 2018, including $820 billion to repair America’s crumbling infrastructure — roads, bridges, and energy systems. In the Senate, Bernie Sanders (I, Vermont) proposed a similar amendment to create over 9 million jobs by investing in infrastructure, paid for by closing “huge” corporate tax loopholes.
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March 25, 2015
Republicans in Congress today will vote on budget proposals that are essentially meaningless, except that they lay out how the GOP would like to structure federal policy and priorities.
The White House has its own fact sheet about the House Republican budget. The National Priorities Project has created a detailed comparison of all the budget proposals up for consideration: President Obama’s budget, the House GOP budget, the Senate GOP budget, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget. And here at CAF, we put together a graphic for sharing on social networks that compares the GOP budget with the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget. Continue Reading →
March 23, 2015
Ted Cruz Is Running For President. Here Are The Crazy Things He Believes
In a speech at Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia — a right-wing school established by Jerry Falwell — Sen. Ted Cruz (R, Texas) announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2016. The announcement makes Cruz the first Republican, and the first major candidate to throw his had into the ring for 2016.
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March 18, 2015
Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for March 16th through March 18th:
March 17, 2015
Immoral Choices in the House GOP Budget
Budgets, as Rev. Jim Wallis says, are moral documents. They contain choices that reflect our priorities and define our values. The Republican-led House Budget Committee’s FY2016 budget proposal, “A Balance Budget For A Stronger America,” is a document full of immoral choices that will have devastating impacts on the most vulnerable Americans.
The proposal is short on specifics and covers little new ground. House Budget Committee Chair Tom Price (R, Georgia) previewed the proposal’s focus on balancing the budget, and $5.5 trillion in spending cuts, in a speech at a Heritage Foundation event in January. Most of the rest borrows heavily from Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R. Wisconsin) budgets.
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March 16, 2015
Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for March 12th through March 16th:
- Editorial: Medicaid Expansion in Red States – Ideological gridlock is inflicting serious harm on state budgets, but the greatest losers are poor people who cannot afford health coverage.
- Creflo Dollar is further proof that ‘prosperity gospel’ is full of false profits – The idea of a pastor asking for $65 million to buy a jet creates the false impression that God’s blessings can be purchased. In addition, it completely mocks Biblical instructions for tithing and offering. For the countless number of small congregations — whose leaders don’t have Gulfstream jets, fancy cars or big houses at their disposal — parishioner giving is their sole means to pay their bills and remain afloat.
- Gay Groups Finally Allowed in Boston St. Pat’s Day Parade – Boston's mayors had boycotted the event since 1995, when the parade council took its fight to exclude gay groups to the U.S. Supreme Court and won.
- Why white people freak out when they’re called out about race – 'White fragility' is a defensive response to real conversations about race. …
- 16 Million Fewer Uninsured Thanks To Obamacare – More than 16 million Americans gained health coverage because of the Affordable Care Act, mainly via the law's health insurance exchange and Medicaid expansion, according to an analysis published Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Why the ‘Blurred Lines’ Ruling Is All Wrong and Sets a Terrible Precedent for the Future of Music – Just how dangerous could this ruling prove? Williams and Robin Thicke haven’t been accused of sampling, stealing lyrics or melodies here, just the “feel” of Marvin Gaye’s "Got To Give It Up."
- Watch This Gun-Toting Open-Carry Activist Taunt Cops Outside a School—And Get Away With It – The man was not arrested, charged, or injured during the encounter.
March 13, 2015
Wingnut Week In Review: Rapping’ On Racism
Americans were appalled this week, when video surfaced of Oklahoma University SAE fraternity brothers singing an incredibly racist tune. Wingnuts were appalled that the rest of the us were appalled.
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March 12, 2015
Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for March 11th through March 12th:
March 11, 2015
Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for March 9th through March 11th:
March 10, 2015
Republicans Ignore the Message of Selma
Despite rumors that House Republican leadership would skip the 50th anniversary of Selma, several Republicans showed up to commemorate the historic civil rights march. They missed the point so completely, that they might as well have stayed home.
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March 9, 2015
Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for March 9th from 12:52 to 12:59:
March 6, 2015
Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for March 4th through March 6th:
- Army Must Call Chelsea Manning A Woman: Court – Chelsea Manning, a transgender woman convicted of leaking national security secrets, must be referred to using feminine pronouns, a court ruled.
- Mike Bowers Recants – A lot of bad old memories were revived and perhaps mitigated by a New York Times profile by Richard Fausset of former Georgia Attorney General Michael Bowers, who has emerged as a most unlikely ally of his state's LGBT community in opposing a "religious liberty" law pending in the legislature, which is being supported by most of Bowers' fellow Republicans.
- The Gangsters of Ferguson – Yesterday the Justice Department released the results of a long and thorough investigation into the killing of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson. The investigation…
- The Problem Is Way Bigger Than Ferguson, Justice Department Report Reveals – It was billed as an investigation of the Ferguson Police Department. But a hard-hitting report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice also reads as an indictment of cities and towns…
- An Open Letter to My Students: I Am Sorry for What I Am About to Do to You – To all of my precious students,I am sorry for what I am about to do to you. This week, I am going to have to give you a new test. It's called PARCC … and my guess is that most of you will hate them. My guess is that one or two of you will be brought to tears because they will make you feel like you are not smart enough. My guess is that several of you will give up part way through the test and just start clicking around on the screen.
- [Video] Debunking the Myth That Black Men Are Immune to Harm – "The narrative that young men of color's pain is insignificant–both that it's somehow smaller than the pain that other people experience and that it's somehow less important–is as old as our country," Vera Institute of Justice researcher Danielle Sered told an overflow crowd last week at the Ford Foundation in New York City.
- Senate Republicans can’t promise a healthcare fix before the Supreme Court rules – As the Supreme Court hears King v. Burwell, a challenge that could strip the part of the Affordable Care Act that actually makes it affordable for millions of citizens, Senate Republican leadership says they might not have a fix by the time the court rules in June.
- ‘It’s the Blackness That Scares Everybody': Why White People Favor ‘African-Americans’ – White people have a far more negative view of the term 'Black' than they do of the term 'African-American.'
March 6, 2015
In what may be one of the dumbest political moves of the year so far, no Republican leaders will be going to the 50th anniversary ceremonies in Selma this weekend. Not a single one.
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March 6, 2015
50 Years Later: The Long March From Selma To Ferguson
Fifty years after Selma, the Department of Justice Report on Ferguson reveals the same racism the Selma marchers stood against, and the same economic consequences.
On Wednesday, nearly fifty years after the “Bloody Sunday” march from Selma to Montgomery, the Department of Justice released a damning report of its investigation of the police department and municipal court system in Ferguson, Missouri. The Department of Justice (DOJ) report on Ferguson uncovers both the same racism the Selma marchers stood against, and the same economic consequences.
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March 4, 2015
In August, 100 social justice leaders, Members of Congress, faith leaders, artists, and activists signed an open letter to President Obama, laying out seven action areas in the wake of the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. This week, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing released its interim report, with 59 recommendations that only partially address those seven action items. Continue Reading →
March 3, 2015
Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for February 25th through March 3rd:
February 27, 2015
Wingnut Week In Review: Papa Bear Roars
Bombastic Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, affectionately dubbed “Papa Bear” by Steven Colbert, formerly of “The Colbert Report,” is in so much trouble that he’s even defending President Obama. It’s that bad.
Papa Bear Roars
Anyone with a YouTube account knows by now that Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly has a bit of a temper.
When NBC news anchor Brian Williams falsely claimed that his helicopter was nearly shot down, as he covered the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, O’Reilly unleashed a fusillade of righteous anger against a national media that he said, “isn’t half as responsible as the men who forged the nation.” Lamenting the “culture of deception” in the “liberal media,” O’Reilly said the Williams affair should prompt questioning of other media “deceptions.”
It did, but not in the way O’Reilly probably imagined. Late last week, Mother Jones’ David Corn and Daniel Schulman reported that “for years, O’Reilly has recounted dramatic stories about his own war reporting that don’t withstand scrutiny.” Here are a few:
- “War Zone” Reporting. O’Reilly has claimed over and over again that he was a war correspondent during the Falklands war in 1982, and even face combat. Thus, when “Papa Bear” speaks of war, he does so with the understanding of one who’s seen it up close.
Except that O’Reilly was never a war correspondent, nor did he experience combat. O’Reilly was 1,000 miles away, in Buenos Ares. He covered one protest that turned violent, endangering his cameraman in the process, and getting himself yanked out of Argentina. CBS released O’Reilly’s 1982 footage, which confirmed that O’Reilly’s been spinning a yarn for years.
- El Salvador, Too. In 2012, O’Reilly claimed to have witnessed the Salvadoran national guard execute three nuns and a lay worker on December 2, 1980. The statement contradicts O’Reilly’s own books and previous comments, that he didn’t arrive in El Salvador until 1981. So, O’Reilly claimed he was really referring to being shown images of the murders.
The JFK Connection. In his book, Killing Kennedy, O’Reilly claimed that he heard the gunshot when George de Mohrenschildt, a friend of JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, committed suicide at his daughter’s Florida home. “He was in Dallas,” said Tracy Rowlet, a former colleague of O’Reilly’s at Dallas station WFAA said. “Bill O’Reilly’s a phony — there’s no other way to put it.”
Meanwhile, O’Reilly claimed that criticism of his record is based on “professional jealousy,” because “We are putting tremendous pressure on the Obama administration to fight the terror savages.”
The Fox Network, which has stood by O’Reilly thus far, fell strangely quiet after the JFK revelation. O’Reilly has taken to threatening reporters. In response to the Mother Jones article, O’Reilly said, “I expect David Corn to be in the kill zone. Where he deserves to be.”
O’Reilly also threatened a New York Times reporter, because he didn’t like a Times article detailing Fox’s defense of O’Reilly, while he lied to the public for years. “I am coming after you with everything I have,” O’Reilly said. “You can take it as a threat."
O’Reilly’s been in the media long enough that surely he knows this is not the way to kill a story. (The most effective method would have been to ignore it.) Maybe he just can’t help himself. He has a long history of attacking reporters.
How much trouble is O’Reilly in? Things have gotten so desperate that O’Reilly is now defending President Obama. Days after lashing out at the liberal media for smearing him, in the guise of advising would-be GOP presidential candidates, O’Reilly told his audience that the president’s policies may be “controversial,” but there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed.
It’s that time of year again. The Conservative Political Action Conference is in town. Things went awry before the conference even started, when CPAC organizers decided to open the virtual floor to questions from Twitter, via the #CPACQ hash tag.
It didn’t take liberals long to start having some fun with it.
And if that’s not bad enough, CPAC’s official mobile app can’t tell the difference between presidential hopeful Ben Carson and North Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.
At first, styling CPAC 2015 after “The Avengers” seemed like an odd choice.
But the speeches so far show that the right-wingers at CPAC thing we are all in danger, and they’re going to save us, by leading us in to a with ISIS.
Looney Tunes Legislators
In what may become a regular part of “Wingnut Week In Review,” here are the week’s nuttiest laws and lawmakers:
- Idaho Republican state Rep. Christy Perry said the state had no right to protect children whose parents deny them medical care on religious grounds. “Children do die,” said Perry. “If I want to let my child be with God, why is that wrong?” Perry also claims to be an ardent supporter of a “right to life.”
- Idaho Republican state Rep. Vincent Barbieri asked a doctor if woman could swallow a camera to help a doctor conduct a pregnancy exam. The doctor explained that if a woman swallowed a camera, it would not end up in the vagina.
- Tennessee Republican state Rep. Matt Krause proposed legislation to give fetuses legal representation, when the mother is brain-dead.
- Republicans on Wisconsin’s Senate Labor Committee walked out of hearing on the proposed “right to work bill,” rather than hear from 180 witnesses, most of whom were opposed to the measure.
- North Carolina’s state Senate voted to allow state officials to refuse to marry same-sex couples without fear of being fired.
- Next week, the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee will answer this question: “Do you think Idaho should be classified as a Christian state?”
- Texas Republicans had a party to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the state’s same-sex marriage ban, complete with what can only be called an “anti-wedding cake.”
- Texas Republican state Rep. Debbie Riddle proposed a bill mandating up to a year in jail for anyone over 13 caught using the bathroom of “a gender that is not the same gender as the individual’s gender.”
- Now that it’s legal to toke up in the nation’s capital, Republicans are threatening to put Washington, DC’ mayor in jail — for enacting a voter-approved law.
Here’s the best of the worst in wingnuttia this week:
- Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R, Georgia) had a lot to say this week. In one town hall meeting, Loudermilk: said that House Republicans looked into arresting attorney general Eric Holder at the State of the Union address; boasted about not vaccinating his children; opposed using IED’s to stop illegal immigration, “because there’s a lot of Americans who work [there] and kids around the border as well.”
- After ranting last week that America “deserves to be destroyed” if it enacted net neutrality, this week Glenn Beck proved a bit of a sore loser. “You morons! You useful idiots! That’s all you are,” Beck bellowed at net neutrality supporters who were almost certainly not watching his show. “You’re a useful idiot. Read Joe Stalin. You moron!”
- Rush Limbaugh figured out that the arrest of ISIS sympathizers in New York City was really just a ploy to push net neutrality.
- She’s back! Proving that leaving Congress doesn’t mean leaving the spotlight, former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann told Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg that the shooting of two NYPD officers in December was linked to ISIS.
- Rep. Aaron Schock has hired a PR firm and a lawyer to help him manage the fallout of his fabulous life, after coming under fire for his “Downton Abbey”-themed office, and for using taxpayer and campaign funds to travel on private jets owned by his key donors. Shock’s habit of posting images and videos of his fabulous life on Instagram is what got him busted.
- It snowed in DC again, so Sen. James Inhofe threw a snowball on the Senate floor to “prove” that climate change is a hoax.
- Rep. Sheila Butt (R, Tennessee) wrote in a Facebook post, “It’s time for a Council of Christian Relations and a NAAWP in this Country.” But Rep. Butt assured us that it wasn’t racist, because the W stands for “Western.” The Tennessee Black Caucus wants an apology. So far, House Republicans are standing behind Butt.
- Former congressman Ron Paul told libertarian Lew Rockwell that the Congressional Black Caucus is “really against war because they want all of that money to go to food stamps for people here.” Because of course it’s un-American to prioritize feeing people over killing people.
- Rep. Glenn Grothman (R, Wisconsin) advised constituents to “keep an eye on” the kinds of things people are buying with food stamps.
- Eagle Forum president Phyllis Schlafly complained that there are too many females on college campuses. Her solution? A quota.
- Pat Robertson said women who fantasize over “50 Shades of Gray” are helping fuel sex trafficking.
- Robertson also warned “700 Club” viewers that yoga tricks people into speaking “in Hindu.”
February 25, 2015
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had everything going for him that an incumbent could hope for, but a populist uprising still forced him into a runoff, in a re-election campaign he was almost certain to win. Continue Reading →
February 25, 2015
Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for February 23rd through February 25th: