Man, this sketch from Howard Tayler has it all.
Also: that poor troll. I almost feel sorry for it. Almost.
Phoenix Comic Con continues to be awesome. That is all.
Happy Saturday night, folks! It's Blue Gal from The Professional Left Podcast, bringing you this week's podcast round up. Be aware that these podcasts are also available on i-Tunes and Stitcher Radio, and may not be safe for work.
Liberal Oasis (video): Pat Robertson "honored" for his stand on the Oklahoma tornado.
On Point with Tom Ashbrook: The History, Sounds, and Politics of Heavy Metal Music.
Decode DC: Covering the immigration story by listening to stories by actual immigrants.
And then there's this: If you like Game of Thrones, you might be interested in this list of all-woman Game of Thrones Fancasts.
Open thread below...
Title: Ленинград — Рыба
Saturday! I don't know who Ленинград is, but I sure like them.
Yep, John Boehner's making an old, poll-tested, ideological pledge to keep America safe.
On his jolly little official speaker's blog
, Republican House Speaker John Boehner (or his minion poster) tosses off a post titled 10 Questions for President Obama About Keeping America Safe and Secure
, there are nine actually reasonable questions, and then one that ends the entry with a flourish:
What is more important: fulfilling old, poll-tested, ideological campaign pledges or keeping America safe and secure?
Gee, I don't know, Mr. Speaker. That's a tough one. I'm sure the Kenyan Muslim Commie president will be stumped by that one.
On the other hand, is Boehner trying to say that "keeping America safe and secure" doesn't poll well? That it's old and poll-tested and ideological (presumably, Obama's dreaded ideology) to have a desire to keep America safe and secure?
A truly nutty rhetorical question.
You have no doubt heard the on-going saga of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Though the video has never been publicly shown, three reporters have allegedly seen video of Ford smoking what appears to be crack cocaine with a group of Somali immigrant drug dealers. They appear to be the ones who are shopping the video of Ford smoking said crack. For the last week or more he's been dodging the press and clearly unwilling and presumably unable to deny the videos existence or authenticity. Yesterday he emerged to give a classic non-denial denial of his apparent drug use.
Looking at this from the outside, setting aside that it's problematic to have a serving mayor caught on tape doing drugs, I've had to ask: how does the sitting Mayor end up carousing with Somali crack dealers and smoking crack? Well, we may have an answer. The Globe and Mail has just published a lengthy, very lengthy look at the Ford family. And basically all Ford's siblings have substantial past ties to the drug trade.
It starts with Doug Ford, who isn't just the Mayor's brother, but also sits on the City Council. Back in the 80s, according to the article, Doug was a pretty major hashish dealer. Now, when I first read this I was thinking, how much does this really matter? Lots of people sold drugs to friends when they were young and then went on to perfectly normal, even establishmentarian lives. That's part of what this was. Doug's dealing apparently ran from when he was 15 to 22. So pretty young.
But it's a bit more than that. He wasn't just dealing to friends. He was the guy who supplied street level dealers. So it was a pretty big operation. Like others in this story, Doug Ford seems on the margin between what drug dealers and drug traffickers. Not just people dealing to support their own habits but people running pretty elaborate enterprises. And bear in mind, these kids weren't growing up in rough inner city poverty. They came from a very wealthy family and lived in an exclusive neighborhood.
So way back when, current city councilor and brother Doug Ford was a dealer. Apparently Randy Ford, another brother was too. But he was the crazy one. But before we get to him let's discuss Marco Orlando. He was allegedly one of the guys Doug supplied and who was himself a dealer. Only Marco was a bit of a goof fell behind on what he owed Doug.
So this happened ...
He was also supplied a lot of drugs on credit but was notoriously unreliable when it came to paying for them. Among his suppliers, the suspicion was that Marco was sharing his illicit proceeds with his parents and feigning poverty. So two weeks before Christmas, they hatched a plan, said "Tom," a drug dealer who said he was involved in the scheme.
On a Tuesday night, with the usual throng of young adults outside the Bank of Montreal at the Royal York Plaza, Marco was jumped, beaten and thrown into a car. He was driven more than 30 kilometres to a basement in Bolton, where someone called his parents, demanding they hand over the money. For 10 hours, Mr. Orlando was captive, but his parents didn't panic. Instead, they called the police. Within three days, all three men allegedly involved in the plot were under arrest.
Randy Ford was one of those arrested for the kidnapping. The guy who represented Randy, Dennis Morris, is the same lawyer represented the current Mayor in the crack situation.
Then there's the sister Kathy.
Last year, her long time boyfriend, who's also a convicted crack and hash dealer, was charged with threatening the Mayor's (i.e., her brother's life). But it was probably clear that Scott MacIntyre wasn't a great guy back in 2005 when he and a friend were charged with shooting Kathy in the face. (She survived.)
And she'd had relationship problems before - like when her drug addict ex-husband shot and killed her then-current boyfriend. And there's a whole other part of the story which is that the boyfriend who was killed was a big white supremacist and apparently Kathy was too. But it's notable that her associates in the white supremacist world were apparently also major drug dealers.
Now the big stuff appears to be relatively far in the past. And the article is clear that Rob Ford, the Mayor, who was a couple years younger, does not seem to have been actively involved in the brothers' drug business himself. But what the article also notes is that a lot of people from the Fords' drug dealing days - people who were in the business themselves - are part of the Mayor's current entourage.
It is, to put it mildly, a really weird story. It's also important to note that the big stuff happened when all these guys were younger. To get the full feel for it, read the article. But after reading it, you'll be a whole lot less surprised that the Mayor was off smoking crack with some Somali crack dealers.
http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/saturday-night-at-movies-siffting.htmlSaturday Night at the Movies
SIFFting through cinema, pt. 2
By Dennis Hartley
The Seattle International Film Festival is in full swing, so I'm continuing to share highlights with you this week. SIFF is showing 272 films over 26 days. Navigating such an event is no easy task, even for a dedicated buff. Yet, I trudge on (cue the world’s tiniest violin). Hopefully, some of these films will be coming soon to a theater near you… "
Oi! Zombies!" This may be "damning with faint praise" but Matthias Hoene's "splatter comedy"
Cockneys vs. Zombies pretty much delivers all that its title implies. In a setup reminiscent of the British sci-fi classic Quatermass and the Pit (although any similarities abruptly end there) London construction workers inadvertently stir up an ancient crypt best left undisturbed...sparking a zombie apocalypse in the East End. Although I enjoyed this much more when it was called Shaun of the Dead, it does have its moments. The funniest bit has an elderly gent with a walker handily outdistancing his zombie "pursuer".
Adapting first-person narratives like Marlen Haushofer's dystopian novel Die Wand (The Wall) for the screen can be a tricky affair. Consider Julian Roman Polsler's film, wherein our heroine (Martina Gedeck) wakes up one morning and finds that an invisible, encircling “wall” has confined her within the perimeter of an Alpine lodge, with only a dog, a cow and woodland animals for company. As she adapts to her Robinson Crusoe lifestyle, she begins keeping a journal. Since she has no one to converse with, we get voice over narration. A lot of voice over narration. Gedeck (a skilled actress) is left with little to do but stare into space. There's a lot of staring into space. Atmospheric, nicely shot, but ultimately it is little more than a picture postcard-festooned exercise in tedium.
I’ve always found dinner parties to be a fascinating microcosm of human behavior; ditto genre films like The Anniversary Party, The Boys in the Band, and my all-time favorite Don’s Party (my review). Mutual Friends (a SIFF World Premiere) is the feature film debut for director Matthew Watts. Sort of an indie take on Love, Actually, this no-budget charmer centers on a group of neurotic New Yorkers (is that redundant?) converging for a surprise party. In accordance with the Strict Rules of Dinner Party Narratives, logistics go awry, misunderstandings abound, unexpected romance ensues, and friendships are sorely tested. Despite formulaic trappings, the film is buoyed by clever writing, an engaging ensemble, and cheerful reassurance that your Soul Mate really is out there...somewhere...
When you think "road trip!" you usually don't envision trekking through the nation formerly known as Yugoslavia while schlepping along the mummified remains of Marshal Tito (or a facsimile thereof). That is apparently what Swedish underground comic artists Max Andersson and Lars Sjunneesson did, to promote their book Bosnian Flat Dog at an alternative comic convention in Sarajevo. For his documentary Tito on Ice, Andersson and co-director Helena Ahonen mix Super8 footage from the trip with cardboard cutout stop-motion to create an offbeat (if occasionally scattershot) pastiche about art and politics that works best whenever focus shifts from the artists to the recollections of people who came of age in the midst of the Yugoslav Wars in the early 1990s. This aspect recalls the 2007 animated film Persepolis, which was based on Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel memoir about growing up during the Iranian Revolution.
Salma (from UK director Kim Longinotto) profiles a Tamil poet named Salma (now 45) who spent her first 25 years sequestered at home. Her family was adhering to a strict "unwritten law” forbidding pubescent girls from venturing outside the house (even to attend school) until they are married off. Longinotto documents Salma as she visits her family for the first time in years; she points out the tiny window that provided her sole portal to the outside world. She found ways to smuggle her early work out of the house, eventually becoming renowned throughout India. While its subject is compelling, it pains me to say that the film, while meant to inspire, is flat and dull, with no poetry in its soul.
Here's a concept: In the Utopian future, cities will be designed at the behest of urban dwellers, as opposed to urban "planners". In case you hadn't noticed, most cities cramp our style with tightly-packed high-rises and dense noisy traffic, which doesn't leave much space for the traditional "town square". In his documentary The Human Scale, Danish director Andreas M. Dalsgaard examines the work of architect Jan Gehl, who posits that the fatal flaw of modern urban design lies in its ignorance of cultural anthropology. This results in cities blighted by social isolation and alienation. After conducting his own study over several decades, Gehl concluded that humans are happiest in a low-rise cityscape, enhanced with open public spaces (it's rumored that we're social creatures). Copenhagen is shown as one example of a city that has become more sustainable and people-centric. A fascinating, refreshingly optimistic look at creating a new paradigm.
This year’s revival presentation is a newly restored print of the classic silent 1923 Harold Lloyd vehicle, Safety Last! (a Criterion Blu-ray edition is slated for mid-June release) Yes, this is the one featuring Lloyd’s iconic “hanging off the clock” routine. He plays a bumpkin from Great Bend who moves to the big city, promising to send for his sweetheart and marry her once he has found his fortune. When she pops by for a surprise visit, Lloyd scrambles to cover up that he’s still making peanuts as a lowly clerk in a department store. When he learns that the manager will pay $1000 for a winning marketing idea to bring in more customers, Lloyd cooks up a “human fly” publicity stunt, sparking one of the most hilarious, inventive and thrilling daredevil sequences ever filmed. Even by modern filmmaking standards, it boggles the mind as to how they did it.
Previous posts with related themes:
Massachusetts Republican and candidate running for John Kerry's Senate seat Gabriel Gomez is true billionaire tea party material. He's a guy who made most of his money in hedge funds, has good buddies in lofty financial circles, and hates anyone who isn't as extreme as he is.
Gomez became a TeaPublican rock star during the 2012 elections, when he appeared on various networks touting those horrid
SwiftBoat OPSEC ads funded by pals of Mitt Romney.
He's a nasty sort. Snarky and unafraid to be a general jerk, just as he was here. Politico:
“I don’t think there’s anything more offensive,” Gomez said, according to a YouTube clip of the exchange, which took place after an event at a local Chamber of Commerce. “You know I’ve got four young kids, and they gotta sit there and gotta see an ad with their dad — who served honorably, talk to anybody I served with — whether as a pilot or as a SEAL, anybody I worked with. And for him to be as dirty and low, pond scum, like to put me up next to bin Laden, he’s just gotta be called what he is. It’s that simple.”
Oooo, someone's chain got yanked. Markey was having none of it:
“After spending the past week leveling completely baseless attacks against Ed Markey that were thoroughly debunked by Massachusetts newspapers and nonpartisan fact checkers, Gabriel Gomez has reached a new low,” Markey spokesman Andrew Zucker said. “Unfortunately for Gomez, his desperate attack will do nothing to distract from his opposition to an assault weapons ban and limits on high-capacity magazines, or his refusal to release his 2005 tax return that would reveal how much he pocketed from taking a questionable $280,000 tax break on his Cohasset home.”
Pond scum isn't as bad as it could get, I guess, but it speaks to the empty rhetoric of the right quite clearly.
Click here to view this media </a>
It's clear that Rep. Steve King is no fan of immigration reform, or amnesty as he calls it. It's also clear that he and other wingnuts in congress should be really leery of using foreign concepts to them such as "statistical analysis" when they're speaking, as evidenced by the bewildered expressions in the room to King's theory.
via The Hill
The Iowa Republican said immigrants that Ronald Reagan legalized by signing a 1986 "amnesty" bill were responsible for Obama's election.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Thursday that President Obama would not be president if it weren't for the 1986 amnesty bill that Ronald Reagan signed into law.
King is a leading GOP critic of efforts to pass an immigration reform bill, and has often said on the House floor that Republicans are overreacting to the 2012 election, which some Republicans saw as a sign that the GOP needs to get behind a reform bill.
In an effort to dissuade Republicans, King argued that the 1986 immigration bill that Reagan signed into law is estimated to have brought amnesty to three million illegal immigrants.
He said conservative estimates show that, on average, each of these people brought in five others, leading to 15 million more people in the country, most of whom voted for Obama.
"[T]hey have to admit that Ronald Reagan's signature on the '86 amnesty act brought about Barack Obama's election," King concluded on the House floor.
"[I]t's clear to anybody that can do any kind of statistical analysis that Barack Obama wouldn't be President of the United States without Ronald Reagan's 1986 amnesty act."
No president is immune from partisanship and partisan atitudes.
No president, it seems to me, can escape politics - JFK
The Post Partisan Unity Schtick as a "demonstration project" (demonstrating Obama is the "adult in the room" and the GOP is why we can't "come together") is not a success
[T]he country is split literally down the middle on Obama’s ability to unite/divide it is a telling indication that the man who pledged he could change Washington has struggled mightily to make good on that promise.
The numbers in the WaPo
Forty-seven percent of Americans say that Obama has done more to unite the country during his time in office while 45 percent say he has done more to divide it — a statistically insignificant difference. Among registered voters, it’s 47 percent uniter and 47 percent divider.
This should surprise precisely no one.
But it does make ridiculous the claim that Obama's Post Partisan Unity Schtick was an effective demonstration of how Republicans are the problem when it comes to bipartisanship. I suppose some might point to the 49-43 numbers in favor of the president among independents but my view is that is a function of overall approval, which for the president is 51 percent.
I suppose one could argue that Obama would be doing even worse on this measure (which begs the question of how much does it matter to be viewed as a uniter anyway?) but that is unconvincing, at least to me.
In any event, as a defense of the Post Partisan Unity Schtick, it seems like thin gruel, at best, to me. I think Sean Wilentz's citing of JFK is instructive:
President Kennedy is sometimes cited as an anti-partisan who held party hacks in disdain—or so a few liberal writers and historians such as James MacGregor Burns have persuaded themselves. But Kennedy relished being his party’s chieftain, and astutely understood the imperatives of party and party leadership, which he explained as well as anyone has. “No president, it seems to me, can escape politics,” Kennedy observed in 1960, as he began his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination. “He has not only been chosen by the nation—he has been chosen by his party. And if he insists that he is ‘president of all the people’ and should, therefore, offend none of them—if he blurs the issues and differences between the parties—if he neglects the party machinery and avoids his party’s leadership—then he has not only weakened the political party as an instrument of the democratic process—he has dealt a blow to the democratic process itself.” Kennedy went on to say that he preferred the example of Abraham Lincoln, “who loved politics with the passion of a born practitioner.”
Conservatives have been crowing this week over the big story out of California, the decision to stay out of
California's health insurance exchange created under the Affordable Care Act. That would doom the system, they said, because the lack of competition would make rates unaffordable. They had to stop their crowing, though, when the other big story about Obamcare in California came out. The proposed rates for the California exchange were just released, and it turns out there's plenty of competition
among the insurers who are in the exchange, and that they will make insurance affordable for most customers.
Based on the premiums that insurers have submitted for final regulatory approval, the majority of Californians buying coverage on the state's new insurance exchange will be paying less—in many cases, far less—than they would pay for equivalent coverage today. And while a minority will still end up writing bigger premium checks than they do now, even they won't be paying outrageous amounts. [...]
[Y]ou can get a sense of the prices by looking at what a 40-year-old single person would pay, on average, for the second cheapest “silver” plan on the new market. Such a plan, which would cover about 70 percent of a typical person’s medical expenses, would go for about $300 a month or around $3,600 a year. That compares favorably with what insurance costs today. The typical employer plan, for example, presently costs about $5,500 a year. Employer plans are generally more generous than the silver plans would be, so you’d expect them to be more expensive—but not by such a large margin.
Somebody with an income at 250 percent of the poverty line, or around $29,000 a year, would on average pay just $2400 a year in premiums for that same silver plan. Somebody with an income of 150 percent of the poverty line, or about $17,000 a year, would pay just around $700 a year. This person could also get a “bronze” policy, which comes with higher out-of-pocket expenses, for essentially no premiums at all.
About 2.6 million Californians are going to qualify for subsidies. Sarah Kliff compiled
some handy graphics on what premiums could be (depending on individual circumstances, plan selection, and region) for a 21-year-old and for a 40-year-old. The top number is the amount the individual will be expected to pay and the bottom number, in green, is how much they are saving with the subsidy.
It's hard to overstate the significance of California, which has 7.1 million uninsured residents, the most in any state, coming in with such reasonable numbers. Like Oregon before it, where insurers actually asked to revise their proposed rates downward
when they saw they were overpriced, competition is actually going to work to drive rates downward in California. That means that this whole complex system could very well work, and work well. Which puts the country one step closer to the next stage in health care reform.
Every week, we share a number of downloads for all platforms to help you get things done. Here were the top downloads from this week.
Applications for the Viable Paradise Writers' Workshop (taught by, among others, Miss Teresa and Mr. Patrick) close three weeks from tonight at midnight, EDT.
Now in its seventeenth year, held every autumn on Martha's Vineyard, this is a one-week intensive workshop on writing commercial fantasy and science fiction. We deal with both novel-length and short fiction.
This year's instructors:
- Debra Doyle
- Elizabeth Bear
- James D. Macdonald
- Patrick Nielsen Hayden
- Teresa Nielsen Hayden
- Sherwood Smith
- Steven Brust
- Steven Gould
Special Guest: Scott Lynch
We have food, music, pancakes, jellyfish, lighthouses, stars, and a pretty good track record. Three out of three of this year's RT Reviewers' Choice Best
Book Awards in SF/Fantasy, for example (Scalzi, former instructor; Jemisin, graduate; Bear, current instructor). The writers' successes are their own; still, we're proud of 'em.
Class size is limited to 24.
Application information is here. (Short version: 8K word writing sample plus a $25 application fee.)
Learn the VP Oath and discover for yourself the Horror that is Thursday!
http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/they-just-openly-influence-peddling-now.htmlThey just openly influence peddling now
Oh here's some good news
. The nation's CEOs have decide they need to be more engaged in government than they already are:
The high-profile examples run the gamut: from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg — who attached his name to immigration reform this year along with a slew of Silicon Valley execs — to JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, who's had a high-profile, if on-again-off-again, relationship with Washington.
Others come to town with less fanfare. Goldman Sachs President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn made the trek up to Capitol Hill in November to meet with House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas and other Republicans as the fight over debt and spending flared.
President Barack Obama, who has struggled to win over the business community, has hosted CEOs regularly in his second term. Yahoo’s Marissa Meyer and Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein met with Obama in February to talk immigration and debt. In May, energy leaders, including Edison Electric Institute President Tom Kuhn, met with Obama privately to discuss the industry’s response to mega storms.
Executives say the reason for their change is simple: the stakes have gotten higher.
Just look at the range of big policy questions on Washington’s plate from debt and spending, to the tax code, to health care and immigration.
Paul Stebbins, executive chairman of World Fuel Services, a Fortune 100 company, told POLITICO that the long-term debt outlook has been a key factor.
“I think this has changed the sensibility of how CEOs engage in the process,” said Stebbins, who is a member of the CEO-group Fix the Debt. “This goes far beyond my K Street lobbyist is going to help me get some tax thing. It’s a much deeper issue about the future of the country.”
“This isn’t a short-term, ‘we’ll be done by September.’ This is long term,” he said of how CEOs will continue to engage in Washington.
That's not reassuring.
by digbyHere's one way to get your arrest quotas up:
....they say they were "thrilled" when their son -- who has Asperger's and other disabilities and struggled to make friends -- appeared to have instantly made a friend named Daniel.
“He suddenly had this friend who was texting him around the clock,” Doug Snodgrass told ABC News. His son had just recently enrolled at Chaparral High School.
"Daniel," however, was an undercover cop with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department who " hounded" the teenager to sell him his prescription medication. When he refused, the undercover cop gave him $20 to buy him weed, and he complied -- not realizing the guy he wanted to befriend wanted him behind bars.
In December, the unnamed senior was arrested along with 21 other students from three schools, all charged with crimes related to the two officers' undercover drug operation at two public schools in Temecula, California (Chaparral and Temecula Valley High School). This March, Judge Marian H. Tully ruled that Temecula Valley Unified School District could not expel the student, and had in fact failed to provide him with proper services.
“Within three days of the officer’s requests, [the] student burned himself due to his anxiety,” Tully said. “Ultimately, the student was persuaded to buy marijuana for someone he thought was a friend who desperately needed this drug and brought it to school for him.”
“Sending police and informants to entrap high-school students is sick,” says Tony Newman, director of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance. “We see cops seducing 18-year-olds to fall in love with them or befriending lonely kids and then tricking them into getting them small amounts of marijuana so they can stick them with felonies. We often hear that we need to fight the drug war to protect the kids. As these despicable examples show, more often the drug war is ruining young people's lives and doing way more harm than good.”
Remember this when you hear tales of undermanned and underfunded police departments. It probably pays to look into their "priorities" first.
That's a video promotion for Teach for America, the reformer billionaires' favorite educational non-profit organization. The general concept is to take college graduates, no matter what their major is, give them six weeks of training and then send them out to teach kids in inner-city schools. In theory, it's a really nice idea. In practice, it's not really working all that well. At least, not for the students.
TFA rakes in donations every year in larger and larger amounts from the usual suspects like Gates, Bloomberg, Walton and DeVos along with others who see them as a wonderful helper to the end goal of privatizing education.
Along the way, state governments have tried to sneak public grants into the budget for TFA, too. This time, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton used his line-item veto to just say no. His reasoning was impeccable. From his letter (PDF):
Teach for America (TFA) is a well-established, national program with revenues totaling $270 million for fiscal year 2011 (its most recent annual report). With total expenses of$219 million, TFA's net assets increased by over $50 million and now total over $350 million. With those financial resources available, it is not clear why a $1.5 million grant from the State of Minnesota is required to continue or expand the organization's work here.
My principal concern, however, is the way in which TFA was selected as the recipient of this grant. To my knowledge, no competitive grant program was established; no other applications were solicited; and no objective review was made by an independent panel of experts. Instead, the funds were inserted into the Senate's Higher Education bill, directed to this organization, and retained in the Conference Committee's report.
If the Legislature deems it is in our state's best interest to encourage programs like TFA, a formal grant program should be established within the Minnesota Department of Education, and all qualifying organizations should be allowed to apply for funding. The legislation should establish the goals for such a program and the results by which its effectiveness will be evaluated. This type of competitive grants process would be a fairer way to distribute public funds.
Applause to Governor Dayton for his sound objection to using state funds for private purposes. Well done, Governor!
Today is Towel Day! Don't forget your towels, hoopy froods!
More details on how to celebrate at the Towel Day website.
Open thread below...
Mitch "Stop intimidating me" McConnell meets with the Intimidator-in-Chief
Writing in Thursday's Washington Post
, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell provides evidence
that he says substantiates his assertion that President Barack Obama is responsible for a "culture of intimidation" that "goes well beyond one agency or a few rogue employees."
For example, McConnell says:
The president’s lawyers circulated a draft executive order in 2011 that would have required anyone bidding for a government contract to disclose political donations. The message was clear: If you want a government contract, be careful which causes or candidates you support because the White House will know.
Yep, you read that right. According to Mitch McConnell, requiring firms that do business with the government to publicly disclose how much political cash they've given to the politicians from whom they seek contracts and special treatment is all about intimidating companies into silence. Of course, that was not the idea at all. The real idea
was to let the public know whether companies that made anonymous political contributions were getting special treatment from the government.
Ask yourself which is a bigger threat to democracy: The possibility that a company doing business with the government would withhold a political contribution out of fear of retribution from White House or Congress ... or the possibility that a company would funnel money anonymously into a 501(c)(4) while quietly claiming credit under the table in order to win favorable treatment from regulators, contracting officials, or Congress?
Corruption is obviously a bigger problem—it's not even close. But even though the idea floated by the Obama administration had nothing to do with intimidation, it was spiked shortly after McConnell thundered his opposition to it. If anybody was doing the intimidating, it was Mitch, and if anybody was intimidated, it was the administration.
What's coming up on Sunday Kos ...
- The end of perpetual war, by kos
- Book review: Mary Pipher's 'The Green Boat,' by Susan Gardner
- A twist in the wind, by DarkSyde
- Book review: Barbara Garson's 'Down the Up Escalator,' by Laura Clawson
- The Race to Gracie Mansion, by Denise Oliver-Velez
- Catholic hospital mergers put women's health at risk, by Jon Perr
This is just stupid. A super PAC created by California billionaire Tom Steyer, NextGen PAC, is talking about
launching a campaign against Republican Gabriel Gomez in the Massachusetts Senate race with Ed Markey. Markey doesn't want anything to do with it and "has called on Steyer to stay out of the race." That's because Markey has signed a pledge (that Gomez has not signed) to limit outside spending in his campaign—the "People's Pledge."
With that established, enter the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which sent out a press release whining that Markey "is the first to violate the 'People’s Pledge.'" You know, the pledge that isn't in effect because Gomez hasn't signed it. Which Markey couldn't technically violate because it isn't in effect, and because he's asked Steyer to stay out of it, and because it hasn't actually happened anyway because Steyer hasn't spent any money yet.
Cue Boston Magazine's David Bernstein:
[E]ven if we granted NRSC all of this, and agreed that "violate the People's Pledge" means "have an outside group announce plans to spend money on your behalf in what would be a violation of the People's Pledge if the candidates had actually entered into such an agreement," it would still be a lie to say that Ed Markey is the first to violate the pledge.
That’s because Gomez has already violated it.
As Paul McMorrow writes over at CommonWealth, the Massachusetts Republican Party—an outside group under the People's Pledge—has spent more than $300,000 on ads currently running; you’ll notice they disclose at the end that they are paid for by the MassGOP.
Unbelievable. Except that it isn't, because it's the NRSC and the Gomez campaign, which seems incapable of coming up with any thing in this campaign other than "Ed Markey is picking on me!" And all of the instances in which Ed Markey is being a big ol' meanie are actually complete lies!
Boy, the Republicans sure got themselves a winner this time around.
Please contribute $3 to Ed Markey.
Chrome: Pandora is a great way to get through the workday, but finding its tab to pause or skip songs is a pain. SoundControl cures this ill by putting adding a handy mini player to Chrome that you can access from anywhere.