Friday Mashup (2/21/14)

February 21, 2014
  • Jonah Goldberg, apparently vying for the title of Most Idiotic Pundit in the Universe, inflicts the following while bashing Number 44 overall for a variety of alleged reasons (here)…

    The Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to treat carbon dioxide as a “pollutant” is an outrageous expansion of executive power. But Obama (didn’t) tout that as a bullet point (last week at a Democratic retreat); he let the EPA take the political heat for that decision a while ago.

    So much stoo-pid, so little time – as noted here

    In March 2012 the Environmental Protection Agency released a draft rule limiting carbon pollution from new power plants. This standard was promulgated in response to the 2007 Supreme Court ruling requiring the agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act if it found that carbon dioxide emissions endangered public health and the environment. The agency published such a finding in 2009, noting that carbon-pollution-associated climate change will increase the frequency of unusually higher temperatures and heat waves.

    Increased temperatures can increase the risk for formation of ground level ozone or smog. Breathing ozone may lead to shortness of breath and chest pain; increased risk of asthma attacks; increased susceptibility to respiratory infections; need for medical treatment and for hospitalization for people with lung diseases, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and premature death. Children and senior citizens are most vulnerable to harm from smog.

    The Environmental Protection Agency held several listening sessions while drafting the proposal, held two public hearings on the proposed rule, and extended the comment period to 73 days. Almost 3 million comments were sent to the agency in favor of reducing carbon pollution from both new and existing power plants—a record for an Environmental Protection Agency rule proposal. The agency is now in the midst of finalizing its rule.

    Actually, based on this, the EPA finalized the rule last December 19th; carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology is “decades old,” though apparently it is still a relatively expensive technology (don’t know enough to say whether or not it should be subsidized by the federal government or if it is already, but if it isn’t, why not?).

    Of course, if Goldberg had an inclination towards actual journalism instead of hack punditry, he might be disposed to try and find that out (yes I know – if I ruled the world, every day would be the first day of spring…).

  • Next, I give you the latest from Repug U.S. Senator John Barrasso via Fix Noise in the “Let’s Bash Number 44” slug fest (here, opining about the fifth anniversary of the stimulus last Monday)…

    President Obama said that he was going to use the money to fund “shovel-ready” construction projects. Many of those projects stalled because of burdensome red tape, and Washington regulations. A couple of years later, the president even joked that “shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.”

    In response, to give you an idea of how many jobs were saved or created the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, I would ask that you read the following from here.

    And what have Barrasso and his fellow U.S. Congressional Republican pals done in response (aside from saying that the stimulus “failed” even though they patted themselves on the back for bringing stimulus funds back to their states or congressional districts, as noted here)?

  • Obama’s jobs plan blocked in the Senate in October 2011 (here).
  • A $60 billion infrastructure spending bill was also blocked in the Senate in November 2011 (heregee, ya’ think that would have helped with repairing our roads crumbling from this awful winter? And do you remember this stellar related moment?).
  • Obama’s 2011 American Jobs Act was also blocked in the U.S. House (here).
  • A veterans’ jobs bill was also blocked in the Senate in September 2012 (here).
  • Of course, an extension of unemployment benefits that would create 2 million jobs was also blocked (here).
  • Here’s a more comprehensive list of legislation backed by Obama that has been blocked by Republicans in Congress (and here is another typical Barrasso move).

  • Continuing, I give you the latest from the perpetually angry Brent Bozell (here)…

    Media liberals are howling at the apparent injustice of the “anti-Clinton” Washington Free Beacon website, which has dared to paw through old Hillary Clinton history. The hypocrisy is stunning. Let us recall the avalanche of mean-spirited and sleazy “fair game” the networks assembled for us just a few years ago in the last election cycle.

    Bozell then goes on to list a whole bunch of imagined media slights involving Republicans, which I won’t bother to address here lest this entire subject grow too tiresome than it already is. However, I’m going to say something about this because 1) Without giving away the game too much, I think it’s safe to say that we’re going to be dealing with an upcoming presidential election cycle involving Hillary Clinton, and 2) Our wingnut brethren, if Bozell is any indication, have already decided to start dumping on the former First Lady, Secretary of State and U.S. Senator from New York regardless (it’s ALWAYS good sport for conservatives to dump on the Clintons, which, if nothing else, tells you how pitiable these people truly are).

    Bozell also mentioned something about the Washington Free Beacon (whatever that is). In response, this Media Matters post tells us that the “Free Beacon” relied on a report from a group called OPSEC to attack Hillary Clinton – this tells us more about the group:

    …OPSEC, a right-wing group made up of retired intelligence and Special Forces operatives, has partisan ties and a history of disingenuously attacking the Obama administration. The group “first surfaced during the 2012 presidential campaign,” when they produced a 22-minute film and TV ads accusing President Obama of “seeking political gain from the May 2011 military operation that killed Osama bin Laden.” (PolitiFact rated the claims made in the ads as “false” and “mostly false.”) Key members of the group have current and former affiliations with the Republican Party, and Reuters uncovered that more than a quarter of OPSEC’s 2012 funding was raised by Campaign Solutions, a political consultancy which represents Republican candidates.

    OPSEC’s president, Scott Taylor, has also previously been accused of “shady campaign tactics” in his multiple bids for Republican state office, and as Business Insider noted, the group’s maneuvers reveal they are more interested in attacking President Obama and the Obama administration than promoting any national security interests. According to OpenSecrets, OPSEC spent almost $500,000 in the 2012 election cycle on “electioneering communications” alone.

    Official investigations have found Secretary Clinton, the Obama administration, and the military did everything within their power to rescue the Americans stationed in Benghazi at the time. The official inquiry into the State Department’s role conducted by the independent, nonpartisan Accountability Review Board found that security at Benghazi was inadequate and offered recommendations for State to prevent future attacks, all of which are being implemented, but found Clinton personally blameless.

    Yes, having to counter the nonsense from Bozell and his ilk is time not spent trying to persuade anyone still on the fence at this point why they should vote for a Democrat in the upcoming and all future election cycles. But this is an exercise that must be done, since the “noise machine” will crank up ever louder, immune to facts and reason as always.

  • Further, I have to comment on the following here (staying with clownhall.com, and apparently still in need of an editor)…

    More than half of Americans oppose Obamacare and 56% claim the law is more about bolstering government control than it is about helping individuals gethealth care (sic).

    The millions kicked off their insurance certainly do not find the policy freeing, neither do millennials forced to pay for healthcare feel liberated.

    Obamacare is precisely the type of overbearing government policy that the Founders would have fought against…

    Oh? So the Founding Fathers would have opposed “Obamacare”?

    This tells us about the U.S. Marine Hospital, founded in 1798, under President John Adams (it eventually became our Public Health Service, led by the Surgeon General). And as noted here, the hospital was also supported by Thomas Jefferson, hardly an acolyte of “big gumint.”

    And did I tell you that Benjamin Franklin co-founded the nation’s first public hospital offering free health care, as noted here (which became Pennsylvania Hospital)? Gosh, I didn’t know our founding fathers were such a bunch of damn socialists (removing my tongue from my cheek).

    As long as I’m on this subject, though, I should point out that this tells us that the number of health care repeal votes in the U.S. House under Republican Party “leadership” has now ballooned to 47. And that means that I’ve fallen behind a bit on my count, based on my pledge to highlight a different U.S. House Republican for each repeal vote:

    Here is the tally so far:

    #1 – #31 is here.
    #32 – #40 is here.
    #41 – #42 is here.

    So without any more ado, let’s pick up the count, shall we?

    meadows

    #43 – Mark Meadows (NC – 11)

    As far as I’m concerned, Meadows is infamous for only one act, but it was a real doozy, and that would be last year’s government shut down; as noted here, he was more responsible for it than any other person in the U.S. Congress.

    And just to refresh our memories, these in part were the results:

  • Disadvantaged women and infants relying on nutrition programs, as well as anyone relying on Head Start, individuals with disabilities and people needing heating assistance were all hurt (here).
  • Processing of veterans’ compensation, pension and education benefits was delayed; the shutdown was projected to drain about $10 billion out of our economy (here).
  • Passport applications were delayed as well, and shutting down sites in the U.S. Parks service hurt tourism as well as related businesses relying on tourist dollars, OSHA halted inspections, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission halted investigations of fraudulent trading practices – processing of Pell Grants and student loan assistance was also slowed (here).
  • FEMA ended up furloughing 86 percent of their employees during the height of the hurricane season (here).
  • So yeah, if Mark Meadows does absolutely nothing else of consequence one way or the other for the remainder of his public life, he will always be remembered for the utterly ruinous 2013 government shutdown, as well he should.

    ellmers

    #44 – Renee Ellmers (NC – 02)

    What a prize of an elected official…

  • Speaking of the shut down, Ellmers voted for it of course, but when asked why she wouldn’t donate her salary, said “I need my paycheck” here (as Laura Clawson says, as if Head Start teachers don’t?).
  • Oh, and an unsecured AR-15 rifle was stolen from her home here (smooth move).
  • Here, she introduced a “bill” to provide “rights” to disabled (injured and amputee) veterans that they already have.
  • As noted here, Ellmers introduced a resolution to honor Jesse Helms (ding ding ding! We have a winner in the “Wingnut of the Week” contest!).
  • Also, I’m not the biggest fan of Clay Aiken either, and I know politics ain’t beanbag as somebody once said, but I thought it definitely showed a lack of class on her part to mock his singing here.
  • reid-ribble-oops

    #45 – Reid Ribble (WI – 08)

  • This tells us that a petition with 120,000 signatures was delivered to Ribble’s office telling him not to include Social Security cuts in fiscal discussions last year, which Ribble intended to do regardless of the fact Social Security does not contribute to the federal deficit…remember the whole “chained CPI” thing, which apparently has come around again as an issue as noted here?
  • And speaking of Social Security, he wants anyone relying on that popular federal program to get it in the proverbial neck, as it were, as noted here.
  • In a truly guttural move, Ribble actually scolded Sister Simone Campbell for asking government to help the poor (nice).
  • Here, Ribble ducked out early from a jobs fair to attend a campaign fundraiser (what a swell guy).
  • Ribble said here that government shouldn’t borrow, even though he personally carries a couple of hundred thousand in debt (the latter isn’t a crime, but don’t be so damn two-faced about it).
  • And OF COURSE he’s a member of the “Koch Caucus” (here).
  • SteveStockman

    #46 – Steve Stockman (TX – 36)

    I don’t know if Stockman is the biggest goof ball on this list or not, but if he isn’t, he’s certainly in the top two…

  • There’s lots of stuff on Stockman from this great post – take your pick.
  • He also thinks Ted Nugent is a patriot (here).
  • Stockman invited the rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask noted here to perform in his district (nice).
  • He apparently went missing also (here), but he turned up later (here), thinking the whole “missing” thing was a joke apparently (of course, if you want to read something really funny, take a look at this…wonder if the Teahadists will do the U.S. Senate Democrats another favor?).
  • As noted here, Stockman is also apparently a fan of that show “Duck Dynasty,” along with a lot of others I know (in response, I give you this…anyone who buys into that show is a total rube).
  • Update 3/4/14: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    Neugebauer

    #47 – Randy Neugebauer (TX – 19)

  • Yes, it’s true – as the picture shows, any discussion of Neugebauer has to begin with his truly infamous episode where he yelled at a U.S. Park Ranger for closing the WWII memorial during the shut down his party initiated (here).
  • He also yelled out “baby killer,” presumably at former Dem U.S. House Rep Bart Stupak, during Stupak’s speech on the House floor at about the same time as the vote for the Affordable Care Law in 2010, which is truly idiotic but particularly in the case of pro-lifer Stupak (here)…and yes, he apologized.
  • Oh, and when asked here, he wouldn’t provide a copy of his birth certificate, even though Neugebauer is a “birther” himself, as noted here (uh oh).
  • Neugebauer was also one of the House Repugs who voted for farm aid (receiving about $4 grand in subsidies) while also voting to cut food stamps (here…also, he’s very definitely a member of the “Koch Caucus” along with Reid Ribble, noted in the link above).
  • So I think that brings the official count up to date; I should also start thinking about a proper commemoration for the eventual 50th repeal vote. Because, knowing this bunch in the House, that vote will surely come.

  • Rep_Holt_Official_Headshot

  • Finally, as long as I’ve devoted so much space to Congressional miscreants, allow me to finish by bidding a fond farewell to a retiring Dem who set, I believe, a sterling example of how Democrats are supposed to advocate for their constituencies and what kind of legislation they are supposed to author and/or support. And that would be Rush Holt of New Jersey (here).

    As noted below (citing what I know is an incomplete list of accomplishments)…

  • He spoke out against the ever-pervasive surveillance state here.
  • On a related note, he sponsored the RESTORE Act in 2007 here (earning the enmity of Joke Line, among others).
  • He was also a visionary on climate change (here).
  • He helped secure $3 million to keep the NJ Technology Center at Ft. Monmouth open (here).
  • He was a staunch defender of Social Security (here).
  • He won congressional approval of a measure to mandate video recording of interrogations (here).
  • Holt once introduced a bill to ensure a paper ballot in elections here (that issue more or less got swept under the rug, but last I checked, it still needed to be addressed).
  • We are truly losing some giants on our side in the House between Holt, Henry Waxman and George Miller. However, it is only right to cycle in new blood, as it were, and to also give thanks for the exemplary precedent set by those who have done their time and have now earned a well-deserved rest, providing the way forward for future heroes on our side, championing future causes for the good of our country. And may we see the day when their hard work comes to joyful fruition for us all.

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    Tuesday Mashup Part One (10/5/10)

    October 5, 2010

  • 1) I give you the following recent example of “High Broderism” (here)…

    The Democrats were lying in wait for John Boehner when the Republican leader of the House announced that he would address the subject of congressional reform in a speech Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute.

    Before Boehner opened his mouth, Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted him in a statement charging that “Congressional Republicans and Mr. Boehner have stood in the way of Democratic reform efforts in Congress for the last four years, and now they want to take America back to the exact same failed policies of the past that put the corporate special interests ahead of the middle class.”

    That is par for the course in this campaign season, and it represents the sort of reflexive partisanship that voters are understandably sick of.

    Actually, what it represents is the utterly craven and pointless Republican obstruction that voters are understandably sick of.

    And how does The Esteemed Beltway Journalist know what “voters are sick of” anyway? Why, he takes his periodic jaunt to a rib shack in Dubuque or a Rotary Club meeting in Fond du Lac to find some quotes from individuals who perhaps are not as well versed in the art of media spin as he is that reinforce his pre-defined narrative (i.e., Republicans know what’s best, and when they force their agenda, the Dems should respond, “Thank you, sir, may I have another?,” lest there be a breach of “bipartisanship”).

    Fortunately, Bob Herbert of the New York Times is a member of the reality-based community, and he wrote the following on The Orange One today (here)…

    It’s beyond astonishing to me that John Boehner has a real chance to be speaker of the House of Representatives.

    I’ve always thought of Mr. Boehner as one of the especially sleazy figures in a capital seething with sleaze. I remember writing about that day back in the mid-’90s when this slick, chain-smoking, quintessential influence-peddler decided to play Santa Claus by handing out checks from tobacco lobbyists to fellow Congressional sleazes right on the floor of the House.

    It was incredible, even to some Republicans. The House was in session, and here was a congressman actually distributing money on the floor. Other, more serious, representatives were engaged in debates that day on such matters as financing for foreign operations and a proposed amendment to the Constitution to outlaw desecration of the flag. Mr. Boehner was busy desecrating the House itself by doing the bidding of big tobacco.

    Embarrassed members of the G.O.P. tried to hush up the matter, but I got a tip and called Mr. Boehner’s office. His chief of staff, Barry Jackson, was hardly contrite. “They were contributions from tobacco P.A.C.’s,” he said.

    When I asked why the congressman would hand the money out on the floor of the House, Mr. Jackson’s answer seemed an echo of Willie Sutton’s observation about banks. “The floor,” he said, “is where the members meet with each other.”

    The Times’s Eric Lipton, in an article last month, noted that Mr. Boehner “maintains especially tight ties with a circle of lobbyists and former aides representing some of the nation’s biggest businesses, including Goldman Sachs, Google, Citigroup, R.J. Reynolds, MillerCoors and UPS.

    “They have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaigns, provided him with rides on their corporate jets, socialized with him at luxury golf resorts and waterfront bashes and are now leading fund-raising efforts for his Boehner for Speaker campaign, which is soliciting checks of up to $37,800 each, the maximum allowed.”

    The hack who once handed out checks on the House floor is now a coddled, gilded flunky of the nation’s big-time corporate elite.

    And let us not forget the following Boehner moment here, in which he said “Know that I have all of you in my trusted hands” to the Consumer Bankers Association, which ended up losing as a result of legislation to reform the student loan scam enacted under the happily-now-long-departed 109th Congress.

    Returning to Broder, I give you the following…

    What Boehner called “a cycle of gridlock” afflicts both sides of the Capitol, and has been enabled by both parties, depending on who had the majority. As he was honest enough to admit, the abuses did not start when Pelosi took the gavel, and both sides have been guilty of twisting the rules.

    Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if Broder were “honest enough to admit” this?

  • Update 10/12/10: And in case anyone out there thought I was exaggerating, I give you this from one of Broder’s pals (h/t Atrios).

  • 2) Next, I give you the following from former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm (here)…

    (Repug U.S. House Rep “Joe” Cao of Louisiana) said he wanted to work for the benefit of his constituents, whatever that took. So when it came time earlier this year to vote on the House floor on President Obama’s massive healthcare bill, the first Republican to hold that district since 1891 became the only Republican in the entire House to vote in favor of the Democratic president’s bill.

    His wasn’t the deciding vote. But, yes, that bipartisan decision caused him some grief among GOP colleagues.

    Cao hoped the president might reward that bipartisanship by endorsing him in the Nov. 2 midterm election against a Democratic state legislator named Cedric Richmond. Or at least by staying out of the race, one of 435 across the country.

    And this gives Malcolm an excuse in his utterly demented quest to demonize every possible thing Obama does (including stuff Malcolm imagines, like this).

    As noted here, Cao did vote initially for passage of health care reform, but he voted against the version that emerged from the Senate-House conference, which is a particular problem for him because one-fifth of the residents of his district don’t have health insurance. That has a lot more to do with Cao’s current electoral trouble than anything Obama could have said or done.

    As noted here, though, Malcolm has been wrong about health care reform before, and I’m sure will be again; when it comes to his own particular brand of wankery, I’m afraid he is beyond hope of a cure.

  • 3) Finally, yesterday was the ninth anniversary of the death of a Florida man from an anthrax attack; more information is available here (one of others that took place immediately after the 9/11 attacks).

    And I would say that that presents a good opportunity to move, at long last (even in a potential lame duck session) on the bill to investigate the attacks sponsored by Dem U.S. House Rep Rush Holt here.


  • An Obama Advisory For Spineless Steny

    March 11, 2009

    steny-hoyer-large
    This CNN story tells us that, though Obama will sign the omnibus spending bill that recently passed the Senate with about 9,000 earmarks…

    …the president will lay out the new guidelines on earmarks as a not-so-subtle threat that he could veto future spending bills that do not comply with his objectives.

    Obama may sign the bill into law behind closed doors rather than make a public show of it, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

    “Although it’s not perfect, the president will sign the legislation but demonstrate for all involved rules moving forward that he thinks can make this process work a little bit better,” Gibbs said at his daily briefing with reporters.

    White House officials have tried to dismiss the pork-laden legislation as “last year’s business” that Obama is dealing with reluctantly.

    Gibbs added that “over the course of the president’s tenure in Washington, dozens of those bills will come to his desk” and Obama wants to make clear “that there will be some new rules of the road” for lawmakers to follow.

    As I’ve said before, I really don’t have a problem with earmarks provided that they’re disclosed (and the Bucks County Courier Times tells us here that Reps. Patrick Murphy and Allyson Schwartz will bring about $30 million of earmarked funding back to their respective congressional districts).

    However, Obama has clearly signaled that he wants the guidelines on obtaining earmarked funding to change, which is his right as far as I’m concerned.

    Of course, that’s not going to quell the umbrage in the ranks (back to the CNN story)…

    Top Democrats, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, have suggested lawmakers do not appreciate being dictated to on an issue that is a congressional prerogative.

    Asked last week about the administration’s plan to put forth guidelines to overhaul earmarks, Hoyer said flatly, “I don’t think the White House has the ability to tell us what to do.”

    He paused and quipped to reporters, “I hope you all got that down.”

    (And of course, the story contains the typical “Repugs trying to make an issue out of nothing because they have no clue” whining about Obama supposedly going back on his earmark pledge, with Eric Cantor and John Boehner passing out the crying towels, as it were.)

    I realize that Hoyer, a fixture in the House for 28 years now and a prolific fundraiser (how do you think he’s been able to last for so long?) isn’t going to care about what I have to say (also because he’s not my rep – Patrick Murphy is), but I’m going to say it anyway.

    Hoyer embodies much of what I truly detest about politics, including the Democratic Party (yes, I support them on balance, but that doesn’t mean I like everything they do, which I most certainly don’t).

    As noted here, Hoyer flipped out at fellow Dem House Rep Jim Moran for the latter’s statements against AIPAC, including the entirely accurate observation by Moran that “AIPAC has not represented mainstream American Jewish opinion and…the organization’s Middle East policies, while in direct alignment with the Bush administration, have been counterproductive to Israel’s long-term security” (and by the way, no one solicited Hoyer’s opinion – he slammed Moran on his own).

    Hoyer also helped the Repugs here with their little faux outrage party about Rep. Pete Stark’s criticism over the Republicans’ blockage of the SCHIP bill in October 2007 (making Stark the issue instead of pointing out that Stark was correct in noting that nonstop funding of Dubya’s Not-So-Excellent Iraq Adventure was somehow “off the table” but SCHIP was something for the chopping block…Stark used indelicate language, sure, but he made a good point).

    And just for good measure, Hoyer ensured retroactive telco immunity in the FISA sellout from last June (here).

    So what does Hoyer have to say about the Repugs? Well, as noted here…

    Outgoing President George W. Bush’s greatest success in eight years was protecting America from any further terrorist attacks since 9/11, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told CNSNews.com on Monday.

    anthrax
    Uh, Steny, I have a question – is Rush Holt apparently the only member of Congress who remembers the GODDAMN ANTHRAX ATTACK, which took place about four weeks after 9/11? Perhaps this will refresh your memory.

    Oh, and did you know that Hoyer’s AmeriPAC actually donated $10,000 to Republican Kay Granger of Texas, in the course of helping many Dems including Patrick Murphy, as noted here (h/t Down With Tyranny)? Anybody have any idea of how that happened?

    Though I’m sure Hoyer will never read this, I would like to remind him anyway that the voters of this country didn’t elect him to the Presidency last November; they elected Barack Obama (who, last I checked, still enjoyed a favorability rating in the high 60s, more than twice that of Congressional democrats). Maybe Hoyer doesn’t think Obama can “tell him what to do” (interesting to see Steny’s display of fortitude now that a Dem is finally running the executive branch), but the voters tell every politician what to do (or should anyway), including him (something Hoyer seems to have forgotten, which I guess will happen considering that Hoyer was sent to D.C. along with The Sainted Ronnie R way back when). And what I believe the voters are telling Hoyer, along with the rest of Congress, is to shut up and toe the line for the new president, who deserves the same chance to be successful as the one you gave his predecessor, who ended up being hopelessly overmatched because he was never equipped for the job to begin with.

    And I hope Hoyer got that down.


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