News and Announcements

November 20, 2014 8:46 AM

(Thanks to David Flanders for this one….)

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s potential bid for the U.S. presidency will continue to be dogged by abuse-of-power charges as a state judge refused to throw out ethics accusations on a legal technicality. Texas Judge Bert Richardson, who is overseeing Perry’s case, said errors in paperwork weren’t serious enough to invalidate the Republican governor’s indictment. Perry’s lawyers claimed the irregularities undermined special prosecutor Michael McCrum’s authority to bring charges against Texas’s longest-serving governor…. “This court concludes that Mr. McCrum’s authority was not voided by the procedural irregularities in how and when the oath of office” and related paperwork were handled, Richardson said in a 16-page order today. The special prosecutor’s actions were therefore valid from the start, he ruled. Richardson, a Republican, hasn’t ruled yet on Perry’s separate request to throw out the charges as a violation of his constitutional role as Texas’s chief executive, enabling him to veto any budget line item he chooses.

If I was a better person, I might not be enjoying this saga so much, but when it comes to Rick Perry, I’ve found that a little bit of schadenfreude goes a very long way. Governor Goodhair has sent something 275 convicted criminals to the death chamber in Huntsville, all the while claiming that Texas’ justice system has never made a mistake.

Than he goes and gets indicted on abuse of power charges…and suddenly it’s a “witch hunt,” a “politically motivated miscarriage of justice.” Yeah, cry me a frickin’ river, willya??

It appears that Perry’s desperate enough that he’s been reduced to hoping that he can find a friendly Republican judge (not too hard to do in Texas) who’ll take pity on him and save him from being persecuted by Texas’ (heavily Republican) judicial system. It seems that being Governor means never having to say you’re sorry…or worry about being held accountable.

Not that being brought up on felony charges has put the brakes on Governor Pander McCrazy’s seemingly never-ending pursuit of self-aggrandizement and political advancement. Perry still thinks he can hoodwink Teapublicans into thinking that he’d make a good and exceedingly godly President. Perhaps it’s just the Republican thing to do: believe you’re above the law and that a felony indictment and trial shouldn’t stop a man of destiny from seeking to fulfill that destiny.

Yes, if I was a better person, I’d feel for Perry and understand that he’s going through some tough times. Unfortunately, I’m not…and I just can’t stop snickering at his predicament. Turns out that not only is karma a real bitch, but schadenfreude can be VERY entertaining.

November 20, 2014 8:36 AM

November 20, 2014 8:29 AM

I perused the news yesterday (evidently, I wasn’t nearly depressed enough) to find what I’d missed over the past day or so. I came away thinking that perhaps ignorance really IS bliss. Yeah…not knowing some of this stuff would probably be a net plus. Seriously.

It started with the news that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker may well be the GOP Presidential nominee in 2016. Granted, the primary process is still a ways off, and Gov. Walker could still screw the pooch (or be caught in flagrante delicto with a gay hooker), but his becoming the Republican standard bearer would only cement the GOP’s reputation for working to elect thugs, criminals, economic illiterates, reprobates, extremist cartoon characters, and hyper-Christian zealots. Given the sad collection of moral and intellectual midgets elected to office as Republicans a couple weeks ago, Gov. Walker is, sad to say, probably an upgrade.

How ‘bout you just shoot me now?

In news that should be good news but will likely turn out to be a short-lived victory, the Senate voted against building the Keystone XL pipeline. What on the surface should have Liberals and those who care about the environment cheering turns out to have been so much window dressing. The Senate Democratic majority forced a vote on Keystone XL in an effort to shore up Sen. Mary Landrieu’s almost certainly doomed reelection campaign. What some wags referred to as the “Mary Landrieu Preservation Act” was defeated soundly…except that the vote was just this side of meaningless. Landrieu’s chances of reelection are about the same as me becoming the leader of a cargo cult. To make matters even worse, Democrats put off a vote on President Obama’s nominee for Attorney General. As if that wasn’t messed up enough, the Senate will undoubtedly vote again on Keystone XL in January after Republicans claim their majority. Gee, d’ya think the results might be different then?

(At times like this I’m think of the late, great Will Rogers, who once said, “I don’t belong to an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” Yes, Virginia, sometimes life really does imitate art….)

November 20, 2014 8:14 AM

November 20, 2014 8:00 AM

A 2009 study from Ohio State University published in the International Journal of Press/Politics, found that conservatives were more likely to think that Stephen Colbert only pretends to be joking and actually means what he says and dislikes liberals.

The perorations of the Conservative hive-mind never cease to amaze and amuse. The capacity for finding things to be outraged about- accurate or otherwise- is truly the stuff of legend. As the “controversy” over Bruce Springsteen performing John Fogerty’s “Fortunate Son” at the Concert for Valor for continues to be a thing, I’ve been struck by…well, by how just plain stupid the whole thing is. IF those Conservative who’ve taken Springsteen to task had bothered to peruse the lyrics of “Fortunate Son,” they’d know that the song is neither anti-military nor anti-soldier. They would have also realized that

It is anti-rich-politicians-sending-poor-people-to-die-kill-and-fight-their-wars-for-them. It is pro-soldier in that it wants soldiers to actually not be killed.

But then Conservatives have always had a thing for war…as long as someone else is taking fire on the battlefield.

Fogerty’s lyrics decry a system in which the poor and middle class were far more likely to find themselves fighting and dying in a far-flung foreign war than were the children of wealth and privilege who had people to pull strings for them. Then again, Conservatives LOVE war, because for most of them it’s an abstract concept. It’s always SO much easier to get behind a war when you know there’s ZERO chance you’ll be seeing combat in it.

What’s even more interesting about the generalized Conservative outrage over “Fortunate Son” is that no one has ever mentioned the OTHER song Springsteen played: “Born in the USA.” Again, a lap around the lyrics would show that “Born in the USA” is NOT about flag-waving and chest-thumping patriotism. Its theme is very similar to that of “Fortunate Son”. Don’t believe me? Check out the lyrics after the jump:

November 20, 2014 7:38 AM

November 20, 2014 7:31 AM

Women only “pretend” they do not want to have sex and their brains are affected by semen, according to the leader of Nigel Farage’s latest political ally in Europe.

Polish party the Congress of the New Right (KNP) gave Ukip the last member it needed to maintain the influence and funding of its 48-strong Europe of Freedom and Direct (EFDD) alliance with the arrival of Robert Iwaszkiewicz.

He came under fire in Poland for comments on domestic violence bringing women “down to earth” but later claimed the remarks were ironic.

But his party’s leader and founder, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, is far more up-front about his views, as an interview with The Observer demonstrated.

The 72-year-old told the paper that he wanted to abolish the European Union and replace democracy with an absolute monarchy, or at least deny women the right to vote.

Claiming women’s intelligence could be heightened by contact with male sperm, he told the Observer: “Semen probably is not wasted, because nature usually makes use of the material it has, and there is a hypothesis that the attitudes of men are passed to women by way of the semen which penetrates the tissue…there is a very strong argument for this hypothesis, that now when [oral] contraceptives are much more in use, the women become much more independent.”

Mr Korwin-Mikke, who approved Mr Iwaszkiewicz’s appointment to the EFDD, also called for the standard of proof in rape cases to be changed so two witnesses were needed for a conviction unless there was “some visible sign of rape”.

“Women usually pretend that they don’t want [sex],” he added. “The percentage of women who pretend that they don’t want to have sex, but they do want in fact, is about 30 or 40 per cent.”

The politician, who is also an MEP, was fined earlier this year for using racist language at a debate and caused outrage with comments on the Holocaust.

He said in 2007: “Women still should not have the right to vote. Just choose any political meeting at random and see how many women are present.”

He also reportedly claimed that Hitler would be acquitted from court today as he was not aware of the Holocaust.

“Show me even one sentence of Hitler, that will attest to the fact that he knew about the extermination of the Jews. You will not find [it],” Mr Korwin-Mikke said.

He is not a member of the EFDD, which is made up of 24 Ukip MEPs and a coalition of Czech, French, Italian, Lithuanian and Swedish politicians.

The arrival of Mr Iwaszkiewicz, who is a member of Mr Korwin-Mikke’s party, pushed it above the threshold of 25 MEPs from seven member states needed to maintain the funding and standing at risk after the defection of a Latvian Farmers’ Union representative.

In the past, he has reportedly publicly defended his leader’s controversial views.

Mr Farage said: “I have found nothing in this guy’s background to suggest that he is a political extremist at all. He has joined our group to save us.”

A spokesperson for the EFDD said Mr Iwaszkiewicz was invited to join as an individual MEP and there was no agreement with his party.

November 19, 2014 8:54 AM

MIAMI (AP) — The Marlins persuaded Giancarlo Stanton to say yes. He couldn’t afford to say no. Stanton agreed to terms Monday on a $325 million, 13-year contract, team owner Jeffrey Loria said. It’s the most lucrative deal for an American athlete and averages $25 million per season…. “It’s a landmark moment for the franchise and Giancarlo,” Loria said. The deal includes a no-trade clause, and Stanton can opt out after six years[.]

The idea that a professional athlete might make $25 million per season isn’t exactly breaking news. It’s more common than you might realize. Still, every time I hear a story like this with similar fairy tale numbers, I find myself wondering how our priorities became so thoroughly f——d up. Things must have really gone off the rails somewhere for society to believe that an athlete is worth that kind of money…especially when you consider what they contribute to society. Do they cure cancer? Solve world hunger? Prepare children to face their futures? Protect us from harm? Not exactly….

Frankly, my personal prejudice is that I wouldn’t pay God $25 million per season…but then I don’t believe in God, so what do I know, right?

I don’t begrduge Giancarlo Stanton his success. He’s no doubt worked hard to get where he is, and all he did was agree to the contract terms he was offered. This is not about one individual breaking the metaphorical bank, because Stanton isn’t the first athlete to have that kind of money thrown at him. It’s about a collective value system that seems broken almost beyond repair.

I may be a bleeding-heart Liberal, but I can’t help but believe there are far better uses for that kind of money. How many hungry mouths could be fed? How many homeless people could be sheltered? The list is lengthy and the needs immense; I don’t think it at all unreasonable to question how a baseball player can be worth $25 million per year for 13 years…while teachers, college professors, soldiers, police officers, and social workers too often struggle to get by.

Let’s assume that the total cost of a teacher’s compensation package is $75,000 per year. That may (or may not) be a bit generous, but it works for the sake of this argument. Using that assumption, Stanton’s salary could pay for 333 teachers for 13 years. Think about that for a moment: people who teach and mold our children…or an athlete who tries to hit a leather spheroid with a wooden bat and fails more than 65% of the time? Yes, it’s a simplistic argument; I get that…but it’s not an inaccurate one. It speaks to the truth that as a society, our values are completely out of whack. If you believe that an athlete is worth $25 million per season, but a soldier isn’t…you’re the problem.

Giancarlo Stanton is a fabulously talented athlete; of that there’s no question. That said, his throwing, hitting, and catching skills do little to make the world a better place…except perhaps for Marlins fans on game nights. People will still go hungry, they’ll still be homeless, they’ll still get sick, and they’ll still need to be protected from threats foreign and domestic. $325 million won’t solve all those problems…but it would certain meet a lot of needs.

Then again, I think I says a lot (and nothing good) about us as a society that we value fleeting athletic skills over those who protect us and make our world a better place. Stupid is as stupid does.

November 19, 2014 8:28 AM

November 19, 2014 8:14 AM


(apologies to Keith Olbermann)

Christine Weick

The woman who disrupted the first ever Muslim prayer service conducted at the National Cathedral claims she was sent to protest the ceremony by God after reading about it on the Drudge Report. In an interview with World Net Daily, Christine Weick, 50, said she read about the event on Drudge and became enraged, saying, “My blood began to boil as I read the comments of how this is to be such a wonderful event and how religious tolerance can, for the first time, be shown in our nation’s capital.”…. Friday’s prayer service was just beginning when Weick stood up and began walking towards the front of the cathedral shouting…. “Jesus Christ died on that cross. He is the reason we are to worship only Him. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior,” she said. “We have built…allowed you your mosques in this country. Why don’t you worship in your mosques and leave our churches alone? We are a country founded on Christian principles.”

It was easy to pass Ms. Weick off as a hyper-religious loon when I learned that she found out about the Muslim Prayer Service on that paragon of objective journalism, the . Then she went off on how religious tolerance is evidently a bad thing…and I knew she was a world-class wingnut. That anyone would think it appropriate and reasonable to disrupt a religious service is abhorrent enough. That Ms. Weick did it because her “blood began to boil” over the news that the National Cathedral would DARE hold a Muslim prayer service is indicative of someone who’s gone off her meds.

Ms. Weick is a “Christian” by an accident of birth. She was born American…and since 80% of Americans self-identify as Christian, she’s a Christian…if in name only. (It certainly doesn’t sound as if she got the memo about love, tolerance, and acceptance.) If she’d been born in Pakistan, she’d probably be Muslim. If she’d been born in Haiti, who knows? Perhaps she’d be practicing Santeria. My point is that something she sees as the One, True, and Only Faith is that to her because of where she was born.

After being ejected, Weick said she got into her SUV and began the 400-mile trip back to Tennessee where she says she lives in her car after being disowned by her family because she took a stand against same-sex marriage and other “moral issues.” According to Weick, her husband divorced her last year “over a spiritual conflict.”

Uh, no…I’d wager Ms. Weick’s husband divorced her because of her intolerant hyper-religiosity and her tenuous grip on reality. Her being a nuts might have factored into that as well. She may call herself a Christian, but it’s clear she knows little and understands even less of what her faith is about. If Ms. Weick is a Christian, I’m Jennifer Lawrence.

And when your primary news source is the Drudge Report…well, you’re pretty much beyond hope.