What Australia Can Teach America About Gun Safety, After a Few Years of Detox

Watch the funniest — and most sensible — arguments for gun control yet.

It will be interesting to see what kind of refutations appear in the comments.

Celebrating Labor Day? Guess You’re a Socialist, Pro-Union, Anti Job Creator Commie

strikeIf today means more to you than packing away your white shorts and shoes, you’re probably a pro-union type who supports raising the minimum wage. But if you’re like most Americans, it’s just another amorphous, somehow patriotic Monday holiday on which to cook out, drink beer, and if you’re like my neighbors last night, inexplicitly shoot off fireworks.

I’m not sure how Labor Day got hijacked into being another red, white, and blue affair. Yet the Labor Day sale signs in store windows feature stars and stripes along with promises of savings.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s website tells it straight. The holiday is in recognition of the power of worker collectives, and what they accomplish when they band together and refuse to be abused by, wait for it…job creators.

GOP House Chairman Apparently Auditions for Joan Rivers’ Job Hosting ‘Fashion Police’ – Criticizes Pres. Obama’s Tan Suit
Homeland Security Chair Pete King then appears tie-less on CNN to defend himself against criticism he trivialized the debate by talking about fashion

Clockwise from top left: GOP House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King criticizing Pres. Obama’s tan suit on CNN; Pres. Reagan, in tan suit, with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; Reagan in tan suit with Australian PM Jack Hawke; Reagan addresses the media on Air Force One in sweat pants and a tie

With Joan Rivers lying in an induced coma in a Manhattan hospital, her fellow New York Republican, House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King, appeared to be angling for her job as host on E!’s “Fashion Police.” During an interview on Newsmax, a birther news website, King offered biting commentary about Pres. Obama’s decision to wear a tan suit at a hastily called news conference last week.

Described by one source as “seething,” King complained that, “For him to walk out — I’m not trying to be trivial here — in a light suit, light tan suit, saying that first he wants to talk about what most Americans care about the revision of second quarter numbers on the economy.”

What do Americans really care about? Not the economy, stupid! Terror, of course.

Washington Post: ISIS Used Bush-Approved Torture Technique on Journalist James Foley And Other American Hostages

In late 2002 and early 2003, a group of top Bush administration officials approved a set of torture techniques for use on prisoners captured during the so-called War on Terror. Known as the Principals Committee, the officials who signed off on the torture manual included Vice Pres. Cheney, former National Security Adviser (and later Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft. Ultimately, however, the decision to turn America into a torture state was made by Pres. Bush.

Pres. Reagan signed an international anti-torture treaty that enjoined member nations to invade a country where torture was known to be occurring, arrest its leaders and bring them justice before a Nuremberg-style tribunal.

Among the torture techniques approved by Bush’s Principals Committee was waterboarding, a practice that the United States had deemed a war crime for which the penalty was death by hanging during World War II.

The Bush administration’s torture manual was also prima facie violation of the international anti-torture treaty passed by Congress and signed by Ronald Reagan in 1984 — a treaty that required member nations to invade a country where torture was known to be occurring, arrest its leaders and bring them justice before an Nuremberg-style tribunal.

Bush’s decision to torture prisoners not only reduced the United States to the same base level as its worst enemies, it guaranteed that terrorists would deploy the same techniques against American hostages some day. According to the Washington Post, that day has arrived.

Deficit Continues to Drop But Low Corporate Tax Rates Threaten Outlook

Los Angeles Times:

The federal deficit continues to decline thanks to budget cuts and slower growth in Medicare costs, but lower than expected corporate tax revenues dimmed some of the improved outlook, according to a report Wednesday from the Congressional Budget Office…

Declining corporate tax revenues are largely to blame for a $26 billion dip in overall revenue projections from the non-partisan budget office’s April forecast, and the budget director called the change not particularly large, but “notable.”

What’s a Benjamin Worth In Your State?

The Tax Foundation has created a map of the United States that shows the relative value of $100 in each state. As might be expected, a C-note gets less mileage in New York and California, and goes farther in Missouri and North Dakota.

President Obama’s Statement on the Murder of James Foley

President Obama delivered the following remarks in Martha’s Vineyard on the beheading of American journalist James Foley by the militant group Islamic State. Transcript courtesy of Federal News Service.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody.

Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group ISIL. Jim was a journalist, a son, a brother and a friend. He reported from difficult and dangerous places, bearing witness to the lives of people a world away.

He was taken hostage nearly two years ago in Syria, and he was courageously reporting at the time on the conflict there. Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocked the conscience of the entire world. He was 40 years old, one of five siblings, the son of a mom and dad who worked tirelessly for his release. Earlier today, I spoke to the Foleys and told them that we are all heartbroken at their loss and join them in honoring Jim and all that he did.

A Great Video We Wish Had Never Been Made

This video is moving and beautiful, and we wish it had never been made because we wish what preceded it had never happened.

Lauren Bacall, Actress and Liberal Icon, 1924-2014

March on Washington: Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart lead a contingent of actors, writers and directors from Hollywood to a hearing of the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947

Lauren Bacall, who died yesterday just a month shy of her 90th birthday, will rightly be remembered for her A-list acting career and her marriage to movie legend Humphrey Bogart. But Bacall also had a record as a stalwart liberal. As she put it, “I’m a total Democrat. I’m anti-Republican.”

“Being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you’re a liberal. You do not have a small mind.”
– Lauren Bacall

Her performance with Bogart in “To Have and Have Not” catapulted her to stardom overnight in 1944. A few months after the film came out, she made her political debut at an event for World War II service members in Washington, D.C., when she was boosted atop an upright piano and photographed lounging there as then-Vice Pres. Harry Truman played for the crowd.

After the war, Bacall, Bogart, director John Huston and others formed the Committee for the First Amendment in opposition to the Republican Party’s anti-communist witch hunts, which were championed by Hollywood figures like Ronald Reagan, Walt Disney and Hollywood Reporter publisher Billy Wilkerson. In 1947, Bacall and Bogart led a contingent of the organization’s members to Washington in protest of the right-wing pogrom and in support of Hollywood witnesses called by the committee who had refused to testify.

That was just the beginning of Lauren Bacall’s decades-long political activity and support for the Democratic Party. Michael Tomasky pays tribute to Bacall as “deeply liberal and deeply anti-communist” in a eulogy at the Daily Beast:

Dr. Democrat On the Florida Governor’s Race

doctordemocratDear Dr. Democrat:

Question for you — who should I vote for in the upcoming Florida Democratic primary? I’m inclined to vote for state Sen. Nan Rich, but I’m not sure I should or if that would just be a wasted protest vote, as Charlie Crist looks to beat her in the primary. I think I should maybe vote for Crist except that Charlie has become this weird, über-repellent candidate who is, as media increasingly point out, almost as reprehensible as our incumbent governor, lower-than-a-snake’s-belly Rick Scott.

So, should I lodge a protest vote for Rich, assuming Crist will win the primary (though with a projected ultra-low turnout, it might could go either way) and then hold my nose and vote for Crist in the general? But what if Rich wins the primary (unlikely as it seems) and then gets steamrolled by Scott’s money-driven bulldozer?

The possibility of a second term for old Tales from the Crypt is truly frightening.

What’s a dedicated Florida Democrat to do?

Yours truly,

Cogitating in Coconut Grove


  • 70%

    The probability of Democrats retaining control of the upper chamber, according to Sam Wang’s updated Senate forecast. One reason his forecast is more favorable to Democrats than others is that he’s relying more on actual polls than so-called “fundamentals.”

  • $100 million

    Amount the Republican National Committee is on track to spend in the midterm campaign, “with virtually every dime plowed into the party’s new digital voter-turnout program,” the Washington Examiner reports.

  • 70%

    Of blacks say police departments around the country do a poor job in holding officers accountable for misconduct; an identical percentage says they do a poor job of treating racial and ethnic groups equally. And 57% of African Americans think police departments do a poor job of using the right amount of force, according to Pew Research.

Poetic Justice

I’d fire the lot of ‘em if I were their boss,
But maybe the Russian border is more confusing than most.
Why else would Putin explain
The incursion in Ukraine,
By saying, “A thousand Russian troops and tanks kind of … got lost.”

“Poetic Justice, Volume I: The 2012 Presidential Campaign” is Buck Banks' wickedly funny collection of satirical political limericks that were originally published on Pensito Review. While having a decidedly progressive bent, Volume 1 is an equal-opportunity dispenser of poetic justice to both Democrats and Republicans.

»  Download the Ebook


  • As with all gaffes, the worst ones are the ones that confirm people’s pre-existing suspicions or fit into an easy narrative. That’s why ’47 percent’ stung Mitt Romney so much, and its why ‘don’t have a strategy’ hurts Obama today.

    — Aaron Blake, in the Washington Post.

  • I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet.

    — President Obama, quoted by CNN, on how the United States will deal with the ISIS threat in Iraq and Syria.

  • I’ve been indicted by that same body now for I think two counts, one of bribery, which I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t really understand the details here.

    — Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), quoted by the Houston Chronicle, talking about the indictments against him of which bribery was not one.



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