Why You Felt Good About Things Before You Listened to the Pundits
Indicators

Figures from the Conference Board, which measures consumer confidence

There’s a new standard for judging the success of Pres. Obama’s initiatives: Every single last soul in America must be doing great before we can claim progress.

Don’t believe it? Can you count the number of times you’ve heard news reported this way?

Pundit: “Well yes, Freemont, unemployment continues to fall, month in and month out, but if you’re a person who is still looking for a job and can’t find one, then you’re not feeling any improvement.”

Duh.

Let me correct that. Big, super-irrelevant duh.

Facts are facts, and numbers are numbers. Whether “you’re the person” for whom things aren’t getting better doesn’t change the fact that THINGS ARE GETTING BETTER.

This Republican and tea party tactic of dismissing Pres. Obama’s proven successes by noting the exceptions has gone mainstream.

Santorum Stands Mute As S.C. Birther Claims Obama Tried to Nuke Charleston
Left: A photo of Virginia Ellisor and South Carolina politician Lee Bright from Ellisor's Facebook page; left: a screenshot of Santorum listening to Ellisor's rant

Left: A photo of Virginia Ellisor and South Carolina politician Lee Bright from Ellisor’s Facebook page; right: a screenshot of Santorum listening to Ellisor’s rant

On a swing into South Carolina last week in his never-ending but never-gonna-happen campaign to win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum proved again that he is a political hack who lacks the gravitas — and class — required to be president.

During a Q&A session at a birther, anti-Muslim summit, Santorum said nothing during a two-and-a-half minute rant by Virginia Ellisor, a self-described “retired teacher, lifelong political activist and lifelong resident of South Carolina,” who laced her comments with a series of ridiculous allegations against the president — that Pres. Obama is a “communist dictator,” that he is “not a citizen,” and that he is “trying to destroy the United States.”

Getting to specifics about the latter accusation, Ellisor cited a recent alleged attempt by the president to destroy an American city.

Flashback: Rove Erases 22 Million White House Emails on Private Server at Height of U.S. Attorney Scandal – Media Yawns
Rove

Rove

Now that they’ve taken control of Congress, Republicans are wielding power much the same way they did in the Clinton era and for the six years afterward when they controlled the White House and Congress under George W. Bush: ineptly — ex. 1, 2, 3, etc.

Then as now, it’s clear that the only thing Republicans do very well is inflame the media with bogus scandals — which is a handy way to distract attention from their ineptitude. They are doing this with their usual aplomb, and considerable success, in the matter of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to send emails.

Clinton has said she deleted about 50,000 emails that dealt with personal matters, citing her daughter’s wedding and her mother’s funeral as examples. All the correspondence pertaining to official business was turned over to archived by State. The deletion of the emails, though perfectly legal, has excited House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner, who has announced plans to deploy House committees to investigate what might aptly be called Servergate.

Al Jazeera Explains How Clueless 47 Senators Were About Iran’s Nuclear Negotiations

Leave it to Al Jazeera America to give a little lesson in international relations to the 47 asshats who signed the now infamous letter to Iran threatening to obviate any agreement on that country’s nuclear designs. It’s worth a read, since I haven’t seen a similar explainer in the capitol press corp’s output.

Here’s a sample:

Beyond the amusing inaccuracies about U.S. parliamentary order, it seems there are some features of the nuclear negotiations that the signatory senators don’t fully understand — not only on the terms of the deal, but also on who would be party to an agreement.

There are no negotiations on Iran’s “nuclear-weapons program” because the world’s intelligence agencies (including those of the U.S. and Israel) do not believe Iran is currently building nuclear weapons, nor has it made a strategic decision to use its civilian nuclear infrastructure to produce a bomb. An active Iranian nuclear-weapons program would render moot the current negotiations, because Iran would be in fundamental violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The Presidential Endorsement Game Has Begun

scott_baio_3
Scott Walker is not even a candidate for president yet — officially — but he’s already received his first celebrity endorsement. Scott Baio, the actor who portrayed the character Chachi on “Happy Days” and the spinoff “Joanie Loves Chachi” has come out with a full-throated endorsement of the Wisconsin governor.

According to Politico, Baio’s endorsement of Walker was expressed in a tweet:

“Gov. Walker sounds a lot like President Reagan. #WalkerFor Pres,” the tweet read, with a picture of the actor posing alongside Walker.

Walker tweeted back Wednesday, writing: “Thanks! We both love Reagan, I’m flattered,” along with the hashtag #ChachiandWalkerLoveReagan.

50 Years After ‘Bloody Sunday’

sfPresident Obama spoke at a ceremony in Selma, Ala.,marking the 50th anniversary of the events of “Bloody Sunday” when more than 600 nonviolent voting-rights protesters were attacked by Alabama state troopers as they marched for voting rights. His remarks are below.

It is a rare honor in this life to follow one of your heroes. And John Lewis is one of my heroes.

Now, I have to imagine that when a younger John Lewis woke up that morning fifty years ago and made his way to Brown Chapel, heroics were not on his mind. A day like this was not on his mind. Young folks with bedrolls and backpacks were milling about.

Veterans of the movement trained newcomers in the tactics of non-violence; the right way to protect yourself when attacked. A doctor described what tear gas does to the body, while marchers scribbled down instructions for contacting their loved ones. The air was thick with doubt, anticipation, and fear. They comforted themselves with the final verse of the final hymn they sung:

No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you;

Lean, weary one, upon His breast, God will take care of you.

Then, his knapsack stocked with an apple, a toothbrush, a book on government – all you need for a night behind bars – John Lewis led them out of the church on a mission to change America.

Ignore the Right-Wing Media Hype – There’s No Chance Condoleeza Rice Will Be California’s Next Senator

Rice

Rice

Right wing media outlets were giddy last week after the Field Poll found that, in aggregate, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, now a Stanford professor and fellow at the Hoover Institution, had more support than anyone else who might consider running for the California U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Barbara Boxer, who is retiring. Headlines like this in Reuters and other legit sources caused the stir: “Condoleezza Rice Leads Potential 2016 U.S. Senate Hopefuls in California.”

Reuters is, of course, technically correct. Field asked California voters to weigh in on 18 possible candidates to replace Boxer. From the 18 names on the list, 49 percent of respondents chose Rice and 46 percent chose Democrat Kamala Harris, the state Attorney General, who is the only announced candidate so far.

Wow! Rice is winning by 3 points — or at least that’s the way right-wing blogs like Breitbart.com, Tucker Carlson’s Daily Talker and Red Alert Politics spun the poll results. In reality, the suggestion that Condoleeza Rice could win the 2016 Senate race in California is nonsense.

Giuliani Proves That Patriotism Truly Is the Last Refuge of Draft-Dodging, Adulterous Scoundrels

photo-giuliani-flag

Samuel Johnson said it 240 years ago: “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” Rudolph Giuliani proved it last week at a fundraiser in New York for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker when he exhumed commie-baiter Sen. Joe McCarthy by asserting that while he and Republican fatcats like himself were America-loving patriots, Pres. Obama and his family were not.

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say,” Giuliani said, “but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

In the media frenzy that ensued, Giuliani — who spent $50 million campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 only to win just one (1) delegate to the Republican convention — embarked on a victory lap of right-wing media outlets during which he doubled down on his petty spitefulness.

That seemed to come to a halt yesterday when he issued a banal non-apology, which included this delicious tautology: “My bluntness overshadowed my message.” Bluntness was his message. After all, when you’re accusing the president of being anti-American, why be polite?

Obama’s Job Approval Surges in California As Optimism Rises among Democrats
Marine One lands at the Sand Hill Field landing zone in San Francisco, California, after President Barack Obama returned from the Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection Summit in Palo Alto, Feb. 13, 2015. The Golden Gate Bridge is in the background. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Marine One lands at the Sand Hill Field landing zone in San Francisco, California, after President Barack Obama returned from the Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection Summit in Palo Alto, Feb. 13, 2015. The Golden Gate Bridge is in the background. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

A Field Poll of California voters out this week [PDF] found Pres. Obama’s job approval rating has rebounded in the state to 57 percent — up 12 percentage points from five months ago when his approval rating was 45 percent.

By party affiliation, the president’s job approval rating was 84 percent among Democrats, 54 percent among independents and 18 percent among Republicans. Overall, just 36 percent said they disapproved of the president’s job performance.

Analysis by Field pollsters suggests that approval of the president’s handling of the economy and optimism about the overall direction of the country among California Democrats is behind the surge in Obama’s polling:

Like ISIS, US Christian Extremists Advocate Killing Gays – But ISIS Is Actually Doing It
ISIS executes a gay man by pushing him off  of a rooftop

ISIS executes a gay man by pushing him off of a rooftop

While ISIS has been barraging the world media with horrific images — burning a Jordanian pilot alive and beheading journalists, aid workers and, most recently, 21 Egyptian Christians — it has also been executing gay men by hurling them to their deaths off of rooftops and other high places. Two men were also reportedly crucified for being gay.

ISIS appears to be handling these two kinds of public murders differently. It seeks international publicity for hostage executions because they seek to stoke outrage, fear and horror in order to lure the civilized world into an Armaggedon-like conflagration in the Middle East. The executions of gay men are handled with less fanfare because they have a different purpose — based on the their interpretation of the Koran, ISIS is murdering these men in order to carry out God’s judgment for the sin of homosexuality.

Most Americans view this sort of barbarism toward gays with detachment — it’s a faraway Muslim death cult acting out its extremist views. In fact, on the issue of homosexuality, ISIS is aligned with Christian extremists right here in the United States, many of whom also interpret God’s law as calling for the execution of gays.

There is a key difference, of course. While Christianists advocate killing gays, ISIS is actually doing it.

Enumerati

  • 80

    Number of people who have signed up for Florida Health Choices, the Obamacare alternative health insurance plan devised by Sen. Marco Rubio (R) back in 2008 but only rolled out last year. “Obamacare, which Rubio wants to repeal, covers 1.6 million in Florida alone,” according to Politico, which adds that Rubio doesn’t mention his plan as part of his presidential platform.

  • 24%

    Scott Walker’s lead among the GOP presidential field, followed by Ted Cruz at 14%, Rand Paul at 12%, Jeb Bush at 10%, Chris Christie at 8%, Marco Rubio at 8%, Ben Carson at 7% and Mike Huckabee at 7%, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey in New Hampshire.

  • 87

    Number of Democratic lawmakers who have endorsed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run for president, The Hill reports. “Sixty House lawmakers, just under one-third of the 188 Democrats in the chamber, and 27 senators, nearly 60 percent of the upper chamber’s 46 Democrats, are in the former secretary of state’s camp. The early tally nearly equals the 93 endorsements she picked up in her 2008 presidential bid.”

  • 96%

    Of all TV ad occurrences captured by Kantar Media CMAG in the 2016 presidential race so far have been negative, according to Elizabeth Wilner of the Cook Political Report. “It’s based on a universe of 321 presidential occurrences on local broadcast and national cable as of April 9… Ultimately, 321 is 0.03% of the 1.15 million occurrences we tracked from start to finish in the 2008 race and 0.02% of the 1.43 million we tracked for 2012. But in the annals of preemie presidential advertising, the 4% stands in striking contrast in one respect. By this point in the 2008 and 2012 cycles, all the way-too-early ads that had aired… sought to build candidates up, not tear them down.”

  • $900

    Amount that Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi allegedly charged to his county-issued credit card to cover personal expenses that included nearly $900 at a hostess bar, the AP reports. Hawaii News Now notes subsequent investigations “discovered further purchases with the card that many called inappropriate, including at least one visit to similar hostess establishment.”

Poetic Justice

Supporters follow Hillary’s van devotedly,
While the media must cover her remotely.
But is it sporting
Or even news reporting
To broadcast that she ate lunch at Chipotle?

Verbatim

  • It is a challenging time in our country for those who believe in religious liberty. Our religious freedoms are under constant attack from a variety of groups who seek to undermine our constitutional rights and threaten our founding principles.

    — Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R), in a letter to public school superintendents across the state vowing to defend religious freedom amid “veiled legal threats” over the distribution of Bibles on campuses, Tulsa World reports.

  • 150 years ago today, the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. America is forever indebted. pic.twitter.com/vhIE1k20e7

    — Senate Republicans (@Senate_GOPs) April 15, 2015

  • Watching gays try to be conservative Republicans is like watching people beat themselves up.

    — Steve Silberman, Wired writer and editor, tweeting a link to an AP story about the Western Conservative Summit barring Log Cabin Republicans from taking a booth at their expo this summer, where Republican presidential candidates are expected to speak. “We’d love to have them attend the summit and be in the discussion,” the group’s president said. “But we have to draw the line at a formal relationship between two organizations with diametrically opposed policy beliefs.”

  • You can win a primary in a deeply disaffected country by scraping the bark off of anyone who gets in your way, but that’s not the way to get to the main event and get a chance of winning there.

    — Jeb Bush, quoted by the Washington Post.

  • I don’t really care. I think they’re all losers.

    — Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), quoted by CNBC, when asked to assess prospects for the 2016 Republican presidential field.

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Celebrate Holy Week by flogging your bankers — just as Jesus did

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