Least Productive Congress in History Leaves Washington for Five-Week Vacation

After breaking all records for doing nothing, the least productive Congress in U.S. history leaves town today for a five-week vacation:

The grand-daddy of all “Do Nothing” Congresses will be departing soon for an undeserved five week summer vacation – leaving behind a pile of unfinished business and a serious humanitarian crisis festering along the U.S.-Mexico border.

While lawmakers likely will be able to claim a modicum of success on a few issues, the House prepared to close up shop Thursday afternoon after Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was forced to pull from the floor two GOP measures to help house, process and deport tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America who crossed the border illegally in recent months.

CNN Anchor Tweets Ultimate FOX Slam

The snark in the Washington Times’ recent Valerie Richardson’s piece, “Al Gore’s Climate-Changers at EPA Hearings Foiled by Cool Temperatures” was too much for CNN’s Bill Weir, who read it after it was picked up by FOX Nation.

Weir tweeted his contempt for climate change deniers at FOX, and presumably, the Washington Times, who use the term “global warming” literally, to mean that temperatures will always increase, everywhere, every day. Instead, climate change scientists see an increase over time, with extremes like cold snaps in summer and winter blizzards from increased moisture in the atmosphere as part of the problem. Anyone who has watched the video narrated by former Vice Pres. Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, understands.

N.C. Dem Attorney General Roy Cooper: State Will No Longer Defend Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Roy Cooper, the attorney general of North Carolina Attorney — and one of the few Democratic statewide officials to survive the 2010 tea party electoral sweep that put Republicans in control of North Carolina for the first time since the 1870s — announced this week that his department will no longer defend the state’s ban on marriage equality. The decision comes after judges in the federal appeals court whose jurisdiction includes North Carolina struck down a similar ban in Virginia:

Clueless: Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Fla., Mistakes Committee Witnesses from U.S. Govt for Foreign Nationals

In case you missed it, check out this episode from a Republican-led House committee last week in which Rep. Curt Clawson from Bonita Springs, Fla., embarrasses himself, his family, his state, his party and the nation. It’s not just that he was completely and utterly wrong in his assumptions, his wrongness is compounded by the smug sneer he wears throughout his exchange with the witnesses.

As the Miami Herald put it: “Flori-duh Rep. Curt Clawson thinks U.S. officials of Indian descent represent Indian govt“:

Photo Op: Mom-Jeans Wearing Rick Perry in Helicopter Gunship Hunting Refugee Children

This photo is making the rounds but I’ve had trouble tracking down the source. It appears to show Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry in a helicopter gunship leaning on a powerful-looking weapon aimed at the ground. He is scanning the field below presumably, given recent headlines, seeking to target and shoot refugee children who are attempting to cross the U.S. border from Mexico. A commenter somewhere on Facebook pointed out that the gun Perry is leaning on is not loaded, but I can’t verify that either.

But check out how he’s dressed and posed for the photo op. He is shown in profile — jaw clenched, with his baseball cap on backwards and his “I’m smart” glasses removed — wearing a flight jacket with mom jeans. His right hand is gripping the weapons but his left hand is carefully draped over the gun to display his Aggie ring (shown in photo to the right).

Update: Mystery solved. See comments.

Let’s Do Math! Republicans, Please Grab a Pencil

Former Pres. George W. Bush on one of his many breaks, which often involved falling off a mountain bike, falling off a Segway, strumming a guitar while New Orleans drowned, and choking on pretzels.

The Obama family is on vacation. That means it’s time for Republicans and tea partiers to take a break from obstructing legislation, nomination approvals, and any other work in Congress (including suing the president for taking appropriate executive action to counter their inaction) to express ginned-up outrage that the people’s business won’t be done if the president takes a few days off.

It’s also time for the rest of us to do some math, based on figures researched by Politifact’s Truthometer:

  • Number of vacation days, in whole or part, enjoyed by Pres. Obama at this point in his term, which on July 20, 2014 happened to be exactly six years and seven months: 92
  • Number of vacation days, in whole or part, enjoyed by Pres. George W. Bush at the same point in his term: 367

Let’s put these numbers in context.

Captured on Video: Why Rich Tea Partiers Make Such Bad Elected Officials

FOX 13 News

If this video — from a FOX affiliate! — doesn’t explain why Florida Democrats and independents are willing to embrace the previous flip-floppin’ governor (Charlie Crist) to get rid of the current one, nothing will.

Warning: Rick Scott’s countenance will haunt your sleep.

Judge Overturns Florida’s Ban on Gay Marriage in Monroe County

The Miami Herald is reporting this story:

Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia overturned Florida’s 2008 constitutional gay-marriage ban on Thursday, and ordered that two Key West bartenders and other gay couples seeking to wed be allowed to marry.

The judge ordered the Monroe County Clerk’s Office to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples Tuesday morning.

“The court is aware that the majority of voters oppose same-sex marriage, but it is our country’s proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular and rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority,” Garcia wrote in his opinion, released about 1 p.m. Thursday.

The judge gave the clerk’s office several days to prepare “in consideration of… anticipated rise in activity.”

It was unclear early Thursday afternoon whether the state will appeal the ruling. The decision applies only to Monroe County, because it was filed in front of a state judge who has jurisdiction only in the county where he sits. A judge in Miami-Dade County has yet to rule in a similar case.

We’re Number One! But Did the Voters Cheat?

The Florida sigil created by anthonybooyay

A recent pronouncement that Florida is the scariest of all 50 states leaves us conflicted. I mean, hey, we’re number one at something! But looking closely at the criteria used, you can’t help but find the competition rigged.

Realtors awarded this distinction, based on 15 things that incite fear, and placed Florida first in three categories: hurricanes, tornados, and shark attacks.

Here at the real estate search site Estately we know there are hundreds of worries when choosing where to buy a home, so to help house hunters make a more informed decision we’ve mapped out where Americans’ darkest fears are most readily found.

But do realtors know their natural disasters? If they did, they’d give Missouri the first place ranking for tornados. Joplin, anyone? Instead, Missouri was given first place in meth labs, an enterprise usually associated with Alaska, or since Breaking Bad, New Mexico.

Earthquakes didn’t make the list. If they had, Oklahoma, which thanks to fracking recently surpassed California in temblors, would excel. Mud slides, another California specialty, were also not even counted. The nearest California got to a category header was number two — for spiders. And number six for dentists.

GOP Voted to Delay Employer Mandate One Year Ago
Now they're preparing to impeach the president for delaying the employer mandate

The infographic above shows how House Republicans voted last July on H.R. 2667, a bill to require Pres. Obama to delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate.

Now, just one year later, these same House Republicans are suing Pres. Obama in order to lay the groundwork to impeach him on grounds that he delayed individual mandate.

This is, of course, hypocrisy piled on top of hypocrisy. The individual mandate, which forms the basis of the Affordable Care Act — and which Republicans now despise — was a Republican invention. It was developed at the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank that has sponsored Rush Limbaugh’s show, and first implemented by the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, in 2006 when he was governor of Massachusetts.

Here is a repost of Romney himself describing how he worked with Heritage to come up with the plan that is the basis for Obamacare:

Enumerati

  • $63 million

    Amount of dark-money spent so far in the 2014 cycle — just shy of the $69 million in dark money spent during the ENTIRE 2008 presidential election, according to Mother Jones. This was a new record and seven times the amount of dark money spent by the same point on House and Senate elections in 2010.

  • 45% to 39%

    Republicans’ edge in the generic congressional ballot among likely voters, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll.

  • $36 million

    Amount the Senate Majority PAC, fueled by billionaires and labor unions, has has spent so far in the 2014 midterm contests, reports the Washington Post. “Together with an allied tax-exempt group, Patriot Majority, the … early, aggressive presence in pivotal Senate races spotlights how, four years after being dramatically outgunned in the outside money game, Democrats are now some of its most adept players.”

Poetic Justice

They’re off to the polls — all kilted and frisky,
Though many think Scottish independence is risky.
David Cameron’s sweating it,
The bookies are betting it,
But I worry what it means for the price of scotch whiskey.

“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

Verbatim

  • I have to say that after the events I’ve been facing over the past few days, assassination would be a welcome release.

    — British Prime Minister David Cameron, quoted by National Review, commenting on today’s Scottish independence vote, which could push him out of office.

  • The president’s job approval numbers are lousy, no Democrat in a competitive Senate race polls regularly above 50%, GOP enthusiasm is high, and independents are trending Republican. The midterm environment is terrible for Democrats — yet each passing day provides evidence as to why a GOP Senate majority is still in doubt.

    Karl Rove, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

  • An unusually large number of campaigns this year have turned to chicken-suited men — and they’re mostly men — to distract opponents, steal press attention and, occasionally, make a point. … Behind the fowl play: Chickens make good copy, drawing attention to candidates who often are underfunded and looking for free media coverage.

    The Wall Street Journal.

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