Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Two Cold Nights In Buffalo


Courtney Marie Andrews


They should know what to say


From the pen of Jim Morin



The perfect plan


If one is a purified piece of shit like EPA head Scott Pruitt. He is being called to account for a number of funbles, bumbles, bad ideas and outright criminality in his administration of the EPA. And like most cowardly pieces of shit, yes I'm looking at you Donny, he plans to blame his staff.
As Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency, prepares to testify before Congress on Thursday amid a series of spending and ethics investigations, an internal E.P.A. document indicates that he may blame his staff for many of the decisions that have put a cloud over his tenure at the agency.

The document, known as the “hot topics” list, appears to lay out talking points for Mr. Pruitt’s two sessions before the House of Representatives. It suggests that Mr. Pruitt is prepared to say that he now flies coach when traveling; that others were responsible for giving two close aides who used to work for him in Oklahoma substantial pay raises; and that E.P.A. officials who were reassigned or demoted after challenging his spending all had performance issues.

The document, which The New York Times has reviewed and the veracity of which the E.P.A. did not dispute, seemed to be a work in progress. Mr. Pruitt’s responses may change on Thursday when he appears before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee in the morning, and a House Appropriations Committee panel in the afternoon.

His testimony coincides with rising calls from both Democrats and Republicans for Mr. Pruitt to step aside. He has been criticized for spending more than $3 million on security in his first year in office, a figure that includes salary and overtime for his security detail of more than 20 people, some of whom have been dispatched to protect Mr. Pruitt on private trips to Disneyland, professional basketball games and the 2018 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Republicans in both chambers of Congress are increasingly raising concerns about Mr. Pruitt. “They’re not good reports,” said Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate. “He has to answer those questions. There’s a lot of stuff out there that is certainly not helpful to his or the administration’s cause.”

Jahan Wilcox, a spokesman for the E.P.A., said in a statement that Mr. Pruitt was looking forward to discussing the agency’s efforts with lawmakers.

“Congressional hearings are an opportunity to reiterate the accomplishments of President Trump’s E.P.A., which include: working to repeal Obama’s Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States, providing regulatory certainty, and declaring a war on lead, all while returning to Reagan-era staffing levels,” Mr. Wilcox said.

Mr. Pruitt, in his prepared opening statement, which the House Energy and Commerce Committee made public Wednesday morning, makes no mention of the ethics issues that have dogged him recently.
It's a shame that French President Macron has returned home as the upcoming hearings would provide an excellent example of American whines.

Even when you don't want them


Like fleas and kids, SuperPACs will show up. And one of the more successful candidates to renounce SuperPAC money, Beto O'Rourke has found that his disapproval is not enough to discourage a wealthy supporter from starting one in his favor.
A Texas Democratic donor is raising money for a super PAC to help Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke — against the wishes of the candidate, who has asked super PACs to stay out of the race.

Dallas lawyer Marc Stanley told the Star-Telegram Tuesday that his group is gearing up to try to unseat Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, following a Quinnipiac University poll this month that showed the race in a statistical dead heat.

Stanley said the poll, combined with a private survey his group commissioned in February, “shows the time is right” to unseat Cruz.

O’Rourke, a champion of campaign finance reform, has asked PACs to stay out of his race against Cruz. He’s raised $13.2 million for that contest, to Cruz’s roughly $12.6 million.

“I’m not listening to what Beto O’Rourke says, I’m doing what I think is right for Texas,” said Stanley, who chaired former Texas Gov. Ann Richards’s campaign in 1990 in Dallas County.

FTC PAC — short for Fire Ted Cruz — was registered with the Federal Election Commission in July, but formally launched its website last week.

O’Rourke says he wants to fund his campaign with mostly Texas money, and said 70 percent of the money he’s raised came from inside the state.

Stanley is interested in tapping into a national donor base to unseat Cruz.

“Ted Cruz is disliked not only by colleagues by millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Texans,” said Stanley. "We want to give [them] an opportunity to participate."
You can pick your friends but you can't stop others from saying they like you.

Stephen and The Killer Coal Baron


Colbert on Blankenship


More affection than he has shown Melania


Trevor Noah reviews the Trump-Macron Bromance


Cheking in on the VA


Seth Meyers looks at the latest Trumpian clusterfuck


Well thought out arguments



Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Touch My Blues Away


Jessy Martens & Band


The NRA Beau Ideal


From the pen of Milt Priggee



Rand Paul rolls over


And gets a great big belly rub from Mitch McConnell as thanks for voting for Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Now Mike will be able to join The Muttering Moustache of Mendacity in planning the discard of the Iran Deal and the follow on war with Iran for Bibi.
Sen. Rand Paul wanted assurances that Mike Pompeo would not advocate more war and that the White House would at least discuss curbs on government surveillance.

Once he heard what he needed to hear, the Kentucky Republican senator dropped his opposition to Pompeo’s nomination as secretary of state, delivering President Donald Trump a huge win Monday.

The reversal, though, did raise new questions about how far Paul was willing to go with his defiance. While he got assurances he’d get an airing, he got no concrete change in policy Monday.

He dismissed suggestions that he is developing a reputation of protesting but then falling in line.

Trump had lobbied Paul hard. The senator said he talked with both the president and Pompeo several times on Monday before the committee vote, which wound up sending the nomination to the full Senate with a favorable recommendation. Confirmation, which now appears all but assured, is likely later this week.

Paul said that Trump promised him a discussion on curbing government surveillance and databases.

“I haven’t been given anything or promised anything, I don’t get a bridge built somewhere, but I have asked that we consider the liberty of the individual and the Constitution,” Paul said.

He has long been a critic of government surveillance programs, warning that they are a breach of privacy. In December, he temporarily stalled confirmation of one of Trump's Justice Department nominees over concerns about warrantless wiretaps and surveillance.

Earlier this year Paul threatened to filibuster a measure to extend and expand massive U.S. surveillance powers.

Pompeo, now the CIA director, in 2016 endorsed a plan to have surveillance agencies collect "all metadata" and combine it with "publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database."

Paul said he was "absolutely, unquestionably, unequivocally opposed to more databases" particularly one that involves information about lifestyles. "That's just a recipe for 1984 on steroids," he said. But he said he'd talked to both Pompeo and Trump and they assured him there would be a discussion.

Paul also said he got guarantees that Pompeo, a former Kansas congressman who the senator criticized for hawkish views, won’t drag the president into more wars. The senator said that he got assurances that Pompeo agreed with Trump that the Iraq War "was a mistake" and that the United States "must end" its involvement in Afghanistan.
Is Randy Paul auditioning for the role of the next Susan Collins so she can retire gracefully ? Or does the Senate have room for both of them ?

The Anatomy of a Trump Lie


Trevor Noah examines the scat.


Nobody ever say Trump is innocent


Seth Meyers suggests Trump would f;ip on himself.


Box Car Donny



Monday, April 23, 2018

I'll Be Satisfied


Hope Waits


Perspective is everything


And Tom Tomorrow shows you what the #MAGAt perspective is when blinded by the gaslight.

The food is not as good


From the pen of Kevin Siers



Government workers perform necessary functions


But thanks to years of incessant lies from right wing conservative bullshitters, there are many people in this country who believe that they are lazy, unqualified and overpaid. In fact, when compared to right wing conservative bullshitters the opposite is true.
The anxiety and seething anger that followed the disappearance of middle-income jobs in factory towns has helped reshape the American political map and topple longstanding policies on tariffs and immigration.

But globalization and automation aren’t the only forces responsible for the loss of those reliable paychecks. So is the steady erosion of the public sector.

For generations of Americans, working for a state or local government — as a teacher, firefighter, bus driver or nurse — provided a comfortable nook in the middle class. No less than automobile assembly lines and steel plants, the public sector ensured that even workers without a college education could afford a home, a minivan, movie nights and a family vacation.

In recent years, though, the ranks of state and local employees have languished even as the populations they serve have grown. They now account for the smallest share of the American civilian work force since 1967.

The 19.5 million workers who remain are finding themselves financially downgraded. Teachers who have been protesting low wages and sparse resources in Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kentucky — and those in Arizona who say they plan to walk out on Thursday — are just one thread in that larger skein.

“I was surprised to realize along the way I was no longer middle class,” said Teresa Moore, who has spent 30 years investigating complaints of abused or neglected children, veterans and seniors in Oklahoma.

She raised two daughters in Alex, a rural dot southwest of the capital, on her salary. But when she applied for a mortgage nine years ago, the loan officer casually described her as “low income.”

The private sector has been more welcoming. During 97 consecutive months of job growth, it created 18.6 million positions, a 17 percent increase.

But that impressive streak comes with an asterisk. Many of the jobs created — most in service industries — lack stability and security. They pay little more than the minimum wage and lack predictable hours, insurance, sick days or parental leave.

The result is that the foundation of the middle class continues to be gnawed away even as help-wanted ads multiply.

Reducing state and local payrolls, of course, is a goal that has champions and detractors. Anti-tax crusaders, concerned about cost and overreach, have longed for a smaller government that delivers only the most limited services. Public-sector defenders worry that shortages of restaurant inspectors, rat exterminators, mental health counselors and the like will hurt neighborhoods. Pothole-studded roads and unreliable garbage pickup don’t entice businesses, either.

Yet whether one views a diminished public sector as vital to economic growth or a threat to health and safety, it is undeniable that it has led to a significant decline in middle-class employment opportunities.

“It’s a tough time to be working in government,” said Neil Reichenberg, executive director of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources. Once there were several attractions to public employment in addition to the mission of making a difference in your community, he added, but incentives like good health insurance and retirement benefits have disappeared. “There’s been a lot of cutbacks that have made government a less competitive employer,” he said.
Wealthy conservatives and corporations for years have been yammering for tax cuts to re-direct more of the value workers create to their coffers. This has the effect of severely limiting funds available for government employees. And if you have been demeaning and diminishing their standing for years it is no trouble at all to reduce their salaries and benefits if not outright eliminating their jobs. So when the food we eat starts to poison us and there is no one to answer our questions at Social Security and IRS and others, well it must be the failings of government. It certainly can't be the Republican program of starving the beast because everybody knows that nothing the GOP does ever works right.

The Lies of Hinky Zinke


A short one from John Oliver


Mike Pompeo gives rim jobs to gorillas


John Oliver explains the Iran Deal that President Chauncey Trump has no clue about.


Where the money flows



Sunday, April 22, 2018

Before You Called Me Baby


Caitlyn Smith


Major Evangelical announcment


From the pen of Gary Trudeau



Mitch takes the necessary measures


From the pen of R J Matson



Sensitivity Training in the coffee industry


From the pen of Brian McFadden



Stormy's Lawyer on Real Time


Bill Maher talks to Michael Avenatti


Is Sean Hannity A Serial Killer ?


Samantha Bee proves he is in her best Fox Nooz approved style.


One way the planet can win



Saturday, April 21, 2018

Ain't No Cure For Love


Jennifer Warnes


But they are just friends


From the pen of Nate Beeler



It's always the little things that make trouble


Like the little Greek islands lying close to the Turkish coast. So far Turkey does not dispute their sovereignty but does object to their location inside what are otherwise territorial waters. The possibility of Greece claiming energy resources in that area because of the islands. Add to that an upcoming elecetion in Turkey where Caliph-In-Waiting Recep Tayyip Erdogan hopes to solidify his dictatorship by running a strongly nationalistic campaign and all the ingredients for trouble are there.
In all, the number of incursions by Turkish military ships and jets into Greek territory has spiked in recent months, according to Greek officials, stoking concerns of a new military conflict in a region where Turkey is already embroiled in the war raging in Syria.

The biggest uncertainty involves Turkey’s strongman president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and whether his ambitions are fueling renewed claims to these Greek isles — particularly after he embarked on Wednesday on an election campaign in which he is expected to play heavily on nationalistic sentiment.

“With the people of Turkey, we don’t have problems,” said Mr. Raftis, 58. “The problem is with Erdogan, with the Turkish government. They want to make Turkey bigger.”

Indeed, though the border issue has simmered for nearly a century, analysts worry that the unpredictable nature of Mr. Erdogan makes the situation more volatile than ever between the countries, nominal NATO allies, who almost fought a war over an uninhabited island in nearby waters two decades ago.

In December, to the surprise of his hosts, Mr. Erdogan used the occasion of the first visit to Greece by a Turkish president in 65 years to call for a redrawing of the border. That did not go down well.

In recent years, Mr. Erdogan has often stoked tensions overseas in order to bolster his domestic standing, insulting several European governments, deploying troops in Syria, and lashing out at the United States.

“Erdogan is a little bit out of control — he’s picking a lot of fights and there is a lot of uncertainty about how far he’s prepared to go,” said Nikos Tsafos, who researches the politics of the Eastern Mediterranean at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

“The odds of something going wrong are increasing on a weekly basis,” he said.

The border issue has its roots in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I, and in subsequent international treaties that gave many islands that had once belonged to the Ottoman Empire — including Kastellorizo, the nearest permanently inhabited island to Ro — to other European powers.

Today, Turkey — which was formed from the rump of the Ottoman Empire — does not contest Kastellorizo’s sovereignty. But the government feels it is unfair that Greece should have the right to potentially exploit energy resources in parts of the Mediterranean seabed that lie within sight of Turkey but many hundreds of miles from the Greek mainland.

“At the fundamental level, there is a different perception of how the Aegean Sea should be treated,” Mr. Tsafos said.

Other recent developments have compounded the decades-old disagreement. Talks have broken down over the status of the island of Cyprus, which is divided between a Greek-backed and internationally recognized state in the south, and a Turkish-backed breakaway state in the north.

Greece declined to extradite eight Turkish servicemen who had fled following a failed coup in 2016; and the Turkish government has arrested two Greek border guards, seemingly in response.

“The potential for a military conflict between Greece and Turkey has never seemed as close since the 1990s,” said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Despite the elements of Both Sides Do It, Turkey ot perhaps more accurately Mr. Erdogan is pushing hard on Turkey while not yet revealing all he wants from this. And trouble awaits in the wings.

Weed is a Lifestyle


Bill Maher New Rules


Trump promotes No-Sex


And Stephen Colbert explains


Something good for a change



Friday, April 20, 2018

Weed


Bea Foote


Get High


Brandy Clark


Happy 420 to all



I guess it's OK now


From the pen of Jim Morin



They got tired of waiting


Alabama has claimed another benchmark
that most other states would not consider a distinction. They have executed the oldest person ever in the modern era of state sanctioned murder.
Walter Leroy Moody Jr., who used mail bombs to assassinate a federal appeals court judge and a civil rights lawyer in 1989, was executed Thursday night at the Alabama prison where he spent decades denying his guilt.

With his execution by lethal injection, Mr. Moody, 83, became the oldest prisoner put to death in the modern era of American capital punishment, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a research group.

Mr. Moody’s reign of terror — deadly bombings and thwarted attacks in three Southern states, as well as menacing letters to judges and the media — raised fears of racial violence and unsettled the federal judiciary. His complex case drew in people who would become household names of American law enforcement: Louis J. Freeh, a future F.B.I. director; Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election; and Jeff Sessions, now the United States attorney general.

Though Mr. Moody was found guilty on scores of federal charges, his execution was punishment for a 1996 state court conviction for the murder of Judge Robert S. Vance Sr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

Judge Vance’s son, Robert S. Vance Jr., himself a judge in Alabama, said Thursday that he had not forgiven Mr. Moody because “he has not acknowledged any remorse or any acknowledgment that he was guilty.”

“I’m not a psychiatrist, but if you’re talking about using labels like psychopath, this seems to be the kind of person that would fit that description because of absolute lack of empathy or concern for others,” Judge Vance said.

Mr. Moody was pronounced dead at 8:42 p.m. on Thursday inside a South Alabama prison, ending a generations-long legal drama that began in 1972, when he planned a bombing against an automobile dealer who had repossessed his car.
Moody did like his bombs when he didn't get his way. And now he is gone.

NYC's shit doesn't stink in Parrish anymore


The trainload of sewage sludge that was parked in Parrish, Alabama for two months while the town the town of West Jefferson tried to stop its delivery to a landfill there has finally been moved, to the landfill in Adamsville.
But after a train full of human excrement sludge from New York City traveled to Alabama, only to be bureaucratically stuck outside the 1,000-person town of Parrish for more than two months, engulfing the town with a suffocating stench — yeah, that was a saga.

And now at long last, the saga is over. The odor, however, is lingering.

“It smells like rotting animals, or a dead carcass. It seems like there’s a dead animal nearby,” Mayor Heather Hall of Parrish said Thursday. “And it’s not like you just get a whiff of it where it’s just a subtle smell. It is so overpowering you cannot go outside.”

On Wednesday, Mayor Hall announced that she had “wonderful news”: The last of the sludge had been removed, and the town was free at last from the 42-car train with the awful nickname.

The foul odor had been difficult to avoid, permeating all two square miles of the town, about 40 miles northwest of Birmingham, she said.

A federal ban forbids New York from disposing of its treated sewage waste in the ocean. So the city routinely ships it to the South, where landfills can offer better bargains. A nearby one, Big Sky, had accepted the city’s sludge since 2017, according to The Associated Press.

But West Jefferson, a town near the landfill, was fed up with the smell as the loads were transferred from trains to trucks. The town got an injunction to stop the trains in January, at which point the train in question was parked in Parrish.

Parrish was not happy. Last week, the town’s council issued an ultimatum, saying it would file a lawsuit and injunction against Big Sky if the rail cars weren’t removed by April 23, according to the Daily Mountain Eagle, a local newspaper.

Big Sky did not return phone calls seeking comment on Thursday.

The ordeal came to an end as trucks hauled the contents off to the Big Sky landfill in Adamsville, about 20 miles to the west.
While I have sympathy for the people of Parrish who got stuck smelling that shit for 2 months I hope the will look to their own in-bred power structure that sought to profit from their misery. New York City did not just decide to ship its shit there for fun. Somebody local thought they could make some money from it and leave the locals breathing the stink. It will hapen again if they don't fix their own house.

A Series of Gunfortunate Events


Why the kids left school today


Why Black People should always show up late


Trevor Noah


Thw word innocent is nowhere to be found


Stephen Colbert


Need a lawyer ?



Help Memphis celebrate its Bicentennial


And in doing so give the in-bred, brain dead raceholes in the Tennessee legislature a great big Fuck You. It seems the Tenn Lege decided that in retaliation for Memphis ridding itself of certain traitor's statues it would withhold a $250,000 appropriation for the city's becentennial celebration. Wonkette has a more complete appreciation of the pettiness of this offical dick move. Among the responses by the local Memphis crowd was a GoFundMe page set up by Brittney Block to replace the missing appropriation. As of this writing it has $62,180.

Please help Brittney and Memphis reach their goal and join in their hearty FUCK YOU to the in-bred, brain dead raceholes of the Tennessee Legislature. And please share this with your family and friends.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Disappearing Act


Gretchen Peters


The price of distraction


From the pen of Nate Beeler



He will leave if he doesn't get what he wants


Presidunce Donald Trump
is declaring his willingness to dump his talks with Nork Leader Kim Jong Pudge if he doesn't feel he is getting anything of value. And to lighten the moment, he even said if he walked out of a meeting, “If the meeting, when I’m there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.” A sure fire laugh line knowing Donny Dimplebutt never does anything respectfully except kiss himself good night.
President Trump declared on Wednesday that he would scrap a planned summit meeting with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, or even walk out of the session while it was underway, if his diplomatic overture was not heading toward success.

Mr. Trump continued to express optimism — verging on eagerness — about sitting down with the North’s reclusive leader. But as the momentum for a meeting grows in both Washington and East Asia, the president acknowledged that it was a perilous undertaking that could still end in failure.

“If I think that it’s a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we’re not going to go,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, standing alongside Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. “If the meeting, when I’m there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.”

Mr. Trump’s words reinforced his decision to send the C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, on a secret trip to meet Mr. Kim. Mr. Pompeo, nominated by Mr. Trump last month as secretary of state, played advance man for the president in Pyongyang, laying the groundwork for the planned meeting.

Among the potential hurdles for the gathering, Mr. Trump said, were three American citizens detained in North Korea. The president said that the United States was “fighting very diligently” to obtain their release and that there was a chance of positive developments.

Still, Mr. Trump conspicuously declined to make their release a precondition of his meeting with Mr. Kim. He also did not demand any new concessions from North Korea beforehand, underscoring how determined he is to make history by convening with the leader of a country he threatened with war a few months ago.

In preparing for the planned event, Mr. Trump’s decision to dispatch his C.I.A. director reflected the president’s trust in and comfort with Mr. Pompeo, as well as how diplomats were sidelined in brokering what could be a landmark encounter.

“Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed,” Mr. Trump said in an early morning Twitter post before he went golfing with Mr. Abe. “Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!”
Kim must be drooling with anticipation at the thought of this meeting. After years of facing top level hard nosed diplomats in any meeting he now faces a schmooz with an amateur with a monstrous and easily manipulated ego. If Kim doesn't walk away with all of Korea and half of Japan, he is just not trying.

Donny's 80's Sitcom


Trevor Noah on Donny's World


Only the smartest bombs can miss everything


Stephen Colbert


Vipers remain dangerous until after sundown




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