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Sun Jan 04, 2015 at 02:22 PM PST

Louie Gohmert highlight reel

by Jacob Geers

At this point we have all heard the triumphant trumpets sounding, Congressman Louie Gohmert is officially challenging Speaker Boehner for the Speakership of the House of Representatives.

I'm not sure which I find scarier: the fact that any sentient being would vote for Gohmert, or that fate finally found some democratic contest in which I would (if no other options existed) vote for John Boehner.

In commemoration of this fateful day (and in lieu of an official campaign committee) here is the official highlight reel of America's dumbest congressman.

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Many of us are rightly feeling a little bit of heartbreak today. While nothing can negate the losses that our preferred political party suffered last night, I happened to stumble upon some old polling data that we should be careful to keep in mind. This poll is about two years old, but contains a wealth of information on tons of issues that are still very relevant to Americans today.

Without further fanfare, here are some of the poll's findings:

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Struggling quasi-Kansan resident and Senator Pat Roberts has decided to embrace the theatrical with his comments about President Obama's potential plan to close the human rights blight that is Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.

One of President Obama's most disappointing failures has been his inability to close the facility, as it serves as one of the largest symbols of American hypocrisy and her failure to lead.

Pat Roberts, however, thinks that this place is swell. He objects unconditionally to transferring detainees to United States prisons and having them subject to the due process that millions of Americans have died protecting.

As a matter of fact, the proud obstructionist has pledged to "shut down the Senate" if any moves toward justice are made.

Star Wars fans, see the resemblance?

More below the fold.
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I'm surprised not surprised about the lengths crazy people will go in attempts to be funny.

Mr. Jason Mattera prides himself on "punking liberals" and is dubbed a "national treasure" by equally crazy Ann Coulter. His primary accomplishments in life seem to involve being an all around creeper, as he has a disturbing tendency to follow people around and yell repetitive questions at them much akin to a political science major who's had a few too many drinks at the bar.

The Wonkette has a pitch-perfect description of our conservative loony:

"We know Jason Mattera, the master of such ambush interviews as the time he yelled questions about taxes to a guy he thought was Bono but wasn’t, or his hilarious stunt in which he asked Hillary Clinton to sign a book to murdered ambassador Christopher Stevens (we just don’t “get” rightwing humor, because we are wimps maybe)."
My suspicion is that there are a spectrum of opinions regarding Lois Lerner in the world. I would regard many of those opinions as wrong, but the vast majority of them as relatively reasonable. What I would not regard as reasonable is the inclination to track someone down in their own neighborhood, follow them around whilst berating them with the same three or four questions to the extent that they feel they need to hide in some random person's house.

I find that to be...downright creepy...and probably a cause for medical / police attention.

I find it comical that the same conservatives who would tell Occupy Wall Street protestors to "get a job" seem to have endless swaths of free time of which they spend stalking liberals.

I dunno, maybe I just don't understand the sanity that they are willing to sacrifice in order to "protect our freedom" ;)

Watch it all below if you must.

(Oh also, I love how the video's description says that Lois Lerner is attempting to "bust into" someone's home. Apparently knocking on someone's door = breaking in)

Discuss

GDP or Gross Domestic Product is a figure that those of us who follow politics hear constantly. It is apparently the gold standard measure of health for our markets. Politicians tout it when it is high, blame others when it is low, and (ab)use it for politics.

As a nation we use GDP for almost everything economic. We even define a "recession" as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP.

The problem is that GDP is an increasingly inaccurate method to measure the economy. It is a metric that is overused and riddled with problems. It overlooks ecological damage, blows past non-economic services (that regardless are apart of the economy), and serves as the idol for which we kill the environment as a sacrificial bull in the hope that it stays in "the black".

Without an appropriate measure of society's wealth, our policymakers are going to be flying blind. In an era of statistics and econometrics we have to do better.

More below the fold.

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If there is one piece of literature that could unite all the members of my generation -- Harry Potter would be it. Long into high school my friends and I could still be found flipping through the pages for the umpteenth time, and without fail one of us would dress up as a character from the wizarding world for Halloween.

The Harry Potter series -- pardon the bad pun -- has a brand of magic to it. The novels condemn bigotry, promote loyal friendship, and inspire redemption. The readers grow with the characters throughout eight years, and we see a bitterly divided world where love triumphs over hate, and purity of heart trumps sheer strength.

Tolerance, friendship, acceptance, are the books main themes. Naturally this is something that a fundamentalist Christian mother wants nothing to do with. More below the fold.

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Chief Magistrate Candy Wagahoff Dale doesn’t have a wikipedia page. Judge Orlando Garcia does, but it is less than a dozen lines long. If you google the name “Richard Young” you are likely to stumble upon the actor or the photographer before the jurist.

These relatively unknown individuals are redefining the landscape in the battle for marriage equality and civil rights. Judges across the country have issued the rulings that have resulted in over a dozen states trashing their laws banning marriage equality. Every time you hear a headline about an anti-equality law being declared unconstitutional, that decision is coming from these district jurists who most people have never heard of.

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Yes, I used the word.

There is a group of hicktown barbarians, who in-between reminiscing about the good ole’ days before Social Security and the foundation of the EPA, have decided that they can do more to expedite the end of the world than by just simply voting for Republican candidates.

They have spent — in many cases over thousands of dollars — to modify their trucks to emit even more pollution than anyone thought to be possible.

How much pollution?

This much. <em>Photo credit goes to vocativ.com</em>
More details below the fold.
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(I know there have already been a few posts about this, and that's encouraging, but I want to add my perspective)

This last week, nations across Europe went to the polls to vote for MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) which is one body of the European Union. The European Union is an economic and political organization uniting most nations across Europe. While nations in Europe retain the bulk of their national decision-making power, the EU seeks to preserve peace in Europe by tying all nations together economically and socially. To anybody who thinks these are good goals, the results of the latest election should be…shocking.

This is a video that ran before the election that should put the issue into context:

More below the fold:

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Okay, so I spend roughly nine months out of my year in Columbus, Ohio. The other three months (again, roughly) I am in my hometown of West Chester. If our obscure suburban community rings a bell, it is probably because we are the home of Speaker John Boehner, which is oh such a treat.

Treat? Treat you say?
But anyway, since I spend the majority of my life in Columbus, I have begun to pay attention to “local” issues there just as much as I would back in my hometown. One ballot issue I have noticed been getting quite a bit of attention is Franklin County’s Issue 6.

Now, this ballot issue is relatively straight forward. The Columbus Zoo used to be a dump. It was the definition of a strugglebus, and things weren’t going too hot. But after the first public levy passed in 1985, things began to look up. The Zoo has since asked for levies in 1990, 1994, and 2004 with no problem. Now, however, this levy is a big deal. The Koch Brothers funded “Americans for Prosperity” have entered the fray with a bunch of anti-tax nonsense, as well as a few local groups. I’ve taken a few points off of ZooTax.org (which is the website supported by a local group in opposition to the zoo) to discuss one-by-one:

Is this real life right now? Outside knights (aka billionaires with no connections to Columbus) in shining armor are swooping in against…a zoo?
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Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 11:39 AM PDT

Senate 2014: Hope in Kansas?

by Jacob Geers

The mainstream media and well learned individuals alike have spelled doom and gloom for liberals in the Senate in this upcoming midterm election. They look at a map that is slanted toward the Republican party, but ignore the signs under the periphery that indicate things may not be trending as conservative as we thought.

A case study I will look at very briefly is a Senate race in Kansas. Now, let me say from the start, I do not think it is incredibly likely that the Democratic Party will win a seat in Kansas in 2014. What I am arguing, however, is that it is possible.

More below the fold.

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On March 8th, 2014 a Boeing 777 flight from Malaysia Airlines simply vanished when en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. But you already know this.

The missing flight 370 has consumed our media in one fell swoop, and while I would never argue that it is unimportant, I would argue that equally important (and yes, more important) stories are being missed in the obsession to cover every tiny development regarding the vanishing aircraft.

All the media outlets are to blame for this journalistic sellout, however, the American people who tune in share in the guilt.

March 8th, 2014 was the last time anybody heard from Flight 370. Incidentally, it was also the last time the CNN homepage featured any other story.

More opinion below the fold.

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