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It was a dark and stormy night—No, wait, that's not it.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away—Closer, but still not quite right.

Once upon a time, there was a not-quite-30-year-old girl who fancied herself a writer (ah, yes, now we're getting somewhere), and she also cared about politics because it was coded into her DNA, and she was damned angry about the state of things in George Bush's America, and so, like so many other proverbial basement-dwelling Cheetos-eaters, she went onto the Internet—which is not a truck—and created an account at Daily Kos to commiserate with other like-minded dirty fucking hippies and say things like, "Fuck you, Democrats" or "Fuck you, Republicans" or "Fuck you, Sarah Palin," or "Fuck you, fill-in-the-blank." (Did I mention that our not-quite-30-year-old girl has something of a potty mouth?)

As so many people who sign up at Daily Kos quickly discover, it's about a lot more than politics. It's about recipes, and pictures of our cats, and celebrating each other's achievements, and mourning each other's losses, and writing about writing, and ooohing and ahhhing at pictures of Michelle Obama in all her fabulousness, and even meeting face-to-face and exclaiming, "So that's what you look like!" and getting into pie fights and making Meta Jesus sob into his shroud, and sometimes just laughing at Republicans awkwardly eating hot dogs because we all have a giggling 13-year-old boy inside us, right?

I came for the politics. I stayed for the community. And now, dear friends, it's time for this angry little mouse to mosey. I will forever be grateful for that email from The Man Himself that arrived one December day in 2009, asking if I wanted to write for the front page. (Um, yes? And also, hell yes? And also, duh.) And I'll forever be even more grateful than that for the email that came asking if I wanted to work for Daily Kos for reals, full-time, for fun and profit. (Um, yes? And also, hell yes? And also, duh squared.)

And oh, how I've had fun. Like the first time I made fun of Sarah Palin—for profit!—and then realized, "Wow. I just got paid to make fun of Sarah Palin. Best. Job. EVER! also."

Or that time, six weeks into the job, I got to interview the White House communications director and ask about President Obama's evolution on marriage equality, which provoked weeks of questioning by the White House press corps, and ultimately, the president putting himself on the right side of history. (You're welcome, The Gays!)

Daily Kos gave me a place to write about the War on Women before it was cool and before most people believed it was, you know, a thing. (Wikipedia says I was among the first to write about it, and while I don't know if that's true, it's nice of Wikipedia to say so, isn't it?) But oh my stars did that change—until everyone was talking about it, even those silly wackadoodle wingnuts who insisted it didn't exist. We raised a lady army in 2012 and helped beat back the haters, decimate the rape caucus, and make history with all those women we sent to Washington to kick some ass and take some names. And while I don't usually like to say "I told you so," well, ya know. I told you so. Lady high five!

Most of all, though, I think about the times when all manner of hell was breaking loose in my real, meatsack world, and logging on to Daily Kos and getting to be Angry Mouse was my escape and sometimes my salvation. This land of orange-colored satanic greatness has given me so much—validation as a writer, fun and adventure, friends I've come to love dearly, and a place to call home.

But, to mix some metaphors, it's time for this little mouse to leave the nest and test my sea legs in some other corners of the interwebs. So I'm all kinds of happy and excited to announce that I'm heading to Wonkette to get my snark on, learn some new things, and get to write stuff like "Yr Wonkette."  

I'm not really leaving. This isn't goodbye. It's more like, "Thanks for raising me, I'll be back for holidays to do some laundry and get a nice home-cooked meal, and please send money for beer I mean books."

And it's a thank you. Thank you to this fine establishment for such an amazing opportunity. Thank you to this community for the laughs and tears and support and tips and recs and shares and likes and all that good stuff. And yes, even thank you to that one guy who made the first comment in my very first diary that taught me, right away, just how thick a skin you must have if you wanna play on the Internet: "Please understand that you are a fucking idiot." (You know who you are, pal, and hahaha, joke's on you, isn't it?) Thank you to the Academy and my co-stars and director and … Aw, hell, thanks to all of you for everything.

If you still can't get enough of my phrase-turning, ass-kicking and ladyparts blogging—and come on, you know you can't—you'll find me at Wonkette and also on The Twitters, where I try to be funny and fierce and make feminism fun in 140 characters or less.

Now gather in close, y'all, for a big group hug. And no goodbyes! Just to be continued ...

CPAC banner with dinosaurs and the goposaur
Remember when Rep. Paul Ryan was going to save Medicare by destroying it? And then how he was going to save America with his budget that makes Jesus cry? And then how he was going to save Mitt Romney's flailing presidential campaign with his epic P90X abs? And remember how none of that happened?

Well, Paul Ryan doesn't. When he took to the stage at CPAC on Friday morning, he recited all his favorite nonsense talking points about how his new budget, which is pretty much like his old budget but with fancier font or something, is going to save America for reals this time, you guys. Also, he said the word "communities" a lot. Like, a lot a lot.

Ryan's new-but-not-really budget is more than a budget, he explained; it's a "vision" that "makes room for these communities to grow so that the people in them have room to thrive." How people are supposed to thrive without basic things like health care or food isn't clear, but whatever. Communities!

"We're not just trying to make the numbers add up," he explained. "We're trying to improve people's lives." Once again, Ryan doesn't explain how destroying our social safety net makes people's lives better, but see above re: whatever. Also, communities!

Hard to believe Republicans believed—and apparently, continue to believe—that this joker should be taken seriously, but then that's the Republican Party for you. Compared with some of the other absurd appearances at CPAC this year (cough Donald Trump cough), Ryan is as close to "serious" as this ridiculous party can get.

CPAC banner with dinosaurs and the goposaur
This CPAC introduction of South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott will make you want to throw up:
Help me applaud diversity.
Conservatives aren't usually very into that whole liberal "diversity" thing. In fact, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, speaking earlier today at the conference, said, to much applause, "We're the ideology that is blind to color and solely grounded in the merit system." But if there's one time conservatives will semi-cheer for diversity, it's when they can drag their one black senator on stage to perform an incredibly awkward, and not very well received, minstrel show, saying cringe-worthy things like, "We were po. Not poor. Po."

You almost have to feel bad for the guy. Almost.

CPAC banner with dinosaurs and the goposaur
This is the best thing that has ever happened in the history of CPAC. Actually, it's the best thing that has ever happened in the history of everything. Utah Sen. Mike Lee and his epic pudding-at-the-salad-bar story:
Today, we're witnessing what happens at the end of the progressive, big government approach. After the promises of federal solutions have eroded our faith in the institutions of family, school, church and community, and having spent our nation to the point of bankruptcy, progressives simply shrug their shoulders, throw up their hands, and say, "It isn't my fault. It isn't my job. And it's not my responsibility." That's a very un-American approach to a challenge.

I saw this attitude once on a trip through southern Utah with my family. We stopped at a fast food restaurant for lunch, and because my wife, Sharon, was with me, I thought it would look good if I chose to go to the salad bar instead of buying a hamburger. I went down the salad bar, getting bits of healthy greens and dreadfully nutritious-looking vegetables. I was quite uninspired at my prospects for my appetizing lunch that day, when to my great surprise and delight, at the end of the salad bar, I found chocolate pudding.

I immediately scooped a huge blob of it onto my plate, trying to hide it by fluffing around greens and other tasteless things so that it couldn't be seen. Suddenly, I was feeling very, very good about my lunch, looking very healthy but still getting dessert—and a lot of it. As I sat down, I mentally complimented myself for the ingeniousness of what I was about to pull off. I was about to pull it off and still smiling at that thought, I took a big bite of the chocolate pudding, only to discover that it was completely rancid. Rotten and spoiled—it was awful.

I immediately decided that I needed to go and find an employee of the restaurant, you know, so that I could alert the restaurant of the spoiled pudding. I approached one young lady who worked there, and I said, "Excuse me." You know, in a soft voice. "Excuse me, I just want to let you know that the pudding at the salad bar is spoiled. You need to replace it." She gave me a deer-in-the-headlights sort of blank stare. I clarified. "The pudding. It's rancid. It's bad. It's spoiled. You've got to get rid of it before someone eats it and gets sick."

She proceeded to roll her eyes and deliver that deep, soul-crushing sigh that America's teenagers have so perfected and simply said, "I'm not on salad." And then she walked away.

I'm not on salad. Instead of that type of shoulder-shrugging, what we need in this nation, and especially in this town, in Washington, is some serious shoulder-squaring in the spirit of civil society. You see, in that sense, we're all on salad.

So, to summarize the lessons of CPAC thus far: We don't need new ideas. We have pudding. And it's called America, and it still works. Even if it is rancid. Oh, and Mike Lee really hates vegetables.


Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 12:10 PM PDT

Midday open thread

by Kaili Joy Gray

  • Today's comic is Judge Scalia, in "Legislative Soul Search!" by Ruben Bolling:
    Comic - Judge Scalia, in
  • Congratulations:
    Chris Hayes will take over the 8 p.m. time slot on MSNBC in the next month, the channel is expected to announce on Thursday morning, the day after the current host of that hour, Ed Schultz, said he was moving from the weekdays to the weekends.
  • Congratulations of a different sort:
    A Wisconsin Gouda won top honors Wednesday night at the 2013 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, edging out entries from Vermont and Illinois.

    Marieke Penterman, of Holland's Family Cheese in Thorp, Wis., won the two-day competition in Green Bay with her Marieke Mature Gouda. Out of a possible 100 points, Marieke Gouda scored 98.31 in the final round of judging.

  • Quote of the day:
    "The politics are going to overwhelm the policy. It is good politics to oppose the black guy in the White House right now, especially for the Republican Party."
  • Couldn't have happened to a more deserving bunch of bigots.
  • America!
    A Montana man accused of waterboarding four children as a learning experience for them has reached a plea deal with prosecutors in which he will receive probation.

    The children were the Jefferson County man's 9- and 12-year-old sons and two neighbor kids, ages 13 and 15, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.

    The 42-year-old man pleaded guilty Friday to four misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Prosecutors dropped felony charges that included making threats against public officials and others. [...]

    His girlfriend at the time said he broke her wrist and some fingers Dec. 5 when she tried to stop him from waterboarding his sons, court documents said. She said the man straddled each boy with his hands over the child's face and mouth, and dumped water on their faces to simulate drowning, the records said.

    The woman told investigators that the man described it as a learning experience for the boys.

  • Um, no. Just ... just no.
  • Offered without comment:
    Wow. Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of @SenJohnMcCain's release as a prisoner-of-war in North Vietnam.
    @OKnox via Twitter for iPhone
  • On today's Kagro in the Morning show, let's connect all the dots! Rs are busting out everywhere, saying the Supreme Court doesn't actually get to decide what laws are constitutional, Rs do best by opposing the black guy in the White House, everything you think you know about the Constitution is wrong if it disagrees with what we think we know about it, continuing their abuse of the filibuster, etc. Greg Dworkin joined us to discuss all this, give (important!) context to that quote about opposing the black guy, and remind us that despite the surface crazy, Republicans are playing a patient long game here. And winning.
CPAC banner with dinosaurs and the goposaur
Poor conservatives—they just can't keep their talking points straight. Here's Florida Sen. Marco Rubio:
We don't need new ideas. The idea is called America and it still works.
And here's Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, about five minutes after that:
The Republican Party has to change.
So ... we don't need to change. Except for how we do. Except for how we don't. Except for how we do ...

Unskew America!

CPAC banner with dinosaurs and the goposaur
Since smack-talking freeloaders and moochers and takers worked so well for Republicans in the 2012 election, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, speaking at CPAC, continues on that theme:
We have too many people in America that want too much from government.
His speech is also peppered with other winning Republican talking points:
  • "Just because I believe that states should have the right to define marriage in the traditional way does not make me a bigot."
  • "Not everyone needs to go to a four year liberal arts college."
  • "They're not freeloaders. They're not liberals."
  • "We don't need new ideas. The idea is called America and it still works."
  • Oh, and something about how stupid liberals believe "science" about "climate change," but that very same science "proves" that "life begins at conception."

And of course Rubio offered up half a dozen poorly crafted jokes about water because, you know, of that one time he totally embarrassed himself on national TV with his gulp heard 'round the world.

So, in other words, Rubio offered up a generic Republican speech about how liberals have destroyed America, except for how it's still awesome and perfect, but we have to fill the government with conservatives before the Obamapocalypse destroys America, which is perfect. Ah, Republican logic.

Video of the entire speech is below the fold—if you dare.

Continue Reading
CPAC banner with dinosaurs and the goposaur
Hey, Republicans, nice tent you got there:
American Conservative Union chairman Al Cardenas spoke briefly with reporters ahead of the beginning of the CPAC conference -- explaining why he didn't invite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and insisting that the GOP is "not a home for everybody." [...]

"I'm a firm believer that if the Republican Party's going to have success, it's going to do so by being a conservative party and not a home for ah, for everybody," Cardenas said. "And that's how you grow. I mean, look, you grow your tent by convincing others, and persuading others, that yours is the way, and you build your tent by reaching out to the new demographics of America not with a watered down version of who we ought to be but with a true, real, solid version of who we are."

Hmmm. What was it former first lady Laura Bush said about the Republican Party, like, five minutes ago? Oh yeah:
There were obvious examples of candidates [in the 2012 election] that I think frightened some women, but they were the exception rather than the norm in the party.

All of those social issues are very, very heartfelt by people. And I understand that. There are differences. There just will be. And I’m glad that in our party we have room for all of them. I think that's important too.

It's swell the Republican Party has room for people like ex-Rep. Todd Akin, proponent of the magic lady parts theory, or wannabe Sen. Richard Mourdock, who believes rape babies are a gift from God. And of course CPAC is extra-special featuring the kind of uber-relevant Republicans who really do belong there:
The biggest winners in the time lottery are Sarah Palin (16 minutes) and Donald Trump (14 minutes). Palin and Trump are expected to be crowd-pleasers at CPAC: News of their respective appearances caused ticket sales to spike, according to a source.
But as for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was once upon a time the New Great Hope of the Republican PartyTM, well, apparently the tent ain't quite that big:
Cardenas also repeated explanations for why the conference hadn't invited New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to speak at the event.

"This year, for better or for worse, we felt like, ah, like he didn't deserve to be on the all-star selection, ah, and, for decisions that he made. And so hopefully next year he's back on the right track and being a conservative," Cardenas said. "He's a popular figure, but everyone needs to live by the parameters of the movement."

So, to sum up: The GOP is big enough for the pro-rape guys and the failed half-term governor turned failed reality TV star, but they've got to draw the line somewhere, so the party's most popular governor? Not this year, pal. Maybe next year—if you can figure out how to beef up your crackpot credentials.
Confused, young businessman looking at many twisted arrows on the concrete wall
Chicks, man. How the fuck do they work?
Well, this is progress, sort of:
“The first step is admitting we have a problem,” said Bob Honold, a partner with Revolution and a former senior aide at the National Republican Congressional Committee, explaing why his company put together the presentation.
The presentation—which is titled, I shit you not, "The GOP's Female Challenge"—is a series of charts and maps showing just how badly Republicans did with women voters in the 2012 election. To summarize: very badly.
This infographic shows that while Republicans did well among married women in 2012, there is a huge gap when it comes to single women, as well as minority women. They have included proven ways to reach this important demographic as a first step in bridging that gap.
See, Republicans wouldn't have a female challenge if they could just ignore those pesky not-married and/or not-white ladies. But alas, since the gerrymandering and vote rigging plan has yet to be perfected, they've got to think of ... something:
The solution to what ails Republicans among women? According to Revolution, it’s consolidating their strengths among married white women and trying to broaden their appeal among Hispanic and black married women.
Republicans spent the better part of 2012 insisting that there was no War on Women, or if there was, the Democrats started it, or maybe the Democrats just invented it to make Republicans look bad—even though, ahem, Republicans don't need any help looking bad, when they write anti-woman policies into their platform, pick a presidential candidate who wasn't sure he supported equal pay for equal work, and run a whole slew of candidates who can't avoid saying stupid shit about rape. All the while, Republicans continued to insist they didn't have a problem with women and if women would just stop being so dumb and fickle and caring about things that don't matter, they'd wake up and realize they should be voting for the GOP. Shockingly, that plan didn't work, so now conservative groups and consultants and strategists keep trying to figure out the secret to wooing the lady voters.

Considering, though, that House Republicans are still furiously introducing bill after bill to defund and restrict access to women's health care and could barely bring themselves to reauthorize the Violence Against Women's Act, they certainly have a long way to go if they think they're going to be able to close that gaping gender gap any time soon. Sure, they might admit they have a problem—but they still don't have the first clue what it is or how to fix it.

Are you busily packing for your big exciting trip to Washington D.C. for the conservative circle jerk convention known as CPAC, but you're all kinds of stumped on what to wear? Well, via Wonkette, there is a super helpful lady on the interwebs who has just what you need to avoid an awkward fashion faux pax:
Ladies, what should you wear? Cardigans, blouses, blazers and pumps! What shouldn’t you wear? Oh, just a laundry list of things: rompers, halters, shorts, strapless necklines, low-cut tops, miniskirts, leggings. The publicist lady has created an entire fucking Pinterest page of her favorite CPAC-appropriate outfits! Fun!
Publicist Adrienne Royer, aka helpful lady on the interwebs, has provided this infographic so there will be no misunderstandings about appropriate attire for these upstanding conservative boys and girls, for whom there has apparently been some confusion in the past because they misunderstood the gathering to be an awesome place for sex, drugs and halter tops. But it is not, boys and girls! Conservatism is serious business. That's why Donald Trump and the half-term idiot governor herself will be extra-special featured speakers at the convention, with more time to talk about freedom 'n stuff than any other speaker who's batshit crazy enough, and also politically irrelevant enough, to score a speaking slot.

So have fun, conservative boys and girls, but remember to leave your rompers at home.

Official portrait of former first lady Laura Bush
Laura Bush says there's room enough for everyone
In what apparently was an extraordinarily slow news day at CNN, former first lady Laura Bush sat down with Erin Burnett to share her deep thoughts on how Republican men sort of scare the bejesus out of women. And no, she's not even talking about her husband emailing bizarre nude self-portraits to his sister. This is actually about the 2012 election.
EB: Some of the issues with women in the country, obviously, you know last time more than half the women voted for President Obama, in part because of abortion, gay marriage, issues like that. Do you think the Republican Party has made a mistake in doubling down on those issues and making social issues so central to the platform?

LB: Well, no, I mean, I wouldn't say that necessarily. And every candidate was different, each one of them. There were obvious examples of candidates that I think frightened some women, but they were the exception rather than the norm in the party.

All of those social issues are very, very heartfelt by people. And I understand that. There are differences. There just will be. And I’m glad that in our party we have room for all of them. I think that's important too.


Well, thanks for that political insight, Mrs. Bush. Obviously, it was only a few examples of the Republican Party who explained the virtues and "science" of rape, threatened to defund women's health care, and scoffed at such radical ideas as equal pay for equal work and trying to reduce violence against women. It's not like Republicans wrote their extremist "social issues" agenda into their party platform or anything. Except for how they did.

But that's just the kind of all-inclusiveness we've come to expect from the party that kicked out Arlen Specter, chased out Olympia Snowe, and teabagged Lisa Murkowski—all Republican senators who had the audacity to not make hating women their whole raison d'être (translation: freedom reason). So you see? The Republican Party is its own big tent, with room enough for everyone—the old white dudes who think rape isn't that bad, so just lay back and enjoy it, and the old white dudes who think rape is a gift from God.


Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM PDT

Midday open thread

by Kaili Joy Gray

  • Today's comic is Dow soars, none for poors by Matt Bors:
    Comic - Dow soars, none for poors
  • Worst temp job ever.
  • If it's a day that ends in "y," it's time to compare stuff you don't like to slavery and/or Hitler:
    Well, great – a lady compared a thing to slavery! And it wasn’t abortion this time! Abortion is slavery a lot with some people, you ever notice that? So, what was it now you ask? Yes, yes, it was the homosexuals, of course. They are now apparently “ripping apart people’s lives and families” and we are now wondering what gay dude this chick has been in love with and or married to? Because “Mission America” radio host Linda Harvey is fighting words mad[.]
  • The residents of Byron, Maine, have decided that no, actually, they would not like to require themselves to have a gun in every home, thank you very much.
  • Christmas comes early—and it IS a Merry Christmas, you godless America-haters:
    Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has signed a contract to write another book — this one about Christmas.

    HarperCollins has announced Palin’s book, titled “A Happy Holiday IS a Merry Christmas,” will be released in November, according to the Associated Press. [...]

    “This will be a fun, festive, thought-provoking book, which will encourage all to see what is possible when we unite in defense of our faith and ignore the politically correct Scrooges who would rather take Christ out of Christmas,” Palin said in a statement release to AP.

  • Congratulations on the celebration of the anniversary of the day you were born, Mr. Romney:
    Happy birthday, @MittRomney. If I'm not mistaken, that means meatloaf cakes.
    @samyoungman via Mobile Web (M5)
  • Bradley Manning, in his own voice. If you're into that sort of thing.
  • On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin with a Team 26 update, and more on guns as a public health issue. Conservative backlash against departure from the "Hastert Rule." Peggy Noonan's profoundly stupid article. Which one? The one about how she had a sad because her hotel had no footmen. Mother Jones explains in "All Work and No Pay." Armando joined to discuss NRO crying foul over conservatives being called out as Calhounists, and give some poignant examples. Finally, we began on Robert Parry's "Rethinking Watergate/Iran-Contra."
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