Skip to main content

Updated with link to Video.  h/t Pico

Stephen and his writers are geniuses.  Reporting on the Shutdown, he pointed to an article about weddings at National Monuments having to be canceled because of the Shutdown, and in particular, one couple who had planned a Jefferson Memorial Wedding.

So, of course, Stephen had the wedding on his show, with him officiating (apparently he has one of those mail order "ministry" certifications).  And what a wedding it was, complete with

(brief) bachelor and bachelorette parties, shots all around,
Smokey the Bear (fresh from his Daily Show appearance) as best man,
the bride entering clutching Stephen's Emmy,
Mandy Patinkin singing a "non-denominational Jewish Prayer" (the "Shehechianu") and then plugging Homeland,
and the first dance for the couple to Audra MacDonald singing a bravura performance of Billy Idol's White Wedding.
Hilarious, brilliant and even touching.

Up there with Stephen's incredible star-studded "Get Lucky" performance.


You knew this was coming.  The great minds of the right wing are up all night wracking their brains about how to connect the shutdown to everything else they hate about President Obama. The IRS?  Nah -- IRS agents are being furloughed.  That's a good thing!  Wait!  John Hindraker of Powerline is up to the task:

At the World War II Memorial on The Mall in Washington, where veterans have been staging protests to keep it open, Washington Examiner’s Charlie Spiering reports that at least seven officials were dispatched Wednesday morning to set up a ring of barricades to block tourists from the memorial. That is two more than the State Department had in Benghazi a year ago on the night of the terrorist attack that killed four, including the U.S. ambassador.
Brilliant!  Shutdown!  Shutdown!  Shutdown! united with Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!  A match made in wingnut heaven.

Yesterday, my daughter's class was unable to go from school to Riverside Park for lunch because a deranged man had attacked people randomly, wounding four, including a two year old.

The day before, in a bizarre incident, a motorcycle cut off a car on the Henry Hudson Parkway, causing the car to hit the cycle.  The bikers then threatened the driver, who drove off, injuring a few other bikers.

As horrible as these incidents were, they are distinguished from thousands of other much less bizarre but more lethal incidents all over the US every day.  Why?

                                                  No one is dead

Imagine, however, that any of the people involved on either side of any of these incidents had a gun.  Almost certainly there would have been loss of multiple lives.

These particular incidents may not be attributable to New York's strict gun laws, but even so, I definitely feel safer here than in some state where you can't prohibit the blind from having a gun.

UPDATE:  Interesting comments.  I thought this would elicit a RKBA debate, but instead the debate is on the facts of the biker case, fault, etc.


I've been busy deleting most of the hundreds of emails I'm getting today from campaigns I either contributed to or somehow got my info.  (Phoenix City Council??).  But among those I didn't delete was for Barbara Buono.  (Contribution link here.) She's an excellent candidate, but she needs funds to try to inform the people of NJ that Christie is no moderate (as anointed by the "serious people).

Some will not doubt comment that this is quixotic, she's way behind in the polls, etc.  But her campaign can nonetheless, if nothing else, educate people in NJ and elsewhere that Christie is a fraudulent moderate.

My brief against Christie always begins with his cynical and horrible veto of the Hudson River rail tunnel -- in which he single-handedly consigned his state's and NY's residents to years of greater pollution, congestion, hours lost and jobs lost.  That is a scandal of epic proportions and it is a disgrace he is hardly held accountable.

If he gets the GOP nomination (probably not, but don't write him off), people should also know:

    Chris Christie Vetoed Same-Sex Marriage

    Chris Christie Is No Friend to Workers

    Chris Christie Doesn’t Believe in Universal Pre-K

    Chris Christie Misuses State Funds

    Chris Christie Supports the Ryan Budget

    Chris Christie Vetoed a Hike in the Minimum Wage

    Chris Christie Vetoed Equal Pay Legislation

    Chris Christie Targeted Poor Families in His Budget

    Chris Christie Cut Funding to Family Planning Organizations

    Chris Christie Is Proudly Anti-Choice

Finally, don't forget his cynical manipulation of election dates at not insubstantial taxpayer costs, so he won't be running the same date as Corey Booker.

So despite his bullying and braggadocio, he's a coward

Give a contribution to Buono today..

Stop Christie in NJ before he gets a chance to make a national race.


One reviewer has the courage to point out the real meaning of Breaking Bad:

Walter White is forced by Obama policies from "a visionary job creator to desperate hermit as he's chocked by unnecessary regulation."

The show demonstrates how a "small businessman struggles under Obamacare," and "makes you see how everyday Americans are suppressed under Obama's boot heel."

Fox or the Onion:  You decide.


Dear Speaker Boehner,

JFK wrote Profiles in Courage about eight courageous Senators:*  John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, Sam Houston, Edmund G. Ross, Lucius Lamar, George Norris, and Robert A. Taft.

You can join them as a shining example of courage.

Or you can get some kicks by standing in front of a group of crazy and/or craven legislators, saying you'll fight to yours (and maybe the country's) death to kill a duly passed law.

If you decide to show some courage and choose the former, though, here's your strategy:

1.  Present both a clean CR and Debt Ceiling bills simultaneously, if that's procedurally possible.

2. If you cannot do that and must submit the CR first then:

(a) If necessary, hold back a clean CR.  If you put the clean CR on the floor, you will be removed as Speaker in favor of Speaker Cantor or Speaker Steve King or Speaker Gohmert.  Don't risk being thrown out as Speaker before there's a vote on the CR.  


(b) Send a clean debt ceiling bill to the floor.  That will avert the worst threat to the country.  Yes, you will then be removed as Speaker.  But you will be known in history as someone who stood for principle when radicals threatened the country.

So it's your choice, Speaker Boehner.  Stand triumphantly in front of Michele Bachmann et al. and have a fleeting moment as a hero to lunatics.  Or send the clean bill or bills to the floor and let the lunatics vote you out.

(btw -- your business buddies will not hold this against you, because they too fear the shutdown and default.  This is one courageous stand that won't prevent you from cashing in as a lobbyist after you exit.)

Yours in sanity and courage,

Upper West


Will Speaker Boehner Allow at least a clean debt ceiling vote?

16%2 votes
25%3 votes
58%7 votes

| 12 votes | Vote | Results

Continue Reading

Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 07:26 AM PDT

Ted and Louie and Thelma and Louise

by Upper West

The Thelma and Louise Caucus, a/k/a the Tea Party, is driving a convertible toward the canyon at high speed.  Unfortunately, this time, we are all in the car.

Thelma (Ted Cruz) and Louise (Louie Gohmert) are at this moment compiling their ransom demands.  As Steve Benen points out, there's a plan afoot to (for the moment) give in on the government shut down strategy and put all their loony eggs in the much worse default basket.

The only thing that will stop them short of the cliff is a list of ransom demands that reads like a "greatest hits/wet dream/wish list" of tea party demands:

* A delay in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act;

* Approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline;

* The elimination of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau;

* A tax-reform blueprint Republicans consider acceptable;

* A block on combating the climate crisis;

* The elimination of Net Neutrality;

* An extension on destructive sequestration spending cuts;

* Scrapping elements of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform law;

* Medicare cuts;

* Tort reform;

* Maybe a ban on late-term abortions.

Apparently, the list was compiled by taking notes while listening to Rush and watching Fox for a day.

As Ted Cruz said after his phony filibuster:

Nice little country you have there .  .  .  would hate for it to default on its debt and plunge the world into economic catastrophe.

The guy who recorded the Romney 47% speech has managed to video Ted Cruz and the Tea Party caucus meeting to prepare for Ted's Big Filibuster:



The Money Quote:

This situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture on somebody's part and we're just the guys to do it.
h/t/ Driftglass

Excerpts from a New York Times front page article this morning:

"Karl Marx," "unfettered leftist," "Sandinista," "Barricades," "Marxist Agenda," "Communists, traitors, radicals," "ragtag peace activists," "anarchists," "democratic socialist."
Quick!  Hide the children!

Whom are they talking about?  Abbie Hoffman?  Angela Davis?  Che Guevara?  George McGovern (gasp!)?

Nope.  It's Dante's Dad and mild-mannered Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio.  The NY Times today threw as many scary "dog-whistle" words as possible into a profile of de Blasio's '80s activism in an apparent effort to validate the terror of Hedge Fund billionaires that the Democratic candidate is a radical Marxist re-distributionist who might increase their taxes by a thousand or two to finance universal pre-school.  (The Horror!)

But not only is De Blasio a leftist, says the Times, he's also an opportunist, willing to sell out to "the Man" by seeking elective office.

Over time, he became more focused on his city job, and using the tools of government to effect change. The answering machine messages stopped changing. He no longer attended meetings about Nicaragua.

His friends in the solidarity movement were puzzled. At a meeting early in 1992, Mr. de Blasio was marked absent. A member scribbled a note next to his name: “Must be running for office.”

Great work, NYT -- tracking down a guy who wrote something on a piece of paper in 1992.

But somehow, in an article chock full of references to the '80s and Nicaragua, the article never mentions Iran-Contra.

How long before the Times feature about the new "Swift-Contra" group formed to tell the truth about Big Bill Haywood.  Oops, I meant de Blasio.

h/t Martin Longman at Washington Monthly.


In the middle of the Bering Strait lie two islands, Little Diomede Island and Big Diomede Island, just 2.4 miles apart.  Big Diomede is part of Russia.  Little Diomede (or as the natives call it "'Lil Di") is part of the state of Alaska, USA.  From Lil Di, you really can see Russia from your house.  

It was there, on October 7, 1951, that Vladimir Putin was born, as revealed recently in documents leaked by Glenn Greenwald via Edward Snowden via Julian Assange via Daniel Ellsberg via Alger Hiss.

The CIA has known this information for 25 years, and administrations from HW Bush to Obama have held it back until the right opportunity arose.  In early September 2013, the Obama administration needed the right kind of leverage on Putin to pressure Syria on chemical arms and avoid involving the United States in Syria, or at least an adverse vote in Congress.  Putin was approached through back channels involving ex-KGB agents and Aryan Nation members in Albuquerque, NM, aided by extortion specialists from the House of Representatives.  Kerry got the word and "let slip" his "they can always turn over their chemical weapons" comment.  The rest is nearly history.

The Syria deal was threatened when Greenwald published the Putin Born in the US scoop, but by that time, the Russian leader had embraced his newly revealed place of birth, saying

"I love U.S.  Well, not so much gays, but still. .. .  Maybe I run for President of U.S. for GOP.  Hah-hah."
The "Hah-hah" part was edited out on Drudge and Fox.

Then he told the tale of his birth on Lil Di in a column in his now regular Op-ed slot in the New York Times (He replaced David Brooks, who was put on permanent "book leave" in Irkutsk):

My mamochka, Maria Ivanovna Putina, was an avid kayaker.  Nothing would stop her from plunging into even icy waters and paddling for hours, not even being nine months pregnant.  On the morning of October 7, 1951, she was kayaking off of Big Diomede Island when she was blown off course, landing on Lil Di, where she gave birth to me with the assistance of kindly Inupiat Inuit midwives.  We then climbed back into the kayak and returned to Big Diomede.

Maria Ivanovna and I made our way back to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), where she used her close connections with Stalin to have my (long form) birth certificate show my birth in Leningrad, and the local papers published a back dated birth announcement.  And as I rose in the KGB ranks and then post-Soviet politics, my secret US birth remained unknown.

Immediately after the disclosure, Putin's name started to be "mentioned" as a GOP Presidential contender for 2016:  
A Time cover story featured a shirtless Putin draped with an American Flag sarong and the headline: "Can the "Bare" Russian Beat Hillary?"

Tom Friedman intoned to Charlie Rose, "Let's wait six months to see if Putin is a viable GOP candidate."  

Maureen Dowd wrote, "Unlike the wimpy Barry, Vlad does not suffer fools gladly.  In fact, he poisons them.  How manly is that?"

Rich Lowry wrote that he "saw constellations" bursting from Putin's six-pack physique.

Peggy Noonan said on Meet the Press, "Screw Reagan. This guy can tear down my wall anytime."

Polls showed Putin surging to the lead almost immediately, at the expense of Chris Christie, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan.  

A "Draft Putin" group put out a devastating ad, juxtaposing the shirtless Putin next to a shirtless Christie, with the voiceover, "Are you kidding me?"  

The latest poll showed Putin at 60%, with Christie, Paul and Ryan at 5% each and the rest divided among Peter King, Steve King, King Crimson, Louis Gohmert, Michelle Bachmann, George Zimmerman, Ted Cruz, Paul Broun, Rudy Giuliani, Ted Nugent and Yakov Smirnoff.

Interviewed at the Kremlin, Putin said he was strongly considering entering the race.  If elected, he noted he would keep his "day job" as Russian President.  "Would be awesome, no?" he said.

(inspired, in part by Steve Benen's excellent work on the right's Putin love.)


This issue is not so simply understood, and I have not yet seen a complete analysis of it. Because the Republicans are trying to use to fan the flames of public outrage, the latest being Vitter's grandstanding, it's important to know the full story in order to accurately rebut their argument.  Below is my understanding.  Please correct me if I'm wrong about anything and add facts I have left out.

My understanding is:

1.  Grassley's bill removed Congress and staff from the Federal Employees Health Program and put them into the exchanges.

2.  The Federal Employees Health Program gave Congress (and still gives federal employees) the equivalent of a "silver" or "bronze" plan under the exchanges.

3.  On the exchanges, all Congresspersons and most staff earn too much to qualify for subsidies.  As a result, they will have to purchase insurance in the exchanges, and may only be able to purchase bronze plans.

4. As a result, a new regulation was promulgated to deal with the issue by arranging for the same employer contribution toward payment of the premium for the same "silver" or "gold" policy that the Congressperson or staffer had under the Federal Health Employee Plan.

5.  The end result is that Congressional members and staff are restored to the same status as to the amount of health care benefits they received prior to the Grassley provision.

6.   However, that result is now accomplished under the parameters of the ACA -- i.e., the employer contribution is paying for the same level of care.

7.  Republicans are calling this a subsidy for Congress that other people don't have.

Is this true?

     a.  On the one hand, it's restoring the status quo for them prior to the Grassley stunt bill. Like any private employer, the Federal Government pays relatively generous health benefits, which were part of the employee's compensation.

      b.  On the other hand, because the premium payments are coming from the Federal Government, and are for policies on the exchanges, it gives the Republicans the opportunity to call it a subsidy and propagandize that Congress is treating itself better.

But Congress and staff were always treated "better" than private employees who had inferior or no health insurance prior to the ACA.  Is the end result simply that Republicans are trying to decrease the compensation of Congress and staff by taking away a large part of their health care benefits?

Please comment to correct or add to any of this.



Saturday's Times had a piece titled On Syria vote, trust but verify, by Progressive hero Alan Grayson.  The op-ed piece juxtaposes the evidence of Syrian use of gas with a skeptical article from the Daily Caller.

The What?

The Daily Caller is a right wing, lying rag run by the loathsome Tucker Carlson, recently known for fabricating and paying prostitutes to lie about Sen. Menendez.  

Rep. Grayson, is this the best you can do to counter what the administration has presented? There have to be other sources if there is any doubt that the Syrians are responsible.

Finally, Rep. Grayson ends:

My position is simple: if the administration wants me to vote for war, on this occasion or on any other, then I need to know all the facts. And I’m not the only one who feels that way.
Does this mean he would vote for war if there were "smoking gun" evidence of Syrian use of poison gas?
You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.


Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site