Archive for May, 2014

“Are you real?” lol

The Washington Post has a rundown on last night’s primary results. The title says it all: “The tea party isn’t just losing; it’s losing badly.”

Even the conservative Washington Times didn’t mince words with its headline: “Tea party on life support after brutal primary beatdown.”

Meanwhile, a CBS News poll out today indicates that support for the Tea Party has reached a new low.

All of this is good for establishment Republicans, and helps Republicans in their quest to retake the senate. Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell behaved like a douche last night, giving a bizarre victory speech in which he promised that he will break the will of President Obama.

McConnell is very unpopular in the state, so his only strategy is to try to drag [Democratic candidate Alison] Grimes down by tying her to President Obama. The problem for Mitch is that President Obama is more popular in the state than he is. Hearing Mitch McConnell talk about how much he cares about regular people was especially nauseating when this the same man who laughed about throwing millions off of unemployment benefits.

Mitch McConnell promised to repeal and replace Obamacare. He promised a war on bureaucrats, and he dusted off talking points that probably worked in decades past. Sen. McConnell is a floundering candidate, and his victory speech did nothing to make anyone think that he deserves another six years in the Senate.

That will be a fascinating campaign. Grimes faces an uphill battle in red Kentucky, but you never know.

In case you haven’t heard, adulterer, and now convicted felon, Dinesh D’Souza plead guilty to making illegal campaign donations in a US Senate race. D’Souza had two people donate to Wendy Long, then reimbursed them for their donations, a clear violation of federal law. Since D’Souza’s arrest he claimed he was innocent and the government was prosecuting him because of a movie he made a couple of years ago about Obama. He made the conservative rounds to plead his case and to drum up interest in an upcoming movie. Senator Ted Cruz even got in on the act, claiming political persecution. That all changed yesterday, when D’Souza told the judge, “I knew that causing a campaign contribution to be made in the name of another was wrong and something the law forbids. I deeply regret my conduct.” D’Souza didn’t say he NOW knows those contributions were illegal, he said he KNEW AT THE TIME they were made.

A self-respecting pundit or journalist who helped pimp D’Souza’s lies about his innocence should now revisit the topic, say they were wrong, and ignore anything else D’Souza may say or do in the future. But that’s not what will happen. Once sentencing is over, D’Souza will go back to the trusty right-wing noise machine and claim he only plead guilty because the government had rigged the case against him. He will swear that Obama was personally out to get him (even though the judge said D’Souza had presented no evidence of selective prosecution), and the rabid right will lap it all up and throw more money at his pseudo-documentaries. One thing you can count on, wingnut welfare never runs dry.

On the heels of the ruling yesterday striking down a ban on same sex marriage in Oregon, today Judge John E. Jones III struck down the State of Pennsylvania’s law banning same-sex marriage. In his ruling, Judge Jones said, “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.” Hear, hear. Ironically, Rick Santorum urged the Senate to confirm Judge Jones back when Santorum was still a senator.

Could anyone have believed such progress would occur so quickly on the heals of the 2008 California Proposition 8 vote, in which voters narrowly supported a ban on same sex marriage in that state? Of course, that led to it being overturned on appeal, and ultimately to the June 26, 2013 United States Supreme Court decision that effectively left the law overturned. Less than a year later, 19 states permit same sex marriage.

So Marco Rubio still refuses to answer the question of whether or not he has smoked marijuana.

“Here’s the problem with that question in American politics,” Rubio said. “If you say you did, suddenly there are all these people saying ‘Well, it’s not a big deal, look at all these successful people who did it.’ On the other side of it, if you tell people that you didn’t, they won’t believe you.”

And if you refuse to answer entirely, then people will think you’re nothing but a craven politician with something to hide.

Marco, Marco, Marco… If you hadn’t smoked weed, you would say so. We all know you smoked, and your lame excuses for refusing to answer the question just make you look, well, lame.

P.S. I was going to tag this with slang terms for marijuana, but there are way too many for that!

Well, here’s a new development — one we’ll no doubt see more of in the future. Farmers Insurance Company is suing Chicago-area municipal governments in response to claims stemming from April 2013 flooding.

Now a major insurance company is suing Chicago-area municipal governments saying they knew of the risks posed by climate change and should have been better prepared. The class-action lawsuits raise the question of who is liable for the costs of global warming.

Filed by Farmers Insurance Co. on behalf of itself, other insurance companies and customers whose property was damaged by the surge of storm water and sewage overflow, the lawsuits allege the governments of Chicago-area municipalities knew their drainage systems were inadequate and failed to take reasonable action to prevent flooding of insured properties.

“During the past 40 years, climate change in Cook County has caused rains to be of greater volume, greater intensity and greater duration than pre-1970 rainfall history evidenced,” a fact that local governments were well aware of, a suit filed in Cook County, Ill., alleges, citing a climate change action plan adopted in 2008 that acknowledges the link between climate change and increased rainfall.

The suits also say the localities knew their drainage systems weren’t up to snuff because the regional water management authority had published plans in 2011 detailing various defects.

Knowing the risks, they argue, local governments should have increased their storm water storage capacity. Furthermore, the suits allege they were negligent in failing to take temporary measures in the days before the storm, such as deploying water-inflatable property protection systems to mitigate damage.

While the deniers live in Rubio-land, the rest of us have to deal with the real world.

I won’t participate for reasons I won’t bother to explain, but if anyone else might want to engage in a pointless cage match, have at it.  I think the odds are in your favor.

So while conservatives compete with each other to see who can be Dumb & Dumber when it comes to climate change, the rest of us have to deal with reality.

Clear skies above but water below, a woman on a moped navigates a flooded street corner on Miami Beach, an all-too-familiar sign for residents of this iconic peninsula where the ocean seems more likely than ever to swamp Ocean Drive one day.

If there’s an image that starkly illustrates the threats of climate change, it’s this photograph, which was included in the recent National Climate Assessment released by the White House. It is noteworthy because the flood is from exceptionally high spring tides – not heavy rains. Tidal flooding like that is relatively new. And scary. “People in Miami Beach are living climate change,” said David Nolan, a meteorology and physical oceanography professor at the University of Miami. “They’re on the frontline.”

The people of Miami Beach didn’t need the National Climate Assessment to tell them low-lying south Florida is “exceptionally vulnerable to sea level rise”. The city is already spending $206m to overhaul its drainage system.

The day after the White House released its climate change report, Miami-Dade County’s commission passed a 6 May resolution that calls on planners to account for sea level rise. Local officials across the four counties of south Florida are making similar moves. Almost anyone who lives in south Florida has a nagging fear about climate change. It’s both abstract and, at times, very real.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Chait writes about President Obama’s dilemma when it comes to the new Environmental Protection Agency rules he will announce in a few weeks regulating carbon emissions.

The best way to think of the dilemma is keeping in mind the three things Obama wants his regulations to accomplish: He wants them to effectively reduce carbon pollution, he wants them not to cost consumers too much, and he wants to be sure they can survive legal challenge. The trouble is that he can only pick two of these. And the primary question weighing on administration regulators as they make their decision will be how to read the mind of Anthony Kennedy.

No matter what he decides, conservatives will scream and shout in protest, in part because their overarching strategy is to oppose any Obama initiative and deny him any accomplishments. It’s a helluva way to run a government.