Election 2014: GOP establishment favorite wins Alaska Senate primary
Like everyone else on the planet, I was stunned and saddened to read the news last night of comedian Robin Williams’ death:
Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams, who dazzled in such wide-ranging dramatic and comedic roles as alien, nanny, therapist and cartoon genie during a four-decades long career, was found dead in his northern California home in a suspected suicide Monday. He was 63.
The Marin County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement that Williams was found unconscious and not breathing in his home around noon. The statement said the investigation into Williams’ death is ongoing, but the coroner “suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.”
The Marin County coroner’s office said Williams was last seen alive at home at about 10 p.m. Sunday. An emergency call from his house in Tiburon was placed to the Sheriff’s Department shortly before noon Monday.
A representative for Williams said in a statement the actor had been battling “severe depression of late.”
“This is a tragic and sudden loss,” Mara Buxbaum said. “The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”
Williams’ wife Susan Schneider said in a statement she is devastated and asked for privacy.
“This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings,” she said. “I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”
Williams publicly struggled with addiction during his career and most recently went to rehab in June to “fine tune” his sobriety, his rep said at the time.
The death of someone is never easy to handle, but when you read it’s from apparent suicide, your heart just absolutely breaks, and you wonder “what could I have done that maybe would have led to a different outcome?”
If you’re in a position in your life where you think hope is lost, IT ISN’T. Reach out and talk to someone. If you want it to remain anonymous, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline. 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You are never alone, and please always remember that people care about and love you.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Williams’ family. It goes without saying that although he is gone, he will not be forgotten.
Just wanted to take a few minutes to let you know that, starting tomorrow, yours truly will be taking the next three weeks off from blogging as a bit of a “summer break.” If anything super-hot breaks that I feel the urge to write about, I’ll check in but other than that I’ll be away from the blog. Phineas may post here and there but it will likely be light posting. As much as we’d both like it to, our writing does not pay the bills so we have offline responsibilities that must take priority. Because of that, sometimes the amount of content here isn’t what we’d like it to be.
I’ll be using my time away from the blog to, in part, consider its creative direction, and its future. I’ve been blogging consistently since October 2003, and while I appreciate loyal readers who keep coming back, readership is not growing, and it needs to grow if I want this to be a successful blog that generates ad revenue and tip jar contributions that can help me sustain it and perhaps one day turn it into something I can do on a more regular basis.
All that being said, I will not be totally off the radar. You can still catch me daily on social media (my Twitter / Facebook / Phineas’ Twitter account). For the time being, it’s just easier for me to partake in social media posting and commentary than it is for me to blog during the week.
Anyone who needs to contact me can do so via social media, or via the “contact” link at the top of this page. I appreciate, in advance, your understanding. Later, gators.
Enough is enough, they say. Via Fox News:
Dozens of government watchdogs are sounding the alarm that the Obama administration is stonewalling them, in what is being described as an unprecedented challenge to the agencies they’re supposed to oversee.
Forty-seven of the government’s 73 independent watchdogs known as inspectors general voiced their complaints in a letter to congressional leaders this week. They accused several major agencies — the Justice Department, the Peace Corps and the chemical safety board — of imposing “serious limitations on access to records.”
The inspectors general are now appealing to Congress to help them do their jobs uncovering waste, fraud, and mismanagement.
“Agency actions that limit, condition, or delay access thus have profoundly negative consequences for our work: they make us less effective, encourage other agencies to take similar actions in the future, and erode the morale of the dedicated professionals that make up our staffs,” they wrote.
The letter to the chairmen and ranking members of relevant oversight committees in the House and Senate claimed agencies are withholding information by calling it “privileged.”
In the letter, they said this interpretation poses “potentially serious challenges to the authority of every Inspector General and our ability to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner.”
Gotta hand it to IG’s willing to put their name to the complaints in this letter. After all, we’ve seen what happens to inspectors general in this administration when they run afoul of the President’s do as I say, not as I do agenda.
“Transparency” you can believe in! At least many in the mainstream media aren’t even falling for it anymore. Baby steps ….
**Posted by Phineas
That’s the unavoidable conclusion of a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which, if I recall correctly, has been friendly towards the ACA. Byron York reports:
According to new polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has closely tracked Obamacare for years, 37 percent of those surveyed have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act, while 53 percent have an unfavorable view. That’s an eight-percentage-point jump in unfavorability over last month, and a two-point drop in favorability over the same time.
Why the shift? It’s not because millions of Americans have suddenly become conservative Republicans. Kaiser found that disapproval of Obamacare has risen across the board. Among Democrats, for example, the law’s unfavorable rating jumped six points in July, while its favorable rating fell four points. A similar thing happened among independents and — it hardly seemed possible — among Republicans who already hated the law.
Obamacare’s unfavorables also rose among all income groups — people who make less than $40,000 a year, those who make between $40,000 and $90,000 a year, and those who make more than $90,000. The same among all age groups. And the same for race and ethnicity: Disapproval rose among whites, blacks, and Hispanics.
Rather than a shift among some identifiable group, Obamacare’s rising unpopularity seems to be a product of the simple fact that, several months into its implementation, more and more people are having personal experience with the law.
Remember how Democrats swore people would love the law, once they got some experience with it? Critics suspected that was wishful thinking, and we seem to have been right.
Read the rest of York’s article for the details, but this is really the result of two things: 1) monumental progressive arrogance in seizing control of a health insurance system that a majority of the nation was satisfied with, substituting their judgement for that of their constituents and face-slapping the constitutional order in the process; and 2) doing a crappy job of writing the actual legislation, causing all sorts of problems for people across the nation. After the disruption of doctor-patient relationships, shrunken provider networks, increased deductibles, and massive cancellations of policies people were happy with –and the savaging of large group plans is still to come!– after all that, is it any wonder more and more people hate this thing, the more they get to know it?
Obamacare has been pushed into the background somewhat, as other crises du jour have taken it’s place on the front pages. But it’s still there, and it is still going to annoy the heck out of people, especially as the rate increases hit this summer and group policies start getting cancelled. And you can bet that surveys like this one fill Democrats with dread as we approach November.
As they should.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
A fantastic column from Ron Christie in today’s Daily Beast regarding the disgusting racist attacks being waged by Democrats in Kentucky against former Secretary of Labor (and wife of KY Senator/Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell) Elaine Cho (hat tip):
But Democrats who imagine racist slights and “dog whistles” at every turn would be wise to look at the vicious anti-Asian bigotry on display in Kentucky, which is being fomented by supporters of their so-called progressive party.
This past weekend, as Senator McConnell spoke to supporters at the Fancy Farm event in Kentucky, he sought to confront the “War on Women” rhetoric of his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, by noting his wife’s accomplishments. “And the biggest asset I have by far is the only Kentucky woman who served in a president’s cabinet, my wife, Elaine Chao,” he said to applause from the crowd.
It didn’t take long for Kathy Groob, the founder of the pro-Democrat PAC Elect Women, to start mocking Chao’s heritage on Twitter. “She’s not from KY…She is Asian and [President George W.] Bush openly touted that,” Groob said. In other tweets, Groob referred to Chao as McConnell’s “Chinese wife,” and said McConnell is “wedded to free trade in China.”
She later deleted her offensive tweets and deactivated her Twitter account. National and Kentucky Democrats, to their credit, quickly denounced her remarks.
Still, the incident left me scratching my head. A prominent Democrat attacks a spouse of a Republican candidate based on the color of her skin, but the reaction from the national media has been largely muted. One can only imagine the reaction had a GOP operative made the exact same slur against the spouse of a Democratic candidate. There would be wall-to-wall coverage on MSNBC, disapproving editorials from The New York Times, and warnings from the DNC that Republicans are looking to bring us back to the days of internment camps and Jim Crow. Talking Points Memo, a liberal website that delights in highlighting the ramblings of obscure GOP statehouse backbenchers, would use a story like that to insinuate that conservatives are, by and large, racist.
And this isn’t even the first time Democrats in Kentucky have attacked Chao’s ethnicity. Last year, a Democratic super PAC called Progress Kentucky tweeted that McConnell’s marriage to Chao “may explain why your job moved to #China.”
Make sure to read the whole thing.
Double standards like this, which I’ve written about many, many times before, will never change – at least as far as the mainstream media is concerned. But all the same, they’ll always be worth pointing out. Sunlight is the best medicine, and all that …
It is to laugh, my dear readers. It is to laugh:
So you think that President Obama’s rise stemmed in part from media favoritism? Reid Cherlin, a former Obama campaign media liaison and later a White House spokesman, has different ideas, as outlined in a Rolling Stone piece:
No, Barack Obama never had reporters eating out of his hand the way that right-wingers love to allege — even though Obama’s intellectual approach made him seem like someone who could just as easily have been a columnist as a candidate. Appearing at his first Correspondents’ Dinner, in 2009, the president joked, “Most of you covered me; all of you voted for me.” But even as polite laughter settled over the black-tie crowd, there was ample evidence that the old way of the news business – in fact, the news business entirely – was falling away, and with it, the last shreds of comity between subject and scribe.
Time to book Cherlin on a conference panel with Mark Halperin. The co-author of “Game Change” and well-traveled pundit and reporter said after Obama’s 2008 victory: “It’s the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war. It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage.”
Halperin was, of course, correct. And several years later, unfortunately, not much has changed.
I’ll be chuckling over this one for a while:
Black Democrats in Congress are sharply criticizing their party’s leadership for supporting efforts to overturn the GOP-drawn congressional map in Florida and cut into Republicans’ House majority.
Last week, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) sent a sharply worded letter to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) complaining about the party’s support for a lawsuit that aims to throw out Florida’s congressional map — changes that could dismantle the gerrymandered seat of CBC member Corrine Brown.
“On behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), I write to express our ongoing concern with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) support of lawsuits challenging the validity of minority Congressional districts,” Fudge wrote. “Per our prior discussion, we are extremely disturbed by the DCCC’s efforts to dismantle CBC districts in states that have historically proven to be difficult to elect minority members. Considering the history of discrimination through efforts such as gerrymandering, the recent actions reflect the discrimination of days past.”
On Friday, a Florida judge asked the Legislature to redraw the congressional map so that it conformed with the state’s constitution. He set a deadline for Aug. 15 so that the new map could be used for the 2014 election and left open the possibility that the election could be postponed to allow time for the new plan to be implemented.
Democratic-aligned groups, with funding from the National Democratic Redistricting Trust, have supported the lawsuit with an eye toward undoing a congressional map that is seen as GOP-friendly. But the CBC is unhappy because the judge has specifically pointed to Brown’s oddly shaped 5th District, which snakes from Jacksonville all the way down to Orlando, as a district that violated the state’s Fair Districts amendment.
OK. Let me break this down: Democrats, especially those in the South, have an – er, unsavory shall we say history on the issue of racism going waaaaaaaaay back. They’ve tried to make amends to it over the years, mostly by flipping the switch and (many times falsely) accusing their opponents of racism in an effort to scare voters. To a large degree, the despicable, desperate tactic worked. They often point to “gerrymandering” as a way Republican-dominated state legislatures demonstrate their alleged disdain and hatred for black people.
In this instance, the FL GOP drew up a revised Congressional map that a FL judge has asked them to redraw by the middle of this month. Naturally, the DCCC applauded the judge’s ruling because they believe it will give them an upcoming election advantage. But if the maps are redrawn the way the judge seems to think they should be, it could impact Corrine Brown’s seat which the CBC does not support. In effect, black Democrats here are saying that, though in the past redistricting has been used to “disenfranchise” black voters, in this situation it wasn’t. The (mostly white) members of the DCCC, on the other hand, are apparently willing to overlook at how this could negatively impact Congresswoman Brown because of the potential to pick up more desperately needed seats elsewhere.
You really can’t make this stuff up! #popcorn
**Posted by Phineas
I’m telling ya, this is how Act One of a bad science fiction movie would run. A report leaked to Breitbart Texas from the Customs and Border Patrol service (CBP) discusses how people from all over the globe are trying to exploit our porous southern border to get into the United States. People from more than 75 different countries have been apprehended. That’s frustrating enough. But what is truly scary is where some of them are coming from:
Among the significant revelations are that individuals from nations currently suffering from the world’s largest Ebola outbreak have been caught attempting to sneak across the porous U.S. border into the interior of the United States. At least 71 individuals from the three nations affected by the current Ebola outbreak have either turned themselves in or been caught attempting to illegally enter the U.S. by U.S. authorities between January 2014 and July 2014.
None of those people it seems were carrying ebola, for we’d surely know by now. But what if someone carrying the virus made it across the Rio Grande and successfully hid themselves in our inner cities, not knowing the danger he or she posed as a “Trojan horse?” By the time this person showed symptoms and was discovered, the virus might already have spread into the larger population. Even if safely contained, the news would spread like wildfire.
Can you say “mass public panic?”
Securing the border is looking better and better all the time.
via Rick Moran
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Via The Politico:
Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) on Monday called his recent fight with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “a walk in the park” after, he says, she called him a “liar” on the House floor.
“She came running over crossing the floor, which is a breach of protocol … and she came up to me wagging her finger and saying that I was a liar, a liar, and I simply said, ‘No, I do my research and I have my facts straight, perhaps you should try that,’” Marino told Fox News on Monday, recalling the event.
“I’m a former prosecutor … I’ve been threatened by drug dealers and organized crime and murderers, and this was a walk in the park,” Marino added.
The battle between Marino and Pelosi began on Friday during a heated discussion on immigration.
“You know something that I find quite interesting about the other side?” Marino said on the House floor on Friday. “Under the leadership of the former speaker [Pelosi], and under the leadership of the former leader [Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)], when in 2009 and 2010, they had the House, the Senate and the White House, and they knew this problem existed … they didn’t have the strength to go after [immigration] back then.”
Marino’s comments caused Pelosi to cross the aisle, but not for bipartisan reasons.
“I am an insignificant person; she told me that twice, and I just simply said to her, ‘Do you want to talk about this in the back?’ and she said, ‘No’; she was visibly shaken,” Marino said.
Make sure to watch the bottom of the screen when the camera pans to the floor and you’ll see her twice going after him, the second time pretty aggressively.
Now, I want you to imagine just for a minute the level of outrage had this been Marino confronting Pelosi on the House floor in such a hostile manner. We’d NEVER hear the end of it in terms of how it was just another “example of the GOP’s war on women”, etc. But, like I said Saturday in my initial comments on the matter, the double standard will – of course – be allowed to stand in this instance:
It was a severe breach of decorum, but unlike how House Dems reacted when Rep. Joe Wilson yelled, “You lie!” at President Obama during a State of the Union, don’t expect much of any criticism of what she did yesterday.
Wondering what tripped Pelosi’s trigger? Nothing Marino said was a personal attack on her, her party, her constituency, nothing of the sort. It was mere political disagreement. Which, perhaps, is where the problem is. After decades of having to stand on the House floor and ‘tolerate’ ‘intolerant’ comments from the political opposition, perhaps ‘Madame Minority Leader’ had had enough. Though sh*t, hon. When/if the political opposition in the US House starts calling the President a murderer and dictator and thug on the floor of the House like your side did during the eight years Bush was in office, you’ll maybe have a valid excuse for your behavior. But until then ….
Hats off to Rep. Marino, for not backing down from her attempt at intimidating him into silence. We definitely need more like him.