Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 28


Yes, indeed, there's something surreal about John McCain's meeting with Syrian rebels. And this sure doesn't make it all seem any less weird (it's Graham's official twitter account, not some jokester).


A report conducted by the Treasury Department's Inspector General found that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) improperly targeted conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) status and IRS officials have publicly admitted to relying on inappropriate criteria to screen out the names of organizations that included "tea party" or "patriots" for additional scrutiny. But the New York Times reported on Sunday that some of the targeted groups may have used most of their resources to engage in political activity and backed Republican candidates for office, potentially violating the terms of the "social welfare" designation.

Under the law, 501(c)(4)s cannot be "primarily engaged" in electioneering activity. Though the guidelines for acceptable levels of political activity are unclear, organizations with such designations operate under the understanding that they are prohibited from spending more than 49 percent of their funds or time on political advocacy. Several Tea Party groups that reported unfair IRS scrutiny appear to have overstepped these bounds, the paper notes:

When CVFC, a conservative veterans' group in California, applied for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service, its biggest expenditure that year was several thousand dollars in radio ads backing a Republican candidate for Congress.

The Wetumpka Tea Party, from Alabama, sponsored training for a get-out-the-vote initiative dedicated to the "defeat of President Barack Obama" while the I.R.S. was weighing its application.

And the head of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, whose application languished with the I.R.S. for more than two years, sent out e-mails to members about Mitt Romney campaign events and organized members to distribute Mr. Romney's presidential campaign literature.

The IRS is separately reviewing "roughly 300 tax-exempt groups that may have engaged in improper campaign activity in past years, according to agency planning documents" and lawmakers are urging the agency to reconsider the applications of much larger groups like Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS. The group told the IRS that any political ads run by the group would be "limited in amount" and "would not constitute the group's primary purpose," but it appears to be primarily focused on campaign activity.

As Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) explained on Fox News Sunday, while the IRS' use of a partisan list to go after conservative groups is not justified, the law requires 501(c)(4)s to be "engaged in social welfare and not politics and campaigning." "Crossroads was exhibit A. They were boasting about how much money they were going to raise and beat Democrats with," Durbin said.


Ohio School District May Add Glenn Beck Conspiracy Theories To Curriculum

When the man's right he's right. On Fox News Sunday:

"Could people like Bob Dole, even Ronald Reagan, could you make it in today's Republican party?" Wallace asked.

"I doubt it," Dole said. "Reagan couldn't have made it. Certainly Nixon couldn't have made it, because he had ideas."

"Too moderate?" Wallace said. "Too willing to compromise?"

"I just consider myself a Republican," Dole said. "None of this hyphenated stuff. I was a mainstream conservative Republican."

I hasten to repeat: I don't mind at all. Not only does it benefit the future of progressive politics, but it's damn fun to watch.

Friday, May 24, 2013

May 24

Congressman: Women Should Be Forced To Give Birth To Fetuses With No Brain Function

And Uh. This.

During a Thursday House floor speech about the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) practice of scrutinizing conservative groups, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) connected the so-called scandal to the idea that owls could mate on Kmart signs.

This guy gets to vote on legislation that impacts 310 million people. Louie Gohmert. Utterly terrifying.



I hear "if only Obama would close Guantanamo" a lot, so this is going to be long. Here's the meat of what he said about GTMO:

As President, I have tried to close GTMO. I transferred 67 detainees to other countries before Congress imposed restrictions to effectively prevent us from either transferring detainees to other countries or imprisoning them here in the United States.

These restrictions make no sense. After all, under President Bush, some 530 detainees were transferred from GTMO with Congress's support. When I ran for President the first time, John McCain supported closing GTMO — this was a bipartisan issue. No person has ever escaped one of our super-max or military prisons here in the United States — ever. Our courts have convicted hundreds of people for terrorism or terrorism-related offenses, including some folks who are more dangerous than most GTMO detainees. They're in our prisons.

And given my administration's relentless pursuit of al Qaeda's leadership, there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should have never have been opened. (Applause.) [...]

Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GTMO. (Applause.)

I have asked the Department of Defense to designate a site in the United States where we can hold military commissions. I'm appointing a new senior envoy at the State Department and Defense Department whose sole responsibility will be to achieve the transfer of detainees to third countries.

I am lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen so we can review them on a case-by-case basis. To the greatest extent possible, we will transfer detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries. [...]

Now, even after we take these steps one issue will remain — just how to deal with those GTMO detainees who we know have participated in dangerous plots or attacks but who cannot be prosecuted, for example, because the evidence against them has been compromised or is inadmissible in a court of law. But once we commit to a process of closing GTMO, I am confident that this legacy problem can be resolved, consistent with our commitment to the rule of law.

Is he mis-stating the Congressional restrictions? Is there some way he can go around Congress? What else, exactly, can he do?

And I would really like to believe that Dave Weigel is right about his final point:

… We have a divided government; Congress holds the purse strings; Congress passed the 2001 Authorization of Force in Iraq. But most discussion of foreign policy focuses on the president, the commander-in-chief. Why didn't he close Gitmo, like he promised? Is he saying he and he alone can kill citizens with drone attacks?

At four moments in his speech today, the president pointed at Capitol Hill and asked it to move on or admit its role in the security decisions that have become so controversial…

4. "Given my Administration's relentless pursuit of al Qaeda's leadership, there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should never have been opened. Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GTMO."

Translation: The Gitmo debacle is on you. You ground me down in 2009, promising to block funding and locations for prisoner transfers, before turning around and attacking me for breaking a campaign promise.


Austerity's Vicious Cycle Spurs Record Cash Hoarding By U.S. Companies

Regarding that bridge collapse in Mount Vernon, Washington, here are the names of the senators who filibustered the president's infrastructure bill via Bill Scher:

Sen. Sessions (R-Ala.)
Sen. Shelby (R-Ala.)
Sen. Murkowski (R-Alaska)
Sen. Lieberman (I-Conn.)
Sen. Chambliss (R-Ga.)
Sen. Isakson (R-Ga.)
Sen. Crapo (R-Idaho)
Sen. Lugar (R-Ind.)
Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa)
Sen. McConnell (R-Ky.)
Sen. Vitter (R-La.)
Sen. Collins (R-Me.)
Sen. Snowe (R-Me.)
Sen. Cochran (R-Miss.)
Sen. Nelson (D-Neb.)
Sen. Burr (R-N.C.)
Sen. Coburn (R-Okla.)
Sen. Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Sen. DeMint (R-S.C.)
Sen. Graham (R-S.C)
Sen. Thune (R-S.D.)
Sen. Alexander (R-Tenn.)
Sen. Hutchison (R-Tex.)
Sen. Hatch (R-Utah)
Sen. Enzi (R-Wyo.)

The deficit has been reduced by $800 billion since the president was inaugurated. We can afford to do this, but the Republicans refuse to allow it because they're more interested in sabotaging the economy to destroy the president. In the crossfire, the destruction of that bridge.



The president's "job-killing" healthcare law and anti-business policies have seemingly had no effect on the pay of corporate CEOs. On the contrary, CEO pay is now higher than ever, breaking the record previously set in 2011.

From the Associated Press.

The head of a typical large public company made $9.7 million in 2012, a 6.5 percent increase from a year earlier that was aided by a rising stock market, according to an analysis by The Associated Press using data from Equilar, an executive pay research firm. [...]

The highest paid CEO was Leslie Moonves of CBS, who made $60.3 million. He beat the second-place finisher handily: David Zaslav of Discovery Communications, who made $49.9 million. Five of the 10 highest-paid CEOs were from the entertainment and media industry.

For the fourth year in five, health care CEOs received the highest median pay at $11.1 million, while utility CEOs had the lowest at $7.5 million. The median value is the midpoint; half the CEOs in that group made more and half less.

Healthcare CEOs have the highest median pay obviously because Obamacare has ruined their business. Or something.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 23

Color me surprised.



California Green Car Company Tesla Repays Government Loan Early, Silencing GOP Critics 


Good news everyone — we've got a brand new story about Jose Canseco, the patheticwashed-upwife-beatingbankrupted pus-sac that hit a gillion home runs, got all his friends to do steroids, then wrote a book tattling on all of them.

The PED trailblazer has also jumped into new ways of abusing women: Moving on from his traditional "ram my wife's car" maneuver, he's decided to publically respond to rape allegations (bad idea) on Twitter (even worse) by tweeting his accuser's name (horrible) and phone number (fucking impossible to get any more awful). READ MORE »


Former halfterm Moose Queen Sarah Palin has some Thoughts, and she has left her dumb ol' Myface page for the Big League Pixels of Ghost Andrew Breitbart's Internet Home for Wayward Wig Addicts to bring em at ya! Her thoughts are on the IRS, and how people "live in fear of them." Sure, we'll bite!

This IRS scandal is especially terrible because Americans live in fear of the IRS like no other entity because this monstrous bureaucracy has the power to take your hard-earned money. Your wages are the sum of your labors; hence, the IRS has the power to steal the fruits of your labors. Average Americans live in fear of making an error on their tax returns that could cost them massive amounts of money, plus their reputation and good name. If a small business makes a mistake, the IRS can shut them down and send them to jail.

You know, we hate to sound like those police state proponents who say if you've done nothing wrong you've nothing to fear, but … well. You know.

We do not "live in fear" of the IRS. In fact, not to be a better citizen than you, but not only do we love jury duty, but we don't even hate paying our taxes! We go to the post office to mail out your Shut the Fuck Up Luke Russert coffee cups, and we brag to Cheryl, the lady there, that we are going to fill like AT LEAST THREE POTHOLES, and she is welcome!

Why might Sarah Palin "live in fear" of the IRS? Let's do some hypothesizin', dontchaknow, after the jump! READ MORE »


SC, seething hotbed of unbridled lust racism, cont. - SC Governor Nikki Haley has appointed a White Supremacist to her re-election campaign steering committee. (Raw Story)


Most schools in Oklahoma have no tornado shelters, because they cost too much. There are a few parents who paid a much higher price than a few extra tax dollars


Arizona state Rep. Juan Mendez quotes Carl Sagan, rather than saying a prayer before a session of the House. This shocking bit of Religious Freedom from an atheist would not stand, however, and aproper prayer was offered the next day to appease mighty Cthulhu -- or somebody. I don't know. In any case, we can be sure Arizona won't be cast into a lake of fire for the impiety of its legislature.

Eric Holder says that the US has killed four Americans with the drone program.


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke should have spoken these words a long time ago, but better late than never.

Bernanke says in his prepared testimony before the Joint Economic Committee, "fiscal policy at the federal level has become significantly more restrictive."

"In particular," his testimony says, "the expiration of the payroll tax cut, the enactment of tax increases, the effects of the budget caps on discretionary spending, the onset of sequestration, and the declines in defense spending for overseas military operations are expected, collectively, to exert a substantial drag on the economy this year."

You can agree or disagree with individual parts of Bernanke's statement, but the general message is that cutting government spending, regardless of where the money was going, is preventing the economy from taking off quicker than it already is.

This is Bernanke at his most Keynesian moment in front of Congress.

Unfortunately I believe sequestration is here to stay because there's nothing easier in Washington than preserving the status quo.


The Virginia Republican Party has managed to nominate someone for the position of Lieutenant Governor that makes Ken Cuccinelli seem reasonable in comparison.

Fasten your seat-belt before reading E. W. Jackson's resume of hate courtesy ofRightWingWatch.

  • Referred to gays and lesbians as "perverted," "degenerate," "spiritually darkened" and "frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally."
  • Said regarding homosexuality: "it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of."
  • Argued that gays seek to "sexualize [children] at the earliest possible age" and use "totalitarian" tactics.
  • Claimed gays are hurting black women: "I've heard a lot of young black ladies that a lot of young black men seem to be gay. I've heard them complain about it, they say 'so many of these guys are homosexuals' and they are frankly frustrated by it."
  • Demanded the reinstitution of Don't Ask Don't Tell : "The military has been decimated by this lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender policy that has now been implemented. It's an abomination and it's only going to weaken us militarily and they need to undo it," warning that the policy's repeal is a "disaster of historic proportions."
  • Contended that homosexuality is "killing black men by the thousands" and said of gay rights advocates: "what they're promoting is killing people."
  • Called GLSEN founder and anti-bullying activist Kevin Jennings a "radical homosexual activist" who should have been "imprisoned" in a letter demanding he resign as head of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.
  • Said there is a "direct connection" between gays and pedophilia.
  • Wondered how the Democratic Party "managed to hold on to black Christians in spite of an agenda worthy of the Antichrist."
  • Proclaimed that "the Democrat Party has shown itself to be anti-Christian, anti-Bible, anti-family, anti-life and anti-God… We're calling people to come out of the Democrat Party and not support candidates who represent its values and the rebellion that it represents against God. That certainly would include President Barack Obama."
  • Claimed that Democratic Party supporters are "insulting their faith and blaspheming their God" by supporting a "coalition of the godless."
  • Warned that ministers who support Obama "are going to have to answer to God" if they encourage "their congregations to support this abomination."
  • Said Democrats believe "that the Bible is a lie and indeed they are saying that God is a liar."
  • Argued that "liberalism and their ideas have done more to kill black folks whom they claim so much to love than the Ku Klux Klan, lynching and slavery and Jim Crow ever did, now that's a fact."
  • Maintained that Obama "seems to have a lot of sympathy for even radical Islam" and "clearly has Muslim sensibilities," arguing that Obama "certainly does have a lot of affection and favor for Islam, that seems to be his priority…Christianity, I don't really think about that with him, I really don't, that's a joke."
  • Compared Democratic leaders to "slave masters" who make sure that black people who disagree with them are "punished."
  • Insisted that Planned Parenthood "has been far more lethal to Black lives than the KKK ever was."
  • Predicted that African Americans will "overwhelmingly" vote against Obama as a result of his endorsement of marriage equality and a move of God to "stir the hearts of His people" and push them against the Democrats.
  • Maintained that the President and First Lady are both Communist sympathizers who dislike America.


But that's not all. He also apparently moonlights as a 3/5ths clause apologist. The three-fifths clause designated slaves as 3/5ths of a person. He also accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of being a fake Mormon during an interview with Glenn Beck.

If you're a member of the Republican party in Virginia, I suppose the good news it that you can finally present Ken Cuccinelli as the moderate.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 22


Christian love: Phelps Says Gay Athlete Was Cause Of Tornado While Robertson Blames Lack Of Prayer


I don't want to blame the victim, but it's pretty clear that James Rosen, the Fox News reporter under investigation by the Justice Department for his role in publishing classified data, is a bumbling fool. Not only did he communicate with his source in a way that was almost guaranteed to get both caught, but he announced to the world that the US had a source in the North Korean government for no good reason.

And, no Sharyl Attkinson, the Obama Administration is not hacking your computer because you're investigating Fast and Furious, Solyndra or whatever other scandal CPAC will give you an award for. Take it to the Geek Squad.

I don't have any deep issue with the concept of shield laws, but if we are going to have them I want to be damn sure that they cover non-traditional news organizations. Bill Keller might not like Julian Assange's body odor, and there are a lot of dirty hippie bloggers whose kids don't attend Sidwell Friends, but if they're not covered by the same shield law as Rosen and Attkinson because they're not members of the club, I'm not supporting them.


Good piece by Charlie Cook on the GOP's nonsense.


Chris Christie recently underwent lap-band surgery in an attempt to address his slightly controversial girth and has now, despite the devastation wrought upon his state last fall by Superstorm Sandy, has joined the Flat Earth wing of the Republican Party

"I don't think there's been any proof thus far that Sandy was caused by climate change," Christie said. "But I would absolutely expect that that's exactly what WNYC would say, because you know liberal public radio always has an agenda."

Proof. He wants "proof."

Keep in mind that this is a guy who believes that there is a great white alpha male who lives in the sky and that a guy in a dress in Rome has a direct conduit to him and that when he takes Communion the wafer and wine literally turn into the body and blood of a guy who may or may not have lived over 2000 years ago.

And yet several hundred miles of his state were devastated last fall by a veritable turducken of a storm that was unprecedented, and he wants to see "proof."

Granted, "weather" and "climate" are not the same thing. But a storm of the magnitude of Sandy, just like a tornado of the magnitude of the one that hit Oklahoma on Monday, is a symptom of a generally warming climate, which allows the air to hold more moisture and build more energy. We used to see devastating hurricanes every ten years or so. Now there is at least one every two or three years. Tornadoes have always been common in the midwest, but not tornadoes that cut a swath of up to two miles wide.

That looks like a CGI effect, doesn't it? It's not. Oh, and by the way? It's only May. It's not July, the peak of tornado season, it's MAY.

F5 tornadoes in May. Thunder-snow in January. 

Nope. Nothing to see here.

Christie is hoping that by joining the "La La La La La I Am Not Listening" wing of his party, he can get past the certifiable lunatics that are sure to be his opposition in 2016. But here is the company he's going to have to keep in order to get there.

Got that, New Jersey and Chris Christie? Oklahoma's federal relief is deserved. YOUR relief is a "slush fund."

Someone should tell Sen. Inhofe that the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington DC were also devastated by Sandy. Not that it would matter. It's the same mindset that gives Republican politicians a free pass on corruption and sexual infidelity but runs Democratic politicians out of town. It's also the same mindset that has more than one in ten Oklahoma residents not having even basic literacy. It's also a state where:

James Inhofe and Tom Coburn, the latter of whom wants relief for tornado victims offset by cuts to programs in states other than his own (presumably the Communist Jewish Homosexual Pornographer states of New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts that subsidize Oklahoma year after year), insist that THEIR state's relief is somehow different from New Jersey's. Left unsaid is their view that God and Jesus somehow favor the Bible-thumpers in Oklahoma who are doing just as much fucking and divorcing as everyone else, in which case why does God always rain tornadoes and devastation upon them making them a leading recipient of federal relief funds, while in the Communist Jewish Homosexual Pornographer states, we ask for help maybe once a decade?

Voters in New Jersey this fall ought to remember that this is the company Chris Christie wants to keep.



Meet two-term Teabagger Congressman Stephen Fincher, easily the most insane one from Tennessee next to abortion advocate Scott Desjarlais. Today, on the floor of the US House of Representatives, Fincher stood up on his hind legs and quoted a Bible verse from Thessalonians that he'd offered as support that we should let poor people starve. Fincher, you see, was responding to Juan Vargas (D-CA) who'd quoted his own Bible verse from Matthew that essentially said Jesus was committed to feeding the poor (Both quotes from the Bible are egregious sins against the mandate separating Church and State but at least Vargas gets brownie points for getting Jesus' priorities right). 

Last March, Fincher became one of a growing number of "fiscal conservatives" led by Rick Scott who wants welfare recipients to be drug-tested before they receive any money. This farmer/gospel singer-turned Congressman is leading the fight in the House in which foaming-at-the-mouth right wing ideologues who have no problem with endless tax cuts for the top 1% want to take away virtually the only thing keeping body and soul together for many poor families and households who can't find work: SNAP benefits. In fact, they're looking for $20,000,000,000 in SNAP cuts over the next decade while the Blue Dogs of the Senate are looking for a "mere" $4 billion in cuts, meaning they have no problem with letting only some needy people starve.

Even before I had to get on the SNAP program myself two years ago, I would've had a major problem with walking brain stems like Fincher trying to literally take food out of the mouths of needy men, women and children. The Bible quote Fincher just used in the House today goes, "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat." In other words, "Your Jesus can blow me, Rep. Vargas. He had fucked-up priorities. If you're on any kind of federal assistance that isn't tied to a corporation or company, then you don't want to work since there's about one job for every three applicants, plenty to go around. And if you don't want to work, then you should starve to death in the richest nation on earth because some old anonymous Jewish guy said so."

Fincher is essentially George W. Bush on steroids and with an extra asshole gene. Last September even while running for re-election, Fincherintroduced another insane bill that would've essentially dismantled the US Constitution and replaced it with Judeo-Christian ideology. And just 13 months ago, Fincher also demanded we "cut the EPA's legs off" (one that's already been virtually hobbled and decapitated thanks to the Obama administration and the GOP-led House).

Again, Fincher alone got nearly $4,000,000 in federal farming subsidies plus a nearly $14,000 grant for heavy equipment, all courtesy of the US Dept. of Agriculture (and John Q. Public). He's also received more NRA money than any US Congressman or Senator, even, which is saying something about an entire political party that'd been bought and sold since time immemorial by the NRA. Two years ago, CREW named him one of the most corrupt people in Congress. During his election, he was embroiled in a campaign finance scandal involving his own father's Savings & Trust in which it was proven he'd broken several laws, according to the FEC, and yet no charges had even been filed. Even the Teabaggers who'd initially supported him were ready to 86 his fat, welfare-sucking ass over the farming subsidies until they got even stupider and decided to vote for the hypocrite with the "R" after his name. Then they saw fit to re-elect him last November.

Now, it's expected that Teabagger Republicans will automatically go after the neediest and most indigent in their faux outrage over government spending (that never seems to bleed into trillions being spent on needless wars and war profiteering contracts). What makes Fincher especially slimy is his rank hypocrisy since his farming company has received about $10,000,000 in farm subsidies just in the last decade.

Essentially, whatever pro-corporate, anti-poor movement that starts brewing in the US House of Representatives is virtually guaranteed to have Fincher's greasy paw prints all over it. One has to wonder how many morons in the 8th district who'd voted for him back in '10 and again in '12 are on SNAP or some other kind of federal assistance program who nonetheless voted for him and against their own interests simply to keep the guy with the "D" after his name from getting in. In point of fact, 17.6% of Tennessee residents receive SNAP (.pdf), one of the highest percentages in the nation, while 22.1% of the 8th district he represents (.pdf) receives SNAP benefits (second highest of all nine of TN's congressional districts), making, next to Mark Sanford's supporters in SC's 1st district, the stupidest voters in this galactic quadrant.

As long as stupendously corrupt, racist, sanctimonious, economic sadists and hypocritical godbags such as Fincher remain in Congress, we will never, ever continue advancing as a species.


Senate Committee Advances Immigration Reform In Bipartisan Vote


Corporations are people, my friend — only a very SPECIAL kind of people who are above vulgar affairs like, say, paying taxes, or being held accountable. This is why it's not illegal for Incorporated Americans to evade avoid taxes, even if they are posting record profits, and also, because making corporations pay taxes is like class warfare, which, while not illegal, is un-American. This is why Apple, lord and master of the free market and captain of the laptop, did not do anything illegal by evading avoiding taxes using a complicated "web of lies tax shelters."

From the New York Times: 

Even as Apple became the nation's most profitable technology company, it avoided billions in taxes in the United States and around the world through a web of subsidiaries so complex it spanned continents and went beyond anything most experts had ever seen, Congressional investigators disclosed on Monday.
Congressional investigators found that some of Apple's subsidiaries had no employees and were largely run by top officials from the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. But by officially locating them in places like Ireland, Apple was able to, in effect, make them stateless — exempt from taxes, record-keeping laws and the need for the subsidiaries to even file tax returns anywhere in the world. READ MORE »


Thanking the Lord - Last-place anchor of last-place news network Wolf Blitzer encourages an aetheist to thank the Lord for her safety following the tornado.


Sad Cat Diary


Immigration reform takes a step forward. The victory comes at ashameful cost, however.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 21

Pathetic Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn Says Cuts Must Be Made Before He'll Support Tornado Relief




For A Year, GOP Leadership Ignored IRS Targeting Of Tea Party Groups (VIDEO)


I'm still hoping Michele Bachmann is the Republican nominee for Senator in Minnesota, but if she's having this much trouble with her House seat (h/t Trollhattan)….

With Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann facing a widening campaign finance probe, her Democratic challenger is out with a new poll showing him in a close race with the conservative firebrand.

The survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling and obtained by POLITICO, shows Democrat Jim Graves leading Bachmann, a four-term congresswoman and former GOP presidential candidate, 47 percent to 45 percent. The results are within the poll's 4.4 percentage point margin of error.


Chuck Pierce reminds us that ABC's Jonathan Karl isn't exactly a neutral observer of the news when it comes to this whole Benghazi blow-up.  Pierce looks into a FAIR background check on Karl:

Karl came to mainstream journalism via the Collegiate Network, an organization primarily devoted to promoting and supporting right-leaning newspapers on college campuses (Extra!, 9-10/91)-such as the Rutgers paper launched by the infamous James O'Keefe (Political Correction, 1/27/10). The network, founded in 1979, is one of several projects of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, which seeks to strengthen conservative ideology on college campuses. William F. Buckley was the ISI's first president, and the current board chair is American Spectator publisher Alfred Regnery. Several leading right-wing pundits came out of Collegiate-affiliated papers, including Ann Coulter, Dinesh D'Souza, Michelle Malkin, Rich Lowry and Laura Ingraham (Washington Times, 11/28/04). The Collegiate Network also provides paid internships and fellowships to place its members at corporate media outlets or influential Beltway publications; 2010-11 placements include the Hill, Roll Call, Dallas Morning News and USA Today. The program's highest-profile alum is Karl, who was a Collegiate fellow at the neoliberal New Republic magazine.

Well now.  The question of "Why choose Jonathan Karl" to launch Operation Clown Car seems to have been pretty firmly answered, eh?

Assuming the FAIR report is accurate, then Jonathan Karl was not trained as a journalist, because the Collegiate Network doesn't produce journalists. It produces partisan warriors. He was not trained as a reporter, because the Collegiate Network doesn't produce reporters. It produces propagandists. He was not trained as a newsman, because the Collegiate Network doesn't produce newsmen. It produces hacks.

Funny how that works.

Also, Joy Reid is following the other end of this trail: who leaked to Karl in the first place? Do check this piece out: Reid has a pretty good theory that the Gooper in question is Sen. Tom Coburn, or someone on his staff.  It's definitely very interesting.


Posters In Washington State Capitol Claim Gun Laws Are Just Like Anti-Gay Discrimination

Virginia GOP Nominee For Attorney General Introduced Bill Forcing Women To Report Their Miscarriages To Police

The Hill: House Republicans last week proposed legislation that would suspend the ability of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to conduct audits until the IRS itself is audited by Congress.

The bill, from Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), is the latest in a string of measures that have been offered in the wake of the IRS's admission it applied extra scrutiny to conservative groups over the last few years. Republicans have said those activities were politically motivated and went unreported by senior Obama administration officials in the run-up to the 2012 election.

"We're seeing the tip of the iceberg," Fleming said last week. "Tea party groups, conservative professors, opinion makers who dared to speak out against Obama, and even Billy Graham were targeted for interrogations that dug into private records, seeking information on everything from donor names to Facebook posts.
See, here's the thing though; that's not the problem. "I hate to keep confusing the 'narrative' with facts, but when it comes to the 501(c)(4s), we aren't talking about tax audits," Ed Kilgore clarifies. "These were reviews of applications that nobody was required to submit, and that nobody needed to submit unless they were pretty sure they were on the borders of political activities incompatible with tax-exempt status (otherwise, they could just file their tax returns like anyone else and claim tax-exempt status). As for the Graham 'charities,' these were 501(c)(3)s that are subject to much stricter scrutiny, and were gearing up for a massive political ad campaign in North Carolina in favor of a same-sex marriage ban. Even then, nobody was kicking down Billy Graham's door and seizing his files or assets; it was a review of the organizations' status, which was quickly concluded."

Fleming's bill isn't designed to address any real problem, but instead is meant to confuse people about the nature of the IRS controversy. He — along with a lot of other Republicans — wants you to believe that the IRS was ready to throw people in jail, rather than just asking them to fill out a little extra paperwork… That is, if they wanted to. They could always just refuse. In any case, no one was being audited — this is bullshit.

"It's all based on a lie bordering on a Big Lie," Kilgore says. It doesn't qualify as the Big Lie because they aren't actually saying it straight out. They're supplying you with misleading information and letting you fill in the blanks, making up your own Big Lie.

I think Kilgore's giving Fleming way too much credit for honesty. If he gets off the liar charge, it's only on a technicality. The result is the same, after all.


Science and an 18-year-old Student Win the Day

This is incredible. A student invented a transistor that will allow a battery to recharge in seconds.

An 18-year-old science student has made an astonishing breakthrough that will enable mobile phones and other batteries to be charged within seconds rather than the hours it takes today's devices to power back up.

Saratoga, Calif. resident Eesha Khare made the breakthrough by creating a small supercapacitor that can fit inside a cell phone battery and enable ultra-fast electricity transfer and storage, delivering a full charge in 20-30 seconds instead of several hours.

The nano-tech device Khare created can supposedly withstand up to 100,000 charges, a 100-fold increase over current technology, and it's flexible enough to be used in clothing or displays on any non-flat surface.

It could also one day be used in car batteries and charging stations not unlike those used by the Tesla Model S, which includes "supercharger" technology that promises to charge vehicles in 30 minutes or less.

"I'm in a daze," Khare told CBS San Francisco after being honored among the three finalists at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix over the weekend. "I can't believe this happened."

Over 1,600 finalists from around the world competed in the science fair for a $75,000 scholarship grand prize awarded by Intel. Runners-up received $50,000 scholarships.

This is why I believe we'll have Star Trek-level technology sooner than predicted. Sometimes this biggest breakthroughs happen when we least expect them — and from unexpected sources.


How Many More Disasters Before We Take This Crisis Seriously?


According to a new report released today by Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce committee , Obamacare may lead to a significant reduction in the cost of health insurance in some states.

Early filings show that insurers in some states are planning to lower their premiums after President Obama's healthcare law takes effect, Democrats noted on Monday.

Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee cited the initial rate filings to argue that the health law's Republican critics have oversold the potential effect on premiums. [...]

Premiums the cheapest plan in Oregon are expected to fall by an average of 11 percent, and customers in Washington could see a price drop of 21 percent for the cheapest policy, according to the Democratic summary of state rate filings.

Why are insurers in some states planning to lower their premiums? Because they discovered that after they place their insurance plans on the exchange market, they would not be competitive without lowering the cost. And that's the entire point of establishing a state exchange market. The point is to lower costs.

It's the free market at work. Or as Republicans like to call it — big government socialism.