Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June 4

Brazilian Pastor Arrested For Convincing Followers His Penis Contained Holy Milk


Issa already straining to keep IRS 'scandal' alive

Kevin Drum: Steve Benen alerts me today to Darrell Issa's latest bombshell: carefully edited excerpts from interviews with two IRS employees who say that the tea party targeting orders came from "Washington." In a press release from Issa, in which he oddly quotes his appearance on CNN instead of just quoting himself directly, Issa says, "As late as last week, the administration was still trying to say the [IRS targeting scandal] was from a few rogue agents in Cincinnati, when in fact the indication is that they were directly being ordered from Washington."

Right. In case you're waiting on the edge of your seat for more from these whistleblowers, it's worth noting that when they say "Washington," they're not talking about the White House. They're talking about attorneys from the IRS's EO division in Washington DC. EO stands for "Exempt Organizations," so these are exactly the attorneys you'd expect to handle questions about tax exempt organizations. What's more, the interaction between the line workers in Cincinnati and the EO attorneys in Washington DC is already well known, because it was covered in the Inspector General's report that was released a couple of weeks ago.
This is Issa performing CPR to keep the story alive. Without a direct White House connection, this is just the story of an agency hamhandedly doing the sort of thing it's supposed to be doing (Tea Party groups are non-political charities? Really? Shouldn't someone look into that?), under the direction of a Bush appointee — i.e., as "Obama scandals" go, it isn't one.

So Issa releases info dishonestly edited to suggest there is a White House connection, because he is, as David Plouffe put it recently, "loose ethically." There's nothing new here, but Issa wants you to think there's something new — and wants the media to report something new — because he's a partisan hack and a shameless liar.

And what does this say about the state of the controversy? Well, you don't give CPR to a healthy patient. Benghazi's pretty much dead, "Fast and Furious" is not only dead, but forgotten, and now the Tea Party's IRS Victim Card is slipping away too. This is all evaporating much too quickly. It's supposed to last until Nov. 2014, at least.

Pretty soon, people like Darrell Issa are going to have to govern, rather than play politics by abusing their committees for smear jobs. And that's something that they're terrified of facing.


Despite the party's focus on trumped up -- and dissipating -- "scandals," there is still some attention being given to the big Republican rebranding project. It's easy to see how the controversies became the shiny bauble; there was a lot of resistance to rebranding, mostly because it looked a lot like the party would have to abandon core beliefs that were extremely with the voting public. Despite assurances that no, no, no they would only have to speak differently, not legislate differently, many felt this was still going too far. Sure, Todd Akin's rape theorizing hurt the party, they reasoned, but he was right. Or at least, on the right track. And you don't fight the evils of abortion and gay marriage and illegal immigration by never talking about them. Editing party members' speech is censorship and censorship is -- for all intents and purposes -- taking these issues off the table. With scandals, you create reasons to vote against someone, not for you. As a result, you have to change nothing.

And to a certain extent, those skeptics of rebranding are right. You can't legislate against things without ever talking about them. The GOP will need to do more than rebrand -- they'll have to change some policies and give up some lost and losing battles. These people, who make up a big chunk of the party, will have to take the furthest back burners and simmer there forgotten -- probably forever. They don't like that idea, so they resist rebranding. Which also explains why the rebranders call it rebranding. They don't want to lose the nutjobs, because they still need them to turn out. They want their votes, they just want them to shut up about their ideas.

But when you look at the party's problems with different demographics, you see that it's not just the hate-filled social conservatives that are the problem. The problem is everything.

Politico:  A new postmortem on the November elections from the nation's leading voice for college Republicans offers a searing indictment of the GOP "brand" and the major challenges the party faces in wooing young voters, according to a copy given exclusively to POLITICO.

The College Republican National Committee on Monday will make public a detailed report — the result of extensive polling and focus groups — dissecting what went wrong for Republicans with young voters in the 2012 elections and how the party can improve its showing with that key demographic in the future.

It's not a pretty picture. In fact, it's a "dismal present situation," the report says...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]


Congressional GOP Uses Steven Seagal to Investigate Tsarnaev

This is not an article from The Onion:

The head of a U.S. congressional delegation said Sunday that its meetings in Russia showed there was "nothing specific" that could have helped prevent the Boston Marathon bombings, but that the two countries need to work more closely on joint security threats.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican who led the six-member delegation, described discussions with Russian parliament members and security officials as productive. Some of the meetings, he said, were made possible by American actor Steven Seagal.

Seagal, who attended the news conference in the U.S. Embassy, is well connected in Russia. He met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in March, and last week paid a visit to Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman who rules Chechnya, a province in southern Russia that has seen two brutal wars between federal troops and Chechen separatists since 1994.

The clown car metaphor grows more and more appropriate by the day. Steven Seagal?! Next week we'll learn that they've employed Inspector Gadget to investigate the IRS scandal.


An Unprecedented Look At Hospital Charges

The other day it was reported that because of The Affordable Care Act– Medicare's solvency is in better shape than it was last year.

And just the other day it was reported that The Affordable Care Act saved young adults and hospitals $147 million in just in 2011.

And just last month, Health and Human Services announced "a three-part initiative that for the first time gives consumers information on what hospitals charge."

The data released shows "significant variation across the country and within communities in what hospitals charge for common inpatient services."

"Currently, consumers don't know what a hospital is charging them or their insurance company for a given procedure, like a knee replacement, or how much of a price difference there is at different hospitals, even within the same city," Secretary Sebelius said. "This data and new data centers will help fill that gap."


These amounts can vary widely.  For example, average inpatient charges for services a hospital may provide in connection with a joint replacement range from a low of $5,300 at a hospital in Ada, Okla., to a high of $223,000 at a hospital in Monterey Park, Calif.

The data currently covers the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays.

In terms of health care savings and transparency– this is all huge news.

Why would Republicans want to repeal all of this?


Ryan Kirker charged with threatening Barack and Michelle Obama

Secret Service: Man wrote 'KKK forever' and threatened to shoot Obamas


Man, George Zimmerman can't catch a break. Remember that guy — the one who shot a kid for walking around his neighborhood with the wrong kind of Skittles, or something. Well, he apparently retained the World's Worstest Lawyer. The whole plan of defense is that Trayvon Martin was the aggressor, and Mr. Zimmerman was only acting in self-defense. And golly gee willikers, the defense finally found that smoking gun they've been looking for:

Lawyer Mark O'Mara said during a hearing last Tuesday that the defense had obtained video footage of three fights, including one in which he said two of Martin's friends "were beating up a homeless guy.

Whoa, that sure does sound like it could be damning. Surely videographic evidence of Martin & Co beating up defenseless homeless men shows that Martin had a tendency for violence. I sure hope that this video was not wildly mischaracterized and showed something much more mundane, because that sure would be embarrassing for college graduate and law school graduate, lawyer Mark O'Mara, Esq. READ MORE »


stand your womb

Here is a weird thing: The NRA must actually believe it is bad for people with kids to lock their guns up in a safe, since there is no actual moneygrifting reason for them to oppose laws that tell people with kids to lock their guns up in a safe. Like, it is not like hollow point bullets or whatever, where there is a hollow point bullet manufacturer spreading around a little grease. Maybe the gun safe manufacturers forgot to pay up?

Whatever the reason, the NRA has now come out against bills requiring parents to lock their guns up in a safe, and it is all like, PFFFT DUMMY, how is your four-year-old gonna save your family from Intruderz if they cannot even get to your Glock, HENGHHH? READ MORE »


U.S. gun deaths since Newtown exceed Iraq war deaths


Exodus - No, not the movie where Paul Newman plays a Palestinian, but the prediction that the Southern Baptists are making that everyone will leave the Boy Scouts en masse. In fact, they plan to vote on it and make it a requirement if you are a Southern Baptist, because that's the kind of Xristian Xrazies they are. (Religion Blogs)


Definitive proof that America is a Xristian nation! - Iowa's favorite theocrat Steve King uses geometric logic to irrefutably prove that America is a Xristian nation. Step one, you kill your neighbor's dog... (YouTube)


Four year old shoots off finger with gun left on the couch while dad was smoking pot and taking prescription pills.

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