And, for something truly terrifying, there's this:
(Does that come with zombies?)
Democracy Has Prevailed.
Slash-and-burn columnist Ann Coulter shocked a cable TV talk-show audience Monday when she declared that Jews need to be "perfected" by becoming Christians, and that America would be better off if everyone were Christian.And this:
I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo.And finally this:
If we took away women's right to vote, we'd never have to worry about another Democrat president. It's kind of a pipe dream, it's a personal fantasy of mine, but I don't think it's going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women.THAT'S who Mike Pintek invited onto his air yesterday. I'll ask it again: In light of the above, why would anyone take her seriously?
President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.It all has to do with which policies were "grandfathered in" and which comply with ACA regulations. From NBC again:
Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”Mike and Ann were discussing how Obama "lied" by withholding this information until now.
That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.
A Pittsburgh-based partner at law firm Reed Smith lost his cool on Twitter last week, and lashed out at an account he thought represented the Supreme Court but was in fact a well-established blog.Which is all well and good, I suppose. But what exactly happened?
The Twitter account has since been deleted and the law firm issued a statement that the matter is being reviewed internally.
It appears that [attorney Steven M.] Regan, mistaking the Twitter feed of SCOTUSblog for an official Twitter feed of the U.S. Supreme Court, wanted to weigh in on the Court’s recent decision to hear a challenge to EPA regulations about greenhouse gas emissions. He originally tweeted: “@SCOTUSblog – Don’t screw up this like ACA. No such thing as greenhouse gas. Carbon is necessary for life.” After SCOTUSblog tweeted back “Intelligent life?”, Regan dropped the F-bomb. (If you’d like, you can read related tweets over here.)Regan actually tweeted, "Go f@ck yourself and die."
Pennsylvania public school districts would be required to post “In God We Trust” in every school building under legislation that advanced out of a committee in the state House of Representatives this week.Ok, we need to stop here for a second or two. Remember Rick Saccone? He's this guy - the Bible-loving, Sharia-hating, torture-excusing Rick Saccone.
The bill sponsored by Rep. Rick Saccone...
All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship or to maintain any ministry against his consent; no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship.Take a look at that last phrase. By slapping the motto on the walls of every public school that's exactly what the outcome. While the bill does state that:
The Federal 5th, 9th and 10th Circuit Courts have ruled that displaying the national motto passes constitutional muster so long as the purpose of the display is to advance or endorse the national motto rather than a particular religious belief or practice.Do we really think that Pennsylvania's "Year of the Bible" legislator wants "In God We Trust" posted in every public school as anything other than an endorsement of a set of religious beliefs?
We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person "to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion." Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against non-believers, and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs.And Lee v Weisman (1992):
In religious debate or expression, the government is not a prime participant, for the Framers deemed religious establishment antithetical to the freedom of all. The Free Exercise Clause embraces a freedom of conscience and worship that has close parallels in the speech provisions of the First Amendment, but the Establishment Clause is a specific prohibition on forms of state intervention in religious affairs, with no precise counterpart in the speech provisions. The explanation lies in the lesson of history that was and is the inspiration for the Establishment Clause, the lesson that, in the hands of government, what might begin as a tolerant expression of religious views may end in a policy to indoctrinate and coerce. A state-created orthodoxy puts at grave risk that freedom of belief and conscience which are the sole assurance that religious faith is real, not imposed.What else could it be than a "state-created orthodoxy" in a public school when a sign that reads "In God We Trust" for all the students to read and to digest?
The lessons of the First Amendment are as urgent in the modern world as in the 18th century, when it was written. One timeless lesson is that, if citizens are subjected to state-sponsored religious exercises, the State disavows its own duty to guard and respect that sphere of inviolable conscience and belief which is the mark of a free people.[Emphasis added.]
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl tweets of work from off-site"
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Ravenstahl defends tweeting about work from other locations"
Pittsburgh city councilman Bill Peduto, the Democratic nominee to become the city’s next mayor, this week released a new television ad targeting the use of public funds to expand Heinz Field, the home of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers want the city council’s Stadium and Exhibition Authority to pick up most of the $40 million tab for adding 3,000 seats to the decade-old stadium, but the authority has resisted, arguing that the expansion doesn’t meet the terms of the team’s lease with the city.So, who's Thinkprogress? Here's how it describes itself:
In the folksy 30-second ad touting Steeler staples, Peduto outlines it not as a battle between a team and the city, but a question of whether the money should go to the stadium or toward youth programs.
“I’m Bill Peduto, and I’ll cheer with Sax Man for the Steelers,” Peduto says in the ad. “But instead of more money for stadiums, it should go to youth programs. I’ll answer to Coach Jeff and Earl the street sweeper, not the downtown insiders. Some things should never change. But who your mayor fights for will.”
Think Progress is a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The Center for American Progress Action Fund is a nonpartisan organization.So it's the political blog tied to the Center for American Progress and this is how the CAP describes itself:
ThinkProgress was voted “Best Liberal Blog” in the 2006 Weblog Awards and chosen as an Official Honoree in the 2009 and 2012 Webby awards. It was also named best blog of 2008 by The Sidney Hillman Foundation, receiving an award for journalism excellence. In 2009, ThinkProgress was named a “Gold Award Winner” by the International Academy of Visual Arts.
The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action. Building on the achievements of progressive pioneers such as Teddy Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, our work addresses 21st-century challenges such as energy, national security, economic growth and opportunity, immigration, education, and health care. We develop new policy ideas, critique the policy that stems from conservative values, challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter, and shape the national debate. Founded in 2003 by John Podesta to provide long-term leadership and support to the progressive movement, CAP is headed by Neera Tanden and based in Washington, D.C.See? National political blog of a national progressive think tank.
The prospects for reining in the Obama administration's out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency are brighter because the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether it has overstepped the authority to regulate “greenhouse gases” it was granted by the justices in 2007's Massachusetts v. EPA .You'll note, of course, that the irony quotes are there for a reason. But that's not what we're here for. Scaife's braintrust does the usual "liberal EPA overstep" dance blah-blah-blah. But let's take a look at what the Supreme Court actually said:
12-1146 ) UTILITY AIR REGULATORY GROUP V. EPAYou'll note that nestled warmly among all the pro-business groups challenging the EPA in the list of cases to be consolidated is something called the "Southeastern Legal Foundation."
12-1248 ) AM. CHEMISTRY COUNCIL, ET AL. V. EPA, ET AL.
12-1254 ) ENERGY-INTENSIVE MANUFACTURERS V. EPA, ET AL.
12-1268 ) SOUTHEASTERN LEGAL FOUNDATION V. EPA, ET AL.
12-1269 ) TEXAS, ET AL. V. EPA, ET AL.
12-1272 ) CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, ET AL. V. EPA, ET AL.
The petitions for writs of certiorari are granted limited to the following question: “Whether EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases.” The cases are consolidated and a total of one hour is allotted for oral argument.
Heritage used to be the conservative organization helping Republicans and helping conservatives and helping us to be able to have the best intellectual conservative ideas. There's a real question on the minds of many Republicans now, and I'm not just thinking for myself, for a lot of people - is Heritage going to go so political that it doesn't amount to anything anymore? I hope not. I'm going to try to help survive and do well. But right now I think it's in danger of losing its clout and its power around Washington, DC.Uh-oh.
Up against a deadline, Congress passed and sent a waiting President Barack Obama legislation late Wednesday night to avoid a threatened national default and end the 16-day partial government shutdown, the culmination of an epic political drama that placed the U.S. economy at risk.In The House, they made a few changes. From the NYTimes:
The Senate voted first, a bipartisan 81-18 at midevening. That cleared the way for a final 285-144 vote in the Republican-controlled House about two hours later on the bill, which hewed strictly to the terms Obama laid down when the twin crises erupted more than three weeks ago.
Most House Republicans opposed the bill, but 87 voted to support it. The breakdown showed that Republican leaders were willing to violate their informal rule against advancing bills that do not have majority Republican support in order to end the shutdown. All 198 Democrats voting supported the measure.So they sidestepped the Hastert Rule. Interesting. Here's how the AP characterizes the bill:
Simplicity at the end, there was next to nothing in the agreement beyond authorization for the Treasury to resume borrowing and funding for the government to reopen.But I'm more interested in the 18 Senators and 144 House members who voted against the bill.
Our vets have proven that they have not been timid, so we will not be timid in calling out any who would use our military, our vets, as pawns in a political game.I touched on this yesterday.
The political agenda put forth by a local organizer in Washington DC was not in alignment with our message. We feel disheartened that some would seek to hijack the narrative for political gain. The core principle is about all Americans honoring Veterans in a peaceful and apolitical manner.So I ask in passing, who's using the vets as pawns in a political game?
It’s time now to clear the air, and in today’s edition of pretense and hypocrisy, we bring you an act of such brazen dishonesty and speciousness that it’s hard to know where to begin.Couldn't have put it better myself. But I guess that's why Bashir gets the big bucks to be on TV and I'm late for my office job.
Veterans marched on Sunday in Washington in protest of the partial government shutdown that has kept them and other Americans from visiting war memorials across the country, with support from several star conservatives.Yes, they should be. But it's the Ted Cruz and the Republicans who are playing right now. You'll see in a minute.
“This is the people's memorial,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told a crowd of several hundred gathered near the WWII Memorial on the closed National Mall, which has become a national symbol of the shutdown and the country’s response. “Simple question: Why is the federal government spending money to keep veterans out of the memorial? Why did they spend money to keep people out of Mount Vernon, Mount Rushmore? Our veterans should be above political games.”
“Mr. Obama, Take down this fence,” yelled Aaron Everett of Pittsburgh, Pa. Asked why he was there, he said, “I don’t want to be told what I have to buy or what memorials I can’t see.” Several protesters said they sought to impeach the president and that they blamed him for the government shutdown.You'll note the Reagan paraphrase as well the (possible) reference to the Individual Mandate section of the Affordable Care Act (which his news sources has failed to inform Mr Everett that it is actually an idea from the Scaife-funded Conservative Heritage Foundation). Then there's the call for impeachment. Why? What's the high crime and/or misdemeanor?
Late on the night of Sept. 30, with the federal government just hours away from shutting down, House Republicans quietly made a small change to the House rules that blocked a potential avenue for ending the shutdown.And here's the rule in it's original shut-down form this is "Clause 4 of Rule XXII" of the House Rules:
When the stage of disagreement has been reached on a bill or resolution with House or Senate amendments, a motion to dispose of any amendment shall be privileged.TPM explains:
In other words, if the House and Senate are gridlocked as they were on the eve of the shutdown, any motion from any member to end that gridlock should be allowed to proceed. Like, for example, a motion to vote on the Senate bill. That's how House Democrats read it.And this is how they changed it:
Any motion pursuant to clause 4 of rule XXII relating to House Joint Resolution 59 may be offered only by the Majority Leader or his designee.[Emphasis added.]Meaning:
So unless House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) wanted the Senate spending bill to come to the floor, it wasn't going to happen. And it didn't.And Speaker Boehner could end the shutdown today if he wanted to. He has the votes to end it but still chooses not to.
There's due process, then there's overdue process.And:
Chuck McCullough's criminal case long ago turned into a protracted process whose resolution is ridiculously overdue.
McCullough, 58, an Upper St. Clair attorney, is accused of bilking an elderly client, the late Shirley Jordan, out of more than $200,000. He was arrested in February 2009. That was 56 months ago.[Emphasis added.]If I may point out something, if you google "Chuck McCullough arrested" you will get, on top of google's search list, this blog post - the date was February 9, 2009.
If he hasn't succumbed to old age by the time the trial begins, McCullough might be sorely inconvenienced attempting to attend the proceedings. It wouldn't be the relatively quick commute from his home in Alpha Centauri that would prove irksome.I'm glad Eric brought this up. Did you know that Alpha Cenari is 4.37 light years away? That's about 53 months.
In June 2013, after the Defense of Marriage Act had been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, Sims tried to make a speech in the Pennsylvania House supporting the decision. Daryl Metcalfe, who was one of several representatives who blocked Sims from speaking, said ”I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God’s law.”Sims was all over the Pittsburgh region in the last couple of days advocating for the end of discrimination against gays.
On October 19, 2013 from 7 p.m. to midnight CHS will host a party—No One Survives Alone: A Benefit Party with Zombies—at Clear Story Studios at 1931 Sidney Street on Pittsburgh’s South Side. All funds raised through the ticket sales and raffle items will help CHS serve thousands of area families. No One Survives Alone is made possible through a generous sponsorship by Yuengling.
CHS wants you to have fun with this party. Have you long dreamed of dressing up like a zombie prom queen, but never had the chance? Here’s your opportunity. Fancy yourself the defender of the human race? Feel free to dress as a zombie hunter (though no weapons, fake or real; let’s be reasonable in our fun). Feel like you work best in a cocktail dress or a dress shirt? No need to dress like an extra of the Night of the Living Dead. Not sure how to get in character? CHS will have a professional makeup artist on site to help you out. The most important part is to come ready to enjoy yourself with food, drinks and music to support a good cause.Tickets are available in advance for $50, but they will go up to $60 at the door, so purchase yours now online here!
Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist and regular Fox News panelist Charles Krauthammer warned over the weekend that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was leading Republicans on a “suicide” mission to defund President Barack Obama’s health reform law with an attempted government shutdown.And:
“It would be over a cliff for the GOP,” Krauthammer said on Sunday’s edition Inside Washington. “I admire the sincerity and the passion of those who don’t want to pass the budget unless you get rid of Obamacare, but it is utterly impossible in the real world. And the only thing it will do is to undo all the gains the Republicans have made over the past year, and undo their very real chances of having great successes next year.”Recently, the P-G called out some local House Members on their tea-party affiliations:
“I think it’s a suicide caucus, and I hope enough of them will realize that so that [House Speaker John Boehner] will have a majority, even if it’s a bare majority, to pass a continuing resolution,” he added.
The shutdown of the federal government shouldn't be dismissed in the cliched terms of "those people in Washington." Some of those people live right here. They are our members in the dysfunctional House of Representatives who have now exported their dysfunction to the nation.There's one name on that list that also shows up on this letter to Speaker Boehner: Keith Rothfus.
Republican Reps. Keith Rothfus of Sewickley, Tim Murphy of Upper St. Clair, Mike Kelly of Butler and Bill Shuster of Blair County -- we're talking about you.
Do you think of yourselves as extremists? No? Then what are you doing siding with Tea Party radicals who have dragged the Republican Party to one extreme -- shutting down the federal government -- and who may embrace the ultimate craziness, default on the federal debt later this month?
Moreover, the Internal Revenue Service, an agency now publicly known to have deliberately discriminated against conservative entities, pro-Israel groups and other organizations...Yea, as we already know those "other organizations" were liberal groups. But let's move on to this:
Since much of the implementation of ObamaCare is a function of the discretionary appropriations process, including the operation of the “mandatory spending” portions of the law, and since most of the citizens we represent believe that ObamaCare should never go into effect, we urge you to afﬁrmatively de-fund the implementation and enforcement of ObamaCare in any relevant appropriations bill brought to the House ﬂoor in the l l31h Congress, including any continuing appropriations bill.So one of the local people we have to thank for the guv'ment shut down is Representative Keith Rothfus, we should let him know how good a job we think he's doing.
Washington, D.C. OfficeWe should all call him and thank him for helping to shut down the guv'ment.
503 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2065
Fax: (202) 225-5709
Hours: 8:30AM - 6:00PM
Can I burn down your house? No Just the 2nd floor? No Garage? No Let's talk about what I can burn down. No YOU AREN'T COMPROMISING!UPDATE: And Congress just went into recess because of reports of shots fired near/around the Capitol--so much for a lighthearted post...
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 2, 2013
In the wake of recent revelations by Eric Snowden and Glenn Greenwald about the world wide electronic surveillance carried out by the National Security Agency, what are the legal limits of our privacy online? What data have they been gathering, how have they been gathering it and what does that all mean?Just a note for our friends in the intelligence community: Everything I'll be discussing comes from published sources. That is to say, nothing's from Anonymous or Wikileaks. But I suspect you already know that.
At midnight last night, for the first time in 17 years, Republicans in Congress chose to shut down the federal government. Let me be more specific: One faction, of one party, in one house of Congress, in one branch of government, shut down major parts of the government -- all because they didn't like one law.Can we start calling the Tea Party Caucus zealots from now on? How about bullies? How about ignorant ideologues who have no idea what governing means?
This Republican shutdown did not have to happen. But I want every American to understand why it did happen. Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to fund the government unless we defunded or dismantled the Affordable Care Act. They've shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job.