Month: April 2014

A Cute and Cuddly Bunny

Sometimes it just isn’t a mystery. To wit, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who says his opposition to marriage equality is not homophobia, but, rather, a matter of being on the right side of the Bible, which is in turn a wholly arbitrary standard. True, it does say, somewhere in there, that God really doesn’t like buggery and such, but it also says other things, like—

Cuddles McBunny-WunnyEvery one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

(Luke 16.18, RSV)

—and—

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

(1 Corinthians 6.9-10, RSV)

—and we might want to note, just for the sake of formality, that Huckabee, who feels confident enough in his biblical outlook regarding sinful lifestyles that he would question President Obama’s faith over marriage equality endorsed an adulterer named John McCain in the 2008 election, and carries on a creepy love affair with the ghost of an adulterer named Ronald Reagan. Which, in the end, is nothing particularly unusual, which in turn makes an excellent example of why there is no mystery about Mr. Fish’s latest cartoon.

____________________

Fish, Mr. “Hare Care”. Clowncrack. April 11, 2014.

CNN Political Unit. “Mike Huckabee: Not ‘homophobic’ but on the ‘right side of the Bible'”. Political Ticker. April 8, 2014.

Allen, Mike. “Huckabee called homosexuality ‘sinful'”. Politico. December 8, 2007.

Gentilviso, Chris. “Mike Huckabee Calls Out Obama’s ‘Christian Convictions’ On Gay Marriage”. The Huffington Post. April 12, 2014.

Maloy, Simon. “Huckabee’s Reagan Cartoon: Disco Muggers And American Exceptionalism”. Media Matters for America. August 11, 2011.

Novak, Robert. “McCain, Huckabee and the Evangelicals”. Townhall. May 12, 2008.

Image credit: Detail of image by Mr. Fish.

Something to Keep in Mind

“They have not put forward anything with regard to how we would create more jobs. And so the ball’s still in their court.”

—Speaker John Boehner (R-OH8)

Speaker of the House John Boehner

Okay, time out.

Matt Fuller and J.M. Rieger explain the situation for Roll Call:

Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday it’s up to the White House to make a new proposal before he’ll consider an unemployment benefits extension, as the House left town for two weeks without acting on a bipartisan Senate bill.

The Senate’s passage of an unemployment benefits extension earlier this week doesn’t change the House’s stand on the issue, the Ohio Republican said Thursday morning.

Boehner said he had made it clear to the president in December that an unemployment insurance extension would “have to be paid for and would have to include things that would help get our economy moving.”

“They have not put forward anything with regard to how we would create more jobs,” Boehner said. “And so the ball’s still in their court.”

Asked what package might persuade him to bring an extension to the floor for a vote, Boehner said, “You’ll have to ask the administration,” again blaming the White House for not coming forward with a jobs proposal.

Steve Benen would, of course, disagree with the Speaker:

Sometimes it seems as if politicians aren’t even speaking the same language anymore.

Benen on UnemploymentLook, there’s no reason for Boehner to be this confused. For decades, there was bipartisan and bicameral support for extending jobless benefits during periods of high unemployment. This year, Republicans changed the rules of the game, making new demands that were considered ridiculous as recently as 2010, but Democrats nevertheless played along. It’s why the Senate approved a bill that’s paid for and, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, would create 200,000 jobs this year.

Boehner says that’s not good enough. What would satisfy him? He either doesn’t know or doesn’t want to say – the Speaker instead told reporters yesterday that the unemployed might get relief when the White House correctly guesses what might make Boehner happy. It’s a policy debate with all the high-minded sophistication of kindergarten finger-painting.

And, well, yeah. Any questions? As Benen notes, It might be more amusing if there weren’t 3 million struggling Americans who need this legislation to keep their heads above water.

I would only advise Mr. Benen that Congressional Republicans are not trying to amuse him. Rather, they are busy trying to figure out how to hurt as many Americans as possible while calling it an act of love.

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Fuller, Matt and J. M. Rieger. “Boehner Says Unemployment Extension Is Up to White House”. 218. April 10, 2014.

Benen, Steve. “How not to argue about jobless benefits”. MSNBC. April 11, 2014.

Image credit: Steve Benen.

An Exercise in Contrasts: Beer Edition

While it is certainly possible to get farther apart in the United States than Edmonds, Washington and Jacksonville, Florida, we must admit it to be some distance. And, perhaps, miles apart is metaphorically apt. Or something about a room a thousand years wide. Never mind.

First up, Edmonds, Washington:

American Brewing - Breakaway IPAFor the price of a pint of Breakaway IPA at American Brewing Co. in Edmonds, you could soon buy eight shares in the microbrewer itself.

The little company and some current shareholders are preparing to sell shares in an initial public offering of stock, the first since the mid 1990s by a brewery here.

The 3-year-old company will use proceeds to fund expanded brewing and distribution of its four main beers, including Flying Monkey Dogfight Pale Ale and Caboose Oatmeal Stout.

(Grunbaum)

To the other, while the brewery is said to “have more ambition than your average brewery”, the IPO aims for all of $285,000, cut into fifty-cent shares.

Thus, there are all sorts of caveats, as this seems almost a novelty sale, but still the company finds itself at a crossroads:

With revenues of nearly $1 million, American Brewing reported a $330,000 loss for 2013, according to its prospectus.

Last year it ranked 20th among the state’s roughly 200 craft or microbreweries, producing 3,119 barrels or nearly 100,000 gallons, according to data from the Washington State Liquor Control Board. Top dog Redhook brewed 149,000 barrels, while the 10th largest, Silver City Brewery in Bremerton, produced 7,615 barrels.

Fueled by about $700,000 already raised in a private placement, American Brewing has been adding bigger boilers and fermenting tanks, remodeling its tasting room and readying 56,000 empty 12-ounce cans to be filled with one or two of its beers, the regulatory filing says. The expansion should yield physical capacity to handle 10,000 barrels or more, though “current funding will achieve 5,000-7,000 barrels per year.”

Competition for space in grocery stores is tough, Kaiser says. “The key is you’ve got to be able to continually supply what stores like QFC want.”

While it is a critical time for the brewery, it is hardly the worst of situations. The situation looks much different in Florida.

(more…)

Not Exactly Unexpected

United States of Koch

We ought not be surprised:

Several big corporations have reaped millions of dollars from “Obamacare” even as they support GOP candidates who vow to repeal the law. This condemn-while-benefiting strategy angers Democrats, who see some of their top congressional candidates struggling against waves of anti-Obamacare ads partly funded by these companies.

Among the corporations is a familiar Democratic nemesis, Koch Industries, the giant conglomerate headed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. They and some conservative allies are spending millions of dollars to hammer Democratic senators in North Carolina, Alaska, Colorado, Iowa and elsewhere, chiefly for backing President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., renewed his criticisms of the Kochs this week. In a Senate chamber speech, Reid noted that Koch Industries benefited from a temporary provision of the health care law ….

…. When Congress enacted the health care law in 2010, it appropriated $5 billion for the temporary reinsurance program. The goal was to subsidize employers’ costs for workers who retire before they become eligible for Medicare. Hundreds of employers applied – many were corporations, cities and public universities – and virtually all the money was soon distributed.

“If the Affordable Care Act is so awful,” Reid asked, “why did Koch Industries use it to their advantage?”

Federal records show that Koch Industries received $1.4 million in early retiree subsidies. That’s considerably less than the sums many other employers received. A Koch Industries spokesman said he had no comment on Reid’s latest criticisms.

(Babington)

It’s just one of those things that seems to happen. You know, at the intersection of capitalism, politics, and empty morality.

(more…)

A Lack of Faith

The Archbishop of Canterbury made his lack of faith in God known:

FaithlessAfrican Christians will be killed if the Church of England accepts gay marriage, the archbishop of Canterbury has suggested. Speaking on an LBC phone in, Justin Welby said he had stood by a mass grave in Nigeria of 330 Christians who had been massacred by neighbours who had justified the atrocity by saying: “If we leave a Christian community here we will all be made to become homosexual and so we will kill all the Christians.”

“I have stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened in America. We have to listen to that. We have to be aware of the fact,” Welby said. If the Church of England celebrated gay marriages, he added, “the impact of that on Christians far from here, in South Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria and other places would be absolutely catastrophic. Everything we say here goes round the world.”

This reasoning has until now been kept private, although both Welby and his predecessor, Rowan Williams, anguished about it in private.

(Brown)

It is not that we should expect Christians to follow in the footsteps of their founding predecessors, suicidal megalomaniacs who looked forward to being murdered. To the other though, there is a phrase for the Archbishop’s stance: Giving over to bullies.

Still, though, there is a contrast of courage. Sort of. Again, screw the lions.

But think about the logic: If we do the right thing, it might upset some bad people who might do some bad things. Let us therefore honor God by not doing the right thing.

I have a proposition for the Archbishop: Since some would inevitably use Christ’s gift to harm, kill, and suppress people, perhaps He should have honored God by not doing the right thing, saving His own life, and leaving humanity to Sin.

Walking in the footsteps of Christ is not supposed to be easy. The Archbishop of Canterbury is faithless.

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Brown, Andrew. “African Christians will be killed if C of E accepts gay marriage, says Justin Welby”. The Guardian. April 4, 2014.

Mississippi

Is hatred really a Christian value?Mississippi

Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill yesterday that supporters say will assure unfettered practice of religion without government interference but that opponents worry could lead to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The bill, called the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, will become law July 1. It also will add “In God We Trust” to the state seal.

(Associated Press)

The whole point of this law is to empower Christian supremacism.

(more…)

Kansas

There is nothing about Niels Lesniewski’s report for Roll Call that isn’t sad. While we already know American politics is a strange country, but consider the state of the Republican primary for the Kansas U.S. Senate race:

The Kansas DebacleAlexandria, Va., and Alexandria, Kan., are nothing alike.

One is a suburb of the national’s capital. The other is just a few miles from Leavenworth. But a tea party group based in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., wants to host a Kansas Senate primary debate, and the long-shot challenger has already accepted the invitation.

A group known as the Northern Virginia Tea Party is offering to host a debate between veteran Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and challenger Milton Wolf. Wolf may be best known to HOH readers as a distant relative of President Barack Obama.

Wolf, a radiologist, has fire for, among other things, posting patient x-ray images on Facebook ….

…. Of course, the invite’s an attempt to get some publicity for residency questions for Roberts that gained attention from a New York Times report back in February.

It is almost enough to feel sorry for Kansans. To the one, they have a distant cousin of President Obama trying to use that association to give credibility to his opposition to the White House. But he’s also an unethical radiologist, which could easily be exploited for an attack about what kind of person so pointedly opposes President Obama. To the other, a career politician who is so ensconced in the Beltway culture that it is hard for Kansans to figure out if he even lives in the state.

Like I said, though, almost.

There comes a point, after all, where we must accept the fact that the people of Kansas did this to themselves.

Almost, But Not Quite, Funny

Betrayed?

Let us try to wrap our heads around something that is at once entirely expected and wholly unbelievable:

When Obamacare compelled businesses to include emergency contraception in employee health care plans, Hobby Lobby, a national chain of craft stores, fought the law all the way to the Supreme Court. The Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, the company’s owners argued, forced them to violate their religious beliefs. But while it was suing the government, Hobby Lobby spent millions of dollars on an employee retirement plan that invested in the manufacturers of the same contraceptive products the firm’s owners cite in their lawsuit.

Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).

Several of the mutual funds in Hobby Lobby’s retirement plan have holdings in companies that manufacture the specific drugs and devices that the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, is fighting to keep out of Hobby Lobby’s health care policies: the emergency contraceptive pills Plan B and Ella, and copper and hormonal intrauterine devices.

(Redden)

No, really.

(more…)