Month: September 2015

Another One

Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) takes the oath of office during Organization Day at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Tuesday, 18 November 2014. (AP Photo/A.J. Mast)

So …

Indiana House Majority Leader Jud McMillin, a cosponsor of the state’s controversial “religious freedom” law resigned his seat abruptly Tuesday, after a sexually explicit video starring the representative was sent via text message from McMillin’s cell phone. The Indianapolis Star reported it is unclear who sent the text or how broadly it was distributed.

This is the second time McMillin has resigned from a job over sexual misconduct allegations.

McMillin was a rising star in Indiana Republican politics, a conservative who also spoke out against marriage equality, opposes nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people, and coauthored legislation to prevent an LGBT youth group from obtaining a specialty license plate. In a prepared statement released yesterday, McMillin said the “time is right for me to pass the torch and spend more time with my family.”

(Browning)

… what, really, is anyone supposed to say?

Here’s another paragraph about this paragon of Indiana virtue:

In 2011, a Bilerico Project expose on the lawmaker highlighted McMillin’s past brushes with the law and allegations of sexual impropriety. The site reported that McMillin had faced petty theft allegations, vehicular homicide charges, and was forced to resign a job as a deputy prosecutor after a domestic violence victim claimed he forced her to press charges against her will and coerced her into a sexual relationship. Court filings in the victim’s subsequent lawsuit against for the former prosecutor show McMillin sent her incredibly graphic sexually explicit photographs from his phone and was caught having sex with her in a state park.

This is a guy who Indiana Christians rallied behind, because, you know, he said he would “protect the institution of marriage”.

Now that we understand a bit more about what that actually means, can any of us really say we are surprised?

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Image note: Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) takes the oath of office during Organization Day at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Tuesday, 18 November 2014. (AP Photo/A.J. Mast)

Browning, Bil. “Antigay Indiana Lawmaker Resigns After Sex Tape Text”. The Advocate. 30 September 2015.

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A Clown Car Special Presentation: The Audience

Detail of 'Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal' by Zach Weiner, 12 June 2015.

“When those surveyed were asked to volunteer one word to describe Trump, the most frequent response was ‘idiot’ or ‘jerk’. For Fiorina, the most frequent response was ‘smart’.”

USA Today

The latest USA Today/Suffolk University poll regarding the 2016 GOP presidential contest does not tell us anything spectacularly new, though Beltway wonks are sweating and scrambling to figure out what to tell us. Meanwhile, Susan Page and Paulina Firozi offer an attempt to sort out the mess that is littered with what should be comedy gold, except it’s not actually a joke.

The carryout, though:

Graphic representing poll responses regarding 2016 GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina, according to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll 24-28 Sept. 2015.“It has now come down to the GOP ‘gang of six’,” says David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University in Boston. That would be Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Rubio, Bush and Cruz. “These six contenders swallow up nearly three-quarters of the Republican vote.”

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Image notes: Top ― Detail of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zach Weiner, 12 June 2015. Right ― Graphic representing poll responses regarding 2016 GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina, according to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll 24-28 Sept. 2015.

Page, Susan and Paulina Firozi. “Poll: Donald Trump still on top as outsiders Fiorina, Carson rise”. USA Today. 30 September 2015.

The Marco Rubio Show (In Not Of)

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, heads to the Senate floor for a vote on July 9, 2014. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Yes, I’ve worked in the Senate for four years. But I’m not of the Senate.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Presidential candidate and, by the way, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) wants people to know that despite being a career politician, he’s not really a career politician.

No, there is not any rule that says you must be surprised. Just like there isn’t any rule regarding Mr. Rubio and wariness about trying to pull a threadbare rhetorical sleight like that; it’s pretty much what career politicians do.

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Image note:Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call.

Leary, Alex. “Rubio: ‘I’m not of the Senate'”. Tampa Bay Times. 30 September 2015.

Predictability

USCapReflection

That didn’t take long:

House Republicans advanced legislation Tuesday to dismantle President Barack Obama’s health law that could actually reach the president’s desk.

(Ohlemacher)

It’s one thing to predict the predictable, but it seems striking they did not wait until the body, so to speak, was cold. Hell, they didn’t even wait until Boehner’s speakership was actually dead.

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Ohlemacher, Stephen. “House Republicans advance bill to undo health law”. Associated Press. 29 September 2015.

A Confession (Kevin’s Kinsley)

The U.S. Capitol is pictured at dawn in Washington D.C. on Oct. 15, 2013. (Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA)

CQ Roll Call“But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known that any of that had happened had we not fought to make that happen.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA23)

File under, “We already knew, but thanks for telling us”.

(more…)

Not Exactly Encouraging

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., pauses as he speaks about foreign policy during the John Hay Initiative, Monday, Sept. 28,2015, at a hotel in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Ladies and gentlemen, Dana Milbank:

Kevin McCarthy is about to ascend to the highest office in the House of Representatives and become second in line to the presidency.

But there is a problem: The speaker-apparent apparently still can’t speak.

You know, you might think it a cheap setup, and, well, maybe it is, but the Washington Post column has something of a Be Sharps ring about it: This one writes itself. No, really. It does.

I have been tracking the California Republican’s valiant but often unsuccessful struggles with the English language for some time now, and I was alarmed to watch him lose another round on Monday during a foreign-policy speech to the John Hay Initiative, a new outfit of the neo-conservative bent.

“If I look at history of where we are it seems a lot like 1979,” McCarthy informed his audience in the ballroom of Washington’s St. Regis hotel.

“We must engage this war of radical Islam if our life depended on it because it does,” he opined.

And, yes, like a rock on a heap of two-bit proverbs, it only goes downhill from there.

Almost indescribably. The column could easily be just a string of quotes, but at some point Milbank is obliged to cut away for some commentary: (more…)

The Rand Paul Show (Another Day, Another Dereliction)

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks to guests gathered at the Point of Grace Church for the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition 2015 Spring Kickoff on April 25, 2015 in Waukee, Iowa. The Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, a conservative Christian organization, hosted 9 potential contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nominations at the event. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

If the lede seems nearly nonsensical―

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that he doesn’t support a government shutdown, but then proceeded to advocate an approach that was effectively a government shutdown.

(Levine)

―we might as well concede at the outset that it doesn’t actually make any sense. Then again, this is (A) Rand Paul, (B) a Republican, (C) during an election cycle in which he is bucking for a promotion.

Shorthand: Yeah, sounds about right.

Still, though, what does it mean?

“We should no longer continue to spend money at the same rate we are spending money, so yes, we should let all spending expire and then we should renew those programs that are working,” Paul said.”It should require a supermajority to get the new programs started.”

Right. So … if we shut down the government and then require, piece by piece, a filibuster majority to restart each component, it’s not actually a government shutdown.

See how that works? No? Then you’re probably not a Republican, even if you think you are.

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Image note: Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks to guests gathered at the Point of Grace Church for the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition 2015 Spring Kickoff on April 25, 2015 in Waukee, Iowa. The Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, a conservative Christian organization, hosted 9 potential contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nominations at the event. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Levine, Sam. “Rand Paul Says He Doesn’t Support A Government Shutdown, But Basically Supports A Government Shutdown”. The Huffington Post. 29 Septemer 2015.

The End Times Shuffle (Bachmann’s Belfry Backbeat Redux Remix)

Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), left, and Rep. Steve King (R-IA), right, speak with reporters at the Capitol, 11 December 2014.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Bach is back.

Indeed, if Michele Bachmann is aiming for a new hit, perhaps recycling her old clearance-bin favorites isn’t the best of ideas.

Former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann this weekend warned that gay couples marrying and legal abortion could lead to America’s destruction.

Appearing on Understanding the Times with Janet Markell, Bachmann, who spent much of her political career heaving anti-gay rhetoric, denounced President Barack Obama’s “dangerous policies,” which she claimed have angered God.

“When we raise our fist to a holy God and say that we are going to redefine marriage, we are going to be okay with paying a Planned Parenthood to cut up innocent baby parts and sell them for research, that clearly is a problem,” Bachmann said. “And we have seen God render judgment in the days of Noah, in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah and so forth throughout history. What the prophets have told every generation is that there is a just God and the people must repent and turn to him. So too in this day of wickedness in our own culture, we need to do the same. We need to repent, and we need to confess because a holy Savior is coming to save us and redeem us from this sin-sick world.”

Markell agreed, saying that the pair could witness “the Lord’s literal return even before we finish this broadcast.”

(On Top)

Maybe the problem is that Bachmann wasn’t clear enough last time, when she said God would remove his “hedge of protection” over the United States, “and we will suffer the consequences as a result”.

Then again, we might also wonder at the strange phenomenon in which faith in the Almighty and American patriotism alike depict a God and nation so horrible.

Think about it this way: This is the same brand of “Christian” faith that bawls about the lack of patriotism in a black preacher complaining of racial discrimination, but rallies around white Christians celebrating a murderous God who will destroy America because we’re not being mean enough to gays and women.

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Image note: Michele Bachmann, then a Republican Congresswoman from Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District, speaks with reporters at the U.S. Capitol, 11 December 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

On Top Magazine Staff. “Michele Bachmann: God May Destroy America Over Gay Marriage, Abortion “. On Top. 29 September 2015.

Pretty Much What We Expect, Except It Is Unkind to Hold Such Expectations

Can we just admit that there is nothing “Christian” about Kim Davis?

At last week’s Values Voter Summit, Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel displayed a picture that he claimed showed a 100,000-person prayer in Peru for his client, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis. That picture has since been identified as having been uploaded to Facebook on May 25, 2014 and portraying a massive one-of-a-kind five-day convention known as “Jesús Te Ama Y Te Cambia” (“Jesus Loves You And Changes You”).

After spending Monday defending the photo, Liberty Counsel has admitted that it is not of a Kim Davis rally. In fact, they no longer claim that any rally whatsoever took place for Davis in Peru, but merely that some people in Peru prayed for her.

(Ford)

There are, of course, all manner of complicating details; Mr. Staver and Liberty Counsel would like to blame the lie on Julio Rosas, a Peruvian Congressman.

Though Staver called the photograph “an honest mistake,” he insisted that people still give Davis a thumbs-up everywhere she goes. “Make no mistake, however, that there is widespread support for Kim Davis. Last week she was recognized by many people as she walked through the Philadelphia, New York LaGuardia, and Washington, D.C. Reagan airports. People gave her a thumbs up sign or verbally expressed support for Kim Davis. While she has obvious detractors, Kim Davis also has wide support.”

Detail of 'Lucifer' by Franz von Stuck, ca. 1890.Yes, such wide support that Liberty Counsel needs to make stuff up while their client receives a newly-invented award intended to celebrate bigotry and supremacism in America.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Jesus Christ.

Oh, wait, right. No, it’s not. Because no matter how much Kim Davis wants you to believe she is a Christian, remember that Christ himself is absent from her hatred.

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Image notes: Top ― Christian supremacist icon and Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis receives the “Cost of Discipleship Award” at the Family Research Council Action’s Values Voter Summit, 25 September 2015, in Washington, D. C. Right ― Detail of Lucifer by Franz von Stuck, ca. 1890.

Ford, Zack. “Kim Davis’ Attorneys Finally Admit This Picture Is A Hoax”. ThinkProgress. 29 September 2015.

A Challenging Existence

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh talks with guests in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., 13 January 2009. (Photo: Ron Edmonds/AP)“OK so there’s flowing water on Mars. Yip yip yip yahoo. You know me, I’m science 101, big time guy, tech advance it, you know it, I’m all in. But, NASA has been corrupted by the current regime. I want to find out what they’re going to tell us. OK, flowing water on Mars. If we’re even to believe that, what are they going to tell us that means? That’s what I’m going to wait for. Because I guarantee, let’s just wait and see, this is September 28, let’s just wait and see. Don’t know how long it’s going to take, but this news that there is flowing water on Mars is somehow going to find its way into a technique to advance the leftist agenda. I don’t know what it is, I would assume it would be something to do with global warming and you can―maybe there was once an advanced civilization. If they say they found flowing water, next they’re going to find a graveyard.”

Rush Limbaugh

What stands out is this is not, really, so unexpected. Neither is the part where the man who mouths a golden mike described the “challenging existence” of always being right.

Every once in a while, these inflammatory media stars not so much let down their guard but find themselves actually hiding behind their falsehoods. One or another of the FOX News hosts once admitted he knew he wasn’t describing real facts; Rush Limbaugh once tried to duck controversy by posturing himself as a comedian, even comparing himself to Bill Maher, who rightly and roundly rejected the sleight. Still, though, the point persists, as does the concomitant question: Mr. Limbaugh and his fellows are entertainers. Why do their audiences receive them as purveyors of fact?

The thing is that we probably would not look at any one NASA event and predict Mr. Limbaugh would respond as he has, but now that he’s gone and said it, well, you know, is anybody really surprised?

Just keep this one in mind; you will hear it in the murmur and buzz around you. You know, the dude at the pub; that one guy at work; your proverbial crazy uncle.

And when you do encounter this bit of tinfoil, remember that even Mr. Limbaugh knows he’s full of shit. And ask yourself why these people you encounter might believe it. Or, hell, ask them; that ought to be interesting; you know, proverbially.

Because if Mr. Limbaugh is a comedian, how is the joke not on the Dittoheads?

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Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh talks with guests in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., 13 January 2009. (Photo: Ron Edmonds/AP)

Media Matters Staff. “After NASA Announces It Found Water On Mars, Rush Limbaugh Says It’s Part Of A Climate Change Conspiracy”. Media Matters for America. 28 September 2015.