Month: March 2016

Not About Anything But Democrats, According to Republicans

Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals is introduced as a Supreme Court nominee, at the White House Rose Garden in Washington, D.C., 16 March 2016.  (Detail of photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

“Naturally, I would like to have him treated fairly, but a lot depends on who’s elected, a lot depends on who’s going to be president.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

Via Reuters:

Two key U.S. Senate Republicans signaled they would be open to considering after the Nov. 8 presidential election President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland, the centrist judge who was set on Thursday to begin meeting with senators.

The comments by Utah’s Orrin Hatch and Arizona’s Jeff Flake, members of the Judiciary Committee that would hold any confirmation hearings, came a day after Obama nominated Garland to the lifetime position on the high court to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13.

Senate Republican leaders have vowed not to hold confirmation hearings or an up-or-down vote on any Supreme Court nominee put forward by Obama, whose term ends in January. They want the next president to make the selection, hoping a Republican wins November’s election.

Flake said while Republican leaders were “fully justified” in delaying action on confirmation, if the Republicans lose the White House race the Republican-led Senate “ought to look at this nomination in a lame-duck session in November.”

And while it’s true that something goes here about the futility of predicting conservative behavior, it’s worth reminding that part of the reason for this is that even Republicans aren’t paying attention.

This is the problem: They’re not even trying.

(more…)

Republican Justice (Maybe Mix)

Contemplation of Justice

Steve Benen, after reviewing the appalling stupidity of the Republican pitch against confirming a Supreme Court nominee, including their reaction to the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, found himself adding a postscript:

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who just last week explicitly urged Obama to nominate Garland, said in a statement this morning that Garland’s nomination “doesn’t in any way change current circumstances” – which is to say, Hatch still supports his party’s blockade.

However, Hatch also added this morning, “I’d probably be open to resolving this in the lame duck.” Keep a very close eye on this, because it may prove to be incredibly important. As things stand, Senate Republicans don’t intend to reject Garland, so much as they plan to ignore him. His nomination won’t be defeated; it’ll simply wither on the vine.

But if Republicans fare poorly in November’s elections, don’t be too surprised if GOP senators declare, “Well, now that voters have had their say, we’re prepared to confirm Garland after all.”

The msnbc producer and blogger advises readers to, “File this away for future reference”, and it behooves us to do so. One of the blessings facing pretty much any president seeking a new Supreme Court justice, and especially Democrats as such these days, is that there is a plethora of qualified candidates. In the end, given all else, one wonders if perhaps the “moderate, inoffensive, broadly respected, 63-year-old white guy” is actually the sacrificial lamb.

(more…)

An Earworm, With Love (Everybody Wants to Love You)

Detail of cover art for 'Psychopomp' by Japanese Breakfast (Yellow K Records, 2016)

So … I need you to click on over to BandCamp and check out a song because it is very nearly driving me bonkers for being so damn awesome.

• Japanese Breakfast, “Everybody Wants to Love You”

Can I get your number? Can I get you into bed? When we wake up in the morning, will you give me lots of head? Everybody wants to love you. Everybody wants to love you!

No, really. This song is way too fun.

It is also true I have no connection to Japanese Breakfast or Yellow K records, and owe a sincere tip of the hat to Ciara Dolan of The Stranger. She was not kidding when she wrote, “This is one of the best songs of 2016 and we’re only three months in.”

The album is Psychopomp, due from Yellow K Records on 1 April. Oh, and they’re pressing clear vinyl.

Yeah. I know. People get ready. For certain.

____________________

Image note: Detail of cover art for ‘Psychopomp by Japanese Breakfast (Yellow K Records, 2016)

Dolan, Ciara. “Six New Bangers to Get You Through This Rainy Week”. Slog. 9 March 2016.

Pretty Much a Useless Post

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-VT) and Hillary Clinton interrupt each other during the Univision/Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, 9 March 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Roll Call offers a summary of “What We Learned From Wednesday’s Democratic Debate”, including commentary from Adam Green of Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Clay Shroers from League of Conservation Voters, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Two main questions emerge:

Adam Green: From a marketing standpoint―you know, trying to hook the audience with an idea―do you think there might be a better way to say it than “popular economic populism ideas”?

Reince Priebus: I just need to know: Is there some pathological reason Republicans can no longer say “Democratic Party” properly?

No, really, if you cannot correctly pronounce the words “Democratic Party”, you’re probably not smart enough to hold public office in the United States.

Still, though, can you say, “popular economic populism ideas” five times fast?

____________________

Image note: Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-VT) and Hillary Clinton interrupt each other during the Univision/Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, 9 March 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Roll Call Staff. “What We Learned From Wednesday’s Democratic Debate”. At the Races. Roll Call. 9 March 2016.

A Reminder None of Us Needed

Detail of frame from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 6, "An Aroma Sweet, a Heart Bitter...".

Because this is still going on:

Former Idaho Sen. Larry E. Craig must pay $242,533 to the Treasury Department for using campaign money on legal representation in the aftermath of his 2007 guilty plea after a Minnesota airport bathroom sex sting, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected the argument from Craig’s lawyers that the legal costs are no longer personal expenses when an arrest becomes politicized and an opponent uses the arrest for political reasons.

Craig spent about $200,000 in campaign funds on legal fees to try to undo the plea.

(Ruger)

Or, rather, it was.

You know, it’s like: Oh, for phucking phuckity-phuck phuck-all! We’d all like to forget!

I mean, really.

Damn it. I mean, please just tell me it’s all over, now.

____________________

Ruger, Todd. “Ex-Sen. Craig Loses Appeal On Funds Use After Bathroom Incident”. Roll Call. 4 March 2016.

A Note for Jim Webb

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), during the Democratic presidential candidates debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, 13 October 2015. (Detail of photo by Joe Raedle.)

MEMORANDUM

To: Fmr. Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA)

re: About that presidential campaign

Just so we’re clear, sir, you probably shouldn’t be wondering why your Democratic presidential nomination bid drew so little support.

msnbc: “Former Dem. candidate: I won’t vote Clinton” (4 March 2016)

Politico: “Jim Webb: I won’t vote for Clinton, but I may for Trump” (4 March 2016)

".@JimWebbUSA: 'No,' I won't vote for @HillaryClinton, but I'm 'not sure yet' on Trump" (Morning Joe, via Twitter, 4 March 2016)

No, really. Don’t wonder.

____________________

Image notes: Top ― Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), during the Democratic presidential candidates debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, 13 October 2015. (Detail of photo by Joe Raedle.) Bottom ― “.@JimWebbUSA: ‘No,’ I won’t vote for @HillaryClinton, but I’m ‘not sure yet’ on Trump”; msnbc’s Morning Joe program, via Twitter, 4 March 2016.

Collins, Ezra. “Jim Webb: I won’t vote for Clinton, but I may for Trump”. Politico. 4 March 2016.

msnbc. “Former Dem. candidate: I won’t vote Clinton”. Morning Joe. 4 March 2016.

No Reason to Go Setting Our Hair on Fire

The U.S. Capitol building stands surrounded by scaffolding in Washington, D.C., on wednesday, 28 October 2015. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

And why not?

Some Republican House members are looking for a few good members — who don’t want to get nuked.

Republican Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona and Doug Lamborn of Colorado, leaders of the Missile Defense Caucus, sent a “Dear Colleague” note with this message: “If your boss is fine with being nuked by Iran and North Korea, ignore this e-mail.”

(Gangitano)

Alright, before we go setting our hair on fire over this little Beltway vignette from Roll Call, it would behoove us to recall one simple point.

That is to say, this is Trent Franks and Doug Lamborn.

Arizona Eight and Colorado Five, in case it matters, and especially with that latter, it kind of does. Mr. Franks is hawkish near to paranoid, and Mr. Lamborn stupid to the point of infamy. Colorado’s Fifth Congressional District is similarly notorious. In its context, tinfoil missile shield advocacy probably isn’t the worst these two could come up with.

____________________

Image note: The U.S. Capitol building stands surrounded by scaffolding in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, 28 October 2015. (Detail of photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Gangitano, Alex. “Calling All Members Who Don’t Want to Get Nuked”. Heard on the Hill. Roll Call. 3 March 2016.

The Chris Christie Show (Epilogue)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), at left, joins Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump during a press event at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on Super Tuesday, 1 March 2016.  Christie, who suspended his own presidential campaign in February, has been widely ridiculed for endorsing Trump.

“Christie perhaps fancied himself as Trump’s VP or attorney general. If he did, he was not thinking clearly. To begin with, it is less and less likely with each passing day that Trump will ever become president. Moreover, Christie himself has so soiled his reputation that it is doubtful he would ever be confirmed for a Cabinet post.”

Jennifer Rubin

It is true, of course, Jennifer Rubin is one I pick on. It is also true the right-wing blogger, perhaps for the sake of having a Washington Post credential, sometimes turns up on the editorial page of a local newspaper here or there, and this aspect of reality can actually be problematic. On other days, something about easy entertainment goes here. Or something like that. To wit, Tacoma readers got this bit of analysis on Tuesday:

Since New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has endorsed Donald Trump, he has been:

• Humiliated by video showing Trump ordering him onto the plane and telling him to “go home.”

• Condemned by his former finance co-chair Meg Whitman. (“The governor is mistaken if he believes he can now count on my support, and I call on Christie’s donors and supporters to reject the governor and Donald Trump outright. I believe they will. For some of us, principle and country still matter.”)

• Excoriated for his disastrous TV interview on Sunday. Phrases like “train wreck,” “off the rails” and “disaster” were used to describe his appearance.

Rubin is at her best when addressing conservatives about Republican politics, which in turn sounds reasonable enough; her purpose in posing as some manner of journalist is to help Republicans get elected, and her invocation of a fairly obvious title, “Chris Christie is now ruined”, is the sort of thing we might quibble with only to wonder at the word “now”.

(more…)

One of Those Obvious Discussions I Get to Be Disappointed We Need to Have

Fight: Mikasa awakens ― Detail of frame from Attack on Titan episode 6, 'The World the Girl Saw: The Struggle for Trost, Part 2'.

“I’m really tired of looking at weird penises every time I want to make a dinosaur joke or see if my ex-boyfriend is alive. This is just a fairly regular thing many of us deal with on social media, particularly if we are women.”

Julieanne Smolinski

You know, guys, she’s not wrong. Pay attention.

And no, I really don’t care if it’s not you, or it’s not your friends. Sexual harassment is not a recent invention. We don’t get to blame it on the pernicious influence of this Twitter demon. Get it the fuck together, guys. Is this really the one thing we can’t figure out?

What’s that? We’re not lost? Don’t need to stop for directions? We know what we’re doing? Bullshit. Get it the fuck together.

No, really, think about it: We know what we’re doing and this is what we’re coming up with? That’s even worse.

You had to think about it, didn’t you? Seriously: Pay attention, and get it the fuck together.

____________________

Smolinski, Julieanne. “Twitter Has Become a Park Filled With Bats and Perverts”. New York. 1 March 2016.

A Thesis Worth Attending

Y’know, he might have a point:

"In every national election I can remember, the party that had its shit together the most won." (John Moe, via Twitter, 1 March 2016)

(Update, 7 March 2016: Sadly, it appears this gem of wisdom has already disappeared from the Twitterverse. I’m heartbroken. But, hey, at least we have this record. Should I be ethically torn, then? Never mind. But it really is a worthwhile observation. Oh, hey, try this: Remember that one time he said something really cool, and then suddenly he didn’t? This is our new existential testament.)

____________________

Image note: “In every national election I can remember, the party that had its shit together the most won.” (John Moe, via Twitter, 1 March 2016)