ProgressVirginia reported Tuesday afternoon that the Virginia Senate’s Privileges and Elections Committee killed Sen. Charles “Bill” Carrico Sr.’s electoral college-rigging bill, despite an offer by Carrico to amend the bill to award electors in proportion to the state’s popular vote. The vote was 11-4 against the bill, although it will not be official until the close of the committee meeting.
Our copyright and patent laws are far overdue for a major overhaul, but it will never happen until we get money out of politics. (Thanks to lobbyists like Chris Dodd.) John Oliver with an example of just how screwy our system is:
While patents are an essential protection against theft for inventors, there are those who abuse the system — the so-called patent trolls who stockpile patents and threaten possible infringers with frivolous lawsuits. Oliver thinks calling them “patent trolls” is insulting to trolls. “At least trolls actually do something,” he quips, “they control bridge access for goats and ask people fun riddles.”
Patent trolls force businesses to shell out tons of money, which can impede innovation, particularly in the software industry. Large companies, too, can hinder the success of small businesses by charging them huge sums to license patents that cover very simple ideas.
“This system is insane,” ranted Oliver. As usual, he reserves some ire for lawyers, noting that letting trial lawyers make decisions about “more baseless lawsuits” was the equivalent of “letting raccoons make laws about trash can placement.”
The Daily Show's Jon Stewart let crying Orange Boehner have it on this Monday's show for getting all teared up over what should be considered just doing their jobs.
In a rare act of bipartisanship last week, Congress finally managed to do something that many thought was impossible, which is passing legislation that takes care of the formula Medicare uses to pay physicians, otherwise known as the "doc fix."
President Barack Obama is poised to sign into law the most far-reaching health care reform bill since Obamacare, permanently ending the "doc fix" dilemma that has haunted Congress for more than a decade.
It also slashes Medicare benefits for upper-income seniors.
And in the strangest of twists, the legislation passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support, an exceedingly rare achievement for a Congress that has all but ceased to address big, long-term problems.
The billionaire primary appears to be over and a winner declared. (drum roll....)
All hail Scott Walker!
“When the primaries are over and Scott Walker gets the nomination,” Mr. Koch told the crowd, the billionaire brothers would support him, according to a spokeswoman. The remark drew laughter and applause from the audience of fellow donors and Republican activists, who had come to hear Mr. Walker speak earlier at the event, held at the Union League Club.
Two people who attended the event said they heard Mr. Koch go even further, indicating that Mr. Walker should be the Republican nominee. A spokeswoman disputed that wording, saying that Mr. Koch had pledged to remain officially neutral during the primary campaign.
But Mr. Koch’s remark left little doubt among attendees of where his heart is, and could effectively end one of the most closely watched contests in the “invisible primary,” a period where candidates crisscross the country seeking not the support of voters but the blessing of their party’s biggest donors and fund-raisers.
Meanwhile, back in Wisconsin, Walker's benefactors are busily trying to bury the possibility of an indictment.
The John Doe case investigating his corrupt campaign finance schemes is going forward in a cone of silence.
Happy 4/20 everyone. (Ron Funches is on @Midnight on Comedy Central. If you like pot humor he's a hoot.)
As someone on FB pointed out, that bed is WAY too far away from the bathroom for a San Fran one bedroom.
Open thread below....
The Electric Prunes had a good run in the late '60s, but disbanded for almost three decades due to lack of control of their music. For a while, Kenny Loggins was even in the band, so that's something. Also, for those of you observing any social holidays today, don't have too much to dream tonight.
What are you listening to tonight?
Bill O'Reilly used his Talking Points Memo to whine about how terribly rich people are being treated in America.
From Blue Nation Review: Bill O'Reilly Wants You to Feel Bad for Rich People Like Bill O'Reilly:
Bill O’Reilly doesn’t know what income inequality means.
He thinks rich people (like Bill O’Reilly) are oppressed by high taxes, crying themselves to sleep every night on their gold brocade pillows. He thinks poor people skip happily through the streets singing songs of joy celebrating their luck that they don’t have to pay taxes and therefore have more money than rich people.
He wants you to feel sorry for the sad miserable lot of America’s wealthy. This is what Bill O’Reilly actually believes.
Transcript via O'Reilly's site: Income Inequality in America:
It is becoming clear that Hillary Clinton will try to convince American voters that she can solve a very vexing problem.
HILLARY CLINTON: “As you look across the country, the deck is still stacked in favor of those already at the top. And there’s something wrong with that. There’s something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the typical worker.”
Today's news is full of speculation about what the Government Accountability Institute has dredged up on Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and donors from foreign countries who gave to different initiatives promoted by the Clinton Foundation. You can read all about that here, here, or here.Who funds the Government Accountability Institute?
Answers to those questions aren't all that difficult to find if one looks in the usual places. Since it is a 501(c)(3) public charity, donations are tax-deductible, and they're required to file the usual tax reports with the IRS. As it turns out, so are some of their funders, so the IRS reports give a pretty clear look at who's footing the bill for all of this "government accountability."
The three largest donors to the GAI are Donors' Trust, the Koch-founded and operated political slush fund through which donations are laundered and sent to various organizations connected with them, Franklin Center, and the Mercer Family Foundation in New York.
Rick Perry: Bless His Heart.
Y’all, Rick is talking again and it is not a pretty picture.In explaining how he is different this time, Rick admits that he and “his team” lied.
Perry also acknowledged that he had serious health challenges during the last campaign, even though his team denied them at the time.
And that he was dumber than a sack of hammers.
“To be prepared, to stand on the stage and talk about this myriad of issues, whether it’s domestic policy, monetary policy or foreign policy, it takes years of intense studies,” the 65-year-old replied. “I spent the last three years in that mode — being able to stand up and discuss all of these issues and do it in a way that is very profound and impactful.”
Yes, he spent three years taking a course called, “Impactful Gettin’ Smart.” I think he means that he spent three years doing what everybody else did with the rest of their lives.
Rick Perry being profound is something I will pay money to see.
Judith Miller has been on a national book tour for her latest publication, The Story: A Reporter's Journey, claiming that reporting incorrect information is far different than intentionally lying us into a war, which many people believed she did. Her defensiveness was obvious on Morning Joe:
There's this narrative that's so comfortable that the Left will not give up. They lied. People died. As if that's how we got into the war in Iraq. No, it's much more complicated. There's been a lot of books, but what there haven't been is a book about "journalism" what we got right what we got wrong, and what I've done is I've gone back and I've tried to take apart that narrative.
Miller explains that she got some things right, like categorizing Osama Bin Laden as a threat after the WTC bombing in 1993, almost ten years before he acted upon this country. She was right about a lot of things, as were they (the intelligence community) got WMD in Iraq wrong. She claims there weren't any lies that forced us into Iraq, it was misinformation. Somehow, she wasn't culpable as she was given that information and looking back, she did absolutely NOTHING wrong.
Joe Conason probably knows more about the anti-Clinton scandal machine than anyone alive, and he's quick to catch the fine hand of Rupert Murdoch in the latest one:
Today’s New York Times reports that the paper of record — along with the Washington Post and Fox News — will follow “story lines” from a forthcoming book to be published by Rupert Murdoch’s HarperCollins imprint titled Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. Strange bedfellows, those two “liberal media” outlets and the Murdoch empire — except for the smoldering grudge that both newspapers have nurtured against the Clintons ever since their “Whitewater is Watergate” obsession crashed and burned almost 15 years ago.
Still, the partnership between HarperCollins, Fox News, and the nation’s two leading newspapers amounts to an open declaration of war in a presidential election, and the consummation of an alliance with a totally disreputable “news” conglomerate. This is the journalistic equivalent of the Hitler-Stalin pact — and a very disturbing decision by Times and Post executives.
The "fast track" trade promotion authority bill has been introduced in the Senate. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution says, "The Congress shall have power to ... regulate commerce with foreign nations." But under fast track, Congress relinquishes that power and agrees to pass trade bills brought to them by the executive branch in a very short time frame with little debate and without making any changes should any problems present themselves.
Though it was announced that this year's fast track bill was the result of a "deal" between Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) the 2015 bill is nearly identical to the 2014 bill that died in Congress without support for a vote. See this side-by-side comparison from Rep. Sander Levin of the House Ways and Means Committee. It is unclear from this comparison why the "negotiations" between Hatch and Wyden took so long, and what Wyden got that enabled him to put his name on it, enabling the bill to be sold as "bipartisan."
Fast Track Sets Aside Normal Procedure
Last week, GOP chief weasel, Reince Priebus, was squawking about Hillary Clinton and how she allegedly gotten all this money from the kings of other countries, which would, of course, be illegal.
The supposedly unbiased PolitiFact decided to look at his claims. Their findings:
Priebus said Clinton took "money from kings of Saudi Arabia and Morocco and Oman and Yemen."
The monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Oman have contributed to the Clinton Foundation, but Yemen, which does not have a king, has not.
And although Priebus’ claim was made during a discussion of the foundation as well as contributions to political candidates, his phrasing could have left the impression that Clinton herself, rather than the foundation, received the money.
For a statement that is partially accurate, our rating is Half True.
Glioma tumors are devastating, so it's encouraging that at least one government agency is acknowledging reality, Via VICE News:
Researchers have been studying the medical benefits of marijuana for years, but this month marks the first time the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a research group funded by the US government, has acknowledged that cannabis extracts may help kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others.
NIDA quietly revised a page on its website titled, "DrugFacts: Is Marijuana Medicine?" this month to state that, "Evidence from one cell culture study suggests that purified extracts from whole-plant marijuana can slow the growth of cancer cells from one of the most serious types of brain tumors."
The update acknowledges research published last November in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapies by scientists from St. George's, University of London. The researchers found that THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in weed, and cannabidiol, an extract, caused "dramatic reductions" in the growth of glioma tumors in mice. Glioma accounts for 80 percent of malignant brain tumors in humans.
There's another Clinton scandal book coming out in a few weeks, and the Villagers are all a-flutter. The New York Times gave it the star treatment today in a piece by lazy Times journalist Amy Chozick (she of the similarly spotty Hillary Clinton emails story).
Now look. I don't care what you think about Hillary Clinton, because this is about something much larger: namely, that the media wants to decide elections, and they will use anything against Democrats they can find. It's up to us to hold them to some kind of standard:
Here are the things you need to know:
Author Peter Schweizer is a fellow at the wingnut Hoover Institution, and the founder and president of the Government Accountability Institute. Via Wikipedia Sourcewatch:
Just one of those coinky-dinks that seem to dog any Walmart stores that see union activity. Just another coincidence that the store has never applied for a plumbing permit, either! I'd love to hear them explain why all those laid-off workers have been told they will have to reapply after the "plumbing" is fixed:
Some employees accused Wal-Mart Stores Inc on Friday of closing a location in the Los Angeles area for six months in retaliation for workers demanding for better wages and benefits.
The largest U.S. retailer denied the accusation, saying it was temporarily closing five stores in four states to address recurring plumbing problems. The closures include a location in Pico Rivera, California, that has been a center of protests by workers in recent years.
A group of employees backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union described the move as "retaliatory" in a statement and said it would hold a news conference on Monday to lay out its case. Wal-Mart had not requested any city plumbing permits for the Pico Rivera store, the workers and city officials said.
Pico Rivera City Manager Rene Bobadilla described the sudden manner in which the company closed the store as "abnormal" but said the city had offered its help to expedite the work needed to be done to get the store open again.
I really don't care what anyone thinks about Hillary Clinton on a personal level, but I'm already tired of the sexist, ageist empty slams at her looks and her past. Say what you will, but she is a woman who has spent the majority of her life in public service and at least deserves the courtesy of being attacked for her ideas and not how old she is.
But Rand Paul has no such filters, and he's showing himself to be the meanest, most thuggish candidate in the race at this point.
"I'm starting to worry that when Hillary Clinton travels, there's gonna need to be two planes – one for her and her entourage, and one for her baggage," Paul said. “I'm concerned that the plane with the baggage is really getting heavy and teetering.”
He's one to talk about baggage, given the similarities between him and his Teabircher daddy.
The GOP Establishment's alterna-Jeb, Marco Rubio, will let the DREAMers stay in America as president, at least for a while, says Breitbart. Can a guy win the Republican nomination if he says that and lacks Jeb Bush's money and connections?
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, said he believes that President Barack Obama’s first executive amnesty for so-called DREAMers -- the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) -- is “important” and he won’t reverse it himself if elected president. He delivered these remarks in a Spanish-language interview he gave to Univision’s Jorge Ramos.
“I believe DACA is important. It can’t be terminated from one moment to the next, because there are already people benefiting from it,” Rubio said in Spanish on Ramos’s television program, according to an English translation provided by the media service Grabien. “But yes, it is going to have to end. It can’t be the permanent policy of the United States, and I don’t think that’s what they’re asking either. I think everyone prefers immigration reform.”
Ramos followed up, according to the translation, by asking: “But then, to clarify, you would put an end to DACA once immigration reform is approved, but what would happen, Senator, if there is no immigration reform; would you cancel DACA anyway?”
Americans Against the Tea Party - famous Canadian says Americans are gun crazy;
Mad Mike's America - can Hillary become Bobby Kennedy?
Pleasantly Eccentric - armed college students ... what could possibly go wrong?
The Booman Tribune - Maureen Dowd, useful idiot;
The Reaction - Miss Lindsey wants in.
blogenfreude blogs at stinque.com and is currently doing the Doug Loves Movies 365 Movies in 365 Days Challenge. Currently at 232 (Sinister) - 204 was Shoah and 221 was Sex Tape, so it has been a strange couple of weeks. Send tips to MBRU (at) crooksandliars (dot) com.
How to intimidate state employees without having to try very hard: Request their personal information and force disclosure under state sunshine laws.
In an email sent out to all Kutztown University employees earlier today, Gerald Silberman – the university’s Right to Know Officer and Vice President of Administration and Finance – informed employees that the group Pennsylvanians for Union Reform has sought the release of all the home addresses of university employees. According to Silberman, all home addresses of Kutztown University employees are “public records subject to disclosure” unless an employee can prove that the release of her or his home address will likely lead to substantial physical harm to that individual.
Should one of the consequences of being a public employee be the disclosure of private, personal information to an organization that wants to see your employment protections evaporate?
The man behind the curtain of that organization is Simon Campbell, who has pulled this stunt before.