Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tweets From the Edge: Ferguson edition


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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Good Times at Pottersville, #27

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tweets From the Edge

     Tatterdemalion's third line edit is racing to a finish but it looks as if your porcine powerhouse will have to do a fourth after Thanksgiving to meet his goal of getting it to under 200,000 words. So, as always, time's at a premium. In the meantime, please accept this dubious substitute for wit and wisdom over the last week from my Twitter feed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Good Times at Pottersville, 11/19/14

Monday, November 17, 2014

Good Times at Pottersville, 11/17/14

Saturday, November 15, 2014

We Were Had

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
     ObamaCare, to put it simply, is a snake venom that nonetheless somewhat succeeds in counteracting an even more pernicious malady. It's the red-hot piece of metal that cauterizes a bleeding wound.
     It was never, ever intended to be anything more than that.
     It is a position, often a lonely and adversarial one, that had been consistently taken by yours truly in this very byline since the mislabeled Affordable Care Act was first being debated by no less than five Congressional committees starting in the spring of 2009. Yet, conservatives and truly enlightened liberals such as me cannot and should not succumb to the siren lure of schadenfreude in light of the strangely delayed revelations regarding Jonathan Gruber.
     Beginning in March of 2010, a week before Congress finally ratified the ACA and put it on Mr. Obama's desk to sign into law, Gruber had openly, brazenly and, seemingly without impunity until now, was crowing about how "lack of transparency and the stupidity of the American voter, whatever" was responsible for the bill's success. Yesterday brought a fifth video (and, no doubt, counting) of a now-infamous testy and condescending exchange between Gruber and a Vermont voter concerned about the ACA's ramifications.
     Predictably, wingnuts on Twitchy, Hot Air, Breitbart and other right wing convection ovens have been crowing about ObamaCare's inherent dishonesty, of which most us were already aware. But now they have in Gruber their smoking gun. Five, in fact. And among their talking points is how liberal elitists lied to the American public about the health care bill. But liberals had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the bill's crafting, creation or ratification.
     ObamaCare was passed in first the House, then the Senate then put on the president's desk to be signed into law as with countless other bills. It was not put on a national referendum and not one American voted for it. None of us little people had any say as to what it would contain or not.
     And now, "leaders" such as Nancy Pelosi are playing the predictably scummy, craven political game of distancing herself from someone she'd quoted and mentioned countless times five years ago who has now been exposed as the Most Hated Man in America. Democrats are running from Gruber as if he has Ebola, Obama and everyone associated with the bill who's still on the Hill are in full spin mode and right wingers who were told to hate the ACA by the Koch Brothers and Dick Armey's Freedomwerx now have their health care Willie Horton.

The Triple Whammy

     They say celebrities die in threes and regarding the Affordable Care Act, this is the third whammy that may have finally sunk ObamaCare. First was the clusterfuck of a rollout. The government literally had several years to set up a workable website with adequate server space. State-run partners, through their own exchanges, had the same amount of time. But ObamaCare's website immediately crashed like a soggy house of cards because the Obama administration, hardly to the surprise of yours truly, decided to outsource its set-up and implementation to a private corporation.
     Secondly, there was Obama's palpable lie of, "If you like your present health care plan, you can keep it," which proved to be as honest and prescient as closing Guantanamo Bay.
     Thirdly, there's Gruber's arrogant, condescending and, frankly, out of touch comments about the American people and his pride in the lack of transparency of the government that had paid him so handsomely to mislead the American public
     And while conservatives jeered, liberals struggled to put on a happy face and bombed Twitter and Facebook with memes about how Bush killed hundreds of thousands (a place they seriously do not want to go) while Obama had a slow website. Now it's almost entertaining watching these liberals who think that everything Obama does is in some way miraculous on a Biblical level struggling even more mightily to keep on their O faces after ample evidence has been avalancheing down at warp speed 10 out of the past that its architect called them "stupid."
     It's impossible to estimate the embarrassment this has visited on the Obama administration, which paid this man over $400,000 to craft a bill that was mislabeled as almost all about health care (hence the inevitably sarcastic name of the bill). It ought to be embarrassing to the mainstream media (especially ABC, which is still ignoring it) for letting these explosive revelations languish for better than four and a half years. And it should be embarrassing to any Democrat still in Congress who'd voted for such a steaming pile of horse shit.
     Most of all, it should be embarrassing to so-called liberals such as Esquire's Charles Pierce (who seemed to love it simply because it helped his ailing wife) who thought the tepid reforms and it being just a giant gateway to the free market was the greatest thing since Medicare (which in 1965  LBJ signed into law without him or Congress having to mislead the American public). In short, anyone who hated the bill or opposed it with such virulence should be stripped of their voting rights and undergo a mandatory psychological evaluation since it seems no one save for Gruber, the President and several people on the five committees that had refined and crafted it knew exactly what it was all about.

The Three Blind Chinese Men and the Republican Mascot
       I'm sure we all know the story of the three blind Chinese men and the elephant. One blind man felt the tail and thought it was a rope. Another at the other end felt the trunk and thought it was a snake. The third in the middle thought the stomach was a wall. The parable only shows that, without the proper context, individual parties can be completely wrong about what they think they perceive.
     This perfectly describes the second-hand experience of the American voter who had no say in the bill's crafting and had foisted off on them like a pile of flaming dog shit on Cabbage Night. It was a testament, albeit a sad one, of the persistent cheerfulness and glass-half-full optimism of your typical Obama voter.
     But the fact remains that out of all the bills signed into law by the nearly six year-old Obama administration. the ACA is easily the most misunderstood one of all. And that's not completely their fault. The administration's and Democratic Congress's explanations of it were largely incoherent, almost as much as the Teabaggers' screaming oppositions to it during Town Halls in the summer of 2009. And Gruber did, after all, lie to not just us but the nonpartisan CBO over how the ACA should be packaged and sold (90% cost control and 10% mandatory health care instead of the opposite). Yet it wasn't as if there was a complete media blackout of the bill's contents.
     However, liberals chose to ignore the back room deal struck by Rahm Immanuel (whose very name ought to be, if it already isn't, synonymous with arrogant, Democratic elitism) and Big Pharma to cap drug reimbursements at $80,000,000,000. La de la de dah, dig hole in sand, insert head. Repeat as necessary.
     Liberals also stuck their fingers in their ears when Max Baucus, then chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, refused to hear testimony from universal single-payer advocates and even made a joke about arrested protesters to Republican Chuck Grassley about running out of cops. Liberals were also nonplussed that the ACA was never, ever intended (despite Obama's immediately-broken campaign promises) to be anything more or less than a gateway to the very same health insurance companies that have been bilking the American taxpayer, and government, for decades, turning our health care system into the rest of the world's punchline.
     And Gruber's abominable and infuriating comments about the "stupidity" of the American people that he nonetheless willfully mislead and even lied to show just how much of an out-of-touch elitist he truly is. His comments back on March 10, 2010, when the bill was still being hashed out, that Americans care much more about health care costs and far less about insuring the uninsured are so wrongheaded and ignorant it's beyond laughter.

One Shade of Grayson

     I guess he forgot all about Alan Grayson constantly hammering home the fact on the floor of the House that 48,000,000 Americans were uninsured and that 45,000 Americans die each year because of lack of health coverage. I suppose Gruber also forgot about liberals (the real ones) screaming about universal single payer and not allowing red states to opt out of Medicare expansion out of a misguided and futile attempt to respect "states' rights" (a sop thrown to the GOP that got exactly two Republican votes in the Senate and has not done a thing to keep Republicans from voting no less than 52 consecutive times to repeal ObamaCare).
     Limousine liberals and the Obama administration (as I'd said here several times) made the colossal mistake of investing so much political capital on one piece of domestic legislation so early in its history. With the Iraq War, Afghanistan, terrorism, Gitmo, immigration, environmental issues, gay rights and too many others to name, the Obama administration should've dispersed its political capital more evenly instead of putting all its eggs in one basket.
     And so-called liberals, happily following that disastrous meme, acted as if the success of the rest of the Obama administration rested with ratification of the ACA, a bloated and more unwieldy version of the equally disastrous RomneyCare here in Massachusetts.
     Liberals had it only half right as were spittle-flecked teabaggers who didn't, couldn't or wouldn't understand it any better than we: ObamaCare has undoubtedly saved lives and over 10,000 fewer Americans are dying every year through lack of coverage. It has driven down premiums, deductibles and co-pays as well as abolishing the prejudice against those with preexisting conditions. And your child can remain on your health care plan until they're 26.
     But it was, at best, a vastly flawed work in progress and in desperate need of improvement. Liberals made the mistake of seeing it, hairy warts and all, with the peculiar beer goggles with which lonely horny men see the last barfly at last call. If it was to be so popular, then why enforce "compliance" through two bylaws in the federal tax code? Conservatives hoarsely screamed as they were told to that it was a Commie takeover of 1/6 of our national economy while Sarah Palin sneeringly claimed to see death panels from her house.
     It was neither. It was a single, staggering step in the right direction, with muddy bootprints. But with Gruber's astoundingly stupid confessions these past four to five years, this may be the monkey wrench the newly-empowered Republicans have been looking for to finally repeal the ACA and put us right back to the Dark Ages we were in prior to the bill's passage. Liberals and conservatives ought to stop pointing the finger at each other and at elitist assholes such as Gruber and Obama. We were all had.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Good Times at Pottersville, 11/14/14

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The First Image Brought Back From Comet 67p

     Looks as if the ESA's Rosetta wasn't the first one there, after all.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Good Times at Pottersville, 11/10/14

(The followup can be found at this Brilliant at Breakfast exclusive.)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Good Times at Pottersville #26

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Open Thread

     Mrs. JP and I are running off now to attend a book sale so this may be it for today. Be good, play nice and opine on whatever you wish.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Good Times at Pottersville, 11/5/14

Remember, Remember the 4th of November

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Midterm Election Live Blogging: Sink Along With Mitch edition

     OK, despite CNN's and Fox doing their level-headed best to make us forget liberalism ever existed and that, yes, Democrats are actually for elected office this time around, I think we'll see some surprises this year.
     Granted, ditching the Senate Minority Leader as we did House Majority Whip Eric Cantor during his Republican primary last June won't cure all our ills. But without the Human Saw Horse fucking things up in the Senate, at least the upper chamber will move a little faster. And, no, the Republicans will NOT retake the Senate tonight. Stop. Listening. To. The. Fucking. Polls.
     The first precincts are reporting from Florida (Election results are updated in real time here) and so far Alan Grayson has a comfortable lead in the 9th and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz looks as if she'll easily win re-election in the 23rd.
     Remember to keep tuning in regularly as I'll be making literally dozens of updates as the results of congressional, Senate and gubernatorial races come in from various sources.
 (Update) In what has to be the fastest projected win in American political history, Kentucky declared Mitch McConnell the winner over Alison Grimes. They essentially raised Mitch's hand literally the nanosecond the polls closed at 6 Central time, with just 11% of the polls reporting. But a 57-40 lead can evaporate in no time.
(Update) McConnell's 17 point has rapidly shrunk to 12.6%, with just over a third of the precincts reporting.
(Update) McConnell's lead over Grimes is now at 12.4% with 34% reporting. Just remember, if there's any evidence of Republican dirty tricks, he'll be fucking with the wrong woman: Alison Grimes is, after all, the KY Secretary of State.
     Meanwhile in New Hampshire, Jean Shaheen has a comfortable 12.2 lead over Scott Brown. Brown's about to enjoy the unfortunately distinction of getting his carpet-bagging ass kicked by two different women in two different Senate races in two different states.
     It's looking good so far for Kay Hagan in NC, who's winning by 7.6%.
(Update) Former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie, one of the worst hacks in American political history, has opened up a 6.5% lead over Democratic incumbent Mark Warner. WTF is with Virginia?
     In Georgia, proud outsourcer-in-chief and all-around scumbag David Purdue is beating Michelle Nunn by about 25%. WTF is with Georgia?
(Update) Meanwhile, in Thomas Frank's favorite state is developing what I think is among the most interesting early developments, Independent Greg Orman is beating incumbent Pat Roberts by about 2.5%.
     Michigan's open Senate seat should go to Democrat Gary Peters, who was projected by the Puff Ho's model to beat Republican challenger Terri Land by 98%. Peters' lead is now about 11% with 3.1% reporting.
     In my home state of Massachusetts, incumbent Ed Markey should win re-election by about 20 points.
     In Maine, Susan Collins should crush Bellows by about a zillion points. No surprise there, ay-yah.
(Update) In a vivid delineation of the old adage, "It ain't over until the Fat Lady and the voters sing, check out these fascinating results in Mississippi: Now, granted, less than 400 votes have been counted but they called the race for GOP incumbent Tad Cochran, even though he's losing by 5%.  Here's a screengrab proving how stupid it is to call a race for someone when hardly any precincts have reported:

(Update) I've got a wild hair across my ass for Renee Ellmers, the psycho who defended drawing a paycheck during the government shutdown 13 months ago. Thus far, with about 35% of polls reporting in NC, she's beating Clay Aiken by about 4.4%. Come on, Clay!
     Meanwhile in NC's senate race, incumbent Kay Hagan's still in great shape, also leading her opponent by 4.4% with about a quarter of the polls reporting.
(Update) Clean Congressional sweep in my home state of Massachusetts, as usual. We played our part once again, people. It's up t you to vote likewise.
     Congrats to Governor-elect Tom Wolf, who beat GOP incumbent Tom Corbett. Oddly, they, too, called the race before any of the votes were counted.
(Update) Mark Udall is in the dogfight of his life. With less than 14% reporting in CO, Udall's losing by 5.5%. Politico has the Democrats losing 3 Senate seats to the GOP but those are races that are far from over.
     In another stupid projection, incumbent Chris Coons is losing in Delaware by about 9%. Coons was projected the winner.
     More bad news: Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor just lost in Arkansas.
(Update) In Illinois, Dick Durbin's losing by 1.2%. 
     Udall's now losing by about 9%. This can't be fucking happening.
     Thus far, Coons, Udall, and Pryor are losing big. That's half the seats the scumbags in the GOP need for a Senate majority. What the fucking hell is wrong with this country?
(Update) More horrible news: On the gubernatorial front, Rick Scott, despite the straw polls, is beating Charlie Crist by almost 2% with 91.5 reporting. This cannot be happening. 
     Nathan "Guns Everywhere" Deal should win re-election by 20 points, proving that Georgia is, once again, one of the stupidest, most misinformed states in the union.
     In one of the few pieces of good news in the Governor's races, Sam Brownback's losing by 4% with 10% reporting. So Kansas isn't totally crazy.
     Proving my home state of Massachusetts isn't totally sane, Charlie Baker is beating perennial loser Martha Coakley by about 2%.
     Andy Cuomo's crushing the competition in New York like he stuck them in a car compactor in the dead of night. Which Cuomo's probably done from time to time.
     Ohio insists on keeping their scumbag right wing governor John Kasich, who's winning by, like, 110%.
     South Carolina's also insisting on keeping Niki "Stars and Bars" Haley, who's winning by 23%. Please secede again, people. Please.
     In one of the unkindest cuts of all, with 5.5% reporting, Greg Abbott's beating Wendy Davis by about 20% in Texas.
     Believe it or not, The Koch Brothers Scott Walker's beating Mary Burke by 17% in Wisconsin.
(Update) OK, we need some good news, so here it is: Chris Coons regained a big lead with over the precincts reporting in Delaware.
     Shumlin should retain the Governor's seat in Vermont.
(Update) Proud Mary's not rolling in Louisiana. She's losing by 4.4%.
     The good news is Al Franken's winning in Minnesota by 17.2%.
     The bad news? Scott Brown just pulled ahead of Jean Shaheen by half a point in NH. Politico, which must be run by Bill Kristol tonight, called it for Shaheen hours ago.
(Update) Jean Shaheen's pulled ahead of Centerfold Scott by .4%. It'll be neck and neck until the last fucking vote's counted.
     Two years ago, Democratic women pulled our fat out of the fire. This year, the female incumbents are losing big (Landreiu and Hagan, with Shaheen fighting for her life.)
(Update) Some temporary good news: Hair Helmet Joni Ernst is losing by 6.6% in Iowa with 17.7% reporting in.
     Jean Shaheen's still clinging to a .6% lead over Scott Brown.
     Corey Booker should keep his seat in New Jersey by at least 12%.
     It was looking a little grim for Mark Warner in VA but so far he's holding off ed Gillespie by .4%.
(Update) OK, it's late and I've gotten just one hit in the last half hour. If you don't give a fuck about my doing this, then I don't either.
     Since it looks as if we're going to lose the Senate, after all, I guess I can sum up tonight thusly:
     Rick Scott, Greg Abbott, Scott Walker, Mitch McConnell won. Who'd we bag? Tom fucking Corbett.
     As of tonight, Barack Obama is officially a lame duck president and with Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader... Well, if you thought the 113th Congress was the Do Nothing Congress, wait'll you get a load of how little will get done with McConnell and his neck wattles running the Upper Chamber during the 114th
     Seriously, in the balance, America really screwed the pooch on this one. Between Republican vote caging, gerrymandering, lackluster Democratic candidates and low voter turnout, it's amazing the Democrats fared as well as they have so far. What did we expect would happen?
     But I fully expect to wake up tomorrow to find that we did indeed lose the Senate because enough low information shitheels thought the party that shut down the government 13 months ago would be a better bet than the Democrats. Jesus fucking Christ, we are simply the stupidest fucking nation on earth. We should be ashamed of ourselves.
     This is JP signing off. May God have mercy on our withered souls.

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