Author Archive for GottaLaff

Social Security and Medicare: "Distinctly good news"

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keep government out of medicare, social security

My favorite columnist at the Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik (scroll), has written another excellent piece, this time covering the "no-bad-news day" for Social Security and the "distinctly good news" about Medicare. Sorry, GOP. I know I'm rubbing it in after my post about all those upbeat economic news reports that broke today, but hey, a blogger's gotta do what a blogger's gotta do.

Republicans *coughPAULRYANcough* are just dying to privatize us all into oblivion, which would mean cutting earned benefits for those who rely on them. Way to appeal to voters, GOP. It's a good thing we have Michael Hiltzik around to deliver a more even-handed (read: accurate) approach to informing us about the current state of both Social Security and Medicare.

Take it away, Michael:

"[T]he news is essentially that there is no news" in the reports, as Kathy Ruffing of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a leading expert on Social Security, said during a conference call Monday on the Social Security report.

The trustees still estimate that the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted in 2033 -- same as its estimate last year. The range of estimates -- for these things can never be exact -- places the date at some time between 2029 and 2041. Even then, the trustees say, there will still be enough money coming in to the program each year to pay 77% of currently scheduled benefits. And the trustees do, however, suggest that their best-case scenario for economic growth and other demographic and economic factors is brighter this year than it looked in 2013.

As of now, Social Security is in surplus (by $32 billion last year), and is expected to remain so on an annual basis at least through 2019.

Hiltzik goes on to say that the B Word (bankrupt) is more like the BS Word. His exact phrasing was, anyone who challenges the facts has "given up his or her right to be taken seriously as a policy expert." Are you listening, Wannabe President Ryan?

Now how about Medicare? Is there good news there, too? And if so, would it possibly have anything to do with the O Word (Obamacare)? Don't be silly! Oh wait:

As for Medicare, there's distinctly good news. The continuing drop in healthcare expenses has made Medicare healthier -- the estimated date of its trust fund's depletion has been moved out by four years, to 2030. If you're keeping track, that date has been moved off by a total of 13 years since enactment of the Affordable Care Act.

neener nanner tv

Hiltzik also includes a few warnings, so please link over to read the entire column.

He concludes by rightfully calling out Congress for taking a five-week break just when we need them to "pay attention." He's clearly as miffed at them as we are. One can almost hear him throwing his head back and screaming, "Enough!"

Or as I like to call it, the F G Word (Gaaa!).

Not a skit, our actual Congress, gaa! Maddow

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Good economic news... again! Time to impeach! #BlameObama

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economic news recovery

With all the talk of impeachment and GOP lawsuits against President Obama these days, it seemed like a good time to add more fuel to the politically insane fires. Yes, once again we have upbeat economic news. What's a blogger to do? Why, publish the upbeat economic news, of course.

Let's start with a Fox Biz email alert headline, because I know how you rely heavily on every word uttered by Fox, the most reliable name in economic news:

U.S. Economy Grows at 4% Pace in 2Q

What?! Why I oughta. Please proceed, Fox Biz:

The Commerce Department reports the U.S. economy grew at an annualized pace of 4% in the second quarter, beating Wall Street expectations for a 3% rate.

Oh what do they know... Let's see what the big bad "librul media" has to say about all this good economic news. New York Times, I'm talkin' to you:

The United States economy rebounded heartily in the spring after a dismal winter, the Commerce Department reported on Wednesday, growing at an annual rate of 4 percent from April through June and surpassing economists’ expectations.

In its initial estimate for the second quarter, the government cited a major advance in inventories for private businesses, higher government spending at the state and local level and personal consumption spending as chief contributors to growth. Economists, who had been hoping for a full reversal of the first quarter’s decline, were cheered by the second quarter’s numbers. The consensus forecast for G.D.P. was 3 percent.

“Fantastic,” Douglas Handler, chief United States economist for IHS Global Insight Analysis, said of the second-quarter G.D.P. increase. The bigger-than-expected gain further cemented views that the decrease in America’s overall output during the first quarter was most likely a fluke tied in large part to unusually stormy winter weather and other anomalies.

Huhwha? "Higher government spending at the state and local level"?

Read it and weep, impeachers.

curses foiled again

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2016 "heating up like eggs on chrome bumper in Death Valley parking lot at high noon in August"

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2016 speculation jon stewart

Another snark-filled guest post by the one, the only Will Durst, who's having a little fun with incendiary partisan politics, the growing GOP vs. Dem hostilities, and possible 2016 presidential candidates. Take it away, Will:

T MINUS 28 MONTHS AND COUNTING

Bust out the gin and tonics because this is shaping up to be one heck of a long hot summer. Weather- wise and politics- wise. All over the world, hostilities are flaring like out of control wildfires. While here at home, it’s the words that have grown from fiery to scalding. And the only way to describe the actions- incendiary.

Impeachment and lawsuits and child immigration are all raging hot topics. The partisan sweltering also includes the 2016 presidential sweepstakes, which is heating up like an egg frying on a chrome bumper in a Death Valley parking lot at high noon in August.

The usual and unusual suspects on the Republican side are spending enough time at the Iowa and New Hampshire Humidity Festivals to qualify as part time mosquito repellent reps and if they aren’t, they should be, because they’re going to need all the extra money they can get. This marathon is going to be as expensive as it will be ugly. And that’s saying something.

Meanwhile, the plot thins. Paul Ryan is busy figuring out how to reinstitute debtors prison. Mike Huckabee is checking the Bible for loopholes. Marco Rubio is taking deodorant baths in order to convincingly deny climate change. In Florida.

And that Rand Paul fellow is simply a feuding fool. He finally patches up a blistering squabble with Chris Christie, then goes and starts a new one with Rick Perry that quickly heats up to Def Con 4 levels with both belligerents spitting like rudely awakened cobras. And no mongoose in sight. Sounds like he just doesn’t like governors.

All this torrid internecine warfare has led party moderates to call for Jeb Bush to get into the race. And he might, but first he has to get mom’s permission. After all, it was Barbara who astutely diagnosed the national fever known as Bush Fatigue.

If the Jeb were elected, that would make the last 5 Presidents: Bush- Clinton- Bush- Obama- Bush. Like a club sandwich. With the Bushes as the white bread. And how apropos is that? This family is whiter than Justin Beiber’s Nova Scotia Fan Club. Like cauliflower and mashed potatoes on a paper plate with a side of leeks white.

Other big money interests are running Romney up the flagpole to see if anybody salutes. But so far: not a lot of looking up. Besides, the former Governor of Massachusetts claims to have no interest. Which pretty much describes the problem with his last campaign.

On the other side, to call Hillary Clinton a prohibitive favorite for the Democrats is like implying that Shar Pei puppies are cute. She’s a virtual lock. Just like she was in 2008.

Her new book, “Hard Choices,” which sounds more like Bill’s handiwork, ends with “The time for another hard choice will come soon enough.” Hmmmm. What could she possibly be talking about there? Picking names for the new grandchild?

The biggest problem for the Democrats is a lack of Hillary alternatives. Even LeBron James has a back up. What if the former First Lady goes on the DL? Karl Rove claims her fall a couple of years ago was responsible for brain damage. And the guy who escorted Dubyah into the Oval Office should be trusted on this. He’s probably familiar with the symptoms.

Copyright ©2014, Will Durst. Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to willdurst.com to find about more about the new documentary film “3 Still Standing,” and a calendar guide to personal appearances including his new one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG.”
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Bright spot for Dems: Electing governors in states run by Republicans

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what's the matter with kansas now GOP governors

backfire plan fail smaller boy light socket

As the headline suggests, there is, indeed, a bright spot for Democrats this election season: Knocking off GOP governors in tres rouge Republican states. Waitwhat? Yes, you read that right, we have a shot at retaking a few governors mansions in currently (Or to put it punnily, currantly) red states. Crazy huh? How'd that happen?

Well, it happened because radical right legislation signed by radical right governors is backfiring. Even their fellow Republicans have had enough. Now let's hope it backfires effectively enough to get voters to turn a few red mansions blue. Steve Kornacki cites one example. Then below that is the L.A. Times' broader take on the topic. Take it away, Steve:

Steve Kornacki, subbing for Rachel Maddow:

So you've heard a lot of stories in the last two years about extremely conservative governors and extremely conservative state legislators. You've probably heard of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and maybe you're even familiar with some of the extremely conservative lawmaking he and his legislature have achieved.

But you might not have heard what happened to Governor Brownback in Kansas today. Lots of people have seen enough and many of those people are Republicans...

There's a race for governor of Kansas this year. And today in that state, more than 100 Republican politicians and activists officially threw their support behind the Democrat...

And to put things in perspective and how big a deal this is, just take a minute to think of how staunchly a Republican state Kansas actually is...

Just two years ago, Brownback led an effort to purge moderate Republican state legislators in primaries to drive them out of the statehouse to replace them with right-wingers. And he got his way. 2012 was also the same year he signed a controversial tax slashing law into effect. ... Brownback said at the time that the cuts would create tens of thousands of new jobs and help make Kansas the best place in America to start and grow a small business.

But two years later, it hasn't quite worked out that way. So far, it`s cost Kansas a ton of revenue without really jump-starting the economy. Moody`s, for example, recently downgraded the state`s credit rating... [O]n one hand, the governor`s dealing with the fallout from the tax cuts he championed. And on the other, he`s dealing with backlash from the moderates he`s tried to stamp out.

Steve Benen has more on this at The Maddow Blog.

The Los Angeles Times explores the phenomenon further. Brownback isn't the only one who may be in trouble:

The mathematics and political map both favor Democrats, the opposite of their circumstance in congressional races, where most House Republicans are safe and most competitive Senate contests are in places President Obama lost in 2012.

By contrast, Republican governors are battling in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and other states Obama carried twice.

Democrats have even expanded the fight to places such as ruby-red Kansas, where Republican Gov. Sam Brownback faces a stiff challenge amid an uproar from GOP moderates and others unhappy with his aggressively conservative agenda — especially a massive tax cut that has badly strained state finances.

I love the way Nathan Gonzales, an analyst with the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, put it: "One of the consequences of doing well in an election is having to defend those victories next time around."

As regular readers know, one of my mantras is that the GOP lacks foresight. This drives the point home.

And this concludes yet another episode of Republicans Eating Their Own.

eating their own

oz we're not in kansas any more

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Your Weekly Upchucks: KC Boyd Brings Us Shocking Religion News

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kc boyd being christian book

Please welcome back regular guest contributor, author of Being Christian -- a racy novel that explores the dark underbelly of the right-wing Christian world -- and the go-to blogger on shocking religion news, hypocrisy, and all things church v. state (weekly upchucks), KC Boyd. You might remember her from her earlier posts.

You can link over to the official KC Boyd site here for the rest of this post. It’s well worth a look, because I left out a ton of great upchuckable stuff, including antidotes! These are but a few of her weekly "where religion meets your rights" collection:

Your Weekly Upchucks: The place where religion meets your rights

– by KC Boyd

Abortion and Contraception

  • Chuck Me  A Loogie: It’s their Christianity or the highway to hell: Abortion Protesters Interrupt Church Service, Tell Pro-Choice Worshippers To ‘Repent’
  • Back Alleys. They’re A-Boomin’ Hurl: Number Of Texas Women Living 200 Miles From An Abortion Clinic Has Jumped By 2,800 Percent
  • Dug-In Spew: In a Room Crowded With Duggars, Ohio Republicans Pledge to Reintroduce Heartbeat Ban

Creationism

  • Can’t Make It Up-Chuck: Creationist Ken Ham calls to end space program because aliens are going to hell anyway

Education

Fifty Shades Of Hate

  • Governor of Puke: Michigan mayor says giving atheists equal treatment is like favoring the Nazis or the KKK

Fifty Shades Of Loony

  • Because Marcus Never Preys On Michele-Chuck: Michele Bachmann: Gays want to ‘freely prey on little children sexually’

If Media Is The Message

  • Fall Down Upchucking: “Christians today face discrimination at unprecedented levels”
  • Spew It Wide: Columnist tells Jewish voters to stop backing Dems, says they are planning anti-Semitic “atrocities

Israel, Hagee and End Times

Military

Politics Nation

  • Cruz Spewz: Personhood Supporter Ted Cruz Shocked Anyone Thinks GOP Wants To Curtail Contraception Access

Religion Gone Mad

  • Remember When The GOP Didn’t Spell U-P-C-H-U-C-K? Bob Dole is gearing up 4 another fight against the Religious Right over a UN treaty covering people with disabilities.
  • Hurling Nuggets: How Chick-fil-A Hires: The Christian Way

Same Sex Issues

  • Tastes Like Puke-Chuck: OR bakery that refused wedding cakes for same-sex couples now bakes ex-gay cakes

Sausage Makers And Their Sausage

  • For The Gucci Set-Chuck: Proposed Republican Bill Would Treat Contraception Like a Luxury Good
  • Pandering Poopie: GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell just announced that if anti-choice Republicans take control of the Senate this November, one of his top priorities will be to pass an abortion ban

Supremes And Lower Courts

  • Next Up SCROTUS? Supreme Court keeps Utah same-sex marriages on ice
  • Up-Chuck And Away: The Hobby Lobby Decision Makes ‘Religious Freedom’ A Euphemism For Imposing Religious Doctrine. America Should Beware.

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Time for Another Stand-Up Political Comedy Blog

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laughing knee slapper political comedy

"Last Blog Standing" starts riiight....now!

Yes, it's time to steal a few more jokes from my father-in-law (F.I.L.). His posts range from political comedy to humorous commentary on pop culture.

For those of you who might be new here, he used to write for Alan King, Milton Berle and Jonathan Winters, just to name a few. And all those Dean Martin Roasts,  too: Don Rickles, Red Buttons, Phyllis Diller, Sammy Davis, Jr., etc.

A tiny respite from all the frustrating events of the day:

A professor from U.C. Berkeley said we are on track for having the worst drought in 500 years. Which explains why LARRY KING was overheard saying, "This again?"

Because of this terrible water shortage, in Woodland Hills two trees were seen chasing a dog.

Things are so dry, the Red Cross isn't asking for blood, but they've sent out an urgent appeal for SALIVA donors.

A minister in El Monte has been reduced to baptizing parishioners with Gatorade.

It's so dry, people are no longer getting water on the knee -- Just dust.

Officials are concerned that the young folks in Los Angeles are not doing anything about the drought. Of course, that will change next week when they announce that the water shortage is killing all the marijuana crops.

45 years ago this week we did a fantastic thing, we put a man on the moon and the entire nation was ecstatic. Things are a little different nowadays. Today a big deal for us is we combined the "croissant" and the "doughnut" and came up with the "Cronut."

Everybody remembers what NEIL ARMSTRONG said that day when he first set foot on the surface of the moon. "One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind." But only two people know what he said just BEFORE he left the capsule. "Out of my way, Buzz!"

Also celebrating it's 45th year is the classic radio show, "Prairie Home Companion." It's host GARRISON KEILLOR is so "folksy" and "down home" after listening to him I always have the irresistible urge to clean off the bottom of my shoes.

Speaking of celebrations -- Happy birthday to England's PRINCE GEORGE who turned one year old this week. Some day his mother hopes to see him sitting on the throne, but right now she has to settle for him still using diapers.

At his birthday party everyone loved the clown with the oversize feet. The LITTLE PRINCE got a bigger kick out of seeing GRANDPA CHARLES with the oversize ears.

A wave of heat has scorched California, melting temperature records that stood for decades. In Beverly Hills it was so hot, GEORGE HAMILTON was seen putting on sun screen.

Kids at Zuma Beach-Malibu were building sand castles with oven mitts.

The hookers on Hollywood Blvd. are wearing iced thongs.

It was so hot, reporters were asking SEN. JOHN McCAIN to explain his foreign policy concerning Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East -- just to give them the chills.

The whole state was sweating. Now we know how former GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER felt when he had to say the word, "Gubernatorial."

A 105-year-old women in San Diego threw out the first pitch in a baseball game. Her claim to fame is she's still active at her age and also, she's the only woman who slept with both ALEX RODRIGUEZ and BABE RUTH.

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Radioactive waste a toxic byproduct of fracking, drilling in N. Dakota

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headdesk radioactive waste fracking

Back in May I wrote, Hey Big Oil "pro-lifers": Fossil fuels may be killing babies! Today's Los Angeles Times has an extensive report about how, in North Dakota, fracking may very well be producing radioactive waste. Again, "pro-lifers," the question is: What do you value more, life or profits?

Did I mention that oil drilling and fracking are producing radioactive waste?

So you know how Republicans despise oversight? Because, freedom! Don'tcha wonder if they ever consider their fellow Americans' freedom to keep breathing? Especially those self-proclaimed right-to-lifers. It's hard to fathom that they are actually this okay with exposure to deadly toxins as long as their corporate gods make a buck.

Did I mention that oil drilling and fracking are producing radioactive waste?

Am I repeating myself? I tend to do that when I'm livid. And appalled. And sickened. But I'm not sickened in a way that will potentially kill me. No, that's reserved for the victims of Fracking, Inc. in North Dakota, the second-largest oil-producing state, right after Texas.

Did I mention that North Dakota doesn't have an environmental protection agency?

Did I mention that New Mexico GOP Gov. Susana Martinez weakened her state's rules on hazardous waste last year?

Did I mention that the EPA is not providing adequate oversight? That would be the Environmental PROTECTION Agency.

Did I mention that my head is throbbing from banging it on my desk?

Via the L.A. Times must-read story:

Nearly 1,000 radioactive filters were found last year at the landfill, part of a growing tide of often toxic waste produced by the state's oil and gas rush. Oil field waste includes drill cuttings — rock and earth that come up a well bore — along with drilling fluids and wastewater laced with chemicals used in fracking.

To many local and tribal officials, environmentalists and some industry managers in North Dakota, the dumping of the socks [filters clotted with radioactive dirt] and the proliferation of other waste shows the government falling short in safeguarding the environment against oil field pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency decided during the Reagan era to classify oil field waste as not hazardous, exempting it from tight controls and leaving it to be managed by widely varied state laws. Nationally, no one tracks how many millions of tons of waste the fossil fuel boom generates, or where it ends up.

There's that "leaving it to the states" beast raising its ugly head again. Republican-run states have done so well with the Affordable Care Act and voting rights. What could possibly go wrong? Well, for one thing, North Dakota situating "slop pits" of poison over "known aquifers" could be a teeny tiny problem.

Some of the people quoted in the article requested anonymity because they were afraid of repercussions-- like, you know, getting fired-- for trying to point out things like waste management failures, fear of carcinogens in groundwater, exemptions for radioactive elements being classified as hazardous waste, and for putting frackin' lives in danger. Things like that.

And then there's-- ta-daa!-- Congress:

The EPA says it cannot reclassify oil field waste as hazardous without legislative action, which, with the current Congress, is unlikely.

bangheadSee: "Not a skit! Our actual Congress! Gaaa!"

Not a skit, our actual Congress, gaa! Maddow

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