Author Archive for GottaLaff

Good news: Weekly jobless claims fall (again), lowest level since '06 #BlameObama

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i hate good news

I hate to be the bearer of good news (kidding), but once again, there is good news to be bearered, er, had. And how ironic that it is Fox Biz that is the actual bearer of this good news story that must be driving Republicans mad, because they hate this kind of upbeat stuff. Why? Because it comes to us under President Obama's watch.

And that is No-No Numero Uno.

Via a Fox Biz email alert:

The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell last week to 284,000 from an upwardly revised 303,000 the week prior. Wall Street expected claims to rise to 308,000 from an initially reported 302,000. The reading was the lowest since February 2006.

Here's more, via Reuters:

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in nearly 8-1/2 years last week, suggesting the labor market recovery was gaining traction. [...]

The data provided further confirmation that the labor market is tightening. Employment has grown by more than 200,000 jobs in each of the last five months, a stretch not seen since the late 1990s. [...]

The decline in continuing claims indicates some long-term unemployed Americans are finding jobs, a key metric for Fed policymakers.

Per Reuters, "the economy now appears to be firing on nearly all cylinders." Too bad the same can't be said for the Republican Party of Nyet.

Say it with me now...

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Violent headlines that won't go away #NotOneMore

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I spend a good part of my workday hunting for stories to bring to you. If a headline piques my interest, I link over and start reading. If two similar headlines pique my interest, my newsflash periscope pops up. If three or four similar headlines about a topic I regularly cover show up, I drop everything and start writing. This is one of those times. Check out these headlines that are currently running at TPM Livewire:

A group of open carry gun activists who protested Saturday at Dealey Plaza in Dallas filmed a bizarre, more-than-10-minute video of their demonstration and posted it to YouTube.

For the second time in less than a week, police arrested a man on Wednesday for allegedly attempting to bring a pistol into a building at the U.S. Capitol, according to Roll Call.

The Riverside County, Calif. sheriff's department found a body believed to be the suspect in multiple shootings in California...

Police were searching for at least one suspect who was wearing body armor and carrying a semi-automatic rifle after a Riverside County, Calif. sheriff's deputy was shot on Tuesday afternoon.

And it's only 11:30 a.m. here in California. I don't know about you, but I've already O.D.'d on disturbing gun headlines.

While were (rightfully) focused on the Israel-Hamas war and the brutal downing of a Malaysian jetliner by Russian separatists, there is a whole lot of excruciatingly persistent violence going on right here at home. Plus a whole lot of sickos who are apparently convinced that their deadly weapons will compensate for their rather humbling "shortcomings".

Everywhere you look these days, people are substituting communication, patience, and reason with hostility and savage bloodshed. And what does America get when we ask for a way out, for remedies, for peace? Competing headlines featuring GOP Second Amendment Solution warmongers who are fixated on blaming President Obama and his alleged feck in an effort to appeal to their equally extreme voters.

You know what I say to all this anger and to politicians who perpetuate it? Feck you.

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Guess who spent over $1 million in legal fees since '12? Hint: Scott Walker's campaign.

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It seems like a day doesn't go by that there isn't some news involving Wisconsin's slimy Governor Scott Walker and the infamous John Doe investigation into possible illegal coordination between Walker’s campaign and several conservative groups. Just the other day, we here at TPC posted this: Subpoenas issued in WI John Doe probe, so GOP tried to change law. (And right after that, in an unrelated matter, we learned that the WI GOP may allow cameras next: Poll watchers already allowed 3 feet from voters.) Welcome to Walker World. The latest installment concerns the legal fees Walker's campaign has been racking up. No surprise there.

Per the Wisconsin State Journal's piece regarding a campaign finance report, we find out that since 2012, Team Walker has spent more than a million smackeroos on said legal fees. Wowzers, they must be rich! Oh, but I kid the Big GOP Spenders:

The report, which covers the first six months of this year, doesn’t specify what the money was spent on. But Walker’s campaign has been entangled in a John Doe investigation into possible illegal coordination among conservative groups and Republican political campaigns during the 2012 recall election. [...]

Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff called the amount of money the campaign has spent on legal fees “completely stunning.”

“The bipartisan (John Doe) investigation isn’t over yet, and we have every reason to believe Walker will spend tens of thousands more, but the staggering amount already spent should be a huge concern for every Wisconsinite who cares about good government,” Baldauff said.

More at the link. Stay tuned, or as Rachel Maddow likes to say, "Watch this space."

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Michele Bachmann, please proceed

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Bachmann 1

To quote President Obama as he watched his presidential opponent Mitt Romney commit political suicide during a debate, "Please proceed," Michele Bachmann. No seriously. Proceed. Please. This country needs a little levity. As Rachel Maddow put it in the above segment, she is the "living, breathing embodiment of the crazy in American politics. It's almost an American pastime to watch Michele Bachmann do her thing."

But Maddow also added, "She's more influential than she gets credit for... She may look like a kooky also-ran all the time, but she also has a way of saying things that stick."

Oh stop being so even-handed and astute, Rachel. You're ruining all our fun.

Via Real Clear Politics:

The Minnesota congresswoman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate told RealClearPolitics on Tuesday that she is considering a second White House run.

Bachmann made the revelation during an interview, in which she was asked for her view on whether any Republican women might seek the Oval Office in 2016.

“The only thing that the media has speculated on is that it’s going to be various men that are running,” she replied. “They haven’t speculated, for instance, that I’m going to run. What if I decide to run? And there’s a chance I could run... Like with anything else, practice makes perfect,” she said. “And I think if a person has gone through the process -- for instance, I had gone through 15 presidential debates -- it’s easy to see a person’s improvement going through that.”

There are more quotes from Bachmann at the link.

Fasten your seat belts...

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Power play: Hobby Lobby et al. "not happy until their faith has more influence."

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My Twitter followers often ask me why religious-slash-conservative politicians do what they do despite the potential negative effect on so many Americans. Why, for example, do they persist with their War on Women? Why do they insist that a zygote is a child and force closures of women's health clinics, putting existing lives at risk? Why do they claim they are "pro-life" as they scream their heartless, vicious verbal attacks at-- and put the fear of their god into-- child refugees who are escaping from rape, violent abuse, and death? Why do right wing extremists allow these atrocities to continue? Why are they willing to potentially end lives in the name of their god? My answer is an abbreviated (it is Twitter, after all) one-size-fits-all reply: Power and money.

Power and money are strong motivators. Tossing red meat to rabidly hungry political donors and like-minded voters goes a long way to securing state and federal lawmakers' positions. And by keeping their jobs, they get to extend their influence. It's all about self-interest.

Hypocrisy is an ingredient of Theocratic Stew, too, but that doesn't answer the Why. Besides, some outwardly religious zealots may very well believe their own fevered, ill-conceived blather.

The Hobby Lobby case allows bosses to control and exert their influence over women, women who may hold different beliefs (or disbeliefs) than the corporate "person" that pays them. Rather, they claim it's about their beliefs. Some of us see it differently.

Today on her radio show, Nicole Sandler played an interview with David Silverman. Silverman is the president of AmericanAtheists.org. He was discussing conservatives and their heavy-handed religious policies, but made a very important distinction. To quote Silverman, "It's not conservative, it's theocratic." Bingo.

Which brings me to today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because, believe it or not, our voices matter:

That's rich, a Christian activist law firm calling itself the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom. Equally Orwellian phrasing titles the constitutionally dubious Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the Becket firm has cited to obtain ill-considered U.S. Supreme Court decisions favoring Christianity over sound public policy. ("Law firm in Hobby Lobby win is playing key role in religion cases," July 19)

For truth in advertising, how about "the Becket Fund for Denying Nonbelievers' Rights to Freedom from Religion"?

So what if this firm advocates a Muslim prison inmate's right to grow a beard. That ploy likely will prevail as a bone thrown to non-Christian detractors, but its narrow application betrays the firm's ulterior motive: to set up more far-reaching court rulings to favor the Christian majority.

Edward Alston, Santa Maria

..

The lawyers for Hobby Lobby don't seek religious freedom. As with the recent Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, they seek the right to extend their religious beliefs to apply to everyone else.

All over the world, it's common for those who practice a particular religion not to be satisfied with their own personal religious freedom. They are not happy until their faith has more influence.

In Iraq, this conflict gets people killed. In the U.S., the Supreme Court allows businesses to force employees to comply with owners' religious beliefs.

The freedom of religion in the 1st Amendment prevents the government from establishing a religion. Once the immense power of government assists one religion, all others suffer.

Norwood Price, Burbank

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Your Weekly Upchucks: Shocking Religion News

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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), K.C. Boyd. You might remember her from her earlier posts.

You can link over to her 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 K. C. Boyd

Abortion, Contraception And Women

Education

  • Arizona Hurls Again: Mesa public charter school teaches religion.
  • Flinstonian Puke-Fest: GOP candidate for Minnesota House of Reps, wants public schools to teach that humans & dinos lived together.

Fifty Shades Of Hate, Lies And Propaganda

  • Perky Pukery: Primo hater and theocrat Tony Perkins asks: Is it Burger King or Burger Queen

If Media Is The Message

  • Projectile Lies: Bill O’Reilly Advances Extremist Personhood Argument Against Abortion

Politics Nation

  • Poopy On The Upchuck: The Tea Party Isn’t a Political Movement, It’s a Religious One. Obama is the Antichrist, Republicans are heretics, and compromise is unholy.

Religion Gone Mad

  • Capesce Chuck? An Outrage Beyond All Others: The Use Of Religion to Assault Democracy
  • Penis Licking Upchuck! Right-wing youth leader threatens his ‘gay’ dog on Facebook: ‘Don’t challenge my principles’

Sausage Makers And Their Sausage

  • Snausage Spew: Governor tells Iowans to ‘repent’ in official proclamation for Christian revival at Capitol

Scandal

  • The Drip, Drip, Drip Of Puke: Florida pastor accused of raping clients of homeless shelter

Supremes And Lower Courts

  • Scotal Oath-Chucking: Justice in the United States is for the rich, powerful, Christian male
  • Scrotal Puke-Chucking: The Hobby Lobby Stages of Grief: Stage 2, Anger
  • Regurgitating Racism:. Federal Appeals Court Orders Texas To Issue Confederate Flag License Plates

Theocracy Rising

  • Upchuck’s Family Values: Hobby Lobby Case Linked To Secretive National Prayer Breakfast Group, “The Family”
  • Myth Bustin Spit-Up: Who’s surprised here? Researchers: Children exposed to religion have difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction
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Maine town to Big Oil: We don't want to bathe in bottled water

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Portland-Montreal Pipe Line (PMPL) is owned by a Canadian subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Suncor Energy Inc., "both heavily involved in extracting petroleum from oil sands," per a report by the Los Angeles Times. And now PMPL wants to start exporting toxic tar sands crude goo from Canada through South Portland, Maine. You all know what tar sands is, right? If not, please scroll through my many, many posts here to learn about the very real dangers of tar sands pipelines.

You'd think by now that impending climate change disaster and that other infamous, short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting would be a wake-up call. But no-o-o. Pollution be damned. Fresh air and water? Pfft! The health and well-being of anyone who gets in their way? Meh.

But there is a town in Maine that's not afraid to put up its dukes. The L.A. Times has the story:

On Monday night, the South Portland City Council, including Blake, is expected to pass an ordinance that would prevent the export of crude oil from the waterfront. The product of a relentless 18-month campaign by residents and Maine environmental groups, the measure is a response to plans by Portland-Montreal Pipe Line, or PMPL, to reverse the flow of its import pipeline in order to export oil sands crude from Canada, the same petroleum that would run through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline in the Great Plains.

"This isn't an anti-Portland pipeline company measure," Blake said. "It's anti-dirty oil." [...]

Communities along the pipeline route, from Vermont to Maine, also grew alarmed by spills of oil sands crude into Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010 and then in a subdivision in Mayflower, Ark., in 2013... The Portland-Montreal pipeline six times crosses the watershed for a major tributary into Sebago Lake, the drinking water source for the greater Portland area.

That can't end well.

One resident's take says it all: "All you need is one break, not even a huge break, and hundreds of thousands of people are going to be drinking and bathing in bottled water."

Bingo.

Please read the entire article at the link.

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