Archive for do nothing congress

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

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

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

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

"Absence of a strong wave comes as something of a setback for GOP"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

democracy setback

A report just came out from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate. It confirmed what many of us already knew: that Americans are "staying away from the polls in droves." Not good, not good at all. The prediction is that the midterm primary elections will set record lows in voter turnout. "Who cares?" many of you may be asking. Well, per the Los Angeles Times, that would be a real setback for democracy:

Why does that matter? “It presents a danger to our society insofar as democracy does thrive on the consent and involvement of the governed,” said Curtis Gans, director of the nonpartisan election research center and a decades-long student of voter behavior. “Leadership needs some form of mandate.”

The study says a major factor in the low turnout is a sense of futility: congressional districts consciously drawn to favor one party or the other, which leave many voters wondering why they should bother participating when the outcome is preordained.

Got that? Gerrymandering is a major culprit. Scroll through our many posts on that subject.

gerrymander definition

To repeat, low voter turnout is bad for democracy... and usually bad for Democrats, specifically.

Adjacent to that article was another one about a different kind of setback. It has a somewhat encouraging title (key word: somewhat), No partisan wave building for fall elections, but GOP gains likely:

[F]or now, the absence of a strong wave comes as something of a setback for Republicans, who had hoped earlier this year that the unpopularity of President Obama's healthcare law would guarantee big gains for them.  [...]

The public's dismal view of Congress probably accounts for some of that lack of enthusiasm about voting.

That last sentence is an understatement, IMHO. Our own Sherry Hardy wrote a great post about that here, and I followed up here.

Not a skit, our actual Congress, gaa! Maddow

And from the Timing Is Everything Dep't., Steve Kornacki subbed for Chris Matthews on Hardball and treated us to his own "Let Me Finish" segment in which he opined on the long game for Democrats:

Kornacki:

Right now, at least, it doesn't look like a big Republican wave is building, and it does look like Democrats can at least hold their own this fall. And if they can do that, then it sets up the real battle in 2016...

In 2016, Republicans won't just get to take shots at the White House, they'll have to put up a candidate of their own. They'll have to write a platform of their own, run on an agenda that might not sit that well with most Americans. There could be a huge opportunity for Democrats...

2014 is important to [the Democrats], but 2016? That's the ball game.

You know what to do:

vote  turnout  gotv

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

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

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Not a skit, our actual Congress, gaa! Maddow

Our own Sherry Hardy covered Rachel Maddow's edible take-down of the Worst Congress Ever in her post, 'Get Out and Push', Says Maddow of the Useless, U.S. Congress. Maddow went ballistic, and rightfully so. Wowee, do GOP obstructionists suck, and yes, I'm using the official elitist left vernacular. Before going any further, I have to share a couple of the best parts from the segment Sher put up. And by "best" I mean most relatable, because Rachel's Moment of Gaa! was surely felt by many of us. Here are four very short clips (under a minute each) that represent some of her best outbursts. Here she is, blasting Congress to smithereens, and by Congress she meant Republican members thereof:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Maddow:

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

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Maddow:

"This is truly historic failure."

ding ding ding

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

All of this brings us to today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor in which readers responded to former Rep. David Dreier op-ed that was meant "to assure readers that it's not as bad as it seems in Congress. The nearly unanimous response from the nearly two dozen readers who sent us letters: Are you serious?"

Here you go, because our voices matter:

It's been tried many times before, the guilty claiming innocence by accusing the victim.

Dreier does just that. He blames the people for being divided, implying that the members of Congress themselves are not at fault. This is why only 13% of Americans approve of Congress, according to a January Gallup poll. Eighty seven percent of the people being of one mind in their disapproval doesn't sound like division.

Fewer laws have been passed by this Congress than by any other in the last 65 years, and Dreier says it's not really that bad. I think it is time for a reality check.

Frances Pin, Marina del Rey

..

Dreier deludes himself and, even more sadly, us.

We have a do-nothing Congress not because Americans are deeply divided. Important legislative efforts on immigration, the minimum wage and gun control did not die because of deep division, as a large majority of Americans favored these measures.

Is Dreier saying that shutting down the government and threatening its solvency came because of voter division? The failures came because the GOP was listening to the radical tea party members of Congress, who represent a very small minority of the population.

It is self-serving for Dreier to blame the division of the people — actually, insulting.

Jim Hoover, Huntington Beach

..

Dreier states that he is continually asked, "Is Congress completely controlled by big money and special interests?" and "Is it more partisan and dysfunctional than ever before?"

He never answers. Instead he tells us how there are always two opinions to every issue and groups of constituents on both sides.

I have to assume that he avoided answering because the answers are both "yes."

Ted Bacino, Palm Springs

..

Dreier blames the diversity of Americans for Congress' obstructionism.

Of course we are diverse, and we are better off for it. However, when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stated in 2010 that his main goal was for Barack Obama to be a one-term president, he revealed quite clearly what the Republican Party was all about: not diversity, but settling scores.

Robert S. Ellison, Arcadia

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

'Get Out and Push', Says Maddow of the Useless, U.S. Congress

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

World's End

Maddow finally did it! Put her head on the desk in despair and choked out a couple of frustrated, choked "Gaah!!!"s in the opening block of her Friday evening show … on the gobstoppingly absurd absenteeism of 25% of the American diplomatic forces.

Key positions are vacant because the actual Do Nothing Congress is Out of Order. They won't even appoint or confirm - it's the mind-blowing equivalent of laying off 1 out of every four American diplomats and foreign service personnel around the world.

furlough_congress_225quot_magnet_10_pack

For sheer spite. Obstructionism and putting some degrading 'asterisk' next to Obama's presidency is more important than our national security - to the GOP, neo-hawks.

The capper: Congress is currently less popular than Putin with the American people. As they are about to go on vacation themselves, it's going to be a race to do as little as possible.

you-think-im-ywwqli

We currently have no ambassadors to Russia, Guatemala and more than a few other hotspots in foreign affairs this summer.

Bernie Sanders was slightly optimistic about the hopes of VA Reform early this afternoon. Despite both houses having passed the actual bill - Bernie Sanders and John McCain were the bloody co-sponsors, they had it down. Congress looked ready to pass a bill, #wtfbbqlaw??

Partisan bickering and final budget wrangling have ground even the Veterans Administration reform efforts to an astonishing new level of Gonzo Gridlock.

Funny-Office-Signs-02-Microwave-Toaster

Bernie joined Rachel at quarter past the hour to offer his perspective. He was no longer just optimistic. He seemed to be working his way up to projecting the announcing of an imminent deal. "Yesterday was a very rough day … but we will look abysmal if we cannot produce legislation to help the Veterans. … We plan on working tomorrow and Sunday, and despite the huge ideological differences … we can come together." {paraphrasey} Have a look.

Earlier in the day a veteran called Sanders 'intractable' and a bit of a problem in the gridlock, which raised my hackles but nonetheless deserves a look. Sanders is indeed determined to include mental health and traumatic brain injury as high priorities, and perhaps he is holding out for ideals. But he is fighting hard for progress within this dysfunctional congress.

don'talwayswatch

By contrast, the sub for Hannity had Paul The Younger on to bloviate about the Middle East, then let little Randy suggest an Iron Dome for the U.S.. Isolationist much?! Then he had a spin around the entire feeble Feck question on Ukraine, and did the obligatory 'lack of leadership' schtick.

"Staring down Putin" … he has been reading his Ayn.

Sorry for the early bird Fvx, but these side by side comparisons between the two cable networks, one delivering actual news with a stated liberal slant and a fan of facts, one that sells hysteria and propaganda like it's a new investment op; are critically important in the two views of this Dysfunctional Congress and the state of breaking bad they have sunk to.

fox-news_o_1179933

These compare and contrasts are so critical - the harsh disinfectant of light shining on the murk and hate at Fox Noise and diagnosing the brainwashing for what it is, a propaganda and cult network bent on guarding the wealth of the upper tier.

Oh, and that Rand Paul baldly boasted of calling the president to advise him was just that last bitter note that Fvx Nation is addicted to.

It's going to take the mother of all Twelve Step Programs to sort out those zombies and zombettes when they stumble away from the mother ship … a wrecked and listing Tea Party clipper.

crazy to work here

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Anti-immigration protesters are afraid of children

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

pro immigration protesters Murrieta CA

"Many of them are fleeing violence and extortion from gangs..."

And many of them have been raped:

“It’s not just the heat that could kill them but there are other dangers. Officials at Lackland Air Force Base told us that one-third of young girls that come across – and they were just like little babies; 10, 11, 14 years of age. That about one third of them get raped and/or abused on the way here.

"This is about the kids, that's what it's about."

"They're destroying our country."

"President Obama has called it a humanitarian crisis."

President Obama is right.

Here's an idea, protesters. If you don't like what's happening, call on Republicans in the House of Representatives to get off their obstructionist asses and support an immigration reform bill. It would likely pass... if they'd allow a vote, that is.  Actually, this could very well happen... after the November elections. That way those Republican paragons of bravery can say they accomplished something on immigration reform just in time for the next election cycle in 2016. How courageous of them.

By the way, Boehner, how's that Latino voter outreach shaping up?

But what struck me about this particular protest was the following. Via the Los Angeles Times:

Police said about 100 to 150 people met the buses a few blocks away from the Border Patrol station, chanting "Go home" and "We want to be safe."

The detainees — many of them women and children from Central America — had crossed the border in Texas recently and were flown to San Diego by the Department of Homeland Security.

I watched Tamron Hall's reporting on this today (video unavailable), and the person "on the ground" did indeed confirm that most of the immigrants were women and children. Ooo, scary. Better get out the firearms and hide the kids, protesters. After all, you "want to be safe."

anti immigration protesters CA Murrieta

statue of liberty give me your tired your poor

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Rep. José Gutierrez (D) of Illinois Has Personalized Immigration Reform

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

immigration indian
There is one adult and authentic voice in the room for immigration reform, and it is getting a lot more air play these days … the Congressman from Illinois with the charming demeanor and a deep passion for this issue has taken the stage with aplomb. Meet Rep. José Gutierrez (D) of Illinois.

Speaking directly to the people about the GOP and Teabagger paranoia of anything that might be related to the curse word 'amnesty', Gutierrez is forging his own way forward in making a safe harbor for the people he fights for. Catch him on MSNBC's Morning Schmoe, from earlier this morning, Scarborough and Morning Mika were happily absent … leaving actual journalist Katty Kay to ask some proper questions for a couple of segments.

Have a gander.

The youth humanitarian crisis on the border is of huge consequence and note, and should be something we all should care deeply about. They are innocent children, sent to our fenced borders by loved ones (or for darker reasons, it's nuanced) to get a shot at the American Dream.

Image, via Cagle Cartoons

Image, via Cagle Cartoons

 

Seeing those small children sleeping on cement floors, hoping for a chance to be taken away by Family Services, is a heartbreaking and motivating snapshot of just how tragic our immigration system has become. You can practically feel that horrid Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Arizona drooling over the opportunity to pen up those savages. Shudder.

Just as the collective and hope-filled youth of Irish, Italian, German, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and dozens of other ethnicities came to these shores before them. We have just gotten xenophobic and absurdly self-obsessed … we were once proud of the exceptionalism of Ellis Island and our Open Door immigration policy.

familyvalues

Bravo to Rep. Gutierrez and his colleagues who re courageous enough to stand against the Regressive tide of fear, hate and loathing that the GOP is hell bent on encouraging as the wave of the future of 'their' ostensibly Christian and very white America.

Immigration reform isn't going away by wishing.

Get over yourselves, ghastly GOP.Teabangelcial Asshattery. The U.S. of A. is a colorful melting pot of cultures, beliefs and ideologies. We'd have made no progress since the 1600's if we weren't, and you Old White Folk are no longer at the helm.

White stains so easily, anyhow. Just look at the truly pale political examples like the Koch Broz.

Cartoon, Marguiles via GoComics.com

Cartoon, Marguiles via GoComics.com

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Do-nothingest House GOP ever decides to top themselves

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

GOP fail jon stewart House GOP

chart do-nothing congress via Maddow Blog Steve BenenChart via The Maddow Blog's Steve Benen

How many ways can we say "worst, do-nothingest House of Representatives ever"? Probably about 232, and they all have an (R) attached to their name. The House GOP has made it a second career to obstruct in between recess breaks.  Their first career is fundraising. Their tied-for-second career is lying and smearing President Obama.

To their credit, they're really, really good at taking time off.

What a legacy.

Now, in an obvious effort to maintain their stellar record of doing absolutely nothing, blocking all things Obama, and creating the terrible government that they're dying for American voters to hate, this is their next Big Plan, per WaPo:

After a tumultuous week of party infighting and leadership stumbles, congressional Republicans are focused on calming their divided ranks in the months ahead, mostly by touting proposals that have wide backing within the GOP and shelving any big-ticket legislation for the rest of the year.

Comprehensive immigration reform, tax reform, tweaks to the federal health-care law — bipartisan deals on each are probably dead in the water for the rest of this Congress.

Yes indeedy, boys and girls, they've successfully divided the government-- as well as their own party-- and now they're blaming that divided government, the one that they created, for their very own failures.

*Fanfare* Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Frank Luntz (mainly because I don't want him):

“It is an acknowledgment of where they stand, where nothing can happen in divided government so we may essentially have the status quo."

Of course, there are plenty of things they can do. For example, why give up so soon on repealing Obamacare after only eleventy thousand tries? And when in doubt, pass more doomed forced-birth bills, hold more hearings on settled non-controversies, and by all means, keep on pursuing Benghazi!!!!

worst congress ever gop fail

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare