Archive for playing politics



Joseph Weekley

A member of an elite Detroit  police squad, fatally machine gunned and killed an innocent 7-year-old girl during a search for a murder suspect.   A search, not a pursuit.  Sometimes bad stuff just happens.  Intentionally?  No.  But grossly negligent?  Before you decide, consider this:

Prior to entering, he tossed a stun grenade through the window.  He was carrying a sub machine gun as he and his black-clad, masked and armed unit stormed this Detroit home to search for a suspect.  Like I said, stuff happens.  Just tell that to Aiyana Stanley-Jones.  She's never going to see age 8.

So what's gross negligence?  Evidently being tactically trained for this sort of situation yet killing an innocent girl doesn't rise to that level.  Maybe it was his excuse.   He did have one.

He told jurors that he accidentally pulled the trigger during a struggle with the girl's grandmother.  Of course, that's it.  Well,  Mertilla Jones, the grandmother denied interfering with the gun in any way.  Regardless, why was his finger on the trigger while dealing with the girl's grandmother?  Was he going to shoot her if she didn't stand down and drop her knitting needles?

Imminent threat?  This highly trained officer couldn't handle this grandmother with a squad of armed men?

He entered, his finger on the trigger, AFTER using a debilitating stun grenade.  He went in to kill -- and sadly he didn't care who got in the way.  The suspect, by the way, wasn't found on the premises.  This doesn't rise to the level of gross negligence?  Shame on him.  Shame on the Detroit police.  Shame on all of us that we let this murder go unpunished.  Explain that to Aiyana.  No, you don't have to.  She's gone.

When will cops be held responsible for their reckless actions?  Applaud them when they do well.  Single them out when they don't.


Republican Federal Judge: How the GOP Has Packed the Courts With Partisan Hacks


scales of injustice

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

The hijacking of the federal judiciary by the Republican Party – through the appointment of aggressive partisan judges combined with preventing votes on nominations by Democratic presidents – is the hidden cancer on US government.  The sudden nixing of recess appointments last week by a DC appellate court panel of three Republican-appointed judges (in this case Obama filling empty National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seats and appointing Richard Cordray to chair the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) during a recess to circumvent endless Republican sabotage in the Senate) is symbolic of the macro-subversion of justice through manipulation of the federal bench, including, of course the Supreme Court. [...]

Enter David Sentelle, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Not only is the DC appellate court the most powerful in the land, it is essentially the pre-trial hearing ground for government cases before they reach the Supreme Court (if the Supreme Court chooses to hear an appeal).

Last week, Sentelle headed the three-judge panel that voided the NLRB and CFPB appointments.  As we know, unlike elected officials, federal judges are appointed for life (unless they are impeached by Congress, resign or die).  [...]

But to revisit just a few of Sentelle's GOP water carrying rulings, we can start with his leading the overturning of the convictions of Oliver North and John Poindexter as obtained by Lawrence Walsh, independent prosecutor for the Iran-Contra scandal.  

Sentelle changed the course of US history when he appointed Ken Starr to oversee the so-called Whitewater investigation of the Clintons.  [...]

Who then supervised Ken Starr?, Why a federal DC appellate court special division headed by Sentelle – which allowed Starr to proceed on an investigation that had morphed into what Joe Conason and Gene Lyons called in a must-read book: "The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton."  Clinton would have never been impeached if it were not for Sentelle carrying out the political dirty work of Helms and Faircloth on behalf of the Republicans on Capitol Hill. [...]

The calamitous impact of the strategic long-range control of the top levels of the federal bench by Republicans continues unabated.

A Januray 5 Los Angeles Times article, "Obama struggles to nominate, confirm federal judges," notes...

[Obama] has had fewer judges confirmed than any first-term president in a quarter of a century, and he is the first chief executive unable to appoint anyone to the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which decides challenges to federal regulations.

This is also true of appointments to regulatory agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board and the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. [...]

Given Harry Reid's cave on filibuster reform, relief does not appear to be on the way -- for either judiciary or regulatory appointments.

Please read the rest here.


2013 Shoulda Coulda Woulda Resolutions


promises promises smaller

Today’s guest post by the one, the only, Will Durst:


Okay. Bent over. Hands on knees. Breathing hard. Whew. Made it. “Pant. Pant.” For a while there, didn’t seem like it’d ever happen, but somehow we mercifully staggered across the annum finish line finally placing 2012 irrevocably in the rear view mirror. Make no mistake, the political climate is still volatile. Rash. Mad. Loud. Pulsating forehead vein above arcing spray of spittle loud. And the double- crossing chicanery hasn’t mellowed a bit of a spot of an iota from the fever pitch of last year’s quadrennial heights.

But now we’re deep enough into the new year that a few of us have occasionally remembered to scribble “2013” on our checks. Yeah, checks. Aren’t we the digital ones? Mostly zeroes. And as a public service we here at Durstco have offered to assist with a couple of resolutions that should have been made for this, the fourth year of the second decade of the 21st century. But probably weren’t.

  • Donald Trump commits himself, sometime during the coming year, against his better judgment; to somehow stumble onto the semblance of a clue.
  • Joe Biden takes an oath to learn how to laugh without frightening children.
  • Epitomizing the height of lowered expectations, the 113 Congress resolves to do more than the 112 Congress.
  • Rick Perry guarantees to someday be the President of some darn country even if he has to secede to do it.
  • President Obama pledges to outline a plan to fix the Social Security problem once and for all that doesn’t include raising the retirement age to 83.
  • General David Patraeus vows to eat more meals at home. Alone. In the garage.
  • Chris Christie swears to do all he can to avoid snickering every time he runs into Mitt Romney.
  • Greece aspires to become much more like Portugal.
  • Hillary Clinton swears to do all she can to avoid snickering every time she runs into Joe Biden.
  • Stung by NFL violence, Nike vows to never again tie its star to overpaid athletes and considers featuring school teachers in its ads. Lasts about an hour.
  • Governor Jerry Brown promises to focus less on the vast spaceship that is Earth and more on the run down long- term parking shuttle that is California.
  • Tim Pawlenty vows to utilize the latest strobe technology to at least give the appearance of movement.
  • Clint Eastwood vows to practice, practice, practice.
  • PBS determines not to do anything to rile Congress and makes plans to transform itself into the 24 hour Antiques Roadshow Network. Minus all that disreputable controversy.
  • The Airline Industry makes every effort to finally rid the skies of the most dangerous security element known to man: those pesky passengers.
  • The European Financial crisis promises to fade into the wings.
  • The Asian Financial crisis promises to take center stage.
  • John Boehner pledges to find a foundation color that reads less pumpkin and more summer squash.
  • Harry Reid makes a determined effort to focus more on the slightly wacky and less on the plumb crazy.
  • The Supreme Court steadfastly avers to put the fun back in dysfunctional.
  • Sheldon Adelson vows to spend the rest of his fortune on less risky bets than preposterous presidential candidates. He proceeds to blow it all on Nigerian lottery tickets.
  • Lindsay Lohan makes a concerted effort to get back to the thing she’s really good at. And equally determined to remember exactly what that is.

5 time Emmy- nominee Will Durst’s new e- book “Elect to Laugh!” published by Hyperink, is now available at, Amazon or any fine virtual book retailer near you.


"Fiscal cliff" traffic report


Today’s guest post by the one, the only, Will Durst:


“So, expect showers and gale force winds over the next couple of days and don’t forget that high surf advisory is in effect throughout the weekend. We may even see some downed power lines and scattered looting. That’s the weather here on Capitol Hill, now let’s go to Brandon with your Congressional traffic report.”

“Thanks Brandon. Well, its gotten pretty ugly out there, people. My best advice is, stay in your homes. As expected, following the holiday recess, we’re seeing a lot of bluster and bombast building up on the Beltway, and the obstructionist blather has managed to stall headway on nearly every budget deal ramp to a virtual crawl.

Three or four jack knifed 18- wheelers jam packed with Election Day rancor have overturned and as you might imagine, rubber necking has resulted in hundreds of not so tender fender benders in both directions. It’s gotten so bad that major media outlet trucks are stuck on the shoulder filming each other, filming each other.

It’s not just the Beltway that’s backed up. Main Street and Wall Street and the Path to Prosperity all report major slowdowns due to a multitude of partisan pile- ups. Some drivers seem to be purposefully ramming fellow travelers right off the road while others speed across median strips to dive into oncoming traffic seemingly with no thought to life or limb. Casualties continue to mount and officials worry about running out of tarps.

Sky Nine over the Bridge to the Future reports that progress remains hopelessly clogged with all visible movement being of the backwards variety and from their vantage all the right lanes look to be blocked as far as the eye can see. Left lanes: not much better. Center lanes: you don’t want to know.

Many reasons have been offered up for Carmageddon spreading nationwide. Pure native stubbornness, leading to refusals to merge. Infrastructure deterioration. Widespread smoke screens creating low visibility. A plethora of misread signs due to intentionally misinterpreted polls. Death wishes. Insanity. Mad Cow.

Part of the problem can be attributed to the numerous turnarounds closed by committee chairmen to restrict desertion from party line movement and reports continue to stream in that a crazy person by the name of Grover Norquist, has been single- handedly impeding traffic by standing in the ditch and flagging motorists off the road straight into various freeway abutments. Although it must be said, some cars do now seem to be aiming right for him chasing the anti- cheerleader back to the safety of various rest stop bathroom stalls.

Due to the slick situation, eternal congestion and some inexplicable glitch that has turned all the surface street stop lights to red, further delays are expected to spread across the nation as the country experiences a massive impasse on all roads leading to the cutoff meant to avert the dreaded Fiscal Cliff.

Veteran observers claim this activity is expected due to the mostly poor driving skills possessed by the residents of our nation’s capital. But the upshot is, we’re back to stalls and jams and near total gridlock far into the foreseeable future. So remember to keep that dial here, where we bring you weather and traffic together on the eights, although to be perfectly honest, not much is expected to change any time soon. Back to you Brandon."

5 time Emmy- nominee Will Durst’s new e- book “Elect to Laugh!” published by Hyperink, now available at, Amazon or any fine virtual book retailer near you. And don’t forget the Twentieth annual Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show December 26- January 1 at a theater near you. Go to for more info.


Political Thanksgiving blessings... sort of


Today’s guest post by the one, the only, Will Durst:


Seriously? Both political parties talking pre-emptive smack barely a week after the election. Partisan politics? Again? So soon? Not even time to catch our breath? For crum’s sakes, give it a rest, you guys. Besides, shouldn’t you be out on recess?
After all, it’s Thanksgiving. Yes. Already. The earliest Thanksgiving possible. That’s what happens when November first is on a Thursday. Merchants are dancing the happy dance. Shoppers too. Retail workers, not so much. Black Friday Creep seems destined to devour Halloween.

To be perfectly honest, a four- day weekend devoted to food, family and football might be the perfect prescription distraction to help us through these rebuking times. So here’s a couple rough examples of what a middle-aged round-headed political comic counts as blessings over folded hands before performing a perfectly executed triple somersault into the gravy boat.

Barack Obama. 2nd term promises much bigger knock-down, drag-out fights with the Republican House. Not to mention the Democratic Senate.

General David Petraeus. Who knew Generals had groupies? Proves old high school adage: chicks dig stars. The larger the fruit salad, the more noxious the flies.

Karl Rove. Continues to lobby for a recount of the Florida and Ohio votes. From 2008.
The Newly Elected Congress. If you liked the 112th Congress, you’re going to love the 113th Congress. Gridlock grown tentacles.

Bill Clinton. As Secretary of ‘Splaining Stuff, he kicked Obama’s ball over goal line. Can’t wait to see what his touchdown celebration looks like. Probably a waltz with Hillary down the 2016 campaign trail.

Dick Cheney. Still feisty even after recovering from a heart transplant. Really, transplant? Mightn’t “installation” be more apt?

State of Florida. 12 years later, and they still can’t count. Time to circumcise America. Cut Florida off and kick it into the Caribbean. Rename it North Cuba.

State of Texas. Threatening to secede again. But not seriously enough. Don’t think their heart is really into it.

Mitt Romney. Good news is he won’t have to 'splain to the whole family why they’re moving into a smaller house.

Chris Christie. Love him or hate him, he’s not going away and is much too big to fail.

Donald Trump. The man just cannot shut the hell up. He’s the gift that keeps on giving. Should team up with Sarah Palin in a double act and take it on the road.

Paul Ryan. Reins of the GOP are his if he can hold onto them. Has a lean and hungry look. Bobby Jindal would be wise to beware the Ides of March.

The Climate. Don’t know if anybody’s noticed, but it ain’t getting more placid out there.

Joe Biden. Less of a loose cannon and more of a loose aircraft carrier.

Michele Bachmann. Because every comedian needs a good right wing nut job every now and then.

The Justin Bieber- Selena Gomez breakup. It's not over. Oh, you may think its over, but it's not over.

And finally, The Fiscal Cliff. And our nation turns its lonely eyes to those fabled Fiscal Cliff Divers, the Tea Party. All right everybody, line up, who wants to jump first?

Thanks to everyone for all your hard work throughout the year for the likes of political animals such as I. And good health to us all.

5 time Emmy- nominee Will Durst’s new e- book “Elect to Laugh!” published by Hyperink, now available at, Amazon or any fine virtual book retailer near you. And don’t forget his annual Turkey Till You Trot Tour in Milwaukee, Wisconsin next week. Go to for more info.


"The election of an African-American president is in itself an instance of American exceptionalism"


“When you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Yosemite?”

The entire video is excellent, but starting at 3:25 or so is the nostalgic part... speaking of which, Frank Rich has a an excellent piece up in which he discusses (at length) the country's "declinist panic and hysterical nostalgia." I've excerpted a little of it below.

Lately I've had my own personal "panic" and moments of nostalgia, partly because of the current state of smeary, smutty, dishonest, money-driven politics, partly because of exactly what Rich writes so eloquently about, and partly because of my father's painfully slow physical and mental decline, the loss of too many friends (I hate the thought of how many times I've expressed condolences lately), and an extra helping of stress.

So yes, there have been better times, for me, for all of us. But when life gets you down, it's time to take action to improve matters, not to wallow and certainly not to exploit.

Unfortunately, using moments like these to their advantage is what all too many in positions of power and influence do, just when people are feeling their most vulnerable. Sadly, that's intentional. And even more sadly, it's often effective.


The wave of nostalgia for Andy Griffith’s Mayberry and for the vanished halcyon America it supposedly enshrined says more about the frazzled state of America in 2012 and our congenital historical amnesia than it does about the reality of America in 1960. ... If there’s one battle cry that unites our divided populace, it’s that the country has gone to hell and that almost any modern era, with the possible exception of the Great Depression, is superior in civic grace, selfless patriotism, and can-do capitalistic spunk to our present nadir. For nearly four years now—since the crash of ’08 and the accompanying ascent of Barack Obama—America has been in full decline panic. Books by public intellectuals, pundits, and politicians heralding our imminent collapse have been one of the few reliable growth industries in hard times. [...]

But given that the country has survived a civil war, two world wars, the Great Depression, 9/11, and the quagmires of Vietnam and Iraq, is our current crisis proportionate to the doomsday hysteria—or have we lost perspective?... Or is something else going on here? A more revealing question raised by our declinist panic is why it has been accompanied by a strange parallel infatuation with American exceptionalism. This once little-heard term, sometimes wrongly attributed to Tocqueville, was coined by Joseph Stalin in a 1929 anti-American sneer. Now it is flung about as the ubiquitous, defensive measure of America’s global standing. And it’s often used, Joe McCarthy style, as a cudgel to bash those who are judged to have hastened our decline by being insufficiently jingoistic—notably the president [...]

If Romney fails to capitalize on his opportunity to be the last hurrah of this demographically doomed old guard, it will not be just because he is a parody of elitist noblesse oblige but because his own Americanism has been compromised by the outsourcing of his money to the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Switzerland, and who knows what other exotic places that most Americans have never been to. [...]

Lost in all our declinist panic is the fact that the election of an African-American president is in itself an instance of American exceptionalism—an unexpected triumph for a country that has struggled for its entire history with the stain of slavery... That his unlikely rise has somehow been twisted into a synonym for America’s supposed collapse over the past four years may be the most disturbing and intractable evidence of our decline of all.


VIDEO: No wonder GOP Congress members want to repeal health care



Watch our new video featuring Republican Members of Congress denying that they voted to protect taxpayer funded health care benefits for themselves, while repealing critical patient protections for the middle class and doing nothing to create jobs.

Before last week's repeal vote, The Hill newspaper found that repealing the Affordable Care Act would "let members of Congress keep their government-subsidized insurance coverage after they retire -- a benefit they lost under the health law."

The Hill found that "a Republican amendment to the Affordable Care Act -- kicked members of Congress and their aides out of the healthcare program for federal employees. Instead, lawmakers and staff have to get coverage through the insurance exchanges created by the healthcare law. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who championed that provision, said it ensures that lawmakers live under the same rules as their constituents."