Archive for the last word

The NC GOP Mayor Takes His Medicaid Expansion Cause On the Road

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Mayor on the march!

Remember how cool and progressively impressive we found the small town Mayor Adam O'Neal (living compassionate conservative, at least he was) who was going to the mat for rural hospitals and the expansion of Medicaid to all states?

Here's the link if you need to catch up, we've been cheering him along at the Carnival for a while now - he is walking the walk, literally.

Earlier this week, fellow fan of the good mayor, Lawrence O'Donnell, scored the big interview … the end of the mayor's first -- of fifteen days-- on the road to the Capitol. He's hoofing it to Washington D.C. to talk Medicaid expansion into his state.

And hospital closings that are already handing out death sentences in his county.

Yes!! That guy, the one Rachel Maddow has been giving props to as well, the sane voice in the wilderness … after they indeed closed the rural hospital he opposed the tampering with, there was some snap(!) in his disappointment.

Sure enough, that Southern dissatisfaction turned into action, and the conservative Carolinian mayor should arrive within the beltway by the end of July. They covered 17 miles yesterday, which hikers will be impressed with - never mind pundits. Enjoy Lawrence's exclusive.

Then the punch in the gut that comes with a well-reported story. It turned personal. The closure of that rural hospital in Belhaven North Carolina had claimed a life. A 48 year-old woman, mother of three small children, was over an hour in an ambulance following a heart attack and expired in transit.

The GOP Regressive Right pinch-purses have their first trophy, if they care to display her. She won't see you try to deny any complicity, but let us hope her family, friends and the media are loud enough to make it ring clear.

It is not right. It is not just. It has nothing to do with compassion. This is not the country we would still send our sons and daughters to risk death to defend, any longer.

priority fail gop fail

The right bitched and moaned about waiting times in Socialist Canada and, even worse, the United Kingdom during early Obamacare Hysteria, remember that? Oh no, waiting lines and wait times would be inconvenient.

This woman wasn't inconvenienced. She didn't wait a little too long in the Urgent Care waiting room overflow area because there's a bad bug in the circle of small towns it serves. She died, unnecessarily, in the arms of some pitiable First Responders and local volunteer medics, likely friends or 'friends of'. Who feel like hell today.

I had my latest ambulance ride from a friend's place last Friday, and was startled at the difference in times I hadn't really had to think about in years. And because I had just written the other story about a small rural hospital that takes care of my own heart and other organs on a pretty regular basis.

Seeing that footage, with the exhausted but determined mayor having to publicly process the news that the first victim was identified, the first heroine down and will be buried by her family soon, in this heat … it was so close to home for so many of us.

That lady should be going home to her children after a stint got put in and her husband freaked out and told her to take better care of herself and her Mom held her close and thanked a God she usually doesn't believe in that her only daughter was all right because they had gotten her to the doctors in time. This time.

fthatguy

Too many of us understand this tragedy. Moms Against Guns and MADD and the sensible sisterhood of mothers and aunts and grandmas who get this stuff had better align right along with this quirky mayor.

People are dying because of GOP obstructionism and budget ethics. Even Doonesbury can't do this shite justice.

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Tracy Morgan v Walmart's Lowest Prices, Gua-ran-teed

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notSureIf

What part of a Thirty Rock comedic star and outspoken liberal voice suing a big-box chain not beloved of the Left for unsafe business practices is not fascinating?

Lawrence O'Donnell agreed, giving a generous amount of time to the news item that may have a lot to do with actual traffic deaths if this cause gets some tread and some traction. Video below.

Tracy Morgan is about to find out how much the life of a close friend of his is worth in the eyes of modern American law.

The underpinnings of the situation are tragic, not comedic. Tracy Morgan had finished a late night set out of town, and was headed back home with friends and staff when a Walmart truck driver, who had been up for longer than 24 hours, completely committed vehicular homicide.

don'tyouknow
The driver, who assuredly will take the moral weight of this to his grave, hadn't had a Bud with his late-night meal, or was even thought to have had a record of poor driving choices, never mind the kind of poor judgment that killed and maimed others on the roads he knew so well.

From Lamestream Librul' Rag the Wall Street Journal:

The lawsuit alleges Wal-Mart should have known the driver's hours were in violation of federal laws aimed at preventing fatigue because the driver, Kevin Roper, commuted 700 miles from his home in Georgia to Delaware to start work.

"As a result of Mr. Roper's fatigue, he fell asleep behind the wheel of his truck while he was driving, failed to slow down for traffic ahead, and resultantly collided with the limo," the suit said.

Lawrence O'Donnell, recently back behind the anchor desk at The Last Word on MSNBC following his own lengthy recuperation from a taxi-cab crash in Cuba, brought in safety advocate Ed Slattery, a truly informative guest, to expertly speak on the topic, along with Emma Fitzsimmons of the N.Y. Times to discuss further.

Apart from our ragged rail system, big trucks are carrying most of the heavy lift of getting our crap to ourselves, and you know exactly how much crap we think we need to get through your average American day. I already have more items on my bed than in my first dorm room and it's 6:15 a.m.

It's astonishing to think that circa 4,000 American (or tourist, pretty soon they are going to start delivering High Risk Alert Travel warnings for visiting any part of the United States for a variety of violent death scenarios) lives are at risk because of industry greed and improper regulation of the good companies and workers that are out there hauling us our Stuff every day.

NOWAY

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Samson and De-Liar, Chris Christie Must Be Sweating Bullets

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qE2

So we are now up to three major scandales in the Chris Christie saga of defeat.

The reporting here on Bridgegate, SandyGate here and the most recent jump into the muck - Pulaski Skyway-Port AuthorityGate is worth a catch up on, but it was summarized well by New Jersey expert and Up on MSNBC host, Steve Kornacki.

It looks like it is David Samson's turn to start talking. He is definitely back in the nooz, and knee deep in subpoenas and the lofty calibre o' attorneys New Jersey and New York usually reserve for advisor capacity on Law and Order.

Have a gander. The discussion also includes some time with New York Times reporter and Christie expert Kate Zernike and Georgetown Law Prof. Paul Butler.

Grin wide with us, you know you want to.

Poster art courtesy our friend Mel Neuhaus, @acehanna54

Poster art courtesy our friend Mel Neuhaus, @acehanna54  Click to enlarge.

 

Kornacki was on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell to discuss, as well as to deliver a mighty fine summary on Thursday night. The weekend gave him extra time to get facts.

 

When there are District Attorney's on hand brandishing the Martin Act that Eliot Spitzer famously used to hammer Wall Street, Trenton must be getting a very nervous gastric-bypassed stomach.

Shouldn't one listen to the kind of heavy-hitter advisers an organization as 1%er wealthy and obscenely powerful as the Port Authority hires to advise against fraud?

hypocrite

And such a shame, the timing … The Big Boy Christie had a 'successful' trip to New Hamshire on his "What?!? MOI???!?" Tour.  [Knew those Live Free or Die phuquers next door were up to something, we can feel their Idjit Antics here in Vermont.]

No listening for The Christie.  He simply bulldozes on, while a massive brick wall is being built under and around him - hope he has his Humpty Dumpty uniform at the cleaners.

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Phone logs are now revealing Christie aide calls to the Port Authority with frequency and timing that bodes well for a Securities Fraud indictment.

This is when new-agey prayer comes in handy. Let's get Humpty Dumpty down off that wall of hubris, Trenton is about to Fall. And let there not be a 'buffer zone'.

knownothing

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"Gun advocates think they know how any scenario involving guns will play out. They don't."

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cliff schecter on last word guns gun advocates

In one of the following letters, the author refers to "gun advocates." I prefer the terms gun fondlers, gun zealots, and gun fetishists, but what do I know, right? She makes a great point, as do the others in today's Los Angles Times letters to the editor.

Take a look at these and at the video below, because our voices matter:

Near the end of your article on the Las Vegas shootings, you mention Joseph Robert Wilcox, who pulled out a concealed weapon and confronted Jerad Miller at the Wal-Mart.

As I read this part of the article, I wondered what gun advocates who promote the fallacy that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun would say about that. Wilcox may have believed this idea and might have wanted to be a hero, but now he is dead after having been shot by a bad guy.

Gun advocates think they know how any scenario involving guns will play out. They don't.

Unfortunately, this part of the story will not even be part of the conversation. It is to our country's detriment that it won't be.

Nancy Zaman, Los Angeles

***

The politicians' angry cries against the release of five Guantanamo Bay detainees are loud. What of the American terrorists who routinely slaughter children, police officers and innocent civilians?

Those politicians refuse to defy their sponsor, the National Rifle Assn., and show little care for American lives.

Ruth Palanker, Los Angeles

***

Isn't it about time that we just stand up to the defenders of an amendment written more than 200 years ago and say it just doesn't apply anymore? Isn't it time for the cowards in Washington to quit protecting the NRA and start protecting the rest of us?

It's time we closed the gun shops and the gun shows and started restricting and shutting down the manufacturers of these weapons.

And yes, it is a mental health issue. It's about the absolute insanity of the people who think that owning a gun somehow makes you more of an American.

Collect the guns and get these nuts off the street before more of our children die.

Lee Cohen, Glendale

Now take a look at our own Cliff Schecter making the case against violence on The Last Word. As always, he knocked it out of the park:

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Second Amendment "cited as holy writ on a par with scripture." #NotOneMore

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guns not one more Richard Martinez Santa Barbara shooting second amendmentFacebook page link

Richard Martinez was on "The Last Word" discussing the Second Amendment -ing of his son Christopher in the Isla Vista massacre. He ended with a comment about how gun zealots will come after him once they decide his grieving period is over:

"My son's dead, and there is NOTHING that you can do to me that's worse than that."

The Second Amendment is becoming a religion to gun fetishists. This is not healthy on so many levels, starting with, you know, living human beings being slaughtered. Here are a few links to the Los Angeles Times that you should read in full.

Let's start with Steve Lopez's column that examines how mass killings should affect us deeply, but instead, it appears that, disturbingly, we are becoming desensitized or increasingly uncivil. His post is titled "Ignoring the Insanity of Gun Violence":

Sensational gun violence... always gets us wringing our hands about gun control for a few days or maybe a few weeks, but that's about it. The focus is often on the mental health of the killers in those high-profile cases, and certainly there's room for vast improvement in identifying and treating illness and preventing violence.

But firearm violence is an everyday reality, and the truest expression of insanity is the argument that greater access to more guns can make anyone safer. No developed nation comes close to either the number of guns per capita in the U.S. or our rate of firearm deaths, and yet the NRA and its congressional stooges stay the course, money in their pockets and blood on their hands. [...]

[E]ither [the staggering statistics on gun violence] have lost their shock value or we have lost our civility. [...]

[I]t's worth noting that the states with the lowest gun control grades have the highest rates of gun death, while the states with the highest gun control grades have the lowest death rates.

In the video above, Ari Melber gave Richard Martinez well-deserved time to express himself, as-- especially in the second half of the video-- he shifted from beautiful memories of a wonderful son to his frustration with the status quo and revelations of how he, himself, failed to take action until his own son was murdered.

Lopez ended his column with an earlier quote from Martinez: "Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris' right to live? When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say, stop this madness, we don't have to live like this? Too many have died. We should say to ourselves — not one more."

Yesterday I linked to an op-ed in the L.A. Times in my post, "Joe the Plumber": "Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights." Here's the link: California needs a Gun Violence Restraining Order. Today the Times is reporting that the "gun violence restraining order" concept has now prompted a proposal for a new firearms bill:

If notified by a subject's family or friends that someone could harm himself or others, law enforcement officers would be able to petition a judge to grant a restraining order that could prohibit possession or purchase of a gun. [...]

The family of Elliot Rodger, the shooter, had raised concerns with law enforcement about his mental state, and Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies visited Rodger at his apartment in April but took no action against him.

Of course, ignoring countless mass shootings over the past few decades, Sam Paredes, executive director of the Gun Owners of California, called the proposal a "knee-jerk reaction." Apparently, in his mind, "knee-jerk" means that lawmakers haven't had years upon years to carefully consider needless deaths caused by easy access to deadly weapons. Isn't that just like a gun fondler who reveres the Second Amendment the way GOP Senate nominee Ben Sasse reveres his religion over established law?

Finally, there was this letter to the editor, because despite how often we feel ignored, our voices do matter:

It has indeed been sadly demonstrated that no alarms were sounded about Elliot Rodger prior to his gun rampage in Isla Vista this past weekend despite some warnings. There have been, however, countless red flags raised about the dangers of having the access Rodger had to guns. ("In Isla Vista, red flags came too late," May 25)

I blame not only those who misread and misinterpret the U.S. Constitution, which they also unreasonably cite as holy writ on a par with scripture. I also blame the politicians who pontificate about the horrors of innocent people being killed by these weapons while continuing to accept money from the National Rifle Assn.

I am weary of this repeated scenario, and I await the next front-page article on another mass murder committed by someone with easy access to guns designed not for "protection," but primarily to kill people.

Don Fisher

Claremont

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Slut shaming, gossip: Chris #Christie's taxpayer-funded million dollar PR defense

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chris christie report bridget kelly slut shaming

you're a whore case closed slut shaming

Yesterday Team Christie cleared Chris Christie in a "report" by a firm that donated to his campaign; it was a laugh out loud over the top PR document that repeatedly relied on slut shaming to make its case.

Rachel Maddow made mince meat out of it, as did Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word":

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

Maddow:

Why on earth would Bridget Kelly's personal life and how her love life was going and whether or not Bill Stepien dumped her be relevant to that political question? ...

Bridget Kelly never spoke to the lawyers doing this investigation...

So what they've printed throughout the report is gossip about what they heard about their relationship and how it was going. They just gratuitously bring that up as they blame the whole thing on her. In real life, this is called "slut shaming." I'm not sure what they call it in New Jersey politics, but it's amazing to see it in this report that New Jersey taxpayers have paid for.

$1 million in public money spent to produce this report which blames the bridge scandal without explanation on the fact that this lady in the office was having a tough time in her love life. Amazing.

... This is also the law firm that governor Christie's office has hired essentially to put together the governor's defense in this issue. The governor's defense as federal prosecutors continue to pursue potential federal criminal charges related to this scandal.

There's no indication right now that Governor Christie is going to be indicted in this matter, but today's report looks very much like a ready criminal defense if that would become necessary. A would-be defense prepared at taxpayer expense and previewed for all of us at a length of 360 pages today.

And as they have rolled out the governor's legal defense today, they also did it in conjunction with a public relations rollout, the governor granting his first one-on-one interview tonight since the scandal broke.

...They actually published no new documentation of the scandal at all....

This is called protesting too much. The guy who did the lane closures says Chris Christie knew about it while it was happening. He says he told him while it was happening. There are pictures of them together on the day and at the occasion where the guy says it happened.

There is still no purported explanation from the governor's lawyers or the governor, himself, as to why this happened if it wasn't political retaliation directed from the governor's office, and this is his million-dollar defense.

This is the best he's got. and New Jersey taxpayers, you paid for it. Well, they did get that incredible detail that Mayor Zimmer once yawned. So i guess there's that.

chris christie report christie crying

And as mentioned at the top, Lawrence O'Donnell had a field day with the report whitewash as well as with former two-time Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien's response to it:

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All you need to know about "winners and losers" from #Obamacare in one pie chart (+ a video)

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picture worth thousand words

Just a little something America should finally understand. I'm talkin' to YOU, Republicans:

Obamacare truth about plans pie chart

H/t: @LOLGOP.

Republicans are actually defending junk insurance, just as they defended their irrational GOP shutdown. And the only reason they're doing that is to create another "Obama is a failure" meme. The Affordable Care Act was based on a Heritage Foundation idea, with the support of Newt Gingrich. WaPo:

Gingrich and Romney engaged in a brief but heated spat during the Oct. 18 GOP debate...

Romney: Actually, Newt, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you.

Gingrich: That’s not true. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.

Romney: Yes, we got it from you, and you got it from the Heritage Foundation and from you.

Gingrich: Wait a second. What you just said is not true. You did not get that from me. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.

Romney: And you never supported them?

Gingrich: I agree with them, but I’m just saying, what you said to this audience just now plain wasn’t true.

Romney: OK. Let me ask, have you supported in the past an individual mandate?

Gingrich: I absolutely did with the Heritage Foundation against Hillarycare.

[...] Gingrich continued to support mandates well after Massachusetts had implemented the so-called “RomneyCare” plan...

Nevertheless, now that it's called "Obamacare," the GOP is doing everything they can to discredit and destroy the ACA and the president. And they're spreading misinformation and lies everywhere, which all too many in the "news" media are more than happy to mis-report 24/7.

Hence, the pie chart.

One of my favorite columnists and Twitter pals, Michael Hiltzik, appeared on The Last Word and rocked it. Debunkitude galore:

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