Austin #DragQueen Impresses President @BarackObama With a Hilarious One-Liner, Gets Fist Bump: http://t.co/UpkWCLx6iW pic.twitter.com/UANaKrn91F
— Dragaholic News (@DragaholicNews) July 14, 2014
The Austin Chronicle's Nina Hernandez reports on President Obama's interaction with Austin comedian/cashier Daniel Rugg Webb:
As the president approached, Webb threw his hand down and slapped the counter dramatically.
"Equal rights for gay people!"
"Are you gay?" the president asked.
"Only when I have sex."
"That's when he laughed and said, 'Bump me,'" Webb says.
They then fist-bumped, and the internet went crazy. And National Review commenters, as they're known to do, interpreted the event as nothing less than the end of civilization:
You know, I think this may actually be the end. I'm genuinely not sure the office of president can be cheapened any more than this.
The president is back to using. It's the most likely explanation for the tone of voice, the inappropriate conduct, the sheer stupidity.
They say it takes one to know one.
Perhaps in this case it is true. I strongly suspect as much.
This man holds the same office once held by George Washington…. Why am I crying?
Marriage equality arrived in New Jersey last October when Gov. Chris Christie (R) decided not to appeal a decision overturning the state’s ban. Speaking at the National Governors Association over the weekend, however, the possible 2016 presidential contender said that he believes the Republican Party should continue to fight against same-sex marriage.
Inside the offices of Republican gay-rights groups, a strategy is forming to convince party leaders to strip opposition to gay marriage from the GOP platform.
For Govs. Chris Christie, R-N.J., and Scott Walker, R-Wis., two chief executives of blue-hued states who have largely declined to engage in the culture wars, they would rather not reiterate their opposition [to gay marriage] as the courts deal with the cases. But for others, like Govs. Rick Perry, R-Texas, Bobby Jindal, R-La., and Mike Pence, R-Ind. – who are each looking to build a more conservative national constituency – the fight has only begun.
Many of the largest Christian publishers are coming out with books supporting same-sex relationships. More are on the way. These books have spurred praise from pro-gay Christians and strong resistance from the movement's right flank. All of this indicates that Christian publishing may be the next battleground in America's explosive debates about gay marriage.
In conclusion, no conservative in America knows what the fuck to do, now that the battle over gay marriage is ending and they've obviously lost.
The idea goes something like this: Primary ballots in Oregon would become free-for-alls, featuring candidates from every party all at the same time. And the two top vote-getters, regardless of party, would advance to a fall runoff. In a perfect world (and our world decidedly is not), turnout would increase and gridlock would ease.
But if reformers had their way several months ago, IP 55 (written up in this week's paper) would have remained the understudy to a measure even more ambitious: Initiative Petition 54, a measure that not only would have championed a top-two primary system, but also would have let Oregonians cast votes for as many candidates as they liked.
That extra wrinkle is known as "approval voting." It was seen as an antidote to some of the potential side effects of a top-two system: vote-splitting and political chicanery. But much to the chagrin of its most vociferous backer, the people who would have been called on to fund IP 54 couldn't get past the notion that it was a step too far for most voters.
"I went to the folks who funded open primaries before," says Frohnmayer, the businessman son of a former Oregon attorney general. "They were supportive."
Some of them still are, at least privately. But the sales pitch just got to be a bit too hard.
"There was some calculus that went on," says Frohnmayer.
Well, what do you know? If a state makes contraception available to more women—particularly young and poor women—that state's teen birth rate, abortion rate, and welfare caseload all plummet:
A program that provides contraceptives to low-income women contributed to a 40-percent drop in Colorado's teen birth rate over five years, according to state officials. The program, known as the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, provides intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants at little to no cost for low-income women at 68 family planning clinics in Colorado. The teen abortion rate dropped by 35 percent from 2009 to 2012 in counties served by the program, according to the state's estimates. Young women served by the family planning clinics also accounted for about three-fourths of the overall decline in Colorado's teen birth rate during the same time period. And the infant caseload for Colorado WIC, a nutrition program for low-income women and their babies, fell by 23 percent from 2008 to 2013.
Conservatives insist that women who can't afford birth control should simply go without sex. But faced with a choice between immediate deprivation (going without sex) and abstract risk (chancing a pregnancy), most women (and men) will take their chances. And when women who take their chances get pregnant, conservatives rush in to condemn them for being "irresponsible." But give poor and working women access to effective birth control—free IUDs and implants—and they will use it. So the lesson in Colorado is that most women want to be "responsible," it's just that too many can't afford to be. The cost of an IUD, as Ruth Bader Ginsberg pointed out in her blistering Hobby Lobby dissent, "is nearly equivalent to a month's full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage."
The lesson in Colorado for conservatives ought to be this: You can be against abortion or you can be against contraception but you can't be against abortion and against contraception. Making contraception harder for women to get—looking at you, Hobby Lobbyists—means more unplanned pregnancies and more unplanned pregnancies mean more abortions.
So why are conservatives fighting so hard to make contraception harder for women to obtain? Because they don't think people—young people, poor people, unmarried people, gay people—should be able to enjoy "consequence-free sex." Because it's sex that they hate—it's sex for pleasure that they hate—and they hate that kind of sex more than they hate abortion, teen moms, and welfare spending combined. Knowing that some people are having sex for pleasure without having their futures disrupted by an unplanned pregnancy or having their health compromised by a sexually transmitted infection or having to run a traumatizing gauntlet of shrieking "sidewalk counselors" to get to an abortion clinic keeps them up at night.
And it's even a short paragraph, from Dana Milbank's Washington Post column:
Congress has passed just 56 public laws this year, for a total of 121 since the beginning of 2013. This virtually guarantees the current Congress will be the least productive in history, well behind the “do nothing” Congress of 1948, which passed more than 900 bills. And many of the 121 bills are not exactly weighty (H.R. 1071: “To specify the size of the precious-metal blanks that will be used in the production of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins.”)
The goal of Teabaggy Republicans is to strip the government down to its most basic parts (except for the military, and the parts of government that enforce and protect evangelical Christianity). If they can't accomplish those goals with a Democratic Senate and a Democrat in the White House, they'll do nothing, instead, and let the nation argue itself to death until they can seize all three branches of government and really get to work. As far as plans go, it's a solid one. It's working. And the midterm elections are only going to reward their behavior.
You have to be a little bit jealous of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's mounting resume, to which he has already recently added opening up for MIA and giving informal life coaching, and now: modeling. Word broke today that Ben Westwood (son of Vivienne) is carrying on the family tradition for provocation (not to mention courting controversy to draw attention to his collection) by announcing that he's cast Assange to model in the London Fashion Week presentation, given that the clothing is "influenced by costumes worn by Clint Eastwood’s western films and also Assange’s combat-beret look." There's also at least one garment Westwood says features "a Julian Assange print." We'll have to wait until September to see what exactly a Julian Assange print is, but... it sounds kind of awesome?
Is it fair to say that there's a civil war between Republicans and Teabaggers going on right now? Because this article makes it sound like a civil war:
Establishment-aligned [Republican] groups have already spent some $23 million on independent expenditures propping up favored House and Senate candidates in contentious primaries [against tea party opponents], according to a POLITICO review of Federal Election Commission records. By comparison, Republican nominees raised and spent that amount in the 2012 North Dakota, Indiana and Nevada Senate races combined — three of the most competitive campaigns fought that year.
They're paying over twenty million dollars in a desperate attempt to kill the monster they created. Politics at its best!
Rick Santorum is telling anyone who'll listen that he's running for president in two years, and that he's running because conservative politicians aren't conservative enough on social issues. Right Wing Watch brings your daily dose of Santorum:
That’s the problem, is that we have a bunch of people who run the Republican Party from the financial point of view who don’t believe in the party platform and have been trying to cow us into walking away from it.
But the most important question facing Santorum is not "is he conservative enough?" It's "is he pretty enough?" Quin Hillyer at National Review's The Corner blog wrote an entire post gushing over how attractive Republican candidates are this year. I'm not sure what a plastic surgeon could do for Santorum's enormous, shiny forehead, but he might want to look into getting a consultation if the Republican Party is trending toward pretty.
Of George W. Bush’s myriad of failures that continue to wreck havoc at home and abroad, 7.9 million Americans losing their health insurance rarely gets mentioned.
“When [former president Bill] Clinton left office, the number of uninsured Americans stood at 38.4 million,” Ron Brownstein wrote in 2009. “By the time [former president George W.] Bush left office that number had grown to just over 46.3 million, an increase of nearly 8 million or 20.6 percent.”
And as Bush left office, the percentage of those without insurance continued to grow as millions continued to lose their jobs in the recession President Obama inherited. But in 2011 the percentage of uninsured began to shrink slightly as the Affordable Care Act went into effect. That shrinkage leveled out over the next two years but 2014 will likely offer the biggest reduction in the uninsured population at least in decades.
The Incidental Economist‘s Aaron Carroll — who hosts a great YouTube series called Healthcare Triage — looked at a new survey from Gallup and found that it suggests “more than 15 million Americans are newly insured this year. Almost 9 million of them received private insurance through the exchanges.”
And there is more bad news for the GOP. Forbes is reporting that nearly 60 percent of those who signed up for an insurance policy under Obamacare had no coverage previously. This figure, which is based on reliable data, pretty much puts an end to the argument that nearly all who are enrolling already had a policy.
Kaiser Family Foundation is out with a report today that harshly puts the lie to one of the anti-Obamacare troops loudest and most effective rallying cries—“Obamacare is only signing up people who already had insurance!”
And all of this from a president who is not even anything like a socialist.
"So this interview has gone very badly," Gary Oldman said while talking to Playboy, in an interview that has yet to go online but has everybody clutching their pearls in terror as one of their favorite actors defends Mel Gibson, calls Nancy Pelosi a "fucking useless cunt," and does that thing old people do where they whine about political correctness. Above is a picture of Gary Oldman talking to RoboCop, presumably about how Alec Baldwin isn't such a bad guy after all.
Celebrities saying stupid shit is hardly new—it's part of what makes them celebrities!—but in Oldman's case, it's kind of a bummer, just because... well, I'm not sure why, actually. When I respect somebody's work (and Oldman's work is pretty impossible not to respect), I tend to assume I'd respect them as a person as well—even though we've all been repeatedly shown how absurd that assumption is. Still, hearing Oldman go off like this seems more unexpected than it should, either due to the image we've collectively made up for him, or because Hollywood's conservatives rarely speak out, at least compared to their bleeding-heart brethren. This should make watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes interesting, though, so long as you assume Caesar & Co. are launching a war against mankind because they didn't care for Oldman's Playboy interview.
IN RELATED NEWS, yesterday's Marketplace featured an interview with Citizen Hollywood author Timothy Stanley about the intersection of "how Hollywood has always played a big role in politics"—particularly in terms of campaign financing and image-crafting. It's well worth a listen if you care for either movies or politics, even if it's not quite as lurid as listening to Commissioner Gordon vent his furious rage against the house minority leader and talk about how Hollywood is run by Jews.
It's always been simple. You show up at an adult place. You drink adult drinks. You chat with fellow civically minded citizens while learning something about your government. And when you show up next Tuesday at the NW Lucky Lab (1945 NW Quimby) you'll find that precious little in that proven formula will have changed.
We'll be taking on something you'll likely be hearing A LOT more about by the fall: a ballot campaign to bring so-called "open primaries" to Oregon, AKA an end to Democrats only voting for Democrats, Republicans only voting for Republicans, Greens for Greens, and so on and so on.
Advocates have sold the idea in Washington and California as a means of moderating the political extremes we tend to blame for gridlock—even as third-party candidates raise fears, not illegitimately, about marginalization and mainstream party diehards wring their hands over the potential loss of their traditional power.
So which is it? And what else can we do to increase political participation and get more young voters actually voting? We'll leave that to our panelists to help hash out (with help from lovely ol' me, your moderator for the evening). And they are:
• Vic GIlliam, state representative
• Ben Cannon, executive director of the Higher Education Coordination Commission and a former state representative
• Jeremy Rogers, Every Oregon Vote Counts
Doors open at 5, so show up early and mingle and meet people who presumably care as much about politics and good governance as you do. And then pull up a chair, or stand in the back as unobtrusively as you can, before the main event starts at 6. Click here for details!
This morning saw some actual Benghazi news, as opposed to the typical Republican outrage over Benghazi:
U.S. Special Operations forces captured one of the suspected ringleaders of the terrorist attacks in Benghazi in a secret raid in Libya over the weekend, the first time one of the accused perpetrators of the 2012 assaults has been apprehended, according to U.S. officials.
But as Asawin Suebsaeng at Mother Jones notes, Republicans are responding to this Benghazi news with, well, typical Republican outrage. Here's ousted Teabagger Joe Walsh:
Glad we nabbed a #Benghazi suspect, but the timing is questionable. Did they let him wander, waiting for the perfect political opportunity?
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) June 17, 2014
And here's ousted Teabagger Allen West, with a choice reply:
@AllenWest Let's see how many libs jump on this! Same thing with Osama bin Laden.
— Lisa (@Realist0311) June 17, 2014
Yes, because nothing will obfuscate the truth about Benghazi like the capture and interrogation of a suspected Benghazi ringleader. Commenters at the National Review agree:
They have known for over a year where this guy was. This "capture" is about only one thing: the upcoming Benghazi hearings. Eager to see how this plays out.
And so do commenters at Breitbart:
what convenient timing! just in time for an embattled Hillary and Obama. nothing is a coincidence with this administration!
I'll close on this one, which is so perfect is has to be parody:
This is an obvious attempt by the usurper Obama to distract attention from Benghazi
So this happened over the weekend:
PARK CITY, Utah — Mitt Romney’s ideas summit here was intended to be a passing of the torch to the Republican Party’s would-be saviors, with five potential 2016 presidential candidates jetting in to schmooze with many of the GOP’s biggest donors and present their agendas for the country’s future.
Instead, the scene at a luxury resort in the Rocky Mountains quickly became a Romney revival. Minutes after the 2012 Republican presidential nominee welcomed his 300 guests, Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC host and former GOP congressman, urged them to begin a “Draft Romney” movement in 2016.
Romney swears he's not running, but he also has some ideas about how to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Why Republicans would want to take advice on winning 2016 from the losing 2012 presidential candidate remains to be seen. But with polling results like this...
President, GOP preference:
Rubio 8% ...
(CNN, 5/29-6/1) http://t.co/osRj0XjFHu
— PollingReport.com (@pollreport) June 15, 2014
...maybe Romney 2016 isn't such a bad idea for Republicans after all.
Are you sick of hearing about Eric Cantor yet? But wait, there's more:
Majority Leader Eric Cantor will step down as majority leader at the end of July, CNN reported on Wednesday.
There's reportedly been a long line of Republican lawmakers drooling over Cantor's position during the past twelve hours, and they're not willing to wait for the corpse to cool. Rumor has it that John Boehner is nearing retirement, and whoever gets majority leader is a likely candidate for speaker when that happens.
He was asked about them yesterday, and according to the White House Press Pool reports he said this. (It's worth reading in full.)
I have to say that people often ask me, you know, how’s it been being president and, you know, what are my—you know, what am I proudest of and what are my biggest disappointments? And you know, I've got 2 1/2 years left. My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of, you know, people who, you know, can do just unbelievable damage.
We're the only developed country on Earth where this happens. And it happens now once a week. And it's a one-day story. There's no place else like this.
A couple of decades ago Australia had a mass shooting similar to Columbine orNewtown, and Australia just said, “well, that's it. We're not doing, we're not seeing that again,” and basically imposed very severe, tough gun laws, and they haven't had a mass shooting since. I mean, our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There's no advanced, developed country on Earth that would put up with this.
Now, we have a different tradition. We have a Second Amendment. We have historically respected gun rights. I respect gun rights.
But the idea that, for example, we couldn't even get a background check bill in to make sure that if you're going to buy a weapon you have to actually go through a fairly rigorous process so that we know who you are, so you can't just walk up to a store and buy a semi-automatic weapon? It makes no sense.
More after the jump.
Tim Murphy at Mother Jones has done the internet a real service by collecting all the insane conservative conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton and putting them in one place. Hillary Clinton's memoir about her time as Secretary at State was published today, and so we're about to see these conspiracies shift into overdrive on the conservative web. There are a lot of loony-tunes concepts from supposedly "reliable" sources:
IT'S A TAX!
Rumor: As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was pushing a secret United Nations takeover of the Internet, to be paid for by a secret tax on American billionaires.
Rumormonger: Former Clinton aide Dick Morris
It's really quite an impressive list.
Portlanders' ballots are due at 8 pm tonight, and this election—though it might not seem like it—is a pretty big one. As we wrote in our big endorsement feature ("The Outsiders Want In," April 30),
That water supply everyone went insane over last year? Its governance is very much in question. The mental health care and social services that are going to be crucial in this city's somewhat meandering battle against homelessness? Your choice in the hotly contested race for Multnomah County chair will be hugely influential.
For those of you who—like me—are scrambling to fill in your ballot at the last minute, here you go: We've got everything you need to know via our in-depth look at the issues and the candidates, and we've also got a quick-and-dirty cheat sheet:
And here's the Google Map of Multnomah County Elections' official ballot drop box sites:
View Multnomah County Elections Official Ballot Drop Box Sites in a larger map
See? Look at that. Easy! And fun! (Sort of.) Fill in your ballot and drop it off already. I'll even give you some voting music.
...[record scratch]...Mitt Romney?
In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that Republicans should support raising the minimum wage.
“I, for instance, as you know, part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage. I think we ought to raise it,” he said.
To be fair, Romney did indicate several times during his second presidential campaign that he was interested in raising the minimum wage. But he was very quiet and very cautious about it, because he lived in fear of alienating his base. Now that he's not running for president—and he insists he's not running for president again in 2016—he doesn't feel the need to be so gutless.
...and then you sleep in their shit all year long. Because gay men are always having nineways and we're all into shit and we never change our sheets.
This guy—South Dakota State Rep. Steve Hickey—spends an awful lot of time imagining men rolling around in feces. Maybe he should talk to someone about that. Someone who isn't a reporter.
...you know, in case you were wondering:
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wants the next debate in Congress on student loans to focus on helping borrowers refinance their debt.
Sen. Warren is introducing a bill that would open the door for potentially millions of recipients of federal loans to refinance at the same rate current recipients can get. Undergraduates, for example, qualify for loan at a 3.86 percentage rate.
Go read (or listen to) an interview with Warren about this over at Here and Now.
I assumed that on Friday, when the City Club of Portland took as its topic "Moving Fashion Forward in Portland," there would be a fair amount of broad strokes with a side of platitudes. Fashion, after all, isn't the usual topic of discussion at these gatherings, and City Club regulars would need some background.
The panelists—former Project Runway contestants Seth Aaron (who won, as well as winning the show's all-stars spinoff) and Becky Ross, Portland Sewing's Sharon Blair, Seth Friedermann of Manufacture New York, Pendleton president Mort Bishop, and David Howitt of the Meriwether Group—obliged where applicable. There were statements about designing "from the heart" emphasis on the "passion" required for an apparel design career, and a reiteration of what has been pointed to as fundamental challenges for pursuing said career in this city: production and funding.
Eventually things started to get down to brass tacks, though it was a far cry from finding any solutions. To me perhaps the most interesting thing about it is to have these issues—which have been bandied about in panel discussions of various types for years—be a subject in this context, getting people who aren't already involved in the industry to even contemplate apparel design as part of the city's cultural capital, as well as a potentially significant economic sector. Head over to MOD for more on the specifics of what was discussed, and/or watch the whole thing yourself via the magic of YouTube:
Remember Jodi Ernst, the pig-castratin' Republican senatorial candidate from Iowa? She's back, with another doozy of an ad:
Again, this is an insanely effective ad for a Republican primary. Ernst has gone full Palin—which makes sense, since Palin has gone full Ernst—and she's definitely a Republican to watch as the June 3rd Iowa primary draws near. If she loses, we might be able to conclude that the heartland has finally tired of teabaggerism. If she wins, it's going to be a hell of a campaign through November.
(Via Christian Nightmares.)
Am I the only one who thinks President Obama was actually funnier than Joel McHale at the White House Correspondents' Dinner this year? I thought Obama's jokes about Cliven Bundy, Rand Paul, and CNN were pretty good, and that one punchline about Speaker Boehner facing Republican scorn was wonderful. McHale was awkward, too reliant on his notes, and he couldn't develop a rhythm to his monologue with all the endless asides. Not that any of this matters—everyone knows Stephen Colbert won the WHCD back in 2006. They should've just retired the whole event right then.
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