Tomorrow night the Republican Leadership Conference starts and one of the people scheduled to talk on opening night is non-other than Phil Robertson, the homophobic, racist star of Duck Dynasty. Apparently this is the outreach the GOP has said they need.
The welfare Rancher that insists the government shouldn't charge him for profitable use of federal land has decided he just don't like the GOP anymore, so to show his ire with them has decided to register as an Independent.
Republicans have been calling for the resignation of Eric Shinseki non-stop since the news broke that people in some VA hospitals were forging wait time lists, a problem that has spanned decades and really grew under the Bush administration, but was ignored. While there should be outrage over this, and should have been even when we had a Republican President, we can't lose sight of what provoked this problem. Our VA system is overtaxed and under budgeted, especially given the influx of new patients from two wars in the past decade. Yet it's the GOP that constantly blocks any further increases VA funding. And instead of trying to remedy the problem of the system being broken, instead they are using this scandal in a purely political sense - to get the head of a Obama cabinet member. The GOPS actions are even so egregious that now you got the largest veterans group in the country blasting them, the VFW.
Apparently Darrell Issa wasn't thinking when he decided to leak a still classified State Department memo that suggests that even as the Benghazi attacks were still underway, the administration was emailing YouTube over the anti-Islamic video that they said sparked the attack. So either the administration has been telling the truth about what they felt the reasons were for the attack, or they have hired Ms. Cleo to provide her fortune telling services that the GOP would attack the YouTube claim. I tend to believe the later on that one.
Everyone is pretty much agreeing now that the bonus system has lead to people in the VA falsifying wait time logs. That is something I can fully agree, as it's something I have witnesses first hand in the private sector. But is Obama and Shinseki really to blame for this? The bonus rates and conditions are actually set by Congress, so it was Congress that created a system to incentivize lying. So while Republicans (and some Democrats) are busy pointing the finger, they need to also point the finger at themselves.
The Washington Times is out with another piece that they think exposes a huge Obama scandal, but in fact it shows a systematic failure that has spanned two administrations of both parties. In this piece the Times talks about the Obama transition team being told of 3 Inspector General reports, dating back to 2005, showing the VA was cooking the books on wait times. So why didn't Bush address the problem in that 4 year (that we know of) span? At a minimum they could have got the ball rolling and Obama could have picked it up when he took over. Instead, the Bush administration flat out ignored the problem for almost a whole term. And why wasn't the House exercising their duty of oversight during this time? I think our at least veterans deserve that. Finger pointing must go to everyone in Washington. Any attempts to blame one President or party only is a show that they don't give a damn about our veterans, except for when they can use them as a political tool.
Josh Marshall points to a GOP passage in the new agricultural bill that would strip funding for low-income school lunches during the summer months, except for kids in "rural areas". Somehow I read that as "we'll pay for school lunches for areas that are predominately white" and it shows just how despicable today's Republican Party really is.
A couple of weeks ago conservative author Dinesh D'Souza was on Real Time with Bill Maher and told Bill that he was "mounting a vigorous defense" against the charges he broke campaign finance laws. Today we find out what that vigorous defense really is - pleading guilty. Now we wait and see what kind of sentence he will get.
People are getting fed up with the rich not playing by the same set of rules as the rest of us when it comes to criminal justice. The latest episode in outrage comes from Washington, where a man convicted of his 7th DUI escapes any jail time. The judge actually said Shaun Goodman was too important a business man to jail. So what would happen to his business if he became suddenly ill and unable to attend to the day to day business?
A teabagger blogger from Mississippi has been arrested and charged with "exploitation of a vulnerable adult" for sneaking into a nursing home where Sen. Thad Cochran's ill wife is staying to take pictures. Clayton Thomas Kelly, the 28 year old blogger, is a strong supporter of Chris McDaniel, the tea party primary opponent of Cochran's. I don't care what ideology you are, or who you support, actions like this are deplorable and now questions are rising if McDaniel's campaign knew about it.
Terrorism is defined as "the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims." With a new report out in Mother Jones talking about gun enthusiasts threatening women with rape for wanting stricter gun control, it seems that their actions fit perfectly into this definition.
The inside the beltway thinking is that this year's congressional election could be a repeat of 2010, when Republicans won by huge numbers. However, a new Gallup Poll could blow a hole in that theory. It finds the favorability rating of Democrats at 44, which doesn't seem that high, but is 10 points higher than the favorability for the GOP. Compare that to 2010, when the GOP averaged a deficit of only 2% in the same poll and it's hard to see 2010 repeating itself, especially if the Democrats can find something to motivate the base with and get them out to vote.