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Open Thread

May 26, 2013 - 11:30pm

h/t Upworthy, SEIU Nurses explain Obamacare in 90 seconds. What exactly is Michele Bachmann's problem? (Don't answer that.)

Open thread below...

C&L's Late Nite Music Club - New Music from The Wonder Years

May 26, 2013 - 11:00pm
Genre: AlternativeTitle: There, ThereArtist: The Wonder Years The Greatest Generation

New music from The Wonder Years.

Whatcha listening to tonight?

In Memoriam

May 26, 2013 - 10:45pm

Click here to view this media (h/t Heather at VideoCafe)

This Week notes the deaths of three soldiers killed in Afghanistan:

US Army PFC Cody J Towse, 21, Elk Ridge, UT
US Army SGT Eugene M Aguon, 23, Mangilao, Guam
US Army SPC Dwayne W Flores, 22, Sinajana, Guam

According to iCasualties, the total number of allied service members killed in Afghanistan is now 3,315.

In addition, the following notable names lost their lives this week:

Rock drummer Phil Buerstatte, 46
CT Supreme Court judge G. Sarsfield Ford, 79
Rock musician Ray Manzarek, 74
TN state politician Dick Barry, 87
French composer Henri Dutilleux, 97
Basketball player Flynn Robinson, 72
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Haynes Johnson, 81
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Marshall Lytle, 79
Jazz (and Tonight Show) drummer Ed Shaughnessy, 84
Radio broadcaster Gene Burns, 72

Out of the Mouth of Babes: 9 Year Old Saves His School

May 26, 2013 - 10:00pm

As a politically engaged parent, I try to pass on that level of involvement to my kids. They've been to anti-war protests; I've explained why we boycott companies like Walmart. We volunteer at shelters and I encourage them to learn more about issues that matter to them like climate change and figure out ways they (and we) can act accordingly. I really do believe that it is up to their generation to fix the stuff that so many in my generation and the one before it really screwed up.

So I admit no little thrill listening to Asean Johnson, who revved up the crowds in Chicago protesting the closing of 50 schools. Johnson, who attends Marcus Garvey School, which was slated for closing, actually was able to get officials to change their mind.

When Garvey was slated for closing, school officials asked Asean if he would be willing to speak. With the help of his teacher, he came up with a short speech. He said he told the teacher what he wanted to say and she typed it for him, giving him a little help with the grammar and structure. "The words were all his," said the teacher, Lori Harris.[..]

Over the course of several months, he spoke at a half-dozen rallies and public meetings.

He quickly caught the attention of many on both sides of the debate. At a meeting in April, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett smiled broadly and wiped away a tear as Asean made his passionate plea. Later, she said Asean was "an articulate, learned young man, and that is exactly what we want for all of our students."[..]

For some events, Asean prepared speeches, which he would try to memorize and deliver without looking at his notes. But it was an event Monday, when he spoke off the cuff, that was videotaped, uploaded to the Internet and soon made him a sensation.

In the video, Asean climbs on a metal folding chair so he can see over the lectern. After greeting the crowd and introducing himself, his tone turns serious as he accuses Mayor Rahm Emanuel of "not caring about our schools." He is poised. His voice rises in anger as he says, "You should be supporting these schools, not closing them."

Noting that the action will affect mostly African-American children, he calls the closings racist. But he quickly strikes a chord of inclusion, saying: "We are black, and we are proud! We are white and we are proud! No matter what the color is, no matter if you're Asian or Chinese, it doesn't matter. You should not be closing these schools!" The crowd roars in approval. The boy pumps his fist in the air and leads a chant: "Education is a right; that is why we have to fight!"

How can you not love this little boy? It's not often that you see the birth of a natural leader, but there's no question in my mind that's exactly what we have in Asean Johnson.

Bob Dole: Republicans Need 'Closed for Repair' Sign Until 2014

May 26, 2013 - 8:30pm

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Former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole is telling Republicans to put a "closed for repair" sign on the door until 2014 so that the party can develop a "positive agenda."

In an interview that aired on Sunday, Dole told Fox News host Chris Wallace that "there was no doubt about it" that Republicans were abusing the filibuster because motions for cloture had increased from seven in 1969-1970 to 115 in last year's 112th Congress.

"There's some cases where it's probably justified," the war veteran explained. "But not many."

"I think they ought to put a sign on the national committee doors that says closed for repairs until New Year's Day next year," he added. "And spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas."

Dole said that he doubted that he and even former President Ronald Reagan could survive in today's Republican Party.

"Reagan couldn't have made it. Certainly, Nixon couldn't have made it because he had ideas," he pointed out. "I just consider myself a Republican, none of this hyphenated stuff. I was a mainstream conservative Republican."

The former presidential nominee also damned President Barack Obama with faint praise.

"What do you think of Barack Obama," Wallace wondered.

"Great golfer," Dole quipped. "Very articulate. I think, as a president, he lacks communications skills with his own party, let alone the Republican Party. And he's on the road too much."

Sarah Palin's Epic Con Game Continues

May 26, 2013 - 7:00pm

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You knew the IRS 'scandal' was going to re-energize the backlash zombies and guess who is storming out of the gate? The overwrought mother of all conservative hyperbole is going rogue with rage at President Obama. But she didn't use Facebook this time to vent that rage. No, always angling for another fifteen minutes in the spotlight, she went directly to the Breitbart's Big Government site. Why she would post her nonsense on Breitbart is beyond me because unlike Digby, I do think Breitbart is a step down from her Facebook page.

As more information about the IRS scandal trickles out daily, the White House’s involvement is becoming clearer. Those of us who’ve been warning about the demise of freedom with Barack Obama’s efforts to “fundamentally transform” our great nation are about to witness some sad vindication. Will awakened Americans finally join us in saying “enough is enough”?

Get that, you sleepy surrender monkeys? She's had quite enough already.

These Obama administration scandals are a sad and stark reminder that only limited government can ensure liberty. At our core, we Americans just want to be left alone to live freely, peacefully, and productively. Last year the Obama campaign told us that government is something we all “belong” to. I guess they’re right because when the government is powerful enough to target, intimidate, and harass us, we do “belong” to them.

The real question is: Will we stand for this?

So how has Sarah Palin's freedom been truly impinged, intimidated and harassed by Big Govmint? As far as I can tell, she's been free to show us what a lightweight she is the whole time.

Sarah Palin quits job as Alaska's Governor.

WASILLA, Alaska - Sarah Palin plans to resign as governor of Alaska in a few weeks, KTUU-TV reported Friday.

Palin's Book Deal

Governor Sarah Palin is the latest politician to mint a sweet book deal. She's signed a deal with Harper Collins who will co-release the book with its subsidiary, Christian publishing house Zondervan (the company that published Rick Warren's mega-seller "The Purpose-Driven Life"). Reporters have been chattering about the inevitability of a Palin book for months. The deal was negotiated by DC lawyer Robert Barnett, whose literary client list includes Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The financial arrangements haven't been disclosed, but your Gaggler is thinking big bucks. (And probably more than Bush scored.)

Sarah Palin Paid $100,000 To Send National Tea-Party Convention Into Spasms Of Glee*

Hard to imagine a better evening for candidate Sarah Palin. She was paid a reported $100,000 to insult Obama in front of a cheering crowd of rich tea-partiers who broke out in chants of "Run, Sarah, Run!" And because she hasn't declared her candidacy yet, she gets to keep the money!*No wonder she quit her annoying government job.

Sarah Palin gets reality show although it was canceled after one season.
Sunday's season finale of Sarah Palin's Alaska is said to be the show's last episode, Entertainment Weekly reports

Sarah Palin signs on to be a Fox News Analyst

The network confirmed that Ms. Palin will appear on the network’s programming on a regular basis as part of a multi-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed. Ms. Palin will not have her own regular program, one person familiar with the deal said, though she will host an occasional series that will run on the network from time to time.

Sarah Palin turns down Mark Burnett's syndicated talk show.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been offered a major syndicated TV talk show by reality-show producer Mark Burnett but turned down the deal, Newsmax has learned.

She seems to be living the American dream unlike most Americans.

Rand Paul: Obama 'Losing the Moral Authority to Lead this Nation'

May 26, 2013 - 5:30pm

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Tea party-backed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Sunday warned President Barack Obama that he was in danger of "losing the moral authority to lead this nation" because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) unfairly scrutinized the tax-exempt status of conservative groups.

"I don't know if people were targeted for conservative religious values or just conservative political values, and sometimes there's an overlap," Paul told ABC's Martha Raddatz, adding that the IRS scandal, last year's terrorist attacks in Benghazi and the news that some journalists were investigated for national security leaks were all taking away from "the president's moral authority to lead the nation."

"Nobody questions his legal authority," the Kentucky Republican explained. "But I think he's really losing the moral authority to lead this nation. And he really needs to put a stop to this."

"If no one is fired over this, I really think it's going to be trouble for him trying lead in the next four years," Paul added.

The president announced earlier this month, that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had asked for and received a letter of resignation from Steven Miller, the IRS acting commissioner.

(h/t: Mediaite)

Graham: Military Women Put Up With 'Way too Much Crap'

May 26, 2013 - 4:00pm

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The senior Republican senator from South Carolina -- who serves in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and opposes taking sexual assault cases out of the military chain of command -- says that women in the armed services "put up with way too much crap."

In a Memorial Day interview, Fox News host Chris Wallace pointed out to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that the Department of Defense had estimated that there were 26,000 members of the armed forces sexually assaulted last year.

"I want to salute the women who serve and are putting up with way too much crap," Graham replied. "This needs to end. When a victim comes forward, they should have an advocate to walk them through the military justice system. And commanders who allow this to continue to flourish, quite frankly, should be fired."

"It is a disgrace to the United States military. And the women in the military are needed now more than ever, and they're putting up with way too much and it needs to end."

Earlier this month, Graham said that he opposed a bill sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) that would strip military commanders of the decision of prosecute sexual assault cases.

The South Carolina Republican insisted that the decision should remain within the chain of command.

"I think it will do a lot of damage," Graham said. "For 200 years, military commanders have been the court martial authority."

"And sexual assaults are not on the rise because the military justice system lets people go. It’s on the rise because of the culture that’s created in the military."

In February, Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin enraged members of Congress by overturning a jury's guilty verdict in a sexual assault case.

Krugman On The Closing of the Conservative Mind

May 26, 2013 - 2:30pm

Paul Krugman wrote this the other day, and I thought it was important enough to bring it to your attention. This is, after all, the real problem: We have a hard-core class of politicians and elected officials who simply refuse to acknowledge reality. I'm sure we all have countless examples of conversations with people who literally refuse to apply critical thinking to any of these issues. The question is, what can we do about it?

Start with the proposition that there is a legitimate left-right divide in U.S. politics, built around a real issue: how extensive should be make our social safety net, and (hence) how much do we need to raise in taxes? This is ultimately a values issue, with no right answer.

There remains essentially no room for independent thinking within the conservative movement.

There are, however, a lot of largely empirical questions whose answers need not, in principle, be associated with one’s position on this left-right divide but, in practice, are. A partial list:

1.The existence of anthropogenic climate change
2.The effects of fiscal stimulus/austerity
3.The effects of monetary expansion, and the risks of inflation
4.The revenue effects of tax cuts
5.The workability of universal health care

I’ve deliberately chosen a list here where the evidence is, in each case, pretty much overwhelming. There is a real scientific consensus on 1; the evidence of the past few years has been very strong on 2 and 3; there are no serious studies supporting the view that we’re on the wrong side of the Laffer curve; one form or another of UHC operates all across the advanced world, with lower costs than the US system.

So? You could, as I said, take the “liberal” position on each of these issues while still being conservative in the sense that you want a smaller government. But what the “reformish” conservatives Ryan Cooper lists do, in almost all cases, is either (a) to follow the party line on these issues or (b) to hint at some flexibility – and thereby cultivate an image of being open-minded — as long as the issues don’t get close to an actual policy decision, but to always find a way to support the Republican position whenever it actually matters.

But aren’t there people like Bruce Bartlett or Josh Barro who really do break with the party line on some or all of these issues? Yes, but they are then immediately branded as “no longer conservatives”, in a sort of inverted version of the none-dare-call-it-treason effect.

The point is that there remains essentially no room for independent thinking within the conservative movement.

Could you say the same thing about liberals? I don’t think so. A few decades ago, you might have been able to draw up a somewhat similar list for the other side, involving things like the superiority of tradeable emission permits to command-and-control pollution regulation, the general undesirability of rent control, the benefits of airline deregulation, the absence of a usable long-run tradeoff between unemployment and inflation (and hence the impossibility of setting a 4 percent target for unemployment). But many liberals eventually conceded the point in each of these cases (maybe even conceded too far in a couple), without being declared no longer liberal. The point is that being a good liberal doesn’t require that you believe, or pretend to believe, lots of things that almost certainly aren’t true; being a good conservative does.

And like Mike Konczal, I see no sign that any of this is changing.

Melissa Harris-Perry's Advice for Virginia GOP Candidate 'Ewww Jackson'

May 26, 2013 - 1:00pm

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MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry had a few words of advice for the right-wing nominee for lieutenant governor in Virginia, who, as we have noted here, is more than just slightly nuts. As she reminded him, if he actually wants to be taken seriously by the voters for one of the more important jobs in his state, maybe he should be a little more worried about all of the crazy crap that comes out of his mouth.

Given his track record so far, which she laid out here very well, I think the chances of him toning it down before the election are somewhere between zero and none.

Here's her letter to Jackson from her post this Saturday: Really, Virginia GOP? E.W. Jackson is your nominee?

Dear Bishop E.W. Jackson:

It’s me, Melissa.

May I call you “Ewww…”?

Because I’ve heard what you’ve had to say about your politics. And quite frankly, it’s pretty disgusting. I wanted to begin my advice to you with the reminder that–as a candidate for public office — you must choose your words carefully.

But it’s a little late for that, isn’t it?

The Internet has already caught wind of some of your greatest hits. You know, like the time you called the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell “a disaster of historic proportions,” and said that “it must be reinstated.” Or when you said that gays and lesbians are “perverted…very sick people.”

Can’t forget your conspiracy theory classic about President Obama having “Muslim sensibilities” and seeing the world from a “Muslim perspective”! Oh yes, and then there was that time you claimed that “liberalism and their ideas have done more to kill black folks…than the Ku Klux Klan, lynching, slavery, and Jim Crow ever did.”

Your creative interpretation of the Constitution’s clause counting black people as three-fifths of a person as an “anti-slavery amendment”–oh, and my personal favorite, your complaint about African-Americans’ (what did you call it?) “slavish devotion” to the Democratic party.

Look. I know you proudly proclaimed last weekend that you are, “not an African-American, just an American.” But even if you want to deny your connection to black people in this country, you do not have the right to insult us by using “slave” as though it is some kind of slur. Slavish? If by slavish you mean “hardworking, striving for freedom, and laying the economic foundation of our country?”

I’ll be that.

You see, you’ve got it all wrong. Your choice to join the Republican Party doesn’t make you more free or independent than black people who choose to be Democrats. It just makes you really good at figuring out how to stand out in a radical right base that’s devoid of diversity.

And it’s not even particularly original–just ask Herman Cain and Allen West. As for your campaign strategy, you might want to keep one thing in mind. The very people you’ve targeted with your hateful words are the same people who comprise the voter base that pushed Virginia from red to solidly purple and elected President Obama not once, but twice.

So good luck with that.

But as much as I’d like to file you away with the colorful cast of Tea Party characters we’ve seen come and go, I can’t. Because although the lieutenant governor position is largely ceremonial in Virginia, when it’s time to break a tie in the evenly split state Senate, it matters. We saw that earlier this year when Virginia’s current L.G., Bill Bolling, broke a tied vote– effectively delaying tougher restrictions in the state’s voter I.D. law.

But more than that–the gig you’re going for is but a step away from the most powerful position in a crucial swing state that can turn the tide of national elections. Which is why my feelings about you emerging victorious in November’s election are best summed up by your 2009 tweet in response to LGBT Pride Month: “Well that just makes me feel ikky all over. Yuk!”



Livestream: March Against Monsanto

May 26, 2013 - 11:30am

Video via Global Revolution TV.

At the moment over two million people have planned to carry out over 400 global March Against Monsanto events in 52 countries, 200 cities, and simultaneously in 47 states in the United States on Saturday.

Monsanto is the corporation behind the chemically created GMO foods that threaten our lives. The company has taken over the government agencies formed to protect us, taken over the seed market, and they are the beneficiary of corporate subsidies and political favoritism, while jeopardizing the safety of the worldwide food supply.

The Senate overwhelmingly rejected a bill that would allow states to decide if genetically modified food products should be labeled.

The amendment shot down by the Senate would have allowed states to make their own decisions on whether or not GMO foods should be labeled – without mandating any action. Supporters originally believed that this measure was non-controversial, and simply gave states an option. But the Senate voted 71 to 27 against it on Thursday, days before Saturday’s March Against Monsanto.

“The concept we’re talking about today is a fairly commonsense and non-radical idea,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the bill’s sponsor, told the Huffington Post before the vote. “All over the world, in the European Union, in many other countries around the world, dozens and dozens of countries, people are able to look at the food that they are buying and determine through labeling whether or not that product contains genetically modified organisms.”

Sanders also explained that the Food and Drug Administration requires more than 3,000 ingredients to be labeled on food products, but that GMOs are not on this list.

Sanders' office pointed out that 64 countries around the world require GMO labeling.

On Thursday, Senate Republicans also objected to an attempt to repeal a provision that critics call the “Monsanto Protection Act”, which allows Monsanto and other biotech giants that use GMOs to plant and sell their products, even if legal action is taken against them. The provision protects Monsanto from financial damages and has generated petitions and a nationwide outcry from critics who claim the legislation allows the company to bypass the court system and dominate the seed industry.

Bryan Fischer's Head Explodes Over Boy Scouts Decision to Include Gay Kids

May 26, 2013 - 10:00am

Looks like it's time for us to step up and help the Boy Scouts, since the usual right-wing donors will likely not continue to support them in the fashion they have in the past.

The Boy Scouts decided to come into the 21st century and stop banning gay kids from being scouts. It's about time. What I find most interesting is that when it came to the disturbing history of abuse of those scouts by scout leaders, no one on the right made so much as a peep. Instead, they continued to support the organization with the same fervor they had in the past.

Bryan Fischer, that self-hating head of the American Family Haters Association, blew a gasket over their decision. He was absolutely certain they'd keep hating and hating hard, just like he does. Now he's in mourning, rebranding them as the Boy Sodomizers of America:

Right Wing Watch:

Admitting that he was shocked by the vote since he was positive that it was going to be retained, Fischer declared that the BSA should change its name to the "Boy Sodomizers of America." Fischer eventually read a passage from the Book of Luke in which Jesus says it is better to have a stone tied around ones neck and be tossed into the sea than to lead a child to sin as a warning to BSA leaders that they will face the judgment of God for endorsing this change in policy.

I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this from the hate gang. Prepare to defend the Boy Scouts so they don't feel pressure to rescind their newly progressive decision.

Mike's Blog Round Up

May 26, 2013 - 9:00am

The Monkey Cage: Afghanistan – what went wrong?

Emptywheel: The "key" to Afghan stability?

TomDispatch : Baseworld profiteering.

Slacktivist: Ignorance loves company.

Sadly, No: Be kind. Rewind time.

The Bobblespeak Translations: Meet the Press, May 19th.

Guest post by Batocchio. E-mail tips to mbru AT crooksandliars DOT com.

Sunday Morning Bobblehead Thread

May 26, 2013 - 8:00am

Sarah McLachlan -- I Will Remember You

I don't know how many people actually celebrate Memorial Day for its intended purpose rather than as a three day weekend. I always think about my grandfathers on Memorial Day. Neither died while in service, but both served; my maternal grandfather was in the Army during WWII, stationed in Paris, and my paternal grandfather was a careerist in Air Force, eventually retiring as the Inspector General. Though I love my grandpas dearly, I don't want to deify them and make them unearned heroes. What I do want to acknowledge is neither of them (nor their wives--and I don't think you can over-estimate the sacrifices of the military families) possessed that sense of entitlement that I see affecting far too much of our political discussions. They never expressed a sense of being owed anything, nor did they waver in their commitment that they had to contribute to any success that the country achieved. They had setbacks, both personal and political, but neither took the position that somehow because they disagreed with what was happening that it was the worst thing to happen to this country. Both of them saw--up close and personal--the very worst things that humanity could do and knew that hyperbole like that wasn't constructive.

How completely opposite of the bobbleheads on today's shows. So for my Bub and Pop-Pop, happy Memorial Day. I only wish that this country acted more deserving of and less entitled to the sacrifices you and so many other service members made.

ABC's "This Week" -- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.; retired Gen. John Allen, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan; Political round table: Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.; DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.; former Director of National Intelligence Ret. Admiral Dennis Blair; New York Times national security correspondent Mark Mazzetti; ABC News Senior National Correspondent and Fusion White House Correspondent Jim Avila and Politico senior political reporter Maggie Haberman; creators and executive producers of Showtime’s “Homeland” Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon. (Indy 500 may pre-empt or delay airings in some areas)

NBC's "Meet the Press" -- Pre-empted by Monaco Grand Prix.

CBS' "Face the Nation" -- Gov. Mary Fallin, R-Okla.; Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Weather and climate panel: Chief Climatologist for Climate Central Dr. Heidi Cullen, TIME Magazine senior editor of science and technology Jeffrey Kluger, David Bernard, who is theChief Meteorologist from WFOR, and Marshall Shepherd, President of the American Meteorological Society. David Gergen of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Michael Gerson of the Washington Post. Author Joseph Persico

MSNBC's "UP with Steve Kornacki" -- Marin Cogan, contributing writer, The New Republic & GQ; Basil Smikle, Jr., political strategist, professor, Columbia University; Richard Kim, executive editor,; Garance Franke-Ruta, senior editor, The Atlantic; Chris Geidner, senior political and legal reporter,; Mui Ylan, financial reporter, The Washington Post; Frank Clemente, campaign manager, Americans for Tax Fairness.

MSNBC's "Melissa Harris-Perry" -- Doug Wilder, former Governor of Virginia; Steve Kornacki, Host of MSNBC's "UP with Steve Kornacki"; Tara Wall, Former Senior Media Advisor for the Romney/Ryan campaign / Founder of PTP Foundation for Media Arts; Lori Silverbush, Filmmaker and Co-Director of "A Place at the Table"; James Weill, President of the Food Research and Action Center; Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA); Asean Johnson, 9-year-old student at Marcus Garvey School in Chicago / Protested his school being closed; Allison Kilkenny, Co-Host of Citizen Radio / Reporter at The Nation; Daniel Denvir, Reporter at the Philadelphia City paper / Contributing Writer at Salon; Christina Bellantoni, Political Editor at PBS Newshour.

MSNBC's "The Ed Show" -- Karen Finney, MSNBC Political Analyst; Bob Shrum, Democratic Strategist; Admiral Joe Sestak; Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH); Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA).
CNN's "State of the Union" _ Fallin; Reps. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.; Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean of Joplin, Mo.

CNN's "State of the Union" -- Fallin; Reps. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.; Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean of Joplin, Mo. Panel: CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein, The Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page, and Former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich.

CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" -- Financial Times commentator Martin Wolf and Pulitzer Prize-winner Anne Applebaum.

CNN's "Reliable Sources" -- Berry Tramel, columnist for The Oklahoman; The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, Tim Carney of The Washington Examiner and Keli Goff from; Radio talk show host Michael Smerconish; tech experts Katie Linendoll and Mario Armstrong.

"Fox News Sunday" -- Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan. Panel: Brit Hume, Fox News Senior Political Analyst; Charles Lane, Editorial Writer for The Washington Post; Nina Easton, FORTUNE's Washington columnist & senior editor; Juan Williams, Fox News Political Analyst.

We're going to extend our holiday scheduling for today and tomorrow (to give the staff a chance to enjoy friends and family), but that doesn't mean we don't want to hear what's catching your eye this morning.

Open Thread with C&L's Saturday Night Podcast Round Up

May 25, 2013 - 11:30pm

Happy Saturday night, folks! It's Blue Gal from The Professional Left Podcast, bringing you this week's podcast round up. Be aware that these podcasts are also available on i-Tunes and Stitcher Radio, and may not be safe for work.

Liberal Oasis (video): Pat Robertson "honored" for his stand on the Oklahoma tornado.

On Point with Tom Ashbrook: The History, Sounds, and Politics of Heavy Metal Music.

Decode DC: Covering the immigration story by listening to stories by actual immigrants.

And then there's this: If you like Game of Thrones, you might be interested in this list of all-woman Game of Thrones Fancasts.

Open thread below...

C&L's Late Nite Music Club With Ленинград

May 25, 2013 - 11:00pm
Title: Ленинград — РыбаArtist: Ленинград

Saturday! I don't know who Ленинград is, but I sure like them.

Winger Candidate Gomez Calls Ed Markey 'Pond Scum'

May 25, 2013 - 10:00pm

Massachusetts Republican and candidate running for John Kerry's Senate seat Gabriel Gomez is true billionaire tea party material. He's a guy who made most of his money in hedge funds, has good buddies in lofty financial circles, and hates anyone who isn't as extreme as he is.

Gomez became a TeaPublican rock star during the 2012 elections, when he appeared on various networks touting those horrid SwiftBoat OPSEC ads funded by pals of Mitt Romney.

He's a nasty sort. Snarky and unafraid to be a general jerk, just as he was here. Politico:

“I don’t think there’s anything more offensive,” Gomez said, according to a YouTube clip of the exchange, which took place after an event at a local Chamber of Commerce. “You know I’ve got four young kids, and they gotta sit there and gotta see an ad with their dad — who served honorably, talk to anybody I served with — whether as a pilot or as a SEAL, anybody I worked with. And for him to be as dirty and low, pond scum, like to put me up next to bin Laden, he’s just gotta be called what he is. It’s that simple.

Oooo, someone's chain got yanked. Markey was having none of it:

“After spending the past week leveling completely baseless attacks against Ed Markey that were thoroughly debunked by Massachusetts newspapers and nonpartisan fact checkers, Gabriel Gomez has reached a new low,” Markey spokesman Andrew Zucker said. “Unfortunately for Gomez, his desperate attack will do nothing to distract from his opposition to an assault weapons ban and limits on high-capacity magazines, or his refusal to release his 2005 tax return that would reveal how much he pocketed from taking a questionable $280,000 tax break on his Cohasset home.”

Pond scum isn't as bad as it could get, I guess, but it speaks to the empty rhetoric of the right quite clearly.

Steve King Blames Ronald Reagan For Obama Presidency

May 25, 2013 - 8:30pm

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It's clear that Rep. Steve King is no fan of immigration reform, or amnesty as he calls it. It's also clear that he and other wingnuts in congress should be really leery of using foreign concepts to them such as "statistical analysis" when they're speaking, as evidenced by the bewildered expressions in the room to King's theory.

via The Hill

The Iowa Republican said immigrants that Ronald Reagan legalized by signing a 1986 "amnesty" bill were responsible for Obama's election.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Thursday that President Obama would not be president if it weren't for the 1986 amnesty bill that Ronald Reagan signed into law.

King is a leading GOP critic of efforts to pass an immigration reform bill, and has often said on the House floor that Republicans are overreacting to the 2012 election, which some Republicans saw as a sign that the GOP needs to get behind a reform bill.

In an effort to dissuade Republicans, King argued that the 1986 immigration bill that Reagan signed into law is estimated to have brought amnesty to three million illegal immigrants.

He said conservative estimates show that, on average, each of these people brought in five others, leading to 15 million more people in the country, most of whom voted for Obama.

"[T]hey have to admit that Ronald Reagan's signature on the '86 amnesty act brought about Barack Obama's election," King concluded on the House floor.

"[I]t's clear to anybody that can do any kind of statistical analysis that Barack Obama wouldn't be President of the United States without Ronald Reagan's 1986 amnesty act."

MN Governor Takes Principled Stand on TFA Grant

May 25, 2013 - 7:00pm

That's a video promotion for Teach for America, the reformer billionaires' favorite educational non-profit organization. The general concept is to take college graduates, no matter what their major is, give them six weeks of training and then send them out to teach kids in inner-city schools. In theory, it's a really nice idea. In practice, it's not really working all that well. At least, not for the students.

TFA rakes in donations every year in larger and larger amounts from the usual suspects like Gates, Bloomberg, Walton and DeVos along with others who see them as a wonderful helper to the end goal of privatizing education.

Along the way, state governments have tried to sneak public grants into the budget for TFA, too. This time, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton used his line-item veto to just say no. His reasoning was impeccable. From his letter (PDF):

Teach for America (TFA) is a well-established, national program with revenues totaling $270 million for fiscal year 2011 (its most recent annual report). With total expenses of$219 million, TFA's net assets increased by over $50 million and now total over $350 million. With those financial resources available, it is not clear why a $1.5 million grant from the State of Minnesota is required to continue or expand the organization's work here.

My principal concern, however, is the way in which TFA was selected as the recipient of this grant. To my knowledge, no competitive grant program was established; no other applications were solicited; and no objective review was made by an independent panel of experts. Instead, the funds were inserted into the Senate's Higher Education bill, directed to this organization, and retained in the Conference Committee's report.

If the Legislature deems it is in our state's best interest to encourage programs like TFA, a formal grant program should be established within the Minnesota Department of Education, and all qualifying organizations should be allowed to apply for funding. The legislation should establish the goals for such a program and the results by which its effectiveness will be evaluated. This type of competitive grants process would be a fairer way to distribute public funds.

Applause to Governor Dayton for his sound objection to using state funds for private purposes. Well done, Governor!

Afternoon Open Thread: Happy Towel Day!

May 25, 2013 - 5:00pm

Today is Towel Day! Don't forget your towels, hoopy froods!

More details on how to celebrate at the Towel Day website.

Open thread below...

Dr. Radut