Nuke ‘Em, Harry!

Harry Reid has had enough…

So have virtually all Democrats in the Senate.

Let’s hope at least 51 Democrats have the cajones to hang on – and not go Yellowback Donkey.

Reactionary Rethugs have derailed and objected to virtually every President Obama appointee, abusing rules which were put there to protect the Minority Party Vote in the Senate…Not as a tool to bring the entire legislative process to it’s knees as a policy.

Senate poised to limit filibusters in party-line vote that would alter centuries of precedent

The Senate on Thursday opened a contentious debate about striking down the long-standing filibuster rules for most presidential nominations, with Democrats appearing poised to do so on a party-line vote that would alter nearly 225 years of precedent.

Infuriated by what they see as a pattern of obstruction and delay over President Obama’s nominees, Democrats tried to trigger the so-called “nuclear option” by bringing up one of the judicial nominees whom Republicans recently blocked by a filibuster.

“It’s manifest we have to do something to change things,” Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said in remarks on the Senate floor to open the debate. Reid argued that the Senate has wasted way too much time on things that should be relatively routine — like approving judges and executive-branch nominees.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) responded by accusing Democratsof a power grab and suggesting that they will regret their decision if Republicans regain control of the chamber.

“We’re not interested in having a gun put to our head any longer,” McConnell said. “Some of us have been around here long enough to know that the shoe is sometimes on the other foot.”

McConnell then addressed Democrats directly, saying: “You may regret this a lot sooner than you think,” he said.

Shortly after 11 a.m., the senators began voting on a motion to reconsider the nomination of Patricia Millet to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That vote could set in motion a complicated parliamentary process that would end with a simple-majority vote to set a new rule, allowing for swift confirmation of executive branch nominees and most selections for the federal judiciary without having to clear a 60-vote hurdle.

If Democrats go through with the threat, it will pave the way for confirmation of several nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit who have recently been stymied by GOP filibusters, amid Republican assertions that the critical appellate court simply did not need any more judges…

Standing Tall – Texas Senator Wendy Davis

Another Progressive standing up for her beliefs -Texas Democrat Senator Wendy Davis staged an 11 hour filibuster last night bringing the Rethugly Senate to it’s knees in trying to pass the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation in the country…

So…When we’ve got folks with this kind of grit willing to stand up against Rethugly evil…

WTF can’t President Obama and Senator Harry Reid kick some Rethugly ass?

They can start by filling every single Federal Court Judicial vacancy, and dropping the nuclear option on Rethugly intransigence tying up the judicial appointments.

The Marathon Bombers…And Gun Control

Not much is being said about this, and it certainly hasn’t risen to the attention of the mainstream media – but…

How exactly did the Boston Marathon terrorists get their explosive material to make a bomb?

 

Boston

 

I took a bit of artistic liberty with Michael Ramirez’s excellent and poignant cartoon commentary to add a bit of truth.  The “cowards” in this case sit in the US Congress.

You see – the explosive material for the bombs constructed by the Tsamaev brothers  is commonly available in just about every gun store, and gun show in America.

Now in an America where Homeland Defense is busily putting cameras in just about every spot except up your ass – although if some Republican Senators have their way they will be able to shove them up women’s vaginas… Why is it harder to buy a joint of Marijuana than the tools to kill and maim dozens of your neighbors? (Speaking of – what the heck is the deal with the pot heads in Denver shooting up- instead of smoking –  the joint?)

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t turned into an advocate for drug use – but guns in America are now paraphernalia for addicts and drug dealers…. And mass killers.

And no sportsman, we aren’t talking about your trusty Remington shotgun here.

This is what I am talking about …

Gunpowder

 

This is a one pound container of “gunpowder” (It’s not really “gunpowder” anymore, but it is the fuel which goes bang when you pull the trigger). It also comes in 8 lb packages.  You see – there is a group of, in vast majority law abiding, shooters who like to make their own bullets. (And no – I don’t mean to pick on NORMA, as far as I know they are a perfectly law abiding company with no criminal connection, and there is no published evidence that their product was used in the Boston bombings). However – I can buy this “explosive” in many states he same way I can buy ammunition which already has been assembled containing it – cash and carry. Which apparently is exactly what the Boston Marathon terrorists did.

No – this isn’t C4 or SEMTEX or any of the vastly more powerful Military explosives used by international terrorists. Nor is it Ammonium Nitrate, previously featured in the Oklahoma City Bombing, currently starring in the leveling of an entire Texas town. But you walk into your local store and ask for a block of SEMTEX or C4, and there is a very good chance you will be invited to visit at your local Federal Law Enforcement Office, and get to met some swell FBI or ATF guys with a very limited sense of humor. Indeed – to purchase Ammonium Nitrate which is a common ingredient in many fertilizers requires a background check to make sure you are going to fertilize the fields instead of blow up a buildings.

Ergo in the NRA’s version of America (and 46 Senators), it’s easier to buy “gunpowder” than fertilizer.

So… The 46 azzwipes who voted down watered-down gun legislation are not only guilty of enabling the Newtown killer… But international terrorism via the Boston Marathon terrorists.

Do you really want to live in an America where you have to have armed guards so the kiddies can go to the playground and swing on the swing set?

 

 

 

The Cost of the NRA’s Version of the 2nd Amendment…

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Another Texas Republican Foot-in-Mouth and “Jew Them Down”…

Well… A least Republicans are consistent…

Larry Taylor, Texas Republican Lawmaker, Urges Insurance Company Not To ‘Jew Them Down’

Texas Republican state Rep. Larry Taylor has apologized for urging an insurance association to do right by policy holders and not “Jew them down” at a hearing earlier this week.

On Thursday, Taylor spoke at a hearing on the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, encouraging the timely payment of claims to policy holders.

“Don’t nitpick, don’t try to Jew them down,” he said, according to the Quorum Report.

Taylor then quickly tried to right ship, admitting “That’s probably a bad term.”

In a written statement after the hearing, Taylor said, “At a legislative oversight committee hearing today, I inadvertently used a phrase that many people find offensive. I corrected myself immediately when I realized what I had said. I regret my poor choice of words and sincerely apologize for any harm they may have caused.”

The Austin Statesman reports that Taylor is currently favored to win a Texas state senate race in the 2012 election cycle.

Racial Profiling Bill in Senate

Racial profiling as a law enforcement tool has been discredited in just about every study – but it continues anyway…

Of course I doubt this bill has a prayer of making it through the Republican majority House.

Senate Introduces Legislation to Ban Racial Profiling

Yesterday, the Senate introduced a bill that would ban the use of racial profiling by law enforcement.

The End Racial Profiling Act of 2011, sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin, D. Md., would forbid any law enforcement agency in the United States from “relying, to any degree, on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion…except when there is trustworthy information, relevant to the locality and timeframe, that links a person of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion to an identified criminal incident or scheme.” The bill also requires law enforcement agencies to collect data on routine and spontaneous investigatory activities and authorizes the Department of Justice to provide funds for training on the proper and improper use of race, ethnicity, national origin and religion in policing.
Civil rights groups have long supported legislation banning racial profiling based not only on its discriminatory nature but on the fact that it simply doesn’t work and wastes precious law enforcement resources.

“Racial profiling robs people of their dignity, undermines the integrity of our criminal justice system, and instills fear and distrust among members of targeted communities,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “We know from experience that this is the wrong approach. Racial profiling makes us all less safe, by distracting law enforcement from the pursuit of individuals who pose serious threats to security.”

Research has consistently found that despite its ineffectiveness racial profiling is pervasive. A September 2010 Rights Working Group report, which was based on six public hearings held around the country, found that the use of racial profiling is pervasive. And a June 2009 report by Rights Working Group and the American Civil Liberties Union found that African-American and Latino drivers are more than twice as likely to be stopped, searched, or arrested by law enforcement officers as White drivers.

In March, The Leadership Conference released a report that documents how the consensus to end racial profiling has evaporated since 9/11, and how the use of racial profiling has expanded in the context of counterterrorism; fighting drug trafficking and other “street-level” crimes; and in efforts to enforce immigration laws, and called on Congress to pass ERPA.

Haiti (Finally) Gets a New Prime Minister

The most powerful man in Haiti is not the President – it is the Prime Minister. Under the Haitian Constitution, the Prime Minister holds absolute control of the purse strings, appointment of members of the Cabinet, and control over lower level Government appointments.

In a battle reminiscent of Republicans holding up Democrat appointments in the US – the Haiti Senate has roadblocked President Martelly’s appointments to the Prime Minister position since President Martlelly took office in May. Two candidates have been outright rejected.

What this has meant for the country is that reconstruction of the major infrastructure has been at a complete standstill. There has been virtually no work done on any of the critical systems in the country, other than that done by the sheer guts and perspicacity of the local citizenry. Announcements of various projects, or international investments and aid have been largely symbolic, as since the resignation of the previous Prime Minister there has be no one in the Haitian Government with the authority to sign a contract on behalf of the Government of Haiti.

So the appointment and ratification by the Haitian Congress of Dr. Cornille is being greeted warmly by the international and local Haitian communities. Hopefully – nearly 2 years after the devastating earthquake.

Bill Clinton aide confirmed as Haitian prime minister

Haiti’s Senate confirmed the nomination of Garry Conille, an advisor to former US president Bill Clinton, to be the country’s prime minister.

Conille, a 45-year-old physician by training, was the third candidate put forward by President Michel Martelly for the post in a bid to end a three-month long impasse over the makeup of his fledgling government.

Seventeen senators voted in favor of Conille’s candidacy, three voted against it and nine abstained during the hours-long session.

Conille’s selection was approved by the lower house of parliament last month.

Senate president Rodolphe Joazile announced that the candidacy had been ratified, but Senator Joseph Lambert of the opposition UNITE party said the body had not given Conille a “blank check” and that he should also seek a vote of confidence from the two chambers of parliament.

The prime minister in Haiti is appointed by the president and mainly serves as cabinet chief.

Conille has been serving as chief of staff to Clinton who, as the UN special envoy for Haiti, is a key player in deciding how the impoverished country will spend millions of dollars in international reconstruction aid.

Conille was educated in Haiti and received graduate training in health administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Fulbright scholar.

He has also worked as the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) resident representative for Niger.

Martelly, a popular former singer elected by a wide margin, was sworn in as president of Haiti on May 14 but has not yet put his government in place amid resistance from the opposition-dominated parliament.

Martelly vowed to “change Haiti” upon taking office, promising to restore order and confidence in a country struggling to emerge from one of the most destructive earthquakes of modern times.

Much of the capital was leveled in a 7.0-magnitude quake in January 2010 that killed more than 225,000 people and left one in seven homeless in a nation that was already the poorest in the Americas.

The pace of reconstruction has been painfully slow for hundreds of thousands of traumatized survivors who lost everything and are forced to live in squalid tent cities around the still-ruined capital.

UN aid chief Valerie Amos called for continued humanitarian assistance to Haiti on Thursday, stressing that it was still a country in crisis.

Visiting the country during a two-day evaluation mission, Amos said the 600,000 people still living in camps have urgent needs for basic food, water, sanitation and housing services.

The humanitarian situation has been further aggravated by a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 5,000 people, food insecurity for 4.5 million and an active hurricane season that has already destroyed homes and crops.

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