But We’ve Got the Biggest Balls of Them All!

I’m speechless:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Tuesday blamed the Obama administration for a disastrous chemical spill in West Virginia.

He said at a news conference in D.C. that the country had enough environmental and health regulations, but they were not being properly enforced.

“The issue is this, we have enough regulations on the books,” Boehner remarked. “What the administration ought to be doing is actually doing their jobs. Why wasn’t this plant inspected since 1991?”

“I am entirely confident that there are ample regulations already on the books to protect the health and safety of the American people,” Boehner added. “Somebody ought to be held accountable here.”

“What we try to do is look at those regulations that we think are cumbersome, are over-the-top and are costing our economy jobs. That’s what our focus continues to be.”

Every asshole in Ohio who voted for this putrid fuck should be waterboarded with methylcyclohexene methanol.

What are the odds on our intrepid media confronting this orange shitheel over this outrageous bullshit, and, I dunno, actually looks at the history of deregulation and Republican efforts to neuter the EPA and other regulators? I put the odds at zero and dropping.

And if a double decker bus crashes into us

Christie’s “mistakes were made” line and the fact that his office is whining about “every wild-eyed conspiracy theory that’s originating on left-wing blogs” makes me pretty sure that he was in on the closures.

Creating a big traffic jam for four days is no joke, by the way:

Now, records obtained by TPM give a clearer look at just what the police in the town had to respond to during the traffic jam, which has since been blamed on a political vendetta by Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) administration.

During the hours of heaviest morning traffic on the days in question, police responded to at least nine traffic collisions, two of which were serious enough that victims had to be taken to a local hospital.


Fort Lee Police Chief Keith Bendul told the Bergen Record on Sept. 13 that the four days of snarled traffic had been cause for alarm.

Harry Belafonte, Warrior for Justice

Deneen L. Brown, in the Washington Post:

Actor, singer and human rights advocate Harry Belafonte called on Phi Beta Sigma during the fraternity’s Centennial Founders’ Day Gala Saturday night in Washington to join a worldwide movement to end the violence and oppression against women

Belafonte, who is well known for his historical contributions to the civil rights movement, was keynote speaker during the gala at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington. Earlier that night, Belafonte was inducted as an honorary member into the fraternity, one of the largest men’s organizations in the world.

“My contribution as a new member of the fraternity is to sucker all of you into coming with me and man up and stand up. When the time comes, we will be in touch and you will be informed to join us in the this movement in the 21st century,” Belafonte told a crowd of more than 1,000 people. “Let us use this century to be the century where we say we started the mission to end the violence and oppression of women.”

Belafonte, 86, who for more than 70 years has fought against racial oppression, recently created an organization called Sankofa Justice & Equity Fund, a nonprofit focused on social justice and helping marginalized people throughout the world…

Activists are “gathering now to say, ‘Man up. All men who are stepping into this moment to say, ‘We will accept the responsibility for what we have done in the abuse of women and we acknowledge that abuse and we are here to declare ourselves as the tenders to the future to never, ever let our children be the abusers of women in our lifetime.’ ”

The crowd rose in applause…

Back last November, Politico reported that Mr. Belafonte was stumping for Bill deBlasio, and severely wounding the tender fee-fees of the One Percenters:

… “Already we have lost 14 states in this union to the most corrupt group of citizens I’ve ever known,” Belafonte said at the First Corinthian Baptist Church, according to Capital New York. “They make up the heart and the thinking in the minds of those who would belong to the Ku Klux Klan. They are white supremacists. They are men of evil. They have names. They are flooding our country with money.

“They’ve come into to New York City,” Belafonte added. “They are beginning to buy their way in to city politics. They are pouring money into Presbyterian Hospital to take over the medical care system. The Koch brothers, that’s their name. Their money is already sewn into the fabric of our daily system, and they must be stopped.”…

May this great man live a thousand years, to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable!

Just when I thought that things would get better

It’s probably not fair to whiny-ass titty babies to call Politico a bunch of whiny-ass titty babies:

Politico editor-in-chief John Harris and chief executive Jim VandeHei are expected to visit The Washington Post on Wednesday to discuss the paper’s recent scrutiny of chief White House correspondent Mike Allen and his influential Playbook newsletter, according to a source familiar with the meeting who is not authorized to discuss it.

The Politico higher-ups are scheduled to sit down with both editorial page editor Fred Hiatt and media critic Erik Wemple, who has aggressively covered Allen and recently suggested the Politico star writer rewards Playbook advertisers with favorable coverage. After digging through Playbook’s archives, Wemple concluded in November that “the special interests that pay for slots in the newsletter get adoring coverage elsewhere in the playing field of Playbook.”


“Erik’s posts about Playbook are false and insulting,” Allen wrote. “I haven’t responded because his obsessive, anti-Playbook agenda has been obvious for some


During an December appearance on WNYC, VandeHei said he thought Wemple’s “piece was nonsense, which is why we didn’t play ball with him on it.” On Fox News, Harris described Wemple’s report as “more of a suggestion, insinuation, innuendo in a really unfair way.” Playbook, Harris said, is “totally transparent.”

Check out this awesome Wemple piece (via) on Allen’s non-stop fluffing of Roger Ailes:

Copyright considerations prevent the Erik Wemple Blog from dropping the plenary glory of “FRIENDS PUSH AILES FOR PRESIDENT” into this blog post, yet a few excerpts hint at the genius behind its formulation. The lede: “Friends and associates are encouraging Fox News chief Roger Ailes to jump into the political arena for real by running for president in 2012, top sources tell POLITICO.” The flattery: “Ailes, 69, has an aggessive, winning personality that made Fox News a huge success — and a huge target for liberal critics.” The meat: “Talk of an Ailes run, which informed sources said is based on more than mere speculation, could escalate the White House war with Fox war in wildly unpredictable – and fun – ways.”

I wonder if Hiatt will shut Wemple down. If so, I hope the Times or HuffPo hires him.

Federal Judge declares OK Ban on Gay Marriage Unconstitutional (updated)


The Northern District of Oklahoma sits in Tulsa, OK and is in the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals.  That’s two current rulings for marriage equality in the 10th circuit at this time.  As I understand it (IANAL) the 10th Ct. denied Utah’s request for a stay of the Judge’s ruling.  Now Utah has appealed to US Supreme Court.  I don’t know how this stuff works, and I assume one of our legal eagles can clue us in, but would this ruling, stayed by the Court itself, be bundled with the Utah case at  USSC, or merely wait until the ruling from the Supreme Court?


Today U.S. District Judge Terence Kern ruled that Oklahoma’s ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional.  His ruling is stayed pending appeal, meaning marriages will not occur immediately in the Sooner State.

HRC President Chad Griffin issued the following statement:

“Judge Kern has come to the conclusion that so many have before him – that the fundamental equality of lesbian and gay couples is guaranteed by the United States Constitution.  With last year’s historic victories at the Supreme Court guiding the way, it is clear that we are on a path to full and equal citizenship for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.  Equality is not just for the coasts anymore, and today’s news from Oklahoma shows that time has come for fairness and dignity to reach every American in all 50 states.”

Two plaintiff couples, Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin and Gay Phillips and Susan Barton, filed their case, Bishop v. Oklahoma, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in November 2004.  Lead counsel in the case are Don Holladay and James Warner of the Oklahoma City law firm Holladay & Chilton PLLC.

Link to ruling (PDF) here.

Thanks to Commenter Shortstop, here is a list of current Marriage Equality lawsuits and their various statuses.  Here is another one that may be more up to date.

Open thread, and we now return you to your regular programming

How To Shame Black Women Featuring Juicy J

First, Academy Award-winning rapper (for this lovely diddy)  Juicy J tweets out that he’s giving a $50,000 scholarship to “the best chick who can twerk.” Then he gives the scholarship to a very deserving lady, Zaire Holmes, a 19-year old mother and full-time student, whose submission video was twerk-free.

According to the rules/fine print, you didn’t need to “twerk” to win. And that’s fine. But then, the rapper said he “didn’t want to waste it on some chick just shaking her ass.” So now you’re shaming ladies for dancing when you asked them to dance? In a society that already throws an immense amount of critique at women of color the “Hard Out Here for a Pimp” rapper decides to drop some respectability politics on everyone’s lap.

Irony: It’s not just for Republicans yelling about discrimination anymore.

On today’s show #TeamBlackness also discusses the cost of being a celebrity, the disparity of wealth by NYC subway stop, and the overall evilness of humanity.

Subscribe on iTunes | Subscribe On Stitcher | Direct Download | RSS

The Morning Crew discusses a Colorado Republican filing a bill over a fake news story (32:19), a potential Wisconsin GOP would give a father-in-law the ability to stop his daughter-in-law’s abortion (37:10), a discussion of the definition of rape through the lens of the law (45:09), and a Kanye West story sparks a discussion about how to respond to overt racism (51:13).

Subscribe on iTunes | Subscribe On Stitcher | Direct Download | RSS

Want to support TWiB? Shop at Amazon using this link: http://twib.me/amazon – make a purchase, it contributes to TWiB!

Long Read: “Death Dust”

Special for our Southwestern/Californian correspondents. Dana Goodyear in the New Yorker on “The Menace of Valley Fever“:

…In soil, Coccidioides immitis exists in chains of barrel-shaped units called arthroconidia; airborne, these fragment easily into lightweight spores. C. immitis is adapted to lodge deep: its spores are small enough to reach the end of the bronchioles at the bottom of the lungs. We can breathe them in, but we can’t breathe them out. Once in the lung, the spore circles up into a spherule, defined by a chitinous cell wall and filled with a hundred or so baby endospores. When the spherule is sufficiently full, it ruptures, releasing the endospores and stimulating an acute inflammatory response that disrupts blood flow to the tissue and can lead to necrosis. The endospores, each of which will become a new spherule, travel through the blood and lymph systems, allowing the cocci to spread, as one specialist told me, “anywhere it wants.” In people with weakened immune systems, cocci can take over.

Every year, there are some hundred and fifty thousand cases. Only forty per cent of people infected are symptomatic, and the signs—fever, cough, exhaustion—can be hard to distinguish from the flu. A small subset of patients will suffer long-term health problems; in fewer still, cocci will disseminate from the lungs into other tissue—skin, bones, and, often fatally, the meninges of the brain. For those with cocci meningitis, the treatment can be brutal. Three times a week, in the hospital, patients are administered an anti-fungal called amphotericin B—“amphoterrible” is how doctors refer to it—with a needle to the base of the skull. To prevent headaches, patients sometimes rest for several hours with their feet elevated above their heads. One patient, a twenty-six-year-old white woman who caught valley fever four years ago, told me that the medicine made her vomit non-stop on a negative incline. She was temporarily paralyzed, underwent three brain surgeries, and has had twenty-two spinal taps. Not long after her diagnosis, the doctors told her mother to make funeral arrangements. Now they tell her she will be on anti-fungals, funnelled through a shunt in her brain, for the rest of her life.

Cocci is endemic to the desert Southwest—California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas—and to the semi-arid parts of Central and South America. Digging—building, drilling, tilling, clearing—stirs it up, and dry, hot, windy conditions, a regional feature intensified by climate change, disperse it. In recent years, infections have risen dramatically. According to the Centers for Disease Control, from 1998 to 2011 there was a tenfold increase in reported cases; officials there call it a “silent epidemic,” far more destructive than had been previously recognized. Its circumscribed range has made it easy for policymakers to ignore. Though it sickens many times more people than West Nile virus, which affects much of the country, including the Northeast, it has received only a small fraction of the funding for research. “The impact of valley fever on its endemic populations is equal to the impact of polio or chicken pox before the vaccines,” John Galgiani, an infectious-disease physician who directs the Valley Fever Center for Excellence, at the University of Arizona in Tucson, says. “But chicken pox and polio were worldwide.”

In 2012, valley fever was the second-most-reported disease in Arizona; two-thirds of the country’s cases occur in the state. There is no vaccine to protect against it and, in the most severe cases, no cure. The population of Phoenix has grown by ten per cent in the past decade, and newcomers have no acquired immunity. The elderly and the immune-compromised—including pregnant women—are most susceptible; for unknown reasons, otherwise healthy African-Americans and Filipinos are disproportionately vulnerable to severe and life-threatening forms of the disease. (In one early study, Filipino men were estimated to be a hundred and seventy-five times as likely as white men to get sick from cocci, and a hundred and ninety-two times as likely to die from it.) But, as one specialist told me, “if you breathe and you’re warm-blooded, you can get this.”…