All posts belong in this category

2018 Elections Open Thread: Another Senate Seat Up for Grabs

This cannot be regarded as a real surprise, since Politico was willing to say Cochran was “frail and disoriented… needed a staffer to remind him where the Senate chamber is located” all the way back in October. But it is a disruption, especially to the GOP. Per the Washington Post:

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) will resign from the Senate on April 1, he announced Monday, ending a four-decade congressional career and triggering a fall election that could carve new divisions in the Republican Party and put the GOP Senate majority at greater risk.

Cochran, 80, has been suffering from health problems in recent months. He missed several weeks in the Senate last fall while recuperating from a urinary tract infection. He has appeared frail since his return and has been keeping a low public profile.

“I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge,” Cochran said in a statement. “I intend to fulfill my responsibilities and commitments to the people of Mississippi and the Senate through the completion of the 2018 appropriations cycle, after which I will formally retire from the U.S. Senate.”

First elected to the Senate in 1978 after a stint in the House, Cochran is one of the longest-serving members of Congress in history. He is the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, a powerful panel with jurisdiction over government spending. When he steps down, the chairmanship is expected to pass to Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), who is next in the line of seniority…

Shelby, 83, went out of his way to vouch for his own health. “I’ve still got a lot of energy,” he said.

Beyond shaking up the Senate, Cochran’s exit will affect the battle for the Senate majority. It gives Republicans another seat to defend at a moment of great uncertainty about the midterms…

Unlike the regular election this year for Republican Sen. Roger Wicker’s seat, candidates for Cochran’s seat would not compete in a primary, and if no one got more than 50 percent of the vote in November, the top two finishers would compete in a runoff.

Chris McDaniel, a hard-right Republican state senator who lost to Cochran in a nasty 2014 primary, announced last week that he would run against Wicker. But he left the door open to switching to a race for Cochran’s seat if one were to take place…

McDaniel represents perhaps the last best hope for the insurgent wing of the GOP, in which former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and his allies have been plotting to shake up the Republican order by elevating candidates hostile to McConnell…

This is treating McDaniel’s history very, very delicately; CNN referred to his 2014 Cochran challenge as “the nation’s ugliest primary”, with cause. If you don’t think it can get worse than Roy Moore, well…

Russiagate Open Thread: None So Dumb As Those Who Will Not Learn

I hear that certain ‘True Progressives’ and Glenn Greenwald are performing Righteous Indignation about terrible terrible ambush journalists trying to make this poor addled woman look… like exactly what she is: a narrow-minded, self-deluding idiot. Such nice white Trump voters should only be fondled delicately, with all due respect for their gut instincts, lest they lose their precious bloom or melt like snowflakes!

Thursday Morning Open Thread: The CPAC Clown Parade Is Back in DC


… and this year, they have a drum major!

Remember when we could laugh at these creeps, grifters, bloviators, and post-college hopefuls trolling on Craigslists’ M4M?


I want a better acronym than “Clowns Pandering to Aging Christofascists”. Any suggestions?

One extremely promising-for-parodists panel has already been cancelled…

Read more

Late Night Lounge Lizards Open Thread: “Desperate Republicans turn to Adelson”

He wasn’t even in Las Vegas, but if you believe Politico, every aspiring Repub was still busy trying to tongue-bathe Jabba the Mogul:

LAS VEGAS — Republicans made their annual sojourn to the lavish Venetian hotel here this weekend to kiss the ring of a benefactor they need more than ever: casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

Confronting the potential loss of one or both chambers of Congress in the midterms, and struggling to raise money against an energized Democratic base, the party is desperate for Adelson’s millions. So the praise at the annual Republican Jewish Coalition conference he hosts overflowed, even though the billionaire, attending the funeral of a close friend in Israel, wasn’t on hand.

During a private appearance on Saturday morning, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is edging closer toward a run for Senate, led off his remarks by calling Adelson and his spouse, Miriam, “great friends” who he’d known for a long time. The Republican governor, himself tremendously wealthy, said he was saddened that the Adelsons couldn’t make it to this year’s event and that he was thinking of them.

The gushing underscored Adelson’s outsize influence in the party, which is expected only to grow this year as Republicans lean on him to help salvage their control of Congress. With energized Democratic candidates raising fistfuls of cash, party officials say they are depending on major givers like Adelson, a longtime bankroller of GOP causes, to close the gap.
Read more

Ignorance Is Strength

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were told today not to use seven words in official documents they prepare for next year’s budget. The words are








Instead of “science-based” or ­“evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” but in other cases, no substitute was suggested.

No names were given of people responsible for this dictum.

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget

but, from the wording, it looks like it was a Party operative another official who gave the order. Or somebody told the senior CDC officials that that would be required.

“Transgender” and “fetus” are particularly problematic. The preference to replace “fetus” is probably “unborn baby.” I don’t want to imagine what they would prefer for “transgender.” Or, I guess, programs involving those nonexistent categories can just be struck. I’m sure the CDC budget will be decreased in any case.


Update: cthulu informs us that Kevin Drum has supplied substitutes. Here they are 

The Trump Permission Slip, Brookline High School Edition

Of the many worst things about Trump’s election and his impact on American society is the way his vile racism — and the acquiescence-to-emulation of his fellow Republicans — has give the worst in our society (see: deplorables) license to display their own racist shitstains in public.

That came home with a vengeance for me over the last couple of days, starting with an email from the local high school principal and the school superintendent.  Three young men, two recent Brookline High graduates, one current student, had posted to the broader internet two  racist videos, attacking specific students of color at the school in the worst, most bluntly racist terms possible.

Today brought another email — a third video by this same trio has been found, along with racist graffiti in a boys bathroom near the cafeteria.

During a school walkout led by student leaders in the African American and Latino Scholars groups, speakers criticized the principal for not responding to the first videos faster, more publicly, with a broader expression of support. He acknowledged fault in an afternoon PA address:

Crises like these should spur each of us – every single one of us – to reflect on who we are in this community and how we help resist and fight hatred in all its forms, including racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and Islamophobia. As part of this reflection, we must also consider where we need to be better. That starts with me. I regret not communicating earlier than yesterday to the larger community – students, staff, and families. I made the decision to address this as an incident between a small group of students – the ones who made the initial video and the student they were targeting. In hindsight, I should have reached out to others sooner. I am sorry for this, as doing so would have put everyone in a better position to support and care for one another.

That’s a decent start, and I hope and believe more concrete effort’s coming.  I spoke to my son and a couple of his friends, one a kid of color, this afternoon and they were more or less unfazed. They regard the racists as assholes not worth their time, and they’re right about that.  But they know this isn’t usual, and they know that this is real hate, and not just teen crap.

That makes me weep, because even though I know better, this is what you want your child to believe he or she won’t have to deal with.  (I should add that my son is way more of a realist than I am on this, and I’m aware that parental fantasies are still fantasy.)

But there’s this.  Adding to my amazement as well as my disgust, this is Brookline, Massachusetts. Brookline!

For those of you who don’t happen to be familiar with every nook and cranny of Greater Boston, AKA the Hub of the Universe, Brookline is a small town enfolded on three sides by Boston proper, stretching west from, roughly, Fenway Park.

This is a well-off place, not so much limousine liberals as the dreaded East Coast Elites.  Median family income is over $90,000 — which is probably not unconnected to the fact that 14 % of the population hold a doctorate degree (I’m in the 86%, I should add), said to be the highest such proportion in the US.  Above all, it’s liberal as hell.  In the 2016 election, Clinton-Kaine received 24,583 votes to Trump-Pence’s 3,175.

All of which is to say that while my Vulcan brain knows wealth, comfort, homogeneity etc. do not inoculate against racism, as Dr. McCoy I discover that I’ve been living that cliché:  It Couldn’t Happen Here.

Clearly, it can.

Relearning that hard lesson reminds me how we got to this pass:  Donald F**king Trump and that Republican Party that’s been waltzing with racists since 1968.

Public racism, the sense scumbags who hate have of being validated and enabled by the country’s most powerful man, is one of the many tumors Trump and his party have lodged in our body politic. Getting it out is going to require major surgery, years of the political analogue of chemo, and even then, may not leave us with a viable patient.

In my corner of the world, I’m glad that the Brookline schools seem to be taking our local metastasis seriously.  Maybe we can excise this one lesion.

But damn, do I hate every sitting GOP politician who has, by tacit acceptance or full throated endorsement backed up our Bigot-in-Chief, who in turn has given voice (and perhaps more and worse) to those street level racists that can be found in literally every town in America.

I’m with Doug.  This is one of those days I hope there’s an afterlife so that our current leaders can hang with Satan till the last proton decays.

Image: Jacob Lawrence, Antagonism between white and Negro workers resulted in race riots1940-41 [thx, Peter H. Desmond].

In(dict) like Flynn

Open thread

Go long popcorn