Monday Morning Open Thread: Making Bank on Benghazi

benghazi physics auth
(Tony Auth via

Interesting numbers from The New Republic:

House Republicans’ newly created Benghazi Select Committee has attracted attention to their penchant for using investigations of the Obama administration as a fundraising tool. Most of the criticism, thus far, has concerned the National Republican Campaign Committee’s effort to collect email addresses from those who want to “become a Benghazi watchdog” despite committee chairman Trey Gowdy’s plea that they not do so.

It is no surprise, though, that the NRCC would use Benghazi to the Republican Party’s financial advantage. To understand just how lucrative these scandals can be, look no further than Rep. Darrell Issa. He has offered Republicans a clinic in the science of converting phony scandal into political cash.

For most of his career, Issa was a lackluster fundraiser. But through the first five quarters of the 2014 election cycle, his campaign committee has raised $2,573,258. This is an impressive haul, considering he has not faced significant opposition in more than a decade. The two Democrats vying to challenge him this year together have raised less than $50,000 combined. If Issa’s fundraising continues at its current pace, he will raise more this cycle than in his first four terms in Congress combined….

…[T]he Republican grassroots have padded Issa’s coffers: The key ingredient to his miraculous fundraising turnaround has not been high-dollar gifts from PACs and lobbyists, but ordinary Republican voters thanking him, through their contributions, for being the president’s number one antagonist. Issa has nurtured this relationship with the GOP base by cultivating an enormous direct-marketing operation. Four of his top six campaign expenditures so far this year were to direct mail firms and his third largest expense was $70,684 paid to the Post Office…

Apart from Following the Money, what’s on the agenda for the start of the week?

GoT Open Thread

Currently watching the Pens/Rangers, although I don’t know how much more I can take of it. The Pens are not looking very good, and the officiating has been just awful. There was just a horrifyingly bad call against the Rangers when Tanger basically through a Ranger into the Flower (the puck was in the net, btw), and was penalized and the goal was disallowed. It was every bit as bad as (although a different sport) as the Snow Job at Foxboro in 2001.

At any rate, I hate that. The refs have one damned job, and I can do it better 400 miles away with an HD feed wearing coke bottle glasses.

Two of the fraternity boys who are hockey fans are down (no HD at the house), and I thought this was cute:


Rosie just loves him so much. There could be ten people here, and she beelines to him and even ignores Shawn.

Open Thread: Being A Better Mother Than One’s Own

Via NYMag, an excerpt from an upcoming memoir:

Mom’s own childhood was marked by trauma and abandonment. In Chicago her parents fought frequently and divorced when she and her sister were young. Neither parent was willing to care for the kids, so they were put on a train to California to live with their paternal grandparents in Alhambra, a town near the San Gabriel Mountains east of Los Angeles. The elderly couple was severe and unloving. One Halloween, after Mom was caught trick-or-treating with school friends, a forbidden activity, she was confined to her room for an entire year, except for the hours she was in school. She wasn’t allowed to eat at the kitchen table or play in the yard. By the time Mom turned fourteen, she could no longer bear life in her grandmother’s house. She moved out and found work as a housekeeper and nanny for a kindhearted woman in San Gabriel who offered room and board plus $3 a week and urged her to attend high school. For the first time she saw how loving parents care for their children—it was a revelation.

After graduating from high school Mom moved back to Chicago in the hopes of reconnecting with her own mother. Sadly she was spurned yet again. Heartbroken, she spent the next five years working as a secretary before she met and married my father… She built a new life as a homemaker, spending her days lavishing love on me and my two younger brothers.

When I got old enough to understand all this, I asked my mother how she survived abuse and abandonment without becoming embittered and emotionally stunted. How did she emerge from this lonely early life as such a loving and levelheaded woman? I’ll never forget how she replied. “At critical points in my life somebody showed me kindness,” she said. Sometimes it would seem so small, but it would mean so much—the teacher in elementary school who noticed that she never had money to buy milk, so every day would buy two cartons of milk and then say, “Dorothy, I can’t drink this other carton of milk. Would you like it?” Or the woman who hired her as a nanny and insisted that she go to high school. One day she noticed that Mom had only one blouse that she washed every day. “Dorothy, I can’t fit into this blouse anymore and I’d hate to throw it away. Would you like it?” she said…

Some of our parents had loving parents who, whatever their circumstances, passed down that caring and attention. Some of our parents grew up in chaos and dysfunction, got lucky or not, made better or worse or equally terrible choices in their partners, and still did their not-always-adequate best to do better by their own kids. Here’s a salute to those mothers who tried to write better life stories for their kids — even the ones whose signal contributions was letting us know we had the choice not to pass down our damaged genomes and inadequate socialization skills to another generation!

Poor Eric Cantor

Nobody likes him:

SHORT PUMP, VA. — Just a few miles from his family home, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) felt the wrath of the tea party Saturday, when activists in his congressional district booed and heckled the second-most powerful House Republican.

They also elected one of their own to lead Virginia’s 7th Congressional District Republican Committee, turning their back on Cantor’s choice for a post viewed as crucial by both tea party and establishment wings in determining control of the fractured state GOP.

I’ve always thought he was a bit of a short pump.

Cantor’s facing a Tea Party primary opponent in an open primary. The story contains the mandatory quote from an establishment Republican saying that there’s a “battle for the soul of the Republican Party,” even though it’s clear to anyone paying attention that the battle’s over and the TP won. When the Majority Leader of your party can’t even get his choice for District Committee elected, all that’s left to do is for him to either fall in line by adopting more-Teanderthal-than-thou positions, or to get run over.

Mothers Day mid afternoon open thread

Well, now that we’ve all gotten the annual Mothers Day brunch out of the way, what’s the best or worst Mothers Day memories you all have?

When I was nine, my dad was working very hard as a City Manager of a small town in Wyoming.  Normally he was on top of things like Mothers Day and birthdays and such, but he’d forgotten this year, and our small town didn’t have much in the way of consumer choice.  For just about anything that wasn’t a truck part, a gun, or ranch equipment, you had to go to Denver or order it in the Sears, Wards, or Spiegel catalogs that we still got back in the dark ages of the 1970s and 80s..  Even the state capitol at Cheyenne didn’t have much.

So he forgot Mothers Day.  He was leaving the office and his secretary asked him what he was getting my mom for Mothers Day, and he realized his situation.  The Wards store was closed, so the only place available was Tru-Value Hardware.  Ever since that day, I have remembered sitting in my room listening to my mom downstairs yelling at my dad about the bathroom scales he bought her (he’d vaguely remembered her saying something about needing one) and thought to myself “don’t EVER do that.”

My wife got homemade breakfast from me and my daughter, my son cleaned and washed her car, and I just got done building a raised flower bed while she’s been taking a nap.  I’m not the smartest guy around, but I’ll never forget Mothers Day, 1979.  In 21 years of marriage, I have never bought bathroom scales.

Also too, open thread