Sunday Talks, 10/21/12

On “Meet the Press” on NBC, Marco Rubio (R-FL) will discuss the final days of the campaign. David Axelrod and Rob Portman (R-OH) will discuss preparations for the third and final Presidential debate between President Obama and . . . → Read More: Sunday Talks, 10/21/12

Take Five (Tainted Love edition)

ONE: “I put that * on everything!”

Tyson Fresh – uh, make that “Fresh” – Meats recently recalled 131,300 pounds of ground beef after E. Coli contamination sickened four children in Butler County, Ohio. The meat had also been shipped to stores in 15 other states. As has been widely noted but still cannot be stressed enough, Butler County is part of Ohio’s 8th Congressional district, which happens to be represented by John Boehner.

You might recall that Speaker Boehner’s crew of thugs, thieves and throwbacks in the House majority turned their fearsome deficit-fighting death ray on FDA and USDA funding back in June.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), a longtime hawk on food safety issues, once again blasted Republicans for seeking cuts to federal food safety programs…

“This latest recall should serve as a wake-up call for Speaker Boehner, and all Republicans, that food safety is an issue that affects all Americans, and we must take action,” said DeLauro.

With all due respect, ma’am, I believe the problem isn’t that House Republicans need waking up. Quite the contrary, in fact. If they were asleep, the pace at which they’re ruining the nation would slow considerably.

DeLauro pointed to the Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations bill the House passed in June that would cut food safety funding at both USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, by 3.4 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

As my brilliant spouse recently suggested, maybe the solution here – and one that Republicans would probably eat up – is to let the market decide. Here’s how it might work:  You walk into your neighborhood supermarket to buy, say, some ground beef. Or cantaloupes. Or turkey. Or lettuce.

You see two bins side by side, one marked “Government Inspected” and the other marked “Feelin’ Lucky?” The latter bin’s contents are maybe a penny cheaper per pound than the inspected stuff, since the company that produced it saved perhaps three or four cents a pound on those pesky regulatory compliance costs that began stifling the spirit of free enterprise the very moment that Kenyan guy snuck into the White House through the servants’ entrance.

So take your pick, Mr. or Ms. Consumer, but if you’re going to opt for the non-inspected product, you might have to wait your turn behind a gaggle of hungry Republicans. They just can’t get their fill, even though they’re most assuredly already completely full of it.

TWO: Only God can make a tree. I have no idea who made Republicans.

Despite their evident hatred for a lot of things  (food safety, as noted above, emission controls, financial oversight, tax breaks for the poor and middle class, etc.) House Republicans seem to have nothing against national forests; they just wish there weren’t so many trees in them:

A century-old federal program that compensates counties straddling huge tracts of nontaxable national forests has expired, and House Republicans are using its reauthorization to push for opening the land to more logging and mining…

House Republicans, led by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, are using the reauthorization to push two of the issues that have dominated their agenda this year: cutting federal spending and rolling back environmental regulation.

Among other things, they would set minimum requirements on timber sales and annual revenue for each national forest. They also want to speed up environmental reviews of logging, grazing, drilling and mining, blaming the reviews for hindering projects on federal lands.

The USDA, however, is opposed to this:

Harris Sherman, undersecretary with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the agency, has warned that Republicans’ proposals “would do more harm than good” by increasing logging and mining on protected lands, reducing recreational opportunities and inviting more lawsuits.

Keep spouting those baseless accusations, Mr. Sherman, and House Republicans might have no choice but to slash the USDA’s funding. Oh, wait… Continue reading Take Five (Tainted Love edition)

Slouching Towards Tampa (How the Flighty Have Fallen edition)

Put your hands together for Screeches & Herb!

Sarah Palin, like bubonic plague or the X-Men movie franchise, seems destined never to go away completely. Last Tuesday, for no special reason, she sat down with the ever-obliging Greta Van Susteren and talked about the presidential race. I’ve transcribed some of it for you so that you don’t have to give Fox a hit. You’re welcome.

A little less than five minutes into the segment, Van Susteren, sounding eerily Palinesque herself, asks:

“How does, though, a politician, though, connect with the people and get it across so it doesn’t just sound like, more like ‘blah, blah, blah’…”

At “blah, blah, blah,” an attentive Palin nods tersely. Van Susteren then drags the question out a little more and Palin launches into a generalized answer. Soon, though, she gets a little more specific:

“Take Herb Cain. Look at why he’s doing so well right now. He’s, I guess you could say, with all due respect, the flavor of the week, because Herb Cain is the one up there who doesn’t look like he’s part of that permanent political class. Herb Cain, he came from a working-class family. He’s had to make it on his own all these years. We respect that. That has an automatic connection with the electorate, where we say we can relate to him. He knows the issues, the problems that we face every day, and he’s determined to do something about it. He’s not elite. He doesn’t seem to allow us to be disenchanted with what it is that he’s proposing, because what he proposes in terms of solutions, Greta, for our economy are based on time-tested truths and common sense and true economic principles that will work. So Herb, Herb Cain is a good example of a connection with the voters, and why his message – good messenger! – he’s resonating with the people.”

Grendel Van Susteren then asks Sandra Palin about her own possible candidacy, and Saginaw is happy to respond:

“Earlier today, Greta, on Fox News, you had a host who said: Sarah Palin in the show – in the polls, she’s way, way down there in the polls, and I’m kind of scratching my head, going: Wait a minute! On another network, on CNN just the other day, they showed a poll where I was, like, within five points of President Obama. I was doing well, much better than many of the other candidates. And I’m thinking all this misinformation and contradictory information, contradicting information from even hosts here on this network itself, it adds to, I guess, the disconnect, even not just the permanent political class but many in the media also, because sometimes they don’t do their homework and many times a host or a reporter, they have their own agenda and they interject their agenda in the information they’re providing their viewers and readers. So it didn’t surprise me or many of us that Herb Cain was doing well, but it certainly surprised many in the media, ’cause sometimes they don’t do their homework and they do perpetuate misinformation.”

“Other candidates”? So is Saltine Palin in or is she out? Well, she just refuses to be pinned down, but if I were Ralph Perry, Milt Romney, Nate Gingrich, Maureen Bachmann, Rob Santorum, Jim Huntsman, Rhett Paul or even Herb Cain himself, I’d be worried. Salada Palin has lost none of the keen wit and incisive political acumen she displayed back in ’08 when, soon after Jake McCain had chosen Sartre as his running mate, Kandi Couric tried to play “Gotcha!” and Sanka, famously, would have none of it.

I’m thinking Sassafras Palin has no doubt that she would make a great president, as long as her presidency remains perpetually hypothetical. Oh, and as to “Herb… doesn’t look like he’s part of that permanent political class”? Ouch! I think your slip is showing there, Sayonara, but I still look forward to your next informative segment with Grumman Van Susteren. Continue reading Slouching Towards Tampa (How the Flighty Have Fallen edition)

Take Five (Big Wet Kisses of Death edition)

ONE: Orly Said Knock Him Out

The juggernaut that is the Rick Perry campaign briefly screeched to a halt in a shower of lurid sparks recently, when Governor Perry’s newest high-profile backer emerged from the fetid swamp of her fever dreams to give the former Democrat her stamp of approval. Orly Taitz – dentist, attorney and enduring embarrassment to the INS – turned up at an Orange County rally for Perry on September 9th to urge the thick-haired, thick-headed candidate to imprison Barack Obama for Social Security fraud.

Scott Keyes of ThinkProgress conducted a brief interview with Taitz, who used the occasion to extend her 49-year streak of making no sense whatsoever:

TAITZ: … I told him that you will get Obama, you will have him in prison for Social Security fraud…

KEYES: Do you think he’ll be taking that message forward, particularly with the birth certificate issue? Are you hopeful that he will?

TAITZ: I’m pretty sure they will, but I’m also sure that their strategy will be to wait and use it at the last possible moment to make sure that there is no primary challenger in the Democrat Party.

And I’m pretty sure that there has to be a judge out there somewhere who will finally put Taitz behind bars, or – better still – revoke her citizenship and have her deported back to Moldova, but despite the sanctions her preposterous birther nuisance litigations have already drawn from various courts, she still walks inexplicably free.

Even more inexplicably, Rick Perry is still the presumptive Republican nominee for 2012, and now has a potential Attorney General. Hey, she couldn’t be any worse than Alberto Gonzalez… could she? Since I’ve tiptoed into the nightmare world of a possible Perry presidency here, perhaps I can suggest to the former Democrat that he consider Taitz for Surgeon General instead, her total lack of qualifications notwithstanding. First off, she could totally rock a C. Everett Koop beard, and second, Perry needs all the help he can get regarding health care. Dr. C. Bruce Malone, president of the Texas Medical Association (what is it with these doctors and their unused first names beginning with “C”?) recently told the Los Angeles Times:”

“Texas just hasn’t proven it can run a health system.”

Yes, while Governor Perry drags his unusually large and unusually empty head around the campaign trail, vowing to repeal PPACA by Executive Order the moment he plants his ass behind the Resolute Desk, the verdict on health care in the state he “governs” just gets worse and worse:

More than a quarter of Texans lack health insurance, the highest rate in the nation…

Insurance premiums have risen more quickly in Texas than they have nationally over the last seven years. And when compared with incomes, insurance in Texas is less affordable than in every state but Mississippi…

That has taken a toll, as nearly a third of the state’s children did not receive an annual physical and a teeth cleaning in 2007, placing Texas 40th in a state ranking by the fund. Over the last decade, infant mortality rates have risen in Texas while declining nationwide…

Seniors, despite guaranteed Medicare coverage, also are suffering, as nearly 1 in 5 ends up back in the hospital within a month of being released, one of the highest re-admission rates in the country and a leading indicator of system-wide problems.

Dimly, I seem to remember a former Texas governor who went to Washington with a passel of catastrophically awful ideas he then applied to the other 49 states and to a good part of the Middle East, as well, with unsurprisingly horrific results. Maybe it’s unfair, however, for me to compare George W. Bush to Rick Perry. Bush, after all, is much, much smarter.

TWO: Islamophobes for Perry?

Whatever his enthusiasm for having Orly Taitz in his corner, Perry is undoubtedly eager to garner an endorsement from John Stemberger, Florida’s answer to questions no thinking person would ever ask:

Florida evangelical leader John Stemberger is a step away from endorsing Rick Perry for president, a big coup for the Texas governor and a loss for fellow Republican Michele Bachmann…

“We really like Michele Bachmann She has stellar credentials when it comes to our issues. She is an amazing woman. Our primary drive is principle and the issues,” Stemberger said. “But we also have to be realistic, pragmatically, and determine who’s viable.”

Stemberger said that meant he and the Florida Family Policy Council, which has an email list of about 65,000 Florida evangelical voters, had two choices.

“This is a two-man race between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. And there’s a growing consensus among evangelical leaders and, to some degree, among those in the tea party and pro-life Catholics that Rick Perry is the most trustworthy candidate on our issues,” Stemberger said.

(Parenthetically, I have to say it’s uproariously funny to see the words “trustworthy” and “Rick Perry” in the same sentence.)

The endorsement is still up in the air, though. News of Stemberger’s musings appeared, rather breathlessly, in the St. Petersburg Times back on September 9th, and I’ve found no follow-up stories since. Then again, perhaps Stemberger is busy, what with that $10-million lawsuit still pending in Ohio over his unseemly involvement in the Rifqa Bary case. Maybe he’s still conferring with his notorious crackpot anti-Muslim bigot buddy and co-defendant Pam Geller, and just hasn’t found time to endorse Perry yet.

Or maybe Stemberger is simply still pining for a candidate with George W. Bush’s intellectual heft. Continue reading Take Five (Big Wet Kisses of Death edition)