Jester’s Court — November 25, 2013

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internationalA French politician has left the far-right Front National claiming he was shocked to see candidates sporting swastika tattoos at party meetings.

internationalAfghan government officials have proposed reintroducing public stoning as a punishment for adultery. So much for thousands of lost American lives and billions in spending leading to progressive change.

quotesHouse Majority Leader Eric Cantor: “Our strategy with Iran should be distrust and verify.”

quotesTexas Sen. Ted Cruz said the filibuster change in the Senate rules “will poison the atmosphere of the Senate.”

politicsThe Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Nevada announced that he “need[s] a break” from the “knuckleheads” who run the party.

politicsThe FEC won’t allow bitcoins for political contributions.

miscellaneousRick Santorum’s film “The Christmas Candle” has had a worse reception than his candidacy for president.

governmentsNew York state troopers are using a new fleet of 32 tall, unmarked SUVs as part of a crackdown on drivers sending text messages.

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John Boehner Fails at Not Signing Up for Obamacare

johnboehnerfool1House Speaker John Boehner made a big deal about not being able to sign up for Obamacare last week. He even tweeted his frustration. Actually, he conducted a successful application and health care representatives tried to contact him to confirm his acceptance during his application but were put on hold for 35 minutes while listening to patriotic music. They eventually hung up in frustration.

During his application, Boehner claimed to have put in a call to the help desk. Representatives called back a few hours later. After two more attempts, Boehner claimed to have successfully enrolled.

Boehner could have handled the matter during his initial application if he had gotten off the help line and answered the call confirming he was enrolled. No wonder he had to spend more hours trying to figure out how to become enrolled and running into dead ends. He was already enrolled. The site wasn’t going to let him enroll multiple times.

Strangely, Boehner did not use the buggy federal government website, but the DC Health Care exchange.

The problem with a political stunt like this is that it can’t be scripted to the way Boehner wanted it. Boehner either had no idea how to navigate a website and didn’t know he was accepted so he kept browsing and clicking, or he knew that he was accepted but wanted to make a big show of frustration. It’s hard to know if he is incompetent or deluding. I’m going with both because his political stunt was a failure.

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Jester’s Court — November 23-24, 2011

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internationalChina is moving to tighten its grip over social networking services even more.

internationalPolls show Honduras’ presidential election in a statistical tie. That is bad news for the country with the world’s highest murder rate.

governmentsAfter years of short-term budget fixes, California is headed for years of surpluses.

governmentsA federal court has ruled that the religious tax exemption is unconstitutional.

governmentsThe Texas State Board of Education has decided to believe in Darwin.

factsSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that just under half the presidential nominees blocked by the Senate have occurred during the Obama administration. The correct number is over half.

miscellaneousDennis Rodman is planning on returning to North Korea. Unfortunately, he has a roundtrip ticket.

videoRob Ford the Movie.

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Hawaiian Lawmakers Who Voted Against Same-Sex Marriage Get Early Christmas Presents

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

Someone is unhappy with the 19 members of the Hawaiian state House who voted against same-sex marriage. With Christmas just around the corner, those lawmakers were sent an early gift in the mail: A lump of coal.

Rep. Marcus Oshiro understood the message clearly:

“Yeah I think the message is that I have not been a good boy this year, I have been naughty, not nice. Well I’m afraid some people feel that way about me right now.”

The return address on the boxes belonged to the Hilo Medical Center, which said it had nothing to do with it.

“Hilo Medical Center categorically denies any involvement in this matter and does not condone this type of behavior,” said Howard Ainsley, East Hawaii Regional CEO of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. “Over the years, we have enjoyed a positive relationship with members of the legislature. It is extremely unfortunate that our good hospital was brought into a such bad act. We want to assure our legislators that we will fully cooperate with the investigative process to bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice.”

What? They want to bring the perpetrators to justice? Giving someone a lump of coal or even mailing it is not an illegal act. It is not even an illegal act to put a fake return address on the mail, unless the intent was to defraud or engage in some other criminal activity. In now way is that the case here.

The only mistake the sender made was not putting his or her own address on the mailings and take credit for a creative political protest.

Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

Posted in Hawaii, Marcus Oshiro | 1 Comment

Jester’s Court — November 22, 2013

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internationalThere is a strange power struggle going on in the mineral-rich, Central Asian county of Uzbekistan.

internationalVenezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is claiming that businesses are pricing a 1,000% profit margin from imported goods.

internationalCourt records show that former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was the “director” of sex parties at his mansions.

internationalSwitzerland is voting on a referendum that would limit the pay of corporate executives to 12 times that of the company’s lowest-paid employee.

internationalA growing alliance between Israel, Greece and Cyprus is over energy.

internationalA chemical weapons dumping ground for 70 years, the bottom of the Baltic Sea has become a ticking time bomb.

foolishThe DEA raided marijuana businesses in Colorado, just weeks before recreational use was to be legalized.

governmentsPhiladelphia has banned 3-D printed guns even though no one knows of anyone who has tried to print or use one in the city.

governmentsAfter the federal government sells its remaining shares in GM, it will have lost $10 billion to save the automaker.

newsIn an ongoing story, social conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education have blocked a biology textbook because it mentions evolution.

newsA Texas lawmaker was charged with a felony after he allegedly tried to take a gun through security earlier this month at an airport in Austin.

OopsNo wonder the Senate Democrats wanted to do away with the filibuster. They can’t spell it.

northkoreaFurther evidence that the North Koreans are engaging in the international meth trade.

quotesNorth Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory: “We didn’t shorten early voting – we compacted the calendar.”

quotesWashington State Republican chairwoman Susan Hutchison claims that the $20,000 reduction of her salary from that of her male predecessor “play[s] into the ‘war on women’ narrative [used] against Republicans.”

politicsThe Michigan Republican Party has picked Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul to open its African American Engagement Office in Detroit.

awkwardA Minnesota congressional candidate has been shown drinking from a beer bong and licking a woman in photos.

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Rob Ford’s Approval Rating Higher than Obama’s

Rob Ford (Source: Shaun Merritt (CC))

Rob Ford (Source: Shaun Merritt (CC))

A new poll has more to say about Canadians, especially those in Toronto, than Mayor Rob Ford.

Since admitting to smoking crack, plus committing a number of outrageous comments over the last couple of weeks, Ford’s approval rating has risen from 39% in October to 42% in November.

Let me state that one more time. More Toronto residents approve of Ford since he admitted to smoking crack than when it was still an unconfirmed rumor.

This places Ford’s approval rating higher than Barack Obama’s 42% to 41%.

Are there really that many crack smokers in Toronto? How else can it be explained that a mayor who ran on an anti-drug platform then admitted to buying and using the drug while in a “drunken stupor” maintains widespread support?

Ford’s approval rating was slightly higher on November 6 than currently. He was looked at favorably by 44% at that point. From a statistical perspective, these differences are within the margin of error. However, it is clear that Ford’s support has not declined but improved since his crack-smoking video surfaced in the Toronto police department.

Although 60% believe Ford should resign, 33% are ready to vote for him in next year’s reelection race. As long as Ford is not caught smoking crack in another video or engages in another scandal, he has probably hit rock bottom in the polls. He remains a viable candidate for reelection, and that is extraordinary. It is also disconcerting.

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Jester’s Court — November 21, 2013

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internationalHead of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, is negotiating a surrender with Ugandan officials. There are reports that Kony is ill.

internationalSome South Korean politicians want to include video gaming as an addiction like alcohol and illegal drugs.

internationalThe Saudi moral police arrested two men offering free hugs.

internationalMyanmar rejected a U.N. resolution urging it to grant citizenship to the Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority group, and accused the United Nations of impinging on its sovereignty.

quotesSeattle’s new socialist councilmember on the possibility that Boeing may move out of state: “The workers should take over the factories, and shut down Boeing’s profit-making machine.” Politics in Seattle must be interesting these days.

quotesA Washington state county commissioner tells voters: “All of you out here that are bitching, unless you got a stamp on your hand or something that shows that you voted please shut up.” Make that the entire state of Washington.

quotesMajority Whip Kevin McCarthy falsely claimed Consumer Reports warned “Americans not to go to the [HealthCare.gov] website because of the fear of having fraud.”

OopsBarack Obama omitted the mention of “God” in his recital of the Gettysburg address and you know what that means.

newsObamacare is being praised by the independent contractors at Nevada brothels.

politicsFormer Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Republican turned independent turned Democrat, leads current Gov. Rick Scott by 7%.

governmentsThe town of San Rafael, Calif., has passed a ban on smoking that city officials have called the most stringent in the nation. The new ordinance makes it illegal for residents to smoke in their own homes if they share a wall with another dwelling.

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House Republicans Develop Weird Playbook Graphic Against Obamacare

obamacareplaybookThe House Republican leadership is planning to keep the pressure on the Obama administration over the next few months by focusing on Obamacare. That makes solid political sense. The new program is filled with glitches and needs corrections. That is to be expected with any new, large social program, but it still presents an opportunity for those who oppose it.

House Republicans have even developed an extensive playbook for their colleagues to use to score political points, as the New York Times reports:

The document, the product of a series of closed-door strategy sessions that began in mid-October, is part of an increasingly organized Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature legislative initiative. Republican strategists say that over the next several months, they intend to keep Democrats on their heels through a multilayered, sequenced assault.

The idea is to gather stories of people affected by the health care law — through social media, letters from constituents, or meetings during visits back home — and use them to open a line of attack, keep it going until it enters the public discourse and forces a response, then quickly pivot to the next topic.

As long as the Obama administration continues to fumble the handling of the Affordable Care Act, that plan will work out well for the Republicans. Of course, they don’t propose an alternative.

Yet, inside the well-thought out attack on Obama’s health care legislation is a strange graphic on page 3 of the Republican talking points. Someone designed a football play to depict the Republican playbook against the Obama administration. Whoever that was needs to brush up on some football basics. Nobody plays football with 10 players on offense and 8 on defense.

With 10 players on offense and 8 on defense, it should be easy to plan a big yardage play. Instead, the offense sends its two backs and flanker to the right while the quarterback keeps the ball and runs left straight into the only defender left unblocked. Even if the defense was stacked to the right, it would seem the Republicans would want to run a play to the right, not the left. Ironically, the Republicans also choose to play the “O’s” against Obama and Obamacare.

Does anyone in the Republican leadership even think about the message they are sending?

With everything stacked in their hands for a potential score, the play is designed in one of the few conceivable ways to take a loss. There might be something prescient in this. We may yet see the Republicans snatch defeat in one of the few issues they have been able to make headway in the last couple of years.

Posted in Republican Party, U.S. House of Representatives | Leave a comment

Jester’s Court — November 20, 2013

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misfortuneThe day before he apparently stabbed his father at the family’s home in rural Bath County, the son of Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds underwent a psychiatric evaluation but was not admitted to a hospital, because no bed was available.

internationalThe Norwegian army will have a vegetarian diet once a week to fight climate change.

internationalRob Ford’s new reality show has been cancelled.

internationalAn aspiring Serbian diplomat is in hot water for a provocative photo spread.

internationalVenezuela’s National Assembly has given final approval to special powers for President Nicolas Maduro, which allows him to govern without consulting Congress for 12 months.

foolishOklahoma has cancelled all benefits for National Guard spouses because the state doesn’t want to provide benefits to same-sex couples.

newsIt’s another fake scandal that the Obama administration tampered with unemployment figures from the census department.

newsFlorida Rep. Trey Radel overpaid for the cocaine he bought from an undercover agent.

miscellaneousAccording to Michele Obama, Barack Obama likes to sing in the shower a lot.

doubtfulFormer Congressman Allen West suggested that the real purpose of Obamacare is “racist cleansing.”

politicsA year later, Mitt Romney would defeat Barack Obama 49% to 45%.

politicsAn Arkansas lawmaker endorsed a candidate because he is “not an extortionist or blackmailer.”

governmentsThe Batkid event cost San Francisco $105,000.

governmentsSarah Palin’s Alaska hometown is auctioning an SUV she drove when she was mayor.

OopsA Utah town forgot to hold elections for the second time in a row.

videoGeorge W. Bush is “not too worried” about how history will evaluate him.

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Congressman Arrested for Cocaine Voted for Food Stamp Recipients to be Drug Tested

Trey_Radel_us_CongressFlorida Rep. Trey Radel, doing his best Rob Ford imitation, was arraigned in court on misdemeanor cocaine possession stemming from an October 29 arrest.

The charge resulted from a federal investigation into a drug ring operation in Washington, D.C. when a dealer spilled the details about one of his customers.

The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the case, said several federal agencies working as part of a task force arrested a dealer who told them one of his cocaine customers was a congressman. The dealer, working with federal agents, set up a buy on Oct. 29, and Radel, a freshman congressman first elected last year, purchased the cocaine, the official said.

FBI agents later went to Radel’s apartment, where they detained him, the official said. Radel hired a defense attorney who negotiated charges with a prosecutor, the official said. Law enforcement agents never handcuffed Radel or took him to jail, the official said.

It is that type of special treatment that leaves the average American disgruntled. The amount of cocaine possessed by Radel is unspecified, described only as a “quantity.” We must assume that it was an amount small enough to justify only a misdemeanor charge. Misdemeanor charge or not, it would be a rare case for law enforcement not to handcuff and cart a suspect off to jail who had cocaine in his possession.

If Radel was an advocate of liberalizing the drug laws, his arrest would merit only a note and a comment that what people put into their bodies is their business. Radel is not that type of politician. He’s the coke-snorting version of the anti-gay lawmaker caught in bed with another man.

Radel was elected into office with the backing of the Tea Party. He also supported efforts to drug test food stamp recipients. Those who tested positive would be cut off from federal assistance. Apparently, Radel sees no problem taking a federal paycheck while testing positive for drugs though.

In a statement, Radel blamed his “extremely irresponsible choice” on the “disease of alcoholism.” At least, he didn’t blame it on a drunken stupor. Alcoholism or not, Radel is a full-blown hypocrite. However, he is in a safe Republican district. He received 63% of the vote last year. Any challenge will have to come from his party. Since he has toed the Tea Party line on most issues, there’s a good chance his errors may be forgiven as long as he doesn’t apply for Food Stamps.

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