This is a guy who, one day after a devastating natural disaster killed his own constituents, said he will not vote to alleviate their suffering unless he can inflict some pain on someone somewhere else in the country. And his spokesman defends this as a matter of principle, and uses the worst act of domestic terrorism in the history of the United States as a salutary example… Does Senator Coburn really believe you can budget for the unthinkable? That tornadoes are zero-sum events? That you can horse-trade on human suffering as though it were a line-item on a transportation rider? I no longer am willing to try to understand how people like this think. They are monsters and they operate on their own monstrous imperatives.
Charles Pierce. (via quickhits)
Read the entire article here.
Republican lawmakers have become reflexive in rejecting every extended hand from the administration, even if the ideas were ones that they themselves once welcomed. Under the circumstances, Mr. Obama would be best advised to stop making peace offerings. Only when the Republican Party feels public pressure to become a serious partner can the real work of governing begin.
--The New York Times, Who Can Take Republicans Seriously?
A blistering audit released Wednesday said Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s premier job creation agency repeatedly broke state law in its first year of operation, failed to adequately track money it awarded for economic development projects and sometimes gave money to ineligible recipients.
--The Associated Press.
Former GOP campaign staffer busted for waging his own personal War on Women.
Raw Story: A former intern for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was arrested Tuesday over an alleged sexual extortion scheme.
In a press release, the FBI said 21-year-old Adam Savader allegedly stalked 15 different women from three states between May 2012 and this past February.
The New York Daily News reported that Savader was a political science major at SUNY Farmingdale. He had worked on the political campaigns of Newt Gingrich, Paul Ryan, and Romney.
Savader claimed to have nude photos of the women, and threatened to release the photos unless they sent him more. He demanded that one woman answer “a series of personal questions, relating to sexual preferences, positions, etc.,” according to a FBI complaint. He also informed at least two women that he was masturbating to their stolen pictures.
“I swear on all that is holy. If you fuck with me again I will send these to your parents. I have no problem sending them to ur [sic] parents, friends and sorority sisters unless you cooperate by answering me,” he allegedly told one woman.
Some of the victims attended the same high school as Savader, according to the complaint.
Read more here.
Koch Brothers Turning Their Focus to Newspapers
Three years ago, Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists and supporters of libertarian causes, held a seminar of like-minded, wealthy political donors at the St. Regis Resort in Aspen, Colo. They laid out a three-pronged, 10-year strategy to shift the country toward a smaller government with less regulation and taxes.
The first two pieces of the strategy — educating grass-roots activists and influencing politics — were not surprising, given the money they have given to policy institutes and political action groups. But the third one was: media.
Other than financing a few fringe libertarian publications, the Kochs have mostly avoided media investments. Now, Koch Industries … is exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant.
The Beltway common wisdom on this is wrong. The social conservatives have triumphed in the Republican Party. And you could tell it — not from what they say to the Beltway press — you can tell it from how they are using the power that they have in governing all over the country.
You cannot distill this stuff out of the Republican Party. This is the Republican Party. If you kicked them out of your bedroom, they would have no idea where else to go.
--Rachel Maddow 4/5/13 (via rachelmaddowquotes)
The Worst of the Ryan Budgets
All the tired ideas from 2011 and 2012 are back: eliminating Medicare’s guarantee to retirees by turning it into a voucher plan; dispensing with Medicaid and food stamps by turning them into block grants for states to cut freely; repealing most of the reforms to health care and Wall Street; shrinking beyond recognition the federal role in education, job training, transportation and scientific and medical research. The public opinion of these callous proposals was made clear in the fall election, but Mr. Ryan is too ideologically fervid to have learned that lesson. (Read More.)
These cuts, which will cost the economy more than one million jobs over the next two years, are the direct result of the Republican demand in 2011 to shrink the government at any cost, under threat of a default on the nation’s debt. Many Republicans say they would still prefer the sequester to replacing half the cuts with tax revenue increases. But the government spending they disdain is not an abstract concept. In a few days, the cuts will begin affecting American life and security in significant ways.
--The New York Times, The Real Cost of Shrinking Government