Senator David Vitter of Lousiana is a pretty sleazy guy. We know this because of his appearance in the DC Madam scandal. He somehow managed to persuade Louisiana voters that he should remain a Senator, getting re-elected in 2010.
He’s apparently forgotten those voters’ act of mercy; the other day he inserted an amendment into the Farm Bill currently being negotiated which would “prohibit convicted murderers, rapists, and pedophiles from receiving food stamps.” This sounds a little harsh, since those people, while hardly savory, are entitled to eat. Surely if they’re otherwise eligible they shouldn’t be refused the benefits other Americans in poverty receive. If I commit a crime, serve my time, and stay straight, when I’m 75 years old and poor I don’t deserve a meal?
What this really is is a pander to his voters at home. It will probably pass because few if any Senators are going to make the argument I just made, that no matter their past crimes if they’re poor they ought to get help paying for food.
Apparently mercy has its limits for Senator Vitter. Soliciting prostitutes isn’t as serious as rape, so he should be forgiven while the rapist should not.
Er, have all the sympathy you want for tornado victims in Oklahoma, but I suggest you save some for its poorest citizens no matter what part of the state they’re in. Here’s the background:
Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon has pulled the plug on Gov. Mary Fallin’s plans to save the Insure Oklahoma program, which provides healthcare to working poor Oklahomans.
As a result, 9,000 people currently getting state and federally subsidized private insurance through the program will be left without coverage.
Some 30,000 Oklahomans are currently covered in something called Insure Oklahoma. The program is being discontinued at the end of the year. THe ACA will pick up approximately 21,000 of them, but roughly 9,000 people, the poorest on the rolls, won’t be eligible for its exchange, for reasons I don’t quite understand (ah, further information here). Anyway, the governor had tried to keep funding the Insure Oklahoma program to cover these folks, but . . .
“I don’t believe providing health insurance is a proper or efficient function of government,” Shannon said. “As conservatives, we should stand against such desires no matter where they come from, be it local or state government, federal bureaucrats or President Obama himself.
“I have no plans to continue a government-run insurance program that will cost $50 million to serve 9,000 Oklahomans. I simply do not believe it’s the government’s job,” Shannon said.
Yep. As conservatives, we’d rather see people sicken and die than spend any money trying to help them.
What with tornados and heartless politicians, I can’t imagine why anyone in his/her right mind would live in such a state.
There are probably more despicable clowns in the House Republican caucus than Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), but finding them would involve getting muddier than I feel like doing. Here’s a guy who’s gotten 3.5 million bucks in farm subsidies over the past two decades who is now demanding that the poor suck it up and do without $20 Billion in food stamps over the next decade.
I submit that the greater good would be served if he lost his access to taxpayer dollars in the form of farm subsidies while genuinely poor folk continue to get access to food stamps.
Paraphrasing Oklahoma Senators Coburn and Inhofe during discussion of funding disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy: “It’s wasteful pork and we won’t stand for it!”
Senator Coburn after yesterday’s calamitous tornado in Moore, OK: “as the ranking member of Senate committee that oversees FEMA, I can assure Oklahomans that any and all available aid will be delivered without delay.”
Senator Inhofe after the tornado, asked why his position on aid to Oklahoma differs from the one he took on Hurricane Sandy: ““Everyone was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place,” he said. “That won’t happen in Oklahoma.” One wonders what the difference in Americans getting aid is: Northeastern liberals who need AMTRAK to function properly, whereas Oklahomans just need their streets cleared?
It won’t and shouldn’t happen, but it would serve these two clowns right if they had to hang and rattle for a while before aid gets delivered.
I’ve never lived in the Midwest anywhere near Tornado Alley and thus have no first-hand knowledge, but it seems to me that there have been an awful lot of them over the past few years, more than I remember from twenty or thirty years ago.
There were 866 in 1980, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Thirty years later there were 1,266. Despite that increase, NOAA says there’s no discernible trend, and it has charts to prove it.
So maybe I’m wrong in my impression, or maybe the violent ones have been so damaging that they stick in memory longer. Either way, they’re horrific, and the one which hit Oklahoma City and its suburbs today was no exception.
If you wonder why Cincinnati became the go-to IRS office for non-profit exemption review, the answer’s really simple:
The IRS was having trouble hiring people for low-level positions in field offices like New York or Atlanta — the kinds of workers that typically reviewed applications by nonprofits, Owens said.
The answer to this was simple: Cincinnati.
The city had a history of being able to hire people at low federal grades, which in 1995 paid between $19,704 and $38,814 a year — almost the same as those federal grades paid in New York City or Chicago.
So in 1995, the Exempt Organizations division started to centralize. Instead of field offices evaluating applications for nonprofits in each region, those applications would all be sent to one mailing address, a post-office box in Covington, Ky. Then a central office in Cincinnati would review all the applications.
Almost inadvertently, because people there were willing to work for less than elsewhere, Cincinnati became ground zero for nonprofit applications.
And then, thanks to a reorganization in the late 1990s – early 2000s, the IRS started reducing its number of employees (from over 100,000 to slightly under 90,000). With fewer people came less attention to what was happening in field offices and reassignment of lawyers to special projects rather than ongoing practices like the Exempt Organizations reviews.
So far, then, it seems that the IRS snafu is more a management and resource problem than it is a partisan political one. Does that fact matter to Republicans? Hardly.
Those emails about Benghazi didn’t show the White House massaging the talking points at all, we now learn. Instead, we learn that some attendee at a meeting two months ago during which the mails were shown to Republicans misrepresented their content to ABC’s Jonathan Karl, who promptly published what he was told. Hooray for stenography!
On February 15, the general counsel for the national intelligence director’s office briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee, leadership, and staff on the emails, according to the Associated Press. On March 19, there was a similar briefing in the House. Karl reports that included the members of the House Intelligence Committee, their staff, and a senior aide to Speaker John Boehner. (Boehner was invited, but sent an aide instead.) That’s a lot of people, though a lot less than all Republicans on Capitol Hill. It’s 12 senators, plus the staffers who attended the meetings, and 12 representatives, plus Boehner’s aide.
And we can probably narrow the source even further, to just the House. A report by five House Republican committeemen made claims that seem based on the inaccurate summaries of the emails. As The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake reported April 23, “to protect the State Department, the Administration deliberately removed references to al-Qaeda-linked groups and previous attacks in Benghazi in the talking points used by Ambassador Rice.” (We now know that the CIA’s Mike Morrell actually took out those references.)
The report says Rice “was informed that the talking points were created for Congressional members, and modified to protect State Department equities and the FBI investigation.” The phrase “State Department equities” is awfully close to the language of the summaries provided to ABC’s Jonathan Karl, as well as the justification of the summaries. Only House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers was both on the committee that saw the emails and signed the House report, but obviously the report, and the “equities” line, could be based on the emails of many representatives’ staffers.
I’d have put money on the House even without this detective work, since we already knew that House Republicans are fools and knaves. Witness their demand to vote for the 37th time to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act yesterday.
Back in March Abby hid a rawhide bone somewhere in the house. I was out this afternoon, and when I came back and let her in she went haring off toward the back of the house. Back she came into the family room with a rawhide bone (hopefully the same one she hid two months ago). She promptly leapt up onto the couch and prepared to settle down with it.
Mean ol’ Linkmeister snaffled it away from her and put it outside, and she’s now carrying it around looking for a suitable hidey-hole where no other evil dog can find it. It reminds me of this: