Memorial Day Weekend Open Thread

We’re kicking this thing off early, and so should you.

50 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Canines says:

    Despite the fact that the US plans on conducting airstrikes on Isis in Iraq and Syria for years, the Chicago Tribune reported on Monday that key members in the House and Senate have resigned themselves to the fact that there’s virtually no chance of Congress agreeing on any sort of bill to constrain or legalize the Obama administration’s bombing campaign in the Middle East.

    Out of cowardness or worry they might actually have to make a consequential decision, Congress has abdicated their responsibility under Article II, Section 8 of the Constitution – not to mention the War Powers Act – to authorize or declare war. So when President Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio decides to unilaterally bomb Iran in 2017, remember this moment, when members of Congress willingly gave up one of the most important responsibilities they have because they were too terrified to take a stand one way or another.

    The Guardian.


  2. FrankUnderwood says:

    Ireland is voting today on whether to join the rest of the civilized world by legalizing mariage equality for gay and lesbian couples.

    At the same time, Piyush "Bobby" Jindal issued an executive order this week establishing Louisiana as a haven for homophobic bigots who do not want to travel to Saudia Arabia, Nigeria, Iran or the Russian Federation to spew their intolerance and hate. 

  3. BlueCat says:

    Maybe not so much kicking off as splashing off ? I'm usually happy to see cool rainy weather here in sunny dry, often drought stricken Colorado but this is getting ridiculous. 

    • notaskinnycook says:

      Icy little peas fell from the skies in Denver half an hour or so ago, and it's not finished yet. More rain to come.

    • notaskinnycook says:

      I was reading something on-line (AP, I think) that said people under 40 were more inclined to vote yes because the Church railed against it. As in other officially Catholic countries, young Irish have left the Church in droves because of the scandals involving children. There was a lot of abuse in Church-run schools and orphanages in Ireland and the young people have not forgotten this


  4. DavidThi808 says:

    For those that like Eurovision, the final is tomorrow at 1:00pm Colorado time. I think it's the best yet – some extraordinary music. And a wide variety of genres including one C&W number.

    Sorry Voyager, minimal cleavage this year.

    My favorite is Poland. But there's 5 others I would also be happy to see win.

  5. mamajama55 says:

    Chris Christie has no fucks left to give….he cursed a reporter out in public. I agree that this is his way of saying that he's no longer running for President…but he'll probably delay officially bowing out, hoping to collect as much money as possible.


  6. Davie says:

    How did this law get on the books in Colorado?

    Maddow opened her show with heart-rending footage of the Aurora trial. She highlighted the testimony of Brenton Lowak, whose friend Jessica Ghawi — a 24-year-old aspiring sports reporter — died in the shooting.

    Here’s the part that set off the Outrage-O-Meter: Jessica's parents have been ordered by a judge in Colorado to pay $220,000 to the gun manufacturers who sold Holmes his weapon.

    “If you, for whatever reason, sue anyone having to do with the making of guns and if, for any reason, you lose that lawsuit, you’re going to have to pay — big,” Maddow continued. “It only goes that one direction, too.”

    Was this even covered in our local news?

    • BlueCat says:

      3 guesses. One ought to do it. Disgusting.

    • Progressicat says:

      It's a gift from the oughtsHB00-1208

      Feel free to thank anyone you recognize…

      House Vote

      Senate Vote

      • Davie says:

        Thanks Pcat.  The year 2000, when the GOP controlled the legislature.  Figures.  The language of the bill specifically protecting the gun industry is pretty clear.  In fact, I'm surprised the parents were even able to bring a suit in the first place, much less cause the defendants to rack up $220,000 in legal fees.

        So I wonder who was the judge that signed off on those exorbitant fees?

        Oh, and I nearly overlooked that this bill was a reaction to the Columbine Massacre. Gotta luv those Repugs protecting their gun buddies. Kid’s lives don’t count for much, it seems.

        • Progressicat says:

          Federal District Court Judge Richard P. Matsch.

          Order here.  BTW, I had to go through a gun nut site to find that link, so don't say I never took one for the team.

          • Davie says:

            Yikes! So there is a Federal statute also giving immunity to gun manufacturers, resellers, etc. as well.  They are protected six ways to Sunday by our representatives…

            Judge Matsch certainly knows his business.  If I recall, he presided over the Timothy McVey case as well.

            But, my point was the size of the award of attorney's fees.  I guess it did get a full hearing in Federal court, so it wasn't a snap dismissal.

            Thanks for digging this up.  Sad, but while the Tobacco companies are liable for pretty much any use of their product (I think including secondhand smoke), the gunners get a free pass on the most outrageously negligent sales practices.

            • Progressicat says:

              When folks are saying "they've been ordered to pay $x" they seem to be saying that the judge said that the defendants were eligible for costs, and the submissions came in around a quarter million.  I couldn't find a final order awarding them, so the costs may still be under review or possibly on hold pending appeal.

              Here are the amounts from The Shooter's Log (trigger warning, pun intended):

              On April 10, Sportsman’s Guide asked for more than $70,000 and Lucky Gunner petitioned for more than $150,000 to be awarded jointly against Sandy and Lonnie Phillips and their lawyers. Brian Platt, owner of BTP Arms, an online retailer that sold the gunman tear gas, has also requested nearly $24,000 for attorney fees and more than $33,000 in relief.

              As for the amounts, this looks like an order from a  motion for summary judgment.  Depending on how crazy the spending was leading up this, the costs could just be on the pricey side or ridiculously punitive.

              • Davie says:

                The Maddow article did say the Phillips are appealing.  I don't see much hope for them prevailing.  The amount of attorneys fees does seem to be purely punitive, so hopefully, they will get reduced substantially, if not struck down completely.

          • mamajama55 says:

            Thanks, Pcat. I lurk on rightie sites. Discussion of the decision against Jessica Ghawi's parents included:

             The lawsuit was vindictive. The parents were probably duped into initiating the lawsuit by anti gun activists.  That did not give them the right to injure the gun manufacturer or by extension gun owners.

            We need to get this old law repealed in the next session.

            • Davie says:

              Unfortunately, we'll probably need to flip the Senate first.  I can't imagine a GOP majority helping to repeal this law.

              • BlueCat says:

                Make that we'll for sure need to flip the senate first which isn't happening before next session.

                • mamajama55 says:

                  Yes and yes. Start with Laura Woods in SD19. She's vulnerable, because she's a true Tea Party loyalist, and the more pragmatic Republicans don't see her as having the party's best interests at heart.

                  • BlueCat says:

                    I reside in, so far, less crazy Arapahoe. For a while there I had a moderate Dem Rep and a pretty center right Dem Senator. Lost the house seat, HD38 (took them a million and a half to win by a few) but still have Linda Newell for my State Senator, SD 26. My little corner of the red south burbs was among the first to start pulling a little weight for Ds.

  7. BlueCat says:

    The right has a revelation about religion's role in politics? Sorta, kinda:

    “It’s interesting how the Vatican has gotten so political when ultimately the Vatican ought to be working to lead people to Jesus Christ and salvation, and that’s what the Church is supposed to do,” said Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), a hawkish defender of Israel.


    Republicans have shown time and time again that they have no problem whatsoever with religion in politics. Now we know how particular they are about whose religion and whose politics. Catholic leaders in politics are fine as long as they're threatening to deny communion to Democrats over abortion, but let a pope talk about economic inequality and poverty and suddenly Republicans discover that they'd really prefer it if religious leaders would keep quiet and let politicians speak for them


    • FrankUnderwood says:

      One wonders what these folk will have to say about what Catholic Ireland did yesterday?

      • BlueCat says:

        While it passed by a wide margin over all, it also passed by healthy majorities in the most conservative rural areas.  The first country to add language to its constitution to make gay marriage legal nationwide, I believe. In Ireland the constitution can be tweaked by a majority vote. People were afraid (and conservatives hopeful) that "shy" conservatives would make this a close thing just as they fooled pollsters in UK in the recent elections. Guess there weren't as many "shy" voters in Ireland. The Church did oppose it, of course, but as in many countries where being Catholic is more a matter of course by tradition rather than an expression of deeply held religious convictions, that doesn't matter much anymore.

        • MapMaker says:

          Looks like the Muslims and immigrant African populations didn't help out either.

          As Little Green Footballs says:

          Man, that’s gotta be painful, when the people you’ve been smearing and demonizing as uncivilized violent savages for years are the only allies you think you have left.


          • mamajama55 says:

            MM, I included the link to LGF article  commenting on the Breitbart piece here.

            Christian right wing fundamentalists think that Muslim immigrants must be as intolerant, arrogant, and self-righteous as themselves.

            I work with many Muslim children and families. I see some of the dogma, (in a lesson on Greek Gods, I was patiently but repeatedly informed that there is only one God), but they only apply it to themselves and their own lives.

            They are humble people, grateful for the opportunity to restart their lives in America, yet proud of their own culture and religion- they may think that we're all crazy, but they don't seem to feel it is their mission to make us sane.

            As far as tolerance for gay/queer/different folks – I co-taught the  gayest science class ever. Definitely not my middle school science class. The Muslim kids were patiently tolerant of all of the same sex flirting and teasing. They didn't really participate in it, but they never lost their cool.

            And here's a question for Breitbart et al – these families are refugees from sectarian terrorists – everyone has had relatives beaten, abused, or killed by intolerant Islamists, mostly one flavor or another or ISIS/ISIL/Al Queda. Why on earth would they seek to replicate that behavior in their new lives in their new, democratic, secular countries?

            • MapMaker says:

              MJ, thanks for including the link. I should have done so in my original post.

              It's hard to make comparisons between the African and Middle Eastern immigration experiences in the UK and the US. The demographics are different. The UK has Islamic purists like Anjem Choudary, openly advocating for an Islamic state in Europe. There is, I think, a legitimate concern by those who think that Europe is abandoning free speech in favor of non-offense.

              The US has different demographics. Current African and Middle Eastern immigration is much smaller as a percentage of population.

              Of course, it's similarly difficult to keep legitimate concerns separate from xenophobia. In that way the UK and US have the same problem.

              I think a closer model to what Breitbart (and, probably, conservatives in general) expected was the behavior of some very visible black pastors who are adamantly against gay marriage yet refuse to see the parallels between it and interracial marriage.

              • notaskinnycook says:

                MM, did you know that the Defence of Marriage Act was penned by the Black Ministerial Alliance? Not many people do, but it was. Whole cloth.I wonder how many of those racially intolerant good ol' boys would be as keen for it if they were aware of its provenance?

                • BlueCat says:

                  They're happy to use wedge issues any which way they can. They were happy to use them to attract the higher than normal percentage of blacks and Hispanics that voted for Bush, helping him, along with intimidating, striking from voter rolls and denying sufficient numbers of voting machines to the rest, to get close enough to steal his first election They love it when they get something like this from black ministers because then they can say it's really libs who are racist, want blacks to stay on the lib plantation, etc. Never mind the overwhelming majority of African Americans vote against them for good reason even when they attract more than usual with this kind of thing.

                  Read recently that, in today's political world, Rs absolutely have to break 19% of the non-white vote (primarily black and Hispanic) in order to have any chance of winning a presidential. GW managed it. McCain and Romney did not.

                  As whites recede to minority (though still plurality) status, that minimum requirement will only rise. Naturally bigots are terrified of losing majority status because they know how they have always treated minorities. They'll take whatever help they can get to put off the inevitable loss of absolute dominance anywhere they can get it, including from despised minorities.

                  Kind of like how Christian fundamentalist End Timers are willing to get into bed with Jesus Killer Jews in order to keep Israel on track for their end times scenario.  Black pastors and Jewish hawks should both beware of strange bedfellows.

  8. notaskinnycook says:

    I read that piece, too.The Republican Party is fast becoming old, white and male. In other words, a candidate for the Endangered Species List that they, themselves are so contemptuous of. I think they'll be in deep cow chips in the not too distant future. The divide they're missing isn't racial, it's chronological. Young folks just aren't having much of that back-in-the good-ol'-days rubbish the Repubs keep peddling. They know what the good ol' days were like for women, minorities and the young and they don't want to see them return.

  9. Zappatero says:

    Bipartisanship, baby!


    I have always said that the only way to achieve bipartisanship in the modern era is for President Obama to enlist the Democrats to pass the conservative's agenda unchanged and without compromise. It would especially good if he could twist some liberals' arms to get it done so the Villagers would see it as legitimately mainstream.

    Even the most plainly Republican idea, once endorsed by Obama, has been fought against tooth and nail by Republicans in congress. And it's happened over and over and over with no thought of politics or policy. But now there's a policy choice big enough for R's to support and urgent enough to allow Obama and others to finally get a "bipartisan" brownie ribbon they so longingly sought:

    After clearing several tough procedural hurdles, the fast-track bill is slated to pass out of the Senate this weekend. But the House won’t take up the measure until early June, after the chamber returns from its weeklong Memorial Day recess.

    TPA specifically would give Obama the ability to send trade pacts to Congress for fast-track approval, meaning lawmakers could cast an up-or-down vote but not amend the agreement.

    Scalise’s whip team won’t disclose how many of the 245 possible GOP votes they’ve locked up so far. But one leadership ally, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), told The Hill the target is roughly 190 Republican votes and 30 Democratic votes.

    “Every week, we’re starting to move in the right direction and pick up a lot of these members we normally don’t get for big initiatives,” said a GOP aide who is familiar with the TPA whip count. “Even if there is opposition from the Tea Party/Freedom Caucus side, it has been relatively muted.”

    Part of the reason there hasn’t been more organized, vocal conservative opposition to the trade bill is because Republicans typically are big boosters of free-trade, open-market principles. So for many GOP critics, coming out against the trade legislation has been a tricky endeavor.

    “I’m a free trade guy,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a Freedom Caucus member, said before explaining that he’s still “undecided” on TPA as he works to add trade-preference language for Israel back into the bill.

    While Freedom Reps. John Fleming (R-La.) and Dave Brat (R-Va.) are firmly opposed to TPA, other members — including Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Reps. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.) — say they are “leaning no.”

    “I have supported all previous trade agreements we voted on in the House. I will support future trade agreements … but TPA is a process bill and I want to have a good grasp of the process before I would support it,” Amash told The Hill. “I am a ‘lean no’ because I don’t have enough information about the process, but I am not a firm no.”

    The split among conservatives is a good omen for Ryan and GOP leaders, who likely wouldn’t be able to move the bill if there was united Tea-Party opposition in the conference.

    Yes, many of these are the same "populist"  Tea Partyers who pretend to be antagonistic toward big business. 

    Yes, as I said, as long as the president agrees to pass a conservative agenda he will be able to claim some "bipartisan" achievements. I'm sure there will be much celebrating in Washington if he can get this one done. 

    Despite Michael Bennet's bullshit claim, and the mindless repetition of his claim by Co Pols and the Post, that he helped slow this stuff down, all he did was cast a meaningless vote on cloture while finally voting to support the overall trade process that will give us NAFTA on steroids.

    Both Obama and Bennet will thank the heavens for such a dose of bipartisanship. But when being bipartisan means agreeing with the right most Tea Partiers, when it means crapping on your base again, when it means doing what big business, the banksters and the hedge fund managers want, against obvious common sense and at a time when its necessity is quite dubious, then the basic premise of bipartisanship, and Democrats' irrational desire for it, must once again be questioned.


    • BlueCat says:

      And a Good Memorial Day to you too, Zap. Just taking a break on this nicest sunniest day in ages between enjoying being outside in the morning and early afternoon and heading back out for more. Enjoyed the Littleton 10 AM ceremonies at the WWII Memorial over by the museum with bagpipes, flyovers, old gentlemen in uniforms that still fit, kids, dogs, the whole nine yards. Never get out in time for the 8 AMs at our historic cemetery. Took a nice walk in the actual outdoors afterwards. Caught up on the yard work with my very own vet and main squeeze. Hope you're enjoying the day and trying to take a break from grumpy if you have it in you. And I bet you do.wink

    • BlueCat says:

      PS: Does this make you feel a tiny bit better? Probably not but it's the best I can do for now:

      The Senate approved a bill to "fast-track" trade agreements negotiated by the president. The agreement will prevent Congress from amending or filibustering Obama's controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. The TPP deal would have a hard time surviving without fast-track authority.

      But a key crackdown on human trafficking survived the legislative jujitsu. The White House considers the provision a deal-breaker, as it would force one of the nations involved in the TPP talks — Malaysia — out of the agreement. An immigration-related amendment authored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) never got a vote, making it far more difficult for Obama to win over skeptical tea party Republicans in the House.

      • Zappatero says:

        nope. It's the big money, corporate influence that has had everything rigged for them the last 40+ years, yet it's still not good enough. Our boy is going along to get along and I don't think he'll ever have the notion, let alone propose or attempt to convince anyone, even one of his Wesleyan pals in private, that enough is really enough.

        Why are Obama and Tea Partiers suddenly on the same side on such a free trade, corporate power, foreign labor type issue?

        • BlueCat says:

          As long as you feel pretty much exactly the same way about Obama as you do about Bennet then your position is perfectly reasonable since there's not a dime's worth of difference between them on these issues. Do you?

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Sounds like Zappatero will be ready to back Mike Coffman for US Senate next year instead of Michael Bennet. 

      And yes, Blue Cat, it was a wonderful day to get out of town and up to Evergreen for a 10 mile hike; no rain and almost no snow left. Didn’t even think to get out the gaiters and micro-spikes.

      • BlueCat says:

        Hope you had a great time. Amazing how good a really nice day feels after all this time. Think I could even be nice to modster. Hope the first week of June is nice too because we have hikes scheduled with visitors from out of town. I think we all need at least a little vacation from  bitching about everything. Yes, there is life outside politics and away from screens! And it's pretty good.

  10. mamajama55 says:

    Not a spoof. Not safe for work. Surprised? Shocked?, but I bet that his wife is just nodding her head. Nope. There's a reason why Teddy's uncomfortable south of the border.

    What Rafael Ted Cruz does not know about female anatomy can hurt you.

    Ladies and gentleman, this is historic, not to mention hysterical. We will always remember Bush's running into the door, Marco Rubio grabbing the water bottle, Michele Bachman staring off-camera. This is Ted Cruz's meme moment.


    • mamajama55 says:

      Yeahh….., it was a spoof. He was pointing at a rifle in the original pic. Too bad. I t will forever be his meme moment, anyway.

      Go liberal media, go!

      • notaskinnycook says:

        Yeah, but it's gained traction because it is so thoroughly believable. He strikes one as the sort who not only doesn't know but, frankly doesn't care.

        • BlueCat says:

          Unless stuff like this is clearly identified as parody, as with the Onion, etc., I think it just makes all the libs sharing it without checking look like their crazy conservative uncle counterparts. No thanks. There is so much that doesn't require the slightest fictionalization to use against Cruz et al I really don't see the point anyway. Is giving ammo to the rightie Johnny Does It Too crowd to use when libs get in a huff over conservatives spreading nonsense really worth a few smug chuckles? Not IMHO.

          • mamajama55 says:

            I should have checked the spoofiness before posting. Got to that edit button a few seconds too late. But, I didn't post the photoshopped picture, and I did acknowledge it as a spoof. And, sorry, but Johnny does do it too.  We're all playing dirty politics now. Check out " The Blueprint" sometime. Some pretty slimy tactics in there, which helped turn Colorado blue.

            And the "Cruz don't know clit" meme will haunt him forever. That's OK with me, because his plans for policy will hurt the American people forever, if he gets his way, regardless of whether he somehow becomes the Republican nominee.

            And it was freaking hilarious, so worth it, IMHO.

            • BlueCat says:

              Actually our side has a much better record of fact checking. Contrast anyone on Fox with Rachel Maddow for starters. Contrast e-mails from progressive sources with those citing rightie sites for accuracy. In terms of "following" it will have zero effect on how anyone perceives him, pro or con. Glad you're so enjoying it and found it so hilarious and worth it, though. I found it merely mildly amusing but different strokes and all that. Enjoy.

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