Follow That Cow

It’s never ceases to amaze just how stupid some politicians are. Not does it never cease to amaze when the consequences of their actions backfires. Prime example would be Republican California Representative Devin Nunes, he of the midnight run to the White House to prove “no collusion,” who filed $250 million lawsuit against Twitter, specifically a Republican strategist, and two parody Twitter accounts, one purporting to be Nunes’s mother, the other purporting to be Nunes’s cow. While the parody account of his mother has been suspended, @DevinCow now has over half a million followers, more than the congressman. The Stars Hollow Gazette is 527,150.

The creator of @NunesMom worked around the suspension creating a new account Devin Nunes’ Alt-Mom @NuneAlt, re-posting a screenshot of an deleted tweet that had a “helpful diagram” to explain Nunes’ relationship with Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

There are now numerous other parody account, such as, Devin Nunes’ Thin Skin @DevinSkin, which needs to get thicker, and this list:

@devin_farm, @NunesSideCow, @NunesDad, @DevinNunesDog, @DevinsMomsCow, @DevinNunesMouth, @LeftDevin, @DMomcow, @DFleas, @NunesTears, @SdadCow, @DevinGerbil, and @LawyerNunes

That family reunion should be fun.

Pundits are calling the lawsuit “bonkers” and “ridiculous” particularly given Nunes’s co-sponsorship of a bill called the Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act. Last night Seth Meyers, host of NBC’s “Late Night.” took a closer look at Nunes’ lawsuit.

Joan Coaston at Vox.com explained some of the reasoning behind the 40 page lawsuit:

Nunes’s complaint is part and parcel with wider efforts to clamp down on Twitter itself. In short, Nunes argues in his lawsuit that Twitter is a content creator and thus Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (which states that Twitter doesn’t have to determine what’s defamatory and what’s not and basically prevents a massive speech crackdown) shouldn’t apply to the social media giant. [..]

In effect, Nunes wants to force Twitter into regulating speech that is mean to Nunes and other conservatives. And as Jeet Heer wrote at Talking Points Memo on Tuesday, just the expense of fighting a lawsuit like this one can be incredibly damaging, let alone any resulting ruling. [..]

So yes, Nunes is drawing more attention to @Devincow. But he’s also sending a message: Some conservatives do in fact want more regulations stemming from the federal government, provided those regulations are aimed squarely at so-called “left-leaning” social media platforms

One other point that Nunes seems to have missed, courts have ruled that under the First Amendment public figures can be parodied and ridiculed. Here’s hoping a judge will dismiss this frivolous lawsuit and teach Nunes a lesson by making him pay for everyone’s court costs.

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

levitra professional overnight delivery Thom Hartmann: Here’s what Republicans and billionaires really mean when they talk about ‘freedom’

America is having a heated debate about the meaning of the word socialism. We’d be better served if, instead, we were debating the meaning of freedom.

The Oregonian reported last week that fully 156,000 families are on the edge of homelessness in our small-population state. Every one of those households is now paying more than 50 percent of its monthly income on rent, and none of them has any savings; one medical bill, major car repair or job loss, and they’re on the streets.

While socialism may or may not solve their problem, the more pressing issue we have is an entire political party and a huge sector of the billionaire class who see homelessness not as a problem, but as a symptom of a “free” society.

The words freedom and liberty are iconic in American culture—probably more so than with any other nation because they’re so intrinsic to the literature, declarations and slogans of our nation’s founding.

The irony—of the nation founded on the world’s greatest known genocide (the systematic state murder of tens of millions of Native Americans) and over three centuries of legalized slavery and a century and a half of oppression and exploitation of the descendants of those slaves—is extraordinary. It presses us all to bring true freedom and liberty to all Americans.

But what do those words mean?

Paul Krugman: Holy Voodoo, Batman!

Superheroes, arsenic, and Trump economics.

The 2019 Economic Report of the President is out, and everyone is having fun with the bit at the end that acknowledges the help of student interns – a list that includes Peter Parker, Aunt May, Bruce Wayne, and Jabba the Hutt:

The White House is passing this off as a deliberate joke. More likely, someone slipped superheroes in to see whether anyone in charge was actually paying attention, and proved that they weren’t.

But the bigger news from the report involves the supposed economic payoffs from the Trump tax cut. Even the White House now acknowledges that the tax cut won’t do all they said it would – their wildly optimistic economic projections depend on the claimed payoff to other economic policies that they themselves haven’t specified. So tax cuts will do wonders for growth, as long as you do a bunch of other stuff, details to come later.

This puts me in mind of what Voltaire said about witchcraft: “It is unquestionable that certain words and ceremonies will effectually destroy a flock of sheep, if administered with a sufficient portion of arsenic.”

But beyond that, even the claimed positive effects of the tax cut itself are things we can already see aren’t happening.

Continue reading

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2019: Round of 64 Day 1- Afternoon

Work, work, work.

More to do on tomorrow, Day 2, Women’s Day 1.

Then, it gets exactly twice as busy.

Do I have favorites? Some. Well, Michigan State. The rest I could care less about except for the ones I hate.

And it’s a bit early to get in to that.

 

Time Network Seed School Record Seed School Record Region
12:15 pm CBS 7 Louisville 20 – 13 10 Minnesota 21 – 13 East
12:40 pm truTV 3 LSU 26 – 6 14 Yale 22 – 7 East
1:30 pm TNT 5 Auburn 26 – 9 12 New Mexico St. 30 – 4 Midwest
2:00 pm TBS 4 Florida State 27 – 7 13 Vermont 27 – 6 West
2:45 pm CBS 2 Mich. St. 28 – 6 15 Bradley 20 – 14 East
3:10 pm truTV 6 Maryland 22 – 10 11 Belmont 26 – 5 East
4:00 pm TNT 4 Kansas 25 – 9 13 Northeastern 23 – 10 Midwest
4:30 pm TBS 5 Marquette 24 – 9 12 Murray State 27 – 4 West

Cartnoon

Unedited Footage of a Bear

The Breakfast Club (Luck)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

Dr. Martlin Luther King, Jr. begins march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama; the Sharkville massacre in South Africa occurs; Wrongly incarcerated Randall Dale Adams is released from prison; Musician Johann Bach born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

I believe in luck: how else can you explain the success of those you dislike?

Jean Cocteau

Continue reading

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2019: Play Ins Day 2

Tonight I have a slight favorite, the Johnnies. They had a pretty good year for them and after years and years of exile to the NIT it’s kind of nice to see them back in the big dance.

Time Network Seed School Record Seed School Record Region
6:40 pm truTV 16 North Dakota St. 18 – 15 16 N.C. Central 18 – 15 East
9:10 pm truTV 11 Arizona St. 22 – 10 11 St. John’s 21 – 12 West

The Spring Equinox of the Full Worm Moon

Spring is upon us at 5:58 PM ET when the sun crosses the equator heading north to the Tropic of Cancer, the most northerly circle of latitude on Earth at which the Sun can be directly overhead. This year the Vernal Equinox coincides with the last Super Moon of 2019.

The moon will reach its closest point to Earth — what’s known as lunar perigee — on Tuesday at 3:47 p.m. ET, but the moon won’t be completely full until Wednesday at 9:43 p.m. ET. The moon is usually about 240,000 miles away from Earth, but at perigee this month, it will come within about 223,300 miles of our planet, according to NASA.

Native Americans call it the Worm Moon because according to folklore tradition, it occurs at a time when the frosty ground is melting and earthworms start to emerge. A sure sign is the return of the Robin. It’s also called the Sap Moon signaling the start of sap flowing in the trees and the start of the annual tapping of maple trees.

 

Equinox literally means “equal night.” And during the equinox, most places on Earth will see approximately 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night.
But not every place will experience the exact same amount of daylight. For instance, on Wednesday, Fairbanks, Alaska, will see 12 hours and 15 minutes of daylight. Key West, Florida, will see 12 hours and six minutes. The differences are due to how the sunlight gets refracted (bent) as it enters Earth’s atmosphere at different latitudes.
That daylight is longer than 12 hours on the equinox is also due to how we commonly measure the length of a day: from the first hint of the sun peeking over the horizon in the morning to the very last glimpse of it before it falls below the horizon in the evening. Because the sun takes some time to rise and set, it adds some extra daylight minutes.
Check out TimeAndDate.com to see how many hours of sunlight you’ll get during the equinox. [..]
Perhaps you were told as a child that on the equinox, it’s easier to balance an egg vertically on a flat surface than on other days of the year.
The practice originated in China as a tradition on the first day of spring in the Chinese lunar calendar in early February. According to the South China Morning Post, “The theory goes that at this time of year the moon and earth are in exactly the right alignment, the celestial bodies generating the perfect balance of forces needed to make it possible.”
This is a myth. The amount of sunlight we get during the day has no power over the gravitational pull of the Earth or our abilities to balance things upon it. You can balance an egg on its end any day of the year (if you’re good at balancing things). [..]
I once stood an egg on the dining room table and left it there. One of my cats, Mom Cat, sat staring at it for quite some time. After several minutes, she very gently reached out with one paw and tapped it. It rolled off the table and smashed on the floor before I could reach it. As I cleaned up the mess, Mom Cat sat on the edge of the table watching, as if to say, “yes, gravity still works.”
During the winter and summer solstices, crowds flock to Stonehenge in the United Kingdom. During the solstices, the sun either rises or sets in line with the layout of the 5,000-year-old-monument. And while some visit Stonehenge for the spring equinox too, the real place to be is in Mexico.
That’s because on the equinox, the pyramid at Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula puts on a wondrous show. Built by the Mayans around 1,000 years ago, the pyramid is designed to cast a shadow on the equinox outlining the body of Kukulkan, a feathered snake god. A serpent-head statue is located at the bottom of the pyramid, and as the sun sets on the day of the equinox, the sunlight and shadow show the body of the serpent joining with the head.

 
If only winter would end like this:

So break out the new brooms, rakes, shovels; check out the local garden center for bedding plants and start unearthing last years Spring and Summer clothes; it’s Spring.

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Elijah Cummings: The White House hasn’t turned over a single piece of paper to my committee

In November, the American people voted overwhelmingly to put Democrats in charge of the House of Representatives to start serving as a truly independent check and balance on the executive branch. Since then, President Trump and his allies have complained of “Presidential Harassment,” decrying Democrats for having the audacity to request documents and witnesses to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities.

The problem is that the White House is engaged in an unprecedented level of stonewalling, delay and obstruction.

I serve as chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, the primary investigative body in the House of Representatives. I have sent 12 letters to the White House on a half-dozen topics — some routine and some relating to our core national security interests. In response, the White House has refused to hand over any documents or produce any witnesses for interviews.

Let me underscore that point: The White House has not turned over a single piece of paper to our committee or made a single official available for testimony during the 116th Congress. [..]

President Trump’s actions violate our Constitution’s fundamental principle of checks and balances. If our committee must resort to issuing subpoenas, there should be no doubt about why. This has nothing to do with presidential harassment and everything to do with unprecedented obstruction.

Jim Hightower: Trump has sold out the farmers that voted for him — and now they’re racing toward calamity

As a farmer told me, “You can still make a small fortune in agriculture, but the problem is you have to start with a large fortune.”

Farmers tend to be optimistic pessimists. They know the odds are against them — the bankers, bugs, monopolists, violent weather and sorry politicians. Yet, they keep at it as long as they can; working long and hard hours, enduring arduous conditions and tremendous stress to nurture the seeds that bring us an abundance of foods. But sometimes, the odds bunch up. Coping with natural disasters is to be expected. It’s the unnatural disasters of rigged economic policies, Wall Street greed and unrestrained corporate profiteering that slam the door on good, efficient family farmers, making it impossible for them to keep producing. [..]

Indeed, a central cause of the spreading farm depression is the increasing monopolization of all the things farmers must buy (from seeds to machinery) and of the markets that buy from them. The big four biotech ag giants, for example, control 63 percent of all commercial seeds sold in the world; four meat processors control 84 percent of the U.S. beef market; and four global traders control up to 90 percent of the world’s grain sales. Our farmers and their families are hurting, but so far, our leaders, including the president, aren’t helping them.

Continue reading

Brexit: How’s That Working Out For You?

The U.S. Senate and House operate under their own arcane sets of Rules that are ratified at the beginning of every Congress (not that they can’t be changed by a simple majority), the British Parliament has customs and procedures. Ours were the basis of Robert’s Rules of Order but as Henry Martyn Robert was primarily interested in non-legislative meetings they’re not identical. In Britain they are codified in a ponderous tome (1097 pages!) called Erskine May and it is, as far as it goes, “official”.

Now the UK doesn’t have a written (meaning organized) Constitution but instead a hodgepodge of Law and Royal proclamations accumulated since the Magna Carta Libertatum in 1215. In 1844 Thomas Erskine May put together his compendium of the mechanics of Parliament which is sometimes followed and sometimes not because the only “real” rule is Majority of the Members of Parliament.

Thus it was not unreasonable for Theresa May to expect that she could get a 3rd (or 4th or 5th) vote on her Brexit Plan that has been crushingly defeated twice.

The political calculation was the impending prospect of a “No Deal” Brexit would scare the Soft Brexit/Remain Members and the threat of a solution that would involve closer ties to the EU would scare the Hard Brexiteers into supporting her.

In Britain they also have a Speaker of the House but mostly they just preside and exercise little or no power. John Bercow (a Tory mind you) is different.

Just as in the United States the Speaker has control of the agenda and on Monday he announced that, because of a 1604 legal precedent, he was not going to allow the Bill to be debated unless it was substantially different (no just re-titling it and slapping on a new date).

There’s a nice explainer by Adam Taylor in the Washington Post.

May has decided she can’t contest the Speaker’s ruling (Majority of Members you know) and has now decided the only alternative (because a solid Majority of Parliament has already voted against a “No Deal” Brexit) is to petition the EU for more time.

I’ll let The New York Times carry on from there.

May Requests Brexit Delay From E.U. as U.K. Government Remains in Crisis
By Stephen Castle, The New York Times
March 20, 2019

In a letter to European Union leaders, Mrs. May asked for an extension to the Article 50 negotiating process until June 30, raising the prospect that Britain could still suffer a disorderly departure in the summer. Reflecting that possibility, the British pound dropped on the news.

The prospect of any delay to Brexit, as Britain’s departure from the bloc is known, is a broad and humiliating reversal for Mrs. May. It is sure to infuriate many members of her Conservative Party, most of whom support leaving the European Union with no deal if necessary, and to reaffirm the cynicism, rampant among many of the 17.4 million Britons who voted to leave, that the elites in London would never let them have their way.

Her decision was sharply criticized by the opposition Labour Party and by some of her own lawmakers.

“Theresa May is desperate once again to impose a binary choice between her deal and no deal despite Parliament clearly ruling out both of those options last week,” the shadow secretary for Brexit, Keir Starmer, said in a statement. “What the government should be doing is showing real leadership, making good on their commitment to break the deadlock and secure an extension with a genuine purpose.”

Limiting the request to a short delay is the latest in a series of political gyrations from Mrs. May. Last week she said that, if Parliament failed to vote swiftly for her plans — which have been rejected twice — then Britain would face a lengthy delay and have to take part in European elections in May.

It was that prospect that triggered a rebellion from Brexit supporters in her cabinet on Tuesday — and reports of resignation threats — that appear to have prompted another retreat. “As prime minister, I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than 30 June,” Mrs. May told lawmakers, prompting some speculation that she might resign if Parliament tried to force a longer extension.

A short delay will keep alive hopes among hard-line Brexit supporters in Parliament, who want to leave without any agreement, and they will be under little pressure now to approve Mrs. May’s deal.

Though the political paralysis over Brexit is in Parliament, the decision on whether to grant the delay lies with the European Union, whose leaders had been expected to agree to some sort of extra time when they gather in Brussels on Thursday. But that could now be in doubt.

Speaking to the German radio station Deutschlandfunk on Wednesday, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said that any decision by the European Union might have to be postponed until the end of next week, after fresh votes in Parliament. That could be on the eve of Britain’s departure, scheduled for March 29.

An extension could come with conditions, and European leaders stressed on Tuesday that they want to see some form of strategy in place to resolve the crisis. They worry that three months is not sufficient for Mrs. May to achieve success, and that she will be back to request another delay in the summer. That would be hard for them to accommodate for legal reasons, because Britain would not have participated in European elections.

Mrs. May, nothing if not stubborn, is not giving up on her unpopular blueprint for Brexit. Indeed, she excels at buying more time, and a delay would give her at least a couple of more weeks to resolve the crisis.

Like most everything else with Brexit, the process of requesting and granting an extension is no simple matter, which helps explain why it created such bitter divisions in the cabinet on Tuesday.

For legal reasons, a delay beyond the end of June would be likely to require Britain to participate in elections to the next European Parliament, making a mockery of British plans to leave the bloc.

But as another legal matter, a decision on whether to stage the elections — and effectively to go for a longer delay — must be made during the second week of April. The Brexiteers want to use the upcoming European elections as a sort of backstop, to borrow a phrase, to force Britain to leave, since it would be legally problematic to remain in the bloc without representatives in the European Parliament.

If a long delay would be awkward for Britain, it is not straightforward for the European Union either. It would mean the British enjoy the full rights of membership despite their efforts to leave the club

In that event, European officials are concerned that Britain might try to use its power to paralyze the bloc’s other business as leverage to extract more concessions on its exit deal.

You know, just the kind of thing the 1604 rule was meant to prevent. From the Post

In his statement, Bercow suggested there had been past instances of the speaker of the House of Commons applying this rule, “notably in 1864, 1870, 1882, 1891 and 1912.” However, he said the initial precedent dated to April 2, 1604, when it was put into practice by Parliament during the speakership of Sir Edward Phelips.

The context for this rule is interesting. This was a complicated time in British political history — King James VI of Scotland had become James I of England and Ireland with the union of the Scottish and English crowns the year earlier. Josh Chafetz, a professor at Cornell Law School who has written about this moment in legal history, says the English Parliament was suspicious of the newly powerful Scottish royal and sought to codify its powers.

Phelips was viewed as close to the monarchy, Chafetz wrote on Twitter, so the 1604 decision “both forestalls the sort of dilatory tactics that keep the House from turning to other business and also makes it harder for the Crown to keep bullying members until they vote the way that it wants.”

The next year, incidentally, a group of dissident Catholics would try to blow up Parliament and kill James. The infamous Gunpowder Plot failed, and the perpetrators who survived, including Guy Fawkes, were sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Phelips was involved in the legal case against the plotters.

Remember, remember the fifth of November
The gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

What will happen? As Atrios puts it-

From what I can tell from skimming the news… May wants to delay until June 30. The EU is saying “suck it, no” you only get until May 23. Macron is making noises about no delay without some more meaningful purpose behind it. May either will or won’t resign if she does not get her way on some unspecified thing.

Brexitpalooza indeed.

Cartnoon

The Big Stink

Stay Just A Little Bit Longer

So much for that “period of unemployment:”

A Justice Department official declined to comment on whether the delay in Rosenstein’s departure means Mueller is still not ready to deliver his report.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will stay at the Justice Department “a little longer,” according to a senior department official.

Rosenstein had previously said he would leave in mid-March, noting during a public appearance on March 7 that it would be one of his final speeches.

Rosenstein recently discussed his upcoming planned departure with Attorney General William Barr, after which it was decided that he would stay on a little longer, the official said.

The departure of Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller in 2017 and oversaw his Russia investigation until Barr was confirmed as attorney general earlier this year, was widely thought to be tied to the completion of Mueller’s report. Many speculated Rosenstein would stay on until Mueller completed his investigation and delivered a report on his findings to Barr.

The Breakfast Club (Reinforcement)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

American and British forces invade Iraq; U.S. soldiers charged in Abu Ghraib scandal; France’s Napoleon regains power; ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’; Sarin attack hits Tokyo subway; John Lennon marries Yoko Ono.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount.

B. F. Skinner

Continue reading

Load more