Friday, May 31, 2013

Schlafly To GOP: Ignore Hispanics, Reach Out To Whites

Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum doesn't share the Republicans' concern about the Hispanic vote, stating, “There is not any evidence at all that the Hispanics coming in from Mexico will vote Republican.” Instead, she advises the GOP to reach out to whites who didn't vote in the last election. Listen to Schlafly offer advice that completely ignores the demographic threat to the GOP:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dan Savage: Anti-Gay Religious Right Is Also Anti-Straight

Dan Savage points out that the anti-gay religious right also has an anti-straight agenda in terms of birth control, abortion, divorce and premarital sex. Savage regards the Family Research Council and the American Family Association as the “American Taliban” and warns straight people, “They’re not just the enemies of the queers. They’re your enemies too.” Listen:

(h/t: Best of the Left Podcast)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Nurses Explain The Healthcare Law In 90 Seconds

In the following video, Nurses from SEIU explain the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, in 90 seconds. Remember that these are the benefits that the Republicans have tried to repeal 37 times. Watch:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sexual Harassment At Fox? You Decide

Media Matters for America has put together a video compilation of rampant sexism at Fox News with the comment, "Imagine if conservative media figures made a sexual harassment training video. They'd have plenty of material to choose from." The station's male hosts are shown making demeaning and juvenile comments directly to women. How the female hosts put up with this behavior is also baffling. Watch:

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Daily Show Exposes Right Wing Radio Host's Hypocrisy On Profiling

In a Daily Show segment, Jason Jones exposes the hypocrisy of right-wing radio host Wayne Allen Root, who is outraged over IRS political profiling of conservatives but fully supports racial profiling of minorities. Watch Root's awkward response when Jones brings in an African-American male, a Muslim-American woman and a Dominican-American male to discuss their experiences with profiling:

Dole: He, Reagan, Nixon Couldn't Make It In Today's GOP

Speaking to Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace, former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) said that he doubts that he, Reagan and Nixon could make it in today's Republican Party. He referred to himself as a "mainstream conservative Republican" and said that "Nixon couldn’t have made it because he had ideas." Dole also said that the filibuster is being abused and that the GOP should be "closed for repairs" until it develops a positive agenda. Watch:

WALLACE: What do you think of your party, the Republicans today?
DOLE: I think they ought to put a sign on the national committee doors that says “closed for repairs” until New Year’s Day next year — and spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas.
WALLACE: You describe the GOP of your generation as Eisenhower Republicans, moderate Republicans. Could people like Bob Dole, even Ronald Reagan — could you make it in today’s Republican Party.
DOLE: I doubt it. Reagan couldn’t have made it. Certainly Nixon couldn’t have made it, cause he had ideas. We might have made it, but I doubt it.
WALLACE: Too moderate, too willing to compromise?
DOLE: I just consider myself a Republican, not all this hyphenated stuff. I was a mainstream conservative Republican, most people are in that category.

Beck: CNN Set Up Interview With Atheist Tornado Survivor

CNN's Wolf Blitzer bizarrely asked a woman whether she thanked the Lord after escaping the Oklahoma tornado. The woman answered that she was actually an atheist. Glenn Beck then expressed a characteristically bizarre conspiracy theory that Blitzer was fed information about the guest and questions by a CNN producer who is "sympathetic to the atheists' plight" or "doesn't like Christians" and wants to point out that there are atheists in the American heartland. Beck said, "We are fighting the forces of spiritual darkness and it doesn't matter what people's intent are, but I will tell you that that was there for a reason." Watch:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Matt Rothschild: New Carbon Dioxide Level Is Disastrous

Matt Rothschild, editor of The Progressive, comments on news that that level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached 400 parts per million, the highest in millions of years, and anticipates the environmental disasters to come. Regardless, oil and mining companies resist regulations while Congress and world leaders dither. Listen:

(h/t: Best of the Left Podcast)

"God Made Dad & Mom": New Anti-Gay Children's Book

How is homophobia passed from one generation to the next? Through the malicious concepts peddled in the supposedly warm-and-fuzzy children's picture book, "God Made Dad & Mom," by Amber Dee Parker. In the book, young Michael visits the zoo with his father and is told, according to the publisher's description, "animal families consist of a male, a female, and their offspring." When Michael asks about a friend who has two dads, his father responds that "he needs to pray for his friend and his friend’s two fathers." In other words, LGBT families are "sinful" and should not exist. Watch as the author states that her "great book," endorsed by the American Family Association, “can be used as a tool by grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters to give to the next generation in teaching them and educating them of God’s plan for families between one mother and one father”:

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Remembering Ray Manzarek

The keyboard of Ray Manzarek (1939-2013), who passed away on Monday, was as defining a sound for The Doors as the vocals of Jim Morrison. As depicted in Oliver Stone's movie "The Doors" (1991), Manzarek met Morrison by chance on the beach in Los Angeles, and the two decided to form a band. Manzarek played both the bass and organ lines, as shown in the following from "Light My Fire." Watch Manzarek perform a passage from the most famous and mesmerizing organ solo in rock:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Liberal Curmudgeon Takes A Two-Week Hiatus

Valued Readers:

During this and the following weekend, my wife and I will celebrate our daughters’ graduations from college and law school. (In that regard, my last post on student loans is quite relevant.) This is a happy yet busy time for our family, and I’ve decided to take a break from the blog during this period. I’ll be back on Saturday, May 25, with more posts. See you then!

Jeff, aka The Liberal Curmudgeon

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sen. Warren: Students Should Get Same Discount Loan Rate As Big Banks

The federal student loan interest rate is set to double by July 1 from 3.4% to 6.8%. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced her Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act to reduce the rate students pay on federally subsidized loans for one year while giving Congress a chance to resolve rising student debt. Warren decried the fact that "...the federal government is going to charge students interest rates that are nine times higher than the rates for the biggest banks–the same banks that destroyed millions of jobs and nearly broke this economy." She called on the Federal Reserve to give students a loan, through the Department of Education, at the same discount 0.75% interest rate that a big bank would get. Watch Warren deliver her statement:

You can also read the transcript of Warren's speech.

Report: More US Babies Die On First Day Than In 68 Countries

A recent UNICEF study ranked the United States 34th out of 35 developed countries in terms of child poverty. Now a Save the Children report finds that more U.S. babies die on their first day than in 68 other countries. In addition, more die on their first day than in any other industrialized country. This certainly casts doubt on the conservative argument that we have "the best health care in the world." Save the Children states that politics and culture contribute to this poor record:

The U.S. is a worse place for newborns than 68 other countries, including Egypt, Turkey and Peru, according to a report released Tuesday by Save the Children.

...[From the report:] “The United States has the highest first-day death rate in the industrialized world. An estimated 11,300 newborn babies die each year in the United States on the day they are born. This is 50 percent more first-day deaths than all other industrialized countries combined.”

...Save the Children says it’s not precisely clear why the United States does so poorly in protecting newborns, but says politics and culture both play a role.

...“Poverty, racism and stress are likely to be important contributing factors to first-day deaths in the United States and other industrialized countries.”

...“High-quality care before, during and after pregnancy (including home visits by nurses or community health workers if appropriate) and access to the appropriate level of care at the time of delivery can result in healthier mothers giving birth to healthier babies,” the report says. Such home visits are common in Europe, but very unusual in the United States.

The report also strongly links a country’s politics to its newborn death rate. “Women hold only 18 percent of seats in the United States Congress,” the report says. “Sixteen countries have more than double this percentage of seats occupied by women. In Finland and Sweden, for example, women hold 43 and 45 percent of parliamentary seats, respectively.”

Finland and Sweden have the lowest rates of newborn deaths in the world.

Image: Mother with a newborn baby in Ethiopia, NBC News.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

NRA Ends Convention Pushing Guns On Kids At "Youth Day"

The NRA ended its convention in Houston on Sunday with "Youth Day," in which young kids were enticed to fire airsoft guns and offered free six-month memberships. One 9-year-old taking part in what the NRA billed as a family-fun outing  said, "I like guns because guns are fun":

...Some of the attendees were the age of the Newtown massacre victims, others too young to know the difference between a toy gun and a real one.

“Spend the day exploring 400,000 square feet of exhibit hall containing over 550 exhibitors from across the country. Share the excitement with spectacular displays and fun-filled events for the entire family,” the NRA wrote on its website.

The event was staged a day after the NRA welcomed its youngest lifetime member, 3-year-old Elaih Wagan, whose grandfather purchased the membership.

...In the convention center, pint-sized gun enthusiasts, some taught about the Second Amendment before they learned to read, perused the latest makes and models of firearms.

...The convention floor was packed with little girls and boys with guns in their hands.

One blond girl in camouflage tights and pink skirt, who appeared to be about 7, gripped an air pistol as an instructor gave her tips on her aim.

Another young girl, with help from an adult, practiced aiming a rifle nearly as tall as she was. It was only an air gun that shoots pellets, but was made to look like an menacing AR-15 assault rifle — similar to one used by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook.

Image: A child holding up an assault rifle that's almost bigger than him. David Handschuh, New York Daily News

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Robertson: Gays Can Change Just Like Murderers And Rapists

We're now witnessing the legalization of marriage equality in a series of states, the latest being Rhode IslandDelaware and, quite possibly, Minnesota. We can contrast this positive change with the "change" espoused by Pat Robertson. Referring to a case in Ecuador where a politician violated that country's electoral code ban on discrimination with anti-gay remarks, Robertson said that gays can "change their sexual preference" just like murderers, rapists and thieves can change. As the religious right realizes that they're fighting a losing battle against marriage equality, expect them to ratchet up the hatred and looniness in their rhetoric. Watch Robertson as a case in point:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rhode Island Becomes 10th State To Legalize Marriage Equality

Congratulations to Rhode Island, which became the 10th state to legalize marriage equality this past Thursday. Just before the House vote, Rep. Frank Ferri (D) advocated for the bill, which passed 56-15. Governor Lincoln Chafee (I) then signed it during a joyous ceremony on the steps of the State House. The governor praised the legislation as exemplifying the national and state ideals of liberty. Watch:

New NRA President Calls Obama "Fake," Civil War "War Of Northern Aggression"

Meet Jim Porter, the new NRA president. Speaking to gun enthusiasts in upstate New York last summer, Porter, a lawyer from Birmingham, Alabama, referred to the Civil War as the "War of Northern Aggression," counted among the NRA's purposes the readiness "to fight tyranny" and called Obama a "fake president" and Attorney General Eric Holder "rabidly anti-gun, rabidly un-American." Watch:

Republicans Plan 37th Obamacare Repeal Vote

This must be the Republicans' version of doing the people's business. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (left) announced that, once again, the GOP will soon vote on repealing Obamacare. What happened to their supposed emphasis on jobs? Instead, they're conducting more wasteful political theater to excite their base–and give their freshmen the chance to take part in this futile ritual:

House Republicans are planning what is likely to be the 37th symbolic vote to repeal Obamacare, according to a memo sent out to House Republicans Friday by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

"While we have not locked in the timing, I expect that the House will vote on full repeal of ObamaCare in the near future," Cantor said in the memo.

The House voted 36 times to repeal Obamacare in 2011 and 2012, according to TPM. None of the measures passed the Democratic-controlled Senate, let alone reached the president for his signature.

In April at the Heritage Foundation, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) explained the rationale for holding a repeal vote again. "If you're a freshman, the guys who've been up here the last year -- we can go home and say, 'Listen, we voted 36 different times to repeal or replace Obamacare.' -- tell me what the new guys are supposed to say," he said. "We haven't had a repeal or replace vote this year."

Andy Borowitz: "NRA Leader Warns Of The Rising Cost Of Senators"

Andy Borowitz writes in The New Yorker that Wayne LaPierre, NRA CEO, warned at a convention about "the rising cost of senators" to do the group's bidding against "the wishes of ninety percent of the American people"–a reference to percentage that favors universal background checks, which the Senate failed to pass. Through the following satirical piece, Borowitz points out the corruption of our political system, in which politicians are bribed–under the rubric of "contributions"–to favor special interests such as the mass murder lobby, the NRA:

HOUSTON (The Borowitz Report)—National Rifle Association C.E.O. Wayne LaPierre used his opening speech at the N.R.A.’s national convention today to highlight several challenges facing the organization, including what he called “the rising cost of Senators.”

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen the price of purchasing a Senator surge astronomically,” he told the N.R.A. faithful. “Unless something is done to make Senators more affordable, the ability of a tiny lobbying group to overrule the wishes of ninety per cent of the American people will be in jeopardy.”

The days are over, he said, when “you could buy a Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) for little more than pocket change.”

“Now it costs thousands to purchase a marginally effective Senator like Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.),” he said.

Mr. LaPierre was followed at the podium by the former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, the rock musician Ted Nugent, and several other people who would not pass background checks.

Occupy The Pipeline Video Protests Fracked Gas In NYC

A gas pipeline exploded in San Bruno, California, in September 2010, killing eight people and destroying 38 homes. Now Spectra Energy, a company with a poor safety record, is nearing completion of its high-pressure gas pipeline for Manhattan's West Village. It will deliver 800 million barrels a day of hydrofracked gas, with the risk of explosions and carcinogenic radon exposure in this densely populated neighborhood. Occupy The Pipeline produced the following video warning of the risks and ways to respond:

See Upworthy for other activist responses, including funding the legal fight.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Saturday Night At The Liberal Curmudgeon: Tosh & Jagger

Peter Tosh and Mick Jagger sang "Don't Look Back" on Saturday Night Live, December 16, 1978. The song, written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White of the Miracles, was recorded by The Temptations in 1965.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

GOP Mocks Obama Using Photo Of Him Comforting Sandy Hook Mom

The Republican National Committee produced a fundraising video ridiculing President Obama for his "string of defeats in Congress," according to a voiceover, during the first 100 days of his second term. To brag about the defeat of gun regulations, including universal background checks favored by 90 percent of the country, the video features the image above of the president comforting a woman in the White House Rose Garden. Who is this woman? She's Nicole Hockley, grieving mother of 6-year-old Newtown shooting victim Dylan Hockley.

Stay classy, Republicans. We see how well your rebranding effort is going. May it all come back to haunt you in 2014.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Larry Flynt Endorses "Sex Pioneer" Mark Sanford

Hustler publisher Larry Flynt has endorsed former South Carolina Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, who is running in a Congressional race against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of Stephen Colbert. Flynt called Sanford, who abandoned his duties in 2009 for a rendezvous with his mistress, “America’s great sex pioneer,” praised him for exposing the “sexual hypocrisy of traditional values in America today,” contributed $2,600 and offered to meet him for a photo opportunity. Watch Flynt's endorsement:

FLYNT: I am endorsing Mark Sanford for U.S. Congress because no one has done more to expose the sexual hypocrisy of traditional values in America today. Mark Sanford has demonstrated by his words and deeds that traditional values are shameful and that he will not live by such rules. His open embrace of his mistress in the name of love, breaking his sacred marriage vows, was an act of bravery that has drawn my support. My endorsement has not been an easy decision for me. Even though Mark Sanford has emerged as a sexual leader, he is a liar. He lied to his family. He lied to his wife. He lied to his children, and he lied to the people of South Carolina. Despite his journey down this Appalachian Trail of deceit, I support him for exposing the hypocrisy of traditional values. The liar has exposed the greater lie.