Don't let the door hit you in the ass.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) announced on Facebook this morning that he won't run for reelection next year, making him the 20th Republican in Congress to call it quits before next year's referendum on Donald Trump -- or maybe "President Pence." The Long Island Republican is one of those Republican "moderates," meaning he's generally rightwing on everything but has also been the rare R who's cosponsored some bills calling for modest gun safety reforms like universal background checks.
In his statement, King said he'd talked it over with his wife and kids (they're both adults), and decided that "after 28 years of spending 4 days a week in Washington, D.C., it is time to end the weekly commute and be home in Seaford." We're not sure if that translates to dead girl, live boy, or whopper of a financial scandal. Or perhaps he just wants to be able to get out while the getting's good, although he emphasized that while he's still in Congress he plans to vote against impeaching Trump, and to support Trump's 2020 bid.
Around Wonkette, Pete King will always be remembered as the guy who thought the IRA was a great bunch of freedom fighters but who disliked other terrorists -- which he figured had to include most American Muslims. He was also known to most Americans as "Oh, Peter King. The bigot from New York, not the bigot from Iowa."
The voters don't matter. The women in danger don't matter. The kids don't matter. The blessed NRA is all that matters.
In yet another signal that elections no longer matter in Wisconsin, Republican lawmakers held a special session of the state legislature yesterday. It lasted under 30 seconds, just long enough to gavel the session in and then adjourn. You see, Wisconsin law gives the governor, Democrat Tony Evers, the authority to call a special session, so he called one to bring forward two gun safety bills. But the law doesn't require the legislature to vote on bills or debate them. And that's why the Rs, who got their seats through some of the most outrageous gerrymandering in the USA, dismissed the legislation in less time than it took for cops to end this summer's mass shootings in Gilroy, California (under a minute) and in Dayton, Ohio (roughly 30 seconds). As much time as the Doolittle raiders spent over Tokyo, if you're an old. But hey, it took 10 times as long as it did for a cop to shoot Tamir Rice to death, so some things are faster.
We suppose the Republicans will now expect to be praised for not only preserving the holy Second Amendment, but also for saving Wisconsin taxpayers so much money on electricity at the Capitol.
Hugs not drugs.
A horrible massacre took place in northern Mexico Monday. A drug cartel (probably, but it's not clear which one) murdered three women and six children who belonged to a fundamentalist Mormon-offshoot community in Mexico; the youngest was a 10-month-old baby. The victims, who had dual US-Mexican citizenship, were traveling in a caravan of three cars when they were ambushed by criminal gangs. It's not yet clear, but there's speculation the killings were the result of mistaken identity, just innocent people caught up in a gang war. In any case, the killers kept shooting, then burned the vehicles. Over 200 bullet casings were found on the ground. Seven children who survived the attack were flown across the border to a hospital in Douglas, Arizona.
As with any terrible situation, Donald Trump showed up on Twitter Tuesday morning to make things worse. The solution, he suggested, was to go Full Duterte:
Trump likes to pretend he doesn't like war, but as long as someone else is doing the killing, he sure loves the idea of wiping some people off the face of the earth, and assumes only bad guys would get killed, because he's a fucking idiot who thinks most problems can be solved by killing the right people. After all, if the cartels have no respect for innocent lives, why should we?
War! What is it good for? Guaranteed turnout for a rally, tell you what.
But at least the Walmart shoplifter is no longer at large.
A federal appeals court ruled this week that a homeowner isn't entitled to compensation after police wrecked his house and left his family homeless. Leo Lech's Greenwood Village, Colorado, residence was the setting of a 19-hour standoff with police in June 2015. An armed shoplifter, who'd scored two belts and a shirt from Walmart, broke into Lech's home and held off pursuing officers with a handgun. The cops fired tear gas into the residence, exploded walls, blew out windows, and finally drove a military-style armored vehicle through the front door.
SWAT officers apprehended the shoplifting suspect, who had nothing to do with Lech, but in their wake, they left behind the climax of an Avengers movie.
"The interior of the Lech Home was a mass of debris and destroyed belongings from the projectiles launched into the home by the Defendants. Chemical munitions or other projectiles were stuck in the walls. The Lech Home was completely uninhabitable and its condition posed a danger to anyone entering the home," one of Lech's attorneys, David Williams, wrote in a federal lawsuit filed in August 2016.
You'd think, under those circumstances, Lech would've won the free house lottery. If he didn't receive a giant novelty check at a public ceremony, the cops could've at least come back on the weekends and helped rebuild like on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." They'd already had demo day. But this was like a bad "Property Brothers" episode where they demolish your house and then tell you to fuck off.
Letters from the NRA civil war.
NRATV racist and vile? The hell you say! Yesterday, the Daily Beast was first to get its hands on the latest filing in the NRA's trench war legal battle with its longtime advertiser Ackerman McQueen (AMc). Apparently, many people inside the NRA were shocked, shocked that AMc would use incendiary rhetoric to support the holy Second Amendment, and found some of the programming downright "distasteful and racist." Wow, NRA board members are just like us! Well, not exactly.
Those upright churchgoers were appalled at Dana Loesch's Thomas the Tank Engine Klan Hood stunt. Just, you know, not enough to actually pull the plug on the network. Or make any public statement distancing themselves from it. Or insist that the segment be taken offline. Or do anything at all, actually. But trust them, they were shaken to their hollow point cores!
Sometimes when a long-married couple splits and all their dirty, secret business starts coming out, friends will wonder how they ever stayed together so long. Watching the NRA wrench itself apart from AMc in a volcanic explosion of litigation and spiteful leaks is kind of like that. Only these people aren't your friends, they're the bastards that made millions of dollars ensuring that your kindergartener has mandatory active shooter drills to protect the God-given right of all Americans to walk around with giant death sticks strapped our hips. So, actually, you love to see it.
We do not need another one.
Say it ain't so, Pete.
In an interview with Cosmo this week, Mayor Pete Buttigieg decided to talk about his plans for the Supreme Court by ... praising former Supreme Court Justice and lifelong Republican Anthony Kennedy, who stepped down so Donald Trump could put Brett Kavanaugh on the Court.
So I've floated several ideas and deliberately kept some level of open-mindedness about which ones are going to work best. One of them would be to have 15 members, but 5 of them can only be seated if the other 10 unanimously agree. The idea here is you get more justices who think for themselves. Justices like Justice Kennedy or Justice Souter, and there are many legal scholars who think this could be done without a constitutional amendment under current law.
Where to start?
Black people should be safe in their own homes.
Atatiana Jefferson was shot dead in her own home Saturday in front of her eight-year-old nephew. Fort Worth, Texas, police officer Aaron Dean killed the 28-year-old black woman, senselessly and callously. Dean was responding to a wellness check from one of Jefferson's neighbors, who was concerned that the doors to her house were open late at night. I don't know why he called the police. "Protect and serve" does technically apply to black people, but it's not always worked out in practice.
Shockingly, Dean was charged with murder Monday. He'd resigned earlier that day, and interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said he would've fired Dean anyway for several policy violations. It's encouraging that it's against policy to murder black women in their homes. It's in the manual and everything.
Dean and another officer responding to the nonemergency call entered through Jefferson's backyard. When Dean saw Jefferson through her bedroom window, he shined a flashlight at her like a common pervert and shouted, "Put your hands up! Show me your hands!" He didn't identify himself as a police officer and didn't wait more than a few seconds before shooting her. This was not an effective wellness check.
Beto would still win this fight.
Last night, during CNN's Equality Town Hall, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke declared that as president he'd revoke the tax-exempt status for religious organizations that oppose marriage equality. Same-sex marriage is perfectly legal, has been for years. O'Rourke's position defends law-abiding citizens instead of providing aid and comfort to bigots. (It'd be a lot more constitutional to revoke all churches' tax exempt status instead of passing judgment on their individual creeds, so we should probably do that instead.) Predictably, conservatives are all up in arms today, and by this, I mean, they are literally threatening armed revolt. This is probably why O'Rourke wants to take away their guns.
Ben Shapiro, the living ventriloquist dummy from a "Twilight Zone" episode, claimed on his show today that O'Rourke finds the mere existence of religious people "offensive." That's not what Beto said. Unlike queer Americans, religious people can choose a non-bigoted lifestyle. We don't have to electrocute them or anything. Shapiro warned O'Rourke against starting a "culture war" and tearing apart a nation that was otherwise getting along so well.
'With money' is the new 'with votes.'
Republican Brandon Martin is running for Congress in Arizona, hoping to beat out Democratic incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick after her first term. Like any candidate, Martin is sending out fundraising emails to his supporters, hoping to raise enough money for a successful campaign. What really set him apart though are the thinly veiled threats of murder.
How many gun metaphors can a fella fit into a fundraising email? At least three, by my count.
Via Tucson.com (emphasis mine):
"Ann Kirkpatrick sits on the Appropriations Committee. ($$ Big money donations $$) She's going to have a war chest in November 2020. I need 'ammunition' to remove her from office," Martin wrote. "Will you load me up with a donation of $5, $10, $25 or more so I can train my sights on Ann Kirkpatrick and remove her from office in 2020?"
Under any circumstances, this many references to shooting one's political opponent would be in poor taste — but it's particularly gross in this one, considering that the seat Martin is vying for once belonged to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, whom you may recall had to give up her seat on account of actually being shot.
Former cop Amber Guyger found guilty of murder.
It's only been a few hours since we talked about the closing arguments in Amber Guyger's murder trial, but now we have a verdict. A jury found the former Dallas cop guilty of murdering Botham Jean in his own home last September. I'm still in shock. It's like there are laws in this country against killing black men. I had a hunch how this would turn out and it feels great to be wrong.
I wasn't the only one worried Guyger would moonwalk out of the courtroom a free home invader. Dallas church leaders were already calling for non-violent protest in the event of an acquittal. C'mon, guys, don't start rehearsing the 2019 remix of "We Shall Overcome" before the jury's even finished deliberations. Guyger tried to stand her ground and claim self-defense for senselessly killing Jean. She had the gall to invoke Texas's "Castle Doctrine" for Jean's own residence, which she mistook for her own after all her senses apparently failed her. It took just two days for the jury to rightly give those bogus arguments the middle finger of justice.
Judge agrees 'Castle Doctrine' is swell defense for intruder entering home of man she killed.
A man's home is his castle -- unless a white woman cop gets lost and declares it's hers. Amber Guyger colonized Botham Jean's apartment last year, and now our Lady Columbus wants to save her ass by invoking the so-called Castle Doctrine -- Texas's version of "stand your ground," which permits someone to use lethal force against an intruder in their own home. But as Dallas County Assistant District attorney Jason Fine said yesterday, "Let's not bury the lede here": It wasn't Guyger's apartment. She might've believed so, but the dead man's lease said otherwise.
FINE: You can believe all kinds of crazy stuff. I could believe I'm in Florida right now, doesn't mean I'm reasonable. It's not what the defendant thinks (that determines what's reasonable and what isn't). Every defendant thinks they're justified.
The jury began deliberations Monday in what the news called the "apartment-mixup murder case," like it's a common Scooby Doo episode. Fine and lead prosecutor Jason Hermus systematically dismantled Guyger's bogus defense and made a compelling case for murder. The former -- thank God -- police officer testified on Friday and unleashed her weapons-grade tears. She should've thanked the Academy afterward.
Hell is too good for these people.
We were never going to get a gun control bill out of this White House. We know that, we're not A IDIOT. But yesterday's news that Donald Trump traded away background checks for NRA cash to fight his own impeachment is a new kind of horrifying. And we're betting that suburban women in Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin will agree.
Last night, the New York Times reported that NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre had just emerged from a meeting in the Oval Office with a promise from Trump to "'stop the games' over gun control legislation." And by "games" he means expanding background checks to all commercial sales including at gun shows and online, a plan which was supported by the Vanky Faction at the White House and opposed by her brother DJ and his posse. Sorry, baby!
Her defense is indefensible.
Last year, (fortunately) former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger shot and killed Botham Jean in his own apartment. But she thinks she's suffered enough. I've dreaded this trial. Guyger is the hat trick of white woman cop, and I fear the jury will free her to invade the homes of other black men and execute them on sight. As a black male homeowner, that concerns me more than a softening real estate market.
This is America. Guyger has every right to a defense -- even if it insults our intelligence and offends our moral sensibilities. Alan Dershowitz can't have all the fun. Her attorneys argue that Guyger acted in self-defense against an intruder in what she believed was her own apartment. I don't care how many Tony Robbins seminars Guyger attended. She can't just "transform" Jean's residence into her own through the "power of positive thinking." Texas Ranger David Armstrong supported the defense yesterday when he testified that he didn't believe Guyger committed any crime -- not murder, manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide. She didn't even violate the apartment building's quiet hours for firing her gun after 10 p.m.
Oh look, it's Stupid King Lear!
Rest easy, America, your gun worries are over! Princess Ivanka is on the case, and she'll make sure that Congress passes GUN LAW right away. Well, unless her brother Don Jr. wins this round and manages to convince Daddy that he'll lose Pennsylvania and Wisconsin if he enacts legislation favored by 97 percent of all Americans and 77 percent of gun owners. In which case, tough luck, kids.
Politico reports that, "Competing factions inside the White House have stymied efforts to unite behind gun legislation."
On one side is Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and adviser, and Attorney General William Barr. Both are urging the president to back new firearms restrictions — including expanded background checks for gun sales — insisting he can be the leader who succeeds on an intractable issue that has bedeviled his predecessors and that he can win back moderate suburban voters in the process, according to people involved in the discussions.
On the other side, a group that includes Donald Trump Jr., the president's son and an avid hunter, and a top aide to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, is telling Trump he risks losing support from his conservative base if he pushes too aggressively on new gun control legislation, they say.
One of these things is not like the other, one of these things doesn't belong. Well, two actually. But Ivanka is at least nominally "employed" at the White House as a "presidential advisor."
Donald Trump is really, really bad at governing, and every single Republican in DC knows it. Yesterday he dispatched Attorney General Bill "Everyone Dies" Barr and White House Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland to wander around the Senate flogging a plan for expanded background checks. To the untrained eye, an endorsement by the chief law enforcement officer in the land and the guy whose actual job is to get the president and members of Congress on the same page might suggest that Donald Trump himself was behind the proposal.
BUT NO! White House spokesliar Higgledy Piggledy is here to set the record straight, telling Politico, "That is not a White House document, and any suggestion to the contrary is completely false." How dare anyone suggest that Trump has actual principles and uses his staff as something other than cannon fodder! The very nerve!
Trigger warnings, in all senses of the term.
The massacre-prevention group Sandy Hook Promise, founded by parents of some of the kids murdered in Newtown, rolled out an absolutely horrifying public service announcement today. The online ad, titled "Back-To-School Essentials," is a dark twist on back-to-school supplies, featuring kids enjoying the nice things their parents got them for school. In the midst of a school shooting.
Content warning: This one is not something you want to watch if the subject is difficult for you. It's not explicitly gory, but includes sounds and visuals of a dramatized school shooting. You might want to skip the next three paragraphs, too. In fact, those of us who do watch it may decide to have a nice big glass of bourbon and lie down on this nice kitchen floor for an hour or two or all day.
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