OK, needs work.
Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, unable to make enough headway in fundraising and polling to have much shot at qualifying for the September Democratic presidential primary debates, is planning to drop out of the presidential race today, according to several reports. Hickenlooper is eyeing a run for US Senate against incumbent Republican Cory Gardner, although he's not expected to address a Senate run when he announces his withdrawal today. After Hickenlooper bows out today, there'll only be one Colorado Democrat making a doomed run for the presidency. Call yourself a big politics nerd if you can name him! (Okay, you're a big politics nerd!)
ABOLISH ... you know the drill!
A Milwaukee Art Museum program for artsy young folks puts art into motion every summer by letting the kids design a mural wrap applied to a bus, or sometimes to a bus shelter. This year, the kids decided to do some current events, and designed a wraparound mural depicting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers separating kids from their families, as well as a multi-ethnic we're (almost) all immigrants here message for the back of the bus.
The art pissed off a member of the county board of supervisors, who declared it to be anti-police (sure, though just one federal agency) and "racist," so the kids did a fine job of triggering the cons. Even better, the art museum, which paid the Milwaukee County Transit System for the bus wrap like any other advertiser, backs the kids completely and says it supports the young artists' decision to make art that's meaningful to them.
Give it a day.
So Puerto Rico has now had three governors (the equivalent of the president in any other country) in a week. Take that, mainland United States Congress!!!
After the Puerto Rico Supreme Court found that Pedro Pierluisi was unconstitutionally sworn-in as governor and told to him vacate La Fortaleza (The Fortress, the name of the governor's mansion in Old San Juan), Wanda Vazquez Garced became the Governor of Puerto Rico. On his way out, Pierluisi released a taped statement that appeared to be filmed in front of a green screen:
Pedro Pierluisi taped this short video for the people of Puerto Rico. It was released after he left the Governor's mansion but before Wanda Vazquez was sworn in as Governor. pic.twitter.com/rPqJmTenhm
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) August 7, 2019
Or on the set of Lex Luthor's library in Richard Donner's Superman.
Even had Otis doing sign language!
It really gets in the way of doing their job.
With the five-year anniversary of Michael Brown's killing coming up tomorrow, Aug. 9, CBS News did an investigation of 155 police departments' efforts to teach officers to try not to be quite so racist and shooty. And along the way, the reporters also managed to get a couple of white cops talking on video about just how much they despise any attempt to address implicit bias. The cops' faces are hidden and their voices are altered, but their racism is clear as day: Implicit bias training is bad for morale because it might prevent cops from administering beatdowns to black people who need beatdowns. Yes, we're paraphrasing, but only a bit. The training, they complain, is worthless because it reinforces a mean stereotype that "the police are racist, but specifically the white male police are racist." The poor dears!
Your Mini-Constitutional Crisis Update!
When we last checked in with the United States most
ignored favorite colony, Puerto Rico had just forced their governor, Ricardo Rosselló, to announce his resignation effective August 2 after weeks of intense protests. The protests were sparked by years of corruption and 889 pages of leaked chats involving the governor, secretary of state, and other top officials. This forced many in the administration to resign and, after a disastrous Fox News interview, Rosselló soon joined them. But this was not a tidy happy ending.
Because the secretary of state (second in line for the governorship) resigned prior to Rosselló, there was no clear answer who was next in the line of succession. By Article IV of the Constitution of Puerto Rico, Secretary of Justice Wanda Vázquez Garced would have been the next governor until the 2020 elections. But amid protests due to various scandals and controversies outlined by the New York Times (and probably not wanting to be in charge in a shitshow), Ms. Vázquez Garced announced she didn't want the job.
With the deadline bearing down, Rosselló announced July 31 that he had chosen
Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia as the new secretary of state to fill the vacancy left by Luis G. Rivera Marín. This effectively made him the next in line and successor as governor, so crisis averted! Just kidding.
These off-year elections are brutal!
There's weird shit going down in the Bluegrass State, with a bare knuckles brawl this weekend at the annual Fancy Farm picnic hosted by St. Jerome Catholic Church. Hilarious stand-up comic Mitch McConnell was there, referring to his potential Democratic challenger as "Amy McGaffe," which might have made a bigger splash if he weren't getting drowned out by his own constituents calling him Moscow Mitch.
After that, McConnell fell down and fractured his shoulder at the same time the Rand Paul was having surgery to remove part of his lung damaged when his neighbor attacked him in 2018 for being an asshole who dumped all his yard waste on the property line. And if you don't have something nice to say, you should shut it, so .... we got nothin'.
Make it rain subpoenas, Cy!
New York, New York, it's a hell of a town, Vance is up, and Trump's goin' down. Well, maybe! Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has subpoenaed the Trump Organization and the National Enquirer's parent company, AMI, for records relating to the Stormy Daniels hush money payments. So with a little luck, Bill Barr won't be able to stick a shiv into the investigation of Trump's porn star pecker payoff after all. Allegedly!
The New York Times reports that Vance's office is investigating the president's company for possibly falsifying business records and violating tax laws by trying to disguise the payments to Stormy Daniels as a reimbursement for legal work.
Here, Wonkette is a happy helper!
BUT HER EMAILS!
Attention Walmart Shoppers, and literally everyone else in US America! Almost everything you buy is about to get just a little bit more expensive since President Impulse Control decided to impose a 10 percent tariff on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese imports. Hooboy, are we tired of winning yet?
The message was delivered in the usual manner, and without informing our Chinese negotiating partners in advance.
Making diplomacy great again! Trump prefaced his announcement by speculating that China and Iran had simply decided to wait him out, "drooling" at the prospect of being able to "rip off our beloved USA like never before" if a Democrat wins in 2020. But it wasn't all bad -- at least he managed to wait until Mnuchin and Lighthizer were back from negotiating with their Chinese counterparts in Shanghai before losing his shit and blowing up the deal on Twitter!
Trump spent months mollifying the big money market guys by promising that a great new trade deal with China was just around the corner. Wowed by his steely acumen and giant manly hands, China had promised to start buying massive quantities of US agricultural products. Or was it a vow to get serious about preventing intellectual property theft? Wait, maybe they were going to execute all the fentanyl smugglers.
Oh, whoops! Apparently it was NONE OF THEM, KATIE.
And that asshole is still out there swearing up and down that the Chinese pay all the tariffs and we'd all be so much richer if we just cut out China entirely and started making our own running shoes in America again.
Which is all well and good, except here in America wages are stagnant and people who can afford to eat, and pay rent, and shell out for health insurance, and still buy a pair of $15 American-made socks are thin on the ground.
China has not yet announced what its next move is, but safe bet it will be retaliatory tariffs. Which the Chinese will pay if they want our stuff, just as we pay to import Chinese goods. Because SHUT UP YOU DEMENTED LOON, THAT IS HOW TARIFFS WORK. Except the Chinese can just turn around and buy their soybeans from Brazil and Russia, who are only too happy to pick up the slack in the market. And then American taxpayers can pick up the tab for that one, too, since there is no way on God's green earth that the GOP is going to blow off Iowa farmers during a presidential year, especially with Joni Ernst on the ballot.
Let's see how the markets looked for the day.
Graphic via CNN Money
Oh, hey, remember that fun time on Wednesday, barely 24 hours before the Stable Genius had his tariff temper tantrum, when the Chairman of the Federal Reserve announced that he was cutting interest rates because we're in a trade war and no one knows whether it's going to peter out or blow up the entire economy because some idiot with no impulse control can't stay off Twitter? (We might be paraphrasing. A little.)
Once more with feeling now ... TRADE WARS ARE GOOD, AND EASY TO WIN.
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Everything about this is completely normal.
Now that the Trump administration got the billions in new funding it wanted for locking up undocumented immigrants, conditions in the baby jails are sure to get a lot better, right? Or not, at least as we learn in a new story by WRAL and Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting. Seems there's this outfit in North Carolina, "New Horizon Group Home LLC," that opened a group home for kids with mental illnesses -- US American kids -- last year, but the place was so horribly run that the state shut it down within 45 days, because the conditions posed "an imminent danger to the health, safety and welfare" of the seven boys housed there.
So OF COURSE the federal Administration for Children and Families, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, awarded a $3.9 million grant to New Horizons, to open a brand new, much bigger facility to house up to 72 undocumented migrant kids between the ages of seven and 17. Just to add another agency into the mix, the facility would operate under contract with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) which oversees the nation's network of immigration baby jails.
New Horizons is still fighting to overturn its license revocation in the 2018 case. It's never operated a facility for migrant kids, and has never run anywhere near as large a facility as the new contract calls for. And here's the best part! If New Horizons loses its appeal of the 2018 group home closure, it won't be eligible to get a new license until 2023 -- a year after the end of the grant it was awarded in April. Hope nobody's cashed any checks yet.
This is one of those investigative reporting stories where each subsequent paragraph makes you open your eyes just a little wider in horrified amazement.
Republicans in the Idaho legislature have been mad about diversity lately, after the interim president of Boise State University said in a June newsletter that diversity and inclusion were good things, and outlined a few things the university was doing to promote a diverse student body and faculty. A rightwing group, the Idaho Freedom Foundation, angrily denounced the newsletter as a shocking attempt to "pander to leftist ideologues with radical views of 'inclusivity.'"
That was followed by a letter written by state Rep. Barbara Ehardt informing BSU's incoming president Marlene Trompf that the newsletter was "disconcerting" because it didn't "reflect Idaho values." Twenty-seven other Republican House members signed on to Ehardt's letter, which listed a whole bunch of diversity things that are definitely not good for Idaho, because as anyone knows, diversity is actually very divisive and racist!
This drive to create a diversified and inclusive culture becomes divisive and exclusionary because it separates and segregates students.
Ehardt thinks all sort of things are "segregation," and "antithetical to the Idaho way," among them,
• Support for multicultural student events including Pow Wow, Rainbow Graduation, Black Graduation, Project Dream, etc. instead of helping all students;
• Six graduate fellowships for "underrepresented minority students" instead of merit-based awards;
• A gender-based violence community-coordinated response team, instead of letting the police handle the matter;
Governor Ricardo Rosselló, you are GET THE FUCK OUT!
Following the leak of 889 pages of damning chatlogs involving Puerto Rico's governor and his cabinet (we covered it
HERE), 15 days of protests, and a very disastrous Fox News interview we also covered HERE, Governor Ricardo Rosselló finally resigned late (almost midnight) Wednesday night on a Facebook Live video from the "La Fortaleza" (The Fortress, the name of the governor's mansion) Facebook page.
Here is a cellphone video of the exact moment protests turned to celebration.
The timing of Rosselló's resignation and celebrations are a magical, once in a lifetime moment for Puerto Rico:
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló really seems intent on disproving the old adage "No man is an island" after leaks of private chat logs of Rosselló's Cabinet, RickyLeaks, revealed how callous, homophobic, misogynistic, and corrupt the government of Puerto Rico is. (We covered it HERE.)
After weeks of protests unlike ever seen in Puerto Rico, Rosselló took to Facebook Live on Sunday to tell the people of Puerto Rico that he has heard their demand:
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello says he won't run for re-election as the island braced for more protests demanding he step down over offensive chat messages. More here: https://t.co/6bfcwJxRiG pic.twitter.com/PfCXsNmc03
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 22, 2019
Just kidding!! He refused to resign BUT he said he won't run for re-election, stepped down as the head of his political party, and said he would not oppose a formal impeachment. Well how fucking big of you, Ricky! So nice for you to offer everything but what the people of Puerto Rico have been clamoring for. So, inevitably, this led to even BIGGER protests around the island as more protestors continued to ask for only one thing: Ricardo Rosselló's resignation.
Chick-fil-A now has more legal protections than gay families in Texas.
On Thursday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott took a bold stand for religious liberty, at least if by "liberty" you mean the right of corporations to hate gay people without consequence. Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 1978, nicknamed the "Save Chick-fil-A" bill despite the lack of any danger to the restaurant chain, which believes Chicken Jesus died and was deep fried for your sins, and that's why gays are an abomination. The bill prohibits all government entities in Texas from taking "adverse actions" against any company or individual because of religious beliefs. It was a top priority for Republican culture warriors in Texas after the San Antonio City Council decided in March against letting Chicken Breast Savior open a location in the city's airport.
Ricardo Rossello, you are GET THE FUCK OUT!
Puerto Rico. A beautiful island of enchantment. A place filled with amazing people, great culture, delicious food, and beautiful vistas. But the island is in a fucking uproar due to the clusterfuck of mismanagement from federal (Trump) to local (Ricardo Rosselló's Cabinet).
Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico with a
final death count of 2,975, which happens to be the exact number of Americans that died during the September 11 attacks. But while America will "Never Forget" 9/11, unless you're Rand Paul, mismanagement at both the federal and local levels caused those AMERICANS to be largely ignored. While most were (rightly) criticizing Trump for his numerous failures in Puerto Rico, seems Governor Rosselló was doing some undercover dirt.
The Post-Hurricane selfie with Trump really should have been a clue.
Is this a winning platform for Alabama? Sure why not.
Let's check in on the GOP Senate primary in Alabama! Did you know that accused kid toucher Roy Moore has primary opponents? That's right, Alabama Republicans aren't just gonna let him Stranger Danger his way into office without a fight. We'd like to introduce you to one of his opponents, current Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who, unlike Moore, hasn't been accused of touching any kids -- to our knowledge, but this is Alabama, so who knows! -- but who, like Moore, has some bizarre thoughts about the homosexuals. Specifically he is tired of seeing them on his television, and would like to see more "Gunsmoke" on the TV instead.
Is "Less Buttsex, More Gunsmoke" a winning platform for Alabama? Probably sure why not! It's a very serious state, after all.
And the lege is basically shooting meth into its eyeballs.
The Alaska state legislature is meeting in Wasilla for some fucking reason. Oh, and it is also fucking meeting in goddamn Juneau like it's supposed to be. What the fuck is going on? I'll tell you. Hold onto your bootstraps, it's gonna be an ugly ass ride.
So far this year we have had our mystery ballot demystified, a shitty ass budget proposal, AK state Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux ejected from the House Majority Caucus, a regular legislative session, a Crime Bill, a special session, a compromise operating budget passed by both houses, a second special session called for by the governor, a veto, protests, the special session meeting in two different cities, the senate majority leader repealed and replaced, Rep. Tammie Wilson leaving the House Majority Caucus (led by a former Dem who flipped to an Indy in order to lead it), which contains both GOP and Dems, and a failed veto override. WE HAVE BEEN BUSY IN ALASKA, OKAY?
That brings us to the current day in this messiest of messes, aside from the horrifying budget proposal Governor Mike Dunleavy, our own off-brand Tim Robbins, laid on us like a dollop of poo in our root beer float. How did we get to this batshit place? Dunleavy promised our dumb asses we would get our full PFD -- muh Permanent Fund Dividend! -- if we voted for him. Members of both parties in the Alaska state legislature oppose the steep cuts our governor has proposed for the new budget. The budget is the source of ALL KINDS OF DRAMA, probably because it is a weaponized assassination document that Governor Dunleavy will be using to murder us all. Allegedly.
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