I can not confirm on any sort of cars being flipped or any, I can’t confirm factual damage because we are right on a previous tornado path of damage. I can’t figure out if that is previous damage or if that was current damage.
Stories to Watch: 5/28/13.
FEMA opens disaster funds to victims of the Oklahoma tornado. Affected residents are urged to register even if uninsured.
Tom Coburn digs in and says that disaster aid shouldn’t be a federal responsibility. If terrorists did this, you can damned well bet Tom would be demanding that the feds get on top of this and pronto. Apparently, the difference between national defense and disaster response is… I don’t know. Why don’t you explain that to us, Tom? And could someone explain why Oklahomans keep reelecting this clown?
Chinese hackers gained access to a buttload of advanced US weapons systems, possibly costing the US our edge in military technology — although the Pentagon says it’s not as bad as that. Can we stop pretending these guys are our friends now?
The “both sides are just as bad” media laziness takes a big hit as the “Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University found Republican’s had made three times as many false statements as Democrats this year;”
So I guess it’s not surprising that former Sen. Bob Dole — once the gold standard for conservatism — is less than impressed with the extremism of the current crop of Republicans.
Another day, another Republican saying something amazingly stupid about women.
Greg Sargent has a good piece up about how Republicans aren’t at all serious about actually goverrning. My favorite observation: that the GOP is complaining that Obama is too distracted by scandals to pay attention to their griping. Seriously. These are children.
This is great: Glenn Beck wonders why everyone wants to label him a conspiracy theorist and concludes that it’s all a big conspiracy. Seriously.
Online clothing retailer Asos recalls a bunch of belts after they were discovered to have a tiny flaw — they’re freakin’ radioactive.
Finally, Tea Party nutbag and Yakov Smirnoff impersonator Joe Miller wants another stab at an Alaska Senate seat — guess he’s still a sore loser. What a country!
[cartoon via Truthdig]
Coburn’s Hostage-Taking Apparently Not Going Well.
It strikes me that someone, somewhere, has to have a survey in the field tracking Sen. Tom Coburn’s position following the tornado that struck Moore in his home state. His actions since announcing that he would hold his own constituents hostage to budget cuts suggest that idea has not gone over well. The signs are all there; his fellow austerians in the GOP aren’t willing to back him up and he’s become increasing defensive about his position. He’s been trying to shift blame away from himself, by accusing those who point out that he’s playing politics with disaster of “playing disaster politics.” It’s the same circular reasoning that bigots you to claim victimhood for their bigotry — i.e., “I’m the victim of intolerance, because you’re intolerant of my intolerance!” — and it doesn’t work any better in this circumstance. Pointing out that Coburn wants to hold his own constituents hostage isn’t “playing politics,” it’s having a firm command of the facts.
As I say, that poll being taken out there somewhere has to show Coburn is getting an earful at home, because he’s still on the defensive. On an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Sen. Tom tried to defend his position by not defending it.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) voiced frustration on Thursday with the discussion over whether federal aid provided to tornado-ravaged Oklahoma should be offset by spending cuts elsewhere, calling it an example of “typical Washington BS.”
During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Coburn boasted about his consistency on the issue, saying that he helped ensure that relief provided after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was offset. Pointing to what he characterized as “$200 billion worth of waste, fraud and duplication,” he expressed disdain for lawmakers who borrow money to provide disaster aid.
“So it’s morally wrong, it’s repugnant to me and it’s the lamest excuse career politicians can use, and that’s why our country is in trouble. That kind of thinking,” Coburn said.
Then came the kicker: “But the conservative senator argued that any debate over spending offsets is motivated by politics, saying that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has a $11.6 billion fund it could use to help victims of the Oklahoma tornado. For that reason, Coburn said, it’s unlikely that Congress would even need to pass a bill to provide aid to his state.”
“This is all a game and it’s a crass political game because I was being asked these questions before we even pulled the dead people out of the rubble,” Coburn said. “So it’s just typical Washington BS, quite frankly.”
Got that? He’s a man of super-integrity because he’s demanding someone else’s tax dollars be stolen to pay for aiding his constituents. But we shouldn’t hold him accountable for that position, because it will never happen. He wants to do this horrible thing, but you shouldn’t blame him for it, because he probably won’t be able to. And his critics are the ones spreading BS.
Coincidentally, I would like to slash Coburn’s tires, but I’ll never be able to because he lives and works so far away. So anyone who criticizes me for my criminal impulse is just engaging in “typical Washington BS.” I’m completely blameless — not because I’ve decided not to do this terrible thing, but because I’ve determined that I probably can’t.
For a Republican, I don’t think Coburn have a real solid grasp of this whole “personal responsibility” concept. What he does have is a good grip on his constituents, who in turn seem to have a good grip on his throat.
I don’t know what that as yet unreleased survey says, but it has to be brutal. He’s trying to back out of this so fast he’s spinning his wheels and digging in deeper. Couldn’t happen to a nicer hostage-taker.
[photo by DVIDSHUB]
Stories to Watch: 5/22/12.
In so many recent tragedies, teachers have been the heroes. So maybe let’s not listen to Republicans, call them union thugs and freeloaders, and cut them down to fast food wages, OK? Let’s treat them like professionals.
Pres. Obama will visit Oklahoma to see the damage first hand this weekend. Compare and contrast with GWB.
Most schools in Oklahoma have no tornado shelters, because they cost too much. There are a few parents who paid a much higher price than a few extra tax dollars
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warns Congress that they’re screwing up the economy,
Related: Ezra Klein warns everyone to stop applauding reports of declining deficits. In a recovering economy, this is not good news. “Our deficits aren’t dropping because we’re doing something right,” he writes. “They’re dropping because we’re doing everything wrong.” By all means, use the numbers to prove Republicans are liars. But don’t pretend they’re the result of economic and fiscal brilliance.
Scientists are optimistic about a cure for some —but not all — AIDS patients.
Filibuster reform for real?
Josh Marshall thinks that Lois Lerner — the IRS official currently at ground zero for controversy — needs to be fired. I’m thinking that’s probably true, but also that it won’t solve anything.
A shockingly brutal terrorist machete attack in the UK ends in suicide by cop.
An FBI agent shoots and kills a man in Miami who was associated with Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. He apparently confessed to being involved with a triple murder that Tsarnaev may also have been involved with. This also seems to have ended in suicide by cop. There is believed to be no relation between this crime and the Boston bombing itself. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was just a very violent individual, it seems.
Arizona state Rep. Juan Mendez quotes Carl Sagan, rather than saying a prayer before a session of the House. This shocking bit of Religious Freedom from an atheist would not stand, however, and a proper prayer was offered the next day to appease mighty Cthulhu — or somebody. I don’t know. In any case, we can be sure Arizona won’t be cast into a lake of fire for the impiety of its legislature.
Finally, Eric Holder says that the US has killed four Americans with the drone program.
[cartoon via cagle.com]
Republicans, Disasters, and Their Idea of a ‘Real America.’
Steve Benen believes we won’t be seeing a big disaster relief fight over the tornado disaster in Oklahoma. I hope he’s right. The Republican Party’s refusal to fund relief after Hurricanne Sandy was shameful at best, anti-American at worst. While Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn quickly decided to hold his constituents hostage to budget cuts, he doesn’t have a lot of allies in that effort. By yesterday, he was already forced into damage control mode and the rest of the GOP was taking the opposite position.
Many prominent Republicans sounded downright Democratic yesterday. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who opposed Sandy relief, said, “Finding some way to offset is not the priority. Meeting the known and immediate needs as quickly as possible is the priority.” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) added, “I really don’t think disasters of this type should be offset. We have an obligation to help those people. We’ll worry about our budgetary items back here, but the aid has to be there.”
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said, “I think they should get every penny they need. I’ve been through this. We can do the political games later on, the important thing is to get them the aid as quickly as they need it and not to make a political issue out of it.” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) added, “[A]t the end of the day my objective here is to make sure the people here get the help they need in a timely fashion.”
“Here’s hoping we’ll see a return to traditional American norms when it comes to post-disaster aid. For generations,” Benen writes. “Congress didn’t fight over offsets in the wake of a crisis, it simply moved to help American communities in their time of need. That changed after Republicans took control of the House in 2010, but given GOP reactions yesterday, we may be seeing the first signs that the party is rethinking the utility of its posture.”
What we need to remember, however, was that Sandy happened right before the election. President Obama got a little bounce for his competent handling of the crisis and New Jersy Governor Chris Christie praised him for his leadership. It wasn’t the deciding factor in the election, but it was a deciding factor, with 41% of respondents in a one exit poll saying it was either the “most important factor” in casting their vote or just an “important factor.”
If there’s one thing we know about Republicans, it’s that they’re petty. They made up excuses to hold up Sandy relief, citing non-existent pork. James Inhofe, Oklahoma’s other senator, said that it was just a bad time to deal with the problem. “There’s always a lot of theater right before Christmas time…” he said. “We shouldn’t be talking about it right before Christmas.” Of course, this was after his party held up the bill for two months.
Of course, Sandy was very different from the tornado in Oklahoma. Sandy wiped out Democratic neighborhoods. Oklahoma is another story. The state voted for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in a complete rout: 66.8% to 33.2%, In the county where the tornadoes hit, Mitt didn’t do as well, but he did extremely well nonetheless: 58.3% to 41.7%.
It could simply be that their unwillingness to aid their fellow citizens in a time of crisis was one of the many things for which Republicans have taken a beating in public opinion. In which case, Benen may get his wish and see a return to normalcy for generations. Their experiment in post-disaster stinginess didn’t turn out as well as they’d hoped.
But if the reason for the sudden Republican generosity of spirit is the political identity and demographics of the victims, then probably not. Given the way the party has behaved in recent years, that motivation is not something I would put passed them. Republicans have decided that entire regions of the country are less American than others. It’s not unusual to hear a conservative rail against “east coast liberals” or “San Franscisco values.” In her run with John McCain, Sarah Palin appealed to small towns as the “Real America,” suggesting that urban voters weren’t sufficiently American for the Republican party.
Can we trust these people not to punish regions they don’t like by withholding aid? Until they prove otherwise, I’m going to say it’s at least possible that we can’t.
[photo by The National Guard