The Widdershins

Archive for May 30th, 2013

Good Thursday, Widdershins.

The Republican party, for bitter or for better, has been a never-ending source of entertainment for quite a while now.  Lately, they have absolutely outdone themselves, leaping and contorting in a manner that would make Psy proud.

In a  recent (and über rare) interview,  former Senator Bob Dole stated that he would have no place in the current party structure, nor would the now-sanctified likes of Ronald Reagan be welcomed.  Dole further opined that the entire party needs to be “closed for repairs”.   Senator Dole seems to be a really nice man, and despite the fact that I rarely agree with his opinions, I must admit that he absolutely nailed it this time.   Even more so, the party is in desperate need of new management, as the lunatics appear to be in full control of the asylum these days.

Where do I begin?  In keeping with latest Repub tradition of denying victims of disaster any assistance from FEMA unless offsets (usually from other needy people) can be found, both Senators Inhof and Coburn of Oklahoma would be happy to deny their Moore constituents help at this time.  Coburn said that there was plenty of available money, and called attempts at further allocations a “scam”.  At least he is consistently Scrooge-like, as he has been ever thus going back to the time of the Murrah Building.  Representative Peter King (R-NY) and Governor Christie of New Jersey have indicated their general exasperation with him, and I profoundly agree.  What good is government at any level if it cannot look after the people who elect and fund it?

Moving along, let’s consider the federal courts.  Confirmation of candidates has proceeded with the speed of a glacier with this Senate.  Yes, there have most certainly been delays in the past, but previously the process has been less than a month and is now nearly six months when successful at all. Candidates are beginning given hundreds, and in one case, more than a thousand written questions to fill out, and vacancies abound.   Finally, Judge Srikanth Srinivasan was confirmed 97-0 for  a seat on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, on which there are still several vacancies.  Who knows, perhaps the Republican party has given up on educated women, Hispanics, and African-Americans, thus attempting to embrace the South Asian group instead.  There are now 4 Republican appointees and 5 Democratic.

The fact that more vacancies exist and Obama is still President just does not sit well with Senator Chuch Grassley (R-Iowa).  The good Senator has apparently had an epiphany by which he decided that there were just way too many judges, and their numbers should be reduced.  (Oddly, he did not seem to feel that way when George Bush was in office……..)    The Prez has announced that he will fill the existing vacancies, and right on cue, Republican objections fill the air.  Both Grassley and Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have leveled accusations of “court packing”, which was indeed attempted in the Roosevelt administration where FDR wanted to expand the number of Supreme Court justices in order to ascertain that Democratic policies would be around for an extended period of time.  Nope, this is  the President exercising his prerogative to nominate candidates for the federal bench, and in the immortal words of Dubya, “Elections have consequences”. Indeed they do, and if Harry Reid is smart, he will insist that they actually filibuster rather than phoning it in.

My personal favorite is the sudden, passionate embrace of the heretofore loathed “individual mandate”.  Dear old Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) has decided in his infinite wisdom that those people who are here illegally must be compelled to purchase insurance in order to remain in the country, and that this one particular exception is fine and dandy because those folks should not be a drain on public finances.  Now, Mario is Cuban, and I assure you that when Cubans make it to shore under “Wet Foot, Dry Foot”, they are issued a Social Security number, food stamps, and a Medicaid card upon arrival.  I have seen this more than once when rafters arrived in my ER – Haitians were issued a complementary  orange jumpsuit and a ride to Krome Detention Center, and Cubans received the full boat of benefits.  Interestingly, those here illegally do not qualify for payment support under the ACA, and since many undocumented people work for minimum wage, I hardly see how his is a practical solution.  Nevertheless, the idea is catching hold in Republican circles.  Stay tuned.

I’ve saved the best for last:  Rep. Michele Bachmann has decided not to run for office in 2014.  Whether it was the close call in 2012 or the FBI investigation into her campaign finances I do not know, but all I can say is “Ding, dong, the witch is dead”.    However, I must admit that she has been most amusing at times, including her signature statement regarding the shot fired round the world in the wrong city of Concord.  Her tussles with geography continued when she confused the hometown of John Wayne Gacy with the hometown of John Wayne – close, but no cigar.  Apparently history is not her long suit, either, as she stated that the Founding Fathers (including John Quincy Adams) worked tirelessly to eradicate slavery.   Then there was the time that she insisted on singing “Happy Birthday” to Elvis, on the anniversary of his death.  Her forays into medicine have been even worse, when she insisted that the HPV vaccine had serious side effects (no, it doesn’t and all three of the grandmonsters have had it), and that swine flu broke out during the Carter administration (actually, it was the Ford administration).  The list goes on and on.  Good riddance, Gentle Lady.

So, whenever you see Psy dancing around “gangnam style”, just picture the luminaries of the Republican party bouncing along with him.  That thought will get you through some grey days, especially the Super Bowl version.

This is an open thread.


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