Calvin, Hobbes & Mitch McConnell

    Mitch McConnell (R-KY)  Senate Majority Leader  as of January 2015     Washington Post 11.4.14

    Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Senate Majority Leader as of January 2015     Washington Post 11.4.14

Calvin and Hobbes ©Bill Watterson

Calvin and Hobbes ©Bill Watterson

• "Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance."  —H.L. Mencken

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

• “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” —George Carlin

• “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” —wall poster by Despair, inc. 

Calvin and Hobbes ©Bill Watterson

Calvin and Hobbes ©Bill Watterson

• “Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?” —Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Watterson

• “Stupidity has a knack of getting its way.” —Albert Camus

Political Warning Signs political warning signs politics boehner mcdonnell election republicans

Mid-term prognostications courtesy of Andy Borowitz/The Borowitz Report/New Yorker 10.29.14:

• With just one week to go until the midterm elections, a new poll indicates that billionaires are likely to retain control of the United States government.

• Davis Logsdon, who supervised the poll for the University of Minnesota, said that next Tuesday should be “a big night for oligarchs” and that both houses of Congress can be expected to grovel at the feet of their money-gushing paymasters for at least the next two years.

• Calling the billionaires’ upcoming electoral romp “historic,” Logsdon said, “We have not seen the super-rich maintain such a vise-like grip on the government since the days immediately preceding the French Revolution.”

Mid-term prognostications courtesy of 10.26.14

"What will the GOP Senate do?

  • According to forecasts, the Republicans have about a 68 percent chance of retaking the Senate.
    [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • The case that it'll amount to absolutely nothing: "The political roadblocks that have made legislating all but impossible during Obama’s second term aren’t going away. The 114th Congress will probably look a lot like the 113th."
    [New Republic / Danny Vinik]
  • The case that it'll amount to something: "There's one big thing that changes the moment Republicans win Senate: nominations."
    [Vox / Ezra Klein]
  • The House's #2 Republican, Kevin McCarthy, wants to start before the GOP Senate's even in office: "He would like to use the lame-duck session to pass a long-term government-funding bill, so Washington can begin focusing on big-picture legislating, instead of just trying to keep government’s doors open."
    [Politico / Jake Sherman]
  • But Ramesh Ponnuru thinks that's nuts: "McCarthy will be asking Republicans to give up some of their control over the budget in that period by working with a Democratic Senate that's on its way out. Does that sound like something that conservatives in Congress will meekly accept?"
    [Bloomberg / Ramesh Ponnuru]
  • Jon Chait is doubtful: "As the Senate majority leader in 2005, McConnell himself threatened to eliminate the judicial filibuster when Democrats started blocking George W. Bush’s federal court picks."
    [NY Mag / Jonathan Chait]

  •  Meanwhile, anonymous Democrats are worried the GOP will lock up the House for the rest of the decade: "if the Republicans pick up 10 seats or more, then we will have no chance of getting the House back in 2016, and that means we are done until 2020."[Financial Times / Richard McGregor]"

(Thx Jim Palam for "Enough Already" no-bull signage)

Losing Their Minds on Capitol Hill

• Andy Borowitz writes for  The New Yorker

• Andy Borowitz writes for The New Yorker

• Video below: Stephen Colbert's jabs at the least productive Congress in American history

• "Face it, folks, we are a divided nation — divided by those who think with their head, and those who know with their heart.” — Stephen Colbert

• Below: Red states (GOP) and blue states (Dems) 2013

• Below: Hotbeds of discontent and willful ignorance:

gallup poll congressional approval 1974-2014.png

• Above: "The 435 House members and one-third of the Senate who face re-election could do so amid the lowest congressional approval ratings for a midterm election in modern political history. Gallup historically has found that low congressional approval ratings are associated with higher congressional turnover." — Gallup

•  “Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad name.” — Henry Kissinger

Strange Dream About Health

• "Taking all existing coverage expansions together, we estimate that 20 million Americans have gained coverage as of May 1, 2014 under the Affordable Care Act." — David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., and Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., New England Journal of Medicine, July 2, 2014

• "It’s a remarkable thing — an immense policy success is improving the lives of millions of Americans, but it’s largely slipping under the radar." — Paul Krugman, NYT, 7.14.14

• In September 2013, "Obamacare" was mentioned in floor speeches by members of Congress 2,753 times. In June 2014, "Obamacare" was mentioned just 171 times." — Sunlight Foundation

13.4% of Americans were uninsured as of June 2014, a 4.6% drop from September 2013, when anti-Obamacare rhetoric hit its peak. — Gallup (per Jaime Fuller, W. Post)

• "The GOP tears sustain me." — reader comment (derpington) re: article about the success of Obamacare

• Below: Watch Stephen Colbert's take on House Speaker John Boehner's pathetic lawsuit against President Obama over Obamacare

Stephen Colbert Knows Economics stephen colbert mcdonald's ronald mcdonald minimum wage living wage dorothea lange poverty republicans

• The federal minimum wage was last raised in 2009.

• "If Congress had passed the Democrats' bill (in spring 2014) to raise the minimum hourly wage from $7.25 (= $15,080/year) to $10.10  over two years, 4.6 million people would rise above the poverty line." ( 

• The bill would have also increased the wage for tipped employees to 70 percent of the minimum wage.

Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart amuse at the 2006 Emmy Awards.

• "The precursor of modern minimum wage laws can be found in the Ordinance of Labourers (1349), which was a decree by King Edward III that set a maximum wage for laborers in medieval England" (due to a labor shortage caused by the Black Plague).

• "The first national minimum wage law was enacted by the government of New Zealand in 1894, followed by Australia in 1896 and Great Britain in 1909 (and) the United States ... in 1938." (wikipedia)

minimum wage for developed nations 2011 - wikipedia

minimum wage for developed nations 2011 - wikipedia

Too Funny to be President cactus or caucus capitol mo udall dc politics political parties pricks on outside

• “Lord, give us the wisdom to utter words that are gentle and tender, for tomorrow we may have to eat them.”—Mo Udall

• Watch Jon Stewart's funny litany above of the Republican caucus' humorless hypocrisy. 

grimes cartoon 1539 mind narrows capitol politics 

• Called “too funny to be president” by a leading commentator, Udall compiled jokes in a book by the same name, saying, “After due deliberation and two stiff drinks, I decided to go ahead and write this book because I'm convinced that humor is as necessary to the health of our political discourse as it is in our private lives.”

• Rep. Morris “Mo” Udall (1922 – 1998) (D-AZ) served in Congress from 1961 to 1991. A former professional basketball player known for his wit and progressive causes (environment, campaign finance reform, Native Americans, National Parks, etc.) Mo replaced his brother Stewart in Congress. His son Mark Udall is currently a representative from Colorado, nephew Tom is a Senator from New Mexico, and second cousin Gordon Smith served as Senator from Oregon. 

• "The more we exploit nature, the more our options are reduced, until we have only one: to fight for survival." — Mo Udall

• "WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) - A broad-based coalition of millionaires converged on Washington today to defeat a bill that would have increased the minimum wage for American workers to $10.10 an hour. Leaving behind their mansions and yachts, the millionaires were motivated by what they saw as an existential threat to the country, Mitch McConnell, a spokesman for the millionaires, said." (Andy Borowitz - 4.29.14)

fizzdom collage 

fizzdom collage 

• Collage above: Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is congratulated by R. McDonald, Director of Families for Lower Wages, after sealing demise of a higher minimum wage.

• Having lost a bruising battle to Jimmy Carter for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination, Udall resisted entering the 1984 race: "If nominated, I shall run to Mexico. If elected, I shall fight extradition."