Still Calling


Pathetic Pat Toomey gets punked, HARD

Pathetic Pat Toomey, who’s a real tough guy when he’s taking health insurance away from kids with cancer or sending Syrian refugee children back to warzones, is terrified of his adult constituents. So much so that he hasn’t met with them for months. But after he decided to support Betsy DeVos for Department of Education,…

LIAR! Sicko Pat Toomey’s empty promises to addicts

Sicko Pat Toomey is at it again. He brags about his fight against opiate addiction. Like, constantly. But when he voted to repeal Pennsylvania’s Medicaid expansion, he left thousands of white, rural opiate addicts to DIE. Pat Toomey KNOWS better than most that opiates kill. He says as much on his website. So a vote…

PA Budget Crisis: a Modest Proposal

Gov. Wolf’s administration began its defense of a $33.3 billion budget proposal Monday, with the Democrat confronting Pennsylvania government’s worst budget gridlock in decades and a Republican-controlled Legislature that is hostile to the election-year tax increase he wants.

Republicans faced off with Wolf’s budget secretary, Randy Albright, at the first Senate Appropriations Committee hearing over Wolf’s warnings of local tax increases and steep school layoffs if lawmakers choose to close a $2 billion-plus projected deficit by spending cuts alone.

“That’s a nice math game, but come on,” Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre.

I have a modest proposal. Give the Republicans, who hold the majority in the state house, exactly what they want, and then some: small government.

Let the schools shut down, statewide. Let the nonprofits that work with the elderly and the disabled shutdown. Since taxes are the worst thing evah, shut down the department of revenue, and stop paying state workers their salary (including legislators, who aren’t working anyway). Shut down the DOT and the DEP. Shut down the county assistance offices. Shut down the state police and the courts and the state prisons (let ’em out or let ’em die). Furlough everyone. Every single state function, just shut that fucker down. Turn out the lights in Harrisburg and go home (the place is bankrupt already.

The governor’s office should set its voicemail to say something like “Although I have tried to work with the Republicans to craft a budget, they have refused to compromise. Given their majority, I’ve decided to give them what they want. Please call House Majority Leader Dave Reed, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, and Speaker Mike Turzai if you have any questions or concerns.”

And then just wait. Give them what they want. Maybe they’ll find they don’t want it after all.

PA Budget Crisis

The ongoing stalemate on the Pennsylvania budget -pitting the novice Democratic governor against the entrenched Republican majority in the legislature- is finally getting real for people. It’s easy to forget that what seem like picayune arguments over money have real impact on the lives of ordinary people, and the shit it beginning to hit the…

Comedy Gold

If you have a moment today, I urge you to listen to the now-archived broadcast of WHYY’s Radio Times, which this morning was an unintentionally hilarious conversation with the Pennsylvania Republican Big Wigs about Donald Trump. The first response was that Trump’s stances appeal to a bipartisan set of voters, which is ridiculous on its face: Democrats have concerns about immigration too, but no one in our party (and certainly not in our pool of presidential candidates) is going around saying immigrants are murderous rapists that should all be deported to Mexico. The second response was “Can we talk about Bernie Sanders instead, HE’S A SOCIALIST, A SOCIALIST who wants to raise taxes on the top 99% of income that’s crazy talk AMIRITE!!!1!!”, to which the host responded “we talked about him last week, REMEMBER? Oh and also actually a lot of Democrats agree with him on the taxes.” It went on and on, just like that. There was no acknowledgement AT ALL that Trump is popular with the base because the GOP hierarchy has cultivated a xenophobic, paranoid base going back to NIXON. As my good friend Bill Hangley agreed, they can’t denounce him because he stands for the same things the GOP says it supports:

“They can’t repudiate him without repudiating his ideas – since he’s selling the same ideas that they’re all selling. He’s just offering up the Kandy-Koated Zooper Zap Buy-One-Get-One-Free-and-THAT’S NOT ALL! dollar store version. He didn’t change the product one single bit. He just dipped it in MSG.”

Or, as Booman wrote at Progress Pond earlier this month:

Trump is too racist for NASCAR, too classless to sponsor a beauty pageant, too much of a prick to host Walt Disney Corp. golfers. But he’s now in a dead-heat with Jeb Bush in the contest to be the next presidential nominee of the Republican Party. Do you need any more proof than this to realize that, after years of being subjected to deliberate brain spoilage, the right-wing in this country is hungry for a white nationalist demagogue?

I’d almost feel sorry for the poor chumps on the show, tap-dancing like a barefoot man on a bed of hot coals, but they stoked these fires themselves. It’s like I said last week: the monster has gotten loose and is rampaging through the Village. They are trying whatever they can to tame it -even going on the air to distance themselves from their creation even if they can’t denounce it entirely- and it’s not working. And there’s a reason for that: you can’t fix a problem if you won’t even acknowledge it exists. And what makes it all the more poignant (ok, not really) is that after the shellacking they took in 2012, a few brave GOP consultants tried to do just that, releasing a post-morten that identified the party’s problems with Latinos, immigrants, African Americans and every other voter bloc, and nobody listened (do NOT point to the gains made in 2014 unless you took a good look at the states in play then and the states in play in 2016: it was going to be a good year for the GOP in 2014, 2016 will be a lot tougher). So it’s all “Let’s talk about Bernie Sanders instead he’s a wackadoo”, “Democrats like Trump too”, and my favorite from this morning’s interview, “He’s a showman, and Americans like entertainers.” All of this is deflection. If the GOP is going to rid itself of Trump, they will have to rid themselves of a huge percentage of the base that they depend on. And that’s going to require what Stuart Smalley -now a US Senator named Al Franken- advised: Look in the mirror. Only you can help you.

Of course the GOP is slightly handicapped in this regard: because as the Party leadership has shown us, they’re not good enough. They’re not smart enough. And doggone it, people DON’T like them.

Shorter PA Legislature: “Hey, Let’s Waste Some Money”

Via the indispensable Raging Chicken Press, two brain-dead bags of meat from the PA Republican Party, Jerry “I Look Like a Chicken” Knowles and Tim “Roundhead McBoingboing” Krieger, have introduced two bills that would subject welfare recipients to drug tests:

Knowles’ co-sponsorship memo would randomly drug test welfare recipients because his “constituents are frustrated with what they see as abuse of some state welfare programs, such as access cards” and continues with “this is money which is, in many cases, being wasted on those who choose not to work and spend state money on illegal and illicit drugs.” At the end of his memo, Knowles thinks that anyone who receives assistance from the state of Pennsylvania are people who turn to the state for a “paycheck,” and they should meet the same standards of being privately employed.

Given than this scheme already failed spectacularly in both Florida (where it cost the taxpayers nearly $165,000 to learn that only about 2.5% of welfare recipients failed the test) and Tennessee (which spent an unknown-but-surely-ghastly amount of money to learn that only 1 out of 802 welfare applicants failed the test), I have to agree that drug-testing recipients of government largesse is necessary. Specifically, for Congressmen Krieger, Knowles, and any other ding-a-ling that supports this. Seriously, those guys must be HIIIIIIIIIIGH AS FUCK on the good stuff to believe that a thoroughly discredited attack on our poorest neighbors is going to work here when it has failed everywhere else it’s been tried.