What Roy Moore Victory Means For The Republican Party

When there is not an intelligent component to politics we get the outcome that took place in Alabama tonight

The victory tonight might feel good to the base of the GOP who views everything from only ten feet away.  But to those who like to think beyond the aim of their remote control the outcome tonight shows rough sledding for the party moving forward.  There is now every reason to believe that the split in the party only becomes wider between populists and the establishment.   After a solid electoral victory for Republicans in 2016 for the president and control of both house of Congress it should all have been fine with the majority party.  But the fact they can not govern, and can not even pass a single major bill on their own so to meet the promises made to their base shows the rot and incompetence just below the surface.

Instead of Moore being a proud victor for the party it rather only underscores the divisions and rancor that seethes within.  Instead of cohesion what happened tonight emboldens more lawmakers to defy the party leadership and encourage other insurgents to challenge Republican incumbents.

But the victory tonight by Moore also shows President Trump has as much control of his party as polar bears have at making their ice not melt.  Luther Strange, whom Trump supported and campaigned for, lost.  For those who love irony let it not be forgotten that Trump, in this case, sided with the establishment forces who had lined up against his campaign for president.  Now Trump has been out-hustled by the very people who made him think he was smart enough to sit in the Oval Office.  There is no way to make this stuff up! (And I love it!)

Going forward Trump will no longer have the huff and puff to inoculate others from being challenged  by populists from the underside of society.  When a president is no longer feared there is nothing left to do but fold up the card table and move to Camp David until the term ends.   Just ask LBJ.

Liberals, such as myself, are waiting for the next act of this absurd play to start.  Wait until Moore starts his bat-crap crazy comments as a candidate for the general election, and then makes explosive comments as a member of the Senate.  All those GOP candidates next year around the nation will be asked to respond during the mid-term elections to Moore and his tirades on gays, guns, and gonorrhea.   The late night comics will only need to read the newspapers for their monologue so to get their laughs.

While I have reasons based on constitutional concerns as to why Moore should be placed in a straight-jacket as opposed to being in the Senate, there is also a real slice of me that relishes this outcome as it underscores the civil war that rages in the party.  Republicans have not yet reached the bottom of their lowest common denominator barrel.   They have to be close (right?) but in the meantime get some popcorn and watch the basket of undesirables as they march off the cliff.

All together now, the last step is a doozy.

When News Makes For Humor

I try not to go down this type of road on Caffeinated Politics–but today the NY press are having a field day and with my interest in how the media works—well…..

Over 200 Organizations Oppose Graham-Cassidy Health Care Proposal

This proposal will likely not even see a Senate vote as it is so darn unpopular.

The letter, signed by 237 organizations, details the coalition’s concerns with several of the bill’s provisions and highlights the ways the proposed law would impact individuals and families living in poverty, people of color, women, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, individuals with disabilities, seniors, and individuals with limited English proficiency—in other words, “America’s traditionally underserved communities, which our organizations represent.”

The groups, led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Health Law Program, the National Partnership for Women & Families, are specifically concerned that:

  • Underserved individuals and communities that have gained healthcare coverage through the ACA will lose it under this bill;
  • Medicaid recipients—including “one of every five individuals in the United States, including one of every three children, 10 million people with disabilities, and nearly two-thirds of people in nursing homes”—will suffer because the bill halts Medicaid expansion and overhauls how the federal government distributes funding to the states;
  • “The ‘defunding’ of Planned Parenthood would prevent more than half of its patients from getting affordable preventive care, including birth control, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and well-women exams at Planned Parenthood health centers, often the only care option in their area;”
  • Because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was unable to fully score the bill in time for the pending vote this week, “we do not yet have a complete understanding of the full devastation that Graham-Cassidy would bring.”


Top Ten Most Challenged Books Of 2016–Read One And Tick Off a Censor During Banned Books Week

Once again we are called to be aware of those who would try to censor what we read.  To stand alongside all those who abhor such censorship, and call it out during Banned Book Week which runs through Sept. 30th, I post the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016.  When I was a teenager–believe it or not–the books that were attempted to be censored around the nation included such grand reads as the following.

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Out of 323 challenges reported to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom these are the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016.

  1. This One Summerwritten by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    This young adult graphic novel, winner of both a Printz and a Caldecott Honor Award, was restricted, relocated, and banned because it includes LGBT characters, drug use, and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes.
  1. Dramawritten and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Parents, librarians, and administrators banned this Stonewall Honor Award-winning graphic novel for young adults because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint.
  1. Georgewritten by Alex Gino
    Despite winning a Stonewall Award and a Lambda Literary Award, administrators removed this children’s novel because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels.”
  1. I Am Jazzwritten by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    This children’s picture book memoir was challenged and removed because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints.
  1. Two Boys Kissingwritten by David Levithan
    Included on the National Book Award longlist and designated a Stonewall Honor Book, this young adult novel was challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content.
  1. Looking for Alaskawritten by John Green
    This 2006 Printz Award winner is a young adult novel that was challenged and restricted for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation.”
  1. Big Hard Sex Criminalswritten by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
    Considered to be sexually explicit by library staff and administrators, this compilation of adult comic books by two prolific award-winning artists was banned and challenged.
  1. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unreadwritten by Chuck Palahniuk
    This collection of adult short stories, which received positive reviews from Newsweek and the New York Times, was challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive.”
  1. Little Bill(series) written by Bill Cosby and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
    This children’s book series was challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author.
  1. Eleanor & Parkwritten by Rainbow Rowell
    One of seven New York Times Notable Children’s Books and a Printz Honor recipient, this young adult novel was challenged for offensive language.


97-Year-Old WWII Vet Takes Knee To Support NFL Protests

Well done.

On a day when NFL teams grabbed the nation’s attention by coordinating demonstrations during the national anthem, a 97-year-old World War II veteran went viral with a solitary show of support for the protests.

Brennan Gilmore posted a Twitter picture Sunday morning of his grandfather, John Middlemas, kneeling while wearing a veteran’s cap.

Gilmore wrote: “My grandpa is a 97 year-old WWII vet & Missouri farmer who wanted to join w/ those who #TakeaKnee: ‘those kids have every right to protest.'”

Middlemas is a farmer from Willard, Missouri.

Paperbacks For Soldiers

Interesting read.

In early June, 1944, tens of thousands of American troops prepared to storm the beaches of Normandy, France. As they lined up to board the invasion barges, each was issued something less practical than a weapon, but equally precious: a slim, postcard-sized, softcover book.

These were Armed Services Editions, or ASEs—paperbacks specifically designed to fit in a soldier’s pockets and travel with them wherever they went. Between 1943 and 1947, the United States military sent 123 million copies of over 1,000 titles to troops serving overseas. These books improved soldiers’ lives, offering them entertainment and comfort during long deployments. By the time the war ended, they’d also transformed the publishing industry, turning the cheap, lowly paperback into an all-American symbol of democracy and practicality.

As the bookseller Michael Hackenberg writes in an essay for the Library of Congress, small books and paperbacks have arisen many times over the course of publishing history, usually in response to some particular need. In 1501, Venice’s Aldine Press began printing octavo-sized editions of Latin and Greek classics for aspiring scholars on the go. (The books were designed to be “held in the hand and learned by heart… by everyone,” their publisher, Aldus Manutius, later wrote.)

Race-Baiting Is Part Of Trump’s Agenda, Ends Facebook Friend

On Sunday I had a spirited back-and-forth on Facebook with a man who I have known for going on 30 years.  We met in Madison and had a common appreciation for the Grand Ole Opry and classic country music.  He is even-keeled for the most part and it has been fun exchanging ideas on politics and cultural matters on social media as we live many miles apart.  But yesterday I was totally taken aback when he could not see–or willfully chose not to see–the racism that dripped from President Trump’s remarks in Alabama Friday night regarding professional athletes who take to their knee during the playing of the National Anthem.

While there can be differences of opinion–and how bland conversations would be if we all thought alike–there must be for rational discussion a realistic awareness of the facts regarding an issue. When that is missing there is reason to wonder why one refuses to know the facts, or glibly pretend they do not exist.   Such was the reason for my complete rejection of what he spun yesterday on FB about racism.

I am sad that the overt racism that runs through the Trump Administration seems lost to some.  How can it not be noticed by all that a most insidious racism plays out constantly from this governing team?  Race, after all, has been the overarching story of Trump’s political career and controversies. Consider:

  • His birther crusade against Barack Obama
  • His remark that Mexico sends “rapists” across the border
  • His call for a Muslim ban during the 2016 campaign
  • His attack on federal judge Gonzalo Curiel
  • His dust-up with the Khan family
  • His response to last month’s violence in Charlottesville, Va.

So it is hard for me to read comments on FB about those taking a knee at a football game and recall not only what Trump said this past week but also know of his controversies above and NOT conclude that this is about racism.

My Facebook friend knows too but plays a racial card that I can not any longer abide.   He was removed from my list last evening.

Where Does Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill Stand This Morning?

Slip, sliding away………

Health-policy experts are still struggling to make sense of this hodgepodge of different senators’ health-care demands, and it’s hard to see how it brings any of the lawmakers closer to “yes.” Collins hasn’t officially said she’s a “no,” but the Post reported that Republicans are “once again privately pessimistic the changes would convince her to vote yes.” McCain has been calling for a return to “regular order” and releasing a new bill six days before the voting deadline accomplishes the opposite. The Congressional Budget Office already said it would only be able to provide a “preliminary assessment” before the vote, and now they’re working on an outdated bill.

So the new Graham-Cassidy probably isn’t going anywhere, but as Trump predicted, “Eventually we’ll win, whether it’s now or later.” Trump hasn’t even been in office for a year, and Republicans have shown an astounding drive to pass legislation that only right-wing billionaires want. Imagine what our health-care system would look like if Republican senators were half as determined to fix it as they are to destroy it.