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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

So, one of the political gossip items of the day has featured some off-color remarks by Colorado Republican Senate hopeful Ken Buck, who, in an apparent dig at GOP primary opponent Jane Norton during a recent campaign event, said that GOP voters should choose him “because I do not wear high heels.

The comment was apparently well-received at the time, but Buck’s campaign has responded to the subsequent fallout by claiming that the remarks were not motivated by gender, and blaming the Norton campaign for injecting gender politics into the race.

Setting that aside, though, I noticed that the caption on the video says the remarks were made during the “Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Party,” which sounds a lot like lunch with the M.O.D. squad from “Thank You For Smoking.” What is this group? Who would hold such an event? Who would attend it?

After a bit of online poking around, I’m here with the answers.

The event was organized by Colorado’s “Independence Institute” (“Freedom’s Front Line”), which as far as I can tell, is a libertarian-ish quasi-think tank whose central insight seems to be that protecting freedom necessarily involves engaging in as many self-destructive activities as possible, simultaneously (thus making them exponentially more self-destructive). I wanted to learn more about them, so I clicked on their Web site’s “About” tab:

This is an example of a WordPress page, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many pages like this one or sub-pages as you like and manage all of your content inside of WordPress.

There is a pretty through description of the “8th Annual ATF Party,” however:

The award-winning event features a PETA-friendly clay pigeon shoot followed by a clubhouse luncheon complete with whiskey and cigars in one of the last places available to smokers – the outside.

“The thought of responsible adults enjoying these pastimes just drives the liberal meddlers nuts,” said Institute president Jon Caldara. “I can’t think of a better use of my time or yours for that matter.”

The $150 fee to participate in the ATF event also includes 100 sporting clays, ammunition, lunch, libations, cigars and lunch time entertainment. Past lunch speakers include Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard Executive Editor Fred Barnes, Joe the Plumber and internationally renowned columnist Christopher Hitchens.

Sounds delightful.

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This morning on the Texas Tribune’s front page:

The story is simple enough: Texas is facing a budget deficit of somewhere between $12 billion-$18 billion, and the big three in our state government (Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, House Speaker Joe Straus) want to cut our way out of the hole. They have already applied a “no new taxes” pledge to this session’s budget-writing process.

For the state to cut its way out of the hole, though, we’d have to start closing prisons or schools or, as Straus has obliquely suggested, withdraw our state from Medicaid.

The impressively jowly Talmadge Heflin has quite a history in this debate: in 2003, he was the chairman of Texas’ House Appropriations Committee when the legislature came up against a $10 billion deficit. The budget that Heflin and Perry pushed has since resulted in a disastrous experiment in privatizing state services (which ended up costing more money than it saved), more than 350,000 children cut from the State Children’s Health Insurance program, and a broken eligibility determination system for public services that will likely wind up landing Texas in court.

In the likely event that Perry, Dewhurst and Straus are all re-elected in November, and the legislature continues to be GOP-dominated, 2011 will be a replay of 2003, except worse.

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Again?

Apparently, we haven’t had enough of this pointless exercise.

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This morning, I am catching up on three weeks-worth of “The Coversation,” the nytimes.com opinion blog by David Brooks and Gail Collins. The two have attained a plane of level-headed disagreement and verbal cleverness that makes them really fun to read. Sample dialogue from this week’s, on the Al/Tipper Gore divorce:

Gail Collins: I think the nation as a whole is thinking that if Al and Tipper split after 40 years, no marriage is ever safe. And the fact that Hillary and Bill outlasted them means that we’ve been lied to by a generation’s worth of Lifetime movies.

David Brooks: Both Tipper and Al seem to want this. They seem to have made the decision after mature consultation. Maybe they’ll both be happier now. And after all, the kids are grown.

Gail Collins: Maybe their kids have grown, but what about us? We liked having Al and Tipper walking hand in hand into the sunset. Couldn’t they have just pretended for our sakes? Their houses have gotten so big that they could probably go for months without running into one another.

Just thought I’d share that. More here.

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… will the Texas Film Commission’s morality police give a tax incentive to Robert Rodriguez’s “revenge fantasy for illegal immigrants?”

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I’ve never used an ATM, so I don’t know what the fees are,” Nelson said, adding that he gets his cash from bank tellers, just not automatic ones. “It’s true, I don’t know how to use one. But I could learn how to do it just like I’ve . . . I swipe to get my own gas, buy groceries. I know about the holograms.”

Kind of reminds me of

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That whole “slave trade” thing? Don’t worry about it—United States didn’t have anything to do with that. The “Atlantic triangular trade,” on the other hand …

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