Virginia Thomas builds tea party network

I wonder if the Senate, while going through the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominees, has ever ordered psychological testing for those nominees. 

I know they can’t order the examinations on the nominee’s spouse, but I swear, regarding “Uncle” Clarence and Ginni Thomas, there’s a case to be made for mandatory psych evaluations of SCOTUS nominees…


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife Virginia “Ginni” Thomas has a new job in conservative journalism that keeps her involved with the recent focus of her political activism and business dealings – the tea party movement.

As a part-time special correspondent for the Daily Caller, Thomas plans to tap into the movement, according to emails sent this month to top tea party organizers around the country, to build a list of “leaders from the grassroots in each state … who have their ear to the ground” and are willing to be surveyed weekly by two “prominent pollsters.” The results will be published on the Daily Caller website.

Thomas’s involvement with the tea party and the conservative movement in general has been a continuing source of controversy both for her and her husband.

Ginni Thomas’s 2009 creation of a tea party non-profit group for which she raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed contributions, as well as her subsequent creation of a tea party consulting firm last year, has become the basis for allegations by some liberals that her husband’s impartiality has been compromised.

And her attendance at an annual summit of major conservative donors organized by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch – revealed in a recent speech by a federal judge and Thomas family ally – can be expected to draw even more scrutiny.

In remarks prepared for delivery last month to the San Francisco branch of the conservative Federalist Society, Laurence Silberman, a senior judge on the federal appeals court in Washington, blasted critics of the Thomases as “hypocrites” pushing “phony concerns” about judicial ethics, while ignoring real ones and getting their facts wrong.

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The last-minute budget deal: What gets cut?

I have no doubt that the Republicans won their standoff with Obama on Friday night.  I also have no doubt that the POTUS’ re-election efforts will not be as easy as it was nearly four years ago.

Rachel Maddow illustrates an excellent point in this video.  Please view it if at all possible.

(Starting at 5:04 you can view the section I’m talking about, but the entire segment is worth watching!)

The Week

Congress settled on $38.5 billion in spending reductions late Friday, mere hours before the government would have shut down. Endangered wolves are on the chopping block. What else?


High-speed rail
President Obama agreed to a $1.5 billion cut on a policy close to his heart, says Sam Stein at The Huffington Post: The planned national high-speed rail system. This represents a “major hit to one of the president’s favorite transportation priorities,” and only strengthens critics’ suspicion that high speed rail is a “pie-in-the-sky policy.”

Endangered wolves 
Wolves in Idaho and Montana will be removed from the endangered species list as part of the budget deal on the environment. While that’s “bad news for the northern Rockies,” says Glenn Hurowitz at The Huffington Post, the Democrats fared slightly better on environmental funding as a whole. The EPA’s funding was cut by $1.49 billion, not the $3 billion originally proposed by Republicans, and the agency will continue to regulate carbon emissions.

The United Nations
The bill cuts $377 million from the U.S. contribution to the United Nations. That may not seem like a significant number in the big picture, says Howard LaFranchi at The Christian Science Monitor, but it will have a marked effect on the U.N. The U.S. contributes nearly a quarter of the U.N.’s total budget, and Obama is requesting $3.5 billion for the U.N. in his 2012 budget. A “wall of Republican resistance” is likely to spur further cuts to U.N. spending.

Abortions in Washington, D.C.
Planned Parenthood may have been spared, but the GOP did manage to end taxpayer-funded abortions in the District of Columbia. The Mayor of Washington D.C., Vincent Gray, was arrested Monday on the streets of the capitol during a protest against the provision.

Summer school Pell Grants
On education, the president’s “Race to the Top” initiative was left unscathed, but the Pell Grant program will be trimmed. Scrapping summer school grants and preventing students from using two Pell grant awards simultaneously will save $493 million this year, and more than $35 billion over the next decade.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program
The government will save $3.5 billion by scrapping bonus payments to states that successfully enroll large numbers of previously-ininsured children in Medicaid. Republicans were unsuccessful in pushing for an end to all funding for President Obama’s signature health care reform law.

The Joint Strike Fighter jet
The Pentagon is one of the few government departments that did not see an overall funding reduction — in fact, it will receive a $5 billion increase — but the bill does slash $4.2 billion in military earmarks, including funds for the Joint Strike Fighter jet engine that would have been built in John Boehner’s Ohio district.


Poverty in John Boehner’s District

Perhaps because those poverty stricken folks in John Boehner’s district don’t usually vote  Republican, house leader John  Boehner cares less about their outcome.

The Nation

For forty years, Tina Osso has worked on food and poverty issues serving nearly all of speaker John Boehner’s 8th Congressional District of Ohio. She came to that work in 1973, when the oil embargo resulted in her losing her job, and she unexpectedly found herself in line at a food pantry, where she began volunteering.

“It changed the course of my life,” says Osso.

Ten years later, she founded the Shared Harvest Foodbank where she still serves as executive director today. The food bank distributes food to pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, nutrition programs for seniors and children, and operates antipoverty programs as well.

Osso describes herself as “an aging hippie, a political activist and a stand-up comedian wannabe, trying her best to do the right thing at the right time.” But among her colleagues she’s earned a reputation as “a longtime people’s advocate,” according to Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks in Columbus.

“She has her finger to the pulse of those in need in the 8th District as much as anyone, and that need is greater now than it has been in decades,” says Hamler-Fugitt.

Indeed in 2009, childhood poverty rose over six points in the Boehner district to reach 19.1 percent, or 29,173 kids. Overall, 14 percent of Boehner’s constituents live below the federal poverty line of $22,400 per year for a family of four. Shared Harvest’s work has more than doubled—it distributed approximately 7 million pounds of food in 2007, and 16 million pounds in 2010.

To respond to increased child hunger, the food bank started a backpack program that provides weekend meals to kids identified by schools as chronically hungry. The warning signs include physical manifestations such as sunken eyes or crusting around the mouth, or behaviors like rushing food lines or hoarding food.

“These are kids ages three to twelve who are at a critical point in their brain development and need adequate nutrition,” says Osso. “We’re only in eleven of the forty-eight school districts in our territory and we now serve about 2,100 children a week. It’s stunning.”

Please continue here…

For Those That Find Birtherism Passe: Blogs Report On Obama’s ‘Brain Surgery Scars’

Keeping up with our “sorting out the crazies” meme…


A lot of the times we miss out on the latest and greatest Barack Obama conspiracy theories that aren’t being promoted by legitimate presidential candidates. This is especially true ever since I started blocking emails from my aunt who was positive that Obama held a “Pimps and Ho’s Party” at the White House (Sorry, Aunt Becky. If you’re hosting Christmas this year, you’re gonna have to call me by phone about it). Anyway, thank goodness for Wonkette picking up on this article from The Daily Mail. You’d think we’d be annoyed at the British tabloid printing unsubstantiated rumors about our president, but how else would we know about Obama’s sinister brain surgery scars! Now that’s an awesome conspiracy.

The Daily Mail piece collects some theories from bloggers who noticed an odd pattern in Obama’s hair in pictures of he and George Lopez. Not content to ask the obvious questions (when and why Obama was hanging with George Lopez in the first place?), the bloggers dug deeper and realized that the hair pattern was clearly a scar from brain surgery.

“Ben Hart, a blogger for Escape The Tyranny a website which presents itself as a Social Network & Forum For Conservatives, said: ‘Obama’s almost done with his first term, and we still know almost nothing about the background of the President of the United States.

‘Whatever happened to create that scar, it was clearly something serious. Was it a brain operation? Has it affected his thinking?

‘No one is allowed to see his birth certificate. He is just one big mystery man, which adds intrigue to what that huge scar is all about.’

He also said that surgery might explain why the President gets lost speaking without a teleprompter, and posted a video of Obama struggling through a speech, repeating his words and getting lost mid-sentence.”

My first question was why the most powerful man in the world couldn’t get his hands on a surgeon who wouldn’t leave noticeable scars. But then I realized Obama probably used some cheap surgeon…in Kenya!

I had some more questions but, unfortunately, I got distracted by The Daily Mail’s photos of Christine Hendricks in a nightie. Hopefully some legitimate, real, totally serious presidential candidate will pick up this story and talk about it on every news show ever for three weeks straight so that I can learn more.

(h/t Wonkette)

Ron Paul Bashes Paul Ryan’s Budget, Calls Big Government ‘King’

Huffington Post

Potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul (Texas) on Monday panned Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget proposal, telling a crowd in Iowa that the Ryan plan will not end big government, which he said is becoming like a monarchy.

Speaking at a forum organized by the Family Leader, a local Christian and socially conservative group, the Texas congressman referred to a passage in the Old Testament where the Israelite people asked the prophet Samuel for a king to rule over them. He used the story a parable to illustrate where he believes the once self-reliant American culture is headed.

“We don’t have a king today but unfortunately I think we’re drifting to a point that our big government is king, and the government tells us what we can do and be responsible for us,” Paul said. “And if we don’t have a house, they’ll give us a house. If we don’t have education, they’ll give us free education. If we’re hungry, we get food stamps. And deficits don’t matter. And if you need money, you print the money. And we have this moral obligation to police the world.”

“It goes on and on,” the congressman said. “The king will take care of us.”

Paul, who had a surprisingly strong showing in the 2008 Republican presidential primary but has not yet declared his intentions for the 2012 race, also talked about Ryan’s budget and the Federal Reserve with an audience of roughly 150 people in Sioux Center, in the state’s northwest corner.

He said the budgets proposed by Rep. Ryan and President Obama wouldn’t put Washington on a path to limited government.

“Neither of those budgets will solve our problems, or even come close,” Paul said.