Did you know that Scott McClellan, longtime White House press secretary under George W. Bush, is the vice president of communications for Seattle University? And has been since August of 2012?
I didn't until Slog reader Holly asked why we had never mentioned that.
McClellan, as Wikipedia reminds us:
... criticized the Bush Administration in his 2008 memoir, What Happened. In the book, he accused Bush of "self-deception" and of maintaining a "permanent campaign approach" to governing rather than making the best choices. McClellan stopped short of saying that Bush purposely lied about his reasons for invading Iraq, writing that the administration was not "employing out-and-out deception" to make the case for war in 2002, though he did assert the administration relied on an aggressive "political propaganda campaign" to sell the Iraq war. His book was also critical of the press corps for being too accepting of the administration's perspective on the war and of Condoleezza Rice for being "too accommodating" and overly careful about protecting her own reputation.
I had also forgotten that the Bush White House responded through one of McClellan's successors, who laid this pathetic egg:
Scott, we now know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House. We are puzzled. It is sad. This is not the Scott we knew.
Refuting someone's rational (and even-toned) criticisms by dismissing him as merely grumpy?
Sometimes I forget how much I loathed that entire administration and the way it treated the world like its private, dorm-house romper room.
Anyway: A belated welcome to the neighborhood, Scott! If you're curious about what he's doing at his new job, here's an interview about branding.
Frank Bruni found Courtney Love's cell phone in a cab. A play-by-play from New York Magazine.
The Senate has voted to change its rules so that a simple majority is required to confirm judicial nominations and executive branch picks — the so-called “nuclear option.”
The final vote was 52-48.
“The threshold for cloture on nominations not including the Supreme Court, is now a majority,” Sen Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), the president pro temp, declared after the vote.
Yeah, at the moment people are still calling it the "nuclear option." But it will eventually come to be known as "the Reid Rule."
And before all you Republicans start crying about the Democrats disposing of a couple centuries of tradition, look in the fucking mirror. The filibuster used to be a last resort. But you guys just had to be total dicks about it. Just be thankful Dems didn't eliminate the filibuster for everything.
UPDATE 3:05 PM: I'm moving this post up because more news about the Zimmerman arrest has been released and—shocker—a gun was allegedly involved:
George Zimmerman is being held without bail on charges that he threatened his girlfriend with a shotgun.
Zimmerman, 30, was taken into custody Monday afternoon following a disturbance call at a home in Apopka, Fla., about 15 miles from Orlando, according to Chief Deputy Dennis Lemma of the Seminole County Sheriff's office...."The victim indicated that she and George Zimmerman were having a verbal dispute and at that time she alleged that he had broken a table and pointed a long barrel shotgun at her," said Lemma.
Zimmerman was reportedly shotgun shopping as recently as August of this year.
ORIGINAL POST 10:57 AM: There's not much information as of yet, but the story is developing.
#BREAKING George Zimmerman — ARRESTED FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE http://t.co/qWa8G0c72Q via @TMZ
— Anthony Michael (@antdom15) November 18, 2013
Socialist Alternative challenger Kshama Swant captured 56.3 percent of today's 3,548 ballot batch, to take a commanding 1,640-vote, 50.3 percent to 49.4 percent lead over 16-year incumbent Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin. Conlin is planning to make a statement at 5 p.m. in which he is expected to concede.
In other races, SeaTac Prop 1—the $15 minimum wage initiative—gave up a few votes to the no side in a tiny 88-ballot batch. Prop 1 now leads by 49 votes out 5,709 ballots cast, 50.43 percent to 49.57 percent. Prop 1 led by a slightly more comfortable 53 votes after yesterday's drop.
The dregs of the ballot batches are unpredictable, but with only about 220 ballots left to count, the odds are likely that Prop 1 will prevail. There is no automatic recount in city ballot measures, but expect Alaska Airlines and friends to pay for one.
As for Seattle Prop 1—public campaign financing—close, but no cigar.
UPDATE: Conlin has conceded; Dom will post from City Hall. So it's official: Seattle has elected a Socialist to city council in a citywide, at-large election.
With a total of 171,858 ballots counted, Socialist Alternative challenger Kshama Sawant has climbed to a 1,148-vote, 50.2 percent to 49.5 percent lead over 16-year incumbent Richard Conlin in their race for Seattle City Council. Sawant won a healthy 55.4 percent of today's batch of 5,646 ballots, extending her total lead outside the margin of an automatic recount. Conlin would need to win better than 55 percent of the approximately 11,000 ballots remaining in order to take back the lead.
Fat lady, sing.
In other races, supporters of SeaTac Prop 1, the $15 minimum wage initiative, are exhaling a tiny sigh of relief after the "yes" vote's 62 percent of today's ballot drop increased it's total lead to 53 votes out 5,621 counted. This was the "yes" side's best percentage performance of any batch, but only 142 ballots were counted. Yesterday, Prop 1 led by only 19 votes. There are only about 300 ballots remaining, but since these could be coming from anywhere, they defy prediction.
As for Seattle's Prop 1—public campaign financing—it looks like too little too late. The "yes" side continued to close the gap, picking up 52.3 percent of today's 5,908 ballot batch. But that's just not enough. It continues to trail 50.7 to 49.3, and by 2,656 votes.
YOU CANNOT MAKE THIS SHIT UP. Watch now, and marvel along with the stunned attendees.
From the New York Post:
At a press conference this morning, Mayor Rob Ford addressed the accusation that he tried to go down on a female staffer, one of several complaints filed against Ford in court documents released on Wednesday. “Oh, and the last thing was Olivia Gondek, it says it says that I wanted to eat her p—y,” he told a throng of reporters on Thursday. “I’ve never said that in my life to her. I would never do that. I’m happily married. I’ve got more than enough to eat at home. Thank you very much,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Toronto City Council is considering stripping Ford of some mayoral powers.
As expected, Socialist Alternative challenger Kshama Sawant expanded her lead over 16-year incumbent Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin in today's ballot drop. She now leads by 402 votes, 49.99 percent to 49.75 percent.
Sawant's margins were way down from previous batches, at only 52.1 percent of the 6,418 ballots added to the count. But before Conlin supporters console themselves at the news, part of this was due to a chunk of write-in ballots added to the drop: 91 write-ins, or 1.4 percent of the drop, leaving Conlin with only 46.5 percent. By comparison, only 0.26 percent of all ballots in the race have contained write-in votes thus far. By my calculations, Conlin would need to win more than 51.2 percent of the remaining ballots to take the lead—a threshold that will only increase as Sawant adds to her lead and the number of ballots remaining dwindles.
In other races, SeaTac Prop 1, the $15 minimum wage initiative, is now leading by only 19 votes after the "no" side picked up 57.7 percent of today's 156 ballot drop. Honestly, this doesn't look good. And Seattle Prop 1, public campaign financing, only scored a 40-vote advantage out of 6,702 ballots counted—it now trails 49.2 percent to 50.8 percent, a likely insurmountable 2,926-vote margin. Ah well.
The latest results are in, and one week after 16-year Seattle City Council incumbent Richard Conlin claimed victory with a seemingly invincible 7.5 percent margin, Socialist Alternative challenger Kshama Sawant has taken a 49.91 to 49.88 percent, 41 vote lead!
While that's an admittedly tiny margin, it came on the back of another big win in today's ballot drop. Sawant won 57.4 percent of the ballots counted today, her second best batch thus far. Sawant would now need to win only 49.9 percent of the remaining ballots to hold her lead. Given the late ballot trend, she'll almost certainly far exceed that. I confidently project a Sawant victory.
In other news, SeaTac Prop 1, the $15 minimum wage initiative, has maintained a 43 vote lead by splitting today's drop of 278 ballots. That's far better than the recent batches, which the no vote won by as much as 63 percent, and suggests a gradual trend back in the yes vote's favor. But these batches are so small it's hard to say whether this is a trend or an anomaly. So be nervous.
Meanwhile, Seattle's Prop 1, public campaign financing, continues its strong comeback, winning 55.3 percent of today's batch, and now trails by 2,966 votes, 49.11 percent to 50.89 percent. Its margins suggest Prop 1 will still fall slightly short, but it'll be damn close. So cross your fingers!
In an exclusive interview with NBC News correspondent Chuck Todd, President Obama formally apologized to those Americans who have had their health insurance policies terminated since the Affordable Care Act went into effect. “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” Obama said Thursday.
You can watch a painfully short video of the exchange at Mediaite; I'm sure the longer version will be online tonight.
(This post has been moved up because HOORAY!)
UPDATE 2:13 PM: The Illinois House has voted in favor of marriage equality. Governor Quinn has previously announced his intention to sign the bill into law. I'm hearing that gay marriage will become legal in Illinois on June 1st, 2014.
ORIGINAL POST 11:15 AM: It's a big day for voting. BuzzFeed says:
The Illinois House will take a final vote on marriage equality legislation Tuesday, a leading advocate tells BuzzFeed. Previously, sources had said a vote would not take place until Wednesday at the earliest.
If passed in the House, the bill will be sent back to the Senate for a vote. The Senate already approved the previous version of the bill earlier this year.
Good luck, Illinois.
The Hawaii state Senate passed a bill Wednesday legalizing gay marriage, sending the measure to the House.
The Senate passed the bill 20-4 but the bill is expected to face a more difficult path in the House, even though both chambers are dominated by Democrats.
Hawaii's governor seems to think the bill will pass through the House. He intends to sign it in to law if that proves true.
A 7.3 magnitude earthquake has struck off the coast of Fukushima, Japan, site of the crippled nuclear reactor. A tsunami warning has been issued, but authorities expect little damage.
Clayton Pettet, a second year art student at Central Saint Martins art school in London, plans on losing his butt virginity in front of a gallery full of spectators on January 25, 2014. He claims it will be an act of “performance art.”
sweeping act of teenage narcissismdeflowering will be titled “Art School Stole My Virginity” and will feature 19-year-old Pettet and his friend engaging in safe sex until completion. Afterwards, they will ask the audience what they thought of the performance.
It looks more like the goal is to get people to talk about him before the performance.
At least, so CNN reports:
Two people were killed and two were injured in a shooting at a Nevada middle school Monday, school officials said.
It was not immediately clear whether the death toll included the shooter.
Police report that a suspect has been "neutralized," a euphemism I particularly despise.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 has issued a mandatory 72-hour notice that its members will strike all Safeway, QFC, Fred Meyer, and Albertsons stores in King, Pierce, Kitsap, Snohomish, Mason and Thurston Counties. So if you don't like crossing picket lines, stock up now.
Those of us betting that Speaker Boehner really wasn't crazy enough to force the nation to default on its debt, have apparently won:
It's not official yet, but all the indications coming from official channels are that Speaker Boehner will bring to a vote a bill that more or less cleanly raises the debt limit and ends the government shutdown. By doing so, Boehner will finally free so-called Republican moderates to join with Democrats in doing what they've wanted to do all along.
That said, I'll believe it when I actually see it.
Can't wait to read the history of this manufactured crisis. I imagine it will contain all the near catastrophe of The Missiles of October, but without any of the statesmanship.
Yeah, That's right. A free friggin stump. Just dug this bad dog out. It weighs quite a bit. 200+lbs. The tree was some kind of Cottonwood. Like it matters.
Do anything you want with this thing. Have an art project? Many uses. Burn it, shoot it, paint it, make a coffee table, whatevs dude.
The listing is from the weekend, BUT THE POST IS STILL UP, so the stump is prolly still available. DO NOT SIT ON THIS OFFER, folks.
I then proceeded to give Griffin the benefit of the doubt, writing:
It's nice that he took a break from the shooting news to complain about President Obama's "violent rhetoric." (Most likely, it was an ill-timed scheduled tweet, but still...)
Turns out, I was totally wrong about that. Griffin did not deserve the benefit of the doubt. BuzzFeed's Rosie Gray reports:
Arkansas Congressman Tim Griffin, a Republican, said he had “tweeted out of emotion” on Thursday after appearing to blame Democrats for a shooting on Capitol Hill...
“We are still processing information about this shooting, but as I have been saying for days, we all need to choose our words wisely because violent rhetoric only coarsens our culture, creates an atmosphere of incivility and is not helpful. I tweeted out of emotion but agree that the timing was not helpful,” Griffin said.
What a piece of shit! Griffin, as I noted before, is a very pro-gun politician. For him to try to pin this shooting on President Obama is the lowest kind of partisan hackery. It doesn't get much more despicable than this.
11:31 AM: I'm seeing on Twitter that shots have been fired outside the Capitol building. There's not much information as of yet; I'll update this post as more comes in.
Police responding to shots fired outside Capitol building (via @learyreports) http://t.co/MCZcBFoOzt
— The Atlantic Wire (@TheAtlanticWire) October 3, 2013
U.S. Capitol police say several people - including police officer - hurt in shooting.
— KFI NEWS (@KFINEWS) October 3, 2013
UPDATE 11:39 AM: According to the Washington Post, "No one would say whether any shots were fired inside the capitol." The Post quotes a Senate Sargent at Arms who says there were injuries. Also from the Post: "I am told shooter has been arrested. House floor activity stopped for now."
UPDATE 11:45 AM: Matt Yglesias points out that the same Capitol Police who are right now trying to protect Congress are suffering from the shutdown, too.
To be more precise, Capitol Police will have to skip their next paycheck if the shutdown extends: http://t.co/z1kj15BVTm
— Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) October 3, 2013
If US House Speaker John Boehner were a patriot, he would defy the kooky-right-wing of his Republican caucus, and schedule a floor vote for the stopgap spending bill recently passed by Senate, almost assuredly sacrificing his leadership post for the welfare of the nation. But he's not a patriot, so he won't. And thus the federal government will shut down on Tuesday, all thanks to the Tea Party obsession with assassinating Obamacare.
House Republican leaders proposed a new plan to the GOP rank-and-file Saturday afternoon: Make a new gesture of defiance toward President Obama’s health-care law, even if it increases the chances of a government shutdown Monday night.
Their plan calls for amendments to a bill designed to keep the government open for a few more weeks. The changes would include a one-year delay in the health-care law, which is set to take effect next month. The GOP plan would also repeal, permanently, a medical-device tax included in the law.
And if you think the economic and human service consequences of a government shutdown are bad, just wait a couple weeks until the House refuses to raise the debt limit, thus tanking global markets by pushing the US towards defaulting on our debt. This is economic terrorism, pure and simple. And of course, President Obama won't cave on Obamacare, because you don't negotiate with terrorists.
We've had a lot of bad congresses. But this has got to be our most irresponsible House ever. Boehner is so weak and weaselly that when it comes to statesmanship, he makes Newt Gingrich look like Henry Clay.
My headline is just trying to faithfully channel the inevitable outrage of the bomb Iran camp over the breaking news that President Barack Obama has actually spoken to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani by phone, and come away persuaded that there is the basis for reaching a nuclear agreement. No doubt the warmongers will characterize this as a scandalous act of weakness, if not an act of treachery.
Of course in reality, the president's phone call—the first direct contact between the countries' two leaders since 1979—was an incredibly bold and courageous political act.
The Iranian revolution and subsequent hostage taking brought down the Carter White House. Iran backed the perpetrators of the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings that killed 299 US and French servicemen. The US likely aided Iraq in targeting chemical weapons against Iran during their bloody border war. Former Iranian leaders have cursed the US as "the Great Satan," while American politicians have long decried Iran's nuclear program as an existential threat. There was even a time when the likelihood of a US military strike seemed hinged on the outcome of a presidential election. Officially, our two nations have been about as bitter enemies as nations can be.
So to pick up the phone in the face of all that history, and just give Rouhani a call? That takes balls. And it is evidence once again that sometimes, elections in both countries really do matter.
Judge Mary Jacobson of the Mercer County Superior Court ruled Friday that gay couples can marry in the Garden State starting October 21.
"This unequal treatment requires that New Jersey extend civil marriage to same-sex couples to satisfy equal protection guarantees of the New Jersy Constitution as interpreted by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lewis," wrote the judge. "Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution."
...you can stream him live on NBC News. He's already railing against "disgrace and disrepute," along with the Democratic "nastiness" against Senator David Vitter. It's like a one-man teabagger rally up in here.
At least five people were killed and eight wounded in a rampage that may have involved two shooters at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning, Navy officials reported.
At least one shooter was killed by law enforcement officials in a building in the Navy Yard at roughly 10:30 a.m. local time, two hours after the shooting rampage began, according to senior law enforcement officials. Officials were still searching the base for a possible second shooter.
Rear Adm. John Kirby, the head of Navy public affairs, cautioned that officials had “conflicting reports” about the number of shooters.
A Navy spokesperson, Lt. Courtney Hilson, said the number of victims was still preliminary as authorities were clearing the Naval Sea Systems headquarters at the Navy Yard room by room. Workers at the sprawling base have been ordered to stay in their offices while the search continues.
As helicopters hovered above the base, first lowering stretchers to airlift victims to local hospitals and later circling the base in an apparent search effort, air traffic was briefly grounded at the nearby Reagan National Airport. Several area schools were put on lockdown.
Update, 10:32 a.m.: The Washington Post reports that at least seven people are dead, including one shooter, and DC police are looking for potentially two other shooters, described as "a white male wearing what appeared to be a khaki tan military uniform and a beret, and carrying a handgun" and "a black man, about 50, wearing an olive military-style uniform, and possessing a 'long gun.'" Meanwhile, President Obama has spoken to the press, calling this "yet another mass shooting" and its victims "courageous Americans."
George Zimmerman is being held by police after a domestic incident involving a gun, police said today.
There's not much more information than that right now, but here's a tweet from AP editor Will Lester:
LAKE MARY, Fla. (AP) — Police: George Zimmerman's wife calls police, saying he threatened her and her dad with a gun. (Uh-oh...)
— will lester (@wjlester) September 9, 2013
UPDATE 12:35 PM: And here's CNN, which says there was an "apparent domestic altercation," and that a gun was found in the home, but was "not a part of the altercation."
UPDATE 1:40 PM: ThinkProgress posted the 911 call to SoundCloud. Shellie Zimmerman says George Zimmerman punched her father, broke an iPad, and threatened them both. Here's the call:
ThinkProgress also reports that "Police Chief Steve Bracknell said, '[Shellie Zimmerman and her father] both have declined to press charges against George Zimmerman. We have no victim, no crime.'" Zimmerman is free to go, but police have kept his gun.
Good work, Texas.
Full story, from inception to passage, at the San Antonio Current.
(Tiny personal points of interest: Not only am I former San Antonion—Churchill Class of '87!—I am also a fan of the mixmaster/music-maker Diego Bernal, who, after distinguishing himself as a mixmaster/music-maker, ran for San Antonio City Council, won a seat, and authored the ordinance that passed today. Celebrate with his awesome For Corners!)
The Obama administration has determined that it will no longer enforce a portion of U.S. code governing veterans benefits in a way that denies gay veterans benefits for their same-sex spouses.
Good first step! Now let's get rid of that law entirely.
A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld California's unprecedented ban on gay conversion therapy for minors, concluding it does not violate the free speech rights of counselors who support the practice or intrude on parents' right to choose such guidance for their children.