Thursday's HOT MIC

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We should really listen to Barack Obama. This Facebook post reminds us all why narcissism and self delusion were his hallmarks.

Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, that’s what we need to do today.

Has there been a politician in the last 50 years who has done more to divide the American people. I can't think of one.

We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain – we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.

Nor did we fight for it alone. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones – a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.

Americans are dying as a result of Obamacare. There is still financial misery and there is no way we are any healthier because of his accursed law.

Does he really think we believe he is such a selfless, goddamn heroic person that he didn't pass Obamacare for political reasons?


At the same time, I was careful to say again and again that while the Affordable Care Act represented a significant step forward for America, it was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts – and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.

Really? Really? All that came out of his mouth for the 7 years we've had to live with Obamacare is that Republicans have no ideas about health care and that the GOP is mean, mean, mean. And anyone who takes credit when the government forces you to buy a product at gunpoint is either incredibly cynical or oblivious to reality.

Obama did the exact same thing his 8 years in office: set up a straw man and then heroically knock it down. He never said "again and again" that he would listen to opposing ideas about health care reform. He was contemptuously dismissive of anything the Republicans wanted to do on health care.

He's still lying about the opposition and his own record.


Can we please purge these Democrats from the GOP?

I know I'm supposed to be interested in healthcare reform — and I can assure you that at my age I'm interested in health — but I'm not. I refuse to read the details of the new healthcare bill at 150 pages or even ten. (Right now, of all things, I'm rereading "Crime and Punishment" after fifty or so years. Man, that guy could write. Sometimes I stop to wonder at the idea of what Dostoevsky would have thought of someone in the 21st Century reading his novel on an iPhone 7+, which I am doing.  But, as the preface reminded, Fyodor was saved from a firing squad at the last second, so maybe he wouldn't even be interested in such mundane matters.)

Anyway, back to healthcare. What makes me impatient with Paul, Cruz, Johnson and Lee (sounds like a barber shop quartet, doesn't it?) immediately coming out in opposition to the bill is that THERE IS NO SOLUTION TO HEALTHCARE. Anyone who thinks he or zhe knows what will work perfectly in this aging world with an army of Alzheimer's victims coming around the corner, should explain it patiently to me. I haven't heard it yet and, frankly, I'm as skeptical as it gets. I don't care if you're a hardline socialist and or a wildly idealistic libertarian or someone in the cis-gendered middle, it ain't happenin'.

I think they should just pass something and get on to tax reform. That's something to make at least some logical sense. (They should have done it first but...I know... I know.)

BTW. P, C, J and L just tanked the stock market at the end of the day. They keep that up much longer and a lot of people won't be able to afford... healthcare.

Fake news doesn't get any fakier than this. 

I had to check the dateline when this came through my Facebook feed to make sure it wasn't from an old newspaper. Sure enough, my local paper still thinks Barack Obama is president. (The editorial cartoon is a whole 'nother discussion.) I know some of the reporters at the Daily Record and they usually do a fine job of covering local news. The paper was recently bought out by Gatehouse Media, which publishes 97 dailies in 20 states and 198 paid weeklies, in addition to free papers, shoppers and specialty and niche publications. If your local paper is owned by Gatehouse, you might want to check to see who they have listed as POTUS. I'm pretty sure Obama's got a full schedule of tee times lined up, so your calls to him will likely go directly to voice mail.

Longtime Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass has a gem of a piece that recommends the only sensible course of action for Illinois as they careen toward fiscal meltdown and financial disaster at the end of this month.

Dissolve the Land of Lincoln and allow neighboring states to divide up the pieces.

Decommission the state, tear up the charter, whatever the legal mumbo-jumbo, just end the whole dang thing.

We just disappear. With no pain. That's right. You heard me.

The best thing to do is to break Illinois into pieces right now. Just wipe us off the map. Cut us out of America's heartland and let neighboring states carve us up and take the best chunks for themselves.

The group that will scream the loudest is the state's political class, who did this to us, and the big bond creditors, who are whispering talk of bankruptcy and asset forfeiture to save their own skins.

But our beloved Illinois has proved that it just doesn't deserve to survive.

So why not let our friendly neighbors like Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky just take the parts they want?

Helpfully, Kass commissioned a map that would show how the new Midwest might look.

Wisconsin can have Chicago and begin calling it "South Milwaukee."

Naturally, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will fight this. He needs a job. And he'll most likely beg his friends at The New York Times and the Washington Post to write angry editorials to save him. And these will be full of concern for the republic and those dispossessed Midwestern salt-of-the-earth taxpaying Americans, as if.

Sadly, Wisconsin probably won't want Rahm, either. So to spare hurt feelings, I propose carving out 40 acres around the mayor's home so Rahm might be prince of his own country:


Kass believes the only real difference between Illinois and Venezuela is that our state still sells toilet paper. But for how long, no one can say.

Read the whole priceless thing.

This morning I dropped Yellow Dog (aka Toby) off at the vet for major knee surgery (he's the big fella on the left):

He's had problems with one of the cruciate ligaments on his back leg for quite some time, which really cut into his frisbee-chasing habit. It came and went, seeming to improve at times, but in recent weeks he stopped using the leg completely and started gimping around on three legs. By the time I took him to the vet he had lost a significant amount of muscle tone in his hind quarter, so we finally relented and agreed to surgery (which we were really, really hoping to avoid). Here's how it's described at Vet Surgery Central:

The tibial plateau leveling osteotomy - TPLO involves making a curved cut in the top of the tibia bone (osteotomy) to include the tibial plateau. The tibial plateau is then rotated along the curved osteotomy in order to level the slope. A plate and screws are used to hold the tibial plateau in place so that the bone can heal in its new position.

Here's what they're doing to our poor doggy on the operating table right now:

Hopefully we'll never have to take him through airport security. You don't realize how big of a presence a 95-lb. dork of a dog has in your life until he's suddenly not there. Even sidekick Schnitzel seems a little lost today. Toby is expected to be at the veterinary hospital for 2-3 days to recover and should come home already bearing some weight on his "new" knee.


Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Warren!

America Rising had some fun picking out a gift...

The hug heard 'round the world

Everyone's chattering about Marco Rubio hugging Ivanka Tump as she arrived on Capitol Hill to hawk her left-wing family leave proposal (because that's what we in the chattering class do —we chatter about inane minutia while the Republic is crashing down around us). Anyway, there was great consternation in the land because Ivanka's body language seemed to say, "I'm just not that into you."

Rubio decided to have a little fun with the "alleged failed hug" on Twitter (his self-deprecating humor is one of his more endearing qualities):

Then Ivanka decided to join in:

Good to know, Ivanka. Thank you for our TMI moment of the week.

So I guess this means the Trumps and Rubios have mended fences? That, or it was simply a "Thank your dad for the amnesty" hug.

In case you were wondering what Democrats were doing in the wake of GA06 to win back middle American voters.

Something's very wrong with the FBI.

Via AP

At a news conference on Wednesday, FBI officials gave an overview of the evidence they’ve gathered on Hodgkinson. They said he acted alone and had no connections to terror groups. But they said they had not yet clarified who, if anyone, he planned to target, or why, beyond his animus toward President Donald Trump and the Republicans he felt were ruining the country. It wasn’t even clear whether he had prior plans to attack the baseball practice or whether he just happened upon it the morning of June 14, said Tim Slater, who leads the criminal division of the FBI’s Washington field office.

“At this point in the investigation, it appears more spontaneous,” Slater said.

Hodgkinson had a piece of paper with the names of six members of Congress written on it, Slater said, but the note lacked any further context and there was no evidence from his computer, phone or other belongings that indicated he planned to target those officials. Slater declined to name the officials whose names were on the note or say whether they were Republicans or Democrats or were at the baseball practice.


The FBI statement and Slater’s comments painted a picture of a down-on-his-luck man with few future prospects. Hodgkinson was taking prescription drugs, although Slater did not say what the drugs were for or whether he was abusing them.

“He was running out of money. He was not employed at the time of the event, and he was looking for some local employment. He was married for 30 years, and it appears that that marriage was not going so well,” Slater said. “It was just a pattern of life where you could tell things were not going well.”

Just your typical drifter who didn't mean anyone any harm and had no political motivations whatsoever, FBI investigators seems to think at this point.

Yet as Mollie Hemmingway notes at The Federalist, the FBI admits they know that Hodgkinson:

  • vociferously raged against Republicans in online forums,
  • had a piece of paper bearing the names of six members of Congress,
  • was reported for doing target practice outside his home in recent months before moving to Alexandria,
  • had mapped out a trip to the DC area,
  • took multiple photos of the baseball field he would later shoot up, three days after the New York Times mentioned that Republicans practiced baseball at an Alexandria baseball field with little security,
  • lived out of his van at the YMCA directly next door to the baseball field he shot up,
  • legally purchased a rifle in March 2003 and 9 mm handgun “in November 2016,”
  • modified the rifle at some point to accept a detachable magazine and replaced the original stock with a folding stock,
  • rented a storage facility to hide hundreds of rounds of ammunition and additional rifle components,
  • asked “Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?” before firing on the Republicans,
  • ran a Google search for information on the “2017 Republican Convention” hours before the shooting,
  • and took photos at high-profile Washington locations, including the east front plaza of the U.S. Capitol and the Dirksen Senate Office.

But apparently, there's nothing to see here. "It appears more spontaneous." Just a guy whose life wasn't going very well who showed up at a Republican baseball practice with a gun and a hit list of Freedom Caucus members. There was also his little visit to Bernie Sanders' office and the recent revelation that he followed the hate-stoking SPLC on Facebook.

The Transom sums it up quite well:

There’s no reason to beat around the bush here: what the FBI is claiming is mind-boggling when they claim the shooter had no target in mind. Consider the number of accidents of circumstance you would have to believe were going on here to not have the shooter doing what seems obvious from every piece of evidence we have: researching and planning for an attack on Republicans of some kind, particularly looking for an opportunity when security will be low and vulnerability will be high. This was an attack, not an “anger management” problem.

I guess in order for these terrorists to get credit for hate crimes against Republicans in the future they're going to have to spell it out — like literally, in a confession letter — for the FBI. They're clearly not able to connect the pretty obvious dots on their own.