Rep. Vance McAllister (R-Adultery)

What a wholesome politician:

Oh, yeah. What was it he did a couple of days ago?

Anything else we need to know?

Aides to McAllister confirmed to The Post that the staff member, who had recently joined the staff at the time of the romantic encounter, has been dropped from the congressman’s payroll.

According to Legistorm, a congressional staff salary database, the staffer in the video worked part-time and earned less than $22,000 a year. She is one of the only members of McAllister’s staff who is not a holdover from the staff hired by former congressman Rodney Alexander (R), who resigned last year and now serves as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs.

So, family-values Republican Christian protector of the unborn smooches with a staffer who is not Mrs. family-values Republican Christian protector of the unborn. The said non-Mrs. loses her job. The horny family-values guy will keep his.

And the Republicans don’t understand why they have a problem with women voters?

Anyone want to add anything else? Hit Girl?

 

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Another family values Republican caught in the act

From Talking Points Memo:

The video was published online Monday by The Ouachita Citizen, a conservative-leaning newspaper that endorsed McAllister’s opponent in last November’s special election to fill Louisiana’s 5th District seat in the House. The newspaper, which has a paid circulation of 5,200, credited an “anonymous source” with providing the surveillance video of what it described as an “extramarital encounter.” …

McAllister issued a statement Monday afternoon saying that he was asking for forgiveness “from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve.” The statement did not directly address the content of the video itself, or the identity of the woman in it.

Because?? Freedom!!

 

Paul Krugman and “Equivalences”

In light of the Supreme Court ruling that people with lots of money can spend as much as they want to get the people they want elected, Paul Krugman takes a look at “Equivalencies”:

There are definitely times when it seems that our winner-take-all society is also a whiner-take-all society; it’s really amazing how quick billionaires are to portray themselves as victims because some people say nasty things about them.

One remarkable aspect of this whining is that the nasty things aren’t really all that nasty. Saying that the Koch brothers are using their wealth to promote a political agenda that will make them even wealthier is a substantive claim, not character assassination; it’s not at all the same as, say, suggesting that Hillary Clinton is a murderer. Yet the Kochs and Perkinses act as if this kind of thing were utterly vile, an attack on their liberty.

The other remarkable thing is the instant escalation of hurt feelings into a Godwin’s Law violation. You see, liberals criticize the Kochs; that makes them just like Hitler and Stalin, who murdered their opponents.

But wait, there’s more. What I’ve been hearing from Koch defenders is that people like me have no standing to ridicule billionaires. You see, I sometimes say sarcastic things about the arguments of people who disagree with me, and even question their motives when they say things I consider obviously wrong. And that’s just like comparing such people to Hitler.

The thing is, I don’t think the crybaby thing is an act, put on for strategic purposes. I think it’s real. Billionaires really are feeling vulnerable despite their wealth and power, or perhaps because of it. And the apparatchiks serving the .01 percent are deeply insecure, culturally and intellectually, so that ridicule cuts deep.

It’s kind of sad, really – but also more than a bit scary: When great power goes along with fragile egos, seriously bad things can happen.

Hungry like ‘the Wolf’

I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago, and really enjoyed it:

It was truly a celebration of rich people behaving badly, and Leonardo DiCaprio was excellent in it.

Technically, it’s not supposed to be an inspirational movie. You know, bad people doing bad things and all that. Apparently, some stock brokers don’t see it that way (from the London Evening Standard):

Cinemas across London are preparing to welcome thousands of bankers, brokers and traders to bespoke private screenings, the Standard has learned, and a cinema booking company says there is more corporate demand for this film than any they can remember.

With one company planning to dress up Nineties Wall Street-style for the occasion, the City’s buzz about [Jordan] Belfort has the ring of an enthronement. It is tempting to think that DiCaprio’s character might be a new cult hero for a new generation of bankers, as Gordon Gekko (protagonist of 1987’s Wall Street) was to their bosses. You can imagine the Square Mile’s new generation quoting Belfort’s corny phrases about money, drugs and women like their pre-crash predecessors did Gekko’s.

A comedy email flying around between bankers in London and New York this week makes the link, plotting a market index since the Eighties with arrows showing major price falls on the release dates of Wall Street and its 2010 sequel Money Never Sleeps, and a Wolf of Wall Street arrow pointing at today’s high price. Will the Wolf consign so many bankers and traders to therapy and rehab that the markets will plummet on its release, the jokes goes. At least I think it’s a joke.

For those of you not familiar with international financial markets, “the City” referred to here isn’t London. The City is what the Brits call their version of Wall Street. They’re treating this movie like it’s a blueprint for success. Maybe they’re thinking all they have to avoid will be the drugs, the prostitutes and the money laundering. That way, they can steal people’s money legally, I guess.

Oh, by the way. The Wolf lives. Jordan Belfort is now a motivational speaker in California. Here’s an interview with him:

Got to admit. The guy is smooth.

Big business to GOP: ‘No fools on our ticket’

Looks like the political world is about to have a civil war. But it’s being narrowed to one party (from the Wall Street Journal):

Republican leaders and their corporate allies have launched an array of efforts aimed at diminishing the clout of the party’s most conservative activists and promoting legislation instead of confrontation next year.

GOP House leaders are taking steps to impose discipline on wavering committee chairmen and tea-party factions. Meanwhile, major donors and advocacy groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads, are preparing an aggressive effort to groom and support more centrist Republican candidates for Congress in 2014′s midterm elections. …

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce early next year plans to roll out an aggressive effort—expected to cost at least $50 million—to support establishment, business-friendly candidates in primaries and the general election, with an aim of trying to win a Republican Senate majority.

“Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” said the business group’s top political strategist, Scott Reed. “That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket.”

Any idea how this is going to work? You can’t stop fools from running. And you can’t stop fools from voting for them.

Meanwhile (via the Arizona Evening Star):

PHOENIX — Republican gubernatorial hopeful Al Melvin is using quotes from Abe Lincoln in his running fight with President Obama and his policies.

The problem: The 16th president never said the things about class warfare Melvin is quoting.

For example, in postings last week on Twitter, the state senator from Tucson wrote, “You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.” That quote, Melvin said, came from Lincoln.

Ditto for a quote of, “You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich,” and “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.”

None of these came from Lincoln, Brooks Simpson, a professor of history at Arizona State University, said when asked about the quotes by Capitol Media Services.

“I can tell you that these quotes are spurious,” Simpson said. “They do not appear in Lincoln’s writings or in his recollected words.”

Seems the “no fools” strategy is off to a rocky start.

 

The grinch who stole “The Price Is Right”

This is supposed to be a happy game-show story:

It was on “The Price Is Right” yesterday. The winner is a woman named Sheree, who’s from Washington. Her wish was to win a big prize. She did. An Audi worth almost $160,000 and $10,000 in cash.

Should I break it to her that she’s not going to keep the car? I mean, she looks so happy.

I’m just going with the odds here. I was on a game show once. Won a significant chunk of money and a trip to Europe. I also had to pay taxes on the winnings. Federal tax, taxes to the state I lived in, and California taxes, because that’s where the show was taped.

Now, for argument’s sake, I’m guessing the taxes all together are going to be AT THE VERY LEAST 30 percent of the total, so somewhere in the vicinity of $60,000.

She doesn’t have that kind of money. She said so. Remember when she turned over the first card and got $4,000, and she yelled to her significant other in the audience, “$4,000 is a lot of money.” Yes, when you don’t have a lot of money, $4,000 is a lot of money.

And $60,000 is a lot more money. I’m not going out on a limb here when I say she doesn’t have $60,000 laying around to pay the taxes on $170,000. The $10,000 in cash she won isn’t going to cover it.

So, she won’t keep the car. She’ll probably turn it over to an Audi dealer, who will take it off her hands for far less than the retail price, because as an owner, she now makes it a used car (pre-owned as they say in the classy television ads). And I’m not a tax lawyer here, but she still did get $170,000 from “The Price Is Right.” That’s income. Income is taxed. She still owes about $60,000. All told, she might walk away with cash in the low five figures. But nowhere near this “Price Is Right” moment. Maybe “The Price Is Right” folks have this all figured out and they’ll offer her a cash deal that covers everything. I doubt it, though.

I guess this dose of reality makes me the grinch who stole “The Price Is Right.” But I didn’t steal it. The tax man did. And the folks on “The Price Is Right” know this is going to happen. They also know this is great television. That means higher ratings. That means they can charge more for ads. You know, like giving Audi this six-minute ad for a car that’s never going to go to the contestant who won it.

Oh, you thought Audi gave “The Price Is Right” the car, or the show bought the car from Audi? No, this is product placement. The car will be back in the showroom next week. No cost to Audi. No cost to “The Price Is Right.” A $60,000 cost for the poor lady who’s having the happiest moment of her life.

(By the way, I did pay the taxes on my game-show winnings. Spent Easter in the sun in southwestern Europe. It was very nice.)

Jennifer Lawrence and the evils of Photoshop

We all know fashion magazines have an obsession with making the celebrities on their covers look perfect. But explain this to me:

original

This is the before and after shot of Jennifer Lawrence for a Canadian magazine called Flare.

Why do you need to alter Jennifer Lawrence. They’ve moved her collar bone, stretched out her fingers, narrowed her hips and … well, you see it.

Why bother using real people. Just create Photoshop avatars of perfect humans. (Via Jezebel)

Why bother? Florida will let him go free again.

Didn’t we all know this guy was going to be trouble, like, forever?

Former neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman was arrested following a domestic violence incident on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Authorities confirmed to The Orlando Sentinel that Zimmerman had been taken into custody.

TMZ also confirmed that Zimmerman was involved in the domestic violence incident in Orlando. …

Update, 3:30 p.m. EST: Law enforcement sources told TMZ that Zimmerman’s girlfriend claimed that she was pregnant, making the domestic violence charge an automatic felony. Zimmerman reportedly was not eligible for bail.

Update, 5:14 p.m. EST: ABC News reported that Zimmerman was charged with aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief in connection with the incident.

So he murders Trayvon Martin and gets away with it. Then a few months later, he pulls a gun on his ex-wife and her father and gets away with it. Now, he’s busted for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend and threatening her with a shotgun.

This is one of those situations where you ask, “who does this guy have to kill before he is finally put away?” But thanks to the state of Florida, he already knows he can get away with murder. So I’m sure he thinks, “What’s the big deal? I only pulled a shotgun on a pregnant woman. I didn’t shoot her. Which I would have done if she threatened me with a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles.”

Florida is such a cesspool.

 

Should congressmen be drug tested before they are paid?

I ask the question because of this:

Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession of cocaine and was sentenced to one year of supervised probation.

“I’ve hit a bottom where I realize I need help. And I have aggressively pursued that help,” Radel said, as he admitted in District of Columbia Superior Court that he purchased 3.5 grams of cocaine.

The freshman congressman, who represents a solidly Republican district in southwest Florida, said he’ll enter a rehab program. He will also pay a $250 fine on the misdemeanor charge.

So what does that have to do with a congressional paycheck?

The House over the summer approved an amendment by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) that would let states drug test people on food stamps. The amendment passed by voice vote, meaning members’ individual yeas and nays were not recorded. Radel later voted in favor of a broader food stamps bill that included Hudson’s measure.

How these guys can stand to see themselves in the mirror amazes me.