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It’s so much fun when the Republicans are in charge of your state, isn’t it?

Room 148 of the State Capitol might as well double as a Capitol broom closet. That’s where theHouse Consumer Affairs Committee this morning rushed out amendments to House Bill 2191, which legalizes predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania.


The amendments to HB 2191 were misleadingly pitched as adding more consumer protections to the bill. Even the Navy Marine Corps Relief Societytook a look at these amendments and said they do “nothing to mitigate the already harmful aspects of HB 2191,” and that one amendment “actually worsens the problem it claims to solve.”


What is Payday Lending? Payday lending encompasses small loans, usually for two weeks or less, that require a post-dated check or electronic access to a borrower’s bank account as a condition of the loan. Fees and interest in states that allow payday lending typically total $15 to $17 for every $100 borrowed — amounting to an effective annual percentage rate of more than 300 percent for a loan due in full in 14-days.


One focus of the amendments this morning was language banning renewals or rollovers of a payday loan, as if that was a solution to stopping the long-term cycle of debt. It is not.

How to avoid facial recognition software

‘Never debated’

Colin Powell on the Iraq invasion.

Bible based

I just taped a segment for “Make It Plain” with Mark Thompson tonight, a Sirius XM show. Mark is an ordained African-American minister, and said there was no theological justification for same-sex marriage, but that we have separation of church and state, and what the state decides is none of his concern.

I took mild exception to that. I talked about how comments from Leviticus are used selectively, and that the “Bible-based” people who did so refused to acknowledge the evolution of belief. They are far too selective about what they quote, I said. “Leviticus says you can’t touch pigskin, so there goes football. No shrimp or lobster, so there go Friday nights at Red Lobster. And you can’t have two different materials in a garment, so there go polyester blends!

If you want to be really Bible-based, I told him, marriage isn’t between a man and a woman – “it’s between a man, a woman and his concubines!” And if Christians really care about “protecting marriage,” why aren’t they trying to make divorce illegal? Because they’re hypocrites, I said. They know their political careers would be over. So they pretend to be Bible-based, but it’s Bible-based lite.

It all comes back to the same thing: Some Christians think Jesus just wasn’t mean enough. Mark agreed. “The greatest of these (commandments) is love,” he said. Amen.

Breaking news

Obama supports marriage equality:

OBAMA: I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.

Jukin’ the stats

Just another example of why “The Wire” is the best show ever:

The same old, same old

Dave Johnson:

Any time any DC elite complains about “the deficit” remind them that when Clinton left office we had a huge surplus, so big that at the rate it was being paid down the entire US debt was going to be paid off in 10 years. Bush demanded that we give back the people’s money and Greenspan warned of the danger of paying off the debt. Etc. Etc. Etc. Then Bush doubled military spending — and started two wars on top of that!

So we went from big surplus to huge, huge deficits. Bush said it was“incredibly positive news” when we went back into deficit spending. He said it was good news because it continued the plan to use debt to force the government to cut back. He said that. It was the plan. (Don’t take my word for it, click the links.)

The Reagan people said it too, back when they started the massive deficit spending. It was the plan: force the country into massive debt, “starve the beast,” and use that to force the government out of business, or at least to be “small enough to drown in a bathtub.” They forced the tax cuts and Reagan said this was “cutting the government’s allowance.” The point was to use revenue cutbacks to force government to shrink, to get out of the way of the 1%.

Now that government is very much out of the way of the 1% we are seeing how things work out when the 1% dominate everything.

They called it “strategic deficits.” They said it was the plan to force the country into debt, and then they would demand that we cut the things that government does for the 99%, in order to further enrich the 1%. They would scare everyone by saying that the debt will destroy us so we have to cut back. That was the plan. They said that was the plan. And now that the plan is being executed, we should understand that it was the plan and not fall for it!

They said it was the plan. So as the plan unfolds, don’t be so surprised.

Into the site now

My hosting company still claims to be “working on it.”

In the meantime, I read this Lifehacker post, added the Chrome extension, got Chrome to pretend it’s Internet Explorer, and here we are.

Clearly, there’s a bigger problem, since so many of you aren’t using Chrome, but it may help those of you who are.

I wonder if the FBI has seen this?

The Greene County, Virginia Republican Committee publishes a monthly newsletter for members called “The Constitutional Conservatives.” The newsletter is heavy on Tea Party rhetoric about how Obama and liberals are ruining America, and so forth. But even by these standards, an item in the March newsletterstands out.

In the “Whitehouse Watchdog” column, editor Ponch McPhee says that American cannot survive four more years under Obama, a “political socialist ideologue” who is “unlike anything world history has ever witnessed or recognized.” McPhee argues that Americans will have no option “but armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November:”


We have before us a challenge to remove an ideologue unlike anything world history has ever witnessed or recognized.


An individual who has come to power within a Nation which yields it’s strength over the entire world.


An elected leader who shuns biblical praise, handicaps economic ability, disrespects the honor of earned military might.


In the coming days and weeks  ~ we the people must come to grasp as a common force, our very soul’s, that our future as a sovereign nation is indeed at risk.


If every single individual that you know, would contact 25 other individuals  ~ we can make a difference that will be heard across the Commonwealth and in Washington.


The ultimate task for the people is to remain vigilant and aware  ~ that the government, their government is out of control, and this moment, this opportunity, must not be forsaken, must not escape us, for we shall not have any coarse but armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November ~ This Republic cannot survive for 4 more years underneath this political socialist ideologue.


The Greene County GOP apparently realizes that McPhee and the newsletter are a potential liability, judging by the disclaimer on the back page claiming that views expressed are individual only. But that’s a cop-out. They should either stand behind McPhee’s insane views about armed insurrection or find an editor who represents their real views.

Having it both ways

Axelrod complained before the 2010 midterms that Democrats didn’t have the kind of outside money that the Republicans did – even though the Obama campaign told the liberal donors not to support them. Now the issue comes up again. Ha, ha!

WASHINGTON — Senior leaders of the Democratic Partyexpressed alarm on Tuesday that a $100 million plan by liberal donors to increase voter turnout would duplicate a similar effort by President Obama campaign and squander a chance to fend off an advertising onslaught from Republican groups.


Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, and other officials conveyed concern that Democratic candidates could be at a disadvantage if the contributors, many of whom had stayed on the sidelines of the 2012 campaign until now, decide not to spend money on television ads that push back against a torrent of attacks from conservative “super PACS” in the presidential election and Congressional races.


The views highlighted concerns about being outgunned by outside groups raising huge amounts of money to back Republicans, and suggested a rift between Democratic leaders and some liberal donors.

“The idea that these progressive groups are essentially re-creating the wheel is perplexing and troubling,” said David Krone, the chief of staff to Mr. Reid. “Why go off and build a redundant grass-roots and get-out-the-vote organization that the Obama campaign is clearly invested in?”

Umm, because we don’t trust the Democratic leadership not to piss it away on overpriced ads from their pals instead of supporting progressive candidates?

The Democratic officials were responding to an article in The New York Times on Tuesday that the financier George Soros and other major donors had decided to avoid a head-to-head confrontation in television advertising by pro-Republican groups and would instead spend money registering new voters and building stronger turnout organizations.

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