Last week I wrote about the political reasons for Niki Tsongas’ decision to not seek re-election in the 3rd district now let me say a few things about her.

It’s been my experience that people in general like her. My local paper the Sentinel and Enterprise which I quoted yesterday had quite few things to say on the subject. This comment from Fitchburg Mayor Steve DiNatale was typical

“She’s one of the few people in such a powerful position that I’ve known in my years of public service that you can phone up and get a response,” said Fitchburg Mayor Stephen DiNatale. “We’re going to miss that.”

I can vouch for this. I interviewed Tsongas for the first time during the Fitchburg 4th of July Parade when Fitchburg was removed from the 1st district and moved to the 3rd when Massachusetts lost yet another seat in congress.

and I covered her regularly. In the four years that she was my rep I covered her campaigns, her debates and events. She was always polite and always took the time to invite me to cover events when she was in the area even though she knew I was opposed to her. This piece from my Examiner.com days puts it well (via the wayback machine):

She also commented on the various scandals, saying we must learn from Benghazi and stating bluntly “IRS must be unquestionably A-political” but when questioned on an independent counsel ducked instead praising the President for being public and active in his efforts to increase transparency.

While one might question her definition of transparency on the part of the White House there is no question of her own. She took more than a dozen questions from different voters, invited others to leave recorded messages. Asked several poll questions to get feedback from all people on the call and not only didn’t exclude people who disagreed her she proactively called them to be invited to the event.

That willingness to engage can’t but help in 2014 which promises to be a tougher election than the last. Agree or disagree on issues one can’t help but note the first job of a Representative is to treat the voters you represent properly.

Don’t get me wrong she was a savvy pol and this was reflected in easy wins in 2012, 2014 and 2016. Perhaps if she was in a less competitive district she might have been tougher on conservative media but even if she always voted against me she was never afraid to hear the opinions of her political opponents nor was she one to demonize us.

Put simply, the only bad words I have to say about Niki Tsongas concern her voting record. She is a lady who respected the people she represented and in an age when Maxine Waters is the face of the Democrat Party and the left is literally gunning for Republicans, that respect is going to be missed.  The Democrat Party is poorer for their loss of her.

Congresswoman Tsongas interviewed by DaTechGuy 1/2013

On the day I promised my wife I would abandon the internet until we got home from Hampton Beach my congresswoman decided to call it quits.

Having imprinted the 3rd Congressional District with the indelible mark of her family’s public service, U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas will step away from Congress at the end of her current term to help nurture her family’s next generation.

First elected in 2007 to a congressional seat her husband Paul wielded to great effect, Tsongas has made a name for herself as a fierce advocate for women in the military, veterans benefits, and health care. Her recent bids for re-election have been forgone conclusions, but Tsongas said in a statement announcing her decision that the time has come to move on.

“I am so grateful to those who have been there since day one, and to the many great Americans who I have met along the way, all of whom have served as my inspiration and support,” Tsongas said. “I have learned in life that there is a time for endings and for new beginnings. After much thought, I have decided that this is one of those times.”

Tsongas, who is 71, has three daughters and two grandchildren, with another expected imminently. She said she plans to spend more time “enjoying and celebrating” them after her term expires at the end of 2018.

Now I’m a big fan of spending one’s golden years with the children and grandchildren and in that sense I completely agree with Congresswoman Tsongas’ decision, but I couldn’t help notice how this announcement contrasts with a story in the very same paper just four months ago:

REP. NIKI Tsongas put to rest growing rumors that she’s be retiring from Congress in 2018, when her present two-year term is up.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m not going anywhere but to work. I’m happy, healthy, and committed to helping my constituents on issues that are so important to them,” said Tsongas, who represents the 3rd Congressional District.

Asked to explain the persistent rumors, Tsongas said, “I think it is age-driven. I’m 71 and some people might be thinking I’m going to retire. But that’s not something I’m thinking about.”

So the question on the floor is this:  What changed in the 107 days between April 23rd and August 9th that converted the story of  Niki Tsongas retirement from a rumor to be quenched to a reality to be celebrated?

Might I be so bold as to suggest that the congresswoman , who has been covered and interviewed by this blogger, just might have seen this post:

 Sunday, even after the GOP fell on it’s face over Obamacare and the White House was playing musical staff Nancy Pelosi is reportedly saying stuff like this

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday it was “unimportant” for Democrats to win back a majority in the lower chamber in the mid-term elections, The Hill reported.

“That’s so unimportant. What is important is that we have the lively debate on a better deal,” Pelosi told Fox News host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” when asked about the chances Democrats had to win back the House in 2018.

What does that tell you?  It tells me that no matter how bad things look for the GOP the American people have decided that the Democrats are worse.

Now perhaps it’s huberis to think that Congresswoman Tsongas first heard about Minority Leader Pelosi’s declaration here but I suggest it would be naive to discount this story from the Congresswoman’s calculations.

Or  to put it another way, in April when Nancy Pelosi was talking Democrats taking congress, and the prospect of a committee chair and the power that comes with it was there, Congresswoman Tsongas was all about working for the people of the 3rd district.  Once it became clear that even an outside chance of  such a prospect meant staying in congress until she was closer to eighty than seventy, enjoying one’s golden years with the grandchildren while one is healthy enough to enjoy them trumped another guaranteed lustrum or two in the congressional minority.

FYI here is the interview with Congresswoman Tsongas that the image at the top came from

Closing thought,  Interesting that the Democrats didn’t ask her to resign early and generate a winnable special election in a deep blue state that they could tout isn’t it?

A quick Layoff bleg update. Yesterday was the scheduled end to my layoff bleg and I’m sorry to say we didn’t manage half of the goal I had set although we did manage to raise enough to get me a paycheck this week and next week. This will make August a very lean month.

So if you are inclined and at all able I would ask you to hit DaTipJar at this time even if we don’t make the goal another $315 will mean a full paycheck for August 25th.




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11th Doctor:  Hello, hello, Gallifrey High Command, this is the Doctor speaking.
10th Doctor:  Hello! Also the Doctor. Can you hear me?
The War Doctor:  Also the Doctor, standing ready.
The General:  Dear God, three of them. All my worst nightmares at once.

Doctor Who The Day of the Doctor 2013

Here is my prediction for today.

There are going to be three different James Comey testimonies.

First of all there is going to be the actual testimony, the testimony that is going to take place that will be in the congressional record and shown by CSPAN etc in full.  That will involve taking questions with Democrats trying to spin things one way and republicans the other.  The testimony for which his opening statement is actually out.  In that testimony.  In that testimony there will be a few things the administration doesn’t like but the reality is there will be nothing even remotely criminal, let alone impeachable that comes out of his lips.

If you are an average american who doesn’t follow sites, or a person who hasn’t gone all in on the Trump = Hitler/Caesar/Nixon nonsense, that is what you will hear.  There may in fact be a tiny percentage of the “never trump” team who are grounded in reality that will see and acknowledge it.

This is reality.

Second there is going to be the James Comey testimony that the media reports to people who didn’t watch it.  That will consist of the sound bites most damaging to the administration, it will be presented with video the most dramatic and accusatory questions by Democrats and spun by pundits on panels 80-100% against the president as a powerful message by a brave former public servant who this same media villainized literally until the day he was fired.  In this coverage on the news side you will see it spun in conjunction with the various investigations as one more black mark against this administration, while on the pundit side, you will hear plenty of people comes as close to the line as possible to imply that proves illegality by the Trump administration but the vast majority will make it a point not to cross that line, particularly in print media like newspapers.

This is spin, the taking of actual events and twisting them to the political advantage of the left.  Or as it’s called these days #fakenews

If you are someone who regularly buys what the MSM sell then this is what you will see.  It’s worth noting that there will, in my opinion quite a few in the media, particularly older members of it, who will pretend in public, that this is what they saw, but will in private admit they saw the first.  If you are an anti-trumper who hasn’t gone full fanatic yet, this is what you will likely see.

Finally there will be the James Comey testimony on Never Trump social media and such shows as Samantha Bee’s.  This will consist of sound bites or individual lines that they will maintain PROVES Trump has committed impeachable offenses.  Much of it will be similar to what the MSM presents be the testimony but it will willing to cross that line from reality to fantasy.  It will be the testimony seen through  that “alternative movie”  that Scott Adams often talks about and spun by those who make their living off of keeping the most fanatical anti-Trump members of the left on perpetual outrage.

If you are a full blown far left fanboy/girl/te/le/zi/ki/ type who teaches gender/race/transgender/ studies this is what you will see.

No amount of reality will move you from this spot.  If anyone brings up the actual testimony or the actual law, they will be ignored at best and attacked at worst and even the people who go for the media spin will be considered “Trump Deniers” for not crossing the line by them, ironically those same people in that center section will use this group to show they are the “reasonable” ones.

Spoilers note, only the first one is actually real

Update: A preview of #comeyday?

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Olimometer 2.52

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Four years ago today, a jury was deliberating the fate of Kermit Gosnell. That trial ended with Gosnell serving life in prison for murder and manslaughter.

Today, a GOP-majority Congress, with a GOP president looking on, can’t agree on when or how to prevent taxpayer funds from going to abortion providers.

What does the spine-snipping abortionist have to do with abortion funding? Only this: a member of Congress who remembers Gosnell’s crimes with disgust is unlikely to support sending tax dollars to an abortion industry that fights regulation.  Conversely, a member of Congress who supports tax funding of abortion providers, or who is indifferent to that funding, is someone who has forgotten or ignored the crimes of Kermit Gosnell and his many enablers.

While the Gosnell trial was going on in Pennsylvania, abortion-related legislation was being considered in my own state. I remember a representative of NARAL dismissing Gosnell as an “outlier.” There was no need to tighten up  abortion regulation, said the lobbyist, since there were no Gosnells in our fair state (she said). Representatives of local abortion providers echoed the “outlier” line.

To this day, my state has no limit on when abortions may be performed or who may perform them. There’s no law requiring treatment of infants who survive attempted abortion. There’s no requirement for abortion facilities to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical facilities. There’s no collection of abortion statistics, including statistics on maternal morbidity and mortality, and therefore no way to spot an abortion provider who injures women the way Gosnell did.

Every attempt to pass laws to prevent future Gosnells has been resisted by lobbyists for the abortion industry. And still, there are elected officials belonging to a nominally pro-life party who can’t quite figure out how to keep that industry from picking my pocket. I don’t let state officials off the hook, either; they’re the ones who award state contracts to abortion providers.

I hear the nervous whispers from officeholders who buy the 3% lie: but these agencies do so much good…

Spare me. An agency that lobbies against laws to protect women’s health and safeguard children who survive attempted abortion is not “doing good.”

I understand the nature of budgets and the need for consensus and prudence. This anniversary, though, this reminder of Gosnell, renders me impatient to see an end to public funding of abortion providers.

(While I’m mentioning Gosnell, allow me to recommend the recent book Gosnell: the Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer by Ann McElhinney & Phelim McAleer. It’s not just about Kermit Gosnell. The authors make sure that the people who helped bring him to justice get their due.)

Ellen Kolb writes at EllenKolb.com and blogs about life issues in New Hampshire at Leaven for the Loaf.
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One of the strategies Speaker Paul Ryan used in attempting to sell the American Health Care Act was to include defunding Planned Parenthood as part of the deal. It was a good attempt to sugarcoat “Obamacarelite” with some conservative honey for positive press and leverage against right-wing opposition to the bill, but it obviously didn’t work. While the dust is settling from their repeal and replace debacle, now is the time to introduce a new standalone bill to get rid of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding once and for all.

It makes strategic sense for both Congress and the White House to make this happen quickly. Fingers are already pointing in every direction. They need a high-profile win and this is just the thing to do it. Defunding Planned Parenthood will reassure conservatives that the Trump and/or Ryan agenda was not derailed by their AHCA loss.

The next big battle they plan on tackling is likely tax reform. That’s going to take time. Defunding Planned Parenthood will not. Drafting it and pushing it through committees would take no time at all. They could have it on President Trump’s desk in April. They can initiate their next moves on tax reform once Planned Parenthood is defunded.

I’m not going to go into a long diatribe of why Planned Parenthood needs to be defunded from a pro-life perspective. Either you’re in favor of it or not and nothing I can say can sway you. However, if you’re in favor of defunding, then you should be in favor of doing it quickly. At over half a billion dollars a year, it’s not a drop in the proverbial bucket. The longer we wait, the more money gets used to kill unborn Americans. This should have been done already, but I can understand the perceived need to attach it to the AHCA for sales and promotional purposes even if I absolutely disagree with the action itself. Ryan’s strategy allowed more babies to be killed. This should have been a Day 1 issue.

As a Federalist, I’m not giving them this advice for political reasons. The AHCA debacles has helped interest in the new party to spike, so I’m not trying to help the GOP clean up their political mess. However, we’re talking about human lives. I’ll happily push politics aside if it means one more child being saved.

Instead of using defunding Planned Parenthood as a negotiating chip, Congress needs to bite the bullet and make it happen right now. It’s quick, easy, and would draw the attention of mainstream media. Considering the obliteration the GOP is currently receiving this news cycle, it behooves them to turn the narrative towards saving the unborn rather than internal bickering.

by baldilocks

An old, clueless congresswoman speaks for the millennials now? Very appropriate.

Various publications have been revving up coverage of Waters as a millennial icon after the congresswoman abruptly left a confidential meeting with FBI Director James Comey, claiming he did not have any credibility.

In late January, Elle magazine published an article titled, “Congresswoman Maxine Waters Will Read You Now.” The article talks about Waters’ impressive “shade”–meaning the ability to underhandedly insult people–calling her “this week’s Shade Bae.”

“I’m tempted to elect Congresswoman Waters as this week’s Shade Bae, but shade is subtle. Waters doesn’t have time for subtlety. Waters knows that desperate times call for shadier measures. She is reading this town for filth,” Elle says.

Waters has said she identifies with millennials, even saying that she was once a millennial, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

“I was a millennial once. No longer of course, but I love what you’re doing,” she said, before telling millennials to “stay woke.”

“I was a millennial once.”  How many non sequiturs can one person fit into such a short sentence? And no one over 18 should use the term “woke” unless ridicule is involved.

Every time I’ve read a comment section after a conservative site features Waters’ words, a singular question recurs:

“How does she keep getting elected?”

To be blunt, that question is almost as stupid as Waters’ assertion. Anyone who asks it presumes that Waters’ constituents want the same things from her that other constituents want from their congresscritters. False.

Representing means something different to Ms. Waters’ constituents than it does to you.

For many years, I lived in Ms. Waters’ district. The 2014 Election was the last one that occurred during the time when I lived there and there was no Republican on the ballot. Additionally, Ms. Waters’ husband walks the neighborhoods and makes sure that Democrats Get Out The Vote.

So, even though she blabs the Democrats secrets and secret wishes, like “socializing” the oil companies, Obama’s “powerful” database on everyone, and the weeks-ago outing of the Obama Administration’s surveillance on the pre-inauguration Trump team, and even though she, apparently, has no concept of generational labelling, she’ll keep getting elected. But, guess what! This is a good thing for conservatives.

Since she seems incapable of discretion, I think we should pay a great deal of attention to everything she says. It’s a good way of finding out what her party is planning.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on April 2017! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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It’s the most dangerous time of an election year on Capitol Hill. It’s neither rabbit season nor duck season. It’s lame duck season, which means that crazy things may (and probably will) transpire between now and the first session of the new Congress in January.

With a huge spending bill to pass before a government shutdown on December 9th, we will see as much fluff squeezed into it as possible. That’s the problem with lame duck legislation. Many of the people voting on it have no accountability to the voters. On their way out the door, they can do what’s best for them, their cronies, or even their future lobby bosses.

The lame duck session also gives the major parties an out so they don’t have to address controversial items before an election. The punted impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, while not directly attached to the lame duck session, is an example of something that would have happened if this weren’t an election year.

All business should be taken care of before the election. Voters will have a chance of holding Congress accountable with their votes. Important decisions won’t be made by people who won’t even be around in a couple of months. Doing so will help to reduce instances of real or perceived corruption such as the infamous reindeer farmer who swung the vote for a trillion dollar “cromnibus” in 2014.

Should Congress do anything during lame duck sessions? Of course. They should be prepared to handle emergencies. This doesn’t require a pre-established session; unlike the Great Depression and WWII, we should be able to pull Congress together quickly in case of emergency. What they should be doing during lame duck sessions is preparation. Transition of a new Congress is relatively smooth today, but it can be improved. Moreover, the time can be used by politicians who will be part of the next Congress to work towards future legislation that’s voted on during the first session of the next Congress. This will allow Congress to work more efficiently by reducing the learning curve and preparation time.

All of this can be done through Constitutional Amendment, though such a drastic measure hasn’t been necessary since the ratification of the 20th Amendment. Instead, internal rules can be put into place and agreed upon by both chambers and both parties. The rules could be changed in the future, of course, so it wouldn’t be as powerful as an Amendment, but it’s better than nothing. Perhaps if we ever hold a Convention of States, we could include such an Amendment, though it’s unlikely something so small would even hit the radar.

There are bigger issues to address, but we can’t continue to let the smaller issues slide as a result. Lame duck sessions can be easily resolved. We simply need enough people to stand up and say they don’t want the most corrupt seasons of every election year to continue to harm the nation.

by baldilocks

Colorado also says no. Credit: NPR.org
Colorado also says no. Credit: NPR.org

At least half of the governors in the United States have refused to take the Syrian refugees and “refugees” or called for a halt to the resettlement which the federal government, meaning President Obama, is intent upon seeding in cities all around the nation. But, it appears that these governors have no legal leg on which to stand, since it is the US Congress that establishes “an uniform Rule of Naturalization” and, back in 1980, the Democratic Party-majority 96th Congress passed the Refugee Act, which, of course, was signed by Democrat President James E. Carter. (I would say something cutting about Democrats here, but I’m sure that the Act seemed like a good idea at the time. However, it is important to know which party did what.)

And of course, President Obama knew this going in, or at least his advisers did. So, in spite of state executive orders, like the one accomplished yesterday by Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA), the die is likely cast.

So what can we expect?

My friend, Everett Powell, says this:

The one thing the Feds can’t do is force the states to provide services and support for Obama’s refugee program – which by all accounts makes it EXTREMELY difficult for them to continue the resettlement.

I suspect what you will see done is vast numbers of people just being dumped at bus stops and train stations in the States resisting for the sake of creating images for a media campaign of people suffering sleeping in the streets. We are entering winter and there will be such a caterwauling out of the White House about cruel uncharitable Christians and GOP barbarians as the world has never seen.

That is certain, but there is something else to expect. If the mean, horrible Red and Reddish states (like Michigan) will not provide services for these people, they will migrate to those which will, like California and other states which are already overloaded with people on various forms of welfare. This will speed up the financial reckoning for these states–and for the country–something which is already in view.baldilocks

And even if there is not one terrorist among the new arrivals, this will bring chaos.

As was planned; as in Europe.

(Thanks to Jeff Bishop)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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This is the Effect:

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) abandoned his bid for speaker Thursday afternoon just minutes before the election, throwing the House of Representatives into chaos.
Outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced during a meeting of House Republicans that elections were being postponed. Pandemonium broke out in the Longworth Office Building, where Republicans had been expected to nominate McCarthy, as lawmakers and aides reacted to the news with astonishment.

and I have a gut feeling this is the cause:

“With all the voter distrust of Washington felt around the country, I am asking that any candidate for Speaker of the House, majority leader, and majority whip withdraw himself from the leadership election if there are any misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress that will embarrass himself, the Republican Conference and the House of Representatives if they become public,” Jones wrote in a letter to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.).

Feel free to disagree (Yid with Lid does) but I’d like to point out the day started with former Vice president Dick Cheney endorsing him and he’s a smart enough cookie not to spend political capital foolishly. He would have figured the Benghazi remarks wouldn’t sink him but likely wouldn’t have known about anything Walter Jones might have been referring to.

I could be dead wrong here but I don’t think so.

Illinois signBy John Ruberry

On Thursday a federal grand jury indicted former House Speaker Dennis Hastert for breaking banking laws and lying to FBI agents. Prior to his entry into politics, Hastert was a teacher and a state champion wrestling coach at Yorkville High School 50 miles southwest of Chicago. The charges are rooted in a sexual affair with a male student at that school–the over $1 million the man nicknamed “Coach” in Congress was apparently hush money to keep the man quiet.

Amid the reports of the bombshell Hastert indictment was news that legislation authorizing a $500,000 statue of the former speaker for the grounds of the state capitol was introduced earlier this month by state House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat who is also chairman of the state party. According to AP, Hastert, citing the ongoing state budget crisis, declined the offer. Or more likely, he saw his indictment on the horizon.

Madigan’s proposed 2016 Illinois budget includes a $4 billion deficit–despite constitutional requirements that the state budget must be balanced. But Madigan, who was arguably the most powerful Democrat in state government even when Illinois had a Democratic governor, somehow found money–or maybe he didn’t–to put the Coach in bronze.

Worse, Illinois’ public worker pensions are unfunded by an astounding $110 billion.

Democrats are not serious about cutting spending in Illinois.

As for Hastert, his speakership was of the Illinois-kind. House Republicans who played Denny’s game were rewarded earmarks–and that reckless spending contributed to the end of the GOP majority in the House in 2006.

The Coach also played footsie with Illinois Democrats–and he was a leader in the bi-partisan graft machine dubbed the Combine by Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass.

So in a way, while Hastert is deserving in a twisted way of the honor of $500,000 statue, preciously scarce taxpayer funds should not be squandered on this monument.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.