05/06/2015 archive

Dispatches From Hellpeckersville- The Final Chapter

My mom has turned a page and started the final chapter in the story that is her life. We treated the UTI and the infection cleared, but she didn’t bounce back. Gone are the outbursts and table slamming, the frequently repeated queries, and worst of all, the fits of giggles I could send her into just by making a face at my dad. She’s quiet now, barely speaks at all, when she’s awake.

The home health nurse was in today, we need to make the decision of weather to keep her upstairs in her own bed or get a hospital bed for downstairs. We had one for my grandmother, but there were so many more people going in and out then. Nobody but immediate family here now, so I think maybe she’d prefer her own bed, and I believe dad wants her there too.

The physical therapist is coming to evaluate tomorrow, we’ll be getting a visit from a social worker, and home health aides will be coming three times a week to help with her care. It’s all very nice, it’s appreciated, my dad was so impressed with how nice the nurse was, how gentle she was with mom, that mom smiled at her. That’s all we want now. Mom as happy and comfortable as she can be.

No matter how ready you think you are, life can show you that you’re really not. I knew this was coming, I just always thought it would be gradual, like the entire length of this horrible disease up to this point, not at all like it’s happening. It’s as if somebody flipped a switch or turned a page and here we are.

I can only pray that this chapter doesn’t drag on unmercifully. And that she never has a day of pain.

The Biiig Chicken

Charlie Pierce is evidently recovering from something or other so I guess that leaves it up to me to slander and libel two of his favorite targets, Tiger Beat On The Potomac and the Biiig Chicken, Chris Christie.

Now it’s obvious why Christie thinks he can get the Republican nomimation because his ego and vanity are just as enormous as he is, but it’s beyond me why anyone else thinks so because he’s not bloodthirsty and psycopathic enough for the Primaries.  Plus all the moderate money he was looking to get from the banksters seems to be flowing Jebbie’s way right now.

But bless Politico and their pointy little heads, they some how think the indictment of 2 of his top aids and guilty plea from another in “Bridgegate” is good news for the man who appears to have eaten Tony Soprano.

Chris Christie’s not-so-terrible day

By Alex Isenstadt, Politico

5/3/15 12:49 PM EDT

The indictments of two former Christie allies in connection to their involvement in the Bridgegate scandal, and a guilty plea from a third, cast a harsh, unflattering light on the New Jersey governor. They rose troubling questions about his administration, and about whether Christie had propagated an environment in which political retaliation wasn’t just tolerated, but was standard operating procedure.

But, as a series of charges were unsealed at a federal court in Newark, there was nothing to suggest that Christie himself was in legal jeopardy. At a press conference on Friday, law enforcement officials overseeing the case repeatedly pushed back on questions about Christie’s involvement in the 2013 plan to shut down two lanes of traffic on the George Washington Bridge as political payback to a local mayor who’d refused to endorse the governor’s reelection campaign.

Those close to the governor believe the airing of the charges gives Christie, who saw his meteoric political rise halted by the scandal, the chance to get his derailed presidential campaign back on track.

“Everyone I know that’s supporting Chris believes it will all be cleaned up and that he’ll be moving on,” said Tom Foley, a former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland and a Christie ally.

Ah, those rose colored glasses.  In fact the news is very bad indeed.

Chris Christie’s problems are just beginning: Why the Bridgegate indictments don’t clear his name

by Robert Hennelly, Salon

Saturday, May 2, 2015 01:59 PM EST

While other Republican presidential contenders get to make their case for why they should lead the country, or take pot shots at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,  New Jersey Governor Christie is doing his best to not let his past define him. But when that  past, in the form of Bridgegate,  continues to dominate the news, that gets  harder and harder to do.

Just wait for the Bridgegate trials to begin.

If Bloomberg News is right, Federal prosecutors haven’t just been going after Bill Baroni, Bridget Anne Kelly, and David Wildstein, all of whom were indicted yesterday on federal corruption charges, and the latter of whom has already pleaded guilty; prosecutors are also apparently looking at former Port Authority Chairman and Christie confidant David Sampson in a separate criminal probe not related to Bridegate, but to allegations Samson tried to shake down United Airlines.

In the meantime, in damage control mode, Christie used Wildstein’s guilty plea and the indictments of Baroni and Kelly, and the fact that he was not himself named in the indictment, as proof that he’s in the clear on Bridgegate. In a statement, Christie said that the “charges make clear what I’ve said from day one is true: I had no knowledge or involvement in the planning or execution of this act.”

Yet just minutes after Wildstein’s guilty plea was formally announced, his lawyer Allan Zegas was serving up red meat for hungry reporters. Zegas relayed to reporters Wildstein’s contrition for his role in the  alleged plot, but before he walked away from the microphones, he re-iterated what he has said before, that “evidence exists that Governor knew of the lane closures while they were occurring.”

Zegas told reporters that Wildstein, one of Christie’s former point men in the Port Authority, had been cooperating for some time with federal prosecutors, had answered thousands of question from them, and was still being questioned. Zegas volunteered also that “there is a lot more that will come out,” all of which he said that Wildstein will be willing to testify about at trial. Wildstein is scheduled to be sentenced in August, but that could be moved until after the trial, when the government and the judge in the case can fully assess just how well Wildstein cooperated with prosecutors.

When U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman was asked directly at yesterday’s press conference about Zegas’s tantalizing comments about Christie, Fishman declined to answer. When Fishman was asked directly if Christie “was in the clear,” he said “I am not sure what that means so I really can’t answer that question.”

The New York Times reports there are lots of gory and unflattering details in the indictment.

U.S. Indictment Details Plotting in New Jersey Bridge Scandal

By KATE ZERNIKE, The New York Times

MAY 1, 2015

The fine-grained intricacies laid out in the legal papers show the three plotting like petulant and juvenile pranksters, using government resources, time and personnel to punish a public official whose sole offense was failing to endorse their political patron. The three were in constant contact, brazenly using government emails, their tone sometimes almost giddy. They even gave the increasingly desperate mayor of Fort Lee their own version of the silent treatment.

The charges reveal the step-by-step, carefully coordinated attention paid by the three associates of the governor to create the perfect traffic jam, a veritable town-size parking lot, one that in the end may have stymied Mr. Christie’s presidential ambitions.

The three then made up a cover story: They would say that they were doing a traffic study so that unwitting Port Authority staff members would go along with the plan, making it appear to be legitimate. That would require some planning and the involvement of unwitting participants.

Mr. Wildstein had a traffic engineer prepare several configurations; Mr. Baroni and Ms. Kelly agreed that the one that funneled three access lanes into a single one would inflict the worst punishment on the mayor, by creating the most severe traffic backup on the streets of Fort Lee. They would steer that lane to a tollbooth that accepted cash as well as E-ZPass; there would be no access to the E-ZPass-only lane that offered a faster commute.

They were ready in August, but Mr. Baroni recommended waiting. After all, traffic tended to be lighter in summer; “the punitive impact would be lessened,” the indictment says. They bided their time. They agreed: They would do it the first day of school, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, in order to “intensify Mayor Sokolich’s punishment.”

They agreed not to tell him, or any officials in Fort Lee, so that there would be no time to prepare. It would also, the indictment says, “keep Fort Lee residents and G.W.B. commuters from altering their routes.”

And though the three had agreed on the date, they also agreed not to share it with any Port Authority workers involved in the closings until the Friday before, to avoid any leaks.

More from Robert Hennelly.

The Bridgegate outrage that nobody is talking about

by Robert Hennelly, Salon

Monday, May 4, 2015 04:00 PM EST

Much has already been made of the indictments last week of three former Chris Christie allies on federal corruption charges. However, one thing that has thus far not gotten sufficient recognition, whether in the media or in the indictment itself, is that the criminal conspiracy to engineer a major traffic jam as political payback depended on causing entirely avoidable chaos on one of the nation’s top terrorist targets, not just on any day, but on the anniversary of September 11.

The federal Bridgegate charging documents go into some detail on how “unwitting” Port Authority staffers were used by the conspirators. Did that include the police department? Shouldn’t the public get an answer to that question?

“The fact that [the land closures] went down for four days says all you need to know about the status of the Port Authority’s security,” says Nick Casale former NYPD detective and deputy director of Security for Counter-Terrorism at the MTA. As Casale sees it, the PAPD’s leadership needed to, but didn’t, push back to avoid being sucked into what federal prosecutors say was a criminal conspiracy that ripped off the very agency the Department was supposed to protect. “Why didn’t the police and security brass get involved? Was it that they knew it was just political terrorism and not Islamic terrorism?” At the very least they were used as props, at the very worst they were in on it.

Since September 11, the Port Authority has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on security. Yet high ranking political appointees could just use the George Washington Bridge to create havoc, and use the Port Authority’s police force to help them do it. Whether it was unwitting, in concert, or a mix of both, the fact that political appointees could manipulate the PAPD for  four days in a row needs to be looked at by somebody in law enforcement. From its original creation in 1921, the Port Authority was supposed to transcend  partisan and provincial politics; now it is entirely captive to it.

TPP: Absence of Currency Control Makes It Unacceptable

Wall Street biggest friend in the Senate Charles Schumer doesn’t like the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, not so much for what’s in it but what isn’t, currency controls. Because the secret agreement being negotiated by the Obama administration doesn’t contain a clause that would protect currencies from being manipulated, Sen. Schumer is free to discuss it and why it’s important. In an interview and article at Huffington Post, he goes into the details about his concern and how currency manipulation hurts international trade and manufacturing.

A decade ago, or perhaps a little longer, New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer had an epiphany during a visit to a Crucible Industries steel plant in Syracuse.

His realization has proved enduring, and a decade later, it threatens to derail the grand trade agenda of his fellow Democrat, President Barack Obama.

The lightning bolt that lit up Schumer’s imagination that day was delivered by managers at the specialty steel factory, who complained of a surprisingly simple and profound fact that few people ever consider if they don’t deal in international commodities. Steel fabricators in Schumer’s state were losing sales not because of any failing on their part, but because the government of China was using a trick of the international currency market to keep Chinese manufacturers’ goods as much as one-third cheaper.

The label for the practice is currency manipulation, and Schumer has harped on it ever since — in meetings with business leaders, on the Senate floor, in hearings, and with legislative offerings.

But what exactly is it, and why does does it matter? And why is it so important to many Democrats that if it’s not addressed in the ongoing push for massive new trade pacts, they’re willing to torpedo their own president’s agenda? [..]

The numbers of jobs lost from manipulation, and the flip-side potential gains from ending it, are what make it so important for many lawmakers, on both sides of the aisle. Republicans, such as Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Jeff Sessions (Ala.), have been strong proponents for legislation that would crack down on currency manipulation.

But for Democrats, many of whom support the goals Obama is striving for in his pursuit of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement with 11 Pacific Rim nations, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with Europe, currency manipulation is especially important because many suspect Obama will be unable to enforce the stronger labor and environmental standards called for in those trade deals. [..]

But in a sign of just how important currency manipulation is to several countries that would be included Trans-Pacific Partnership, Obama administration officials who testified on Capitol Hill last month almost universally warned that passing currency measures would be a trade-deal killer.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Katrina vanden Heuvel: The Enduring Shame of ‘Separate and Unequal’

n July 1966, James Baldwin published “A Report from Occupied Territory,” a despairing essay in The Nation contemplating race relations in Harlem and other American cities. Describing the deep sense of alienation and despair in the black community, Baldwin wrote, “The children, having seen the spectacular defeat of their fathers-having seen what happens to any bad nigger and, still more, what happens to the good ones-cannot listen to their fathers and certainly will not listen to the society which is responsible for their orphaned condition.” Fifty years later, it’s heartbreaking and infuriating to read those words and realize how little has changed.

The riots that erupted in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, who sustained fatal injuries in police custody last month, were as predictable as they were painful to watch. Across the country, Gray is the latest in a long line of black men killed, inexplicably, in brushes with the law; Baltimore is the latest city, but likely not the last, where blacks’ legitimate frustration has reached a boiling point and spilled into the streets. And yet the unrest in Baltimore and other cities is about more than a single death or even the single issue of police brutality. It’s about the structural racism, inequality and poverty that have pervaded our cities and plagued our society for too long.

Chelsea E Manning: We’re citizens, not subjects. We have the right to criticize government without fear

When freedom of information and transparency are stifled, then bad decisions are often made and heartbreaking tragedies occur – too often on a breathtaking scale that can leave societies wondering: how did this happen? Think about the recent debates on torture, assassination by unmanned aircraft, secret warrants and detentions, intelligence and surveillance courts, military commissions, immigration detention centers and the conduct of modern warfare. These policies affect millions of people around the world every day and can affect anyone – wives, children, fathers, aunts, boyfriends, cousins, friends, employees, bosses, clergy and even career politicians – at any time. It is time that we bring a health dose of sunlight to them.

I believe that when the public lacks even the most fundamental access to what its governments and militaries are doing in their names, then they cease to be involved in the act of citizenship. There is a bright distinction between citizens, who have rights and privileges protected by the state, and subjects, who are under the complete control and authority of the state.

Alison Bethel McKenzie: Press freedom is declining in the US

Once a global beacon, the American press has suffered from scandal, unpopularity and government crackdowns

While American journalists have long been hailed as flag bearers of the profession – able to report, write and broadcast in mostly ideal circumstances – in the past two decades or more, we have seen a number of cases of fabrication by journalists who have shamed the profession at large and undermined public trust. The more journalism loses popular support, the greater the leverage the public and government officials have to restrict press freedom.

No longer can U.S.media ignore the issue of press freedom and point fingers at other nations for their poor records. Today journalists in the United States are under fire more than ever.

In 2015 the United States’ ranking in the Reporters Without Borders index of press freedom dropped from 20 in 2010 to 49 – four steps above Haiti. Placing higher than the United States: Namibia, Latvia, Suriname, El Salvador, Samoa and Burkina Faso.

The reason for the drop? Frequent attacks on journalists by the public and law enforcement during demonstrations and other high-profile events, threats against journalists who refuse to reveal their sources and the government’s failure to pass a federal shield law protecting journalists.

Sarah Knuckey and Hina Shamsi:

In releasing information on April 23 about a drone strike that killed two western hostages in Pakistan in January, the Obama administration demonstrated that it is able and willing to acknowledge responsibility for strikes, carry out investigations into them, and publicly offer compensation to victims’ families.

This approach should be the rule rather than the exception.

But to the families of hundreds of Pakistani and Yemeni victims of US drone strikes, the United States has offered only silence. President Obama stated that he decided to release information about the January strike because “the Weinstein and Lo Porto families deserve to know the truth.” They certainly do. And so do Yemeni and Pakistani families who have lost their loved ones and who thus far have been denied even simple acknowledgment. The contrast is glaring, unfair, and likely to increase the already strong anti-American sentiment the lethal force program has caused abroad.

These limited disclosures also underscore the urgent need for meaningful oversight and implementation of reforms – including restrictions on the killing authority that President Obama announced in 2013, but from which he then partially exempted the CIA’s strikes in Pakistan.

Michele Simon: Meat lobby peddles doubt to undermine dietary guidelines

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, updated every five years, never fails to cause a stir. For the current revision, released in February, a federally appointed scientific committee – after a two-year review of the latest research and numerous public hearings – has recommended (PDF) lowering consumption of red meat and processed meat.

Despite being fairly tepid, this advice set off a media firestorm, driven by a defensive meat industry and others who have been muddying the waters for some time on the role of meat in the diet. The meat lobby is taking full advantage of the current “debate.” [..]

Most of the discourse around red meat has largely focused on two issues: whether or not saturated fat is unfairly vilified as contributing to heart disease, and how, despite lowering their intake of red meat, Americans continue to gain weight.

The nutritionally myopic approach to meat-eating’s relationship to heart disease and obesity plays right into the meat lobby’s game. It’s a strategy honed by the tobacco industry decades ago: Create enough doubt to maintain the status quo – in this case, the promotion of red meat by the federal government.

Jessica Valenti: To make a 10-year-old give birth isn’t just horrifying – it’s life threatening

Would anyone in their right mind think it reasonable that a 10-year-old carry a pregnancy to term? This is not a thought experiment but the horrible story of a real child in Paraguay: raped by her stepfather and now denied an abortion.

According to Amnesty International – which is leading the charge to obtain an abortion for the child – the young girl’s condition became public when she went to the hospital complaining of stomach pain and was found to be 21 weeks pregnant. [..]

Paraguay has very strict laws on abortion – the procedure is only permitted when a person’s life is at risk. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.

Antonio Barrios, the Health Minister of Paraguay, said: “there is no indication that the health of the [girl] is at risk … therefore we are not, from any point of view, in favor of the termination of the pregnancy”.

There are so many levels of horror here it’s hard to know where to begin but this, perhaps, is the most baffling: in what universe is a 10-year-old delivering a child not a risk to her life?

The Breakfast Club (Turn the Page)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo 807561379_e6771a7c8e_zps7668d00e.jpg

This Day in History

The hydrogen-filled airship Hindenburg explodes and crashes; Psychologist Sigmund Freud and actor-director Orson Welles born; Roger Bannister is the first athlete to run a mile in fewer than four minutes.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.

Orson Welles

On This Day In History May 6

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

May 6 is the 126th day of the year (127th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 239 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1994, English Channel tunnel opens.

In a ceremony presided over by England’s Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterand, a rail tunnel under the English Channel was officially opened, connecting Britain and the European mainland for the first time since the Ice Age.

The channel tunnel, or “Chunnel,” connects Folkstone, England, with Sangatte, France, 31 miles away.  The Chunnel cut travel time between England and France to a swift 35 minutes and eventually between London and Paris to two-and-a-half hours.

As the world’s longest undersea tunnel, the Chunnel runs under water for 23 miles, with an average depth of 150 feet below the seabed. Each day, about 30,000 people, 6,000 cars and 3,500 trucks journey through the Chunnel on passenger, shuttle and freight trains.

Millions of tons of earth were moved to build the two rail tunnels–one for northbound and one for southbound traffic–and one service tunnel.   Fifteen thousand people were employed at the peak of construction.  Ten people were killed during construction.

Proposals and attempts

In 1802, French mining engineer Albert Mathieu put forward a proposal to tunnel under the English Channel, with illumination from oil lamps, horse-drawn coaches, and an artificial island mid-Channel for changing horses.

In the 1830s, Frenchman Aimé Thomé de Gamond performed the first geological and hydrographical surveys on the Channel, between Calais and Dover. Thomé de Gamond explored several schemes and, in 1856, he presented a proposal to Napoleon III for a mined railway tunnel from Cap Gris-Nez to Eastwater Point with a port/airshaft on the Varne sandbank at a cost of 170 million francs, or less than £7 million.

In 1865, a deputation led by George Ward Hunt proposed the idea of a tunnel to the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the day, William Ewart Gladstone.

After 1867, William Low and Sir John Clarke Hawkshaw promoted ideas, but none were implemented. An official Anglo-French protocol was established in 1876 for a cross-Channel railway tunnel. In 1881, British railway entrepreneur Sir William Watkin and French Suez Canal contractor Alexandre Lavalley were in the Anglo-French Submarine Railway Company that conducted exploratory work on both sides of the Channel. On the English side a 2.13-metre (7 ft) diameter Beaumont-English boring machine dug a 1,893-metre (6,211 ft) pilot tunnel from Shakespeare Cliff. On the French side, a similar machine dug 1,669 m (5,476 ft) from Sangatte. The project was abandoned in May 1882, owing to British political and press campaigns advocating that a tunnel would compromise Britain’s national defences. These early works were encountered more than a century later during the TML project.

In 1919, during the Paris Peace Conference, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George repeatedly brought up the idea of a Channel tunnel as a way of reassuring France about British willingness to defend against another German attack. The French did not take the idea seriously and nothing came of Lloyd George’s proposal.

In 1955, defence arguments were accepted to be irrelevant because of the dominance of air power; thus, both the British and French governments supported technical and geological surveys. Construction work commenced on both sides of the Channel in 1974, a government-funded project using twin tunnels on either side of a service tunnel, with capability for car shuttle wagons. In January 1975, to the dismay of the French partners, the British government cancelled the project. The government had changed to the Labour Party and there was uncertainty about EEC membership, cost estimates had ballooned to 200% and the national economy was troubled. By this time the British Priestly tunnel boring machine was ready and the Ministry of Transport was able to do a 300 m (980 ft) experimental drive. This short tunnel would however be reused as the starting and access point for tunnelling operations from the British side.

In 1979, the “Mouse-hole Project” was suggested when the Conservatives came to power in Britain. The concept was a single-track rail tunnel with a service tunnel, but without shuttle terminals. The British government took no interest in funding the project, but Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said she had no objection to a privately funded project. In 1981 British and French leaders Margaret Thatcher and François Mitterrand agreed to set up a working group to look into a privately funded project, and in April 1985 promoters were formally invited to submit scheme proposals. Four submissions were shortlisted:

   a rail proposal based on the 1975 scheme presented by Channel Tunnel Group/France-Manche (CTG/F-M),

   Eurobridge: a 4.5 km (2.8 mi) span suspension bridge with a roadway in an enclosed tube

   Euroroute: a 21 km (13 mi) tunnel between artificial islands approached by bridges, and

   Channel Expressway: large diameter road tunnels with mid-channel ventilation towers.

The cross-Channel ferry industry protested under the name “Flexilink”. In 1975 there was no campaign protesting against a fixed link, with one of the largest ferry operators (Sealink) being state-owned. Flexilink continued rousing opposition throughout 1986 and 1987. Public opinion strongly favoured a drive-through tunnel, but ventilation issues, concerns about accident management, and fear of driver mesmerisation led to the only shortlisted rail submission, CTG/F-M, being awarded the project.

The Daily/Nightly Show (Reefer Madness)

You stop being racist and I’ll stop talking about it.

Jordan Carlos

White Guy Jack


Tonightly the topic is Tamir Rice, you know, the 12 year old African American boy who was shot dead for having a TOY gun just about 2 seconds after the cop car stopped rolling.  Sucks to be Black in the United States I guess, a country of exceptional racism.  You stop being racist and I’ll stop talking about it.  The panelists are Lavell Crawford, Dean Obeidallah, and Shenaz Treasury.


Hail, hail, the gang’s all here.

This week’s guests-

Aw, who cares what Willie Nelson is going to be talking about?  Just make sure you have plenty of munchies and don’t have to take a pee test for the next month or so.

Yup, I really watched the first, in studio, screening of that with Stephen a mere 8 rows in front of me (Which is to say I sat in the back row with him in the front.  It’s not that big a studio.).

Brian Grazer gets a web exclusive extended interview.  And You Get A New Car!  And You!  And You!  You ALL Get New Cars!  That and the real news below.

Lindsey, You Can Come Out Now

More Americans feel comfortable with a presidential candidate who identifies as gay or lesbian than with one who identifies as an evangelical Christian, according to a new poll.

Really??? Seriously, it is

The latest WSJ/NBC poll listed a series of qualities in a potential presidential candidate and asked respondents whether they’d “be enthusiastic,” “be comfortable with,” “have some reservations about” or “be very uncomfortable with” a candidate with each of those qualities.

The results revealed that Americans are actually quite open to having a gay presidential candidate. Sixty-one percent said they would be either enthusiastic about or comfortable with a gay or lesbian candidate, while only 37 percent said they would have reservations or be uncomfortable.

By comparison, respondents were a little less comfortable with the prospect of a candidate who is an evangelical Christian. Fifty-two percent said they’d be enthusiastic about or comfortable with an evangelical Christian running for president, while 44 percent expressed some degree of hesitancy about the idea. (Two percent of respondents said they were not sure about a gay or lesbian candidate, while four percent were not sure about an evangelical.)

So, throw your hat in the ring, Huckleberry, you might actually have a good chance, but you have to stop saying nonsense like this:

“Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula… Everything that starts with ‘Al’ in the Middle East is bad news” – these were Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina words at an AIPAC New England Leadership Dinner in Boston’s Convention Center last night.

Senator Graham, who strongly hinted about his intentions on running for presidency, should have probably checked the dictionary before making such a comment. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Al in Arabic is simply meaning “the.” “It often prefixes Arabic proper nouns, especially place-names; an example is Al-Jazīrah (Arabic: “The Island”), the name of an interfluvial region in Sudan. The article is often used in lowercase form, hence al-Jazīrah.”, Britannica explains.

Lindsey, dear, we know you were just being “funny” but the Islamaphobia won’t win you the nomination or the White House.