Heavenly Bloomberg

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he’s got a free pass to heaven thanks to his work protecting city dwellers from themselves.

I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.” – Bloomberg (New York Times)

Curbing obesity, smoking, salt and sugar did the trick, he thinks. But just in case he needs a few more credentials Bloomberg is putting up $50 million to build a grassroots organization for stronger gun laws, such as expanding background checks for gun buyers at state and national levels.

Even the persistent Bloomberg has given up on getting Congress to pass an assault weapons ban. They probably have those in heaven too, or maybe the NRA can’t get in.

First video by Bloomberg’s new group, Every Town for Gun Safety.

Free Guns for Voters
On the other side of the issue we have politicians giving away guns in their campaigns. Mother Jones lists several — a few examples:

  • Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), 2014: The US Senate candidate gave away a Colt AR-15 and a Colt Marine Corps 1911 Rail Pistol to two members of his email list.
  • South Carolina state Sen. Lee Bright, 2014: Bright, who is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), is handing out an AR-15 from Palmetto State armory to a member of his email list.
  • Tennessee state Rep. Joe Carr, 2014: Sen. Lamar Alexander’s tea party challenger enticed voters to sign up for his email list by gifting a Beretta 92A1.
  • Steve Wagner, 2014: The Hendricks County, Indiana, sheriff candidate is raffling off four shotguns.
  • Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), 2014: The former presidential candidate and current Colorado gubernatorial contender is teaming up with Ted Nugent—who once told his rivals to “suck on my machine gun”—to hand out an AR-15 to one supporter (no donations necessary).

Chart of the Day: Uninsured Getting Covered

Here’s a Gallup poll Obamacare foes must get busy discounting (they could always dredge up the survey company’s famous miscall of the 1948 campaign) because it’s a clear sign the Affordable Care Act is doing the big thing it was supposed to do: Insure the Uninsured.

The percentage of Americans without health insurance has dropped to 15.9% so far in 2014, compared with 17.1% at this time last year.” — Gallup

Obamacare could get the credit, Gallup says. The sudden drop in the rolls of uninsured began showing up during the plan’s enrollment period, drawing nearly 10 million so far to sign up through it’s marketplace of insurance plans, or directly with companies. But it’s tough to know how many of those were previously uninsured. This Gallup survey is the best evidence that the uninsured are making their way into coverage plans.

Gallup says that at its current rate of decline, the number of uninsured Americans could soon fall to “the lowest quarterly level” since 2008 when the company began tracking this group.


Now It’s the Ukraine that’s Missing

Ukraine just fell off my Google News list of top stories, so I guess Russia swallowed it up too. Malaysia is still number one on the list of most-searched topics.

Now I’ll have to manually type in “Ukraine” to find the latest news about that. Damn these Putin land grabs, they can be a lot of trouble.

When I search “Ukraine” I still get 368 million hits on Google, so perhaps there’s hope for its sovereignty. But “Malaysia” gets much more, 619 million results, proving that something we don’t know – where the plane ended up – commands more attention than what we do know – that an almost defenseless nation is being choked into submission by a hairless tyrant.

Google News
Top Stories (8:30am ET)

  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Washington
  • HTC Corporation
  • Miami Heat
  • Pope Francis
  • Facebook
  • Osama bin Laden
  • International Monetary Fund
  • Novak Djokovic
  • General Motors

Senate Waterboards CIA

As underplayed stories go, this sandlot feud between the Senate and the CIA is a doozy. You’d think the mild-mannered Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who could face a chain saw without changing expressions, would gain more than a cycle or two of coverage for accusing the CIA of spying on her.

Aside from the fact that spying on people is the CIA’s job, when they start hacking Senate computers, as the California Democrat alleges, it ought to at least raise a hullaballoo about one of those thorny constitutional principles – like maybe the one about the branches of government keeping their hands off each other’s hard drives.

There are more than academic questions to tantalize the news media with this story. Way more. It’s about torture. This is about as close as Washington can get to settling into the couch with a plate of cheese fries for a slasher movie.

Peeved by the CIA’s interloping the Senate is on the verge of releasing what the agency wants to keep hidden: the gory details of the Bush Administration’s torturing. As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Feinstein is sitting on more than 6,000 pages of stuff that could be Quentin Tarantino’s next script.

Both sides are whining to the Justice Department for an investigation. The CIA counters that Feinstein’s staff stole some of their documents. This week senators might vote to retaliate by releasing some of its report on past torture practices that Obama has outlawed.

Bush and Cheney bashers everywhere have a stake in this fight. Playing with this stuff would be like calling 1-800 for the greatest hits of those years. And torture supporters would get a chance to argue for all the good things that came from water boarding prisoners.

Apparently what the CIA really dislikes about the Senate report is that it understates the effectiveness of torture. In other words, they’re not embarrassed they did it, just that it might come out how little it accomplished.

Perhaps this story is just too retro for today’s news media. When Feinstein, who is actually a hawk in the war on terror, tossed this little bomb into the arena it didn’t go off.

Justin Bieber drooling on himself gets more coverage.