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The BL RAG is dedicated to the idea of free expression, thus we welcome and encourage reader  commentary on current events and issues, music, sports, or other topics of interest, no matter what one's political leanings or worldview.


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Eric Olsen, Fornax, GrayRider, Winston, Jimmmco, and WesMorgan1


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The Trillion Dollar Thread

Numerical translation for newest omnibus bill:  $1,012,000,000,000.00

(That's only $639,696,586.60 per page... it's practically a steal!!)

Now, WHY are these "omnibus" bills getting bigger and bigger?  Well, it's real simple:   Pork.  Pounds and pounds of pork in each and every bill.    Compound that ever-growing problem with the fact that Washington DC is getting less and less done every year, too busy playing politics to get any actual work done, and as a consequence more and more money is needing to cleared off the books.

The bloated spending bill passed the House 359-67 and cleared Congress last night with a vote of 72-26, with seventeen Republicans opting for the more "bi-partisan" route...  because really, what brings people together better than spending a bunch of other peoples' money?



Crisis in Colorado Open

As almost everyone is already aware,  Colorado recently decriminalized marijuana, and since that time,  weed shops have begun popping up around the state,  allowing the state's citizens a chance  to smoke their way into nirvana.  But, after only a week of hitting the store shelves, there arose a shortage, forcing remaining distributors to raise their prices dramatically, and driving the poorer smokers among us to desperate measures...

So, if you still have your own stash, give thanks and avoid being a 'bogart': share with your less fortunate neighbor. Have a nice weekend and post what you like.


Kim Jong-un Has His Own Personal Court Jester...

... And his name is Dennis Rodman:

I'm just waiting for the moment a drunken Dennis Rodman offends the wrong people (i.e. North Korean leadership).   Doubt his go-to excuse of being drunk would work in that case.


New Year's Resolution Open

It is an old tradition that no one actually keeps...but I'll go ahead an ask anyway: have you made any New Year's resolutions?

Go ahead and post them (or anything else you feel like posting about). Have a nice weekend.


Nanny Bloomberg - Why the Frowny Face?

Maybe because the collectivist/statist/control freak Bloomberg was not far enough left to satisfy the uber-left speakers at new mayor deBlasio's inaugural/spontaneous demonstration.  

Poor Bloomie.  He tried, but he just couldn't manage to be quite as much of a totalitarian as the leftie masses demand.  So, they lined up to speak ill of the New York City that Bloomberg leaves behind, taking some rather vicious swipes at him in the process. 

But it's a sure bet we haven't heard the last of ex-Mayor Bloomberg.  His inane campaign against firearms will now have his full attention.  Hey, a statist, no matter how poorly the ultra-hard left views him, needs a hobby. 

Here's a link that will detail some of the leftie screeching that had Nanny Bloomberg looking so glum: "Progressing" right down the sewer.


A Victory For Liberty In The War On Drugs

Finally, some common sense on display from government. CNN:

 Retail marijuana licenses issued by Colorado -- the first in the nation -- should arrive in the mail by the end of this week, according to the state Department of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division.

The state sent out 348 retail marijuana licenses to prospective retail marijuana establishments on Monday, including 136 marijuana stores, 178 marijuana cultivation facilities, 31 products manufacturing facilities and three marijuana testing facilities.

The state's retail marijuana licensing process includes fingerprint-based background checks and financial checks. The businesses must also receive approval from the local authorities before they may operate.

Thomas Behler, assistant manager at Ganja Gourmet, a medical marijuana dispensary in Denver, said he is happy about the licenses.

"Business should increase exponentially; every 21-year-old on the planet is going to come here," he said. "We already have a successful business, but we are not in it for the money. We are helping people and providing them with a service."

The War on Drugs has been horrible waste of resources, and whatever benefit it provides is completely outweighted by it's negative consequences: the empowerment of gangs, drug violence here and in Mexico, the incarceration of otherwise law-abiding citizens, the errosion of citizen rights and privacy. I hope more states follow Colorado's lead.


Obama Delayed Regulations For Political Purposes

One way to uncover whether someone on the Left is a malignant Stalinist, or just a misguided socialist, is to guage their reaction to stories like this:

The White House systematically delayed enacting a series of rules on the environment, worker safety and health care to prevent them from becoming points of contention before the 2012 election, according to documents and interviews with current and former administration officials.

Some agency officials were instructed to hold off submitting proposals to the White House for up to a year to ensure that they would not be issued before voters went to the polls, the current and former officials said.

The delays meant that rules were postponed or never issued. The stalled regulations included crucial elements of the Affordable Care Act, what bodies of water deserved federal protection, pollution controls for industrial boilers and limits on dangerous silica exposure in the workplace.

The Obama administration has repeatedly said that any delays until after the election were coincidental and that such decisions were made without regard to politics. But seven current and former administration officials told The Washington Post that the motives behind many of the delays were clearly political, as Obama’s top aides focused on avoiding controversy before his reelection.

The number and scope of delays under Obama went well beyond those of his predecessors, who helped shape rules but did not have the same formalized controls, said current and former officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

A utopian socialist, who means well, would be horrified by such political corruption. After all, one of the Left's selling points to Low Information Voters is all the good Big Government is supposed to do in protecting us and keeping things fair for the little guy...except when we get sold out for political considerations. 


Friday Open

Well...Chicago is going to start taxing bicyclists! I think making the damn fools obey the laws first might be a better idea, and not just in Chicago either...

Have a nice weekend and post what you like.



The Joy of Christmas

Surprise! According to USA Today, "The percentage of people who are 100 pounds over a healthy weight is on the increase..." But, hey! it's Christmas, so don't worry about it.

Merry Christmas. This is an open thread...




Film Review: Elysium

I'll keep this short and sweet. Poor story (typical boilerplate class warfare) and lackluster acting almost kills this sci-fi action-thriller, but visual effects and admirable camera work made it worth a rent. Particularly praise worthy is the hijack sequence when the explosive shells take out the robot. I’m not normally wowed by cgi, but the facial reconstruction scene was brilliant (as was the grenade explosion that caused the damage).  I give it a 6/10. Visuals are good enough to warrant a discount purchase on bluray maybe.



Obamacare Is Whatever Obama Says It Is

Lawless and out-of-control:

The Obama administration will not require the millions of Americans who received health-insurance plan cancellation notices to purchase a new policy next year.

They're granting those consumers an exemption from the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, a Department of Heath and Human Services spokeswoman confirmed. The mandate requires everyone to have health insurance or face a tax penalty, the greater of $95 or 1 percent of income in 2014.

The administration will also allow those consumers to sign up for catastrophic coverage. Those bare-bones plans are available to people who are under 30 or qualify for a "hardship exemption."

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter to Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., that the administration is granting a "hardship exemption" to Americans whose plans were canceled and "might be having difficulty" paying for standard coverage.

They better come up with some new talking points. It's going to be difficult to praise the wonders of Obamacare when they're busy granting hardship exemptions to avoid it's supposed benefits.

Also thrown under the bus is the fanatasy that this calamity was somehow going to lower health care costs and reduce the Federal budget deficit:

The White House estimates the allowance will affect roughly 500,000 people, whom it has determined received cancellation notices but have not yet purchased a new plan. The number was released late Thursday after officials compiled data from states and insurance companies.

But the deal for consumers is yet another burden for insurers, who earlier this week went along with the White House's request to grant leniency to consumers paying premiums in January. Consumers will now be allowed to send payments until Jan. 10 and receive coverage retroactively to Jan. 1.

This change could have a more long-term impact. Catastrophic-coverage plans were priced with a 30-and-under consumer base in mind. And with thousands who were barred from the market due to preexisting conditions expected to purchase the new coverage, allowing people who already had coverage to go without it could upset the balance of the risk pool. The Affordable Care Act exchanges need enough healthy people to balance out the costs of care for the sick or premiums could rise in 2015, creating a "death spiral" and jeopardizing the law's success altogether.

Remember, Obamacare only passed the Senate because budget reconciliation rules allowed passage on a simple majority if Obamacare would lower the deficit.

Honestly, the best solution now is to challenge the law in the courts again. Dem party obstruction in the Senate and the President's veto block any legistlative fix, but Obama's blatant lawlessness on Obamacare should get SCOTUS an opportunnity to review the law again.


Nothing to Post Open's true. But, to pass some time, here are two movies from 5SecondFilms:

Have a nice weekend and post what you like.




The Democrats' Version of a Crisis Manager

Apparently that's what John Podesta is to these folks.   I just see him as yet another caricature in the ongoing collection of White House caricatures.  

Now it seems this "crisis manager" is facing a bit of hot water of his own

Note to Dems:  If the crisis is a fire, you don't pour more gas on the fire, but it's no shocker here that this is exactly what you get from a handpicked Obama administration official.   Hopefully Podesta never mans a suicide hotline.

Podesta, whose official mandate includes enforcement of numerous executive orders on emissions and the environment, suggested as much when he spoke with me earlier this fall about Obama’s team. “They need to focus on executive action given that they are facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress,” he told me.

So they didn't really want a "crisis manager" or anybody capable of lessening a divide amongst the parties...  they're really just looking for another willing foot soldier to throw more mud from the White House trenches.   It's pretty clear they're just looking for a clean-up guy capabale of minimizing the impact of deserved slams against Obama by in turn smearing the opposition a la Clinton and the stained blue dress.

They didn't need a problem solver, they needed fresh propaganda, and apparently look to achieve that from a fossil named Podesta that considers Republicans the equivelent of a 70's communist cult (durp).


These are not the narratives you're looking for...

I thought only jedi mind tricks worked this well...

"These are not the narratives we're looking for"

I'll be honest, I was working late and didn't get my news fix until later Friday evening, but even late on Friday I heard very little about this shooting, only a few headline feeds saying the shooter was dead and 1 student injured (who's still in a coma and listed in critical condition).    It seemed odd given the usual end-to-end coverage of such events until reading up on what we can assume from the shooter.

Not to mention the media...  then it made a little more sense...

Shameful response soon to follow...

Now how much would any of you like to bet that if an 18-year old student who just legally purchased a gun (despite claiming to be anti-gun), called himself a "Tea Party supporter" (though claiming the opposite) and wore Gadsen Flag tees (contrary to his perferred soviet tees) frequently...  that the Denver Post (and in turn the rest of the mainstream media) would ignore such facts or (as tweeted above) and claim that person didn't "understand" what the Tea Party stood for?    I highly doubt that, considering so often they're quick to paint them as a Tea(rrorist) Party member when possible, even if no evidence to support the claim exist.   Makes a great segue into whatever anti-gun rant decide to wrap it up with.

Another narrative buster:  The shooter, , who's target was his HS debate teacher, shot himself after being confronted by an armed school resource officer and he found himself cornered.   So far I haven't seen the name of the officer who likely saved countless lives, otherwise I'd send him praise...   all I've seen is the name of the lone victim (who thoughts and prayers go out to) and the name of the shooter who I choose not to identify out of every bit of disrespect I can muster.

Which begs this question...    yet again.


Idiot Democrat in Favor of Extending Unemployment Benefits for the Employed

... then goes into some crazy justification by injecting Christmas and the pope: