Sunday, April 10, 2016

243.6 - Clown Award: Idaho Gov. Butch Otter

Clown Award: Idaho Gov. Butch Otter

Now for one of our regular features, the Clown Award, given as always for meritorious stupidity.

And oh my, we were drowning in clowns these past two weeks, so much so that for a short time I was tempted to do an entire show of clowns. But instead, I've pared the number down to just four.

So our third runner up this week in the competition for the Big Red Nose is Terrence Veninga of Checotah, Oklahoma.

Last August, the Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gear store and gun range in nearby Oktaha, Oklahoma (population 390) declared itself to be a "Muslim free zone," with one of the owners, Chad Neal, saying he didn't "want to have any jihadis training on our gun range." Because, obviously, if I was a terrorist looking to improve my marksmanship, the Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gear store and gun range in Oktaha, Oklahoma, is the first place I'd think to go. Congratulations on defending America, Mr. Neal.

Which brings us to Mr. Veninga. He and some other self-described "patriots" have been - get this, now - "defending" the store (against what isn't clear) by standing around outside with loaded guns.

His gun, an old Colt .45, fell from its bucket holster, hit the ground, and went off, hitting him in the wrist. Yes, that's right, this patriot patriotically defending a very patriotic gun store against the hordes of anti-patriots preparing for an assault on Oktaha, Oklahoma, succeeded only in shooting himself.

A worthy entrant in our competition for Clown Award.

Our second runner-up also involves the issue of guns. It is the Republican party.

GOPper wet dream (except it's real)
Leaders of the Republican party have made it clear that they will brook no interference in the right of every person to carry a gun anywhere, any time. The Second Amendment and our very freedom demand no less.

Well, almost anywhere, any time. One place that won't be happening is the Republican National Convention, where packing heat is to be strictly forbidden.

Now, the party can claim that "It's not us, it's the venue [sniffle]." See, the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, where the event will be held, bans carrying gun - which it can do, since it's private property, private property being the only thing more holy to GOPpers than guns. Maybe.

The thing is, the party didn't have to choose that venue. They could have picked some place that allowed guns. Or may purchased additional insurance to indemnify the Arena against any damages in order to convince the owners to change their mind. But they didn't.

Okay, but what about the fact that after the question came up, the Secret Service categorically ruled out the idea of guns at the convention? Yeah, sure, but these brave, rough-and-tough stalwarts of the right could have declined Secret Service protection and said "we're self-reliant, free Americans; we'll take care of ourselves." But they didn't. Which means they are getting protection they would deny to the rest of us.

Is it hypocrisy? Nah. It's more likely they were just scared that too many of their delegates would be too much like Terrence Veninga. Doesn't make them any less clowns.

Paul LePage
Our first runner-up and so the winner of the size 18 floppy shoes, is a man who under normal circumstances would be a runaway winner pretty much every week. He is Paul LePage, the governor of Maine and a man who makes Donald TheRump look like Bertrand Russell.

On March 31, the Labor Committee of the Maine state Senate rejected LePage's nominee to the state Unemployment Insurance Commission on a party-line vote. So on April 1, LePage cancelled a swearing-in ceremony for Susan Deschambault, who had won a special election on Tuesday -  and his office specifically stated that it was cancelled because of the Labor Committee vote.

LePage also withdrew three of his nominees, including two who hadn't been voted on yet. He gave no reason.

Doesn't matter. We know the reason: Paul LePage is a two-year old having a temper tantrum. And a clown.

So what could top all that? Something that goes beyond the silly, hypocritical, or childish to have actual significant impact on people's lives.

So the winner of the dishonor of the Big Red Nose this week is Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, who apparently has the IQ of his namesake without the compensation of the nice coat of fur.

Idaho is one of the idiot states that has not taken advantage of Medicaid expansion. As a result, about 78,000 folks in Idaho fall in the coverage gap between Medicaid and Obamacare subsidies - which the Medicaid expansion was designed to fill. Many of those folks can't afford access to health care. But don't worry, the legislators swear they have begun to "take up the issue" of Medicaid expansion "in a meaningful way" - a mere four years after the option became available.

Butch Otter
And what of Gov. OtterHisMind? He'd like to see something happen, but isn't really worried about it because he doesn't agree with the claim that people in Idaho are dying because they fall in the coverage gap and so can't get health insurance.

After all, he said - and here it comes:
I see plenty of people in hospitals and they have insurance. And they're in the hospital. But they still die.
That's right, because people with health insurance can still die, people without health insurance are no worse off. Having access to health care doesn't really make a difference because after all, we all die eventually.

Idaho Gov. Butch OtterHisSkull - you can't get to be much more of a clown than that.

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