Bad news, good folks: despite our efforts, the Senate passes the notorious "free" trade "fast-track" bill by a 62-37 margin. The battle goes on to the House -- where, presumably, more far-right Republicans would be anxious to deny President Obama the "victory" this deal somehow represents. We'll deal with that early next week.
In slightly better news, the Senate rejects both a long-term and a short-term extension of key PATRIOT Act provisions, including the one that (until lately!) gave the NSA its "authority" to vacuum up the metadata of American citizens. Sen. McConnell says he'll call the Senate back into session on May 31 (the day those provisions expire), but we'll be ready. I just hope Rand Paul is ready for the possibility that his latest ten-hour filibuster actually did America some good.
Ain't no situation bad enough that Mike Huckabee can't make it worse: with the revelations that Josh Duggar (one of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting) fondled sleeping young girls on multiple occasions during his early teens, Mr. Huckabee tries to make the Duggars' critics in to the villains, intoning that "'inexcusable' doesn't mean 'unforgivable.'" "(B)eing a minor means that one's judgment is not mature" is precisely why we shame those who take advantage of that fact, and that's no less true if children are the ones taking advantage. I wouldn't have sent young Josh Duggar to prison, either, but I wouldn't have lied to my church about getting him counseling, as his parents did, and Mr. Huckabee surely doesn't miss the point of the outrage against the Duggars -- that they enabled an actual child predator and then made a career of pointing to gays as "child predators." A civilized society has a duty to shame hypocrites, particularly when they cause the harm the Duggars have done, and while we'll forgive them in time, we won't do it now just because Mike Huckabee tried to give us all a guilt trip about it.
Jeb Bush says climate change is happening (give the man a gold star!), but that it's not "clear of what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural," adding that "for people to say the science is decided is really arrogant." Ah, yes, the "arrogance" of an intelligent consensus that just so happens to demand more of coal and oil corporations than they're currently willing to give! Maybe he figures that since he's Jeb Bush, not George W. Bush, he can lecture other people about arrogance.
Finally, Ted Cruz tells far-right evangelical pastors that Democrats' "devotion to mandatory gay marriage in all 50 states trumps any allegiance to religious liberty under the First Amendment." "Mandatory"? Did I miss the part where our government made Ted Cruz marry Pat Buchanan? And can Mr. Cruz name even one Democrat who has ever said our government should force churches to marry gays? Do not ignore his longer game, of calling Democrats "radical" and "extreme" so he can push the center further right, certainly not when so few Democrats are "radical" or "extreme" enough to call for more than a three percentage-point hike in the highest tax bracket, for example, not when they enable corporatists to get their "free" trade fast-track bill.