Wednesday, January 18, 2017

No, KY Rep Thomas Massie Does Not Want to Save Your Health Insurance

He's just a libertarian asshole who hates all government spending that is not tax breaks for rich people. He's no different from the four other KY repugs who voted to kill 32 million Americans, including about 400,000 Kentuckians.
When the bill itself came up a few minutes later, it passed 227-198, all the Democrats voting against it and 9 Republicans voting with them, mostly because they said it was promoting a budget that would never be balanced. So far-- it's still early in the process-- the Republicans who won't have ads running against them in 2018 talking about how they kicked millions of people off healthcare are Justin Amash (MI), Charlie Dent (PA), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), John Katko (NY), Walter Jones (NC), Raul Labrador (ID), Tom MacArthur (NJ), Thomas Massie (KY) and Tom McClintock (CA).

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

KY Repugs Preparing to Execute Public Education

Public money filling the pockets of for-profit scammers.

"Schools" that accept only the wealthiest, whitest and most high-achieving students, leaving the children of color and poverty who most need help out in the cold. 

"Schools" that do not teach, but indoctrinate children into freakazoid religion, corporate obedience or other mindless conformity.

That and worse happened when charters replaced public education in New Orleans, and there is no protection against the same catastrophe in Kentucky

Republican state lawmakers have filed legislation for the 2017 General Assembly that would lead to significant changes for Kentucky public education, including charter schools, the statewide school accountability system and teacher requirements.

Republicans have control of the state House for the first time since 1921. Education bills that failed in the past could be on the fast track under the Republican majority. The session resumes in February. 
Gay Adelmann said she is founder of a Louisville-based group called Save Our Schools Kentucky, which will oppose HB 103. She said a Lexington chapter is starting.

Charter schools, Adelmann said, “don’t work.”

“There’s no evidence that proves that they do any better than public schools when adjusted for demographics, they pick and choose their students that attend, and they open the door for abuse, fraud and waste,” said Adelmann. She said charter school systems in Ohio and other states have had problems.
Zandar has the lowdown on charters:
By any reasonable metric, the conversion to charter schools has been a disaster for the city and its people.
Last year, 63 percent of children in local elementary and middle schools were proficient on state tests, up from 37 percent in 2005. New research by Tulane University’s Education Research Alliance shows that the gains were largely because of the charter-school reforms, according to Douglas N. Harris, the alliance’s director. Graduation and college entry rates also increased over pre-Katrina levels.

But the New Orleans miracle is not all it seems. Louisiana state standards are among the lowest in the nation. The new research also says little about high school performance. And the average composite ACT score for the Recovery School District was just 16.4 in 2014, well below the minimum score required for admission to a four-year public university in Louisiana. 
There is also growing evidence that the reforms have come at the expense of the city’s most disadvantaged children, who often disappear from school entirely and, thus, are no longer included in the data.
That's the whole point of the charter operation: to drive out the "undesirable" kids and say "look at us, we've improved test scores!"  And now the entire district will most likely be charter. The reality of the existing charter schools has been ten years of neglect and shame.
Test scores have improved, according to two major reports that examine academic achievement over the past nine years. On Katrina’s 10th anniversary, RSD is being held up as a national model. The graduation rate has risen from 56 percent to 73 percent. Last year, 63 percent of students in grades 3-8 scored basic or above on state standardized tests, up from 33 percent.

But by other measures, the RSD suffers. In These Times received an advance copy of research conducted for the Network for Public Education (NPE) by University of Arizona researchers Francesca L√≥pez and Amy Olson. The study compared charters in Louisiana, the majority of which are in New Orleans, to Louisiana public schools, controlling for factors like race, ethnicity, poverty and whether students qualified for special education. On eighth-grade reading and math tests, charter-school students performed worse than their public-school counterparts by enormous margins—2 to 3 standard deviations.

The researchers found that the gap between charter and public school performance in Louisiana was the largest of any state in the country. And Louisiana’s overall scores were the fourth-lowest in the nation
“You can say until you’re blue in the face that this should be a national model, but this is one of the worst-performing districts in one of the worst-performing states,” says NPE board member Julian Vasquez Heilig, an education professor at California State Sacramento.

Eliminating public schools has long been a crusade of the far right, and New Orleans is the prime example of what will happen to the rest of the nation should people like DeVos get their way.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Resistance: Record the Atrocities


This is a useful exercise. Amy Siskind is keeping a list of the weekly Trump atrocities on Facebook. Here's just this week.
This is by far the worse:
28. After Congress was briefed by Intelligence chiefs, Rep John Lewis said, "I don't see Trump as a legitimate president."
29. Next morning, Trump tweeted a disparaging attack on Lewis, on MLK weekend, saying he was all talk.
That would be this John Lewis:

Digby again:
Obviously Trump has no clue who John Lewis is or he's the last person he would say is "all talk." In fact, Trump saying that about anyone is insane, but to say it about a man who was beaten half to death fighting for civil rights is obscene. 
But our new president doesn't know that because he really doesn't know much of anything. He is an imbecile.
I think he does know who John Lewis is and leaped at the opportunity to smack down an uppity ni**er.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Keep It To Yourself

Divine Irony:

Don't step on the dead women in alleys

Thank you, Governor Give Birth Or Die, You Bitches.  Abortion restrictions do not prevent a single abortion.  They only prevent safe, legal abortions.  They do, however, increase sales of wire hangers.

Sheldon Shafer at the Courier:

The EMW Women's Clinic in Lexington, one of the two remaining outlets in Kentucky that performed abortions, is closing, effective Jan. 27.

That amounts to "some very sad news for the women of Kentucky today. The Lexington abortion clinic is now a permanent casualty of Kentucky's governor, Matt Bevin," according to a posting on the Facebook page of the Kentucky National Organization for Women.

The state's only abortion provider is the EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville.
The Facebook post quoted a statement from officials of the clinic that said:

"As you know, for the past 6 1/2 months we have diligently pursued obtaining a license to operate an abortion facility. Although we and our attorney believed we had fulfilled all the requirements to obtain the license, the Inspector General of Kentucky disagreed and denied us the license.

"Unfortunately, our landlord has also declined to renew our lease on the space we have occupied at 161 Burt Road since 1989."

Clinic officials said, "There is, indeed, a chill wind blowing for women of Kentucky."
Phone calls to the Lexington clinic were not answered Saturday afternoon.

The Kentucky Supreme Court in August denied an appeal that would have reopened the Lexington clinic that closed in June amid the dispute over licensing. It apparently had not resumed offering the procedure in recent months.

Abortion-rights advocates continue to confront Bevin and his conservative backers on the abortion controversy.

Just this past week the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit aimed at blocking a new Kentucky abortion law that would require doctors providing abortions to first perform an ultrasound of the fetus and try to show and describe the image to the patient — even if she objects.

The measure, House Bill 2, was approved earlier this month by the Kentucky General Assembly, with an emergency clause that allowed Bevin to sign it into law immediately. He also signed into law a bill that prohibits abortion after a woman reaches the 20th week of pregnancy.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Louisville on behalf of the state's sole remaining abortion provider, EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville, and three physicians who provide abortions.
Welcome to Gilead.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Refusing to Tax the Rich Has Bankrupted Kentucky

Negative credit rating.  Negative.  That's economic disaster territory.

Bevin refused to do anything about it during the 2016 budget session.  Now he and his all-repug legislature can't do anything about it until next year.  Meanwhile, Kentucky's sliding down the shitter.

John Cheves at the Herald:

A credit ratings agency fired a warning shot this week over Kentucky’s $32.6 billion public pension debt.

Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings revised its outlook on Kentucky on Wednesday, from stable to negative, ahead of an upcoming state bond sale. The lowered outlook reflects at least a one-in-three likelihood that S&P will lower the state’s credit ratings during the next two years, making it more expensive for the state to borrow money, the agency said in a statement.

“The outlook revision reflects our view that funding levels of the commonwealth’s pension plans could significantly weaken and associated fixed costs could continue to rise to a level that might significantly pressure budgetary performance and flexibility,” S&P analyst Timothy Little said.
Yes, the pension shortfall is the result of decades of administrations, mostly Democratic, stealing from the pension plan in order to fill budget holes without raising taxes.

But it's repugs whose whole raison d'etre is No Taxes.   Now that they have control of all of Kentucky state government, they'll eliminate the pension system all together before they'll make the rich pay a fraction of their fair share of the taxes that hold the Commonwealth together.

Fine with you?  State worker pensions are a significant source of income and economic growth in this state.  Cancel that system and suddenly billions of dollars in consumer spending vanishes. Then the real budget slashing starts.

And then we're Somalia.

Read more here:

Never Forget: The Cowardly Murder of 20 Million Americans by Repugs

Every repug but Rand Paul voted to deny health care to 20 million Americans.  Every Democrat voted to save affordable health care for everyone.

The amendments proposed by the Democrats and defeated by the Republicans were designed to put the majority on the wrong side of the most popular aspects of the law. It was really all they had left, but, in six months, when all those people who voted for the president-elect secure in the knowledge that he'd never do what he promised to do, discover that their pre-existing conditions suddenly matter again, the odds are that they will blame themselves or The Government or liberals or Barack Obama and nobody will remember how the mugging happened, and the rain will wash away the chalk outline of the victim from the sidewalk. And the death of the Affordable Care Act will become a cold case, an unsolved mystery mouldering in a pauper's grave.

ProPublica has an easily readable rundown of the details of the crime.
Think it doesn't matter to you?  Obamacare saved and created hundreds of thousands of jobs. Is one of those yours?  Because it's gone now.  Obamacare brought billions of dollars into cash-strapped states, especially Kentucky.  That's gone, too.

And the death of the Affordable Care Act is 100 percent the complete and total fault of repugs.  All the repugs and nothing but the repugs.

Never forget. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Resistance: Act Like the Russia Dossier is True

So fuck it. It's time for Democrats to have some fun. Let's not even allow the idea that the Russian dossier isn't true. Let's just go with that it's totally true. It's right there in writing. Page 27: Trump "paid bribes to further his interests" in doing business in St. Petersburg, where he "participated in sex parties. Or page 2: "The Kremlin had been feeding Trump and his team valuable intelligence on his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, for several years." Let's just repeat it over and over and demand investigations and more investigations if those don't turn up what we want and let's force the media to keep talking about it and make it the only talking points so that all we can think about with Trump is that he is a corrupt loser who watches hookers piss.  It feels like it's true, so let's go with the truthiness instead of the truth. Why should we be left behind in the rush to jump off the cliff of reason?

Trump force-fed us his nonsense. He's still doing that now. Instead, make him choke on this dossier.
I disagree with his note below.  It's been true, but it no long works. Time to change.
(Note: Of course, we won't do it. Because at the end of the day, we sadly still have some sense of devotion to facts. It is our tragic flaw as liberals.)

Comey's Treasonous Sabotage

Yeah, he's under investigation. For seven days until AG Jeff Sessions cancels the investigation and promotes Comey to Deputy AG.

If it weren't for Comey, Hillary Clinton would have won the popular vote by about 6 points and the Electoral College by 70 or more. And that might have turned into control of the Senate as well, though that's a little more speculative.

Democrats clearly need to focus attention on state and local races, where they have done steadily worse throughout the Obama years. But at the national level, they should resolutely avoid the circular firing squad. They didn't lose because their message was unpopular or because they're out of touch or because they're insufficiently centrist or insufficiently leftist. That just wasn't the problem. The Democratic message was fine; Democrats are perfectly well in touch with their constituencies; and they weren't perceived as too unwilling to shake things up. Even with eight years of Democratic rule acting as a headwind, Hillary Clinton's default performance was a substantial win.

The only reason it didn't happen is because James Comey basically decided to call her a liar and a crook—based on absolutely no new evidence and with everyone in the world advising him not to—with 12 days left in the election. That was something she couldn't overcome, and it has nothing to do with the basic Democratic message.
And it gets worse:

From Digby:
All we can say for sure right now is that this is a perfect illustration of the way Comey improperly inserted himself into the election. These scandalous rumors connecting Trump to the Russian government information are unproven and unverified, and the FBI director was right not to reveal this material prior to the election. He completely ignored that principle when it came to Clinton, and there can be no doubt that it made a difference in the outcome. The fact that Comey clearly knew at the time it was at least possible that Trump had been compromised by a foreign government makes his decision even more shameful.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Resistance: Be a Citizen

Via Political Animal, President Obama:
So, you see, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life. If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Stay at it.

KY AG Defending Law Mandating Doctors Rape Women

It's not an ultrasound; it's rape by object.  Forcing an object deep into a woman's body against her will IS. RAPE.  
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is going to court to defend a law that requires doctors to commit object rape on women seeking abortions.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said Tuesday he will fight a legal challenge to a new Kentucky law mandating ultrasounds for women seeking abortions — even though he believes such a defense comes with "risks and potential costs."

But Beshear said he will not attempt to defend another new state law banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy — should it also be challenged — saying it is "clearly unconstitutional."

"While these decisions may not please advocates on either side, my duty is to the law," Beshear said in a statement released by his office.
Hypocritical misogynistic DINO piece of shit.  Guess his conservative campaign donors get a much bigger boner from rape than from delays that lead to women dead from back-alley abortions.

Need Help Finding a Job in KY? Gov. Billionaire Says Fuck You

Here's the trick:  Bevin is technically keeping them employed by just closing their satellite offices and transferring them to headquarters.  But that means either moving their families hundreds of miles away or enduring a two-  three-hour commute each way to work.
The ones who can't move or commute are thus unemployed "voluntarily" and ineligible for unemployment benefits.  Bevin ass-fucks them both ways. 

And that's before thousands of unemployed Kentuckians are suddenly unable to get job help in their communities.
The Education and Workforce Development Cabinet is pulling its employees out of 31 unemployment centers across Kentucky in an effort to save millions of dollars.

Workers with the Office of Employment and Training throughout the state received a notice Tuesday that the cabinet was making drastic changes, shifting its focus to 12 “hubs” in Bowling Green, Covington, Elizabethtown, Hazard, Hopkinsville, Lexington, Louisville, Morehead, Owensboro, Paducah, Prestonsburg and Somerset.

The change means 95 employees will be transferred to other positions within the cabinet or elsewhere in state government. There are now 51 Kentucky Career Centers in the state. That number is being reduced to the 12 hubs and eight existing satellite offices.

The 31 affected unemployment offices — including locations in Richmond, Danville, Winchester, Georgetown and Frankfort — won’t be closing entirely, but will be supported by “community partners,” said Kim Brannock, a spokeswoman for the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

When asked if that meant people would be able to obtain face-to-face help with unemployment issues, Brannock said services would be decided on a case-by-case basis.