I don't have any personal axe to grind on Brexit. Except for one: I am sick and tired of watching folks like Boris Johnson, Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, and others appeal to the worst racial instincts of our species, only to be shushed by folks telling me that it's not really racism driving their popularity. It's economic angst. It's regular folks tired of being spurned by out-of-touch elites. It's a natural anxiety over rapid cultural change.Maybe it's all those things. But at its core, it's the last stand of old people who have been frightened to death by cynical right-wing media empires and the demagogues who enable them—all of whom have based their appeals on racism as overt as anything we've seen in decades. It's loathsome beyond belief, and not something I thought I'd ever see in my lifetime. But that's where we are.
Friday, June 24, 2016
Thursday, June 23, 2016
I wonder how that possibly could have happened in this country. How did we abandon our dreams of greatness that we demanded of our self-governing Republic. We didn't dig the Panama Canal. Our government did, after it stole the land from Colombia. We, as individuals, didn't tame the West. Our government did, with railroads and homesteading and the U.S. Cavalry. We didn't ourselves build the Hoover Dam. Our government did. We didn't create our own private space exploration. Our government did.How could the country have come to such a sorry pass? Perhaps a clue can be found in a speech given from the U.S. Capitol by a newly elected president on a cold, clear January morning in 1981.In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.Sad.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
By eliminating the Medicaid expansion that has saved thousands of Kentucky lives and thousands of Kentucky health care jobs and brought billions of dollars in economic growth to the Commonwealth.
A couple of facts before we get to Bevin's lies:
- Medicaid expansion covers working poor people. The ones holding down two or three minimum-wage jobs so they make too much money for basic Medicaid but not enough to get kynect subsidies.
- No, shrinking Medicaid back to the pre-Obamacare levels will not "save $2.2 billion." It will COST Kentucky taxpayers far more than $2.2 billion in emergency care for people who no longer have health insurance and in expensive long ambulance trips for people whose local hospital closed because Medicaid funding disappeared.
- Not to mention the dead people. Many, many dead people deliberated murdered by Governor Lying Coward.
Gov. Matt Bevin announced Wednesday he's seeking a Medicaid waiver from the federal government.Bevin said if the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services does not grant the waiver, he will still move ahead with his plan to repeal Medicaid expansion in the state.If the Medicaid waiver is approved, Bevin said it will result in $2.2 billion in taxpayer savings.
The waiver is asking the federal government to allow able-bodied, working-age people to "take ownership" of their coverage, Bevin said. He unveiled Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health, or HEALTH, where Kentucky would impose premiums on Medicaid expansion users from $1 to $15, depending on their income levels.The new Medicaid program would put money toward drug addiction services.
Bevin said his plan isn't to kick people off health care but it will make Medicaid more accessible by making it more accountable. Requiring Medicaid expansion users to pay for their own premiums will give them "dignity and respect," he said.The program would begin as a pilot program that will be later rolled out across the state.
The waiver will be released publicly today.
Monday, June 20, 2016
... is actually worse than what repugs have done to Kansas. Even Brownback hasn't neutron-bombed the state's flagship university. Yet.
Sliding north, we find ourselves in the failed state of Kansas, now in the fifth year of the Brownbackian Dark Ages, as such things are reckoned. Somehow, the fact that Kansas' status as a supply-side lab rat has dropped the state down a political garbage chute the likes of which hasn't been seen since they shredded the Articles of Confederation is beginning to seep under the guardhouses of the gated communities. The head of a healthcare company is fleeing to the Missouri border and he's not shy about telling the world why.
You know Governor Lying Coward is thinking up ways he can one-up Brownback and create the Galt's Gulch libertarian paradise of the Bluegrass.From Pathfinder Health Innovations CEO Jeff Blackwood:It wasn't just that Brownback was conservative; it was that he is seen as a tool of the Koch brothers and ALEC, a conservative think tank and lobbying organization. Brownback used his influence and funding to eliminate "moderate" republicans from the Kansas legislature and install his hand-picked conservative cronies. He couldn't do the same with the Kansas Supreme Court, which has ruled a number of the conservative legislature's laws as unconstitutional, so Brownback's administration decided to threaten to cut off funding to the court system and is actively pursuing legislation to impeach the Supreme Court.
Kansas has become a test center of "trickle down" economics, espoused by economist Arthur Laffer during the Reagan years. Nowhere has there been as thorough an implementation of Laffer's policy recommendations… and nowhere has there been as dramatic a failure of government. Under Brownback's direction, Kansas implemented an unprecedented tax cut in 2012, eliminating taxes for LLCs and professional firms (for full disclosure, PHI is a C Corporation) and making the largest cuts in the highest tax brackets. He shifted taxes to create a heavier burden on property and sales taxes, which typically represent a larger burden on lower income brackets. Brownback declared that this tax cut would be a "shot of adrenaline" for the Kansas economy, but the reality is that the tax cuts have had the opposite effect. Kansas lags neighboring states in job growth. For 11 of the last 12 months, Kansas has dramatically missed revenue targets, falling deeper in debt and facing another round of degraded bond ratings.
The worst part is that the burdens for the shortfalls rest on the shoulders of those who can least afford it – children and the developmentally disabled.No kidding, tell us what you really feel.The funding problems got so bad that Osawatomie State Hospital's mental health ward had to significantly cut staffing. Over 40% of their staff positions were dormant, leaving the remaining staff overworked and unprepared. This understaffing resulted in an improperly released patient murdering a 61-year-old man, and a hospital worker was raped, having to rely on other patients to save her. In January 2016, the Osawatomie State Hospital lost its certification to provide mental health services, cutting off federal funding that counted for roughly half of the hospital's revenue. It is unclear what will happen to the patients and staff at Osawatomie State Hospital, leaving the fates of the patients in limbo.
The state's public education system, once considered one of the best in the nation, hasn't been spared, either. You'll hear claims from Kansas officials that funding to education is at an all time high, but it's just an accounting trick – they chose to shuffle money for special education and retirement funds through the schools so it could appear as an increase on the books. Salary freezes, underfunding to the point of being ruled unconstitutional, laws allowing teachers to be imprisoned for introducing potentially "offensive" content, cuts and delays in $100 million in payments to the state-run retirement fund, and legislation specifically targeted to cripple the Kansas teacher's union are all part of an ongoing effort to undermine the public education system in Kansas. Instead, the Brownback administration plans to offer vouchers to encourage families to send their children to private and religious schools.
To double down on these policies, Brownback is now ignoring the $250 million shortfall predicted for 2016, instead opting for headlines about closing Kansas to refugees and blaming the "liberal media" for the state's economic woes.
In the end, I believe the goals of the Brownback administration are going exactly to plan – starve the state of resources to the point where it just makes sense to turn over critical government functions to for-profit entities. I can't, in good conscience, continue to give our tax money to a government that actively works against the needs of its citizens; a state that is systematically targeting the citizens in most need, denying them critical care and reducing their cost of life as if they're simply a tax burden that should be ignored. It's because of these moves that I have decided to deny Kansas revenue from Pathfinder's taxes by moving our company to Missouri.This guy says it flat out–Brownback has engineered the failure of government in Kansas to prove to himself and to the world that government inevitably fails. It's not often that you see it made that plain, and now it's time to point out that enough voters in Kansas showed up and re-elected this cluck in what only can be seen now as a suicide pact.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
You’ve probably seen the artist’s rendering of Ark Encounter, Ken Ham’s Biblical theme park that focuses on Noah and the Great Flood. I’m posting it here to refresh your memory – followed by three stills from a drone-mounted video camera. The images, from November, show how the construction is progressing in the real world. Notice any differences?“Noah could too have had diesel-powered cranes! And cement mixers! And welding equipment! We just don’t know!"
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Saturday, June 18, 2016
We were right across the street from the motherfuckers at Fifth and Main. With their stupid "homo sex is sin" sign and their self-hating closet case screaming through a bullhorn about "penis in rectum" and the brave ones holding up rainbow flags to block them.
Then the first marchers appeared, and the cheers rose and kept rising and you couldn't hear the hate anymore.
From the Courier:
Drag queens in shimmering dresses waved from high atop floats. Families and their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender loved ones marched side by side west down Main to the parade's end at the Belvedere. The mayor, police chief and other city leaders walked beside them, too.
The Orlando tragedy didn't dominate the 15th annual Kentuckiana Pride Parade, but the many groups carrying signs in memory of the victims were a constant reminder.
Fairness Campaign volunteers walked with the names of those killed June 11 at an Orlando gay nightclub, the dead filling their banner. A church group carried 49 red roses attached to papers with the 49 names.
The parade comes nearly one year after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last summer. Perhaps it was that recent victory, or the aftermath of the prior weekend that brought out thousands Friday, said Jeremy Walsburger.
"It's wonderful to see so many people out here," he said. His mother joined him for her first pride parade, as did many of his coworkers.
"It was never a moment I thought we'd have together," he said. "I'd also never thought I'd see my mayor being so supportive. It's just not something you imagine growing up in a one stoplight town."
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer asked residents this week to march with him in solidarity with the LGBT community.This atheist's favorite sign, carried by someone marching with a church group:
Toward the end of the parade route, JJ Love, his hair done up in a curly, rainbow Mohawk, watched the parade with his boyfriend Tim Netherton.
Love and Netherton met at a now defunct coffee shop in downtown Lousiville, just across the street from gay bar Tryangles. Netherton had recently ended his 17-year marriage.
Now, more than a decade later, his ex-wife and many of his children and grandchildren came to pride to show their unending support.
"We want individuals to know that it's OK to just be yourself," Netherton said. "No matter what that means."
"God (heart) U. She Thinks UR Fabulous."
OK, Lexington: You've got a tough act to follow next Saturday.
Friday, June 17, 2016
If states can drug test low-income residents seeking welfare assistance, why can’t they do the same for members of the one percent asking for hefty federal tax deductions?“We’re not going to get rid of the federal deficit by cutting poor people off SNAP,” Moore told the Guardian, referring to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. “But if we are going to drug-test people to reduce the deficit, let’s start on the other end of the income spectrum.”The Milwaukee congresswoman's bill comes as a rebuke to Republican lawmakers and her state’s governor, Scott Walker. A state law that went into effect in December forces applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to answer questions about their drug use, and Walker is suing the federal government for the right to drug test Wisconsin residents applying for SNAP benefits.Other officials like Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) have pushed for similar measures in their states.Moore told the Guardian she was “sick and tired, and sick and tired of being sick and tired, of the criminalization of poverty.”
He can cite all the KRS he wants; eliminating the entire leadership of one of the state's flagship universities is the act of an out-of-control dictator.
From the press release:
Gov. Matt Bevin today announced a reorganization of the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees, as established by the provisions of KRS 164.821. This reorganization is subject to the approval of the General Assembly in 2017.Man, I can't wait to see the list of rich, white, male, freakazoid wastes of oxygen ol' Lying Coward appoints.
“There have been a number of incidents in recent months and years related to the University of Louisville that have shed less than the best of light on the University and the Commonwealth as a whole,” said Gov. Bevin. “The University’s Board of Trustees, as it exists right now, is operationally dysfunctional. Its dysfunction has precluded it from being fiduciarily effective. Today we are going to start putting the University of Louisville house in order. A fresh start is the right thing to do and is in the best interest of the students, faculty and staff.”An interim Board of Trustees has been created by Executive Order to govern the University of Louisville as needed for the next two weeks until permanent appointments are made to the Board of Trustees.
As for you, UK: toe the Bevin Billionaire line, or you're next.
Courier coverage here.