Monday, September 15, 2014

Why Repugs Always Win

Steve M:

These are your modern right-wingers. In a non-violent way, they're as fanatical, as monomaniacally bellicose, and as sociopathically lacking in fellow-feeling for those who aren't members of their tribe as any member of ISIS. But that's why they win. They never stop fighting, and they treat every fight as total war.
 Like this.  

Are You Over Racism?

Just watch.

Hateful Homophobes Lying and Lawbreaking to Kill Civil Rights in Shelby County

Public commission members violating Open Meeting laws by meeting privately to discuss how to kill a popular proposal? Check.

Commissioners lying about their communications with elected officials?  Check.

Commissioners stonewalling and lying to avoid fulfilling their public duties and thus committing criminal malfeasance? Check.

The Shelbyville and Shelby County Human Rights Commission, and particularly its arrogant and unaccountable chair Gary Walls is desperately pulling every immoral and illegal stunt it can to stop Shelbyville from acknowledging the human and civil rights of its LGBT citizens.

From the Shelbyville Sentinel-News:

After being told by the Shelbyville City Council to approach the Shelby County Human Rights Commission for a recommendation on a Fairness Ordinance, members are now perplexed after being told by the commission that they would only give a recommendation at the council’s request.

“I asked them to go to the Human Rights Commission [for a recommendation to the council],” council member Shane Suttor said. “[Council members Mike] Zoeller, [Donna] Eaton…we all asked them to go to the Human Rights.”

For more than a year, McBride and members of the Shelby County chapter of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth along with members of the Fairness Campaign have been asking the council to accept a Fairness Ordinance, which would protect members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The council has declined to vote yes or no on the subject, only voting to take no more action.

So Leslie McBride approached the Human  Rights Commission chairman, as requested by the council.

But she did not get the recommendation she hoped for.  In fact, she heard no recommendation whatsoever.

Gary Walls, serving as chair of the Shelby County Human Rights Commission, said the commission would not share their recommendation unless the council formally requested it in writing.
“We as a commission decided that we needed a formal request from the council before we would act on that,” Walls said. “We will not respond unless we are formally requested by the council.”
But Suttor said that leaves him a bit confused.
“I was under the assumption that we made that request publically at that meeting,” Suttor said.
Oh, it gets better.  Walls came up with that excuse after he and the other commissioners met privately, in blatant violation of the state's Open Meetings Law, to discuss how to respond to the City Council's request prevent those icky gays from getting civil rights like normal people.
This is a new procedure, that Walls said they put in place specifically for this issue, but Walls said he did not alert the Shelbyville City Council, Simpsonville City Commission or Shelby County Fiscal Court of this decision to require a formal written request.

“That’s not for me to do,” he said.

When asked if the Human Rights Commission had ever made a change like this before, Walls would not answer, stating only “There has never been an issue like this.”

Walls went on to explain that the commission has put together a recommendation, one that was formulated during a special called meeting on Sept. 1.

“It was an emergency situation,” he said explaining that the commission met “prior to the parade, behind the Baptist Church.”
Walls, by the way, is a former repug-lite Blue Dog Democrat who publicly deserted the Democratic Party after it nominated Barack Obama for president in 2008.

No surprise a confessed racist is also a vicious homophobe.

I think Suttor is sincere in his attempts to work the system in a way that will "force" the City Council to adopt a non-discrimination ordinance that council members want nothing to do with.

But I would not be surprised if other council members are in cahoots with Walls to kick this issue back and forth until Fairness proponents give up.

Good luck, assholes; we're never giving up.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tyranny Favors Them

Divine Irony:

If we go back to the beginning of things, we shall always find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that imagination, rapture, and deception embellished or distorted them; that weakness worships them; that credulity nourishes them; that custom spares them; and that tyranny favors them in order to profit from the blindness of men.

Baron d’Holbach, prominent figure in the French Enlightenment, 1770

(via whats-out-there)

Mithraism

Divine Irony:

Don't Say the Pledge

Did you know it originally came with a stiff-arm salute like the Nazis? That it dates only from 1982, not 1776?  That it celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus' arrival the start of the Great American Genocide? That it was promoted by a magazine marketer as a way to instill patriotism brainwash children and sell flags? That it is probably right now being copied by ISIS motherfuckers because it just fits their mindset so perfectly?

PZ Myers:

It is true that the American Humanists have launched a campaign to get the discriminatory religious message out of the pledge (I’m all for getting rid of it altogether — why do we make kids recite a loyalty oath?), but it seems to me like a fairly calm, rational argument that they are making.

No Hate

ummagumma.co:


(Source: , via redakota)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Hate-Obama-More-Than-ISIS Party

Steve M:


And that says something about the depraved notion of patriotism that's been bred in the curdled souls of Republican voters. They hate all Democrats so much that they refuse to join with Democrats to fight a group you'd think they'd regard as an unimaginably awful enemy. But to them, Democrats are a far worse enemy.

Storm and Stress

ummagumma.co:

"To meet a threat like this, we have to be smart."

The real threat here, Mr. President, is the warmongers and the hysterical, irrational fear they have again ginned up among Americans.  Don't give in to them, Mr. President.  I know you know better.   Spend the next two years giving the finger to the haters and just do the right thing.



Full transcript here.

Of Course Freakazoid Homeschoolers Are Abusing Their Kids

And not just intellectually.

Because that's what freakazoid homeschoolers do.

Think Progress:

This June, a seven-year-old Pennsylvania boy was found by child welfare workers, nearly starved to death and weighing less than 25 pounds. According to police, the child was being denied food, beaten with a belt, and not allowed outside by his mother and grandparents — who are now charged with attempted murder and other offenses. Because the child was homeschooled and enrolled at online charter school, he was largely out of the public view, making detection of the apparent abuse difficult.

While his case was by no means the typical experience of a homeschooler, he is an example of what the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE) calls “Homeschooling’s Invisible Children,” — dozens of abused and neglected kids the group has documented across the country whose parents or guardians have hidden from detection by taking them out of public schools and keeping them at home. According to Rachel Coleman, a homeschool alum and the CRHE’s executive director, more than 90 of those “invisible children” have died since 2000.

(You will be stunned to discover that efforts by CRHE to establish proper oversight of homeschooling in order to prevent these tragedies is ferociously opposed by - surprise! - freakazoids protecting those abusers.)

Since 1983, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has provided advocacy and legal representation for parents who chose to educate their children at home. Co-founded and chaired by conservative Christian activist Michael Farris, HSLDA helped make homeschooling legal in all 50 states and became, in the words of homeschooling historian and Messiah College associate professor of education Milton Gaither, “pretty much the face of homeschooling.” The organization, based in Purcellville, VA, reported in 2013 that its annual budget is more than $10 million.

In addition to leading the legislative and judicial charge to protect the rights of parents to homeschool, HSLDA has directed a great deal of its attention to keeping the government out of their homes. Reflecting the organization’s conservative views, it prefers letting parents make decisions without interference from federal, state, or local officials.

Friday, September 12, 2014

QOTD: Voting


Zandar:

If voting doesn't matter, why are Republicans trying so hard to stop people from doing it?

Fall at Kentucky State Parks


It's Fall at Kentucky's State Parks, and marveling at the nation's greatest show of leaf color is not the only thing to do.

  • Civil War Living History The Jefferson Davis State Historic Site will host a United States Colored Troops Living History program on Sept. 20, 2014, in observation of the Civil War Sesquicentennial. The living history program will feature the 12th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery unit from Camp Nelson, Kentucky. The re-enactment and living history group represents African-American soldiers who fought during the Civil War. The unit will demonstrate canon firing from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is free.
  • Religious History Old Mulkey Meetinghouse State Historic Site will host a program on religious history in Kentucky on Sept. 20. “From Cane Ridge to Old Mulkey: A Look at Restoration Events in Kentucky” will feature speakers discussing what is known as the “Restoration Movement” in Kentucky in the 1800s. Book signings will start at 10:30 a.m., and speakers will start at 1:30 p.m. at the park. The admission fee is $5 a person.
  • Great American Dulcimer Convention Dulcimer players from far and near will gather Sept. 26-27 at Pine Mountain State Resort Park at Pineville for a music festival devoted to dulcimers – the 2014 Great American Dulcimer Convention. The Appalachian dulcimer is a sweet-sounding string instrument played on the lap. Similarly named but unrelated is the many-stringed hammered dulcimer, which dates back to ancient times. Both types are spotlighted in the convention’s concerts by professional musicians and in workshops, open stage opportunities and jams open to all.
  • Corn Maze Green River Lake State Park and a group of volunteers are honoring the 90th anniversary of Kentucky State Parks with a unique corn maze design that opens Sept. 13. The maze, located near the park entrance, looks like the state park logo from the air. Most of the work on the maze was donated and the project is sponsored by the park and the Friends of Green River Lake.
  • Gentlemen's Duel Levi Jackson State Park will present a historic program called “A Gentleman’s Duel” on Sept. 20 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The program will provide guests with the history of duels in Kentucky and will include a demonstration. The program will be at the park’s Mountain Life Museum. The admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children and includes museum admission.
  • PhotoScenic Weekend The 2014 edition of the PhotoScenic Kentucky Weekend will be at Barren River Lake State Resort Park Oct. 10-11. This is the 52nd year of PhotoScenic Weekend, conducted in cooperation with Kentucky State Parks. The all-digital photography workshop will cost $10 for adults; children under 12 are free.
  • Elk Tours Two state parks in eastern Kentucky will offer guests a unique wildlife viewing opportunity this fall and winter – elk viewing tours. Visitors to Jenny Wiley and Buckhorn Lake State Resort Parks can choose a weekend and stay at a state park lodge or cottage to enjoy one of these unique tours. New this year are evening tours at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park near Prestonsburg. Participants should bring their cameras – there should be great photography opportunities. The largest elk herds are located on privately owned lands that are normally closed to the public. This is one of the few opportunities available for the public to see the greatest number of elk. The return of elk to the region is considered to be one of Kentucky’s biggest wildlife management success stories. The animals, after being gone from the state for 150 years, were returned in 1997. They now number around 10,000. Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg Fall 2014 dates: Sept. 20, 21, 27, 28; Oct. 18, 19, 25, 26; Nov. 1, 22, 29; Dec. 6. Winter 2015 dates: Jan. 17, 24, 25; Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28; March 7 Jenny Wiley State Resort Park is sponsoring elk tours at a cost of $30 per person or $15 per child 12 and under. This fee includes your transportation via van to the viewing sites and a continental breakfast. The park also offers packages for $160 for two people that include lodging and breakfast. Because these tours fill up quickly, registration is suggested. Special group and business tours are also available. Early morning (5:30 a.m.) and evening tours (3:30 p.m.) are offered on most dates. Call 1-800-325-0142 for information and reservations. Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, Buckhorn Fall 2014 dates: Sept. 20, 27; Oct. 25; Nov. 1, 2, 22, 23; Dec. 6, 7. Winter 2015 dates: Jan. 3, 4, 10, 11, 24, 25, 31; Feb. 1, 7, 8, 21, 22, 28; March 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29.
  • Civil War Exhibit "The Horse Soldier," a special Civil War cavalry exhibit featuring rarely seen personal items belonging to Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan, will be displayed at Columbus-Belmont State Park through Nov. 1. The special exhibit will tell the story of the "Horse Soldier" during the Civil War and highlight items used by Confederate cavalrymen, particularly those of Morgan and some of his fellow soldiers.

Honest

ummagumma.co:

Why It's Right to Always Blame the Rich

Steve M:

We should always be suspicious of the rich. We should be deeply suspicious of any analysis of our economic problems that doesn't blame the rich. They have all the political power. Their recession ended years ago. They're experiencing an economic boom. When do we get some of what they're having? Well, the first step is suspecting them whenever our economy goes off the rails. After all, they're in charge.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

QOTD

Via Scott Lemiuex at Lawyers, Guns and Money, the money quote from the Supreme Court majority opinion in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette more than 60 years ago:

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.
They sure occur constantly to Nino Scalia and his fellow freakazoid corporatists fouling the seats where honest jurists once worked.

Let's Hear From Women Who Had Abortions Out of Pure Selfishness

Because those abortions - like every other abortion, regardless of cause or reason - are nobody's fucking business but theirs.

Playing the some-abortions-are-better-than-others game falls into the freakazoid women-haters' trap.

Think Progress:

It’s certainly never easy to disclose so much personal information to the general public — especially when it comes to talking about having an abortion, a personal revelation that can lead to death threats. But it’s important to remember that Davis’ abortion story is a relatively safe one. She had “good” abortions, so to speak.

“Good” abortions are the types of procedures that are more palatable to the American public because they don’t involve situations in which critics could paint a woman as being selfish. They’re abortions that are typically compelled by reasons that most Americans see as non-negotiable: in cases when women’s health is at risk, in cases when the fetus has fatal abnormalities, and in cases when the woman became pregnant as a result of rape or incest. They always require some type of justification, some “proof” that the abortion was truly the right moral choice.

“Abortion stigma is the shared understanding that abortion is morally wrong and/or socially unacceptable. The fact that there is dichotomy between ‘acceptable’ reasons for having an abortion and more ‘unacceptable’ reasons is because of abortion stigma, plain and simple,” Steph Herold, the deputy director of an organization called Sea Change, which works to combat abortion stigma, told ThinkProgress via email.

No Masters

ummagumma.co:

Organize and Take the Big Bag

Because only the union can get you anywhere close to what you've earned.

Down with Tyranny:


Convicted for Being Female. In America.

None of your fucking business, motherfuckers. Not how women dress, not how women act, not how women have sex, not how women deal with pregnancy, none of it.

None. Of. Your. Mother. Fucking. Business.

Also, it's not a "child" or "baby" until it's outside a woman's body, breathing on its own. Until then, it's a piece of her body, and, again: None. Of. Your. Mother. Fucking. Business.

Think Progress:

A woman in Montana has been charged with criminally endangering a child, which is a felony, after testing positive for illegal drugs. According to court records, she is in her first trimester of pregnancy. The case clearly illustrates how an increasing number of states are using fetal harm laws to criminalize pregnant women’s behavior and blur the lines about exactly when personhood begins in the eyes of the law.

According to the Ravalli Republic, 21-year-old Casey Gloria Allen has been charged with “putting her unborn child at risk by taking illegal drugs” after a drug test came back positive for benzodiazapines, THC, and opiates. She is reportedly 12 weeks pregnant and had been out on bail for previous drug possession charges. “The reality for some of these women is the need for drugs is stronger than any maternal instinct they have,” Ravalli County deputy attorney Thorin Geist told the local outlet.
However, as several reproductive rights advocates have pointed out, Allen’s “maternal instinct” isn’t really the issue at hand. It’s unclear whether Allen knew she was pregnant in the first place, or whether she has any plans to continue the pregnancy. Abortion is, of course, still legal at 12 weeks of pregnancy. Regardless of whether or not Allen ought to be using illegal drugs, charging her with endangerment of her “unborn child” suggests that the state of Montana is endowing her fetus with its own rights.

This is a frequent issue with fetal harm laws, which are on the books in 36 states. This type of legislation is intended to allow states to bring additional charges against someone who physically harms a pregnant woman, like a drunk driver who crashes into her car and causes her to suffer a miscarriage. But unless they’re very carefully worded, they can end up giving equal weight to the rights of both the woman and her fetus — which reproductive rights experts worry could be used as a legal argument for restricting abortion.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

QOTD

Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland and The Invisible Bridge, on the 40th anniversary of Gerald Ford's inexcusable pardon of Richard Nixon.
But the idea that “too big to fail” institutions are too fragile to handle honest reckoning with the truth is not courage. It is civic cowardice. Better, much better, that we keep the faith: that our Constitution can work, that our great republic is a government of laws and not men, and that here, the people rule.

KY's Murray State 18th in Nation for Best College Value

Centre College may rank 45th in the nation according to the status-above-all U.S. News college rankings, but if you want to know which colleges in Kentucky offer the best value for the money, check out the Washington Monthly, where Centre does not even make the list but Murray State University ranks 18th in the nation.

So, for those who don’t want to wait (or bet) on Washington, we offer our second annual Best Bang for the Buck ranking—our exclusive list of the colleges in America that do the best job of helping non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices. Out of the 1,540 colleges and universities in our broader rankings, only 386 made the cut as Best Bang for the Buck schools. You can see the top 100 starting on page 26 and the rest on our website at washingtonmonthly.com.

To get on our list, colleges had to meet four criteria in the most recent year. First, to make sure they aren’t just catering to the affluent, at least 20 percent of their students must be receiving Pell Grants, which go to students of modest means (typically those with annual household incomes below $50,000). Second, they must have a graduation rate of at least 50 percent—hardly an exacting standard, but a fair one considering that we’re requiring that a fifth of their student body have lower incomes, a demographic that tends to graduate in lower numbers. Third, each school’s actual graduation rate must meet or exceed the rate that would be statistically predicted for that school given the number of lower-income students admitted (among other things, this calculation assures that schools with more than the minimum 20 percent of Pell students aren’t penalized). Fourth, to make sure their graduates are earning enough in the workforce to at least cover their student loans, schools must have a student loan default rate of 10 percent or less.

Once we compiled the list, we applied the “buck” part of the measure by ranking the schools based on their net price of attendance. (Net price is the average tuition that first-time, full-time students from families with an annual income of $75,000 or less actually pay after subtracting the need-based financial aid they receive.)
Transy was the second Kentucky college on the Best Bang for the Buck list at 150, followed by Asbury at 297 and Bellarmine at 306. No other post-secondary institution, public or private, in Kentucky cracked the list of 386.

Please note that Transy, Asbury and Bellarmine manage to provide high value despite being private colleges.  As the Monthly editors point out:
It’s worth pointing out—and giving kudos to—the relative handful of private institutions, including Amherst College and Brigham Young University-Idaho, that made the list. These schools go out of their way to recruit less-affluent students and keep the prices they charge to those students down.
 I'm looking at you, Centre.

Live Accordingly

ummagumma.co:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Meaning

ummagumma.co:

Is Jamie Comer a Real Conservative?

So Jamie Comer's in the Governor's race for next year. He's spent two years since getting elected running as fast as he can as far away as possible from actual repug policies.  But now he should have to put up or shut up: does he support what real conservatives support?

It's been labeled "extreme" - but only by non-repugs.  I defy any Kentucky repug to publicly repudiate any plank in the Texas Republican Party Platform.

That the Texas Legislature should nullify—indeed, “ignore, oppose, refuse, and nullify”—federal laws it doesn’t like. (Unmentioned is the fact that, beginning in 1809, the Supreme Court has steadfastedly rejected state nullification of federal laws.)

• That when it comes to “unelected bureaucrats”—i.e., pretty much the entire federal work force above the janitorial level—Congress should “defund and abolish these positions.”

• That the Seventeenth Amendment, which was adopted in 1913, be repealed, so that “the appointment of United States Senators” can again be made by state legislators, not by voters. (Admittedly, the Texas Legislature could hardly do worse.)

• That all federal “enforcement activities” within the borders of Texas—including, presumably, the activities of F.B.I. agents, Justice Department prosecutors, air marshals, immigration officers, agricultural inspectors, and tax auditors—“must be conducted under the auspices of the county sheriff with jurisdiction in that county.”

...

We urge that the Voter Rights Act of 1965, codified and updated in 1973, be repealed and not reauthorized.
Not to mention the planks denying basic civil and human rights to women and LGBT people.

So, somebody ask Jamie: Which parts, if any, of this republican platform would you NOT want to see in the Kentucky GOP platform for 2015?

David Atkins at Hullabaloo:
This is not an aberration. It's what these people really believe, in the biggest and most powerful Republican state, the one that regularly contests with California to be the nation's moral and political waypoint. It's the biggest reason we can't make forward progress as a country.

KY Repugs Seek Local Right-to-Slave-Labor Laws

Because when it comes to fucking over workers, repugs can never get enough.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

Senate President Robert Stivers asked for an attorney general's opinion Monday on whether Kentucky counties can adopt so-called "right-to-work" provisions, which let employees work in unionized businesses without joining the union or paying dues.

Stivers, a Republican from Manchester, said in a news release that he was seeking the opinion from Attorney General Jack Conway because Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell recently opined that the Louisville Metro Government has the authority to require a higher minimum wage than the minimum established by federal or state law.

"Using Mr. O'Connell's analysis, a county should also be able to establish itself as a right-to-work county," said Stivers.
Using Mr. Stiver's analysis, employers should be allowed to pay their workers nothing at all.

The fact is that right-to-work-for-less laws cost states millions of dollars in excess social services to support workers who aren't get paid enough to live on.

But repugs have a solution for that, too: eliminate all government help, including unemployment insurance, food stamps, AND Social Security, then the new Lords and Serfs economy won't cost anything at all.