Thursday, October 23, 2014

Society

ummagumma.co:

(Source: yesimanatheist)

Grimes Finally Attacks Mitch on Voter Suppression

Voting in Kentucky is not quite as near-impossible as it is in Texas - you  have to present a form of identification but it doesn't have to be government-issued or have a picture - but without early voting or excuse-less mail-in voting, it's still a system that forces minorities, students, the elderly and working people to jump through fiery hoops.

When I started voting almost 40 years ago, all you had to do to cast a vote was to sign your name in the registration book, right next to the signature you made the last time you voted or registered, and as long as it matched you were gold.

Grimes did not go so far as to demand the return to that system, but at least she called out the voter suppression motherrfuckers for fucking their mothers. And lying about it.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

The campaign of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes claims in two radio ads that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to take the right to vote away from black people.

The most recent ad, launched earlier this week, is narrated by Georgia Powers, a civil-rights advocate from Louisville and the first black person elected to the Kentucky Senate.

In it, Powers says "Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are trying to take away our right to vote."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Restore the Economy in One Move: Soak the Rich

Fuck Wall Street and the repugs. Do it anyway. Call it the Eisenhower Bring Back the '50s Tax.

Bryce Covert at Think Progress:

A 90 percent tax rate on the top 1 percent of American earners wouldn’t just significantly reduce income and wealth inequality and boost government tax revenues. It would also be the optimal level for Americans’ welfare, according to a new paper from economists Fabian Kindermann and Dirk Krueger.

They find that the top marginal tax rate that maximizes government revenues before being so high as to discourage the wealthiest from earning more is very high, or 95 percent on those who are among the top 1 percent of earners. They also find that a 90 percent tax rate on the richest 1 percent could significantly reduce the Gini index, a measure of income inequality, and wealth inequality would also steadily decline.
But these effects aren’t worth the policy change in and of themselves, they argue. In an email to ThinkProgress, Krueger wrote, “One could certainly reduce inequality in the economy to zero, by the government confiscating all income and wealth and redistributing it equally among all households… Of course people would stop working and saving and the outcome would be disastrous.” But the interesting finding in their paper is that the same tax rate that would maximize revenues and drive down inequality is nearly the same one that would make everyone better off, or what they call the optimal top marginal tax rate.

What god Hates

ummagumma.co:


(Source: nicolemarshsays)

Proof the Rich Are Moochers

Everybody who's got more than, say, a million bucks should just be presumed guilty of economic crimes against humanity and forced to disgorge 90 percent of it.

Enough of these fuckers.

David Atkins at Political Animal:

The entire conservative ideological program on economics depends on cosmic justice: the idea that those who develop talent and work hard will succeed as they deserve, while those who are lazy and without skills will fail as they ought. That meritocratic concept is the justification for slashing all forms of assistance to the poor and the middle class from food stamps to healthcare. Further, if the rich got there by just deserts, then they should get even more money to keep being so productive for everyone else.

But if it turns out that there is no meritocracy—if the rich get there through privilege and luck rather than industry and talent—then the entire rest of the conservative agenda morally falls apart.
It just so happens that a new study shows that the United States does not, in fact, have a meritocracy:
America is the land of opportunity, just for some more than others. That’s because, in large part, inequality starts in the crib. Rich parents can afford to spend more time and money on their kids, and that gap has only grown the past few decades. Indeed, economists Greg Duncan and Richard Murnane calculate that, between 1972 and 2006, high-income parents increased their spending on “enrichment activities” for their children by 151 percent in inflation-adjusted terms, compared to 57 percent for low-income parents….
Even poor kids who do everything right don’t do much better than rich kids who do everything wrong. Advantages and disadvantages, in other words, tend to perpetuate themselves. You can see that in the above chart, based on a new paper from Richard Reeves and Isabel Sawhill, presented at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s annual conference, which is underway.
Specifically, rich high school dropouts remain in the top about as much as poor college grads stay stuck in the bottom — 14 versus 16 percent, respectively. Not only that, but these low-income strivers are just as likely to end up in the bottom as these wealthy ne’er-do-wells. Some meritocracy.
What’s going on? Well, it’s all about glass floors and glass ceilings. Rich kids who can go work for the family business — and, in Canada at least, 70 percent of the sons of the top 1 percent do just that — or inherit the family estate don’t need a high school diploma to get ahead. It’s an extreme example of what economists call “opportunity hoarding.” That includes everything from legacy college admissions to unpaid internships that let affluent parents rig the game a little more in their children’s favor.
But even if they didn’t, low-income kids would still have a hard time getting ahead. That’s, in part, because they’re targets for diploma mills that load them up with debt, but not a lot of prospects. And even if they do get a good degree, at least when it comes to black families, they’re more likely to still live in impoverished neighborhoods that keep them disconnected from opportunities.
Everything about the conservative economic agenda is wrong not only on the merits (supply-side economics is a proven logistical failure, for instance), but from its very philosophical underpinnings.
There is no meritocracy. The rich do not get ahead by their industry and talent, but by luck and connections. It’s more about who you know, than what you know. Which means that anyone defending the right of the rich to take even more money is exalting a system as indefensible as the divine right of kings.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Corporations and the Free Market Making Ebola Worse

Interesting that all the U.S. hospitals where Ebola patients have recovered without infecting any hospital workers are all government-run non-profit hospitals.

While the ONLY U.S. hospital where an Ebola patient died AND hospital workers got infected with the virus is a corporate-owned, private-industry, for-profit medical industry facility.

karoli at Crooks and Liars:
Never mind that private, for-profit hospital who ignored CDC protocols with regard to Ebola. The one that sent Mr. Duncan home with antibiotics for a deadly viral infection. Never mind that, because it's easier for lazy people like Bruni to blame Obama, and by extension, all Democrats everywhere.
This is why we cannot have nice things. We have no surgeon general, but that's of no moment because the whiny ass Republicans bleated for an Ebola czar and now that they have one, they're criticizing the president for not appointing a doctor.

Look over there and you'll miss the forest for the trees! Also, on November 5th there will be little talk, if any, about Ebola. I guarantee it. Just like there's no talk about the "border crisis" or the IRS or even Benghazi!.

If there is something to fear about Ebola, it's how private hospitals are dealing with it. A TPM reader paints a terrifying picture:

SNIP

So once again, I must reiterate: Why is it that the for-profit hospital system isn't taking any of the heat for their lack of preparedness? Why aren't states enforcing the protocols? Why is all of this Obama's fault? Of course it's not his fault. It's just convenient for lazy corporate journalists to blame it on him rather than actually thinking it through.

I seriously hope we kick Republicans' asses on November 4th and put these shameless hacks out to pasture forever.
Steve M:
In a Washington Post op-ed published Monday, DeMoro tied our Ebola problems to the private, for-profit nature of our health care system:
... Ebola is exposing a broader problem: the sober reality of our fragmented, uncoordinated private health-care system. We have enormous health-care resources in the United States. What we lack is a national, integrated system needed to respond effectively to a severe national threat such as Ebola.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues guidelines but has no authority to enforce them. Hospitals have wide latitude to pick and choose what protocols they will follow; too often in a corporate medical system those decisions are based on budget priorities, not what is best for the health and safety of patients and caregivers. Congress and state lawmakers put few mandates on what hospitals must do in the face of pandemics or other emergencies, and local health officials do not have the authority to direct procedures and protocols at hospitals.

Where other countries -- notably Canada, which took action after its vulnerabilities were exposed by the 2003 SARS epidemic -- have empowered their public health agencies to coordinate local, state and federal detection and response efforts for pandemics, the United States cut funding for its already-weak system. Federal funding for public health preparedness and response activities was $1 billion less in fiscal 2013 than 2002....
Why do we know what went on in Texas Health Presbyterian when Thomas Duncan came in? Because a union was able to tell us. Conservatives would prefer an America in which no health care workers were unionized at all. They should remember that when they're quoting National Nurses United.
To sum up:  Government and Unions: Getting it right and saving lives.  For-profit corporations: Fucking up and killing people.

Chain Saws

ummagumma.co:


The Ad That Could Save Alison - If She'd Run It

I am sure Bruce Braley would be happy to let her steal it.

And equally sure she wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole.

Monday, October 20, 2014

What Did NOT Happen

People who are still fear-mongering on Ebola - and that includes my intelligent, educated co-workers - are fucking morons and a clear and present danger to public safety.

Steve M:

Thomas Eric Duncan flew from Monrovia, Liberia, to Brussels, Belgium, on September 19, then flew from Brussels to Dulles Airport in D.C. The next day, September 20, he flew from D.C. to Dallas.

He arrived in Dallas -- infected with Ebola -- 29 days ago.

The incubation period is, at most, 21 days.

There are no Ebola cases in Belgium. There are no Ebola cases in the D.C. area. The only people with Ebola in Dallas have been Duncan and two nurses who treated him when he was unquestionably gravely ill, and when the nurses may not have mastered the protocols for protecting themselves from a highly contagious patient, or may not have had adequate protective gear and other safeguards.

The point is, we know that Thomas Eric Duncan did not communicate Ebola to anyone in his travels -- no one on any plane he flew on, no one in any airport he passed through. The people he had contact with until he was finally admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on September 28 -- 21 days ago -- have shown no signs of Ebola, and that includes his relatives and his fiancee -- who seems fine, by the way, but can't get anyone to rent her an apartment.

I know that, by now, much of America probably thinks that "we don't really know" what the incubation period is, just as they think "we don't really know" how Ebola is transmitted. But no matter what they think, they need to be reminded that there are no non-medical personnel who've contracted Ebola via Thomas Eric Duncan. Not his relatives. Not his fiancee. Not the people at the apartment complex where he was staying. Yes, it's true that the people who delivered food to Duncan's family after his hospitalization and later cleaned the apartment are still not past the 21-day maximum incubation period-- though they've had time to develop symptoms, and none have.

If the authorities are lying to us about how Ebola is transmitted, where are all the other cases?
And no, the situation is Europe is no better than it is here, so no, it's not Obama's fault.

Last word to the Rude Pundit, whose entire column you should read:
More people in the United States are scared about Ebola than climate change when climate change affects everyone and Ebola affects, at most, a handful of Americans. Republicans pretend not to know science, but they are unafraid of spreading lies and pretending to know it when it suits their purposes, even if it ultimately causes more harm than good.

And the majority of Americans buy into it and lose their shit when Ebola will never cause them to do so.

Paradise

ummagumma.co:

Voting Republican

Down with Tyranny:


Sunday, October 19, 2014

QOTD: Anti-Corporation Republicans

via Michael Kazen  and Political Animal:

“There once was a time in history when the limitation of governmental power meant increasing liberty for the people,” TR told his followers in the independent new Progressive Party in 1912. “In the present day, the limitation … of governmental action, means the enslavement of the people by the great corporations, who can only be held in check through the extension of governmental power.”

Dying for Fish

ummagumma.co:



(via punchgod-deactivated20130427)

Taxpayers and Public Prayer

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito: Evil or Stupid? And Does It Matter?


Tom Flynn in Free Inquiry:
Writing the majority opinion in Harris v. Quinn, a decision announced shortly before Hobby Lobby that weakened public-sector labor unions, Associate Justice Samuel Alito actually wrote: “Except in the rarest of circumstances, no person in this country may be compelled to subsidize speech by a third party that he or she does not wish to support.”
Alito had in mind dues-paying union members whose unions might take political positions to which they object.
Obviously, one could scarcely imagine Alito writing the same sentence in regard to, say, nonreligious taxpayers compelled to subsidize legislatures that open their sessions with sectarian prayer!

Yeah, Right

ummagumma.co:


(via livelove-t0ke-deactivated201211)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Herald Fear-Mongers on Ebola

Shame on you, Bill Estep and Herald editors for contributing to the baseless Ebola hysteria instead of using an opportunity to educate people.

In this story on how rural hospitals in Kentucky are preparing to deal with a patient with Ebola, Estep unquestionably accepts the false premise that Ebola is easily contracted and spread.

On Friday, the Mountain Advocate newspaper in Barbourville reported that an ambulance brought a woman to the Knox County Hospital who was concerned she'd been exposed to Ebola. The hospital closed off the emergency room before determining the woman had not been exposed, the paper reported.
I suppose it's remotely possible that someone recently in West Africa showed up in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky, but I think it's more likely she was suffering from Faux News Overexposure syndrome and imagined that she contracted Ebola through her TV.

Estep misses a huge opportunity there to tell us whether she was actually a likely Ebola victim and to educate his readers on how Ebola actually spreads and the extreme unlikelihood of contracting it if you've never stepped foot outside the county you were born in.

Yes, there's an "About Ebola" sidebar that mentions Ebola cannot be casually contracted. Nobody reads sidebars.

The real danger of Ebola in this country is that hospitals are going to be overwhelmed and wasting money on Faux News Overexposure victims, each case exponentially increasing the hysteria that will end up costing lives far from the nearest Ebola patient.

All We Have

ummagumma.co:

"We can't give in to hysteria or fear"

Well done, Mr. President. Hysterical fear spreads exponentially, and it's going to take exponential efforts to eliminate it.



Full transcript here.

The War on Christians

How come we never hear about all those freakazoids being re-jailed for refusing atheist indoctrination? 

Divine Irony:

Calif. atheist awarded $2 million after being re-jailed for refusing faith-based rehab

A Northern California man was awarded almost $2 million in a settlement after prison officials sent him back to jail for refusing to take part in a faith-based treatment program for drug offenders because he is an atheist.

According to the Redding Record Searchlight, Barry Hazle Jr. will receive $1 million from state officials and $925,000 from Westcare California, the contractor in charge of the program, which called for attendees to submit themselves to a “higher power” and pray.

“I’m thrilled to finally have this case settled,” Hazle said on Tuesday. “It sends a clear message to people in a position of authority, like my parole agent, for example, that they not mandate religious programming for their parolees, and for anyone else, for that matter.”…

Friday, October 17, 2014

What It Really Is

From a Gawker takedown of a fashion "Antebellum" revivial, a description of the New Racism:

... the keeping of a caste of humans as property has been reimagined as a comprehensive system of impoverishment, judicial and extrajudicial violence, and de facto subjugation.

No Shit

ummagumma.co:


(Source: rationalthinker)

Not Even Congressman Awesome Can Save Alison Now

Talk to some Kentucky Democratic voters - and those of us who actually vote Democratic are ALL liberal, thank you very much - and what you'll hear is anger. Red-hot, hopping mad fury at Alison Lundergan Grimes for expecting us to vote for a repug-lite, coal-excusing hater of President Obama.

And for pissing away our best chance in 30 years to get rid of McConnell.

Some of us are still going to vote for her, because we are Democratic voters and we are liberals and we're voting against the Turtle. But not all of us.  And not enough of us to lift her to victory.

And that is 100 percent her fucking fault.

Sam Youngman at the Herald:

Yarmuth, speaking before Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, did something that Democrats in Kentucky have been going out of their way to avoid doing:

He embraced, defended and praised President Barack Obama.

"Nobody has inherited a tougher job than Barack Obama did," Yarmuth said to wild applause from more than 4,000 Democrats Wednesday night.

As the Grimes campaign has taken on water in recent days for her refusal to say if she voted for Obama and for her decision to run an immigration ad condemned by liberal groups, Yarmuth is working overtime to keep Grimes' liberal base intact.

"I think that is part of my role with her," Yarmuth said Thursday in a phone interview with the Herald-Leader.

The liberal base of Kentucky's Democratic Party is not wholly different than it is nationally — 30 percent of Kentuckians still give Obama a thumbs-up — and Grimes needs every last one of them to show up on Nov. 4 if she hopes to deny U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a sixth term.

But it is a restless base.