Tuesday, September 2, 2014

AynRandy for President Has Already Lost Kentucky

It's cheating. The Tribble-Toupeed One wants to cheat, and Kentuckians frown on that kind of thing, especially from politicians who can't be bothered attending to the needs of their constituents. Who flit around to primary states and ignore the people who voted for them.

Sam Youngman at the Herald:

Though U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is generating national buzz as he flirts with running for the White House in 2016, voters in Kentucky are not as enthused by the idea, according to the latest Bluegrass Poll.

Kentucky voters still have an overall positive view of Paul, but they're divided and lukewarm about what Paul should do in the future, the poll found.

Two-thirds of respondents did agree on one thing about the senator: They do not support changing Kentucky law to allow Paul to run for president and his Senate seat simultaneously in 2016.

Monday, September 1, 2014

What's Right for Federal Contractors Is Right For Everyone Else

Jobs, wages, benefits and conditions for workers don't have to mean a race to bottom, every state trying to attract companies with the closest-to-slavery environment possible.

It could be a race in the other direction, every state creating the best possible working environment to attract the workers every company wants to have.

It was that way once, during the 40-year heyday of labor unions and Eisenhower's job-creating big government.  It could be again.

Donald Cohen at TPM:

This year, workers across the country have a lot to celebrate, thanks in part to a series of executive orders signed by President Obama, including the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which cracks down on federal contractors who violate labor laws.

In a significant step towards greater accountability for private contractors, corporations will be required to report their labor violations in updates to government agencies every six months, and contractors will also be responsible for making sure any subcontractors are playing by the rules as well. Additionally, the report directs contractors not to require employees to enter into pre-dispute arbitration agreements for sexual assault and harassment crimes, as well as violations of the Civil Rights Act.
Most importantly, any contractor that’s found to violate labor laws will be restricted from competing for certain contracts, and government agencies will have additional guidance on how to take labor violations into account in their process of awarding contacts. This will help keep taxpayer dollars out of the coffers of companies that are guilty of repeated violations that endanger the lives of workers and cheat employees out of pay.

The order represents a major step forward for increasing accountability and transparency among federal contractors, as well as protecting contracted employees by giving them more tools to fight back against workplace discrimination or harassment and ensuring that they are paid a fair wage.
Unfortunately, this will only be an improvement for workers at companies that contract with the federal government. That is why governors across the country should take similar steps on the state level to prohibit companies that have evaded taxes, broken the law, or mistreated workers from taking over public services. When state and local governments take these issues seriously workers, their families, and their communities all stand to benefit.

All too often, state and local governments are sold the false promise of outsourcing public jobs to private companies, with the expectation that businesses can do things “better, faster, and cheaper” than the government can. Unfortunately for taxpayers and workers, these promises rarely materialize, and taxpayers are too often left holding the bag while corporations make millions by cutting the quality of services and wages and benefits for workers. Even worse, in many states there is no mechanism to prevent future deals to outsource services to the same corporations that have proven that they can’t be trusted.

Hunger

ummagumma.co:



(Source: aurapck-todoeseventual)

Public Service Announcement: "Right to Work" Means "Right to Get Paid Less"

The biggest mistake organized labor in this country every made was allowing corporations and anti-worker assholes to label laws that turned workers into slaves "Right-to-Work."

Because now even people who desperately need and want a higher minimum wage and better job benefits support "Right-to-Work" because they think such laws give more rights to workers.

It doesn't.  A "Right-to-Work" law takes away the few tattered rights workers still have.

But the motherfucking liars are winning.

Mike Wynn at the Courier:

A majority of Kentucky voters want the federal government to raise the minimum wage, but say workers should be allowed to hold jobs at unionized businesses without joining the union or paying its dues.

Meanwhile, voters are split on whether Democrats or Republicans are best suited to control the Kentucky House of Representatives, which is divided on both issues — largely along party lines.

The latest Bluegrass Poll gauged the opinions of 647 registered voters on all three issues ahead of the Labor Day weekend.

On the question of pay, it found that 55 percent of those surveyed favor proposals for the federal government to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. Thirty-seven percent oppose the change, while 8 percent are not sure.

"Even if they increase it, you can't live on it," said Lydia Bond, one respondent who supported a higher wage.
 Bond knows what the problem is: slave wages.  She knows what the solution is: a federal law requiring a living wage. But she like millions of others thinks  a "Right-to-Work" law will increase wages, when in fact it will do the opposite.

Wages were never higher, adjusted for inflation, than when more than a third of American workers belonged to unions.

Unions demand and force higher wages and better benefits.  Unions and only unions do that. Without unions, benefits vanish and wages plummet and jobs go overseas.

"Right-to-work" laws tie the hands of unions and allows corporations to abuse workers without consequence.

It's not "Right-to-work" goddammit.  It's "Right to be Turned Into a Slave."

Pass it on.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Feeding

Divine Irony:



(Source: divineirony)

Alison's Repug-Lite Campaign Has Her Four Points Down


In endorsing Zephyr Teachout for New York Governor, the Nation editors wrote something Alison would be smart to consider for the remaining two months of her campaign:

... she understands that the Democratic Party must move toward progressive populism in order to become more than a tepid alternative to Republican extremism.
Joseph Gerth at the Courier:
Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has put a little more distance between him and his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, but the race remains within the margin of error, according to the latest Bluegrass Poll.

The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA for The Courier-Journal and three other news outlets, found that McConnell holds a 46 percent to 42 percent lead among likely voters over Grimes. Libertarian David Patterson gets 5 percent of the vote, and 8 percent remain undecided.

It's the third consecutive Bluegrass Poll that has found McConnell improving his chances for re-election in November. Before that, the poll found Grimes ahead by 4 points in a survey conducted in January and February.
If Grimes doesn't give Democratic voters a reason to vote for her better than "I'm not Mitch," and do it fast, she's losing by double digits to a wounded opponent a strong progressive could beat.

Wonder

ummagumma.co:


Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Problem is Never How Girls Are Dressed

If they were naked, the problem would still be the boys who can't control themselves and the teachers and principals who confuse their own sexual hangups with school disciplinary issues.

The Nation:

With rising recognition, the girls realized that they did not appreciate being told, repeatedly, that their bodies were distractions to the school environment and required stringent regulation. In a June 2014 e-mail sent to South Orange-Maplewood Superintendent Osborne, local parents spoke out: “At South Orange Middle School, Principal Uglialoro has written that, ‘Dress code continues to be a concern, specifically with our female students,’ in all three of his e-blasts for the month of May. Additionally, in his May 19 email, he alludes to the reason behind enforcing the dress code, as to a possible interference with establishing and maintaining a ‘learning environment.’ This begs the question of whose ‘learning environment’ is being prioritized, and at whose expense.”

The parents' letter also noted with distress that girls are removed from instructional time and report being publicly shamed because of what they wear to school. In response to the frequent warnings about dress code enforcement, Lindsay and her friends formed the group #Iammorethanadistraction to raise awareness about what it means for a middle school girl to be told that her appearance is frustrating her learning environment. Ava Emilione, a member of the group, elaborated, “We shouldn’t be responsible for other people’s actions. When the school board is telling a girl that she has to dress a way so she won’t be distracting, that’s telling a girl that she needs to change herself, to make sure she’s not distracting. We are more than distractions to boys and the school environment.”
#Iammorethanadistraction is just one facet of a greater movement among young female students. Young women are fed up with being pressured to curate their appearance and, by extension, others’ potentially lecherous thoughts about them—especially when young men are so much less likely to be called out for dress code violations.

When Haven Middle School in Evanston, Illinois banned leggings and yoga pants, 13-year-old Sophie Hasty spearheaded a petition to reverse the ban. The Evanston Review reported that a horde of young girls showed up wearing leggings in protest, holding signs that read, “Are my pants lowering your test scores?” In a letter to the Haven administration, parents wrote, “Under no circumstances should girls be told that their clothing is responsible for boy's bad behaviors. This kind of message lands itself squarely on a continuum that blames girls and women for assault by men. . . If the sight of a girl's leg is too much for boys at Haven to handle, then your school has a much bigger problem to deal with.”

Coward

ummagumma.co:

"We've got to keep fighting" for a higher minimum wage

As long as we're talking pie in the sky, Mr. President, how about repealing Taft-Hartley and giving the NLRB some teeth.



Video embed not working; here is the link to the video.


Full transcript here.

Cops and Bankers

Down with Tyranny
I suppose it was smart of Jen Sorensen to include "A pre-emptive alert for the satire-challenged":
This strip is obviously not endorsing violence against bankers. It is saying that many in the financial world are real thugs who are never treated the way police often treat black citizens in Ferguson and many other places. The devastation caused by white-collar criminals — the loss of so many people’s homes and life savings, leading to broken families, poor health, depression, and suicide, has caused suffering on an immense scale. Yet bankers have to try very, very hard to get themselves arrested, and even then they usually aren’t successful.

With this cartoon, I am also trying to show just how annoying and unreasonable Ferguson cops must seem to people who live there.

Friday, August 29, 2014

What do you mean, "no one seems to know how this happened"?

UPDATE: Dinosaur Steve responds to this news by saying, hey, let's nuke Kentucky, too!

From maddowblog:

* No one seems to know how this happened: "A 55-gallon drum of nuclear waste, buried in a salt shaft 2,150 feet under the New Mexico desert, violently erupted late on Feb. 14 and spewed mounds of radioactive white foam. The flowing mass, looking like whipped cream but laced with plutonium, went airborne, traveled up a ventilation duct to the surface and delivered low-level radiation doses to 21 workers."
 From WDRB:
 Governor Steve Beshear says he supports lifting the 30-year ban on nuclear power plants in Kentucky.
Coal and natural gas primarily fuel the energy industry in Kentucky, but Gov. Beshear says nuclear power is an idea whose time has come.
His comments came following Wednesday's announcement of multi-million dollar grant to the University of Kentucky to develop alternative sources of energy.
"I'm very hopeful that, at some point, we can lift the ban on nuclear energy in Kentucky, and start taking a look at that," he said.
The General Assembly banned construction of nuclear power plants in 1984, five years after the Three Mile Island incident in Pennsylvania. The partial meltdown was the worst nuclear plant disaster in U.S. history, and it's still fresh in mind for those who want to maintain Kentucky's ban.
"The governor is doing a job of trying to bring jobs to Kentucky, but this is a disastrous idea," said Rep. Tom Riner (D-Louisville).
Riner also points to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and says the risk from natural disasters, mechanical and human failure, even terrorism is too great.
"It is a huge accident waiting to happen," he said.

Humanism

Divine Irony:

Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.

Kurt Vonnegut (via whats-out-there)

Renewable Energy Will Give Germany Free Electricity By 2028

How much will you be paying Greg Stumbo's friends for your Killer Coal electricity?

Think Progress:

According to Renew Economy, which picked up the report, the tipping point will arrive around 2020.

At that point, investing in a home solar system with a 20-year life span, plus some small-scale home battery technology and an electric car, will pay for itself in six to eight years for the average consumer in Germany, Italy, Spain, and much of the rest of Europe. Crucially, this math holds even without any government subsidies for solar power.

“In other words,” the report says, “a German buyer should receive 12 years of electricity for free” for a system purchased in 2020.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

California Common Sense

From Firedoglake:

- Officials in California stated all insurance companies must include abortion as a part of their plans; Good news for women in the state

Atheist Baby

ummagumma.co:


(Source: wowgawd)

Mitch Deep-Throats the Kochs

I've seen some desperate Koch-sucking in my day, but Mitchie-poo takes the cake

Charlie Pierce:

Dear Democrats: Here's the thing.  A full 74 percent of Americans polled favored raising the minimum wage. Mitch McConnell just spit in their eye to curry favor with two Americans. A full 69 percent of Americans polled favored extending unemployment benefits. But none of them are named Charles Koch or David Koch, so Mitch McConnell believes they don't count. Mitch McConnell has handed you a nice juicy steak out of which you can make a meal. Please don't waste time waiting for the sauce.

Mitch McConnell has pronounced to himself, and the Republican Senate majority, that he proposes to lead in the next Congress, completely open for business on behalf of two radical conservative yahoos who have maintained their fortune by buying politicians and despoiling the planet. (By the way, screw them and their charity work. Mobsters used to buy stained-glass windows for the church, too.)


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

QOTD

Dave Zirin at The Nation:

If only the real Jackie Robinson were still with us to speak for himself. If only the real Jackie Robinson could pop up as a public service announcement before Jackie Robinson West plays in the Little League World Series to repeat the words he said about police brutality fifty years ago: “One cannot expect [black] leaders to sell the non-violence cause when followers see violence erupting against them every day of their lives. Not even new civil rights bills or statesmanlike speeches can counteract this.”

Know of a killing by police? Tell this reporter, because the authorities won't

You want to stop those motherfuckers murdering unarmed kids?  Here's how to do it.
How many of these police killings are there?

Apparently, no one has any idea. And when an enterprising reporter attempted to find out, it turned out it was nearly impossible:

The biggest thing I've taken away from this project is something I'll never be able to prove, but I'm convinced to my core: The lack of such a database is intentional. No government—not the federal government, and not the thousands of municipalities that give their police forces license to use deadly force—wants you to know how many people it kills and why.

SNIP

He's got a crowd sourcing project called Fatal Encounters if you'd like to participate.

Ponder this: our government is systematically collecting vast amounts of data and information on US citizens and foreigners around the world and analyzing it for threats. But it is not systematically collecting or analyzing information of US citizens killed by government authorities and actively blocks citizens who try.
And tell him about shit like this, too

Unquestioned

Divine Irony:

canisfamiliaris:

Unanswered v. Unquestioned.