Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"The Post Office Is Us"

It's ours. It's been the key to America since before the Revolution. And the privatization motherfuckers are trying to kill us, our democracy, by killing it.

Charles Pierce:

They really did it quite well, the privatizers and the deregulators and the people who simply believe that there is nothing we own in common, that every bit of what we own through our government is ultimately fungible. One of the most successful of their long cons seems to be coming to fruition in the next 24 hours, and they've got enough of the rubes in line to pretend that it's all for the good.


Yes, technology has taken a whack at the Postal Service. People go out of their way not to mention it, but the USPS is in trouble because Congress saddled it with a preposterous regulation in 2006 regarding how it would pay out its pension and medical benefits. This was done deliberately, so as to cause the kind of default that we are seeing today, so that the public-sector competition would one day be eliminated. Let them succeed and watch entire swaths of the country lose mail service entirely.
Alas, we continue the death spiral....
Peter Nesvold, a financial analyst with Jefferies and Co., says the post office's financial future will depend on how Congress resolves its conflict over the mail agency's core mission. While the Postal Service is a business expected to stay afloat, it also has a legal obligation to provide uniform first-class mail service even to sparsely populated, far-flung areas of the U.S., all for the same price of a 45-cent postage stamp. UPS and FedEx don't deliver to those areas that are less profitable, contracting with the Postal Service to get the job done.
More to the point, and as I have said before, the Postal Service is something that is ours. It belongs to us as a people. Outside of the police, it's usually the most intimate connection we have to what is still, in theory, our government. That this does not matter a damn to those people who forced the current fiscal crisis is clearly spelled out in what has ironically become a pro-privatization argument presented by ostensible Democrat Peter Orszag, who essentially says that privatization is the right path forward because Congress — which is also part of what is still, in theory, our government — is dead-set against arriving at any other solution to the problems it went out of its way to create....
Read the whole furious thing.

Why Karl Rove is No Machiavelli

Via  PZ Myers, who has never been to Florence but wants to go there. I have been to Florence, and I say to PZ and to all of you: Go. Go now. You will never regret it.
Don't believe me? Read this. It's not what you think it is from the first paragraphs, and it's not what you think it is from the middle paragraphs, and it's not even what you think it is from the near-the-end paragraphs.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "Union Thru and Thru"

Uploaded by CMEUNION:

A gutsy, rousing union song!!!! 'Union Thru and Thru' by the Eureka- Rob Mitchell and Ken Walther (c) Walther Music- downloads available in the links section at www.cfmeuwa.com or email rmitchell@cfmeuwa.com

19th-Century Letters of Black Kentuckians Available Online

Use a few minutes of your lunch hour today to peruse these online.

More than two dozen 19th century letters have been acquired by the Kentucky Historical Society, which says the handwritten documents offer a look at African-American communities in Lexington and Hopkinsville.

The letters depict the lives of both free and enslaved Kentucky families.


The society purchased the collection, which has been catalogued and digitized. It's available online at http://www.history.ky.gov. At that site, click on "Search our Collections," choose the KHS collections catalog and search for "Watson and Robinson."

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/07/31/2277998/19th-century-letters-depict-african.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Irony of Evolution Denial

It's a testament to both the extreme ignorance and extreme arrogance of the young earth creationist morons that Ken Ham erected his creation museum monument to intellectual child abuse barely 20 miles away from the very site whose discovery 79 years before Charles Darwin was born blew the biblical myth of creation to smithereens.

Mike Rutledge, Kentucky Enquirer:

UNION, KY. — The gigantic bones found long ago in southwestern Boone County shook the minds and beliefs of top scientists east and west of the Atlantic Ocean in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Europeans and Americans had never seen the likes of the massive skeleton of extinct mastodons until French Capt. Charles Lemoyne de Longueil came upon them during a 1739 military expedition at a place called Big Bone Lick.

The bones, molars and tusks that belonged to vanished mastodons and woolly mammoths forced the country’s future third president, Thomas Jefferson, and scientists around the world to recast their beliefs about the workings of nature and the very concept of extinction. Jefferson and others couldn’t comprehend that God, in creating the perfect world of nature, allowed a type of creature to vanish forever.


Today, the 525 acres of Kentucky’s Big Bone Lick State Park are a quiet area of hilly woods where breezes from the Ohio River, more than a mile to the west, carry the music of songbirds. Even the big signs and impressive bronze markers don’t fully reveal to visitors the impact this place had on the national consciousness and on the evolution of scientific thought.
 Science always wins, and mother nature will get. you. every. time.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "1913 Massacre"

Uploaded by an3yt.

"The Italian Hall disaster (sometimes referred to as the 1913 massacre) is a tragedy which occurred on December 24, 1913 in Calumet, Michigan. Seventy-three men, women, and children, mostly striking mine workers and their families, were crushed to death when someone falsely yelled "fire" at a crowded Christmas party."

"Farms to Food Banks" Funded

Now here's some good news about a public-private initiative that gets food directly to hungry people. Let this set the tone for your week.

From the press release:
The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, chaired by Gov. Steve Beshear, approved the Kentucky Association of Food Banks for $47,500 in Agricultural Development Funds from multiple counties for their “Farms to Food Banks” initiative.  The following counties contributed funds:  Allen ($5,000); Casey ($2,500); Jessamine ($10,000); Garrard ($10,000); and Shelby ($20,000).

“I am committed to creating opportunities that will make Kentucky’s agricultural community stronger,” said Gov. Beshear.  “Projects such as this one funded by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, not only provide an additional market for farm products, but also provide an important service to Kentuckians in need.”

The Farms to Food Banks initiative provides fresh, healthy produce to Kentuckians in need, while providing additional markets for farmers. The association purchases Kentucky-grown surplus and No. 2 produce that is edible but not sellable on the retail market. The produce is distributed at no cost to low-income Kentuckians throughout the food banks network.

This project was one of the 26 proposals approved at the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board’s July business meeting.

The Kentucky Association of Food Banks is comprised of seven food banks that reach all 120 counties and serve an estimated 1 in 7 Kentuckians annually.  For more information about Farms to Food Banks, contact Tamara Sandburg at 859-358-6719 or tamara@kafb.org.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Debunking Minimum Wage Myths

If the minimum wage had the same purchasing power it had in 1968, it would pay $10.27 per hour. So you'd think raising the minimum wage from its current $7.25 per hour to $10 per hour would be the absolutely bare minimum Congress could do to help the most deserving workers in the country..
By now it should be obvious that repugs just reflexively oppose anything and everything that helps workers, and they'll tell any lie to hide their real agenda.

But in case you need facts to bolster your instinct, Think Progress has some:
Conservative opposition to a higher minimum wage hinges on a few tired arguments that ultimately protect big businesses and hurt low-income workers. Here are the favorite conservative myths when it comes to the minimum wage and why there’s really nothing to them:

1) The minimum wage kills jobs.  ... In fact, an analysis of state minimum wage increases showed that those state boosting their wage “had job growth slightly above the national average.”

2) Increasing the minimum wage hurts small businesses. ... two-thirds of low-wage workers actually work for big corporations, most of which have largely recovered from the recession and could therefore afford to increase wages. The three largest employers of low-wage workers have all seen large profit increases in the last few years.

3) Increasing the minimum wage only benefits teenagers. ...  nearly 90 percent of minimum wage workers are 20 years old or older. Plus, “more than a third (35.8 percent) [of minimum wage workers] are married, and over a quarter (28.0 percent) are parents.”
Read the whole thing.

Charter Schools: Frauds Until Proven Otherwise

When the charter school con artists come slithering around the Kentucky General Assembly in January, remember this, from Firedoglake:

In Philadelphia,  a “charter school mogul” and four executives were charged (this week) with “defrauding three charter schools of more than $6.5 million in taxpayer funds.” 62-count indictment, folks.
You want better schools? Tell your legislators to start making rich people and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes and use that money to improve our public schools. The more money you spend per pupil, the better outcomes you get. Period.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "Better World A' Comin'"

Uploaded by MOTARDkamikaze. That's Woody, of course.

Who Does Rural Kentucky Have to Blow to Get High-Speed Broadband?

Any moron can figure out how to get even more high-speed internet to city-dwellers who already have high-speed internet.
Get high-speed internet to a place that does not already have high-speed internet and can't get high-speed internet for any amount of money, then I'll be impressed.
As promised, Google on Thursday unveiled and began taking pre-orders for its newest product, some of the fastest Internet service in the country: A 1-gigabit-per-second connection known as Google Fiber.

To put that in comparison, the average broadband internet connection speed across the U.S. is a measly 5.8 megabits-per-second. (Perhaps being charitable, Google claims its Google Fiber service is “100 times faster than today’s average broadband.”)

Google Fiber is for now limited to Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, neighboring cities on the Kansas state and Missouri border that make up the Kansas City metropolitan area, a location chosen after a two-year-long contest to determine the best community for Google to kick-off its quest to compete with existing internet service providers, cable giants such as Time Warner and Comcast.

If It Doesn't Offend Anybody, It's Not Free Speech

Because if all you're going to do is praise motherhood and apple pie, you don't need the First Amendment.

So good on the conservative Sixth Circuit for slapping down the Kentucky Bar Association.

From Andrew Wolfson at the Courier:

In a nationally watched case on lawyers’ free-speech rights, a federal appeals court has ruled that the Kentucky Bar Association violated the First Amendment when it threatened to sanction an attorney for criticizing the state Legislative Ethics Commission.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held Friday that the bar association chilled the free-speech rights of Henry County lawyer John M. Berry Jr. when it warned him he could be punished for challenging the integrity of a ruling dismissing an ethics complaint against Senate President David Williams.

The appeals court said a rule barring lawyers from making reckless or false statements regarding the integrity of judges or legal officers was unconstitutionally applied against Berry because everything he had said about the Ethics Commission was true or protected opinion.
Berry is the brother of noted Kentucky farmer, author and activist Wendell Berry.  No political cowards in that family.

Read the whole inspiring thing.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

New Frontiers in DINO Perfidy

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE) [repug-lite-NE] wants to amend the Constitution to allow for greater campaign finance regulations for Congress, and abolish party caucuses within the legislative branch itself.
 I say never trust campaign finance proposals from a guy who is running away from his own party.

The "Torturable Class"

I seriously doubt Chicago is unique - or even unusual - in this.

On January 25, 1990, the Chicago Reader, the free alternative weekly, published a cover story, nearly 20,000 words long, titled “House of Screams.” Written and reported over the course of a year by journalist John Conroy, the investigation exposed, in meticulous detail, a long and chilling history of abuse by police against suspects on the South Side of Chicago. At the Area 2 Violent Crimes Unit, Police Commander Jon Burge had overseen and participated in the systemic torture of an untold number of African-American men, dating back to the early 1970s. They had been beaten, burned against radiators, suffocated with plastic bags and, most disturbingly, had their genitals subjected to electric shocks. “Fun time” was how Burge referred to the electrocution sessions, which, Conroy would later reveal, drew on his experience as a military police officer in Vietnam.

Despite its bombshell revelations, the story did not spark immediate or widespread outrage. Even the local dailies failed to run with it. So over the next seventeen years, Conroy would write twenty-two more articles about Chicago’s police torture regime—stories that laid bare the extent of the abuse and decried the total impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators. Among those who knew about the torture was former Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Daley, sworn in as mayor months before “House of Screams” was published. Some fifty men claim to have been brutalized in the eight years he served as state’s attorney.) In 2003, out of concern that innocent men had been convicted and sentenced to die based on confessions that had been tortured out of them, Governor George Ryan famously emptied Illinois’s death row, commuting 167 sentences and pardoning four men.

When I ask Conroy why he thinks there was not more accountability—or even outrage—over the years of brutality meted out against so many men, he echoes a line from his play, delivered by the lawyer for Otha Jeffries. “I think it’s that there’s a torturable class in this country,” he says. So revelation after revelation, “people just didn’t care.”

That goes for the media outside Chicago, too, which mostly ignored the story for years. “This is the biggest national police scandal of the past fifty years,” Conroy says, reminding me of the innocent men who landed on death row. “Corruption is one thing. This was attempted murder.”
Read the whole horrifying thing.

And that was decades before the Warren Terra militarized police forces across the country and President Smirky himself assured them that torture is the patriotic thing to do.

When the Only Human Part of a Woman is a Fetus

Like I keep saying, as long as it's inside her body, it's as "human" as a malignant tumor.

Demand free, frequent, no-questions abortions on every street corner., and nothing less.

Only the fetus is the image of God. Women who carry them? Meh.

I've written about this heinous bill before but I didn't think it would make it to the House floor. But I expect they'll get a vote. And I expect they will pass it. [The bill did indeed pass, to the everlasting shame of everyone who voted for it.]
H.R. 3803, a bill to ban abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks gestation, is heading to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives after members of the GOP-dominated House Judiciary Committee yesterday voted in favor of it by 18 to 14. The bill would ban abortions in D.C. after 20 weeks, allowing an exception only to save a pregnant woman’s life.

The bill, sponsored by Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), denies a woman access to a medically necessary abortion. It includes no exceptions for situations where continuing a pregnancy will place at risk a woman’s health or ability to have children in the future, for women who may have serious but non-life threatening medical conditions, are suffering from a severe mental illness, or who learn of a fatal or severe fetal anomaly. It would also subject a doctor to criminal penalties for performing a safe and legal medical procedure.

The majority of committee members rejected all proposed amendments that would have added minimal exceptions to protect women's health. The GOP majority, for example, voted against an amendment by Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL) to protect cancer patients in cases where chemotherapy or other treatments to save a woman's life might interfere with her pregnancy.
Truly, we're coming closer to the moment at which they declare that abortion is wrong even to save the life of the mother, which is what they really do believe. Women who refuse to give their lives for their fetus are obviously selfish and unloving.


This is a cruel law that won't be signed into law as long as the Senate isn't in GOP hands and Obama is the president. But they will keep trying until the moon and stars align for them.
 In some places, it's already happening.

Dispatch from Gilead

Via RH Reality check:
A Tampa woman whom we only know as R.W., was raped. She was treated by the rape crisis center, who gave her two emergency contraception pills, one to be taken immediately and one to be taken 12 hours later. When she reported the rape to the police, they uncovered an arrest warrant on R.W. for failure to pay restitution and failure to appear. After she was arrested, a Hillsborough County guard confiscated her second pill, claiming it was against her religious beliefs.
I can hardly get past the arrest. A rape victim reports her rape and is arrested on an old warrant for failure to pay restitution? Really? That's the priority?

As for the allegedly "religious" guard, let's just call her what she really is: a fascist.

If this is true, it's an obscenity. But it's a natural extension of what's been happening with this hideous "conscience" exception to the law of the land. Taken to its natural extension anyone in authority can cite their religion to do whatever he or she wants , regardless of the law. When you look back in history you can see where that leads. In fact, America was formed by people who were desperate to get away from that horror.
Demand free, frequent, no-questions abortions on every street corner., and nothing less.

Boycott Yes; Censorship, No

Stay the fuck away from Chik-Fil-A. Boycott the hate-mongering, homophobic, freakazoid motherfuckers. But don't let the shitty place bait us into violating the Constitution.

Chik-Fil-A is a blight on the University of Louisville campus, as it is everywhere it pollutes public space. But it's also a monument to the stupendous power of the First Amendment to protect our fundamental identity as Americans.

Goverment cannot censor speech - any speech. The cure for wrong speech is not less speech; it is more. Don't like what someone is saying? Make your case against it.

Go ahead, you hateful homophobic motherfuckers: shout your stupidity at the top of your lungs. We will respond by shouting facts, reality, humanity and progress at the top of ours.

And the best argument will win.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "All You Fascists Bound to Lose"

Uploaded by UnAmericanBandstand:

A short song from one of Woody's radio broadcasts. (1940's?)

Featured in this performance are:

*Woody of course-guitar and voc.
*the great SONNY TERRY on harmonica, "whooops" and voc.

other musicians most likely featured in this performance:
*Pete Seeger - banjo
*Cisco Houston - guitar voc.
(pictured with Woody at :25)

Stop. Just. Fucking. Stop.

It's over, morons - Ireland won.
“Three of the four main dissident republican terror groups in Northern Ireland are to merge and reclaim the banner of the IRA, in a major escalation of attempts to destabilise power sharing.”

"Everyone in Washington Says They Agree On This"

Keep banging that drum, everyone: repugs who vote against this are voting to raise taxes on the middle class.

Full transcript here.

Give Us Real Democratic Candidates

The other day I had a depressing conversation about why working class voters don't vote for Democratic candidates. The answer, of course, is because they don't think dems have done anything for them lately, and for the most part they are right.
But it's also because far too many dems act like repug-lite, so why vote for the motherfuckers?
Then I watched Jennifer Granholm interview Alvin Brown, the mayor of Jacksonville, FL. If I tell you he's a favorite of DLC founder and repug lite capo di tutti capo Bill Clinton, can you guess the rest?

Yep, Jennifer let him tout no restrictions on gun purchases but massive cuts in social spending. Then she failed to pin him down on whether he would campaign with President Obama - this from a black Democratic mayor! He even refused to say which presidential candidate would win. Look out, Harold Ford and Artur Davis - there's a new race/party traitor in town.

No wonder the video isn't posted on her website - the interview is shameful.

Working people aren't going to vote for Democratic candidates until the Democratic Party stops running repugs like Ben Chandler and starts running real Democratic candidates.
Gallup reported this week that voting enthusiasm among Democrats is down sharply from 2004 and 2008, while GOP voter enthusiasm is up. Gallup suggests that "Democrats' depressed enthusiasm may be influenced by the comparatively tough re-election battle the president is facing, likely due to the state of the economy and Americans' generally sour mood."

I want to propose two other possibilities. First, the GOP super-serves their base while the Democratic Party spits on theirs. Since 2010, House Republicans were willing-- even eager-- to make themselves look like clowns and imbeciles for the sake of their core constituents, and they were willing to do that irrespective of the damage they did to the country. It's not so much that Democratic congressmembers put country first-- though many of them certainly do-- as much as Democrats being confused and splintered... and conflicted. They like calling themselves a Big Tent party. But what is that mean? That they welcome all kinds of opportunists whose values (and voting records) are antithetical to core Democratic principles. And that brings us to the second problem.

In 2010 Democratic voters and left-leaning independents sent the Democratic Party a clear message at the polls. By staying away in unprecedented numbers-- and allowing the worst Tea Party monstrosities to win seats, take over states and take over Congress, even to the point of crippling the country-- grassroots Democrats made it clear they would NOT vote for Blue Dogs, New Dems and conservative disguised as Democrats. 63 seats changed hands, all but two from Democratic to Republican.

Want to increase Democratic enthusiasm? Support real Democrats running for office-- like these.
 And you don't even have to wait until November - there are crucial Democratic primaries three Tuesdays in August. Here are the real Democrats running against repug-lite, DINO Blue Dog corporate shills:
Darcy Burner (WA-1)- August 7
Syed Taj (MI-11)- August 7
Trevor Thomas (MI-3)- August 7
Chris Donovan (CT-5)- August 14
Nick Ruiz (FL-7)- August 14
Matt Heinz (AZ-2)- August 28
Raúl Grijalva (AZ-3)- August 28

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Inhuman Creepiness of Willard

While we're all laughing at Mitt RMoney humiliating himself in England - a performance that will just polish his Ril Murkin credentials with the mouth-breathers - it's what he says and does right here at home that reveal a personality that belongs in a horror film, not the White House.
You may remember Bryan Young as the producer and assistant director of "This Divided State" He recently told me a story that I think perfectly illustrates the depth of Brother Mitt's frugal, free market compassion.
Since they're both Mormon, neither ordered a coffee drink. They each ordered a hot chocolate and took them... without tipping. It seemed odd for someone so wealthy not to tip, but no one thought of it as a big deal. Baristas usually make less than minimum wage and make their living on tips. I understand that it's not worth Bill Gates' time to pick up a hundred dollar bill, but Mr. Millionaire couldn't dump his change in the tip jar?

The man was out of touch...

...only they didn't know just how out of touch he was until later.

Romney spent some time in the coffee shop as his wife browsed through books before they were called to leave.

On their way out, Anne throws away her half-consumed hot chocolate, but Mitt approaches the counter. "I know you guys can't sell this again, but I was wondering if one of you guys wanted the rest of my hot chocolate."

"No thanks," one of the other baristas told him, wondering if this was some sort of bizarre joke.

"I don't want to waste it, there's still plenty left, it's still perfectly good..."
There's lots more.

And Kevin Drum is creeped out by something else.
But for my money, if you're looking for a classic "gaffe," the kind that reinforces what everyone thinks of a candidate already, it was this cringe-inducing response to a question about the dressage competition:
I have to tell you, this is Ann’s sport. I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it, I will not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well.
This was painful to hear. I mean, what would any normal husband do if his wife were involved in an Olympic competition, even one he personally found boring? He'd attend! He'd cheer!

That's what married people do. But Romney has been taking some flak for being a rich dude lately, and he's obviously calculated that being associated with a multi-million dollar sport — and an obscure, sort of prissy one at that — wouldn't do his campaign any good. So he threw his own wife under the bus. Mitt Romney is willing to be whatever the electorate wants him to be, and apparently he crunched the numbers in his head and decided that America's heartland voters didn't want him to be associated with his wife's sport.

It's really contemptible behavior, even for a guy who long ago decided he'd do anything to become president. The first time I read that quote I recoiled, and I still do a day later even after I've seen it a dozen times. What a gutless little weasel.
This is what the entire Koch and Adelson fortunes can't overcome: the creepiness factor. Tell these stories to everyone you meet.

An Olympic Story They Don't Tell

I remember when this happened. I don't remember learning the bowdlerized version in school, nor the real story in the streets. It should be Olympic lore.

It has been almost 44 years since Tommie Smith and John Carlos took the medal stand following the 200-meter dash at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and created what must be considered the most enduring, riveting image in the history of either sports or protest. But while the image has stood the test of time, the struggle that led to that moment has been cast aside. When mentioned at all in U.S. history textbooks, the famous photo appears with almost no context. For example, Pearson/Prentice Hall’s United States History places the photo opposite a short three-paragraph section, “Young Leaders Call for Black Power.” The photo’s caption says simply that “…U.S. athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised gloved fists in protest against discrimination.”

The media—and school curricula—fail to address the context that produced Smith and Carlos’ famous gesture of resistance: It was the product of what was called “The Revolt of the Black Athlete.” Amateur black athletes formed OPHR, the Olympic Project for Human Rights, to organize an African American boycott of the 1968 Olympic Games. OPHR, its lead organizer, Dr. Harry Edwards, and its primary athletic spokespeople, Smith and the 400-meter sprinter Lee Evans, were deeply influenced by the black freedom struggle. Their goal was nothing less than to expose how the United States used black athletes to project a lie about race relations both at home and internationally.
Read the whole thing.

And follow Zirin's unique Olympic coverage:

Nation readers —Over the next several weeks, I’ll be writing about the 2012 London Olympics. I’m going to try to write about the stories not just on the field but off: the Counter Olympics demonstrators, the workers behind the scenes, the athletes with personal stories that speak less to their desire for athletic success than a desire for human rights. It seemed fitting to start by looking back at perhaps the most political, controversial, inspiring moment in Olympics, if not sports, history: the medal stand black gloved salute of 200 meter runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos. I origincally wrote this article for GOOD magazine online (July 23, 2012) as part of the Zinn Education Project series called “If We Knew Our History.”

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "Solidarity Forever"

Uploaded by Red Celtic:

Solidarity Forever sung by Pete Seeger & The Weavers, with old photographs of the labor movement in US History.This is a tribute to all the workers who sacrificed to make a better world for their children and grand children.

Proof That Refusing to Expand Medicaid = Killing Poor People

Every governor who refuses the Obamacare expansion of Medicare is guilt of mass murder. Period. Think about that before you cave to the repugs in the state senate, Steve Beshear, you cowardly worm. 
The weird federal-state design of Medicaid has created a natural experiment. A few states have already chosen to expand their Medicaid program to low-income childless adults, like the Affordable Care Act will do in 2014. This allowed researchers to compare the impact these Medicaid expansions have relative to neighboring states that didn’t expand it. The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, show increasing the number of people on Medicaid did indeed reduce adjusted all-cause mortality, implying that providing people with basic public health insurance does save lives. From the study.
So which are the poor-people-murdering states? Steve Benen has the map:

When the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last month, it also ruled that states couldn’t be forced to expand Medicaid—turning one of the law’s key provisions for covering the uninsured into a choice states could make for themselves.

The map above lays out the state of play. It uses comments by state leaders to assess each state’s likelihood of participating in the expansion (it’s worth noting that in most states, the expansion would likely need to be approved by both the legislature and the governor, something the map’s assessment take into account). Using numbers from a widely cited study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (pdf), it shows how many uninsured people in each state would benefit, as well as how much federal money each state would be rejecting if it doesn’t proceed. As new developments affect the picture, we’ll keep updating the map.
Here's Kentucky's status:
Population Uninsured: 659,900  (15% of state)

Uninsured eligible for expanded Medicaid:  250,700

Federal money available for Medicaid (through 2019):  $11.9 Billion

Gov. Steve Beshear (D): "We continue to review the Supreme Court's opinion, particularly on the Medicaid portion of the Affordable Care Act to determine what our options may be." Republicans, who control the state Senate, have called the eventual cost of the expansion "unsustainable." Democrats control the House and back the expansion.
Tell Gov. Cowardly Waste of Oxygen to sack up and grab that $11.9 billion from the taxpayers in richer, smarter states before they change their minds.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Real Existential Threat

Seriously: in what way was Saddam Hussein or the Taliban a greater threat to America than the terroristic motherfuckers of the NRA?

Nice little country you have here ...  ... be a shame if anything happened to it.

From Reid Cherlin at GQ:
I asked a Democratic legislative staffer for a first-person description of the NRA's power on the Hill. Here's the response I got, on the condition that I not provide any further identifying information. It's pretty breathtaking.
We do absolutely anything they ask and we NEVER cross them—which includes asking permission to cosponsor any bills endorsed by the Humane Society (the answer is usually no) and complying with their demand to oppose the DISCLOSE Act, neither of which have anything to do with guns. They've completely shut down the debate over gun control. It's really incredible. I'm not sure when we decided that a Democrat in a marginal district who loses his A rating from the NRA automatically loses reelection. Because it's not like we do everything other partisan organizations like the Chamber [of Commerce] or NAM [National Association of Manufacturers] tell us to...

Pandering to the NRA is the probably worst part of my job. I can justify the rest of it—not just to keep the seat, but because I believe most of the positions he takes are consistent with what his constituents want. But sucking up to the NRA when something like Colorado happens is hard to stomach.

The NRA's hold over American politics is a perfect symbol of right wing politics in the 21st century. They're thugs.
But at least someone is finally willing to mention the unmentionable.
Five days after a gunman killed 12 people in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, President Obama spoke at length about the need for government action to reduce gun violence, including hinting at a return to the assault weapons ban and tightening restrictions on gun purchases.

On Capitol Hill, gun control has been a non-starter in the wake of the Colorado shooting. Mitt Romney said in an interview Wednesday that he didn’t see the need for new firearms regulations following the tragedy.

Obama distinguished himself Wednesday in a speech before the National Urban League convention in New Orleans. The president tied Aurora shooting and other high-profile mass shootings in recent years to continuing urban gun violence and said it was time to take greater legislative steps to curb the problem.


Read Obama’s full remarks about guns from the Urban League speech here.

Nyah, Nyah, Nyah, NYAH, Nyah


NC’s legislature thought they had rid the state of Planned Parenthood for good. Wrong. “The women’s health organization has successfully applied for federal funds and will soon receive more than three times the amount Republican lawmakers had withheld.” The funds are from Title X and will allow the Durham clinic to not just continue but actually expand its programs.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "Take 'em Down"

Uploaded by ericzum:

This is a short video created by myself using footage I found online of the protests in Madison, Wisconsin. The band Dropkick Murphys dedicated this song to the protesters.

Savannah's Courage Opens Door to Overdue Reform

Here is the problem with using secrecy to protect children: it exposes children to incompetent and venal adults who use the secrecy to hide their mistakes.

The vast majority of those adults - parents, teachers, social workers, police, counselors and judges -  work in the best interest of those children, but in too many cases at least one person screws up. The system is set up to catch and fix those mistakes, but we the public have no idea if it really does, because everything involving court-involved children in Kentucky is kept behind closed doors.

Where anything can happen.

Jason Riley at the Courier:

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell’s office will push to open some juvenile court proceedings in Kentucky, citing the recent case of 17-year-old Savannah Dietrich, who was up for a contempt charge for tweeting the names of two boys who assaulted her.

“Kentucky is way behind the curve,” O’Connell said at a news conference Wednesday, saying the state has some of the strictest secrecy laws in the nation and is one of only 11 states that bar any access to juvenile proceedings. “... It is time for a change” and Kentucky needs to “join the ranks of the rest of the states throughout the country.”
Call or email your legislator  to urge them to open Kentucky's juvenile courts.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Quote of the Day


The worst people in politics are often the so-called "moderates" who are only "moderate" by virtue of the fact that they believe themselves to superior in every way to the people who believe in something.

Fairness in Fayette

In too many - nearly all - of Kentucky's 174 schools systems, it's not OK to be gay. Teachers, staff and students can be disciplined and fired or expelled for being not heterosexual. Others may call them names and bully them with impunity.

But not in the Fayette County school system. Not any more.

From Jim Warren at he Herald:

The Fayette County Board of Education unanimously approved new policy language Monday night to protect students, teachers and school district employees from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Fayette County joins about half a dozen other Kentucky public school districts that specifically prohibit such discrimination.


 Shelton said the groups requested the change because they had heard of some reports of bullying or harassment of people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.


Brad Hughes, a spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association, said the U.S. Department of Education holds that Kentucky school districts' general prohibition against discrimination based on sexual discrimination covers all discrimination involving gender.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/07/23/2268335/new-fayette-schools-policy-prohibits.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/07/23/2268335/new-fayette-schools-policy-prohibits.html#storylink=cpy

Sure, technically. But the fact is that LGBT students, staff and teachers live under constant threat in school systems with just the gender discrimination ban: toe the line, or out you go.

Good on Fayette, and shame on the 168 school systems still hiding behind homophobia.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "Which Side Are You On?"

In the depths of the Reagan Dark Ages, I was fortunate to hear Pete Seeger live in concert. The place was full of genuine hippies, who were then still in their prime. I can still feel the socio-political despair lift from the crowd as Seeger began to sing, and disappear entirely as the crowd sang along, for joy, for memory and for hope.

Uploaded by Thespadecaller:

In the mountains of Kentucky in 1931, the coal miners of Harlan County went on strike. Officers hired by the mining company roamed the countryside hunting for the union leaders. The independent coal miners fought back gallantly against the hired company deputies and blood was spilled on both sides. "Which Side Are You On," was written by Florence Reece, the wife of Sam Reece, a union leader who had escaped into the Kentucky mountains for safety. Class warfare continues in the United States and in most nations throughout the world. Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, and Millard Lampell of the Almanac Singers made this song famous in 1941.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quote of the Day

“You can give a woman anything—all the financial help or whatever—but she will still be in bondage until she is able to say: This is my body. I will have a child when I want to have a child. I’ll stop having children when I want to stop having children.”

Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, as quoted in The Nation.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "Union Maid"

Joe Hill influenced Woody Guthrie, whose son Arlo maintains the tradition of writing and singing songs of the 99 percent. Here he is with "Union Maid."

Hyatt Hurts Housekeepers - Boycott It

What's worse than corporations who buy elections for repug candidates who will cut their taxes down to nothing?
Corporations so obscenely greedy and such cowardly bullies they abuse their most helpless employees. 
UNITE-HERE has launched a campaign to boycott Hyatt Hotels. The primary reason is the very bad working conditions to which it subjects its housekeeping staff. Here’s 10 reasons why:
1. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Hyatt fired its entire housekeeping staff in Boston and replaced them with temp workers earning minimum wage.
3. Crushing Workloads. Some Hyatt housekeepers clean up to 30 rooms per eight-hour shift, requiring rushing that can lead to serious injuries and even permanent disability.
6. Citations issued nationwide. OSHA or its state counterparts have issued 18 health and safety citations against Hyatt at 11 hotels and 3 citations against one of Hyatt’s housekeeping subcontractors with over $100,000 in proposed penalties.
9. Unjust firings. Hyatt fired a housekeeper and her sister­ – who had 30 years of service combined – after one of them tore down digitally-altered photos of housekeepers in bikinis that were posted in the break room.
10. You want a job AND you want to get paid? Hyatt’s subcontracted workers in Indianapolis filed a lawsuit for not getting paid for all the hours they worked. Hyatt responded by firing the subcontractor, putting in jeopardy the jobs of people who bravely stepped forward in the lawsuit.
Read the whole thing.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Closer to Justice for Savannah

This is what happens when misogyny and patriarchy are so deeply embedded in society that it never occurs to anyone in power to consider the rights, much less the feelings, of the female victim.

I am ashamed but not surprised this young woman was victimized twice in Kentucky, and pleased and proud that this strong Kentucky woman stood up and spit in the face of patriarchal power.

Jessica Valenti at The Nation:

In one of my favorite feminist movies—the 1996 flick Girls Town—a group of fed-up young women write the names of the men who raped them on their high school’s bathroom wall. Other students join in, listing their attackers from schoolmates to teachers—warning other women and reclaiming public space.

Today, a Kentucky teen is facing jail time for doing much the same thing: naming her rapists on Twitter. Seventeen-year-old Savannah Dietrich was sexually assaulted by two acquaintances while unconscious—her attackers took pictures and sent them to friends. After the young men pleaded guilty to the attack and agreed to a plea of felony sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism, the judge ordered that no one speak about the court proceedings or the attack itself.

“I was crying as she was reading that,” Dietrich told a local paper. “They got off very easy…and they tell me to be quiet, just silencing me at the end.”

Dietrich ignored the order and tweeted their names. “There you go, lock me up,” she wrote. “I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.” Deitrich now says she ready to go to jail to stand up for the right to speak out. As Amanda Hess at Slate writes, “The criminal justice process can also rob the victim of control over her own narrative.” SNIP

Rape survivors know that there’s a world of shame and stigma that awaits them should they speak up. In this kind of environment talking about sexual assault—let alone reporting it—is not just difficult, it’s straight up heroic.

Preventing victims from naming their attackers—or in this case, even acknowledging the assault—sends the message that rapists’ reputations are more important than a victim’s right to speak up. Savannah Dietrich refused to be silenced. Supporting victims’ voices should be a no-brainer—whether they’re on Twitter, in a courtroom or scrawled across a bathroom wall.

The Courier has updated the story:

However, as of Monday afternoon, the contempt request had been withdrawn after Dietrich's story was read around the world.
A contempt charge carries a potential sentence of up to 180 days in jail and a $500 fine.
“So many of my rights have been taken away by these boys,” said Dietrich, who waived confidentiality in her case to speak to The Courier-Journal. Her parents also gave their written permission for her to speak with the newspaper.

“I’m at the point, that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it,” she said. “If they really feel it’s necessary to throw me in jail for talking about what happened to me ... as opposed to throwing these boys in jail for what they did to me, then I don’t understand justice.”
The boys have not yet been sentenced.
 I have high hopes that the judge will reject this inexcusable plea bargain and ensure these admitted rapists get the prison time they have earned.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "The Tramp"

Uploaded by ghostcipher11:

Awesome song by Joe Hill.

Okay, this one isn't actually THAT bad considering I found it today and this is literally the second time I've played it. I was just so excited to put it up, I couldn't wait.

Lyrics here.

Slippery Slope, My Ass

Steve M nails it:

When I drive a car, how many serial numbers am I required to carry with me? The car has a government-issued license-plate number. It has a vehicle identification number that I'm not at liberty to remove or obscure. I have to carry a government-issued driver's license with a license number. If I'm stopped by the police, I have to surrender this license and a registration form. And on and on.

And yet no one, apart from a tiny handful of ultra-libertarians, ever argues that we're on a slippery slope to the seizure of all private vehicles by a totalitarian government. Even car-related laws that generate public outrage -- red-light cameras, GPS tracking of cars by the police -- don't lead to fears that the freedom to drive itself is on the verge of being taken away. People get drivers' licenses, stop at red lights, pull over when the cops demand it -- and mostly still feel that they have the freedom to drive where they please. They still look at cars (some models, at least) and imagine liberation on the open road.

Why is it impossible for gun owners to feel the same way?
Read the whole thing.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "Casey Jones, the Union Scab"

Joe Hill wrote this one 100 years ago to remind everyone that scabs get no reward from the bosses.

Uploaded by buckyhalker:

Johnsburg 3: Bucky Halker, "Mandolin Red" Stiernberg, and Pickles Piekarski perform the 100-year old IWW, labor song by Joe Hill entitled "Casey Jones, the Union Scab." Though executed by a firing squad in Utah in 1915, Hill became a legendary labor songwriter and the model for Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and others who followed.

Xians Never Miss a Chance to Exploit Tragedy

The freakazoids will use anything to push their death cult.

Steve Benen:

To put it mildly, the Christian conservatives were eager to exploit the tragic violence in Aurora yesterday, blaming the murders on, among other things, the absence of state-sponsored prayer in public schools and government-endorsed Ten Commandments displays.
I wonder how many supposedly moderate christians are employing euphemisms this morning to make the same disgusting case.

And if a single one so much as mentions gun control except to condemn it.

No, I don't really wonder.

If You Can't Stop 'Em, Sue Their Murdering Asses

This is why giant corporations want "tort reform" that excludes citizens from the court system: because once corporations have bought our legislators, trial courts are the only place left where we can hold corporate criminals accountable.

Anthony Gucciardi at Nation of Change:

Launching a lawsuit against the very company that is responsible for a farmer suicide every 30 minutes, 5 million farmers are now suing Monsanto for as much as 6.2 billion euros (around 7.7 billion US dollars). The reason? As with many other cases, such as the ones that led certain farming regions to be known as the ‘suicide belt’, Monsanto has been reportedly taxing the farmers to financial shambles with ridiculous royalty charges. The farmers state that Monsanto has been unfairly gathering exorbitant profits each year on a global scale from “renewal” seed harvests, which are crops planted using seed from the previous year’s harvest.

The practice of using renewal seeds dates back to ancient times, but Monsanto seeks to collect massive royalties and put an end to the practice. Why? Because Monsanto owns the very patent to the genetically modified seed, and is charging the farmers not only for the original crops, but the later harvests as well. Eventually, the royalties compound and many farmers begin to struggle with even keeping their farm afloat. It is for this reason that India slammed Monsanto with groundbreaking ‘biopiracy’ charges in an effort to stop Monsanto from ‘patenting life’.


Will endless lawsuits from millions of seriously affected individuals be the end of Monsanto?

Probably not. But enough publicity might shame a few legislators into cutting back the most blatant free rides given the murdering motherfuckers of Big Ag.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Decriminalizing Drugs Cuts Use in Half

Not only is the 50-year-old War on Drugs catastrophically expensive, self-destructive, counter-productive, anti-democratic and stupid, it's also now proven to be completely unnecessary.

Via Firedoglake:

Eleven years ago Portugal decriminalized all drugs. Trafficking in drugs is still illegal, but those found possessing and using appear before “legal experts, psychologists and social workers” who assess each individual situation and determine treatment and further action. Results: The number of addicts has now been halved; Portugal’s illegal drug usage rate is among the lowest of the EU countries.

Portugal's move to decriminalize does not mean people can carry around, use, and sell drugs free from police interference. That would be legalization. Rather, all drugs are "decriminalized," meaning drug possession, distribution, and use is still illegal. While distribution and trafficking is still a criminal offense, possession and use is moved out of criminal courts and into a special court where each offender's unique  situation is judged by legal experts, psychologists, and social workers. Treatment and further action is decided in these courts, where addicts and drug use is treated as a public health service rather than referring it to the justice system (like the U.S.), reports Fox News.

The resulting effect: a drastic reduction in addicts, with Portuguese officials and reports highlighting that this number, at 100,000 before the new policy was enacted, has been halved in the following ten years. Portugal's drug usage rates are now among the lowest of EU member states, according to the same report.

One more outcome: a lot less sick people. Drug related diseases including STDs and overdoses have been reduced even more than usage rates, which experts believe is the result of the government offering treatment with no threat of legal ramifications to addicts.

Fuckin' Yerpin commies - they can't do anything right.

Just Barely Not Too Late

But we must act now. Fortunately, the target is clear, and the method already proven.

Bill McKibben in Rolling Stone, on Global Warming's Terrifying New Math:

When we think about global warming at all, the arguments tend to be ideological, theological and economic. But to grasp the seriousness of our predicament, you just need to do a little math. For the past year, an easy and powerful bit of arithmetical analysis first published by financial analysts in the U.K. has been making the rounds of environmental conferences and journals, but it hasn't yet broken through to the larger public. This analysis upends most of the conventional political thinking about climate change. And it allows us to understand our precarious – our almost-but-not-quite-finally hopeless – position with three simple numbers.


If you told Exxon or Lukoil that, in order to avoid wrecking the climate, they couldn't pump out their reserves, the value of their companies would plummet. John Fullerton, a former managing director at JP Morgan who now runs the Capital Institute, calculates that at today's market value, those 2,795 gigatons of carbon emissions are worth about $27 trillion. Which is to say, if you paid attention to the scientists and kept 80 percent of it underground, you'd be writing off $20 trillion in assets. The numbers aren't exact, of course, but that carbon bubble makes the housing bubble look small by comparison. It won't necessarily burst – we might well burn all that carbon, in which case investors will do fine. But if we do, the planet will crater. You can have a healthy fossil-fuel balance sheet, or a relatively healthy planet – but now that we know the numbers, it looks like you can't have both.


So: the paths we have tried to tackle global warming have so far produced only gradual, halting shifts. A rapid, transformative change would require building a movement, and movements require enemies. As John F. Kennedy put it, "The civil rights movement should thank God for Bull Connor. He's helped it as much as Abraham Lincoln." And enemies are what climate change has lacked.

But what all these climate numbers make painfully, usefully clear is that the planet does indeed have an enemy – one far more committed to action than governments or individuals. Given this hard math, we need to view the fossil-fuel industry in a new light. It has become a rogue industry, reckless like no other force on Earth. It is Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization. "Lots of companies do rotten things in the course of their business – pay terrible wages, make people work in sweatshops – and we pressure them to change those practices," says veteran anti-corporate leader Naomi Klein, who is at work on a book about the climate crisis. "But these numbers make clear that with the fossil-fuel industry, wrecking the planet is their business model. It's what they do."


Much of that profit stems from a single historical accident: Alone among businesses, the fossil-fuel industry is allowed to dump its main waste, carbon dioxide, for free. Nobody else gets that break – if you own a restaurant, you have to pay someone to cart away your trash, since piling it in the street would breed rats. But the fossil-fuel industry is different, and for sound historical reasons: Until a quarter-century ago, almost no one knew that CO2 was dangerous. But now that we understand that carbon is heating the planet and acidifying the oceans, its price becomes the central issue.

If you put a price on carbon, through a direct tax or other methods, it would enlist markets in the fight against global warming. Once Exxon has to pay for the damage its carbon is doing to the atmosphere, the price of its products would rise. Consumers would get a strong signal to use less fossil fuel – every time they stopped at the pump, they'd be reminded that you don't need a semimilitary vehicle to go to the grocery store. The economic playing field would now be a level one for nonpolluting energy sources. And you could do it all without bankrupting citizens – a so-called "fee-and-dividend" scheme would put a hefty tax on coal and gas and oil, then simply divide up the proceeds, sending everyone in the country a check each month for their share of the added costs of carbon. By switching to cleaner energy sources, most people would actually come out ahead.


Once, in recent corporate history, anger forced an industry to make basic changes. That was the campaign in the 1980s demanding divestment from companies doing business in South Africa. It rose first on college campuses and then spread to municipal and state governments; 155 campuses eventually divested, and by the end of the decade, more than 80 cities, 25 states and 19 counties had taken some form of binding economic action against companies connected to the apartheid regime. "The end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century," as Archbishop Desmond Tutu put it, "but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure," especially from "the divestment movement of the 1980s."


"Given the severity of the climate crisis, a comparable demand that our institutions dump stock from companies that are destroying the planet would not only be appropriate but effective," says Bob Massie, a former anti-apartheid activist who helped found the Investor Network on Climate Risk. "The message is simple: We have had enough. We must sever the ties with those who profit from climate change – now."

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By: "Have You Been to Jail for Justice?"

Uploaded by picstogo:

"We will take every step possible to ensure the safety of all our people"

The assault weapons ban, Mr. President. No politician should say one word about what happened in Aurora Colorado Thursday night without addressing the assault weapons ban.

Full transcript here.

Beshear Weaseling on Medicaid

I should have known better.  I should have known better than to give Governor Cowardly Waste of Oxygen credit for doing the right thing before we had his signature in blood on indestructible paper.

Al Cross:

Gov. Steve Beshear said on Wednesday that he would expand Kentucky’s Medicaid program under the federal health-reform law if the state can afford the cost.

“If there is a way that we can afford that will get more coverage for more Kentuckians, I’m for it, because if we’ve got a healthier Kentucky, we’re all better off. Our economy’s better off, and of course the individuals are better off,” Beshear told Jack Pattie of WVLK Radio in an interview on Pattie’s mid-morning show.

That may have been Beshear’s first public statement from his own mouth on the issue. State House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover has said Beshear should not expand Medicaid because it would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars once it has to start paying part of the cost of covering the new patients, beginning in 2017 and rising to 10 percent in 2020.

The first caller to the show asked the Democratic governor, “How much is this going to cost us?”

Beshear did not reply with a number. He said, “We’re gonna analyze that part of the law to see how much it will cost us, how many people we’re talking about. I do know the profile of the people we’re talking about; they’re working adults, they’re working families that just can’t afford health care because they don’t make enough money to be able to pay premiums” for health insurance.

Beshear said he would make “a reasoned and fiscally responsible decision, and there is “no timetable on making it at this point.” Republicans are expected to make it an issue in the fall elections, raising the prospect of reduced state services or higher taxes.

Are you fucking kidding me? The expansion is covered 100 percent - all, everything, every single penny - by the feds. For three years it will not cost Kentucky one thin dime, but will instead save Kentucky millions of dollars each year because thousands of currently uninsured Kentuckians will be covered. And after that, the feds will cover 90 percent of the cost. That's the best funding deal in the history of the world.

Under that ridiculous deal, Kentucky will reduce its number of uninsured by 57.1 percent - more than any other state. Refusing this deal amounts to criminal malfeasance and cause for impeaching the governor.

The Cowardly Gov knows that, of course, but he won't say it on a teabagger radio show, even though he's just won re-election. Shit, maybe he really is thinking about challenging Mitch McConnell in 2014.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Best Dem to Beat McConnell Bows Out

Crit taking on Mitch was always a pipe dream, but now she's finally ruled it out.

Kenny Colston, KPR-Frankfort:

Former Auditor Crit Luallen says she will not challenge Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in 2014. Luallen has long been considered to be among the best-situated Democrats to unseat McConnell. She served two terms as auditor and many political observers credit her with raising the office's profile during her tenure. Luallen also served in former Governor Paul Patton's administration for several years. But the long-time public servant tells Kentucky Public Radio she will not enter the 2014 race.

“No, I’ve stated repeatedly in the last several months when I’ve been asked that the U.S. Senate race is not my interest. My real background experience, where I believe I can make the most difference is state policy and state leadership. So if I run again I’m looking toward the governor’s race," she says.

The governor's race is not until 2015, and the field for that one won't be clear until after the Democratic primary for Senate in May 2014.

Now, somebody talk Ben Chandler into challenging Mitch so Ben can lose by 50 points and then slink off to some no-show job at a wingnut think tank for traitorous dems so we can be rid of the worthless DINO for good.

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By - "All Used Up"

Uploaded by rocinante2011, who kindly includes the lyrics at the link.

IWW Songs to fan the flames of discontent

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By - "The Rebel Girl"

Uploaded by Red Celtic:

The begining of this video, is an audio narrative by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, with images of her, as well as a quote of hers about women in the I.W.W. This Narative is commonly used on recordings to introduce the song "The Rebel Girl" in which Joe Hill dedicated to Elezabeth Guley Flynn. The second part, is the song "The Rebel Girl" Writen by Joe Hill, and performed by Hazel Dickens. I have used images of women who were (or are) members of the IWW. Only two were "supporters" and not members of the I.W.W. (Emma Goldman and Charlotte Anita Whitney)

Fighting for Fairness in the Foothills

Yes, Richmond, Kentucky, is a college town, but EKU is deserted for the summer, leaving this city in the Appalachian foothills far less populated and far more conservative than during the semesters.

So it's all the more encouraging that even in the dog days Richmond progressives are up for a fight.

Daniel Moore at the Herald:

More than 100 people gathered outside Richmond City Hall on Wednesday to demand a local fairness ordinance after a lesbian couple was told to leave a park after sharing a kiss.

State and local supporters organized the rally after a gatekeeper allegedly told Cheri Chenault and Destiny Keith to leave Million Park in Richmond because "those type of people" weren't welcome there.
Jessica Miller-Poole, owner of 13 Wishes Photography, was photographing the couple for a maternity shoot when they shared a brief kiss, she said.

The couple was in attendance, smiling and chanting along with everyone else. Demonstrators unrolled a banner that read "standing on the side of love" and carried signs that allowed a space for their identity: "I'm a ____ and I support fairness." Identities ranged from "Christian" to "student" to "Richmond resident."

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/07/18/2263230/more-than-100-attend-rally-demanding.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Songs to Fight the Plutocracy By - "The Popular Wobby"

The Grand Industrial Band:

an old WWI song by t-bone slim. played on april 30th 2009 live at the Connetion in Cologne-Ehrenfeld (Germany).

Anti-Obamacare Stupidity in Kentucky

No surprise: all the state house members are up for re-election, but Beshear is not, so all the morons are running against That Ni**er in the White House.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

Gov. Steve Beshear signed an executive order Tuesday to create an online marketplace offering health insurance plans for Kentuckians, as called for in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Shortly afterward, the Kentucky General Assembly's Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee rejected, on a 4-3 partisan vote, a proposal by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to spend $294,540 for rental space to accommodate 210 employees associated with the health insurance exchange.

Despite the vote, Finance Secretary Lori Flanery has the authority to override the oversight committee's decision and let the rental project proceed. Beshear said late Tuesday that Flanery will sign the lease "in order to make sure that we don't fall behind on implementation and run the risk of a federal takeover of our health benefits exchange."

Sen. Bob Leeper, an independent from Paducah who usually sides with Republicans, said he could not support the rental lease because he was reluctant to put his name on anything related to "Obamacare."
Kudos to Beshear for doing the right thing for Kentuckians. Fortunately for Kentuckians, it didn't require much political courage. 

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/07/17/2261526/beshear-creates-health-benefit.html#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Real Job Creator

Remember the Tom Tomorrow cartoon from around 2006 in which Bush and Cheney were actually hippie radicals who plotted back in the '60s to destroy conservatism once and for all by getting elected as republicans and then implementing policies so outrageous that the American people would rise up in disgust and reject conservatism forever?

Only no matter what they tried - blowing a trillion-dollar surplus, letting al Qaeda attack the towers, invading Iraq to steal its oil, torturing innocent detainees, refusing to rescue New Orleans - Americans just kept cheering.

Sometimes the Romney campaign sounds just that ludicrous.

Igor Volsky at Think Progress:

During an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday morning, Mitt Romney surrogate and former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (R) argued that President Obama did not have the requisite business experience to create jobs because he was “smoking something” in Hawaii:

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, send a kilo of whatever Obama was smoking to every Democratic politician in D.C.

Or as Austin Ligon, co-founder of CarMax, wrote to the Washington Monthly in the May/June issue:

An even bigger accomplishment in the auto restructuring, and one on which the administration is even more unwilling to focus, for obvious reasons, was the action the president took once he realized (correctly) that that both the management and boards of GM and Chrysler were incompetent and unworthy of investment. Obama, through car czar Steve Rattner, did what a truly great CEO or private-equity guy would do ... he fired them, and brought in new guys from outside Detroit. That was a huge risk, undertaken at lightning speed, which all of the traditionalists in the industry thought was crazy.

But in one fell swoop, he fixed fifty years of Detroit incompetence at the highest levels.


To put it another way, Obama has done two private-equity deals in his life. They were bigger than the sum total of everything Mitt Romney has ever done, and they worked better and faster ... and all the benefit accrued to the nation at large, no skim-off required.

That level of direct involvement and decision-making, like his direct decision to "go" on Osama bin Laden, shows that Obama actually has great courage and decisiveness when the chips are down and a big decision must be made.

Contrast that with Bloomberg's description of how Romney operated:

What’s clear from a review of the public record during his management of the private-equity firm Bain Capital from 1985 to 1999 is that Romney was fabulously successful in generating high returns for its investors. He did so, in large part, through heavy use of tax-deductible debt, usually to finance outsized dividends for the firm’s partners and investors. When some of the investments went bad, workers and creditors felt most of the pain. Romney privatized the gains and socialized the losses.

What’s less clear is how his skills are relevant to the job of overseeing the U.S. economy, strengthening competitiveness and looking out for the welfare of the general public, especially the middle class.

Read the whole thing.

Bloomberg calls Romney's business "casino capitalism;" I call it stealing from the American taxpayers. Romney shouldn't be running for president; he should be in prison.