Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Marriage Equality as Religious Freedom

Here's a nice ju-jitsu move on the homophobic freakazoids who think "religious freedom" means only that homophobic freakazoids have the right to force everyone else to follow their stupid, inhumane, un-American, Bronze Age rules.

In what I believe to be a first-of-its-kind anywhere in America, North Carolina clergymen of all denominations, are going to the Federal Courts to stop the state from violating their and their congregants' first Amendment rights. This morning was D-Day for a startling campaign to just stop the bigotry against LGBT couples and their religious faith and the faith of the religious communities they are part of. According to our friends at the Campaign for Southern Equality, an Asheville-based group that promotes LGBT rights in the South, a court case was filed in the Western District of North Carolina "on behalf of the United Church of Christ (UCC) as a national denomination, clergy from across faith traditions and same-sex couples. The case challenges the constitutionality of marriage laws in North Carolina-- including Amendment One-- that ban marriage between same-sex couples and make it illegal for clergy to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples within their congregations. Clergy plaintiffs seek the religious freedom to perform these ceremonies and same-sex couples seek the freedom to marry.
The bonus here is establishing - or rather re-establishing - the Constitutional principle that "freedom of religion" means keeping your fucking nose out of anybody else's personal business.

Mitch McConnell Kills Minimum Wage Increase

So not only does he refuse to lift a fucking finger to create jobs for suffering Kentuckians, he kills any attempt by Democrats to give working Kentuckians a living wage.

The final Senate roll call is online here. Note, the official final tally was 54 to 42, but it was 55-41 before Reid had to switch his vote for procedural reasons. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee was the only Republican to vote with the majority, not because he supports a wage hike -- he was likely to vote against it -- but because he thought it was a debate worth having.  
Indeed, it's worth remembering that what transpired on the Senate floor this afternoon wasn't a vote on whether to raise the minimum wage; it was a vote on whether to end a Republican filibuster and begin a debate on raising the minimum wage. The GOP minority -- including "moderates" like Susan Collins and Mark Kirk -- blocked wage increase, but in the process, they also rejected the World's Most Deliberative Body from even debating the issue.
Seriously, if Democratic candidates can't beat a party whose members blatantly ass-rape working people in broad daylight and then brag about it, they really don't deserve to be elected.

But we don't deserve the alternative.

This Would Explain a Lot

"Oops Design" I could consider.

Another Shining Example of an American Job Creator

Note he made his millions as a "rentier" - sitting on his ass collecting profits from investments - rather than working for a living.

Ian Milhiser at Think Progress:

Gurbaksh Chahal is a very wealthy man. He’s made millions of dollars via online advertising startups, and he currently leads the $100 million-a-year company RadiumOne. He also allegedly beat his girlfriend for 30 minutes straight, striking or kicking her 117 times. At least four times during this extended beating, Chahal told his girlfriend that “I’m going to kill you.”

Prosecutors believed that they had an airtight case against Chahal — since the tech millionaire’s home security system reportedly videotaped the entire attack.
You know what's coming, right? Bad search, no warrant, girlfriend clams up out of terror for her life, video tossed, criminal walks.

But because this motherfucker is rich, he's also a WATB.
Without crucial evidence implicating Chahal, prosecutors dropped all 45 felony counts against him and he eventually plead guilty to two misdemeanors.

Then he went on Twitter to complain about this outcome.
A $500 fine is what he's complaining about. The same amount of money that falls into his lap with no effort on his part every 2-1/2 minutes.

When repugs talk about our precious job creators who must be given every last dime of middle-class wealth so they'll keep getting wealthier, this is who they're talking about.

Deport them all to the Galtian Paradise of Somalia, where there are no taxes and no laws to stop them from killing anybody they want.

As always, Wonkette nails it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Science's Country

Divine Irony:

AynRandy Gets Middle East Exactly Backwards

Really hard to figure out this one: is the Tribble-Toupeed One really that grossly ignorant of decades of Israeli occupation of the West Bank or is he so completely owned and occupied by AIPAC that he doesn't care about the damage he's doing?

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will introduce a bill this week, calling for an end of U.S. aid to Palestine until it recognizes Israel’s right to exist, which could be seen as an attempt to drum up pro-Israel support prior to a possible 2016 bid.
“Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with an entity that does not believe it should exist and that has used terrorist tactics to seek its end,” the Republican senator said in a statement Monday.
The biggest - by several orders of magnitude - obstacle to Middle East peace is the categorical refusal of Israel's fanatically right-wing government to stop its slow-motion genocide of Palestinian Arabs.

For decades, American presidents and Secretaries of State have begged Israel to stop building Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, to stop building the apartheid wall, to stop undermining the Palestinian economy, to stop attacking and arresting and detaining without charges every random Palestinian who catches an Israeli soldier's eye.

The only way to force this Bully Israel to the table is to cancel all U.S. aid to Israel - all the billions of tax dollars in military aid - and transfer it to humanitarian aid to Palestinian Arabs.

Israel is not the plucky, secular, socialistic democracy of 1948 or even 1978. It's a nuclear-powered bully that's on a downhill path to self-destruction.

It'll take the whole Middle East and a big chunk of the U.S. with it if we don't stop it.

Palestinian Arabs aren't the enemy any more.  Israel is.

California Starts Fleecing the Rich

Even 15 percent is way too fucking low - and far below what companies managed to pay without going out of business in the '50s and '60s (when CEOs made about 20 times the average wage) - but it's a start.

Alan Pyke at Think Progress:

If California companies want to keep paying their CEO’s a hundred times better than their workers, they could face higher tax rates. A bill to impose higher tax rates on companies with excessively high CEO-to-worker pay ratios passed its first legislative hurdle on Thursday, advancing out of a state Senate committee on a 5-2 vote.

If SB1372 were to become law, which its authors told the Associated Press is unlikely, the state’s current flat-rate corporate income tax would be replaced by a sliding scale. Most companies would pay an income tax rate ranging from 7 percent to 13 percent depending on the ratio between their top executive’s earnings and what their median employee earned in the same year. Financial companies would face a scale from 9 percent to 15 percent.

The high end of those scales would only affect firms that pay their top executives 400 times better than their median employee. The current fixed rates of 10.84 percent for financial firms and 8.84 percent for others would disappear, meaning companies with CEO-to-worker pay ratios below 100 would see a tax cut from the measure.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Zandar, on why repug "gaffes" are for entertainment purposes only:

There is literally nothing that the GOP can do that will make Republicans stop voting for them.  There's a long list of things that will make Democrats stay home, however.  2010 proved that.

Bluegrass Pipeline Companies Pretend to Quit

UPDATE, April 29, 7:50 a.m.:  Company says "Bluegrass Pipeline is not dead."

While it is true that Wall Street's skepticism has prevented the pipeline companies from getting commitments for the billions of gallons of toxic fracking waste they need to make the proposed pipeline profitable, it's also true that growing and successful grassroots opposition has made the project radioactive in Kentucky right now.

The pipeline companies need to fool the opposition into thinking they've won and dropping efforts to stop the pipeline for good.

Not to mention that the fracking industry lies for a living.

Greg Kocher at the Herald:

Two companies are halting the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline, a project that drew vocal opposition because it would have put a natural gas liquids pipeline through 13 Kentucky counties. 
 Williams Co. and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners announced Monday that they have suspended investment in the project because it has not received the necessary customer commitments to move forward. The companies said they will continue to have discussions with potential customers to determine their needs.
Yeah, sounds like it's time for opponents to double down on their opposition and triple their vigilance. The pipeline motherfuckers will be back, more desperate and determined than ever.

The Only Human Faith

Divine Irony:


If we must have faith, let us have faith in ourselves.
via We Love Atheism

Stop wasting time trying to please the supernatural.

KY Rep. Gives Yet More Proof Repugs Really Do Not Get Women

Stan Lee and his Amazing Porn 'Stache have been treating women as subhuman for decades here in the Commonwealth and getting re-elected for it, so the reaction this time and his actual apology tell me way more about Mitchie-poo's election fears than they do about ol' Stan.

Sam Youngman at the Herald:

Republican state Rep. Stan Lee dusted off a remark Saturday night that had caused trouble for U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Lee took it even further, then took it back Sunday. 
 Lee, riffing as emcee of the Fayette County Reagan Day dinner after McConnell had spoken, said he didn't understand what was wrong with calling likely Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes an "empty dress."  

While the audience laughed with Lee as he made jokes about the Democratic Party and former President Bill Clinton, the room was silent when Lee said he didn't understand the "snake over this empty dress comment."

"Really, I don't get it," Lee said. "Now if he'd said, you know, maybe you look fat in that empty dress, then I could see her getting mad. But I don't get the rest of it." 
 On Sunday, Lee issued an apology.
I sincerely hope Mrs. Amazing Porn 'Stache is fucking her brains out with the pool boy.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dying Toddler New Second Amendment Hero in Kentucky

Thank goodness there was a gun in the house to protect those children from harm.

Martha Elson at the Courier:

A four-year-old west Louisville boy was in critical condition with life-threatening injuries at Kosair Children’s Hospital late Saturday afternoon after reportedly shooting himself in the face at his home near Algonquin Park.

Police believe the shooting was accidental, said Alicia Smiley, spokeswoman for Louisville Metro police, who was at the home in the 2700 block of Narrangansett Drive, near Cypress and 25th streets.

The homicide unit will handle the investigation, even though the boy was still alive Saturday afternoon, Smiley said. His injuries are considered critical and life threatening. Smiley said she did not have any information about how the child obtained the gun.

Like Weeds

"Time for reason, education and science to take over"

Saturday, April 26, 2014

They're Not Racists; They're Traitors Defending Slavery

Because opposition to the federal government has always been about protecting and preserving slavery, and nothing else.

We still haven't defeated the Confederacy, and we won't until its latest incarnation in the post-Goldwater GOP is exposed and eliminated.

Charles Pierce explains:

This view of things was litigated at the Constitutional Convention. It failed. It was litigated over the tariff. It failed. It was litigated at Cemetery Ridge. It failed. It was litigated prior to the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. It failed. It was litigated at Central High in Little Rock. It failed. It was litigated on the campus at Ole Miss in 1962. It failed. It was litigated at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. It failed. It is the connective tissue that binds modern conservativism inextricably to the remnants of American apartheid because this view of the nature of the nation always was the expression of threat that the slaveholder felt about his way of life. It camouflaged itself in a number of ways involving a number of different issues, but always it was about the fear that, sooner or later, the federal government was going to come and take away the chattel from which you derived your personal economy, and so even what might be beneficial to the nation as a whole must be resisted on the pretext of sovereign states. As the Heidlers point out in their exemplary biography of Henry Clay, even roads and canals were considered to be dangerous encroachments by the central goverrnment on the peculiar institution:


States rights always was the constitutional camouflage for white supremacy, be that during the time of slavery or the time of Jim Crow. It has been the single greatest impediment to the intellectual and political progress of the American nation almost since that nation's founding, and it always has been the last refuge of the truly retrograde.
 Thanks to Pierce also for this:  from now on, we are calling it The War of Southern Secession.

And Ed Kilgore has the video of Rachel Maddow's terrific segment on Posse Comitatus, which is directly on point. 

Begging for an Unfair Advantage

Divine Irony:

I do not expect God to single me out and grant me advantages over my fellow men…

"It's time to give America a raise"

Think big, Mr. President; demand a $20 per hour minimum wage, which would barely match the productivity increase that the one-percenters have stolen from workers since 1969.  Nice dig at congressional repugs, though.

Full transcript here.

Democratic Senate Candidate in South-Fucking-Carolina Shows Alison How a Real Democrat Campaigns

A progressive Democratic candidate has an actual chance to beat incumbent U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham.  Because there's a Libertarian candidate who will siphon repug votes from Graham, the winner of the Democratic primary has a real shot at a major upset.

Jay Stamper has a real shot at winning the primary because he's running as an actual Democratic candidate against a DINO running repug-lite.

Down with Tyranny:

In the video above, which Jay posted this morning, he is very clear that the last thing South Carolina Democrats should be doing is "abandoning our principles and throwing middle class and working families under the bus because we think it will help get us elected." He's obliquely referring to Hutto, a prime example of a terrible fake Democrat from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. Jay eloquently makes the case for giving voters a real choice, not a pale echo of the Republican Party. "I’m running," he starts, "because with all the challenges and opportunities ahead, and with the President looking to the future, Republicans in Congress are stuck in the past and holding us all back."

Stamper doesn't have to campaign on the Affordable Care Act; he wasn't in Congress to vote for it. But he's talks about-- even calls it Obamacare-- at every stop, touting the benefits for working people and thumbing his nose at the Koch brothers and the predatory Republicans who want nothing more than to deny health insurance to poor people and continue to strip benefits from the middle class. Jay understands something that many southern Democrats don't want to understand. Voters may not like Obamacare but they like everything about it. In today's Washington Post Greg Sargent pointed out that polling shows that most voters in 4 red states-- Arkansas, North Carolina, Louisiana and Kentucky-- support the basic goal of government action to expand coverage to those who need it-- and support expanding Medicaid. Although South Carolina wasn't polled, there's no reason to believe results there would diverge from the results in the 4 other red states.

"When people," he wrote, "are given a range of choices about the proper role for government in health care, one in keeping with what Obamacare actually does, the picture changes. Large majorities support either government giving people without workplace insurance financial assistance to buy private insurance, or government providing coverage as it does for seniors and the poor. Only small minorities say government should not be involved and that getting coverage is people’s own responsibility. The total who envision one of those two government roles, versus those who see no role at all, breaks down as follows: Arkansas (55-36); Kentucky (63-29); Louisisana (58-35); and North Carolina (61-32)."

Hutto stood with the South Carolina extreme right Republican Party and the NRA to allow guns in bars and he's proud of his 100% rating from the crackpot and very partisan Chamber of Commerce. Jay:
Unfortunately, there are still people in our own state party establishment who think you have to act like a Republican to be elected as a Democrat; that we should be dictating women’s reproductive choices, telling people who they can and can’t marry, even siding with the NRA. They think that to win, we need to distance ourselves from President Obama, his positions and his accomplishments.
I couldn’t disagree more. I’m proud to be a Democrat. I’m proud of President Obama and what he’s accomplished. And I’m not gonna spend a second of this campaign apologizing for it.
This President has done an incredible job for all of us, even in the face of Republicans in Congress who just want to see him fail. Now, he needs our help to keep the US Senate from falling into Republican hands. We need to get out the vote, beat Lindsey Graham and give President Obama the votes in the Senate he needs...
To raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
To fight for equal pay for women.
And to defend the Affordable Care Act.
I’m not gonna to run away from Obamacare when there’s so much to be proud of.
Now is not the time to back down. It’s time to hold Republicans accountable.
Let’s hold them accountable when they cut benefits for seniors, veterans and the disabled in the name of fiscal conservatism-- and then spend over a trillion dollars on wars and nation-building.
We’re 43rd in education, 46th in health care, 45th in personal income. We need nationbuilding right here in South Carolina.
If you'd like to help Jay accomplish a really incredible feat in South Carolina-- replacing Lindsey Graham with a fighting progressive true to the values of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt-- you can contribute to his campaign here. It's a feisty, grassroots campaign and he can really use some help!

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Kind of Courage We Need More Of

I sincerely hope the reaction to her courage inspires righteous anger and commitment to emulate her, rather than more secrecy.

PZ Myers:

I don’t follow the British popular press very closely, but Josie Cunningham must have done something truly evil.
To read Cunningham’s mentions on Twitter is to explore a world of medieval morality I didn’t think still existed in the UK. The "murdering cow" needs "locking up", you see. "It’s a mental institute you need," explains one man. One woman tells her to throw herself off a cliff, while a man named Warren patiently explains that, "someone needs to throw acid on you." "I sincerely hope this woman is flattened by a lorry," prays another. Women who’ve never met her call her an "ugly no good cunt," a "rank slut," who "doesn’t deserve the ability to conceive" and needs "a good hard kick in your piss flaps." Many talk erroneously about murdering babies or children, one woman asking if she can feel the 18-week-old foetus kicking inside her.
What did she do? She chose to state on television that she was pregnant and was going to get an abortion. She had a mix of good reasons — not wanting to be tied to the father, wanting to focus on her career — and bad reasons — her chosen career is to be a TV celebrity — but that doesn’t matter. The whole point of being pro-choice is that women get to make their own decisions about their own bodies. You can also have bad reasons for wanting to have a baby, but we shouldn’t also vilify women for making that choice (it’s a double-whammy: a single career woman who chooses to have a baby can also be vilified for selfishness and not fitting the maternal stereotype sufficiently well).

I don’t know much of anything about this woman, but if she wants to have an abortion, that’s her decision, not mine. And it doesn’t really matter why she wants it.
Again, for all you self-professed "progressives" and "liberals" who go around so smugly proclaiming  "legal, safe and RARE," and "nobody LIKES abortion," here it is again:

Abortion is the most common surgical procedure in the country, undergone safely by millions of women in this country every year.

When the freakazoids finally get it outlawed, there will not be one single fewer abortion; the same millions every year will still get abortions, but many thousands will die from unsafe procedures because of illegality.

For millions of women, gestating a blastocyst is a fucking catastrophe and life-ruiner can be avoided only by excising the invasive tissue immediately, like the malignant tumor it is.

For millions of women, abortion is a life-saver and the smartest decision they ever made.

Because that thing is not a child, it's not a baby, it's not even a foetus. It's a parasite, sucking food and energy from its host.

You want to personally tolerate that for nine months until your body expels it, then spend the rest of your life taking care of it, go for it: that's your choice.

Otherwise, none of your fucking business.  Free, universal, on-demand abortion. Anything less is a denial of human rights.

No, Kentucky State Employees, They Cannot Random Drug Test You

A substantial number of Kentucky state employees - nobody knows how many because each cabinet sets its own rules - are forced to submit to obviously unconstitutional random drug tests.

Many of them - under threat of losing their jobs - signed waivers of their Fourth Amendment right against warrantlesss search and seizure.

Now the Supreme Court has essentially told the State of Florida it cannot do the same.  Will anyone in Kentucky care enough to stop violating its employees' constitutional rights?

The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to hear an appeal by Florida Governor, Republican and presidential-candidate wannabe Rick Scott. Scott, since 2011, has been trying to mandate random drug tests for some 85,000 state workers because, yeah, drugs are bad or something. Scott’s executive order did not apply only to employees, such as drivers or pilots, whose duties might in fact be severely affected by drug use. Everybody, from receptionists to scuba divers, would be subject. By refusing to reopen the case, the Supreme Court agreed that Scott’s order was so broad as to violate Constitutional protections against unwarranted search and seizure.
The excuse for Kentucky's random drug tests has been that it is limited to "severely affected" employees. But in fact, it is forced on office workers who have no dangerous duty but who happen to work for a cabinet with thousands of employees, a handful of whom fall into the "severely affected" category. Over the last several years, unconstitutional random drug testing has become standard procedure, accepted by thousands as the price of keeping their jobs.

Shame on Governor Steve Beshear and the Kentucky General Assembly if they do not use this Supreme Court refusal to return to a constitutional regimen of drug testing only for probable cause.

Last Chance for Kentucky Dems to Win Statewide Office Bows Out

I've been saying it for seven years: If Crit Luallen wouldn't accept the Governor's Office on a platter in 2007, she has no interest in ever running for it.

But she's also the only Kentucky Democrat who can win statewide office in the current climate.  Hell, she could beat Mitch McConnell and both she and Mitch know it.

I'd vote for Crit anywhere, anytime, for any office, because she is fucking great at everything she does.She turned the Auditor's Office from a waste of time and money a beacon of efficiency and good government and scourge of corruption and incompetence everywhere.

But she's done, y'all. She's left us to the clown car of Conway and Edelen and Stumbo and Lil' Andy Beshear.

Sam Youngman at the Herald:

Former State Auditor Crit Luallen, long thought to be one of the strongest Democratic candidates for governor in 2015, said Thursday she is not running.

Luallen said in a statement to the media that "after careful deliberation, I have decided not to enter the 2015 governor's race."
Thirty-five years ago, the Kentucky Democratic Party had one of the deepest Democratic candidate benches in the country. Smart, young, progressive and politically-talented people like Crit Luallen were lined up to win state office for the foreseeable future.

Now the only two Democratic politicians capable of beating any random repug - Luallen and Steve Beshear - are retiring from electoral politics.

And we're all gonna die.

Give Us Reasons, Alison. "Ditch Mitch" Isn't Enough

People who hate President Obama won't vote for you or any other Democratic candidate for love nor money. Ever.

But the Democratic voters who could hand you a win - the formerly disappointed ones who are now pinching themselves with disbelief at the change Obamacare has made in their lives - aren't going to vote for you or any other Democratic candidate who seems to hate President Obama, too.

David Atkins at Hullabaloo:

This election is going to hinge on whether Democratic and progressive base voters feel inspired enough by Democratic candidates to bother coming out to vote.

Now, one could wish that left-leaning base voters understood the stakes better. But it's also up to elected officials and other party leaders to provide people the incentive to get out and vote. When President Obama took office he acted to curb many of the evils the Bush Administration was actively perpetrating. But outside of providing somewhat less expensive health insurance to around 20 million people, there hasn't been a lot of action that directly impacted people's lives or even provided some sense of accountability and justice to the people who crashed the economy. When the President promised hope and change, people really expected their lives to get measurably and demonstrably better. If people don't think their lives are going to get better, they're not going to be likely to dash to the polling place between jobs, dinner and childcare to vote for down-ballot Democrats most of them are barely aware of.

If Democratic candidates want to win in 2014, they're going to have to give their base a reason to come out to vote beyond the notion that they're better than the GOP.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

QOTD: Class War

Paul Krugman, via Digby.

[T]he main point to understand here is that we now know what it means when people urge us to stop talking about class, or denounce class warfare: it is essentially a demand that lower-income Americans and those upper-income Americans who care about them shut up, and stop messing with the elite desire for smaller government.

We Can't Have Nice Things Until We Tax the Rich

Because we sure as fuck ain't doin' it now.

David Atkins at Hullabaloo:

The United States has the third lowest effective tax rate in the developed world:

The U.S. was the third least taxed country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2011, the most recent year for which OECD has complete data.

Of all the OECD countries, which are essentially the countries the U.S. trades with and competes with, only Chile and Mexico collect less taxes as a percentage of their overall economy (as a percentage of gross domestic product, or GDP).

This sharply contradicts the widely held view among many members of Congress that taxes are already high enough in the U.S. and that any efforts to reduce the federal deficit should therefore take the form of cuts in government spending.

As the graph to the right illustrates, in 2011, the total (federal, state and local) tax revenue collected in the U.S. was equal to 24.0 percent of the U.S.’s GDP.

The total taxes collected by other OECD countries that year was equal to 34.0 percent of combined GDP of those countries.
Remember also that the top 1% of Americans have over 50% over the wealth, and that the top 10% have over 90% of the wealth.

America isn't broke. We could pay for decent infrastructure, schools and healthcare. But we have a system of legalized political bribery that would shame banana republics, ensuring that the very wealthy don't have to contribute more than a pittance toward the general welfare.

Alison Concedes Election to Mitch - Again

Seriously, is there some Mark Penn-wannabee on her staff telling her that the key to winning is to insult and antagonize every Democratic voter in the Commonwealth?

Either Grimes deliberately timed this announcement for after President Obama had already postponed the decision until after November so it would have less effect on anti-Keystone voters, or she's even more criminally stupid/venal than I think she is.

From WKYT:

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes called Wednesday on President Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline as she tries to defeat an incumbent Republican in the heart of coal country.

Grimes' statement to The Associated Press comes on the day a group committed to blocking the pipeline announced it will spend $500,000 setting up field offices in Kentucky to try to defeat U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.
What the fuck is she thinking?  There is not one single constituent group in Kentucky - not even coal miners - who will benefit in any way from allowing Canadian companies to pour the most lethal carbon fuel on the plant across America's most delicate and endangered aquifer so they can ship it to Canada.

In fact, there is not one single constituent group in the U.S. or the world - outside the owners of Big Fossil Fuel - who will benefit in any way from the Keystone Pipeline.

Grimes' announcement is pure, unadulterated pandering to the ignorant, the desperate and the greedy.

Or she's already on the Koch Brothers' payroll.

Reality's Poetry

Divine Irony:

Yet Still More Proof That "Swing Voters" Are A Myth And Only Inspiring Base Voters Works

If the enormous universe of defeated Democratic candidates who ran as repug-lites in order to attract swing voters but lost because that digusted the Democratic base voters who then stayed home (I'm looking at YOU, Ben Cowardly Worm Chandler), doesn't convince Alison Lundergan Grimes, then maybe this will:

I write from time to time about the myth of the independent voter, which goes something like this: there aren't any. Oh, lots of people say they're independent, but it turns out that most of them lean in one direction or another, and when Election Day rolls around the leaners vote just as reliably as stone partisans. True independents—the ones who switch between parties from election to election—make up only about 10 percent of the electorate.

Still, 10 percent is 10 percent. It's not quite nothing. But it turns out that it really is. Today, Lynne Vavreck breaks things down a bit further and explains just how these folks vote:
Only a small percentage of voters actually switched sides between 2008 and 2010. Moreover, there were almost as many John McCain voters who voted for a Democratic House candidate in 2010 as there were Obama voters who shifted the other way....On average, across districts, roughly 6 percent of Obama voters switched and just under 6 percent of McCain voters switched.
So, yes, there are some true switchers. But mostly they're going to cancel each other out. The net result from a huge push for swing voters is likely to be no more than 2 or 3 percentage points. In a few high-stakes states in a presidential election, that might make them worth going after. But in your average congressional election, it's a waste of time and money. So what does make the difference?
IT'S THE TURNOUT, STUPID (as Kevin explains.)

At this point, candidates who don't yet get that pandering to repugs does not inspire Democratic voters to stampede to the polls for them are just too fucking stupid - or conservative - to vote for, anyway.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How Not to Cure Homelessness

Beautiful Lexington, Ky, recently hired someone to figure out how to cure homelessness in the Capital of the Bluegrass.  Lexington is not only way more beautiful than fucking Fort Lauderdale, Florida, it is also way the fuck smarter, which is why I am sure it is not going to follow the example of the Capital of Teenage Spring Rape and Puking.

So what should you do if your town has a homelessness problem? Should you (a) increase city spending on things like affordable housing; (b) form some public-private partnerships to increase job possibilities; or (c) pass a law barring the homeless from leaving their filthy homeless possessions around anywhere? Oh fuck yes of course it is (c) for Fort Lauderdale, which is pretty certain that if you just take away the meagre possessions that homeless people have you can simultaneously strip them of the tiny amount of dignity they have left AND they homeless will just magically disappear and their city will be real pretty-like once again.
Of course it gets worse. Read the whole thing.

Curing homelessness, by the way, is not difficult, expensive or fucking rocket science, as more than one rational city has proven.

Half a Million Votes Await the KY Dem Candidates WhoTout Obamacare

More than half of the 630,000 Kentuckians who had no health insurance four months ago are now free to pursue good health and rewarding jobs without fearing medical bankruptcy, thanks to Obamacare.

If Kentucky's Democratic candidates are smart, they'll run campaigns to make sure not one of those people votes republican come November.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

Gov. Steve Beshear touted Kentucky's efforts to sign up people for health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act and told its political critics, including U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, that the program "is working."

At a Capitol news conference Tuesday, the Democratic governor announced that 413,410 Kentuckians enrolled for health-care coverage through the online insurance marketplace called "Kynect" in its first open-enrollment period, from Oct. 1 through March 31.


Asked about McConnell's remarks, Beshear said, "These critics continue apparently to sit in their own echo chambers and talk to each other, because when you get out and talk to these 413,000 people, they are very thankful that we have moved forward both in expanding the Medicaid program and setting up our own health-benefits exchange."


Beshear predicted that political candidates will see that the public has a different viewpoint on the federal health-care act this November than it did last November, when "much misinformation" was aired about it.

He said about 75 percent of the people signing up for health insurance in Kentucky had no previous insurance and that 330,615 people qualified for Medicaid coverage.

Beshear described it as "deeply satisfying" that 10 percent of the state's population "finally has affordable, quality health insurance that gives them assurance that if they get sick or hurt, they'll get the care and they're not in danger of bankruptcy."

Beshear introduced two people who signed up for health insurance through Kynect.

Beth Moore, a self-employed behavioral analyst in Louisville, said she enrolled in Kynect and used her insurance to pay for an unexpected appendectomy in March in Texas.

Without the insurance, she said, she would have had to find $30,000 to pay her medical bills. "All I've paid out is $150," she said.
ead more here:

Solar's Winning, So Dead Industries Are Attacking

Fossil-fuel-addicted utilities had their chance 40 years ago to buy up the baby solar and wind industries, toss them pocket change in resources and wait for them to grow up and conquer the world.

Instead, the utilities and their Big Oil and Big Gas pushers laughed and pointed while renewables struggled for decades to get to the point they should have - with utility backing - reached in 1980.

Now the solar tortoise has reached the finish line and the utility hares are panicking and attacking.


As Steve Benen notes, recent breakthroughs in solar panel technology, power storage, and compact design has now made solar power a threat to the energy giants and the big mega-corporations that thrive off of forcing Americans to buy coal, gas, and oil-fueled electricity.  The Koch Brothers have officially declared war on the sun, folks.
The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and some of the nation’s largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to roll back state policies that favor green energy. The conservative luminaries have pushed campaigns in Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona, with the battle rapidly spreading to other states.

Alarmed environmentalists and their allies in the solar industry have fought back, battling the other side to a draw so far. Both sides say the fight is growing more intense as new states, including Ohio, South Carolina and Washington, enter the fray.
Solar power is becoming more and more viable, so that viability must be crushed.
At the nub of the dispute are two policies found in dozens of states. One requires utilities to get a certain share of power from renewable sources. The other, known as net metering, guarantees homeowners or businesses with solar panels on their roofs the right to sell any excess electricity back into the power grid at attractive rates.

Net metering forms the linchpin of the solar-energy business model. Without it, firms say, solar power would be prohibitively expensive.

The power industry argues that net metering provides an unfair advantage to solar consumers, who don’t pay to maintain the power grid although they draw money from it and rely on it for backup on cloudy days. The more people produce their own electricity through solar, the fewer are left being billed for the transmission lines, substations and computer systems that make up the grid, industry officials say.
The result?  Red states are starting to pass laws that charge consumers increasingly higher fees if they use solar power, in order to price solar panels out of the market. Instead of being able to sell power back to the power company, solar panel owners would have to pay exorbinant fees instead to be off the grid, and that will destroy the industry.

The Kochs and their allies don't want us off oil and coal.  Ever.  And they will obliterate anyone who gets in their way.
 I wonder what Northern Kentucky's own teabagger congress critter thinks of  the utilities and coal companies screwing his constituents on solar power when he himself lives off the grid in an all-solar house and drives a plug-in electric car.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What Opinion Begets

Income Inequality is Policy, Not Destiny

I would say, rather, that deliberate policies of income inequality that excluded non-white non-protestant non-men from access to wealth made building this country easy for white men and lethal for everybody else.

Mychal Denzel Smith at The Nation:

The problem is that I always hear the issue of inequality situated around what has happened in the last thirty or forty years, which ignores the fact this is a nation built on inequality. The wealth gap didn’t spring up from policy gone awry—it is the policy. This country was founded on the idea of concentrating wealth in the hands of a few white men. That that persists today isn’t a flaw in the design. Everything is working as the founders intended.

The source of that inequality has changed, as the past thirty/forty years have been dominated by the financial class and rampant executive corruption, but the American economy has always required inequality to function. Even times of great prosperity, where the wealth gap decreased, inequality was necessary. The post-WWII period is notable for the lowest levels of inequality in the modern era, but the drivers of that prosperity (the GI Bill, construction of the highway system, low-interest home loans) deliberately left black people out, and the moments of robust public investment that have benefited racial minorities and women have always been followed by a resurgence of concern over government spending and “state’s rights.”

Our job, then, if we’re serious about forming a society of true equality, is to interrogate and uproot the ideologies that created the original imbalance. In other words, we can’t deal with income/wealth inequality without also reckoning with white supremacy and patriarchy.


Perhaps this is an opportunity to revisit A. Philip Randolph’s “Freedom Budget for All Americans.” But any conversation about inequality absent one of white supremacy (and patriarchy) isn’t one worth engaging. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Curse of the Pioneer Society

Via Divine Irony:

The bias against science is part of being a pioneer society. You somehow feel the city life is decadent. American history is full of fables of the noble virtuous farmer and the vicious city slicker. The city slicker is an automatic villain. Unfortunately, such stereotypes can do damage. A noble ignoramus is not necessarily what the country needs.

Isaac Asimov (via azspot)
Explains a lot.

Great News on the Racial, Environmental and Reducing Assholes Front

Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money:

On the decline of golf among young people, a sport I dislike not only on aesthetic grounds, but on class, racial, urban planning, and environmental grounds.
In the last 30 years, several of my favorite places on the planet have been completely ruined by the replacement of natural habitat with the poison-soaked manicured lawns of the golfs for the idle rich.

I fucking hate them and their stupid golfs.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Instead of Easter Fables, Tell Your Children This

Sasha Sagan, in New York Magazine:

One day when I was still very young, I asked my father about his parents. I knew my maternal grandparents intimately, but I wanted to know why I had never met his parents.

“Because they died,” he said wistfully.

“Will you ever see them again?” I asked.

He considered his answer carefully. Finally, he said that there was nothing he would like more in the world than to see his mother and father again, but that he had no reason — and no evidence — to support the idea of an afterlife, so he couldn’t give in to the temptation.


Then he told me, very tenderly, that it can be dangerous to believe things just because you want them to be true. You can get tricked if you don’t question yourself and others, especially people in a position of authority. He told me that anything that’s truly real can stand up to scrutiny.

As far as I can remember, this is the first time I began to understand the permanence of death. As I veered into a kind of mini existential crisis, my parents comforted me without deviating from their scientific worldview.
 Stop lying to kids; it's child abuse.

"Times for reflection and renewal"

How about some Equinox greetings to non-freakazoids, Mr. President? Or May Day greetings to the workers of the world? Hell, I'd settle for Earth Day greetings.  (Speaking of which, thank you very much for the apparent indefinite delay of the Keystone Pipeline.)

Full transcript here.

Remember Ludlow!

If you get to go home from work after eight hours in one day; if you get to spend a weekend without going to your job; if your workplace is free of lethal dangers: don't thank your employer.

Thank the union members who literally died - shot, smothered and burned to death by company goons and local militias - to secure the workplace rights we all take so for granted.

Thai Jones as The Nation:

The tents huddled together on the high prairie. For seven months, they had borne deluge, frost and blizzard. In that time, the occupants—more than 1,000 striking coal miners and their families—had also endured the fear and fact of violence. On April 20, 1914, the sun rose at 5:20 am. It was the 209th daybreak over the tent colony at Ludlow, Colorado. And it was also the last.

The next twenty-four hours, in which roughly a score of people were killed, would be the bloodiest in the entire sanguinary history of the American labor movement. Immortalized as the Ludlow Massacre, its causes and ramifications have been discussed, disputed and decried for a century. As with the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 or the Haymarket Riot of 1886, it generated martyrs, villains, monuments, social legislation and mass movements.

For years, the Ludlow Massacre was a touchstone of our radical tradition. Its legacy was fashioned and sustained by some of the brightest publicists of the left, including John Reed, “Mother” Bloor, Upton Sinclair, Woody Guthrie, George McGovern and Howard Zinn. “It was a watershed event,” wrote novelist and historian Wallace Stegner. Ludlow, he thought, had touched “the conscience of the nation, and if it did not make raw corporate gun-law impossible, it gave it a bad name. At the very least, it made corporations more careful.”

The union movement drew enough strength from the events at Ludlow—as well as its defeats and victories on untold shop floors across the country—to force the implementation of new forms of welfare support and working-class power. In the 1930s and ’60s, the battle cry “Remember Ludlow!” inspired advocates for labor and civil rights. By the 1970s, however, the fatalities in those coalfields felt like wounds from a distant past, and the massacre fell from political discourse and education curriculums.

And then the world changed back. The gains of labor began to be undone, and the factors that defined the conflict in Colorado are with us once again: class warfare, corporate monopoly, environmental ruin, the demand for workers’ justice, the influence of media and public opinion. One hundred years on, the Ludlow Massacre is a starkly contemporary tragedy.
Read the whole thing, and ask yourself if WalMart of the Koch Brothers or Citibank or Bain Capital would hesitate for a split second today to order a massacre of striking workers.

Then tell the story to everyone you know.
The export of manufacturing jobs abroad has produced an undoing of memory. Today, the nation is divided by the kind of severe income disparities last seen during the Gilded Age, and yet the traditions of labor militancy and resistance to corporate ferocity that flowered in the era of heavy industry have been largely forgotten by both workers and employers. But Ludlow is the terminus of capitalism’s regressive path. If our future is shaped by the further degradation of labor rights, there can only be more massacres and new monuments.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Buy Your Groceries in Vermont

Remember, the issue is not just lack of safety - which has yet to be proven - but the catastrophe of letting one giant corporation own the basis of the entire planet's food supply.

They couldn't make it happen in California, but ....

From Firedoglake:

- It seems Vermont will be the first state in the nation requiring GMO labeling on all foods

It's OK, AynRandy: Nobody Else Can Figure It Out Either

From the Courier:

Rand Paul Won't Publicly Say Why He Supports Mitch McConnell

Supposedly there's video, but it won't work for the Dog right now.

Humanist Expectations

Divine Irony:

Step Aside, W. Va: In KY, Our Drinking Water is Poisoned By Companies Owned by State Legislators

Note that they don't know how much of this chemical spilled, but they definitely know that it's perfectly harmless.

John Cheves at the Herald:

A coal-mining company owned by state Rep. W. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, spilled an undetermined quantity of a chemical into his constituents' drinking water supply in Pike County earlier this month, state and local officials said Thursday.

On April 4, the Phelps Fire Department responded to a report of a chemical spill at Hall's BMM Inc., according to the Kentucky Division of Water, which is now in charge of the investigation. Photos show a white, foamy liquid pouring from the front of a blue building on the property, crossing a parking lot and running into a stream that leads to Peter Creek, which flows into the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River upriver from a local drinking-water intake.

"A gel-like substance" was still "seeping from the building" on April 9 when a state inspector toured the site, but it was not running into the stream five days later, said Dick Brown, a spokesman for the Division of Water. No sample was collected, Brown said.
Of course not!  What possible reason could there be for a state agency in charge of ensuring clean drinking water for Kentuckians to collect a sample of a foamy, gel-like substance leaking from a coal-mining company into a source of drinking water?

I mean, it's not like the eastern Kentucky coal fields form the watershed for the Kentucky River, which is the source of drinking water for about half the state. Oh, wait.

Meanwhile, coal is our future!

If You Vote Democratic, Repugs Are Going to Prevent You From Voting

I'm going to keep telling this story until Kentucky gets rid of voter-fucking-ID:  For decades in Kentucky, all you had to do to vote was show up, sign the voter book next to your signature from the last time you voted, and then vote. Done. No fraud, no question, no problem.

But that was back before repugs realized that letting everybody vote meant that repugs lost elections.


The right to vote — what kind of political platform is that? Why would you make that a part of your agenda, preventing people from voting? How can you defend that?” Obama said. “This recent effort to restrict the vote has not been led by both parties. It’s being led by the Republican Party.”
That last paragraph there is the best case yet anyone in this administration has put forth as to what the true nature of the GOP voter ID effort really is:  voter suppression in order to lower turnout of traditionally Democratic voting groups.  For President Obama to publicly acknowledge this and then publicly rebuke the GOP for doing it (he later recounted the whole birther nonsense and had a good laugh along with the audience) was not only necessary but vital to our voting system.

Long-time readers will know that I harp on voting and voting rights weekly in this space.  There's a reason for that.  It's literally the last gasp of the current Republican party, the last weapon they have in order to stay in power.  They talk of "outreach" and "reconciliation" with minority groups, particularly black and Latino voters, and then make it harder for all voters to vote in a way that falls most on the shoulders of voters of color.

So to hear the President call the GOP out on this is nothing short of historic.  We need to make sure that we exercise that vote, so the people trying to take that right away do not gain more political power.

Here's the video of the speech:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

If You Close Your Eyes, Reality Can Still See You

Divine Irony:

My Easter Present: Child-Raping Priest Convicted

I just want to know how many children he raped after the church knew he was raping children but before he was caught. Because in those cases, the parish, the bishop, the archbishop, the cardinal, the pope and the whole fucking catlick hierarchy are accomplices and should be in prison with the piece of shit shining example of religious morality.

From the Herald:

A jury convicted a former Catholic priest Wednesday on three counts of sodomy for sex abuse that happened at a church parish in the 1970s.
Yeah, yeah, he's dying of cancer.  Not remotely painfully or slowly enough.

Only Four Days Left to Register to Vote in Kentucky Primary

A lot of Kentucky elections are decided six months before November.  Don't wait until the general election to realize you missed your chance to vote for the person you really wanted to vote for.

And if you hate everybody on the ballot?  Then vote in the primary just because repugs are trying to deny you the right to do so.  Annoy repug voter suppressors: Vote Democratic.

From Kentuckians for the Commonwealth:

To be eligible to vote in the May Primary Election your voter registration form must be completed at your local County Clerk's office or mailed and postmarked by Monday, April 21, 2014.
Not yet registered or need to update your registration?
Visit your local County Clerk's office or download a voter registration card and mail it in by April 21, 2014. For answers to common voter registration questions please see “Voter FAQs” below or visit KFTC's website.
Many KFTC chapters have scheduled voter registration outreach events leading up to the deadline, so contact your local KFTC organizer to see how you can pitch in. 
Voter FAQs:
  • How can I check if I am registered to vote and what party I am registered with?
  • Where do I register?
  • When are the Primary Election and the General Election?
    • Primary Election Day is May 20, 2014 and Election Day is November 4, 2014
  • Can I update my political party, address, and/or name?
    • YES! For name and address changes, complete a voter registration form and submit by April 21st. For political party changes please read below:
      • Kentucky has closed party primary elections. This means you can only vote for candidates that are running within the party you selected to register with when completing your voter registration form.
      • The deadline for Kentucky voters to change their political party for the 2014 Primary Election was on or before December 31, 2013. If you are not registered with the party you cast your vote for during the Primary Election you forfeit the right to vote in either party's Primary. However, if you are registering as a new Kentucky voter this rule does not pertain to you. To find where you are currently registered and what party you are registered as, visit the Voter Information Center here
  • How old do I have to be?
    • You must be 18 years of age on or before November 4, 2014. 17-year-olds may register and vote in the May Primary as long as they will turn 18 before November 4, 2014
For more information regarding voter registration rules and regulations please visit the Voter Empowerment section of our website.

If $25 Mimimum Wage Were Put to a National Vote, How Much Would It Win By?

Assuming everyone votes, 60 points easy: 80-20.

Assuming repug voter suppression succeeds, a real minimum wage fails.

From Zandar:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Typical Job Creator

Never forget: when the one-percenters and their apologists demand workers turn over even more of our thin dimes to the obscenely wealthy because "job creators," this is who they're really talking about.

500 Jobs Saved, Thanks to the Union


- Here is some good news. After UPS fired 500 of its workers, unions came to the defense of those workers with community support. After pressure, the company rehired all 500 workers.

Restore Voting Rights in Kentucky - Call Your State Senator Right Now

From state house dems last night:

House Bill 70 – a bill championed by Democrat Jesse Crenshaw of Lexington for more than a decade - passed the House again earlier this session, but appeared to be “Dead on Arrival” in the Senate.

Just moments ago the House Democrats breathed new life into this measure by folding it into Senate Bill 58 (SB 58). Essentially, this legislation gives the fundamental and sacred right to vote back to those who have paid their full debt to society.
We believe that it is wrong to make someone a second-class citizen.  Welcoming those who have paid their debt back into normal life – a life that includes the right to vote - gives them a full chance to rejoin their communities. We believe this is essential to our Democratic values, and a more peaceful and just society.
SB58 sits in the senate now, awaiting action by that body.
The time is now: Call your Senator and tell them to vote YES on Senate Bill 58:

Never Forget, and Vote Accordingly

Via Digby:

Senator Mitch McConnell
Senator Rand Paul
Ed Whitfield, KY-1
Brett Guthrie, KY-2
Thomas Massie, KY-4
Hal Rogers, KY-5
Andy Barr, KY-6

Remember in November.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Real Patriots Pay Taxes

More than any flag-waving, parading or fireworking you can do on the Fourth of July, nothing proves your true worth as an American like paying the taxes you owe to the federal government, even when it spends that money wasteful shit like Mitch McConnell's salary. Don't like the government? VOTE TO CHANGE IT.

Ed Kilgore nails it in this piece, in which he concludes:

Painful as Tax Day might be, and however unhappy we may be with this or that policy or practice of the federal government, this is indeed our government, and there’s no “country” beyond its jurisdiction to which we may pledge allegiance. So today’s a day for flag-waving, not just tax-paying, and one for rededicating ourselves to engagement in the civic and political processes, not seceding to some imaginary Republic of our own devising.
Of course he's referring to the Nevada morons, about whom I agree wholeheartedly with Juanita Jean:
Why the hell are they supporting a law breaker?  This Cliven Bundy crazy old fart says he doesn’t recognize the federal government.  Well hell, it’s on your money and your flag and your national weather service and your Bureau of Damn Ranch Management.

Get your damn cattle off my land, you crazy old fart.

Best Pulitzer Since Seymour Hersch on My Lai, Or Why We Need Real Newspapers And Fearless WhistleBlowers

I admit: As late as yesterday, I would have bet large sums of money that this would never, ever happen. I do not have the words to describe how happy I am to have been so very, very wrong.

Charles Pierce:

Hello? What's this?
Awarded to The Washington Post for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security...Awarded to The Guardian US for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.
Precisely correct. It never has been about the who. It always has been about the what, and the how, and especially the why, which latter never has been adequately explained by the all-too-human, but curiously error-prone people who thought they'd never have to explain anything to anybody.

Unless You Demand Free Universal Abortion on Demand, You're Not A Libertarian

You're just a pathetic Tribble-Toupeed dudebro without a clue.

As always, I sincerely hope Mrs. Tribble-Toupeed One is fucking her brains out with the pool boy.

Yes We Did, Yes We Do and Yes We Will Keep Torturing Until the Bush/Cheney War Criminals Are in Prison

Charles Pierce, on the dangers of infection:

For years, our herd immunity on these matters consisted of a general consensus that there were some things that the United States simply could not do and remain the country we told ourselves and the world that we were. We believed that there were things that were unthinkable, and that kept us at least partly safe from an outbreak of our worst impulses. That herd immunity will not be rebuilt easily. It will take a steady intellectual and political inoculation against the worst in us all. And we must contain the spread of the infection as best we can, and not listen to those people who tell us that what always has worked in the past for us endangers us now.
An elderly European acquaintance of mine recently died. Someone who remembered World War II, and the American soldiers who liberated them.  Someone who loved Barack Obama because he represented what to her generation was the very best of America: our honor and our goodness and our refusal to surrender to evil.

I cannot read this report without wondering how I could possibly look her in the eye.

If Pierce's conclusion is too vague for you, try this:
Eric Fair was an Arabic linguist in the U.S. Army from 1995 to 2000 and then, in 2004, he worked as a contract interrogator in Iraq. He remains haunted by what he did there.
In April 2004 I was stationed at a detention facility in Fallujah. Inside the detention facility was an office. Inside the office was a small chair made of plywood and two-by-fours. The chair was two feet tall. The rear legs were taller than the front legs. The seat and chair back leaned forward. Plastic zip ties were used to force a detainee into a crouched position from which he could not recover. It caused muscle failure of the quads, hamstrings and calves. It was torture.
The detainees in Fallujah were the hardest set of men I’ve ever come upon. Many killed with a sickening enthusiasm. They often butchered what remained of their victims. It is easy to argue that they deserved far worse than what we delivered.
Still, those tactics stained my soul in an irrevocable way, maybe justifiably so. But as members of our government and its agencies continue to defend our use of torture, and as the American people continue to ignore their obligation to uncover this sordid chapter, the stain isn’t mine alone.
Jose Rodriguez Jr., the former head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, insists that those who suggest we question more gently have never felt the burden of protecting innocent lives. I’ve felt that burden. And when the time came, I did not question gently.
I’m dealing with my own burdens now. My marriage is struggling. My effectiveness as a parent is deteriorating. My son is suffering. I am no longer the person I once was. I try to repent. I work to confess. I hope for atonement.
As a country, we need to know what happened. We need to confess. We need to be specific. We need to open the book.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Avoiding Climate Catastrophe Dirt Cheap If We Do It Right Now

But it'll cost the Koch Brothers and Exxon-Mobil a whole extra dime a day, so forget it.

Joe Romm at Climate Progress:

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just issued its third of four planned reports. This one is on “mitigation” — “human intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases.”

The first two reports laid out humanity’s choice as depicted in the figure above, which appeared in both reports. The first report warned that continued inaction would lead to 9°F warming (or higher) for most of the U.S. and Northern Hemisphere landmass, resulting in faster sea level rise, more extreme weather, and collapse of the permafrost sink, which would further accelerate warming. The second report warned that this in turn would lead to a “breakdown of food systems,” more violent conflicts, and ultimately threaten to make some currently habited and arable land virtually unlivable for parts of the year.
Now you might think it would be a no-brainer that humanity would be willing to pay a very high cost to avoid such catastrophes and achieve the low emission “2°C” (3.6°F) pathway in the left figure above (RCP2.6 — which is a total greenhouse gas level in 2100 equivalent to roughly 450 parts per million of CO2). But the third report finds that the “cost” of doing so is to reduce the median annual growth of consumption over this century by a mere 0.06%.
You read that right, the annual growth loss to preserve a livable climate is 0.06% — and that’s “relative to annualized consumption growth in the baseline that is between 1.6% and 3% per year.” So we’re talking annual growth of, say 2.24% rather than 2.30% to save billions and billions of people from needless suffering for decades if not centuries. As always, every word of the report was signed off on by every major government in the world.
Never in the history of humanity has there been a better reason for everyone aged 25 and under to rise up and kill everyone aged 31 and older.  Not that I would ever endorse such a thing, or ever did, even when I was young and knew better than to trust anyone over 30.

The Real Reason Cliven Bundy Isn't In Prison and We're Not All Chowing Down On His Cattle Right Now

From Zandar:

Can you imagine what the reaction of America would be to a black cattle rancher grazing cattle on federal land, without paying the feds, for 20 years? Think about how that would be reported.  Cliven Bundy is considered a patriot and hero for resisting the awful mean ol' federal government, despite breaking the law for two decades plus.  If he was black, the calls from the same exact people now hailing him as a hero would be far, far different.

Furthermore,look who showed up to help Bundy.  What do you think FOX News's reaction of an armed group of black men showing up to defend that cattle rancher from the feds?  You'd be hearing about race wars and all kinds of crazy shit.  Worse, the white militia guys showing up now to defend Bundy would absolutely be on the scene hunting down the black ranchers.

It would be chaos.  And it sure wouldn't have ended peacefully, that's for damn sure.

ABC News calls Bundy a "defiant cattleman".  If he was black, he would be a "militant thug."

And then he'd be dead.
 Steve M. makes similar points about the Kansas City KKK spree murderer here and here.

And Juanita Jean, who has an idea:

I’m a yellow dog Democrat and I believe in a sane immigration policy. Since taking office, the Obama Administration has deported over 2,000,000 people in an aggressive policy.

What if a bunch of Hispanics were to arm themselves and stand at the detention facility demanding the release of people “not following the rules.”  Do you think INS would quietly back down and release them to keep the peace?

I don’t think so.
If they were backed up and protected by a few gun-totin' liberal red-staters I happen to know personally, it might be worth a try.

The Blindness of Denial

When scientifically investigating the natural world, the only thing worse than a blind believer is a seeing denier.

Neil deGrasse Tyson
(via blackatheists)

Total Lunar Eclipse Tuesday 3 a.m., Clouds Be Fucked

Seriously, wake up your kids and make them see this.  If you're lucky, they'll grow up to be Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

James Bruggers at the Courier:

In any event, whether we can see it or not, there will be a total lunar eclipse that is predicted to have a reddish color from atmospheric conditions and scattered light, according to experts at the University of Louisville. They're calling it a blood moon.
Tom Tretter, associate professor of science education in U of L's College of Education and Human Development, had this to saw about the eclipse:
In the Louisville area the total eclipse (when the moon is fully in Earth's shadow) will begin at about 3:07 a.m. Tuesday morning. It will last until 4:25 a.m. Unlike a solar eclipse, it is quite safe to view a lunar eclipse with bare eyes or even binoculars or small telescopes. Plus, it is clearly visible even with city light pollution, so you don't have to find a dark viewing spot.
The entire event may be visible from North and South America, according to NASA. And of the clouds get in the way, there's always the Internet. You can watch the eclipse live on the NASA website, with coverage starting at 1 a.m. NASA is also providing a central location for people to share their photos. All that can be found, here.

Easy: He'll Just Lie. Because That Always Works

Political Animal:

Over 400,000 Kentuckians now have health care that Mitch McConnell thinks they shouldn’t have. How’s that gonna play?
They don't have health care thanks to Obamacare-loving liberalcommieni**erlovingmuslinterrist Alison Lundergan Grimes; they have kynect healthcare thanks to that Staunch Defender of White Privilege Mitch McConnell.

Done. Double-digit victory for the repugs. Again.

Hey, Aynrandy: There's a Lady With a Lamp Here Wants a Word With You

What part of "immigrants built his country" does the Tribble-Toupeed One not understand?

In an interview that aired Sunday, Paul said that those immigrants "are not bad people" but added the United States "can't invite the whole world" inside its borders.

Read more here:
Not to mention that our only hope of future economic security is immigrants - illegal ,dark-skinned, non-xian, gay and everything else.

Also, unless you are 100 percent Native American, shut the fuck up about "illegal immigrants."

And just by the way, moron, a good definition of "bad people" is "people who want to run the United States despite having not the faintest idea of what this country stands for."

No, a $20 per hour minimum wage is not unreasonable

It would barely begin to restore the trillions the obscenely rich have stolen from the rest of us.

Paul Campos in a post about working hours and leisure time:

In the late 1960s, median household income was nearly double per capita GDP, while today we have nearly a one to one relationship between the two metrics (Households are on average only slightly smaller today. I don’t have figures for 1967 handy, but in 1975 the average household included 2.89 people, while in 2012 it featured 2.54 persons). Or to put it another way, if over the past 45 years the nation’s increasing wealth as measured by output had ended up getting distributed equally across income groups as income, median household income in the US would be nearly $100,000 per year, rather than half that sum.
$10.10 per hour my ass. Let's demand $40 per hour and settle for $30. Motherfuckers.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Crime of Feeding Homeless People

Make no mistake; this is precisely what the repugs want: poor people dead from starvation, and those who want to help them in jail.

A pastor determined to live out the Bible’s dictate that we feed the poor was shut down by local police because he didn’t have a permit to serve food.

Twice a month, Rick Wood, a pastor at The Lord’s House of Prayer in Oneonta, Alabama, gets in his truck and drives around Birmingham with more than a hundred hot dogs and bottles of water, handing them out to the homeless. Wood has been serving those in need for the past six years because he wants to put Matthew 25:35-40 — “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,” a scripture verse he has plastered on the side of his truck — into action.

But last month, Wood was stopped from handing out food by local police because he was in violation of a new city ordinance, passed in December, that regulates food trucks. The new regulation requires food trucks to get a permit, which can cost as much as $500. Though the ordinance is specifically targeted at retail food vendors, rather than charities, the city nevertheless used it to block Wood.

He was livid. “That makes me so mad,” Wood said in an interview with ABC 33/40 News. “These people are hungry. They’re starving. They need help from people. They can’t afford to buy something from a food truck.”

The pastor accused Birmingham of wanting “to chase them out of the city.”

ABC 33/40 News’ video has more:
If you read this blog, you know I cut religious people not a micrometer of slack for any reason whatsoever. But when their humanitarian and Democratic actions speak louder than their freakazoid beliefs, they will find me beside them in the trenches every time.