Saturday, May 31, 2014

Open-Carry Gun Nuts Aren't Bullies. They're Terrorists

Is terroristic threatening no longer a crime? Why aren't these motherfuckers under arrest? The scariest part of this story is the utter absence of law enforcement.

Mother Jones:

As Jennifer Longdon steered her wheelchair through the Indianapolis airport on April 25, she thought the roughest part of her trip was over. Earlier that day she'd participated in an emotional press conference with the new group Everytown for Gun Safety, against the backdrop of the National Rifle Association's annual meeting. A mom, gun owner, and Second Amendment supporter, Longdon was paralyzed in 2004 after being shot in her car by unknown assailants, and has since been a vocal advocate for comprehensive background checks and other gun reforms.

As Longdon sat waiting for her flight, a screen in the concourse showed footage of the press conference. A tall, thin man standing nearby stared at Longdon, then back at the screen. Then he walked up to Longdon and spat in her face. No one else blinked.


What happened to Longdon in Indianapolis is part of a disturbing pattern. Ever since the Sandy Hook massacre, a small but vocal faction of the gun rights movement has been targeting women who speak up on the issue—whether to propose tighter regulations, educate about the dangers to children, or simply to sell guns with innovative security features. The vicious and often sexually degrading attacks have evolved far beyond online trolling, culminating in severe bullying, harassment, invasion of privacy, and physical aggression. Though vitriol flows from both sides in the gun debate, these menacing tactics have begun to alarm even some entrenched pro-gun conservatives.


Some of them approached Longdon. "You know what was wrong with your shooting?" one said. "They didn't aim better." Another man came up, looked Longdon up and down and said, "I know who you are." Then he recited her home address. The harassment continued, and the men showed up throughout the program, a Phoenix police official involved confirmed to me.

After a fundraiser one night during the program, Longdon returned home around 10 p.m., parked her ramp-equipped van and began unloading herself. As she wheeled up to her house, a man stepped out of the shadows. He was dressed in black and had a rifle, "like something out of a commando movie," Longdon told me. He took aim at her and pulled the trigger. Longdon was hit with a stream of water. "Don't you wish you had a gun now, bitch?" he scoffed before taking off.

No Such Thing As An Accidental Shooting

From TPM:

The safety catch is a very simple and thus very reliable mechanism which is why never fails--unless someone manipulated the gun in some way. You can rely on this: In all these cases the catch was not set: People were carrying loaded and unsecured guns. It seems to me that this fits easily the definition of criminal negligence.

"Every time America has set clear rules and better standards for our air, our water, and our children’s health – the warnings of the cynics have been wrong."

Fuck you, Big Coal.  Good job, Mr. President.

Full transcript here.

Trust Women

“I was not willing to allow that terrorism to succeed … The people who are harmed by that are the women of Kansas.”

Dr. Cheryl Chastine, abortion provider

Five years ago today, freakazoid right-wing terrorist Scott Roeder murdered Dr. George Tiller.

Don't get mad; get even.  Trust Women.
It’s not easy to fill a job when the last person to hold it was murdered. But just over a year ago, that was what Julie Burkhart decided she had to do.

Murder was only the final act of violence committed against Dr. George Tiller, the abortion provider here, and his clinic, five years ago this week. By 2009, when anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder shot Tiller in the head during services at Tiller’s church, the doctor had already been shot in both arms – he continued performing abortions the next day – and his clinic had been bombed. Abortion opponents had blockaded his clinic repeatedly, and they had gone through the legal and political system (which had its own abuses).
“His is the only abortion clinic we’ve never been able to close,” Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, told The New York Times after Tiller’s death.

Roeder, who is serving life in prison for the May 31, 2009 murder, succeeded where others failed. But that wasn’t the end of the story.

Burkhart, who had run Tiller’s political action committee, told msnbc recently that after her mourning her boss, she wondered whether it was time to move onto something else: “I don’t know. Landscaping or something.”

But with Tiller’s clinic shuttered, women in the Wichita area were being forced to travel for hundreds of miles – from three to six hours each way – to end their pregnancies. It would be her task, Burkhart decided, to reopen in Tiller’s former cl

Friday, May 30, 2014

Charlie Pierce Asks Why Not Beshear in 2016?

Because if Mitch McConnell falls in November, it'll be Beshear's kynect success that brought him down.

If this hopeless position is why McConnell's career goes under at the polls this November, and if we have the happier outcome of a Senator Alison Lundergan Grimes, a big assist has to go to Kentucky governor Steve Beshear, who set out to make the Affordable Care Act work for as many citizens as he could, and who has become extremely popular as a result, and who, as a lovely byproduct, has middled Mitch McConnell into incoherence. He is one of the few politicians in America who's managed to succeed in defeating the curious dynamic by which voters say they hate "Obamacare," but love all of its component parts. In fact, even given his age, why Beshear isn't mentioned more frequently by the anybody-but-Hillary faction within the Democratic party is puzzling, although there has been some talk about his taking the second spot on the ticket. If he helps rid the Senate of Mitch McConnell while doing right by the citizens of his state, though, I'd say his work is pretty much done.
Excellent question, though Stevie looks progressive only against a red state backdrop. On a national stage, he's even more conservative and corporately-owned than Hillary herself.

Snappy Comeback of the Year

KY County Goes Commie: Free School Lunch for All

This ain't Louisville, folks.  It's conservative, Obama-hating Lewis County, represented in Congress by teabagger Tommie Massie, but filled with people who know what is the right thing, and how to do it.

Christy Hoots at the Maysville Ledger-Independent:

The Lewis County School District will be offering free breakfast and lunch for all students beginning in August. 
According to Food Nutrition Director Mike Eddington, the new program has been in talks for a few years, but it was not until the current school year that the program was able to be implemented.

"We've talked about it on and off," he said. "It's something we have wanted to do, but in order to do it, you have to have a certain percentage of students who qualify."
Eddington said this school year, at least 40 percent of students in each of the schools qualified for free lunch.

"We were going to have to raise the lunch prices for students who did not qualify for free lunch," he said. "With that many students qualifying, we thought it would be a smart move to implement this new program. We will get a reimbursement from the federal government still, just as we always have, but the students will not have to pay."

The only exception to the program is a la cart items, according to Eddington. If students would like extra items, they will have to pay for them.

Adults will also be required to continue to pay for their food.

"This is a program the county needs," Eddington said. "We want to take care of our students and this will help us do that. I'm very happy to see that we will be able to feed all of our students without them having to pay for it."
That's a public school, not a fucking charter.

Thursday, May 29, 2014



Finally, all these guys packing in the video are white, which is why we're talking about "a bunch of super macho open carry jerks being asked politely to leave" rather than "half a dozen dead black guys killed by San Antonio police for obviously trying to rob the place."  Open carry is something people who look like me would never be allowed to do in any state, at any time, laws be damned.

Obama's "Secret" Diplomacy Success Over Iran

Gee, why isn't this all over Fox News?


Iran has neutralized most of its stockpile of higher-grade enriched uranium that could be turned quickly into the core of a nuclear weapon, the U.N. nuclear agency said Friday, leaving the country with only about a fifth of what it would need for such a purpose. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a in a quarterly report that Iran now has less than 90 pounds of the material. The report also said Tehran was meeting all other obligations under an agreement reached four months ago in Geneva that serves as a prelude to a comprehensive deal now being negotiated.
Andrew Sullivan wonders why such news wouldn't make the front pages. Good question. But then, as he points out, nobody thinks this sign of successful diplomacy will change anything. Which is just ... depressing.
But just yesterday, President Obama made the point.

Kevin Drum:

President Obama today: (Wednesday)

To say that we have an interest in pursuing peace and freedom beyond our borders is not to say that every problem has a military solution. Since World War II, some of our most costly mistakes came not from our restraint but from our willingness to rush into military adventures without thinking through the consequences, without building international support and legitimacy for our action, without leveling with the American people about the sacrifices required. Tough talk often draws headlines, but war rarely conforms to slogans. As General Eisenhower, someone with hard-earned knowledge on this subject, said at this ceremony in 1947, “War is mankind’s most tragic and stupid folly; to seek or advise its deliberate provocation is a black crime against all men.”

....America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is, and always will be, the backbone of that leadership. But U.S. military action cannot be the only, or even primary, component of our leadership in every instance. Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.
It's nice to hear Obama say this so directly. Oh, the usual suspects will howl, but no one who has paid even the slightest attention to the history of the past 50 or 60 years can really question this. Our world isn't yet beyond the need for war, but for war to be an effective instrument of policy it needs to be used judiciously. It needs to be used when core interests are at stake and, equally importantly, it needs to be used only when it's likely to succeed on its own terms. If we don't know how to win, or if we have unrealistic ideas of what it even means to win—both of which were the case in Afghanistan and Iraq—then we shouldn't fight. This isn't a matter of deep foreign policy thinking, it's just common sense. Like it or not, there are lots of problems in the world that US military force can't solve.

Which Do Mitch and Alison Hate More: Obamacare or Obama's New Power Plant Regs?

Obamacare's got the lead right now, of course, but after Monday, it's going to be War on Coal lies 24-7.

 A week from today, the Obama administration is unveiling its long-awaited regulations on carbon emissions from existing power plants. At TNR, Jonathan Cohn has an excellent primer on the subject—why the regs are being issued at this time, what they might accomplish, and which particular approach they might or might not adopt.

The one thing we can count on is a strong industry/conservative pushback. Obama will be accused of taking actions beyond his authority, of refusing to conduct a sufficiently careful cost-benefit analysis, of sacrificing lives and livelihoods to environmental abstractions, and even of hating people in Coal Country. The ferocity of reaction after such long anticipation may, in fact, be so programmed that it really doesn’t matter whether the administration is audacious or cautious in crafting these regs. I’m sure they have long since been placed in the can, but here’s hoping the president is as bold as possible next Monday. He will receive no political rewards for being careful or conciliatory, not on this subject.
McConnell and Grimes will compete for who can wave the bloodiest shirt and more passionately embrace the stinking, rotting corpse of Big Coal.

Coal is dead.  Obamacare is alive. And Kentucky deserves candidates who don't insult our intelligence pretending otherwise.

"A Great Human Library Has Burned to the Ground"

Kentucky writers on the death of Maya Angelou:

"There is no way an obituary can say poet and stop there," said Frank X Walker, Kentucky Poet Laureate and winner of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry. "Poet is much too small a word."

Angelou took risks by unveiling so much of her past, a life filled with tragic events early on. After she was raped by her mother's boyfriend and he was later found dead, "I thought my voice had killed the man," Angelou said years later. "And I thought if I spoke, my voice might just go out and kill anybody, randomly, and I stopped speaking for six years."

That eloquent voice and poetic words of wisdom are now quite familiar. Both command respect.
"She could tell and sing a story in the same sweet dazzling breath," said Nikky Finney, 2011 National Book Award winning poet who taught at the University of Kentucky for 20 years before returning to her native South Carolina.

"It didn't matter who or what you were, when she walked in the room, even the silverware got quiet. She was a queen. She was majestic. She was our great humanitarian."
 Finney said she learned about survival, struggle and the resilience of the human heart from Angelou's example. "In this moment of stunning loss, it feels like a great human library has burned to the ground," Finney said.
She was a radical, as all artists should be.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Matt Taibbi, in his new book The Divide:

For a country founded on the idea that rights are inalienable and inherent from birth, we've developed a high tolerance for conditional rights and conditional citizenship.  And the one condition, it turns out, is money.  If you have a lot of it, the legal road you get to travel is well lit and beautifully maintained.  If you don't it's a dark alley and most Americans would be shocked to find out what's at the end of it.
I'm halfway through and it's as amazing as you'd expect from Taibbi.

Christian Nation

Seeds of Kentucky's New Economy Planted at UK

They're not our native hemp, which still grows wild in every fence row, so the question is whether these furrin varieties can stand up to Kentucky's sometimes vicious growing season.

But they're finally in the ground.

Janet Patton at the Herald:

For the first time in decades, hemp, a crop once demonized as marijuana (SIC!), has been planted in Central Kentucky, regaining an economic toehold that state agriculture officials hope can expand into a lucrative industry.

Although the crop was a vital one for the region through World War II, this was the first time hemp has been legally planted in the Bluegrass since the 1970s. 
 On Tuesday, University of Kentucky researchers sowed a small plot of 13 varieties of hemp seeds, released last week by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration after legal wrangling.
No, Janet: hemp is not marijuana. Never has been. Never will be.  A generation of Kentucky kids who tried smoking hemp are proof.

Eventually, legalized marijuana will bring many benefits, if only from the end of the War on (some classes of some people who use some) Drugs, but industrial hemp could be the economic engine that finally kills Big Coal.

Privatization Kills: Detainees Are Slave Labor in Private Prisons

Erik Loomis asks: What 13th Amendment?

Outstanding Ian Urbina story on the exploitation of people held in immigrant detention centers. The immigration detention system serves as a nearly unpaid labor force thanks to the privatized prison companies controlling the prisons:

Last year, at least 60,000 immigrants worked in the federal government’s nationwide patchwork of detention centers — more than worked for any other single employer in the country, according to data from United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE. The cheap labor, 13 cents an hour, saves the government and the private companies $40 million or more a year by allowing them to avoid paying outside contractors the $7.25 federal minimum wage. Some immigrants held at county jails work for free, or are paid with sodas or candy bars, while also providing services like meal preparation for other government institutions.

Unlike inmates convicted of crimes, who often participate in prison work programs and forfeit their rights to many wage protections, these immigrants are civil detainees placed in holding centers, most of them awaiting hearings to determine their legal status. Roughly half of the people who appear before immigration courts are ultimately permitted to stay in the United States — often because they were here legally, because they made a compelling humanitarian argument to a judge or because federal authorities decided not to pursue the case.

“I went from making $15 an hour as a chef to $1 a day in the kitchen in lockup,” said Pedro Guzmán, 34, who had worked for restaurants in California, Minnesota and North Carolina before he was picked up and held for about 19 months, mostly at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga. “And I was in the country legally.”
It's almost too easy to make the case that corporations - a form of business disdained by the Founders, who refused to countenance their existence in the Constitution - are the source of virtually all the evil in this country today, and the primary anti-democratic force undermining our republic.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fucking Over Veterans is All-American


KY's Not Guns-Everywhere Georgia - Yet

But if an asshole with an assault rifle - oops, that's redundant - bumped into you in the Kroger parking lot, and you told him to take his substitute penis back home, and he shot you dead on stand-your-ground, do you really think a Kentucky jury would convict him, if he were even arrested?

No, it wouldn't.

Mike Wynn at the Courier:

The number of gun permits issued in Kentucky has quadrupled over the past 10 years, thanks in part to at least a dozen measures the General Assembly has passed to ease restrictions in the state's concealed carry law.

State police issued 59,530 concealed-carry licenses in 2013, a 447 percent increase from the 10,884 that were given out in 2004. More than twice as many people received a permit last year as compared to 2012, when a school shooting in Newtown, Conn., raised fears of tightened gun laws.

Meanwhile, the state legislature has passed at least a dozen measures over the past decade — often with support from the National Rifle Association — to speed up the application process and gradually give permit-holders more flexibility.

Only Corporations and the Parasite Rich Have Free Speech

Seriously, y'all:  this is the kind of story they used to drill into us when I was in school as typical of what happens in communist dictatorships.  The kind of thing that could never happen in America, the Birthplace of Modern Democracy.

It made me puke then, and it makes me puke now, for completely opposite reasons.

Think Progress:

After federal and local authorities raided Ilana Lipsen’s Alpine, Texas, store in search of illegal drug evidence, there was a dispute over what happened that day. Lipsen told reporters that Drug Enforcement Administration agents at the scene violently threw and kicked her sister Arielle, who was charged with assaulting federal agents. Prosecutors countered they never beat her.

But before the case could be adjudicated at trial, a federal judge included an extraordinary requirement as a condition of Ilana’s release from jail pending trial: She had to revoke her statements to the media and apologize.

“It looks like the judge is stepping in to side with the prosecutor, undermine her right to trial, and place a massive thumb on the scale,” said Eric Miller, a law professor at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, who has studied bail conditions. He said the requirement was likely an unconstitutional condition of release.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Do Not Buy Tribe Hummus

Yes, there are many other food companies who are worthy of boycotts, and whenever I find information like this on them I will post it. Do not read this while eating - hummus or anything else.

Erik Loomis:

One big victory for corporations in recent years is keeping OSHA fines so low that their trivial cost makes fixing safety problems not worth the effort. Of course this has a predictable cost:
Twenty-eight-year-old Daniel Collazo was nearly done with his shift cleaning machines at the Tribe hummus plant in Taunton, Mass. when other workers heard his screams. 
Collazo had become caught in the rotating screws that blend the hummus and struggled to free himself as slowly-winding 9-inch blades kept turning, crushing his arms and part of his head, according to public records. His co-workers dashed to cut the power and desperately tried to untangle Collazo from the machine. 
Despite their efforts, Collazo died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. But the horrific Dec. 16, 2011, accident could have been prevented had the plant followed a standard safety practice known as “lock out/tag out.” It requires employees to be trained to cut power to industrial machinery before cleaning activities begin.
OSHA had visited this factory and found the working conditions outrageous:
Two years before Collazo was killed, federal officials fined the owner of the Tribe plant for failing to follow the safety procedure at another of its New England food processing plants. Tribe’s own consultant had warned that failing to train cleaning workers in lock out/tag out created “an extreme safety risk,” records show, and said “the probability that a fatality could occur is likely certain within a year’s timeframe.”
OSHA fined Tribe $9500 for those violations.  
Tribe thought at that price there was no reason to fix the problems. Now they were fined $450,000 upon Collazo’s death, but you can see why they would take that risk since the managers no doubt didn’t think someone would actually die. What is $9500 for a subsidiary of Nestle? Pocket change.  
I did like this:
Since Collazo’s death, Tribe has hired a new chief executive, Adam Carr, who has sought to increase the company’s visibility. Tribe finished paying its OSHA fines in April and has embarked on a new marketing campaign: “Hummus made with love and chickpeas.”
The secret ingredient is the blood of dead workers.


David Atkins at Hullabaloo:

The common denominator is the gun. It is always the gun, and it will always be the gun. We can try to fix the other social problems all we want--and we should. But until we fix the gun problem, we will continue to offer the lives of ourselves and our children on the altar of this insatiable, bloodthirsty Lord we euphemistically call the "gun rights movement." Year after year, month after month we will continue to propitiate this monster with our blood and tears until enough of us decide that we have had enough, overthrow its foul priests and sack the tainted officials corrupted by its bloodstained lucre. Until that day the NRA will simply take our children, group by group, to its yearly Lottery because, after all, that's the way we've always done it. For freedom.

"Scrupulous intellectual honesty"

"Remember All Who Have Died in War and Remember No One Wins"

Veterans for Peace

Members of Veterans For Peace in over a dozen cities will participate in a wide range of activities to observe Memorial Day. Veterans For Peace is a group of military veterans, family members and friends who are joined in association by our pledge to serve the cause of world peace and abolish war. We bring a different message to Memorial Day than the themes usually promoted by popular media, the government and traditional veterans’ organizations.

We do not seek to glorify either warriors or war. Rather, Veterans For Peace seeks to educate the public about the folly of war and the human, economic, civil rights and liberties and environmental cost of war. VFP members march in parades, lay wreaths, give talks and speeches, recite poetry and vigil to honor U.S. service members who died in and as a result of war, as well as all the civilian victims of war.

Our message for Memorial Day is to remember all who have died in war and to understand that no one wins,” stated Michael McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans For Peace. “We understand that those who fight the wars gain the least from them and those who send us to war gain the most from war. There are many people who either profit from war or are misled by war mongers and profiteers. These are the people who seek to block our message to question war and to work for peace.”

Veterans For Peace is a veteran organization with members who have served from WWII to the current era. Yet there are organizations and government officials who seek to block VFP members’ freedom of expression and participation in Memorial Day observances. For example, after participating for the past three years, without incident and with highly positive reaction from the public, this year VFP Chapter 80 in Duluth, MN has been denied entry to the city’s Memorial Day Parade.

Not all members of Veterans For Peace seek to be present in public events honoring veterans, because the events tend to be a platform to venerate war and spread militarism. However a significant number of members choose to participate by providing an alternative message of peace and nonviolence. We seek to honor the dead by telling the horrible truth about war in an effort to protect the living. VFP will not be intimidated by efforts to block member participation and we will take all steps necessary to participate in any public event members consider appropriate.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Too Expensive

From Down with Tyranny:

Mysterious Ways

Bible Contents

Mitchie-poo and Ayn Rand Trolling the Dems Again

Grimes' only hope is to turn out Democratic voters sick and fucking tired of repug-lites like Ben Chandler, and the Koch-money twins know it.

From the Herald:

U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul predicted Friday that any hurt feelings left over from McConnell's bitter primary against GOP challenger Matt Bevin will recede when conservative voters learn more about Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.
They're not lying, for once; they're just not mentioning the fact that conservative voters in Kentucky never, ever, ever vote for Democratic candidates, no matter how hard those candidates run as repugs.  That's why repug-lite candidates lose.  Conservatives who are registered as dems in order to fuck with the primaries vote for repugs - always - and actual Democratic voters refuse to turn out for repug candidates with a D next to their names.

They are also trying to cover up their real concern, which is that Bevin voters will sit at home in November rather than turn out for the Tortoise who beat their boy.

They shouldn't worry. Conservatives whine like the titty babies they are, but always fall in line behind the repug candidate in the end.

No, what the twins are doing here is trolling Grimes so that she run even harder to the repug side, losing even more thousands of Democratic voters than she already has.

If Grimes stop playing repug-lite right now today, she'll still lose to McConnell by ten points. But she won't stop.  I figure by Election Day, she'll make Thomas Massie look like Bernie Sanders, and she'll lose by 30.

For Sunday School

Saturday, May 24, 2014

How Being Reasonable is Killing Liberals and Liberalism

Squeaky wheel gets the grease, and screaming rage-monsters get a pass on everything.

Kevin Drum:

Paul Waldman writes today about how lefty protest groups get treated differently from right-wing protest groups:
The latest, from the New York Times, describes how law enforcement officials around the country went on high alert when the Occupy protests began in 2011, passing information between agencies with an urgency suggesting that at least some people thought that people gathering to oppose Wall Street were about to try to overthrow the U.S. government. And we remember how many of those protests ended, with police moving in with force. 
....If you can't recall any Tea Party protests in 2009 and 2010 being broken up by baton-wielding, pepper-spraying cops in riot gear, that's because it didn't happen. Just like the anti-war protesters of the Bush years, the Tea Partiers were unhappy with the government, and saying so loudly. But for some reason, law enforcement didn't view them as a threat.
Maybe this is because lefties don't complain enough.
Read the whole thing.

Today in Satirical Headlines That Are Probably True

From Firedoglake:

Ohio Replaces Lethal Injection With Humane New Head-Ripping-Off Machine
Tell me there aren't repug state legislators googling "Head-Ripping-Off Machines" right now.

Pay No Attention to That Healthcare Law Behind the Curtain

Looks like somebody flunked Democratic Politics 101:  When your repug opponent says something fit-for-TV-ads stupid, don't agree with  him.

According to the AP, both Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes are trying to pretend that the enormously popular Kynect program has nothing whatsoever to do with the evil Obamacare perpetuated by that muslinterristni**er in the White House.

Honest to fucking Dog, Alison, if even Democratic Party traitors Mark Begitch and Kay Hagan are running pro-Obamacare campaigns in redder-than-Kentucky states - and winning with them - you probably could attract some of those thousands of stay-at-home Democratic voters by doing the same.

We Owe Them So Much

May peace ensure they are the last.

Full transcript here.

Yeah, Sex Always Makes Me Want to Deal Drugs

I can't even

Greg Kocher, who gets all the good stories at the Herald:

Former Garrard County magistrate Ronnie Lane was sentenced Friday to serve six months in jail on felony drug-trafficking charges.


Zeroogian said Lane, (74) who is married and has two adult children, had a relationship with a younger woman "he shouldn't have been carrying on with." Zeroogian did not identify the woman or say how the relationship began.


Daugherty acknowledged that "old guys are doing stupid things for young women" these days, and mentioned how Donald Sterling, co-owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, is in danger of losing that NBA team as an offshoot of a relationship with a younger woman.
OK, young women voters of Jessamine and Garrard Counties: the next time Circuit Judge Hunter Daugherty comes up for re-election, remember that he thinks you all are to blame for crimes, stupidity, drug-dealing and racism by old men.

Using Sexual Panic to Dehumanize Teachers

I seriously cannot believe this is legal.  I cannot believe there are not riots in the streets over this. I cannot believe that sexual-predator hysteria has gone this far.

From The Nation:

Iris Stevenson hurt no child, seduced no teenager, abused no student at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles. This is what her supporters say in rallying outrage that this exemplary teacher has languished for months in the gulag of administrative detention known as “teacher jail”: she doesn’t belong there.

And she doesn’t.


If she were a de facto kidnapper, police should have been called long ago. But, no, this is not about criminality or even misconduct; it is about a larger game of control being played by School Superintendent John Deasy. That game owes quite a lot to sex, because a few years ago a scandal tripped the panic button, which Deasy has kept his finger on ever since, exploiting justified public anger over a classroom pervert to pursue a war on teachers.

The political question, then, is not just whether Stevenson belongs in teacher jail but what this institutionalized containment regimen, this sub-bureaucracy of punishment, exists for in the first place, and how the specter of sex is the cowing excuse to go after anyone.


There is no more reason teacher jail should exist than doctor jail or fireman jail. For teachers accused of child molestation or other crimes, there is the option familiar in every other area of life: the police and, assuming there are charges and no bail, actual jail. For serious accusations pending investigation, there are leaves of absence. Alleged minor infractions do not require the disruption of classes and lives.
What’s happening in Los Angeles is not about reason as reasonable people understand it. A Miramonte teacher who is back at work but anxious about using her name still feels the sting of her detention. She said of Deasy’s administration: “They want to dehumanize the profession as a whole, because if you can bring this profession down, if you can make people lose trust in this profession, then you can do anything.”

This, writ large, is the legacy of moral panic: dehumanize anyone, and everyone is vulnerable.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Shrinking the Pie

Patricia Williams at The Nation, with one of the better descriptions of the wages of austerity, both budgetary and political:

this pitting of one against the other distracts from our failure to invest in all of our public institutions, lowering the quality of life for everyone. Fear of our most needy fellow citizens getting a bigger slice of the “preferential” pie has somehow driven us to bake smaller and smaller pies served at smaller and smaller tables. We seem locked in a fight over scraps, as though unaware of the banquet of generous possibilities we might, by reinvestment, choose to build for our world.

If You've Got A Gun, You're Not Demonstrating


Demonstrating for your political beliefs is as American as apple pie. Organize boycots, march on the capitol, carry a sign, scream at your officials, argue in the face of those who oppose you. But the minute guns enter the picture you are no longer demonstrating, you are physically intimidating people with a deadly weapon. But of course, that's really the point isn't it?

The Case That Shouldn't Have to Be Made: Reparations

It's 149 fucking years overdue.

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

A country curious about how reparations might actually work has an easy solution in Conyers’s bill, now called HR 40, the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act. We would support this bill, submit the question to study, and then assess the possible solutions. But we are not interested.

“It’s because it’s black folks making the claim,” Nkechi Taifa, who helped found N’COBRA, says. “People who talk about reparations are considered left lunatics. But all we are talking about is studying [reparations]. As John Conyers has said, we study everything. We study the water, the air. We can’t even study the issue? This bill does not authorize one red cent to anyone.”

That HR 40 has never—under either Democrats or Republicans—made it to the House floor suggests our concerns are rooted not in the impracticality of reparations but in something more existential. If we conclude that the conditions in North Lawndale and black America are not inexplicable but are instead precisely what you’d expect of a community that for centuries has lived in America’s crosshairs, then what are we to make of the world’s oldest democracy?

One cannot escape the question by hand-waving at the past, disavowing the acts of one’s ancestors, nor by citing a recent date of ancestral immigration. The last slaveholder has been dead for a very long time. The last soldier to endure Valley Forge has been dead much longer. To proudly claim the veteran and disown the slaveholder is patriotism à la carte. A nation outlives its generations. We were not there when Washington crossed the Delaware, but Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s rendering has meaning to us. We were not there when Woodrow Wilson took us into World War I, but we are still paying out the pensions. If Thomas Jefferson’s genius matters, then so does his taking of Sally Hemings’s body. If George Washington crossing the Delaware matters, so must his ruthless pursuit of the runagate Oney Judge.
If you prefer the live version, Coates will be on All In with Chris Hayes tonight (Friday) at 8 p.m. on MSNBC.

Somebody Ask Alison: Do You Support More Money for VA?

Except in the case of actual criminal behavior, demanding the resignation of the head of a troubled agency solves nothing.  It actually exacerbates the problem by pretending no other efforts are necessary.

The problems at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers have very little to do with Eric Shinseki and everything to do with insufficient funding, two million new veterans thanks to Smirky/Darth's illegal wars, and the shortage of primary care physicians throughout the health care system.

But Alison Lundergan Grimes doesn't give a flying fuck about veterans or how to improve the health care system nationwide to ensure that all veterans get the care they need.

No, all she cares about is a headline that falsely implies she knows what she's talking about.

Joseph Gerth at the Courier:

U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has split with the Obama administration in calling for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in response to delays in treatment and falsified record-keeping.

“We owe a solemn obligation to our veterans, and our government defaulted on that contract. I don’t see how that breach of trust with our veterans can be repaired if the current leadership stays in place,” Grimes said in a statement released Thursday.

Austerity Stinks

When you cut taxes so there's no money for infrastructure repair, you get shit. Literally.

Jim Warren at the Herald:

Heavy overnight rains caused another sewage overflow early Thursday morning at a collapsed sewer line off Man o' War Boulevard, Lexington officials said.
When I say "you," I mean us: the 99 percent. None of the parasite rich got shit in their yards this morning.

Somebody Ask Alison: Do You Support Expanding Social Security?

Because it might just get her repug-lite ass elected.

David Atkins at Hullabaloo:

Greg Sargent has an underreported bit of Social Security news that should please progressives who long been arguing for similar measures:
Dem Senator Sherrod Brown, a member of the Finance Committee, tells me that GOP Senators have requested hearings into Social Security Disability Insurance this summer. Dems expect Republicans to attack the program as wasteful and fraudulent, in part because conservative media have already done so, and in part because at least one GOP proposal in recent days took aim at the program.

Brown says Dems should seize this occasion to get behind a proposal that would lift or change the payroll tax cap, meaning higher earners would pay more, while adopting a new measure for inflation that would increase benefits for all seniors. Instead of getting drawn into debates about “Chained CPI” and other entitlement cuts, Brown says, Dems should make the case that stagnating wages and declining pensions and savings demand an expansion of social insurance. 
“We should stop playing defense on Social Security, and instead talk about why Social Security is a public pension that we should be proud of, that has lifted tens of millions of people out of poverty,” Brown tells me. “The three-legged stool — Social Security, pensions, private savings — has seen two of the legs sawed off for a large number of people. It’s time to look at expanding Social Security as an issue of retirement security.”

Brown said he expects Republicans to renew attacks on disability insurance (as opposed to the retirement security portion) to divide supporters of Social Security and renew the push for structural changes to the program, and said Dems could use that to draw an effective contrast. SSDI’s trust fund is set to be depleted soon, but that could be solved by a reallocation fix that’s been done before, rather than a deep benefits cut, which Republicans may press for. 
“They want to separate ‘good’ Social Security (retirement security) from ‘bad’ Social Security (disability insurance), to win support for structural reform,” said Brown, who is holding a Senate Finance sub-committee hearing tomorrow on the overall program. “The attacks on disability insurance will accelerate. This is how they will try to back-door the dismantling of social insurance. But the public is with us on social insurance.”

Brown noted that such an issue could play well in the midterms. “The electorate is older, so the field is fertile for Democrats to talk about this,” he said. “We should turn up the volume.”
There's not a single Democratic voter in Kentucky who would not be thrilled to vote for a candidate who supported Brown on this.  In fact, the only Kentuckians who would not be so thrilled would be the very repug voters Alison is courting despite there being less than zero chance that they will ever, ever, vote for her or any other Democratic candidate.

I guess there really are some people you just can't help.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Rude Pundit, on Operation American Spring:

At what point do we stop pretending these sullen losers are anything other than what they actually are: traitors. Not because they want to protest, not because they want to change the government, but because they assert that violent overthrow is not a bad plan. Their active numbers are small, but so are al-Qaeda's, but they are more of a threat to people than Islamic terrorists. Oh, we laugh at them as they wander aimlessly on their Hitler sign-bedecked Scout scooters. Aren't they just delightful, wallowing in their toilets of ignorance? Can we mock them a little more? A group of Americans gathered in DC to stage a coup. Their pathetic numbers and utter failure doesn't absolve them of their intention.

The Rude Pundit is weary of these armed, angry yokels acting as if their belief in violent revolution is patriotic.  No, they shouldn't be arrested for marching. But a visit from the FBI just for the opening paragraph sure seems justified, if only because if it were a group of Muslims posting that on the internet, there would be a whole sting operation devoted to catching them.

Corporations Have Bogarted ALL the Rights

We're living the worst-case scenario.

William Greider at The Nation:

The big media talk a lot about stalemate in Congress, but they are missing the real story. While representative democracy is dysfunctional, the Supreme Court has taken over with its own reactionary power grab. In case after case, the court’s right-wing majority is making its own law—expanding the power of corporations and the very wealthy, while making it harder for ordinary citizens to fight back.

Worst of all, the Roberts Court is trying to permanently inhibit the federal government’s ability to help people cope with the country’s vast social and economic disorders.

This is not a theoretical complaint. Led by Chief Justice John Roberts, the conservative Republican Court is building a barbed wire fence around the federal government—creating constitutional obstacles to progressive legislation in ways that resemble the Supreme Court’s notorious Lochner decision of 1905. That case held that property rights prevail over people and the common good.

For more than thirty years, the conservative Justices used that twisted precedent to invalidate more than 200 state and federal laws on major social and economic concerns like child labor, the minimum wage, bank regulation and union organizing. New Deal reformers were stymied by Lochner at first, and they only managed to overturn it in 1937 and only then when FDR mobilized a take-no-prisoners campaign to reform the Supreme Court by weakening its unaccountable power.


What we need now is a ferocious counterattack against these corporate owners—a campaign that demands they surrender these special privileges the government has given them. Why protect shareholders from blame when they claim the same constitutional rights—free speech, freedom of religion—that people possess? Human beings are held responsible for their debts, they go to prison for their crimes. Perhaps the owners of corporations should be made to take responsibility for theirs.

The Only Empowerment You Need


Why You Should Always Vote: Few Votes Bring Huge Change in Kentucky

Two days ago, Pike County's state House Representative, Judge-Executive and Sheriff were the quintessential been-there-forever-don't-even-try-running-against-them office holders.

Today, they're out.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

A political earthquake hit Pike County Tuesday, when voters turned out a controversial state lawmaker, the county-judge executive and the longest-serving sheriff in the state.

"All this is one of the biggest political changes in one day we've seen in a long time in Pike County," said Pikeville attorney and columnist Larry Webster.

In the 93rd House District, which includes eastern Pike County and Martin County, incumbent Keith Hall of Phelps was defeated by Pike County Magistrate Chris Harris in a 209-vote squeaker of a Democratic primary. No Republican filed for the office.

In the race for judge-executive, former judge-executive Bill Deskins topped Wayne T. Rutherford by 629 votes. Rutherford had served as county judge from 1970 to 1982 and 1992 to 1994. He was re-elected in 2006. Deskins was county judge from 2003 to 2007. 
And in the Pike County sheriff's race, Charles "Fuzzy" Keesee got beat by a margin of more than 2-to-1 by Pike County Jailer Rodney Scott. The vote tally was 8,503 for Scott and 4,223 for Keesee, who has served for more than 40 years since first taking office in 1962.

Is Mitch Overconfident or Scared? Challenges Grimes to Three Debates

Conventional wisdom in Kentucky was that Mitch would refuse to debate Alison Lundergan Grimes to debates. The man's drone puts insomniacs to sleep, and Grimes is pretty quick on her feet.

But maybe the old tortoise is laying a trap for our jumpy repug-lite hare.

From the Herald:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, fresh off his primary win against Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin, is challenging Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes to three debates.

In a letter signed by McConnell, which the Herald-Leader obtained Wednesday morning and the McConnell campaign confirmed would be sent to Grimes, Kentucky's senior senator congratulated his Democratic opponent on winning her party's nomination and challenged her to a series of debates — with several conditions.

"In order to present our views fairly and without interpretation by traditional media filters, I believe we should participate in three traditional Lincoln-Douglas style debates moderated only by a single timekeeper/moderator," McConnell wrote. "By conducting these debates without an audience, without props and without notes, it will allow for an unvarnished exchange of views for Kentuckians to evaluate."

At a campaign stop Wednesday, Grimes said she would welcome the debates with McConnell. 
 "My team will get with his campaign to work out the details of that, but that's something that I have always been open to," she said. "I look forward to holding him accountable."
Alison, honey: how are you going to "hold him accountable" for positions and votes which you claim to share?

All you have to do to win these debates is identify three issues on which you would vote differently from Mitch.

Too bad you can't name even one.

So maybe that's Mitch's game plan: expose her to Democratic voters as a repug-lite they shouldn't waste their time voting for.

And 10,000 More KY Dems Decide Not to Vote This November

Yep, the way to attract Democratic voters is to tell them that Democrats are to blame for republicans blocking every piece of Democratic legislation in Congress

Steve Benen:

* In her first post-primary ad, Kentucky Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) blames "the people at the top in both political parties" for Washington's dysfunction, adding, "No matter who the president is, I won't answer to them.  I'll only answer to you." It's a 60-second spot.
As for those repug voters you think you're attracting?  They're laughing at you.

Grimes is worse than a republican.  She's a fucking moron.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Steve M:

Modern conservatism has two aims: maximizing the amount of hate white voters have for all Democrats and liberals, and decreasing the amount of government rich people have to pay for. Fixing the VA, or otherwise ensuring the proper execution of any government function, will never be on this list.

Somebody Ask Alison If She Thinks Urban Kids Deserve Food

This is a waste of time. Let's just round up all the urban poors and give them to the guntards for target practice.

Be a whole lot faster and cheaper than slowly starving them to death.

Josh Marshall:

I'm not sure why this isn't a bigger deal. I hadn't heard about it other than in this brief passage tucked away in a Politico article about the House GOP agriculture bill. But it takes a small program intended provide meals to children in the school lunch program during the summer months and says it can now only be used to benefit kids in "rural areas".

In other words, "urban" kids are now out of luck. 
Here's the passage in question ..
And in a surprising twist, the bill language specifies that only rural areas are to benefit in the future from funding requested by the administration this year to continue a modest summer demonstration program to help children from low-income households — both urban and rural — during those months when school meals are not available.
Since 2010, the program has operated from an initial appropriation of $85 million, and the goal has been to test alternative approaches to distribute aid when schools are not in session. The White House asked for an additional $30 million to continue the effort, but the House bill provides $27 million for what’s described as an entirely new pilot program focused on rural areas only.
Democrats were surprised to see urban children were excluded. And the GOP had some trouble explaining the history itself. But a spokeswoman confirmed that the intent of the bill is a pilot project in “rural areas” only.
There seems to be a degree of understatement going on here, particularly in the final paragraph. What gives?
This isn't repugs getting in touch with and exposing their inner racists anymore.  This is attempted genocide.

Liberal Democrats need to get that through our thick skulls and fight fire with fire before it becomes national policy.

Here it is in chart form.

The Emily Letts Abortion Video

Yeah, the freakazoids are motherfucking liars, what else is new.

Jessica Valenti at the Guardian:

Emily Letts breathes through a minutes-long procedure, humming softly at times. When it's over, she smiles and says, "I feel good." Letts, a counselor at Cherry Hill Women's Clinic in New Jersey, has just had an abortion. And in an attempt to destigmatize the procedure, she filmed her experience and shared it on YouTube. 
"We've been taught that abortion is a scary thing, and it's totally inaccurate," Letts told me on Wednesday.

Letts said the responses to her video this week has been mixed: she has some people telling her that she's brave; there are others who are horrible and try to intimidate her. But it's the "third category" of people responding who have been most important to her - women sharing their stories. "My story is not for the people commenting on message boards, or the negative people – it's for the women who feel like they don't have a voice, like they've been in the shadows for so long," she says.

Applying the Apartheid-Killing Lessons to Wal Mart

When money is all they understand, use money to beat them.


- Portland, Oregon is the first city in the nation to divest from Wal-Mart and will look to invest in more responsible places.

Somebody Ask Alison: Should Tax-Cheating Americans Go to Jail?

In case you needed another reason to vote against Mitch McConnell in November, here's Juanita Jean:

I want names, dammit.
Credit Suisse AG (CSGN) agreed to pay $2.6 billion in penalties and pleaded guilty to helping Americans cheat on their taxes, making it the first global bank in a decade to admit to a crime in a U.S. courtroom.
Okay, why can’t giving me the names of Americans who cheated on their taxes be part of this plea deal?  And why the fool tarnation double damn hell isn’t somebody going to stinkin’ jail over this? 
Worse yet, why is half of Congress still taking money from those crooks?  Democrats and Republicans alike should be swatted for this.  They knew Credit Suisse was being investigated and they knew a criminal enterprise was going on, but they took the damn money. 
Cory Booker
Harry Reid
Jeb Hensarling – chairman of the House Financial Services Committee that oversees Credit Suisse
Steny Hoyer
Joe Crowley
John Boehner
Orrin Hatch
John Cornyn
Mitch McConnell
Mike Crapo – member of the Senate Banking Committee 
Oh, and there’s plenty more. 
Give the damn money back, prosecute Americans who used Credit Suisse to cheat on their taxes, and put somebody in jail.  You know, like Jeb Hensarling.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Landslides to the Left of Us, Landslides to the Right, and Not a Decent Candidate in Sight

Mitch the Turtle 60 percent, Matt the Arrogant 36 percent.

Alison Repug-with-a-D-after-her-name Lundergan Grimes 76 percent, Greg Leichty eight percent. By Labor Day, there won't be a single issue on which Alison will admit to being willing to vote differently from Mitch.

John Yarmuth beat his token dem primary opponent 87-13, but that's the only bright spot.

Of the five repug U.S. House members, two have no Democratic opponent in November, including freshman teabagger freak Thomas Massie in the Fourth.

And everywhere, repugs in the state Senate and House have already won re-election because no Democrat was willing to put up even token opposition.

Fire everybody who works for, volunteers for, donates to and runs the Kentucky (non)Democratic Party. Then burn party headquarters to the ground, piss on the ashes and salt the earth so nothing so republican can ever rise there again. Do it now. 

The Courier has the disgusting numbers here.

The Bar Judge Heyburn Must Clear

Kentucky's judicial honor is at stake.

PZ Myers:

Where will this all lead? I know that many suggest we are going down a slippery slope that will have no moral boundaries. To those who truly harbor such fears, I can only say this: Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other…and rise.
That’s the concluding paragraph to the federal judge’s decision that the same sex marriage ban in Oregon must be struck down. I’m glad to see this happening all across the country — the rights of the minority should not be subject to majority vote.

Want to Blow Up the Benghazi Kangaroo Court? Sign this Petition to Put Alan Grayson On It

This will actually, literally make repug and analpundit heads explode. I mean brains splattered on the walls.


I wrote about the congressman with guts earlier:
Perhaps people don’t realize that Alan Grayson isn’t just another lawyer/congressman. He’s an experienced litigator who fought whistle-blower fraud cases aimed at military contractors. The Wall Street Journal characterized him in 2006 as “waging a one-man war against contractor fraud in Iraq.” And he was very successful at it. As a politician Grayson is usually seen as a pugnacious fighter always at the ready with a pithy put-down on cable news shows. His floor speeches are often fiery indictments of his political opponents and the power elite.

But that’s not why the Democrats should tap him for the job. As notable as all those characteristics are, they are not where Grayson’s true talent lies. He is a master at the task of committee questioning. During his first term as a member of the Financial Services Committee he practically had bankers whimpering on the hot seat and he took on everyone from Ben Bernanke to Timothy Geithner, eliciting important information. Unlike the vaunted prosecutor the GOP has tapped to lead the inquiry, Trey Gowdy (who specializes in browbeating and histrionic questioning), Grayson is never rude and he isn’t dismissive or insulting. He is serious, composed and extremely well prepared. And when he has the floor he is completely in control.
Read on...

Credo has a petition going to ask the Democrats to name Grayson as the Democratic representative to the Benghazi! ™  hearings. It's not just a good way to infuriate the Republicans and make the Village press go mad --- which it will.  But Grayson is a secret weapon. He's really good at this. 
And it might even inspire the base enough to save the Senate and take back the House in November.

What Atheist In Her Right Mind Would Want to Be President of a Country that Prefers Torturers and Psychopaths in the White House?

Point being, of course, is that we've had atheist presidents (none out of the closet, unfortunately) and nobody noticed the difference.

Positive Atheism:

Americans would more likely support a philandering presidential candidate than an atheist one -- by an 18 percent margin -- according to a Pew Research Center poll published Monday.

While 35 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to support a presidential candidate who had an extramarital affair, 53 percent of Americans indicated that not believing in God -- the trait viewed most negatively of the 16 tested -- would make them unsupportive of a candidate.

In accordance with a widely cited study by the University of Minnesota, which found atheists to be the most disliked and distrusted minority group in the nation, only 5 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to vote for a secular candidate.

The Pew survey, which questioned 1,501 adults nationwide from April 23 to 27, also found a significant partisan divide on the issue.

While 70 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Democrats expressed opposition to an atheist candidate, 49 percent of Democrats viewed a potential candidate’s atheism as irrelevant.
I have no problem with a president who fucks anyone who consents, but I have a big problem with presidents who use their invisible sky-wizard friends to justify unjustified invasions, mass murder and torture.

At least Democrats continue to lead the way in reason.

The Truths of Religion

Monday, May 19, 2014

Peace License Plate Needs Support

From the Herald:

The Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice needs a commitment from 900 motorists by May 31 to purchase a special Peace Is Possible license plate for $25 in order for plate production to begin.  
After 900 commitments, money raised through the plate registration will support conflict resolution and peace education initiatives in secondary schools.

Kentucky motorists can reserve a plate for each vehicle and support the campaign through More about the history of the organization and other details can be found at To print a paper application, go to

End of Discussion

Yes, There Are Democratic Alternatives to Alison Lundergan Grimes in tomorrow's Senate primary

DISCLAIMER: Yeah, in a fit of something I posted this a month early back in April, but now it's Primary Day Minus 1 for real, BEYOTCHES, so get yourself and everybody you know to the polls tomorrow OR ELSE.

Polls open at 6 a.m. tomorrow - Tuesday - and close at 6 p.m.  Acceptable ID include driver's license, Social Security card or personal acquaintance with an election officer.

My personal preference for the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate is Greg Leichty, who is somewhat less conservative than Alison, though I wouldn't call him liberal.

Neither Leichty nor the other Grimes challengers have a chance against the Big Dog's choice, but that's not the point.

The point of voting for someone else in the Democratic primary is to deny Grimes a primary landslide and call to her attention the tens of thousands of Democratic votes she's not going to get in November unless she stops running as a Mitch MiniMe.

Kentucky primary election information here.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Exploding the Life-Begins-At-Conception-Myth

As always, I say the abortion non-debate begins, proceeds and ends at "it's her body and none of anybody else's fucking business."

But if you must shorten your life by engaging in conversation with freakazoids, here are some actual scientific facts that won't get through to them, but might make you feel better.

PZ Myers:

What do you mean by “life begins”? Was there some step between your parents and you where there was a dead cell? Life is continuous — there hasn’t been a transition from non-life to life for about 4 billion years. So, yes, I’d agree that the zygote is a living cell, but so were the sperm and egg that fused to generate it, and so were the blast cells that were precursors to it, and so were the zygotes that developed into your parents. We can trace that life all the way back to early progenotes with limited autonomy drifting in Archean seas, to self-perpetuating chemical reactions occurring in porous rocks in the deep ocean rifts. It’s all been alive, so this is a distinction without meaning.

What about “human”? It’s a human zygote, we’d all agree; but it’s also human sperm and human ovum. You can pluck a hair from my head and determine with a few tests that it’s a human hair; you can take a blood sample from me and check a few antigens and determine that it is human blood; you can similarly swab a bit of saliva or earwax or tears from me, and analyze its biochemistry and find that it is specifically human spit or earwax or tears. That we can tag something with the adjective “human” does not in any way imply that my earwax deserves all the protections and privileges of a full human being. “Human zygote” imposes as much ethical obligation on me as “human spit”.

And don’t even try to pull that BS about a unique, novel genetic individual being created at conception. One of the key properties of meiosis is a genetic reshuffling of alleles by random assortment of the parental chromosomes and recombination by crossing over — every sperm and egg is genetically unique as well, and we spew those profligately with no remorse. Conception just adds another level of semi-random rearrangement of a random assortment of genes that were made during oogenesis and spermatogenesis.

So what are we left with? An obvious attempt at distortion or incomprehension in which the common modifier “human” is used as an absolute signifier for sociological and historical and psychological of an entity as being a complete member of a higher level community. It’s a lie cloaked in ambiguous language.
Until it's born, it's a life-threatening parasite best removed as soon as it appears.

Divine Irony:

If one had sufficient evidence to warrant belief in a particular claim, then one wouldn’t believe the claim on the basis of faith. “Faith” is the word one uses when one does not have enough evidence to justify holding a belief, but when one just goes ahead and believes anyway.

Peter Boghossian
(via moralanarchism)

Ideas vs. Discoveries

The Price of Silence

Religion Because

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Scientific Proof the Rich Really Are Parasites

Via PZ Myers:

People who dismiss the unemployed and dependent as "parasites" fail to understand economics and parasitism. A successful parasite is one that is not recognized by its host, one that can make its host work for it without appearing as a burden. Such is the ruling class in a capitalist society.—Jason Read
People who dismiss the unemployed and dependent as “parasites” fail to understand economics and parasitism. A successful parasite is one that is not recognized by its host, one that can make its host work for it without appearing as a burden. Such is the ruling class in a capitalist society.
—Jason Read

The Socialist Hell of $21-per-hour Minimum Wage


- A Danish worker who makes $21/hour at McDonald’s asks why American workers cannot a higher salary as it does not seem right.
Actually, it's partly our stupid franchise laws, but it's mostly that when governments demand corporations pay a decent wage, corporations do it and manage to survive.  Corporations pay shit in the U.S. because we let them.


"Where Congress Won't Act, I Will."

If this be tyranny, I say make the most of it.

Full transcript here.

Cool Technology of the Century Is Here: Solar-Power Roads

They're going to have to fight the asphalt and concrete manufacturers on top of the entire fossil fuel industry, but this couple's invention might just become the climate-saving technology we need.

Emily Atkins at Think Progress:

Finding a way to replace regular, concrete roads with ones that could better serve a sustainable world has long been Scott and Julie Brusaw’s dream. Lately, the couple has been working on that dream so much that — at least on Tuesday — they didn’t even sleep.

“All of the publicity is keeping us hopping,” Julie said by e-mail on Wednesday afternoon, after Scott had fallen asleep. “I have over 6,800 unanswered emails in my inbox right now. Not counting all of the thousands I have responded to of course!”

The e-mails are about the couple’s Solar Roadways project, which aims to replace traditional asphalt and concrete roadways with solar panels that are covered with four-square-foot glass hexagon panels. The glass panels are designed not only to withstand the heaviest of trucks, but are also textured, encouraging tires to grip the surface and water to run off. The solar panels underneath generate energy from the sun, which can not only power nearby communities, but also the electric vehicles that drive above them. The power could also fuel embedded heating elements that would melt ice and snow, essentially making plows obsolete. To top it off, the power also lights up yellow LED lights instead of painted-on road lines, making night time driving safer.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Rude One's Gotcher Religious Freedom Ratcheer

Of course we all know that when conservatards like Nebraska's Ben Sasse talk about "religious freedom" they really mean "freedom for evangelical rotestant freakazoids only," but that's all the more reason to call them out every time.

 But then...well...just read it: "Ben Sasse believes that our right to the free exercise of religion is co-equal to our right to life. This is not a negotiable issue. Government cannot force citizens to violate their religious beliefs under any circumstances. He will fight for the right of all Americans to act in accordance with their conscience." That's some fucked-up shit right there. Government can't make citizens "violate their religious beliefs"? "Under any circumstances"? Huh.

Dude, the Rude Pundit is starting the Holy Church of Wanton Cock and Pussy where our sacraments include ingesting liquor and Molly and smoking shit-tons of pot while fucking freely on the altar. Don't violate our First Amendment rights, assholes.

To go another way, if Democratic nominee (and there is one) David Domina wanted to really fuck with Sasse, he should put out an ad saying that Sasse supports Shariah law because, well, Sasse kind of said he does. Muslims get to have their religious beliefs held sacrosanct against the government, too.
Don't forget the Church of Free, On-Demand Abortions and the Church of Full Employment With a $20 Minimum Wage, and the Church of Confiscatory Taxes on the Rich and the Church of Reparations for Slavery and the Church of Everybody Votes and the Church of Corporations Are Unconstitutional and ....

Mitch McConnell Killed Bipartisan Energy Bill Just to Help Repug Candidate in New Hampshire

Yet more proof that Mitch does not give a flying fuck about the Kentuckians he supposedly represents. He deliberately scuttled a bill that would have helped everyone in Kentucky who drives or uses electricity because he cares more about repug candidates in foreign states.

Kevin Drum:

Earlier this week, Republicans killed a carefully crafted, bipartisan energy bill that was three years in the making. Ostensibly, this was done in protest against Harry Reid's refusal to allow votes on additional amendments, an issue that's been a longtime grievance for the GOP. But that wasn't the real problem. After all, everyone knows that delicately constructed bills like this one need to be passed on an all-or-nothing basis once a majority coalition has been painstakingly assembled. What's more, the Republican amendments were all on tangential hobbyhorses (Keystone XL, EPA power plant regs, etc.) that were designed solely as election-year rube bait anyway.

No, it turns out that the bill was killed because Scott Brown, who's running for a Senate seat in New Hampshire against Jeanne Shaheen, asked Mitch McConnell to kill it. Jon Chait tells the story:
Brown is running against Shaheen this November, and Republicans — especially would-be Majority leader Mitch McConnell — want Brown to beat Shaheen because they want to win a majority. 
Brown needs to deprive Shaheen of the afterglow that would come from shepherding a (now rare) bipartisan bill through Congress....
Brown's gonna lose big to Shaheen, but Mitch will probably beat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who's running so repug-lite she should be on the repug primary ballot, not the Democratic one.

Abraham's Problem

No, Mitch-n-Elaine Are Not Nice People, Not At All

Steve M:

A facade of decency, rationality, and conviviality shouldn't blind the rest of D.C. to the fact that Republicans are nonsense-spewing take-no-prisoners extremists. But it does.

Exploding A Kentucky Obamacare Lie-for-McConnell

Courtesy Joe Sonka of Leo Weekly:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce currently has the ad below running in Kentucky, starring Lexington business owner Patty Breeze, who says that the Affordable Care Act is “stifling business” in Kentucky and Sen. Mitch McConnell will fight it and Washington:


Curious as to what Breeze specifically thinks about the Affordable Care Act, I decided to call her, and had a long phone conversation with her where she aired her many problems with the law.


While Breeze talked at length about problems with the ACA state exchange in Kentucky (Kynect) — mostly involving a difficult to use website and insufficient staffing and training for Kynect staff and insurance agents — she also told me that there are many good parts of the law that she thinks we should keep, and we should improve the law through legislative fixes instead of repealing the law in its entirety and going back to the healthcare system we had before it.
As Steve Benen puts it:
In other words, the Chamber of Commerce is running a health care ad to help McConnell featuring a business owner who disagrees with McConnell about healthcare. Oops.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Two Miners Dead Because We Won't Bury Coal's Rotting But Still Murderous Corpse

Patriot Coal's executives should be imprisoned for premeditated murder.

Rude Pundit:

Eric Legg and Gary Hensley died in what is called a "coal outburst." What that means is that the walls of the mine burst, ejecting coal and gas into the area where the men worked. It's a nasty way to die, hot and violent. It means that the gas wasn't drained out of the area to relieve pressure, which is a significant safety violation, which is what Brody No. 1 was already cited for: "MSHA said that its inspectors had cited more than 250 'significant and substantial' violations during the 12-month period that ended Aug. 31. An MSHA audit of the mine’s records found that injuries resulted in nearly 1,800 lost-work days at the mine, 367 of which were from eight injuries that the company did not report to MSHA. A separate audit in 2012 found 29 injuries that were not reported." To do the math, Patriot owned the mine for 8 of those 12 months.

As always with mining companies, Patriot has been on the forefront of doing vile shit to workers. The United Mine Workers of America was already pissed off at Patriot for using bankruptcy to dick over miners and retirees. Yeah, when it sought bankruptcy protection last year, a judge approved allowing the company to cut health benefits and pensions to union workers and retirees. It shitcanned a contract it had with the union and renegotiated one that cost the company far less. The workers got dicked, but it was with a smaller dildo. The deal allowed Patriot to emerge from bankruptcy in December 2013.

To celebrate, in February, Patriot spilled 108,000 gallons of slurry waste into a creek feeding the Kanawha River, the same river that was polluted by Freedom Industries. Don't worry, though. It wasn't supposed to significantly impact the drinking water, which could be another way of saying that things couldn't get worse. (You can make your own joke about how Patriot and Liberty have fucked the people of West Virginia.)
Not just West Virginia.



If you want a little preview of what climate change is going to look like in a wingnut hellhole, there you go. Morons with guns taking what they want.
And using "religious freedom" as their excuse.


Divine Irony:

Congressman Awesome Strikes Again

I'd call this a gross understatement.

Is Steve Beshear Trying to Throw the Kentucky Gay Marriage Case?

Despite my loud and repeated praise of the Kentucky governor for his national leadership promoting Obamacare (albeit under the name "kynect"), I bow to no one as a critic of Beshear's constant kow-towing to the freakazoids. On that he is a cowardly worm and always will be.

But I think Zandar may be overlooking a possibility in this post on Stevie-boy's appeal of the federal court ruling that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages legally solemnized in other states.

But don't ask him any questions about same-sex marriage, because then he turns into a bigoted old Southern white guy.
In February, a federal judge ruled that Kentucky must recognize same-sex couples’ marriages from other states, a decision that was stayed pending appeal. Gov. Steve Beshear (D), who hired outside counsel because of Attorney General Jack Conway’s (D) unwillingness to defend the state’s ban, has filed his first brief in the appeal, presenting a novel economic argument against recognizing same-sex marriage.

Beshear’s argument to the Sixth Circuit echoes claims made by many other states defending marriage bans. Notably, because same-sex couples cannot “naturally procreate,” they are “not similarly situated to man-woman couples” and thus do not deserve the same benefits of marriage. Same-sex marriage, the brief argues, is a “new right,” so the state’s ban does not violate same-sex couples’ equal protection when it comes to marriage. But Beshear applies these assumptions in a new way: because same-sex couples do not contribute to the birth rate, it’s not economically beneficial for Kentucky to recognize their marriages.

Though there is a cost to Kentucky by granting tax and other benefits to man-woman couples, a stable or growing birth rate offsets the cost,” the brief argues. “Only man-woman relationships can naturally procreate, and only those relationships, therefore, are afforded the state sponsored benefit.”
Which may be the most moronic statement I've ever read the man make, given all the time I'm lived here.  How many childless couples are married in Kentucky?  I'd like to know the percentage, because under Beshear's excruciatingly stupid logic, they don't deserve the benefits of marriage either.  What about infertile couples?  Are we now going to take marriage benefits away from them?

Is this clown serious?

I expect this kind of rank idiocy from Republicans, but not from Steve Beshear.  If there's any part of his record that is abysmal, it's his stance on LGBTQ folks in the Bluegrass State. Steve seems to think they don't exist.
The operative phrase there is "echoes claims made by many other states defending marriage bans." Those would be LOSING claims. In state after state after state, the procreation claim has been laughed out of court.

Steve Beshear may be a freakazoid tool, but he ain't stupid.  He knows the argument he's making is a dead-bang 100 percent loser.

I swear, he's deliberately throwing this case.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Republicans Have Always Been Racist, Anti-Worker Motherfuckers

It's all about the money.

Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money:

This story suggests the very strong limitations of Republican labor policy and I want to once again push back on the idea that the Republican Party was a revolutionary political party. The vast majority of these railroad executives were Republicans. Many Republicans were perfectly fine with coerced labor so long as it wasn’t the actual conditions of slavery in the American South. That’s because for them, the problem with slavery was not the treatment of blacks, but the effect on whites, making them lazy, violent, and unconcerned with industrial progress. The abolitionists had different views and at least some of them were not horrible toward the Chinese, but they were always a pretty stark minority in the Republican Party. There was a revolutionary element in the Republican Party, yes, but their views of labor with the mainstream were more an alliance of convenience than a broad set of commonly held views. Far more common and growing ever more powerful in the years after the war were people like the Central Pacific executives, who would happily drive labor to the point of death for profit.