Thursday, July 31, 2014

Of Course You Knew This

Juanita Jean:

My friend Jim found some very interesting research done at Harvard University called The Grant Study.

Among its many cool findings:
Political mindedness correlates with intimacy: Ageing liberals have way more sex. 
The most-conservative men ceased sexual relations at an average age of 68. 
The most-liberal men had active sex lives into their 80s.
And that’s why old conservative men are so damn cranky and want you to get the hell off their lawn.

Kentucky Native Hemp Thriving Without Chemicals

Of course it is. Native plants* in strong soil don't need fucking chemicals. Only weak-ass foreigners, GMOs and hybrids like modern tobacco need to be drenched in toxic additives to survive.

Janet Patton at the Herald:

Hemp's comeback in Kentucky is going strong, tall and green.

A patch of hemp seeded at the University of Kentucky's Spindletop research farm in Lexington in late May has climbed well over 6 feet in some places and is still going, without neither fertilizer nor pesticides.

"It's doing just fine so far," said Dave Williams, a UK agronomist who, with Rich Mundell, is in charge of the test plots.

"We've had enough rain to keep it growing and enough heat to make it grow." 
 The first legal hemp planted in Central Kentucky appears to be off to a good start despite being planted later than originally hoped.
*Although the seeds of the current crop were imported from Italy, hemp originated in North America and still grows wild all over Kentucky.

What's Wrong

ummagumma.co:

Kentucky House Speaker Defies Freakazoids

Holy crap. Greg Stumbo is either launching his gubernatorial campaign or announcing his retirement from politics.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Wednesday that it's not appropriate for the state to provide tax incentives for a Noah's Ark theme park in Grant County.

He said he expects that the practice will be challenged in court and that the state will lose because it violates the U.S. Constitution's mandate for separation of church and state.
Is this the same Greg Stumbo who shepherded the Freakazoids Don't Have to Obey the Law "religious freedom" law through the House?

Somebody check his basement for pods.

In Kentucky, Obamacare Saving More People and Money

Yeah, to the extent Kentucky is not - yet - fucking Kansas, you can thank Obamacare.

Joe Sonka at Fat Lip:

Larry Kissner, the commissioner of Kentucky’s Department of Medicaid Services, told a legislative committee in Frankfort last week that Kentucky’s decision to expand Medicaid not only dramatically increased the number of insured Kentuckians taking advantage of preventative screenings, but also the amount of Medicaid reimbursements received by health care providers, particularly hospitals.

One piece of new information revealed was the number of people who signed up for Medicaid through Kynect by the April deadline who are part of the state’s new Medicaid expansion: 290,000, which makes up 88 percent of the 330,000 total, meaning only roughly 40,000 were previously eligible for Medicaid and signed up through the so-called “woodwork effect.” Even though these 40,000 signed up through Kynect, this has not produced a boom in the number of Kentuckians signed up through traditional Medicaid, whom the state has to pay for 30 percent of their costs, as opposed to zero for those under the expansion. As you can see in the numbers provided below, the amount of people signing up for traditional Medicaid actually went down compared to last year: 
SNIP 
While rural hospitals in Kentucky still face unique challenges that must be addressed, including how well Medicaid managed care is able to meet the increased demand for providers, the rosy estimates given by Gov. Beshear last year on the effects of embracing the Affordable Care Act appear to be coming to fruition. The question still remains whether Kentucky’s legislature will decide to continue these efforts next year, or whether a possible new Republican majority in the state House will decide to roll back the clock.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kentucky Doubles Down on Freakazoid Graft

Kentucky just can't gobble enough of that creationist con game cock. Fuck the taxpayers, let's buy some more intellectual child abuse.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

A group that wants to build a Noah's Ark theme park in Grant County won preliminary approval Tuesday of state tax incentives of as much as $18.25 million to keep the controversial project afloat. 
The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority voted unanimously to give preliminary approval of the incentives for the $73 million first phase of the biblical theme park.

An independent consultant for the state will take six to eight weeks to review the project. It then will come back to the state panel for final consideration of tax incentives.
 Three years ago, the group, Ark Encounter, won approval of incentives for its entire $172.5 million project. Because of funding problems, it withdrew that application and now is seeking approval for $73 million.
A $909 million hole in the state budget, child care and mental health centers going begging for crumbs, but the god-fuckers get a blank check.

Seeking Answers

ummagumma.co:

Marriage Equality Opposition in Kentucky Falling Toward Minority

Down five points in six months, barely clinging to 50 percent.

If Steve Cowardly Worm Beshear had not appealed a federal court decision striking down Kentucky's constitutional homophobia, marriage equality would have a majority.

John Cheves at the Herald:

Half of Kentucky voters oppose gays and lesbians being allowed to marry in Kentucky, but opposition has softened since February when a federal judge began striking down the state's same-sex marriage ban, according to a new Bluegrass Poll.

Fifty percent of respondents told pollsters this month they oppose same-sex marriage in Kentucky, with 37 percent favoring it and 12 percent not sure.

A Bluegrass Poll in February showed 55 percent opposed, 35 percent in favor and 10 percent not sure. 
 In 2004, nearly 75 percent of Kentucky voters amended the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman and to prohibit recognition of valid same-sex marriages or civil unions from outside the state.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Is Terry McAuliffe Light-Years Smarter Than Steve Beshear?

If he follows the lead of his state Attorney General and bows to the inevitable on gay marriage, he is. 

From TPM:

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said on Monday that his office would stop defending the state's gay marriage ban in court after an appeals court struck down a similar ban on same sex marriage in Virginia.

"Our attorneys have vigorously defended North Carolina's marriage law, which is their job," Cooper, a Democrat, told reporters. "Today we know our law almost surely will be overturned as well. Simply put, it's time to stop making arguments we will lose, and instead move forward knowing that the ultimate resolution will likely come from the United States Supreme Court."
Meanwhile, Bad Steve is still wasting hundreds of thousands of state tax dollars paying the world's stupidest private lawyers to make the galaxy's stupidest arguments in the Sixth Circuit Court next week.*

Kentucky AG Jack Conway refused to use his office's resources to fight a losing case, so Beshear used tax dollars he doesn't have - the state has a $909 million budget shortfall - to pay some Northern Kentucky shysters to humiliate the Commonwealth by telling an incredulous federal judge "icky gays can't marry because babbies."

McAuliffe may not be able to get Obamacare for his constituents the way Beshear did, but if he drops the gay marriage appeal, unlike Beshear he's not a freakazoid moron.

*If Beshear is trying to throw the case, that maneuver will probably blow up in his face, as the Sixth Circuit panel chosen to hear the appeal is strongly conservative, and will swallow the "icky gays can't marry because babbies" idiocy hook, line and sinker.

Half of All Voters Scorned

From Rumproast:

image

The Big Dog Will Land: Alison's Only Hope of Inspiring Democratic Voters Coming to Kentuc ky

This is the only real reason she's running: her daddy knows Bill Clinton, and Kentucky Democrats think Bill Clinton walked on water.

If the Big Dog says vote for her, they will.

Sam Youngman at the Herald:

Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to attend campaign events with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes on Aug. 6 in Lexington and Hazard.

The 42nd president is making his second trip to the Bluegrass for Grimes, who is Kentucky's secretary of state. He attended a fundraiser in Louisville for the challenger to U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in February. 
 While in Lexington, Clinton will appear with Grimes at an event at the Carrick House. They'll campaign together in Hazard at the Hal Rogers Center.
Yes, she'll probably take the Golden Triangle and Eastern Kentucky. But most Democratic candidates in statewide races do. 

It's Western Kentucky where Democratic Senate campaigns die, and only a Clinton swing through there - in, say, October - can prevent Alison from following Dan Mongiardo (2004), Bruce Lunsford (2008) and Jack Conway (2010) into that grave.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Separating Freakazoids From the Ranks of Teachers

ummagumma.co:

All Five KY House Repugs Voted Against Fixing the VA

Mitchei-poo and the Tribble-Toupeed One both voted for the bill in the Senate, but Ed Whitfield (R-KY1), Brett Guthrie (R-KY2), Thomas Massie (R-KY4), Hal Rogers (R-KY6) and Andy Barr (R-KY6)* voted against it.

John Yarmuth (D-KY3) of course voted in favor of fixing the VA so Kentucky's 339,000 veterans can get timely healthcare.

When campaign season ramps back up after Labor Day, don't let Whitfield, Guthrie, Massie, Rogers or Barr get away with claiming they give a flying fuck about helping veterans, because that vote proves they don't.

Down with Tyranny:

Almost every Senate Republican-- even extremist obstructionists like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee and Richard Burr-- followed Bernie Sanders' lead last month to pass a bill to address the sordid situation at the V.A. It passed 93-3 with the only dissections (sic) from mentally unstable right-wingers Ron Johnson (R-WI), Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (R-KKK) and Bob Corker (R-TN).

The House Republicans can't quite get their shit together on the whole V.A. mess they've been desperately trying to turn into a talking point. Talking points are a lot easier for them than actually doing anything. So, Thursday evening they failed to pass a motion to instruct their conferees to agree to the original, bipartisan Senate-passed V.A. overhaul. It failed by 2 votes, 207-205, only 13 Republicans with the guts to stand up to the Tea party sociopaths and obstructionists. Every Democrat voted "yes" and the 13 Republicans were a gaggle of relatively mainstream conservatives (or Members in fear of losing in November) 
* On the second vote on Friday, Barr switched his vote to yes.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

QOTD

Steve M:

Inequality will increase until ordinary people find a way to break the embargo against liberalism and seize some power from the rich and the politicians the rich employ to enforce the embargo. I just wonder if any of us will live to see that happen.
Read the whole thing.

Weird

Divine Irony:


Oppression

ummagumma.co:

Something is Wrong

Divine Irony:

anonymousatheist420:

Via planetatheism.com

Saturday, July 26, 2014

AynRandy Filibusters Bill to Bring American Jobs Home

Guess the Tribble-Toupeed One doesn't think it's his job to bring jobs to Kentucky any more than Mitchie-poo does.

Down with Tyranny:

When the worst of the Republican crackpot extremists in the Senate tried to filibuster John Walsh's Bring Jobs Home Act (S.2569) even Ted Cruz looked at them like they were crazy. The bill "amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) grant business taxpayers a tax credit for up to 20% of insourcing expenses incurred for eliminating a business located outside the United States and relocating it within the United States, and (2) deny a tax deduction for outsourcing expenses incurred in relocating a U.S. business outside the United States. Requires an increase in the taxpayer's employment of full-time employees in the United States in order to claim the tax credit for insourcing expenses." In other words this bill-- which was cosponsored by two dozen Democrats, from progressives like Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkely, Brian Schatz and Tammy Baldwin to conservatives like Joe Manchin, Chris Coons, Claire McCaskill and Mark Pryor-- does just what the titles implies, incentivizes businesses to bring jobs back to America. Who wouldn't want that?

Glad you asked. Every single senator was there and cloture passed 93-7. The 7 filibustering extremists and obstructionists:
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Rand Paul (R-KY)
Mike Lee (R-UT)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Lindsay Graham (R-SC)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)

HT Get One Up on Everybody

Divine Irony:


 

"a small but growing group of big corporations are fleeing the country to get out of paying taxes"

Yes, those companies are scum and should be stopped, Mr. President, but the damage thjey do to the economy is nothing compared to the damage that continues to be done by the big Wall Street banks your administration still refuses to punish. And lowering corporate taxes - already the lowest in the world - is stupid bordering on criminal.



Full transcript here.

Only Bad Guys Demand to See Your Papers

It's in all the movies. Nazis, Commies, dictators of all stripes. The defining characteristic of a totalitarian hellhole is the demand that innocent citizens present proof of submission to authority at any time, any place.

And yes, it's us.

So we now have "interior checkpoints" in America where they demand your papers? Who knew? Ryan Grim has the story:  
SNIP 
Evidently, the Border Patrol has set up "interior checkpoints all over the Southwest sometimes a hundred miles from the border where they can search anyone without probably cause and demand your papers. And it is obviously at this American airport examining papers and ID --- for people on flights within the country. The Border Patrol. WTH?

Such checkpoints are located throughout the Southwestern U.S. border, comprising of a 100-mile wide, Bill-of-Rights-free strip where authorities have claimed the privilege to do things they would not be permitted to do anywhere else in the country, such as executing a “routine search" without a warrant or probable cause, or asking American citizens for papers.

I had family living in Mexico for many years and went over the California border literally hundreds of times and never faced anything like this. The border was murder and I've had my car thoroughly searched and been heavily questioned many times, but once in the US you're in. I've flown out of airports all over the US and have never encountered border patrol. TSA, yes. But this wasn't TSA.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Question

Divine Irony:

The truth has nothing to fear from inquiry. Be wary of anyone who would discourage questions.

Kentucky Accepts Refugee Children - Because That's What Human Americans Do

I don't want to hear one fucking word against this.  Not. One. Word.

These are children. Running from war and crime and terror none of us can imagine.

Are we the kind of country that rescues and welcomes and embraces refugees?  Or are we the kind of hate-filled, racist country that creates such refugees?

From the AP:

Kentucky has received less than 1 percent of the unaccompanied children crossing into the United States.

New federal data published Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families showed Kentucky received 237 of the more than 30,000 children who have been released to sponsors this year through July 7.
Again, unless you are a 100 percent, full-blooded Native American, shut the fuck up.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Next Satire to Become True Any Day Now

I give it a month before it's law in Tennessee.

New Anti-Abortion Legislation Requires Doctors To Scale 18-Foot Wall Surrounding Clinic

Tax Dollars

ummagumma.co:


Your Grammar Nazi

Not sure how this happened to become common  among bloggers old enough to know better, but a long-haired, tie-dye-wearing, pot-smoking advocate of peace and free love is a hippie.

A person who carries excessive weight between the waist and thighs is hippy.

Please stop using the latter to refer to the former; it gives me visions of Abbie Hoffman as Oprah.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Responsibility

ummagumma.co:


Mitch's Working Family Con Game

Zandar offers a detailed expose of how Mitch McConnell is pretending to help working families by pushing legislation that will actually severely harm the people who do the real work in this country.

And finally, let's remember that Mitch the Turtle here voted against the Family Medical Leave Act, guaranteed sick pay legislation, and the Paycheck Fairness Act, things that actually would help families struggling here in Kentucky (and did when Clinton signed the FMLA into law).

This con game is what Mitch McConnell is selling, and the only thing between you and your boss getting you to work like indentured servants is the Democratic party.
Zandar shows just how vulnerable Mitch is on these issues - somebody tell Alison.

Eat the Rich. Every Motherfucking One of Them. Do It Now

jesusfuckingchocolatecoveredchristonapogostick

Erik Loomis at LGM:

In August 2013, word came out about a luxury development on the Upper West Side with a few affordable housing units where the developer wanted to force the occupants of those units to go through a separate “poor door.” New York has now approved the development, with the DeBlasio administration saying there’s nothing they can do since
Daddy Warbucks.
 
Bloomberg originally approved it and the construction was too far along. This is a new version of Jim Crow and is disgusting. Ariella Cohen makes the connection:
Isn’t it just a door? I mean, is going in a different entrance really that big of a deal? 
Again, yes — sort of like drinking from separate water fountains was a big deal and sitting in different seats on the bus was also a pretty damn big deal. Plus, the two-class entrances is part of a larger trend of segregating buildings by rent levels; in a growing number of mixed-income buildings, owners are barring rent-stabilized tenants from using amenities open to their more affluent neighbors. 
In one Upper West Side building called Stonehenge Village, tenants weren’t allowed to pay extra to use the gym on the lobby level even after local pols intervened on behalf of tenants and public advocate Letitia James filed a discrimination complaint. 
“These rent-stabilized tenants offered to pay for gym memberships, and they were refused,” said West Harlem City Councilman Mark Levine. “It’s about exclusivity. It just so happens that the rent-regulated tenants being blocked from the gym happen to be older and more often people of color than the market-rate tenants, which is the same as the tenants who would be affected by the ‘poor door.’”
In the New Gilded Age though, keeping the poors away from the deserving rich is a must. It’s bad enough that the takers can live in the same building as non-servants. That’s obviously Obama’s fault. Only when true freedom returns to this nation can these people be kicked onto the streets and the rich can rain crumbs of bread down from their windows, laughing as they watch the poor fight for them in the mud.
New Rule:  If you can afford an amenity or a luxury, you can't have it.  Luxuries and amenities are reserved exclusively for those who cannot afford them, and are to be paid for by those who can afford but are not allowed to use them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Time

If you don't get this, stop reading this blog immediately.

ummagumma.co:


(Source: londons365)

The Real Reason for Killer Austerity

If you're unemployed, or making below-poverty wages, or working three jobs to keep food on the table, or unable to get medical care because your repug state rejects Medicaid expansion, the last thing on your priority list is voting.

And that's the real reason repugs slash taxes on the rich and services to people like you - so you'll be too financially pressured to even think about voting out of office the motherfuckers making it impossible for you to vote.

Firedoglake:

- In what shows the consequences of an oppressive capitalist system, new research found people who are stressed out do not vote
It magnifies the existing discouragement among Democratic voters caused by repugs running for Congress with Ds next to their names.

Down with Tyranny:
It's all about discouraging grassroots Democrats to even bother turning out. That's how the DCCC lost the House majority and along with a net of 63 seats.

According to FairVote.org low voter turnout "is usually attributed to political disengagement and the belief that voting for one candidate/party or another will do little to alter public policy." Leaders like Hoyer, Israel and Wasserman Schultz consistently have done just that by blurring the distinctions between a working class party and the party of Big Business. Most developed democracies boast turnout rates both of 70% while the U.S. is lucky to average 60% during presidential elections and 40% for midterms.

Steve Israel warns his motley array of wretched conservative recruits to not talk about controversial issues. It's his losing "mystery meat" strategy. In 2012, while Israel was failing to win back the House, Elizabeth Warren ousted GOP incumbent Scott Brown, Wall Street's favorite-- and most heavily rewarded-- politician. She didn't do that with a mystery strategy or by laying low and not speaking her mind. And you know what happened? Well you know she won, of course-- and that she won big, 1,696,346 (54%) to 1,458,048 (46%). But what may have slipped by you is that it was the biggest election turnout in the history of Massachusetts, 73%. That's what happens when you give voters a real choice. Democrats and independents flocked to the polls in record numbers to defeat a likable "moderate" Republican with the most outspokenly progressive Democrat anywhere in the country. And while Big Business in general and Wall Street in particular led the way in showering Scott Brown with an unprecedented $28,159,602 for his reelection bid, ordinary Americans chipped in $42,506,349. Her average contribution was less than $50.
I occasionally get chaffed by folks for giving out civics lessons but, seriously, we get the government we deserve. The Founders, and those brave people who came later, a group that certainly includes the three Mississippi martyrs and thousands more whose names we don't know, made sacrifices that leave us no alibis. If you live in a state that has restricted the franchise, and that has erected hoops through which you have to jump, then learn how to jump through the hoops and break down those barriers by flooding the polls. If you don't live in a state where it has been made more difficult to vote, then get off your sorry ass.

Monday, July 21, 2014

What Secularism Wrought

Divine Irony:

atheistjack:

via The Atheist Truth
Christian Abuse of Children

Somebody Tell Alison: Here Is Your Winning 2014 Platform

Forget 2016, and forget Wall Street's Darling Hillary.  Here is the platform that all Democratic candidates from city council to U.S. Senate need to be screaming from the rooftops all day every day until November:

1. “We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.”

2. “We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth. And we will fight for it.”

3. “We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality. And we will fight for it.”

4. “We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty. That means raising the minimum wage. And we will fight for it. We will fight for it. And let me add to that: We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.”

5. “We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt. And we are willing to fight for it. We are willing.”

6. “We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions. And we will fight for them. We will fight.”

7. “We believe— only I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014—we believe in equal pay for equal work. And we’re willing to fight for it.

8. “We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America. And we’re willing to fight for it.”

9. “We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform. And we are willing to fight for it.”

10. “And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it.
If Democratic candidates embrace that platform right now, today, and run on it nonstop through election day this November, we won't need Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2016, because we will have already taken the country back.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Get-Out-of-Responsibility-Forever-Free Card

Divine Irony:

godlessmen:

How did you get into heaven?
Source: Source and comments

godlessmen:
How did you get into heaven?
Source: Source and comments
The born-again freakazoids are even worse: you don't have to repent at all before you die.  Once you're "saved," even if you're only 10 years old at the time, you're saved forever.  No amount of sin, crime, or cannibalism can keep you out of "heaven."

Fortunately, there is no heaven, and Dahmer is just as dead as his victims. 

In My Name

Divine Irony:





The Federal Government Mandate the Freakazoids Love

It's the only one they really want: forcing everybody to obey christian sharia law in all things.

Digby:

Hobby Lobby's owner Steve Green believes it's a constraint on their religious liberty and the 1st Amendment for the government to mandate they pay for insurance that covers contraception. But never let it be said that they are against government mandates on principle. Or even religious mandates:

SNIP

When I was in high school I took a course called "comparative world religions" which, needless to say, discussed the Bible since it is the basis for three of them. It's "history" "story" and "impact" were a huge part of he course as I recall and I think we all came away understanding how important the Bible has been in the development of Western Civilization. They didn't teach us that what was in the Bible was revealed truth or that its stories were to be taken literally or that we would all go to hell if we didn't believe in it. And that is undoubtedly what this fellow really wants the public schools to be teaching children.

This Is What a Continuing War Crime Looks Like

It looks like this.

I cut no slack for Palestinians.  I am as anti-Palestinian as you are going to find among American liberals.

But this is not the Israel I grew up admiring.

This is not the Israel of the '70s Peace Movement.

This is not the Israel of the Camp David Accords.

This is not the Israel of Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin. Fuck, this is not even the Israel of that old terrorist Menachem Begin.

I do not believe what I am reading. I know it is true, but I don't believe it.

It fucking breaks my heart.

More than Vladimir Putin (and don't think that Israel's ground invasion of Gaza beginning right after Putin's Ukrainian allies shot down a passenger jet is a coincidence), more than Darth Cheney and the U.S. warmongers, more than every terrorist on the planet put together, the greatest threat to peace today is the country that was - for a moment, long ago - a beacon of civilization in a barbarous world:

Israel.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Defensive Atheism

Divine Irony:

teachthemhowtothink:

Originally found on Hemant Mehta’s fb page (here).

"Every worker deserves to know that if you lose your job, your country will help you train for an even better one."

No, Mr. President, the problem is not worker skills; the problem is American companies shipping jobs overseas without consequences, and refusing to pay skilled workers what they are worth. Oh, and congressional repugs refusing to spend the trillions of dollars necessary to repair and rebuild national infrastructure



Full transcript here.

Privatizing Public Space

Of all capitalism's horrific crimes against humanity, the worst may be destroying the very idea of public space that no individual or corporation can deny to other people.

David Atkins at Political Animal:

On one hand this seems like a cross-section of American entrepreneurialism combined with high-tech democratization similar to using Uber or Lyft for transportation, or buying a hot restaurant reservation via smartphone app.  
But on the other hand it’s a very personal and physical representation of a disturbing trend toward the privatization of public space. There’s something fundamental about using a public space for free or low cost as long as you need it, then ceding it to the first comer for their own use. That’s the principle of the commons. What happens when you allow people to start becoming mini-grifters, overstaying in public spaces in order to make a quick buck off the next person who can afford to pay their price for public space at the expense of those who cannot?

What happens when those people then hire other people to sit in public spaces and sell them? That’s almost a textbook case of tragedy of the commons combined with rent-seeking abuse by unscrupulous hucksters.

As of now San Francisco is stopping the practice, which is sure to cause howls of protest from libertarian types. But what other choice is there? And isn’t this the perfect encapsulation of why regulation is needed if the public spaces, parking and otherwise, are going to survive?

Friday, July 18, 2014

When Fighting for Workers' Rights Meant Being Executed for a Crime You Didn't Commit

100 years ago today, Utah murdered IWW activist Joe Hill.


QOTD

President Barack Obama:

Let me close by making one additional comment. On board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17 there were apparently near 100 researchers and advocates traveling to an international conference in Australia dedicated to combating AIDS/HIV. These were men and women who had dedicated their own lives to saving the lives of others, and they were taken from us in a senseless act of violence.   
In this world today we shouldn’t forget that in the midst of conflict and killing, there are people like these, people who are focused on what can be built rather than what can be destroyed, people who are focused on how they can help people that they’ve never met, people that define themselves not by what makes them different from other people but by the humanity that we hold in common. It’s important for us to lift them up and to affirm their lives. And it’s time for us to heed their example.  
 The United States of America is going to continue to stand for the basic principle that people have the right to live as they choose, that nations have the right to determine their own destiny, and that when terrible events like this occur, the international community stands on the side of justice and on the side of truth.
Via Wonkette.

Hypatia

Divine Irony:

atheismforthewin:

http://memes-of-reason.tumblr.com/

Why Kentucky Can Never Have Nice Things

Because executives of companies looking to invest in Kentucky read the "Look What the Hillbillies Are Doing Now" section of the New York Times and see shit like this:

John Cheves and Bill Estep at the Herald:

Wayne County Commonwealth's Attorney Matthew Leveridge started a two-month sexual relationship with and impregnated a Wayne County woman whom he prosecuted for felony drug trafficking and who remains on probation through 2016, according to allegations raised in two court cases. According to the allegations, the affair began in January.
A reminder: when one person has economic, legal or social power over another person, any sexual relationship between them is ipso facto harassment and abuse, regardless of ostensible "consent."

Ten bucks says that motherfucker Leveridge claims the defendant "seduced" him.

Want Kentucky to be a Repug Hellhole Like North Carolina? Don't Vote in November

Think Alison Lundergan Grimes is a liberal-hating DINO? Fine, so do I.  But I'm going to climb into a Level-5 Hazmat suit anyway and vote for her and every other Democratic candidate in November if only for this reason:

If Kentucky Democrats don't vote, the repugs will take over the state House, and after Jamie Comer becomes Governor next year, the Bluegrass State will be the next feudal Koch-ocracy to strip income and rights away from everyone not already rich.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

Two national groups dedicated to electing Republican state legislators have their sights set on the Kentucky House.

The GOP has a great shot to take control of the Kentucky House for the first time since 1921, officials with the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee and the Republican State Leadership Committee said Thursday in a telephone conference call from their national meeting in Colorado.

Pennsylvania House Speaker Sam Smith said Kentucky is one of the "Sweet 16" targets the RLCC has identified as opportunities to flip legislative control. Republicans now control 60 of 99 legislative chambers in the country.

Matt Walter, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee, declined to say how much money the groups plan to pour into Kentucky this fall or what big-name national Republicans may be in the state for fundraisers.

He did say Kentucky "will be on the receiving end of revenue."

The RLCC has spent more than $1 million on legislative races in Kentucky since 2008. It spent more than $400,000 in Kentucky during the 2010 election cycle and more than $355,000 in 2012. The group spent more than $200,000 in Kentucky last year and expects to top its previous spending record this year.
And it's not just state legislators that matter.

In California the Democratic Party took control of the statehouse with 2/3 supermajorities in the Assembly and Senate in 2012, as well as every state constitutional office. In one fell swoop, years of poor economic and budget news turned almost instantly rosy as Democrats came together to pass competent budgets and fund needed priorities. By discarding Republican obstruction Democrats were able to turn California from a national laughingstock into a nearly overnight success story.

Meanwhile, Colorado’s success in marijuana legalization is serving as a model for states across the nation to question their own laws on the topic.

As long as current Congressional district boundaries remain in place, the House is going to be a difficult place to get anything done. The Senate may well bounce back and forth between the 2014 and 2016 elections, possibly even 2018 as well. Legislative gridlock seems a near certainty until at least 2020 if not 2022 when the new census establishes new partisan district lines.

Democrats and their donors would be well advised to shift a substantial amount of their focus to winning statehouse battles, helping people in the states where it’s possible to help, and proving the worth of progressive policies to serve as an example for voters in the battlegrounds.
As the late Molly Ivins of blessed memory often wrote:  Vote!  It will clear up your complexion, help you lose weight, and improve your sex life.

Repugs Don't Want to Govern; They Just Want to Rule

David Atkins at Hullabaloo:

It's just another reminder that Republicans aren't really "conservative" anymore. These are radical economic libertarian ideologues as wild-eyed and unrealistic about human nature and economics as any Bolshevik. What they want is a society that has never existed before in modern history, testing an already-discredited economic theory that has never been pursued to its full extent because it's too demonstrably crazy, with social order enforced by a code of morality and institutional hierarchy most voters have already rejected.

That's why American politics is so impossible right now. These are not traditional disagreements over this program or that, or the size and scope of this effort or that one. Modern Republicans aren't conservatives so much as revolutionary revanchists, seeking to "take back their country" by creating a libertarian economic utopia such as has never existed (nor, due to its internal unworkability, will it ever exist) in the world. The left can point to other countries that work reasonably well along the lines we would prefer: we can point to Canada, Germany, Sweden and many other countries besides whose solutions to vexing American policy problems have worked out substantially well for them. Republicans cannot point to similar examples because they do not exist.

That can be an admirable thing if you're trying to found the world's first modern democracy. It's not so admirable if you're trying to found the world's first libertarian plutocracy. But either way, it's not conservative. And the left can't just come to "bipartisan agreement" with that sort of thing.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Not Wanting to Know

ummagumma.co:

Self-Hating Useful Idiots

Seriously, anyone non-white, non-male, non-Xian, non-straight and/or non-rich who votes repug is too suicidally self-hating to be allowed to vote

David Atkins at Hullabaloo:

Oy. How much self-loathing do you need to have, and how driven by greed or fundamentalism do you have to be, to be a female Republican?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

QOTD

Juanita Jean:

So, yeah, this is not about the rule of law.  And its only about children because it’s easier to scare children.  This is a hate contest.  This is Republican politicians measuring their winkies by the level of hate they can spew.
 

Torn

ummagumma.co:

KY Set to Pay Disgusting Maggot-Serving Company to Feed Kentucky Kids

Funny how every time Aramark manages to bribe persuade its critics to praise it, we hear yet another vomit-inducing story of how the company actually uses the tax dollars it does not use to properly feed people.
 
Yes, of course you are going to be paying Aramark to pretend to feed Kentucky children in juvenile detention, even though Aramark has just been caught - again - feeding shit to human beings.
 
Are you guys super into privatization, that cool thing where we take away duties from the mean rotten government and give them to cool companies that will magically, simply by being private companies, make everything better? It’s the best, right? Just look how awesome it has worked out in Michigan’s prison system, where Aramark, the private contractor that now gets oodles of money to feed Michigan’s prisoners, has brought super great benefits like maggots in the meals, food shortages, and really sketchy employees.
 
Seven months ago, Michigan switched the prison food service contract from state workers to Aramark in a move that was theoretically supposed to save the state a cool $12 million. They don’t seem to have considered the possibility that the savings was going to come from entrepreneurial innovations like not actually feeding the prisoners.
Prison officials confirm at least two instances of meal shortages have been reported this month. [...] When menu items run out, Aramark substitutes, in one case using hot dog buns to make pizza. Another time, “instead of getting juice for breakfast this morning, everyone got 2 Minute Maid popsicles.”
Now, you may be thinking that doesn’t really sound like a big deal, but then you should remember food shortages IN PRISON are probably a different level of problem and danger than when your office cafeteria runs out of those little pudding parfait things you like so much. Also too, did we mention the maggots? Maggots. And rotting meat that may or may not have yet hit the maggot stage, so what the hell, serve that shit. Aramark is pretty sure it is just a conspiracy against them though.
While many view the discovery of live maggots in Michigan prisons — quickly followed by similar reports from Ohio, where Aramark took over prison food services in September — as an indictment of Aramark, the company finds the events suspicious. “Aramark has served billions of meals, to millions of inmates, at hundreds of correctional facilities around the country and never encountered sudden incidences like those reported in two states in the span of one week,” company spokeswoman Karen Cutler said. “Each corrections system is operated independently and the only common denominator is that both of them recently privatized their food services in a decision that has drawn criticism from some special-interest groups.”
Um, no, spokeslady. The other common denominator is YOUR SHITTY COMPANY RUNS BOTH SYSTEMS NOW. Besides bringing terrible food or a terrible lack of food to Michigan’s prisoners, Aramark also employed some really swell employees.
74 of the roughly 300 Aramark employees who are supposed to work on the contract have been banned from Michigan prison facilities for violations including showing up drunk to work, having sexual contact with inmates, and attempting to smuggle drugs into the prisons.
So, basically one-quarter of the people that Aramark hired are too terrible SERVE FOOD IN PRISON, which is not, let’s admit, the sexiest most fun time sought after job. Congrats, Aramark. You are pretty much the literal worst.
Think that now, surely, Kentucky will throw Aramark'as bid out and bar its employees from ever setting foot in the Commonwealth again ?  HA! Kentucky officials have known about Aramark for years and just don't give a flying fuck.

Adam Beam at AP, on July 4:
The $12 million contract to feed Kentucky's 21,200 prison inmates is up for bid for the first time since a 2010 audit found significant problems with the state's current contractor.

But some of Kentucky's biggest critics of Philadelphia-based Aramark now say they are satisfied with the company's response to the criticism.

Aramark has held the contract since 2005 when Kentucky first privatized inmate meals. At the time, it cost the state $3.49 per meal. Aramark provided the meals for $2.34 each. The difference has saved Kentucky taxpayers about $51 million over the 10-year contract.

But lawmakers started asking questions about the food service after a 2009 riot at the medium-security Northpoint Training Facility when inmates started a fire that injured several inmates and officers. An official Department of Corrections investigation concluded the food was not the primary cause for the riot. But it prompted lawmakers to ask then state Auditor Crit Luallen to investigate the state's contract with Aramark.

In 2010, the auditor's office found billing errors of more than $36,000 that benefited Aramark. The audit also could not confirm that Aramark used proper ingredients or followed food safety standards.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Somebody Ask Alison: How Would You Vote on the Senate Bill to Overturn Hobby Lobby?

It's turning into a joke, the way Grimes can't bring herself to take a public position on any issue more controversial than naming a post office. I'm changing my over-under on her loss to Mitch to 25 points.

Talking Points Memo:On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) moved to bring up Democrats' bill to overturn the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling.


The "cloture motion" sets up a likely procedural vote in the Senate on Wednesday, requiring 60 votes to defeat a filibuster.

Republicans, who strongly support the Court's 5-4 ruling against the Obamacare birth control mandate, are expected to block the bill.

The bill, written by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO), would clarify that employers may not opt out of covering contraceptives or other preventive services in their insurance plans without co-pays, even if business owners object to the services on religious grounds.
For Democrats, the legislation is also a rallying cry to their younger voters, particularly women,
ahead of a tough mid-term election.
Tens of thousands of Kentucky Democratic women are going to sit home this November because Grimes has done absolutely nothing to make them think she gives a flying fuck about their rights or their lives.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Study Proves Rich Are Assholes

We've always known it, but now there's data.

Digby:

Ever had the sneaking suspicion that most rich people are jerks? Well the connection between wealth and narcissism has now been studied and the results show that as people get richer, they are more likely to feel entitled, to exploit others, and to cheat.

According to studies by psychologist Paul Piff, wealth leads humans to become intolerable bastards – whether the wealth be earned or unearned. Noted as the “asshole effect” Piff has documented how being richer than others leads the rich person to feel entitled both to take advantage of and disrespect those people considered less rich.

Piff discovered that not only was having wealth a precursor to being an asshole, but the thought of being wealthy triggered some of the same tropes as actually being rich. Those who were wealthy or put in scenarios where they were wealthy displayed a high sense of entitlement which included stealing from and cheating others.
The reason, it turns out, is that even thoughts of being wealthy can create a feeling of increased entitlement — you start to feel superior to everyone else and thus more deserving: something at the centre of narcissism. They found this was true of people who were, in real life, better off. Wealthier people were more likely to agree with statements like “I honestly feel I’m just more deserving than other people” and place themselves higher on a self-assessed “class ladder” that indicated increasing levels of income, education and job prestige. This had straightforward and clearly measurable effects on behaviour.
This has some rather profound implications for American politics, particularly the politics of wealth inequality.

If the rich genuinely believe they are entitled to steal from the country then they can never really be shamed by social movements into sharing their often ill-gotten wealth voluntarily. Yes the 1% were beneficiaries of a corrupt bank bailout, but hey, they deserved it according to them. They deserve everything they have, no matter how it was acquired.

The only possible check on this sense of predatory entitlement outside of violent revolution would be a robust upholding of the rule of law that punishes the actions taken from that sense of entitlement and therefore creates a deterrence for further transgressions. Unfortunately for the country, America had an attorney general dedicated to not enforcing the law against the rich.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Now We Can Watch Atheist TV

PZ Myers:

They seem to be nifty little devices, and now I have one more reason to get one.
American Atheists announced Wednesday that it has set Tuesday, July 29, 2014, as the official date for the launch of Atheist TV, the world’s first television channel dedicated to atheist content, on Roku. The national atheist nonprofit will host a launch party that night in Manhattan to celebrate.
“The launch of Atheist TV is history in the making,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “There are hundreds of TV channels dedicated to religious programming, but nothing like this has ever existed before for atheists, and yet the demand is overwhelming. For the first time, atheist video content—from firebrand speeches, to stand-up comedy, to documentaries, to real science-based educational programming, and more—is now available to atheists worldwide, on the air and all in one place. Atheist TV brings consistent, quality, superstition-free programming for children and adults, on the air and on-demand, right from your regular television. This is an idea whose time has come and we’re celebrating.”
The invitation-only launch party will take place from 6-8 pm ET at the Union Square Penthouse venue in Manhattan. Well-known TV producers and personalities, atheist activists and public speakers, video content producers for the channel, and Atheist TV and American Atheists sponsors and donors will be in attendance. The celebration and launch will feature a speech by President David Silverman and a countdown to the first broadcast at 7 pm, at which time a welcome video starring several well-known atheists and science educators will air.  
The channel, which provides both an on-air streaming schedule and video-on-demand, is available worldwide for free via Roku, a small device that connects to the back of a television, similar to a cable box. The on-air live streaming portion will also be viewable free on the channel’s website. See http://www.atheists.tv for more information.

Do it, Mr. President: Call out the motherfucking liars for lying about fucking their mothers. You've got nothing to lose and the whole country - the whole world to save.



Full transcript here.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

"Republicans in Congress have blocked every serious idea to strengthen the middle class"

Do it, Mr. President: Call out the motherfucking liars for lying about fucking their mothers. You've got nothing to lose and the whole country - the whole world to save.



Full transcript here.

Beating Monsanto

Corporations are close - very close - to establishing the Lords-n-serfs economy that will give them unchecked power.  But they're not there yet.

And it is possible for even the most marginalized people to stop them.

Truthout:

Farmers across El Salvador united to block a stipulation in a US aid package to their country that would have indirectly required the purchase of Monsanto genetically modified (GM) seeds.

Thousands of farmers, like 45-year-old farmer Juan Joaquin Luna Vides, prefer to source their seeds locally, and not to use Monsanto's GM seeds.

"Transnational companies have been known to provide expired seeds that they weren’t able to distribute elsewhere," said Vides, who heads the Diversified Production program at the Mangrove Association, a community development organization that works in the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador.

"We would like the US embassy and the misinformed media outlets [that are pressuring the Salvadoran government to change their procurement procedure] to know more about the reality of national producers and recognize the food sovereignty of the country," he added.
Big Ag might not win.  But only if we fight them every step of the way.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Eviscerating Citizenship

What happened (last week) was this. The US Supreme Court declared that, depending on your employer’s views, you may not in fact have any right to health insurance that enables your management of your own body. The same day, it also declared that, as you trudge to work at some stale apartment house to clean up and feed a disoriented Alzheimer’s victim, or read to and feed and otherwise try to comfort a disabled kid, you don’t have the right to join a union powerful enough to raise your wage. Recently, this term as well as last, it has clarified the foundational right of rich people to purchase as much political power as they can wish.

So why, dear citizen, would you ever think that this Court, especially under its reading of the First Amendment, thinks you have any right to be part of a society fit to live in?
Read the whole thing

Only Appropriate Answer

ummagumma.co:


(Source: theatheistclub)

KY's Number One Homophobe To Challenge Jack "Conscience of the Commonwealth" Conway For Governor

Well of course he's going to run.  Because Loser Mongiardo never learns. And because he still panics at the slightest hint of gay rights.

Sam Youngman at the Herald:

Daniel Mongiardo, the former lieutenant governor and 2010 challenger to Conway for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, said in a wide-ranging interview with the Herald-Leader late last month that he is considering a run for the governor's mansion.
"If I get in this race, I will be a late entrant," Mongiardo said. "I know the roads to every county. And I've traveled them, and I've driven them personally. So I know how to get there, and I know who to call when I get there. And if they've committed to somebody else, so be it. I'll take those chances."
Like other Democrats who have been mentioned as possible candidates, Mongiardo is adamant that he would not announce a run before November "because we have to have a friend who's going to help us with these kinds of ideas in Washington."
In a follow-up email Tuesday, after Conway announced he had raised more than $750,000 in his first seven weeks as a candidate, Mongiardo accused Conway of hurting Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes' efforts to defeat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
"Alison deserves better," Mongiardo said. "Our party deserves better. Should I decide to run for governor, it will not only be a campaign for our commonwealth's future, it will be a campaign for the soul of our Democratic Party."
Former State Auditor Crit Luallen, who considered her own bid for the governor's mansion, said it's "inappropriate" and "disingenuous" to attack Conway over fundraising because he has raised significant amounts for Grimes and House Democrats.
"I would challenge anyone who's criticizing Jack to detail how much they've done for those fall races," Luallen said.
"campaign for the soul of the Democratic Party"  Translation: Conway refused to appeal a federal court decision granting marriage rights to gay couples, so Mongiardo has to run to represent the freakazoid homophobic haters who will never, ever, ever vote Democratic.

We'll know whether he's serious if he shows up at Fancy Farm August 2.

Not that it matters.  Conway will crush him in the Democratic primary on his way to getting crushed in turn by Jamie Comer in November 2015.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Orwell vs. Huxley

Under the Mountain Bunker:
 

kateoplisHuxley vs. Orwell

What Part of This Repug Platform Do Your Repug Candidates Agree With?

Mitch McConnell, Andy Barr, Thomas Massie, Ed Whitfield, Hal Rogers, Brett Guthrie - do they support this perfect expression of the repug id or not? Make them answer.

What about your state house and senate candidates? Make them answer, too.

Charlie Pierce:

John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell, and especially obvious anagram Reince Priebus, who nominally presides over Bedlam, need to be asked every day which parts of the Texas Republican platform they support and which parts they don't. They don't get to use the crazies to get elected and then hide behind fake Washington politesse when the howls from the hinterlands get too loud. We allow ourselves only two major political parties. One of them is completely out of its fcking mind. This is a national problem.
SNIP
If you want to see the clearest symptoms of the prion disease that has devoured the brain of the Republican party, the state Republican party is your Patient Zero. And, before a whole bunch of people in the Beltway media playpen  begin minimizing this craziness because it pretty much shatters the whole idea of Both Sides Doing It without which most of those people can't get out of bed in the morning. This isn't four guys in camo in Idaho. This isn't a guy broadcasting on a short-wave from upper Michigan, or receiving the truth about chemtrails and the Illuminati through his teeth. This is the Republican party representing the state from which he got our last Republican president, and one of the biggest states in the Union. This is what it believes, as summed up with realit-based parentheticals by Hendrik Hertzberg at The New Yorker:
Let's proceed to policy. In the next of its forty pages, the platform demands, among other things: That the Texas Legislature should nullify-indeed, "ignore, oppose, refuse, and nullify"-federal laws it doesn't like. (Unmentioned is the fact that, beginning in 1809, the Supreme Court has steadfastedly rejected state nullification of federal laws.); That when it comes to "unelected bureaucrats"-i.e., pretty much the entire federal work force above the janitorial level-Congress should "defund and abolish these positions."; That the Seventeenth Amendment, which was adopted in 1913, be repealed, so that "the appointment of United States Senators" can again be made by state legislators, not by voters. (Admittedly, the Texas Legislature could hardly do worse.), That all federal "enforcement activities" within the borders of Texas-including, presumably, the activities of F.B.I. agents, Justice Department prosecutors, air marshals, immigration officers, agricultural inspectors, and tax auditors-"must be conducted under the auspices of the county sheriff with jurisdiction in that county."
Keep an eye on that last sentence. The Republican party of the state of Texas, a state which has 38 electoral votes and which will send 153 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention, has endorsed the exact theory of government that was promulgated by the gun-toting yahoos at the Bundy Ranch. And there's more.
...there are plenty of things that Texas Republicans plan to do away with entirely-or, to use their preferred word, things they would subject to "abolishment." (For Calhoun conservatives, I suppose, "abolition" has regrettable overtones.) A partial list: Personal-income taxes; Property taxes; Estate taxes;  Capital-gains taxes; Franchise and business-income taxes; The gift tax; Minimum-wage laws; Social Security ("We support an immediate and orderly transition to a system of private pensions"); The Environmental Protection Agency;The Department of Education and all its functions; "Unelected bureaucrats"; "Any and all federal agencies not based on an enumerated power granted by the United States Federal Constitution"; Congressional pensions; Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom, and the Bill of Rights; The Federal Reserve; "Foreign aid, except in cases of national defense or catastrophic disasters, with Congressional approval," Obamacare (but you knew that already).

The Republican party of the state of  Texas, a state that went for Mitt Romney by over two million votes, would like to do away with the Federal Reserve, and any Supreme Court jurisdiction in any case involving the Bill Of Rights. And, yes, there's more.
Things that the Texas Republicans support: Withdrawal from the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and the World Bank; "Traditional methods of discipline, including corporal punishment;" "Reducing taxpayer funding to all levels of education institutions," Returning to "the time-tested precious metal standard for the United States dollar."

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Subtract All the Harm

Divine Irony:

teachthemhowtothink:

proud-atheist:

Be Fairhttp://proud-atheist.tumblr.com


Oooo.  I like this.  A lot.

Kentucky Senator eviscerates Rand Paul's Civil Rights Lies

The Tribble-Toupeed One is not just racist; he's also bone-stupid.

Because he never imagined that former state senator - and first black state senator in Kentucky - Georgia Powers would take him to the woodshed.

Her op-ed in the Courier:

Sen. Rand Paul doesn't get it.
Anointing himself liaison for GOP minority outreach, he's been knocking on doors of African Americans with increasing frequency, unabashedly seeking support for the GOP and presumably his budding presidential aspirations.
I support every political party's efforts at inclusion, a core goal of the civil rights struggle for which I and many other Kentucky leaders fought. African Americans fought long and hard for the right to economic, legal, political and social inclusion.
But Sen. Paul is forgetting a critical concept: You must earn our community's trust and support. We don't give it freely. We especially don't give it to leaders who shake our hands while spitting in our faces.
If the African-American community delves behind Paul's outstretched hand, we find a man whose words and deeds expose a troubling belief system, whose votes have consistently opposed policies that advance our community.
Let's give Paul the closer look he requests following the recent 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, landmark legislation that outlawed racist voter registration requirements and gave all Americans, regardless of their skin color, the right to be served in all facilities open to the public.
Paul disagreed with the Civil Rights Act, and believes private businesses should be able to discriminate. Sen. Paul, in explaining his opposition to the Civil Rights Act, said, "I think it's a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant, but, at the same time, I do believe in private ownership." Paul would support the decision by Rich's lunch counter in Atlanta to refuse to serve the Rev. Martin Luther King.
Paul wrote a critique of the Fair Housing Act, another landmark bill that prevents discrimination in the selling, renting or financing of housing. "At first glance," Paul wrote, "who could object to preventing discrimination in housing?" But then he goes on to ask if discrimination should "be prohibited for private entities such as a church, bed and breakfast or retirement neighborhood that doesn't want noisy children? Absolutely not. Decisions concerning private property and associations should in a free society be unhindered. As a consequence, some associations will discriminate. … A free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination — even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin."
After the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, Paul said the country has moved beyond a time where the color of someone's skin should factor into voting. "We have an African-American president. … There doesn't seem to be any sort of systemic problem like there was in the South with precluding blacks from voting." Recently he made clear he supported discriminatory voter ID laws: "There's nothing wrong with it. … I don't really object to having some rules with how we vote."
Not concerned by Paul's words? How about his staff:
Paul hired Jack Hunter, first to help him write his book, then in his Senate office, despite Hunter's appearances in a Confederate flag mask, his toasting John Wilkes Booth, saying his heart was in the right place when he assassinated Abraham Lincoln, and his membership in a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a hate group, among other controversial comments.
Don't care about his staff? Here are Paul's actions:
• Opposes an increase in the minimum wage.
• Wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, taking health care from 421,000 Kentuckians.
• Introduced legislation to dramatically cut food stamps.
• Wants to abolish the U.S. Education Department.
• Opposed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would ensure men and women are paid equally for equal work.
• Voted against the Violence Against Women Act.
• Opposed lowering the interest rates for millions of student loan borrowers.
Do not be fooled by Sen. Paul. I appreciate sincere efforts to work with our community and look for ways to better the lives of our children. But we have fought too long to give our precious vote to one who with one breath asks for support, and with the next promises to tear down the foundations of our progress, while surrounding himself with hate-filled people.
Georgia Powers was elected to the Kentucky Senate in 1968, the only woman and the only person of color in the 38-member chamber upon that election. She served in the Kentucky Senate for 21 years.