Sunday, August 31, 2014
In endorsing Zephyr Teachout for New York Governor, the Nation editors wrote something Alison would be smart to consider for the remaining two months of her campaign:
... she understands that the Democratic Party must move toward progressive populism in order to become more than a tepid alternative to Republican extremism.Joseph Gerth at the Courier:
Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has put a little more distance between him and his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, but the race remains within the margin of error, according to the latest Bluegrass Poll.If Grimes doesn't give Democratic voters a reason to vote for her better than "I'm not Mitch," and do it fast, she's losing by double digits to a wounded opponent a strong progressive could beat.
The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA for The Courier-Journal and three other news outlets, found that McConnell holds a 46 percent to 42 percent lead among likely voters over Grimes. Libertarian David Patterson gets 5 percent of the vote, and 8 percent remain undecided.
It's the third consecutive Bluegrass Poll that has found McConnell improving his chances for re-election in November. Before that, the poll found Grimes ahead by 4 points in a survey conducted in January and February.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
If they were naked, the problem would still be the boys who can't
control themselves and the teachers and principals who confuse their own
sexual hangups with school disciplinary issues.
With rising recognition, the girls realized that they did not appreciate being told, repeatedly, that their bodies were distractions to the school environment and required stringent regulation. In a June 2014 e-mail sent to South Orange-Maplewood Superintendent Osborne, local parents spoke out: “At South Orange Middle School, Principal Uglialoro has written that, ‘Dress code continues to be a concern, specifically with our female students,’ in all three of his e-blasts for the month of May. Additionally, in his May 19 email, he alludes to the reason behind enforcing the dress code, as to a possible interference with establishing and maintaining a ‘learning environment.’ This begs the question of whose ‘learning environment’ is being prioritized, and at whose expense.”
The parents' letter also noted with distress that girls are removed from instructional time and report being publicly shamed because of what they wear to school. In response to the frequent warnings about dress code enforcement, Lindsay and her friends formed the group #Iammorethanadistraction
to raise awareness about what it means for a middle school girl to be told that her appearance is frustrating her learning environment. Ava Emilione, a member of the group, elaborated, “We shouldn’t be responsible for other people’s actions. When the school board is telling a girl that she has to dress a way so she won’t be distracting, that’s telling a girl that she needs to change herself, to make sure she’s not distracting. We are more than distractions to boys and the school environment.”
#Iammorethanadistraction is just one facet of a greater movement among young female students. Young women are fed up with being pressured to curate their appearance and, by extension, others’ potentially lecherous thoughts about them—especially when young men are so much less likely to be called out for dress code violations.
When Haven Middle School in Evanston, Illinois banned leggings and yoga pants, 13-year-old Sophie Hasty spearheaded a petition to reverse the ban. The Evanston Review reported that a horde of young girls showed up wearing leggings in protest, holding signs that read, “Are my pants lowering your test scores?” In a letter to the Haven administration, parents wrote, “Under no circumstances should girls be told that their clothing is responsible for boy's bad behaviors. This kind of message lands itself squarely on a continuum that blames girls and women for assault by men. . . If the sight of a girl's leg is too much for boys at Haven to handle, then your school has a much bigger problem to deal with.”
I suppose it was smart of Jen Sorensen to include "A pre-emptive alert for the satire-challenged":
This strip is obviously not endorsing violence against bankers. It is saying that many in the financial world are real thugs who are never treated the way police often treat black citizens in Ferguson and many other places. The devastation caused by white-collar criminals — the loss of so many people’s homes and life savings, leading to broken families, poor health, depression, and suicide, has caused suffering on an immense scale. Yet bankers have to try very, very hard to get themselves arrested, and even then they usually aren’t successful.
With this cartoon, I am also trying to show just how annoying and unreasonable Ferguson cops must seem to people who live there.
Friday, August 29, 2014
UPDATE: Dinosaur Steve responds to this news by saying, hey, let's nuke Kentucky, too!
* No one seems to know how this happened: "A 55-gallon drum of nuclear waste, buried in a salt shaft 2,150 feet under the New Mexico desert, violently erupted late on Feb. 14 and spewed mounds of radioactive white foam. The flowing mass, looking like whipped cream but laced with plutonium, went airborne, traveled up a ventilation duct to the surface and delivered low-level radiation doses to 21 workers."From WDRB:
Governor Steve Beshear says he supports lifting the 30-year ban on nuclear power plants in Kentucky.Coal and natural gas primarily fuel the energy industry in Kentucky, but Gov. Beshear says nuclear power is an idea whose time has come.His comments came following Wednesday's announcement of multi-million dollar grant to the University of Kentucky to develop alternative sources of energy."I'm very hopeful that, at some point, we can lift the ban on nuclear energy in Kentucky, and start taking a look at that," he said.The General Assembly banned construction of nuclear power plants in 1984, five years after the Three Mile Island incident in Pennsylvania. The partial meltdown was the worst nuclear plant disaster in U.S. history, and it's still fresh in mind for those who want to maintain Kentucky's ban."The governor is doing a job of trying to bring jobs to Kentucky, but this is a disastrous idea," said Rep. Tom Riner (D-Louisville).Riner also points to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and says the risk from natural disasters, mechanical and human failure, even terrorism is too great."It is a huge accident waiting to happen," he said.
How much will you be paying Greg Stumbo's friends for your Killer Coal electricity?
According to Renew Economy, which picked up the report, the tipping point will arrive around 2020.
At that point, investing in a home solar system with a 20-year life span, plus some small-scale home battery technology and an electric car, will pay for itself in six to eight years for the average consumer in Germany, Italy, Spain, and much of the rest of Europe. Crucially, this math holds even without any government subsidies for solar power.
“In other words,” the report says, “a German buyer should receive 12 years of electricity for free” for a system purchased in 2020.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Dear Democrats: Here's the thing. A full 74 percent of Americans polled favored raising the minimum wage. Mitch McConnell just spit in their eye to curry favor with two Americans. A full 69 percent of Americans polled favored extending unemployment benefits. But none of them are named Charles Koch or David Koch, so Mitch McConnell believes they don't count. Mitch McConnell has handed you a nice juicy steak out of which you can make a meal. Please don't waste time waiting for the sauce.
Mitch McConnell has pronounced to himself, and the Republican Senate majority, that he proposes to lead in the next Congress, completely open for business on behalf of two radical conservative yahoos who have maintained their fortune by buying politicians and despoiling the planet. (By the way, screw them and their charity work. Mobsters used to buy stained-glass windows for the church, too.)
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
If only the real Jackie Robinson were still with us to speak for himself. If only the real Jackie Robinson could pop up as a public service announcement before Jackie Robinson West plays in the Little League World Series to repeat the words he said about police brutality fifty years ago: “One cannot expect [black] leaders to sell the non-violence cause when followers see violence erupting against them every day of their lives. Not even new civil rights bills or statesmanlike speeches can counteract this.”
How many of these police killings are there?And tell him about shit like this, too.
Apparently, no one has any idea. And when an enterprising reporter attempted to find out, it turned out it was nearly impossible:
The biggest thing I've taken away from this project is something I'll never be able to prove, but I'm convinced to my core: The lack of such a database is intentional. No government—not the federal government, and not the thousands of municipalities that give their police forces license to use deadly force—wants you to know how many people it kills and why.
He's got a crowd sourcing project called Fatal Encounters if you'd like to participate.
Ponder this: our government is systematically collecting vast amounts of data and information on US citizens and foreigners around the world and analyzing it for threats. But it is not systematically collecting or analyzing information of US citizens killed by government authorities and actively blocks citizens who try.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
As always, the Rude One cuts to the chase:
Let us say, and why not, that starting last week, large groups of armed black men and women blockaded the roads to their neighborhood in Ferguson, Missouri. Let us say, and, indeed, why not, that those armed African-Americans said that they were sick and tired of being bullied by the government in the form of the police, with the killing of Michael Brown being the last straw, the one that broke the motherfuckin' camel's back.
And maybe they would declare that they were engaged in an act of civil disobedience against government overreach, that they had the right to walk the streets without being constantly subject to government interference in their daily lives. Perhaps the leaders of the protest would declare that God told them to stand up to the authorities. Perhaps they'd even say that they don't recognize the legitimacy of the police force. Perhaps they'd demand a restoration of government welfare programs that have been cut. Perhaps African-Americans from other cities would show up, armed, to join the Ferguson residents in defiance.
Then, let's say, and, remember, we're still in the realm of fantasy here, just having fun, you know, that a group of law enforcement officers, maybe cops, maybe state troopers, showed up with their armed vehicles and pointed their guns at the protesters. And then the protesters pointed all their guns back, declaring that they were willing to die, that they were making a stand and no one was going to get them to end it or take away their guns.
What would happen? Would law enforcement back down? Would they drive their BearCats back to the station? Would they lower their weapons and leave? Would senators stand with the Ferguson rebels? Would Fox "news" invite them on to praise their attack on a government gone mad?
Or would the cops just fucking waste them because they aren't white ranchers like Cliven Bundy, wanting free shit from the government? Hell, look what the cops are doing now and the Ferguson protesters have done nothing remotely as violent or threatening as the Bundy ranch assholes.
As for the Tea Party and the NRA, all those brave people who stand for "freedom" have pretty much scattered like fleas on an itchy dog and run when it comes time to oppose actual violence, not just playing cowboy. Freedom ain't free, but it sure is white.
Well, not so much common sense as strong, united opposition from workers.
Valarie Honeycutt Spears at the Herald:
In the face of concerns from custodial staff, Fayette County Superintendent Tom Shelton has dropped a proposal for a pilot program to outsource some janitorial ser vices at the district's Central Office.Privatization kills. It kills jobs, it kills service, it kills the social compact even where it doesn't actually kill people - or in this case, kids. And it kills budgets, because it always increases costs while lowering service.
"Although we did not intend to worry people, I saw the potential for this to become an ongoing distraction in our school community," Shelton said in an email to principals last week that he shared Monday with the Herald-Leader.
Custodians were worried that other jobs would be outsourced as well. They had been expected to express their concerns at Monday night's school board meeting, when board members were going to be asked to approve the recommendation.
First, almost half of bottled water is municipal tap water. You're paying 100 times what it cost to get the same thing out of your home faucet.
Second, all that plastic is a fucking crime, even if you do recycle it.
Third, if you're buying the expensive stuff that really comes from underground springs, thanks, motherfucker! You're contributing to the California drought that's going to kill American agriculture.
More on America’s most ridiculous industry: bottled water. Where are the sources of that water?
Yeah, that’s sustainable.
But that only accounts for 55% of the bottled water. What about the rest?
The other 45 percent comes from the municipal water supply, meaning that companies, including Aquafina and Dasani, simply treat tap water—the same stuff that comes out of your faucet at home—and bottle it up. (Weird, right?)Not weird at all. It shows that you can create a fake problem (there is something wrong with the tap water!), develop a consumer market around it, and then sell people the same water they would be drinking if they turned on their faucet. Now that’s a capitalist success story!
Monday, August 25, 2014
I remember when 18-year-old Tony Sullivan was executed without due process for the crime of being black in the vicinity of a stone racist with a badge. I remember the warnings from fat white cops about how the "blacks" were going to riot. I remember the peaceful march after Sullivan's murder and I remember how nobody rioted when his murderer walked free.
Brown's shooting in Ferguson, Mo., and the subsequent unrest and police response reminded many of Sullivan's death, an event that provoked serious soul-searching about race relations in Lexington.
But so little has changed between police and the black community, organizers said, that several people wanted to honor Sullivan in the recent light of Brown's death, holding a vigil Sunday afternoon at Fifth and Race Streets.They held a vigil for Tony Sullivan in Lexington yesterday, 20 years after he was murdered. Yeah, there's a black chief of police in Lexington now, and he's running for mayor. But no, nothing has changed.
"We have a responsibility ... we have to learn to police our own community," said Damon Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, who spoke to the crowd of 75 to 100 people. "We have to show more love and unity to one another."
Sullivan was shot the night of Oct. 25 when police entered an apartment in Bluegrass Aspendale looking for Sullivan on several felony warrants. A white officer, Phil Vogel, said his gun discharged accidentally, hitting Sullivan in the head. The shooting sparked simmering anger in the black community, sending a group of angry teens into downtown Lexington.
A grand jury decided not to indict Vogel in the shooting.
Got this one from Juanita Jean
Here's information on how our First Amendment Right to Assembly has been eroded down to the Right to Get Beaten and Arrested for Not Kissing Cop Ass.
This is an extreme case; no other school system in Kentucky is remotely close to this bad. But the point is that none of the one-sized-fits-all fixes promoted by freakazoid conservatards on one side and corporatizing neoliberals on the other would do a thing to bring decent public education to Breathitt County.
John Cheves at the Herald:
Breathitt County is not trusted to educate its children. How much longer that continues will be decided at a formal hearing in Frankfort this week.The problem is that the elected school board categorically refuses to cooperate with the new superintendent, the state Department of Education, or anyone who does not want to restore the old system of corruption, fraud and no education.
In 2012, Breathitt County schools superintendent Arch Turner went to prison for running a vote-buying scheme with other local officials. As the bars clanked shut behind him, state audits showed that students routinely missed class and failed to learn; dropouts were erased from the books by reclassifying them as "homeschooled"; schools were in terrible disrepair; and the school district was running out of money, in part because of incompetent budgeting, inappropriate spending for insiders' personal benefit and an unnecessarily padded payroll.
The locally elected Breathitt County school board provided little oversight. Board members sometimes met for only 10 minutes to approve a list of items that Turner handed them.
The Kentucky Department of Education concluded that Breathitt County was incapable of cleaning up its mess. For the first time in 15 years, the state took over daily management of a school district and brought in its own superintendent, Larry Hammond, a Rockcastle County educator, to set things right.
Because if they do what's necessary to restore public education - primarily opposing a small increase in property taxes - local voters will throw them out of office.
This is why running and funding public education locally is the worst fucking idea since block grants.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Yeah, the arkpark freakazoids are breaking federal and state law again, while sucking down tax dollars from the secularists they despise.*
Americans United is calling the state on it:
State tax incentives should be denied to the Noah's Ark theme park in Northern Kentucky because of discriminatory hiring practices, a national organization for the separation of church and state told Gov. Steve Beshear in a letter Friday.In an op-ed in the Herald by Daniel Phelps, a geologist, president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society and vice president of Kentuckians for Science Education, wrote:
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State said in the letter that the website of the park's parent organization, Answers in Genesis, requires
job applicantsagree with its Christian "Statement of Faith."
"An applicant must profess … that homosexuality is a sin on par with bestiality and incest, that the earth is only 6,000 years old, and that the bible is literally true in order to be considered for the job," Americans United officials say in the letter.
This policy amounts to religious discrimination in hiring and may violate the Kentucky Constitution's ban on preferences "to any religious sect."
* Yes, of course Kentucky gave them the tax incentives.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Yeah, the economy is permanently fucked - and there are no and never will be any decent jobs - because of austerity. Only government spending grows an economy. Cutting government spending kills it. Period. Here's proof:
I've previously nominated a version of the illustration below as chart of the year, and last year I wrote an entire piece for the print magazine as basically just an excuse to get it in print. Bill McBride's version focuses on public sector payroll, not total public sector spending, but it tells the same story: after every previous recession of the past 40 years, the subsequent recovery was helped along by increased government outlays. In the 2007-08 recession—and only in this recession—the recovery was deliberately hobbled by insisting on declining government outlays. This is despite the fact that it was the worst recession of the bunch.
The result, of course, was that there was no Obama Miracle in 2011. In fact, there was barely even an Obama Recovery. If you think that's just a coincidence, I have a bridge to sell you.
Friday, August 22, 2014
... the reason teachers have tenure is so that throwback neanderthals can't fire them for teaching reality instead of superstitious nonsense. The idea that the Republicans are worried about "bad teachers" when they encourage the practice of kids being taught at home by parents who aren't qualified to teach someone how to get up in the morning is a joke. They want to make sure that children are indoctrinated in their worldview. SNIP
So before any liberals get on the education "reform" bandwagon they really need to consider what these conservatives consider bad teaching. It likely isn't what they think it is.
Human morality came into existence the first time a primate figured out that he'd get more food by making friends and cooperating than by stealing everybody else's food and killing them.
Religion was invented by lazy greedheads who figured out how to con their neighbors into giving him their food by terrorizing them.
Those who cling to the “further fact” view—that is, the view that there must be something outside of morality that provides the objective grounding for morality—are not unlike those naïve economists who insist that currency has no value unless it’s based on gold or some other precious metal. Hence, we had the gold standard, which for many years provided that a dollar could be exchanged for a specific quantity of gold. The gold standard reassured some that currency was based on something of “objective” value. However, the whole world has moved away from the gold standard with no ill effects. Why was there no panic? Why didn’t our economic systems collapse or become wildly unstable? Because currency doesn’t need anything outside of the economic system itself to provide it with value. Money represents the value found within our economic system, which, in turn, is based on our economic relationships.
Similarly, moral norms represent the value found in living together. There is no need to base our moral norms on something outside of our relationships. Moral norms are effective in fostering collaboration and cooperation and in improving our conditions, and there is no need to refer to a mystical entity, a gold bar, or God to conclude that we should encourage everyone to abide by common moral norms.
ConclusionIn conclusion, the claim that we need God to provide morality with objectivity does not withstand analysis. To begin with, God would not be able to provide objectivity, as the argument from Euthyphro demonstrates. Moreover, morality is neither objective nor subjective in the way that statements of fact are said to be objective or subjective; nor is that type of objectivity really our concern. Our legitimate concern is that we don’t want people feeling free “to do their own thing,” that is, we don’t want morality to be merely a reflection of someone’s personal desires. It’s not. To the extent that intersubjective validity is required for morality, it is provided by the fact that, in relevant respects, the circumstances under which humans live have remained roughly the same. We have vulnerabilities and needs similar to those of people who lived in ancient times and medieval times, and to those of people who live today in other parts of the world. The obligation to tell the truth will persist as long as humans need to rely on communications from each other. The obligation to assist those who are in need of food and water will persist as long as humans need hydration and nutrition to sustain themselves. The obligation not to maim someone will persist as long as humans cannot spontaneously heal wounds and regrow body parts. The obligation not to kill someone will persist as long as we lack the power of reanimation. In its essentials, the human condition has not changed much, and it is the circumstances under which we live that influence the content of our norms, not divine commands. Morality is a human institution serving human needs, and the norms of the common morality will persist as long as there are humans around.
Guns are the American Ebola: lethal, out of control and inspiring irrational behavior by locals who reject rational solutions.
An Evanston, Ill. man fatally shot himself Sunday night while showing off a shotgun he thought wasn't loaded to a group of friends, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.PZ Myers:
Police were called to an Evanston home for an accidental shooting. They found Eric Zyzanski on the floor with a shotgun wound to the head, lying next to the shotgun. He was taken to the hospital and died about two hours later, according to police.
According to witnesses, Zyzanski was in his apartment with friends, where he took out a shotgun and "began showing it off."
His friends told him to put the gun away, so he proceeded to take two or three rounds out of the gun, according to police. He then pointed the gun at his cheek, said the gun was empty and pulled the trigger, witnesses said.
All witnesses gave a similar account of the shooting, police told the Sun-Times. Police scheduled the autopsy for Monday.
Tom Levenson responds to yet another gun ‘accident’, in which a pregnant woman was shot in the head by a friend showing off a gun. I think this is a very good take on the issue; no responsible gun owner (and they all are, right?) could possibly disagree with this:
Responsible means that whatever happens with your gun is your fault. Period. You accidentally discharge it and no-one gets hurt? How’s this: big fine, confiscate the weapon involved, lose the right to bear arms for a year for the first incident, forever if you repeat. Someone gets hurt or dies? Jail. Civil liability. Loss of gun rights for life.That’s responsibility.But of course, I dream. That’s not how we roll. Instead, we’ll just water the tree of liberty with a newlywed, and celebrate life by burying her fetus — and wait (not long) for the next red harvest.Being responsible should actually mean something — it’s not just a word you use to escape the consequences of your actions. But that’s how the gun fondlers all seem to use it — they will flaunt their assault rifles, take great risks with their lives and the lives of others, and hide under the NRA-approved label of “responsible gun-owner”.
Real responsible gun owners know that they are deadly tools and would keep them locked up and treat them like they would a stick of dynamite — extreme hazards that warrant extreme precautions.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
When Republicans want to send children back to Central America, this is the horror they want to send them back to. In the 2010s, we often look at U.S. immigration policy toward Jews in 1930s Germany, refusing to allow them in even though it was clear their lives were on the line, as an immoral and horrible period in American history defined by racism and fear of a people not like “us.” I don’t see much difference between that and not allowing children to escape rape and murder in Central America because they are brown and speak Spanish and don’t have proper papers.
Of the military combat equipment infesting local police departments, Kentucky has relatively little compared to some states, but holy fuck did you know that Kenton County in Northern Kentucky has a fucking MINE RESISTANT VEHICLE?
Franklin County, home of the capital city of Frankfort, got 1,401 assault rifles to deal with a population of 50,000 mostly sedentary, overweight and beaten-down state employees. Also four helicopters and two planes. Planes? Fuck, you can drive across the county in 20 minutes.
You know the last time Kenton County had a MINE? Never, that's the last time Kenton County had a mine.
Never is also the last time there was a MINE in Paducah, Henderson or fuck even Louisville.
Beware, Kenton, Jefferson, Henderson and McCracken Countians. If they have one, they will use it.
Here's the map:
State and local police departments obtain some of their military-style equipment through a free Defense Department program created in the early 1990s. While the portion of their gear that comes from the program is relatively small (most of it is paid for by the departments or through federal grants), detailed data from the Pentagon illustrates how ubiquitous such equipment has become. Highlighted counties have received guns, grenade launchers, vehicles, night vision or body armor through the program since 2006.And here a retired Marine gives quick run-down on the various types of military equipment now being deployed against American citizens by our supposed public servants. Also points out how deadly, counter-productive, ridiculous and stupid using them in an American city is.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you…"... just do what I tell you." Does that include orders like that cop favorite "suck my dick, bitch"?
Period. Nobody realizes this any more because cops have gotten away with being motherfucking stormtroopers for two hundred years.
No, I don't want anybody to be another "killed for resisting arrest" statistic because she followed my advice and refused to let another cop get away with this shit.
I want the democratically elected officials of this country to fire every motherfucking special-ops wannabe and hire cops who understand that citizens - even black, poor, obscenity-spouting, jay-walking citizens - are their employers, not the enemy.
Believe Zandar, who knows whereof he speaks:
Believe me when I say that 98% of cops believe the same as Dutta here does. They are police officers, and you are not. When they tell you to do something, you do it or else, regardless of what that may be.
So when these guys swing their weight around and go after black men and women and Latino men and women, they expect obedience, respect and fear. If you are black or brown and the President of the United States, for that matter, and a cop like Dutta pulls you over, it's because he knows he has 100% of the power in the encounter. It's because he knows he has the power to take your life if he sees fit. You only continue to draw breath because he allows it.
So yes, black fathers and Latino fathers have "The Talk". That you assume all cops are Officer Dutta, and you do 100% of what they say, or they will end you.
How difficult is it to cooperate for "that long"? For a black man, "that long" is his entire lifespan.
Or that lifespan may end.
I’m not endorsing calling a policeman a racist pig, but if someone is angry and does, is it really appropriate cause to pull out your gun and shoot them? Officer Dutta seems to think it is. That’s what’s objectionable: that the police have acquired an attitude that justifies excessive force in response to physically weak actions — that calling them a rude name warrants whipping out every tool in their arsenal to kill, maim, or subdue miscreants. When someone is killed for jaywalking (or possibly shoplifting) by a policeman, I think it’s clear that a line has been crossed — that the attitude that the police have complete authority and discretion to use their weapons without being limited by reasonable concerns has led to police who treat crime in a community as an opportunity for a military-style assault.Popehat gets the last word:
The outrageous thing is not that he says it. The outrageous thing is that we accept it.
Would we accept "if you don't want to get shot, just do what the EPA regulator tells you"? Would we yield to "if you don't want your kid tased, do what the Deputy Superintendent of Education tells you"? Would we accept "if you don't want to get tear gassed, just do what your Congressman tells you?" No. Our culture of individualism and liberty would not permit it. Yet somehow, through generations of law-and-order rhetoric and near-deification of law enforcement, we have convinced ourselves that cops are different, and that it is perfectly acceptable for them to be able to order us about, at their discretion, on pain of violence.
It's not acceptable. It is servile and grotesque.
There are lots of reasons why lots of Kentucky Democrats - Governor Steve Beshear first among us - heartily dislike Jerry Lundergan.
One is his slipperiness with finances. When he was chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party, he denied party financial information to dissident members of the state party committee. And what a coincidence it was that when Jerry was in charge, party events were always catered by the same company: Lundergan's.
So regardless of whether his daughter's campaign broke the rules on in-kind contributions in renting a campaign bus from Jerry, this story should surprise no one in Kentucky.
Following Republican demands for more information, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes disclosed additional information Tuesday about her campaign's use of a bus provided at seemingly discounted prices by her father's company.
Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state, disputed a news report Monday night that questioned whether her campaign had accepted illegal in-kind contributions from the company owned by her father, former Kentucky Democratic Party chairman Jerry Lundergan.
Grimes campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton dismissed the article by Politico as a "hit-job from the McConnell campaign."
Lundergan, an influential presence in his daughter's campaign, bought the campaign's 45-foot bus through a company called Signature Special Event Services just as Grimes began campaigning last summer.
A Politico review of reports filed by the Grimes campaign with the Federal Election Commission found that through June, the campaign had paid $11,000 to rent the bus for 24 days. That works out to about $456 a day.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Knock me over with a feather. Are Mitch's internal polls showing more vulnerability than external ones? Or at four points up is he now confident that a debate will be the finishing blow?
Jack Brammer at the Herald:
Kentucky voters will get at least one chance to see U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, debate the issues on statewide television.
Shae Hopkins, executive director of the Kentucky Educational Television network, announced Monday that McConnell's re-election campaign had accepted its invitation to debate Grimes at 8 p.m. Oct. 13 on Kentucky Tonight. Grimes accepted the invitation in June.
Because that's what it is: extortion. When they say "do it our way or else," that's extortion.
And if you cave and agree, or even if you try to be reasonable, they will double down and demand human sacrifices, too.
So the only proper response is "Fuck you, we're doing it the OPPOSITE of your way, times a thousand."
Repugs and conservatards don't give a flying fuck about the AP History exam. They care about bashing liberals and making them defy facts and science to kow-tow to jingoistic stupidity.It came as something of a surprise, though, to learn the RNC has also taken an interest in high-school students’ advanced-placement exams. Caitlin MacNeal reported yesterday:The Republican National Committee on Friday denounced the College Board’s new framework for the AP U.S. History exam for its “consistently negative view of American history.”The committee adopted a resolution during its summer meeting in Chicago condemning the exam’s new framework, according to Education Week.In the resolution, the RNC slams the College Board’s “radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history while omitting or minimizing positive aspects.”By way of an example, the RNC believes the AP framework portrays early U.S. colonists as “oppressors and exploiters while ignoring the dreamers and innovators who built our country.”In other words, the Republican National Committee wants these advanced-placement classes to put a more positive, more deliberately patriotic spin on history.
So instead of having a bunch of history professors trying to rationally explain that the AP history textbook actually does reflect the non-existent Greatness of Murka, this is what the AP should tell the RNC:
"You don't like the current test? Fine, the new test will be based completely and exclusively on Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States." (Also known as "How to Force Socialism Down Your Children's Throats.") Now kindly fuck off and die in a fire. Slowly. And painfully."
Monday, August 18, 2014
Still letting an unarmed black body rot in the street.
And still being defended with the self-righteous lies of the Plantation Crowd.
In America, right-wingers always get to position the Overton window, on every subject of debate. Right now, they're positioning it between Douthat/Jacoby and Medved. The "left" and "right" in this debate will be: do we get rid of the MRAPs and BearCats and keep the rest of our usual tactics? Or do we keep it all?They don't need no military equipment, sah; why, back in the day billy clubs and hemp rope worked just fine, not to mention castrating knives and kerosene.
It would be lovely to think that Rand Paul, by joining liberals in condemning the racial inequities of our justice system, has helped move the discussion to the left. But as I told you on Thursday, even Paul stressed the military hardware rather than the racism in his Time op-ed. And now those of his conservative brethren who are willing to acknowledge any problems whatsoever in how we deal out criminal justice are going to limit themselves to talking about tanks. So, outside MSNBC, that's all we're going to talk about.
And now the National Guard will show up. Will they bring actual tanks, I wonder?It's the fucking Klan. Always been the fucking Klan. Always will be the fucking Klan.
All to protect a cop who executed an unarmed man.
True story: the first time a met a Texas Ranger, the legendary Texas lawmen not the baseball team, I was wearing a gorgeous hand loomed sarape from interior Mexico. It was one of my prize possessions because of its beauty and utility in Houston winters. The Ranger, meeting me for the first time, said to me, “Don’t you know not to wear a poncho around a Texas Ranger?” I asked why.
“Because that’s what we take target practice on. Har. Har. Har.” My stomach turned. It was a life-altering moment.If you think you don't have any fight left in you, look at these pictures.
That’s not funny. Not at all. And the reason it’s not funny is that there is too much truth in it.
Twenty-five years later, I met the first black female Texas Ranger. I asked her if I could hug her. I didn’t tell her why but I think she saw it in my eyes. She hugged me.
I am in pain over Ferguson. We’ve fought this crap for my entire life and we still haven’t won.
I still have some fight left in me. I do.
"All to protect a cop who executed an unarmed man." Don't let anybody forget that.
And we're not talking about people in inaccessible hollers and mountainsides. I live a mile and a half from I-64 and I can't get broadband for any amount of money.
Tom Eblen at the Herald:
When Dr. Pamela Graber traveled in Uzbekistan and Turkey, she was surprised to find fast, reliable Internet connections. She just wishes she could get that kind of service at her home, 20 miles from Kentucky's State Capitol building.In 2012, Governor Beshear promised to bring high-speed internet to rural Kentucky, and announced with much fanfare the Commonwealth Office of Broadband Outreach and Development, which spends its time sitting around waiting for private companies to provide high-speed internet, which those companies are NEVER going to do.
"I sit here and wait for things to come up" on the screen, said Graber, an emergency physician who lives in the Beaver Lake area of Anderson County.
She and neighbors have petitioned a major Internet provider in their area for service, with no luck. So they use a satellite dish service. With data charges, Graber's monthly bill is more than $100 — much higher than she pays for excellent service in Florida, where she lives and works each winter.
While slow Internet is annoying for Graber and her husband, Melvin Wilson, it's a serious problem for two neighbors who have home-based online jobs. "When there's a wind storm, they can't work," she said.
"Internet's the main infrastructure we're going to need to work in the future," Graber said. "It's going to be a huge issue."
It already is. Akamai Technologies' quarterly State of the Internet report last week highlighted Kentucky — and not in a good way. It said that while Alaska has the nation's worst average Internet connection speed, at 7.0 megabits per second, Kentucky, Montana and Arkansas are almost as bad, at 7.3 Mbps.
You know why illiterate peasants in Uzbekistan have high-speed internet and Kentuckians don't? Uzbekistan's government makes sure it's done. It provides to its citizens the services private companies can't or won't.
Kentuckians won't have high-speed internet until Kentucky's government provides it. That's what our taxes are for, goddammi.
Bad enough that state legislative Dems allowed repugs to gerrymander congressional districts such that nothing less than 100 percent Democratic voter turnout can elect a Democrat.
But to hand over to repugs without a fight the few swing districts in which real Democratic candidates could win is nothing less than betrayal.
If repugs picked someone to destroy any chance of actual Democratic winning congressional races, they could not have done better than Steve Israel.
Down with Tyranny:
A good red-to-blue program would have strong, progressive candidates running against Republicans in blue-leaning districts. Instead, Israel's personal agenda had him out-right protecting Republicans in many of these districts. These are all districts Democrats should be able to win but that Israel has screwed up-- as he chases impossible districts with revolting Blue Dogs and New Dems in deep red territory.
• NY-02- Peter King (R+1)In each of these winnable districts Israel has either screwed up the recruiting or refused to back the Democratic candidate-- when there is one. Unless the Democrats win these seats they cannot take back the House. Steve Israel isn't even competing in any of them. His reappointment by Nancy Pelosi after his catastrophic loss in 2012 (while Obama and the Senate Dems slaughtered the Republicans), must have been reason for the Republicans to be popping corks on cartons full of Dom Pérignon.
• MI-06- Fred Upton (R+1)
• WA-08- Dave Reichert (R+1)
• FL-13- Dave Jolly (R+1)
• FL-27- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R+2)
• WI-08- Reid Ribble (R+2)
• WI-07- Sean Duffy (R+2)
• MN-03- Erik Paulsen (R+2)
• PA-07- Patrick Meehan (R+2)
• PA-15- Charlie Dent (R+2)
• MI-08- Mike Rogers (retiring) (R+2)
• WA-03- Jaime Herrera Beutler (R+2)
• NY-22- Richard Hanna (R+3)
• CA-25- Buck McKeon (retiring) (R+3)
• WI-01- Paul Ryan (R+3)
• OH-10- Michael Turner (R+3)
Israel has been tricking grassroots Democratic donors into sending money to the grotesquely corrupt DCCC in the hope that it would somehow prevent the GOP from impeaching President Obama. Pretty disgusting tactic to use against low-info but sincere Democrats who don't know what a scumbag Israel is! Instead of helping with impeachment, the money is being wasted on the horrible Red to Blue candidates with no chance to win. Tell me which of these districts is as good a bet as the districts Israel is aggressively ignoring up top:
• NE-02- Brad Ashford (R+4)And these are basically a bunch of garden variety conservatives with not an ounce of courageousness between them. It's a stretch to even call most of these candidates "Democrats." Many are anti-Choice, pro-NRA and anti-LGBT and the whole bunch of them are corporate shills who would be-- were they to win (none of them will)-- on the wrong side of the battle lines between the 1% and normal American families.
• MI-01- Jerry Cannon (R+5)
• IN-02- Joe Bock (R+6)
• MT-AL- John Lewis (R+7)
• AR-02- Patrick Henry Hays (R+8)
• OH-06- Jennifer Garrison (R+8)
• KY-06- Elisabeth Jensen (R+9)
• ND-AL- George Sinner (R+10)
• WV-02- Nick Casey (R+11)
• AR-01- Jackie McPherson (R+14)
• WV-01- Glen Gainer (R+14)
• AR-04- James Lee Witt (R+15)
So, yes, Israel has been on track to having the worst batting average of any DCCC chairman in history. That makes perfect sense, since he clearly is the worst DCCC chairman in history. But to be able to argue otherwise after the debacle in November, he's slipped in a few ringers. Ringers? Yes, these are Democrats running in blue districts replacing Democrats who are leaving Congress. I'm saying they don't deserve support (Pat Murphy running to replace Bruce Braley certainly does), but that they have nothing to do with Red-to-Blue except to make the decrepit program look better when most of Israel's wretched actual Red-to-Blue recruits are defeated in November.
• IA-01- Bruce Braley (D+5)And this is a good place to mention CA-31, the D+5 Inland Empire district that Israel screwed up in 2012 and handed to a Republican, Gary Miller, who knew he could never be reelected so decided to retire this year. Israel's pick for the race is a shady conservative ex-bank lobbyist, Pete Aguilar, who not only is a disguised Republican but has already endorsed a right-wing Republican against a Democrat in the neighboring district. Another great Steve Israel recruit (for John Boehner).
• ME-02- Mike Michaud (D+2)
• NY-04- Carolyn McCarthy (D+3)
Sunday, August 17, 2014
It's about using political power to enforce Bronze Age hatred of women, gays and minorities.
Katha Pollitt at The Nation:
The right uses religion because that’s all it’s got: the secular arguments against LGBT rights are in history’s dustbin. And if the notion that the pill causes abortion wasn’t a religious tenet, it would have no traction, since it is false and known to be so. Religious freedom functions like a giant get-out-of-reality-free card: your belief cannot be judged, because it’s a belief. There are still states where parents can legally let their children die of curable diseases—as long as they have a religious reason to shun medical care. The difference between criminal child neglect and tragedy? Jesus.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act needs to be repealed, but it is hard to see where the political will is going to come from. Somehow the separation of church and state has come to mean blocking the state from protecting the civil rights of citizens and forcing it to support—and pay for—sectarianism, bigotry, superstition and bullying. I really doubt this is what Thomas Jefferson had in mind.The freakazoids have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only way to ensure a secular government that values and protects the human and civil rights of everyone is to bar from public service anyone who takes marching orders from an invisible sky wizard.
Atheists only in elected office.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Just stop it, Greg. Everybody knows Big Coal owns your ass. Your attempts to pretend otherwise by citing false statistics just makes you look pathetic.
Germany is in fact leading the world on renewable energy and increasing, not decreasing, their investment.
David Atkins at Hullabaloo:
The United States could easily be doing this. But we aren't.Also, the "natural gas will save us!" idiots are dead wrong.
Germany is now producing 28.5 percent of its energy—nearly a third—with solar, wind, hydro, and biomass. In 2000, renewables accounted for just 6 percent of its power consumption.This despite the fact that we get far more sunshine than Germany (Fox News correspondents notwithstanding.)
This is further proof that Germany is, essentially, the world leader in renewable energy. No other country has demonstrated such a dedicated, accelerated drive toward transitioning to clean power—in Germany's case, away from nuclear to solar and wind. It has done so by intensely incentivizing private and commercial solar, aggressively pursuing wind power contracts, and, yes, by raising, slightly, the cost of energy in the process.
A couple years ago, Germany broke a record when, for a day, its wind and solar plants generated enough clean power to meet half the country's energy needs. This year, it broke a new one when they whipped up enough power to meet 75 percent of demand. That's three-fourths of a nation, running on clean energy.
On a geopolitical level, Germany is also doing its part to reduce Vladimir Putin's power over Europe by reducing its dependency on Russian natural gas. And, of course, there are the climate change impacts.
With our enormous deserts and wind-swept coasts and plains, there is just no reason at all for America not to be getting most of its energy from renewable sources. It's simple stubbornness and greed.
Higher education in public colleges and universities should be free, Mr. President. That's the only way to solve the education/economy paradox.
Full transcript here.
Friday, August 15, 2014
I give Grimes until about 9 a.m. Sunday morning to complete her betrayal of Kentucky's Democratic voters by rejecting the last few values for which they will still turn out to the polls.
From the AP:
Sen. Mitch McConnell talked about abortion, gay marriage and the persecution of Christians in Iraq with three well-known evangelical leaders Thursday, a rare discussion of social and religious issues for the Republican.That's what she said as of this morning. She'll be mini-me-ing Mitch before the altar calls on Sunday.
For about an hour, McConnell talked about his opposition to gay marriage and abortion rights, although he stopped short of saying whether he would support or oppose a Supreme Court justice's nomination based solely on abortion.
Grimes has said abortion is a decision a woman should make "between herself, her doctor and her God." She supports gay marriage but said churches should not be forced to recognize anything that is inconsistent with their teachings.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
It may be the only thing that saves us from the Domionists. Sign up to join today!
"The Satanic Temple set up a website where women seeking an abortion can print out a letter for her healthcare provider explaining why she is exempt from informed consent mandates.The letter reads that ‘[a]ll women who share our deeply held belief that their personal choices should be made with access to the best available information, undiluted by biased or false information, are free to seek protection with this exemption whether they are members of the Satanic Temple or not.’”YES.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Monday, August 11, 2014
And thanks to the Roberts Corporate Court, Hobby Lobby's medieval cruelty now trumps your constitutional rights.
Lawyers, Guns and Money:
Hobby Lobby puts its pro-life, pro-child policies into practice:
When a very pregnant Felicia Allen applied for medical leave from her job at Hobby Lobby three years ago, one might think that the company best known for denying its employees insurance coverage of certain contraceptives—on the false grounds that they cause abortions—would show equal concern for helping one of its employees when she learned she was pregnant.Instead, Allen says the self-professed evangelical Christian arts-and-crafts chain fired her and then tried to prevent her from accessing unemployment benefits.“They didn’t even want me to come back after having my baby, to provide for it,” she says.And here I thought Hobby Lobby was acting out of very strong principle for life and not because it hates women and wants to punish them for having sex.
There’s also this gem:
When Allen applied for unemployment benefits, she says Hobby Lobby’s corporate office gave the unemployment agency a false version of events, claiming she could have taken off personal leave but chose not to. In the end, Allen says she won her claim for unemployment benefits, but she felt she had been wrongly discriminated based on the fact that she was pregnant. In February 2012 she sued Hobby Lobby, but her lawsuit was swiftly dropped because, like most—if not all—Hobby Lobby employees, Allen had signed away her rights to sue the company.Though the multibillion-dollar, nearly 600-store chain took its legal claim against the federal government all the way to the Supreme Court when it didn’t want to honor the health insurance requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the company forbids its employees from seeking justice in the court of law.Allen had signed a binding arbitration agreement upon taking the job, though she says she doesn’t remember doing so. The agreement, which all Hobby Lobby employees are required to sign, forces employees to resolve legal disputes outside of court through a process known as arbitration.Lying so she couldn’t get unemployment is very special, but forcing employees to sign documents waiving their right to sue the company in order to be hired should be as illegal as the yellow-dog contract. I would ask how something like that is even legal in this nation, but of course I already know why–because corporations control our lives in ways they have not in a century.