A few weeks ago, after the disruption at Netroots Nation, I wondered aloud what the Black Lives Matter movement actually wanted. What were their demands? What did they want from candidates for president? I found a list of items on their website, but they were vague enough and broad enough to keep me a little puzzled. What sort of concrete initiatives were they interested in?I'm happy to see that they've now come up with exactly what everyone's been asking for. It's called Campaign Zero, and it even comes with its own nifty graphic:Some of these are easy: police body cams, for example, have become widely supported on both right and left, and by both activists and police. Others are a little harder: independent investigations of police shootings and better representation of minorities on police forces aren't universally supported, but they do have fairly wide backing already. And some are more difficult: it will be tough to wean police forces off their up-armored humvees and challenging to end the vogue for broken-windows policing.That said, these are all specific and achievable goals. They even have a fact sheet here that tracks some of the presidential candidates and where they stand on each issue. Ironically, Bernie Sanders has positions that at least partly address eight of the ten items—more than anyone else. Martin O'Malley has seven and Hillary Clinton has two so far.This is good stuff. BLM won't get everything it wants—nobody ever does—but Campaign Zero should allow them to avoid the fate of Occupy Wall Street, which generated a ton of passion but never really offered any place to channel it. BLM has now done both, and has a good shot at making their issues important ones during the upcoming presidential campaign.
Monday, August 31, 2015
Sunday, August 30, 2015
But don't evangelicals care about God and faith? I'm not sure white right-wing Evangelicals in America really do care all that much. For many of them, Christianity is mostly a club they use to beat Godless liberals, the less fortunate, and non-Christians. What the faith seems to affirm for them more than anything else is the sense that humanity is divided into the good and the purely evil, and life's main task is to sort everyone into these two categories, and render appropriate punishments on the latter. This worldview isn't limited to God's judgment in the afterlife -- it extends to life on earth, which is why right-wing Evangelicals despise government efforts to aid anyone other than themselves and their kind (the "deserving").
So, in a way, Trump is embodying religion as they understand it when he threatens to round up and wall out immigrants, or bomb Muslims and seize Middle Eastern oil. He's taking things from the undeserving and giving them to the deserving. Isn't that what Christian conservatives think Jesus wants?
I wonder why babby jeebus didn't give Davis a heads-up that the man and woman getting a marriage license did not have the proper collection of genitals between them.
From the AP:
A few dozen people showed up on Saturday to protest Davis' ongoing refusal to issue marriage licenses. They included a couple who said they are a woman and transgender man who got their marriage license from Davis in February.No, her job is not to see a straight couple in love. Her job is to see two adult human beings purchasing a service which she is duty bound and Constitutionally required to provide.
Protester Mary Hargis told the crowd Camryn and Lexie Colen had been reluctant to come forward but decided to do so to help the cause. The couple did not tell Davis that one of them was transgender when they went to request a license, Hargis said.
"She just saw a straight couple in love," Camryn Colen told the crowd, picking up the story. "She should see everybody like that."
In other news, a jesus Davis obviously doesn't know fires her ass.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2015/08/29/4010863/rowan-county-clerk-closes-office.html?sp=/99/164/#storylink=cpy
Saturday, August 29, 2015
It had nothing to do with public pressure or sudden attacks of conscience. It had to do with potentially losing a billionaire alum's big annual donations.
Alumni also spoke out, including Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle, who is a “major donor” to St. Mary’s and whose wife is a graduate. Boyle issued a statement on Wednesday saying he was ”extremely disappointed” with the school’s decision to let Brown go.Freakazoids are greedy pieces of shit and always have been. The only trick is negotiating the price.
“The news this week is an example of how to not prepare students,” Boyle told OregonLive. “There is no place in the workplace of today, or of the future, for discriminating against an individual based on sexual orientation.”
But on Wednesday evening, school officials abruptly switched their stance, announcing on Facebook that they had voted unanimously to alter the school’s hiring policies to allow for LGBT employees.
I'm gonna guess that trailer-trash county clerk Kim Davis could be persuaded to don rainbow threads for the price of a new double-wide.
Friday, August 28, 2015
A federal appeals court has reinstated a rule change that is meant to provide home care workers minimum wage and overtime protections.In 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it would make changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act so that this workforce, who care for the elderly and disabled in their homes, would be guaranteed the same labor protections as all other workers. But U.S. District Judge Richard Leon issued a decision vacating the change in January, saying the DOL doesn’t have authority to redefine the loophole it was trying to close, known as the companionship exemption.The court in Washington ruled Friday that the department does in fact have that authority. “The Department’s decision to extend the FLSA’s protections to those employees is grounded in a reasonable interpretation of the statute and is neither arbitrary nor capricious,” Judge Sri Srinivasan wrote on behalf of the court.While there are still potential legal hurdles that the rule change could face, most will likely take the district court’s decision to mean that home care workers have new rights. “States would be well advised, and employers would be well advised, to take this decision as final and begin acting,” Christine L. Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, told ThinkProgress. While the DOL had originally held off on enforcing the rule for six months while the challenge wound its way through the courts, that time has lapsed. “I can’t speak for the DOL, but my assumption is that it believes it has authority to begin enforcement now that this decision has been reversed in district court.”This workforce, which is 90 percent female and half people of color, hasn’t been eligible for minimum wage or overtime pay since 1974, when they fell under the companionship exemption given the idea that they merely provided company to their clients. So while their average wages come to $9.61 an hour, nearly a third of those surveyed in New York City made less than $15,000 a year and nearly 40 percent of the entire workforce has to rely on public benefits to get by.The low pay has prompted these workers to join the fight to be paid at least $15 an hour, and they have already secured the first victory: home care workers in Massachusetts who are members of 1199SEIU reached an agreement with the governor to be paid at least that much.Home care workers are in a huge and rapidly expanding industry. Nearly 2.5 million people are employed in this line of work, making it one of the largest occupations, and the number of jobs is expected to grow 70 percent by 2020. Even so, demand is expected to outpace supply over the next decade as the country ages, something that could be eased with higher pay and benefits.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Well, what else would you expect from the assholes who deny human rights to anyone who is not white, straight, rich, xian, repug and male?
Surprise development, my ass. The Fairness Campaign sent out a press release yesterday, and the Farm Bureau had its stormtroopers ready.In a surprise development this morning, Chris Hartman, of the Fairness Campaign, and two others were arrested at the breakfast for protesting what they consider to be discriminatory policies. Here's a photo from the C-J's Pat McDonogh:
Chris Hartman of the Fairness Campaign was removed by two Kentucky State troopers from the Kentucky Farm Bureau ham breakfast, at the state fair. Hartman and others were there to protest the Kentucky Farm Bureau's practices which the protesters consider to by anti-LGBT, anti-teacher, anti-choice and pro-death penalty. Aug. 27, 2015. (Photo: By Pat McDonogh, The Courier-Jou)
Shame on Kentucky State Police and shame on Governor Beshear, Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway and every other Democratic politician there who stood by while the KFB and the KSP blatantly violated the First and Fourth Amendment rights of Kentucky citizens and taxpayers.
How bad is the Kentucky Farm Bureau? This bad:
KY Farm Bureau Policies & 2015 Policy Book Page Numbers
- The institution of marriage should only be recognized as the legal union of a man and a woman. (p.13)
- We are opposed to any state-supported agency providing benefits to “domestic” partners. (p.14)
- We strongly believe in the value of all individuals both born and unborn. (p.14)
- We strongly oppose teacher strikes. We oppose legislation that mandates collective bargaining for public school employees. (p.61)
- Alternative lifestyles should not be taught in public schools. (p.61)
- We support the enactment of right-to-work legislation. (p. 75)
- We recommend the federal prevailing wage law be repealed when dealing with government contracts. (p.76)
- We oppose an increase in the minimum hourly wage. (p.76)
- We strongly oppose any mandate that would require any government entities to recognize and collectively bargain with employee unions. (p.76)
- Furthermore, we oppose public employees being permitted to strike, organize work stoppage or slow-downs. (p.76)
- We oppose unionization of farmers and farm laborers. (p.76)
- We support capital punishment. (p.88)
And no, you can't just change insurance companies. If you live in most rural areas in Kentucky, the Farm Bureau is your ONLY insurance company. No other company will cover your house and farm. I lived five minutes from an Interstate Highway and 30 minutes from the State Capitol and I had to take the shit the Farm Bureau shoved out because there were no fire hydrants on my road.
UPDATE, 2:40 p.m.: Of course she's defying the order. She's a filthy, hate-filled freakazoid bitch, and that's what filthy, hate-filled freakazoid bitches do.
So the Sixth Circuit, having been slapped down on human rights by the Supreme Court, is passing the slapping on down to vicious, hateful freakazoid bigot Kim Davis.
Who will, of course, appeal to the Supreme Court, costing the Kentucky taxpayers yet more millions of dollars.
Because Davis is claiming she is a state official and therefore her legal fees should be paid by the state. That is, me and four million of my fellow victims of this crap xian piece of shit.
Meanwhile, a much better case is being made by the ACLU of Kentucky for the state's taxpayers to cover the legal costs of the ACLU having to fight Governor Beshear through the Supreme Court over his refusal to extend human rights to human beings. That's $2 million that should have to come out of Beshear's plenty deep personal pockets.
The rumor is that Beshear "fell on his sword" by fighting the gay marriage case in order to protect Attorney General Jack Conway in his race for Governor. Apparently, some idiot at the Kentucky Democratic Party thought this little ploy would let Conway attract the gay vote (and campaign bucks) and avoid the freakazoid attack.
In 10 weeks, Conway's gonna lose that race by 30 points. What exactly will this stupid, expensive, counter-productive fight over extending human rights to human beings have accomplished?
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
A: The criminal morons are not going to fall for it. They will take this bill as proof they are right and demand that Kentucky outlaw not just same-sex marriage and homosexuality itself, but that the Commonwealth institute Dominionism immediately and make the three of them emperors for life.
"Consicence" has nothing to do with it.
C. Shame on you, Leslie County Clerk James Lewis, shame on you, Kentucky Association of County Clerks, and shame on any and every Democratic state legislator who lets this piece of shit bill even come to a vote.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
I don't really have any good hook for posting this chart, but it's one of the most important ones you'll ever see. It's from the Wall Street Journal and it shows total government spending (state + local + federal) during the recession and its aftermath:For about a year following the Obama stimulus, total spending was a bit higher than average for recession spending. But after that, spending fell steadily rather than rising, as it has after every previous recession. The result: a sluggish recovery, persistent long-term unemployment, and anemic wage growth.Instead of responding to a historically bad recession with a historically strong stimulus, we responded with the weakest stimulus ever. Government spending is now more than 25 percentage points lower than normal. If you want to know why the recovery has been so feeble and unsteady, this is it. Republican presidential candidates, please take note.
Monday, August 24, 2015
Let's just stop right there. We've seen this movie before. What's really happening, apparently, is that there's a shortage of skilled people willing to work lousy hours and face long commutes in return for $10 to $12 per hour.Offer them, say, $15 per hour, and who knows? Maybe there are plenty of good entry-level cooks available. This would raise your total cost of running the restaurant by, oh, 2 percent or so,1 but it's not like restaurants are competing with China. They're competing with other restaurants nearby that have the same problem. If the price of a good cook is going up, it's going to affect everyone.I tire of reading stories like this. Tell me what happens when employers offer more money. If they still can't find qualified workers, then maybe there's a real problem. If they haven't even tried it, then maybe the problem isn't quite as dire as they're making it out to be.
Sunday, August 23, 2015
As I wrote in my book The Believing Brain:Either the soul survives death or it does not, and there is no scientific evidence that it does or ever will. Does science and skepticism extirpate all meaning in life? I think not; quite the opposite, in fact. If this is all there is, then how meaningful become our lives, our families, our friends, our communities—and how we treat others—when every day, every moment, every relationship, and every person counts; not as props in a temporary staging before an eternal tomorrow where ultimate purpose will be revealed to us, but as valued essences in the here-and-now where provisional purpose is created by us. Awareness of this reality elevates us all to a higher plane of humanity and humility, as we course through life together in this limited time and space—a momentary proscenium in the drama of the cosmos.
#1. GodAccording to Oxford University Press’s World Christian Encyclopedia, 84% of the world’s population belongs to some form of organized religion, and a 2007 Pew Forum survey found that 92% of Americans believe in God “or a universal spirit”.God or a universal spirit 92%
Miracles 79%I realize that calling belief in God a “weird thing” will be offensive to some, but to be intellectually honest and consistent it should be correctly classified as a supernatural belief because by most traditional believers’ accounts God is conceived as all powerful (omnipotent), all knowing (omniscient), and all good (omnibenevolent); who created out of nothing the universe and everything in it; who is uncreated and eternal, a noncorporeal spirit who created, loves, and can grant eternal life to humans.I do not believe in any such god. Further, I believe that there is substantive evidence to show that God and religion are human and social constructions based on research from psychology, anthropology, history, comparative mythology, and sociology. I present this evidence in my book The Believing Brain. As well, the burden of proof is on believers to prove God’s existence—not on nonbelievers to disprove it—and to date theists have failed to prove God’s existence, at least by the high evidentiary standards of science and reason.I also note a problem we face with the God question: certainty is not possible when we bump up against such ultimate questions as “What was there before time began?” or “If the Big Bang marked the beginning of all time, space, and matter, what triggered this first act of creation?” The fact that science has yet to answer these questions with certainty doesn’t faze scientists because theologians hit the same epistemological wall. You just have to push them one more step. For example, in my debates and dialogues with theologians the exchange usually goes something like this for the question of what triggered the Big Bang:God did it.Who created God?God is He who needs not be created.Why can’t the universe be “that which needs not be created?”The universe is a thing or an event, whereas God is an agent or being, and things and events have to be created by something, but an agent or being does not.Isn’t God a thing if He is part of the universe?God is not a thing. God is an agent or being.
Don’t agents and beings have to be created as well? We’re an agent, a being—a human being. We agree that human beings need an explanation for our origin. So why does this causal reasoning not apply to God as agent and being?God is outside of time, space, and matter, and thus needs no explanation.If that is the case, then it is not possible for any of us to know if there is a God or not because, by definition, as finite beings operating exclusively within the natural world we can only know other natural beings and objects. It is not possible for a natural finite being to know a supernatural infinite being.Thus it is that skepticism in this realm, as in so many others, is altogether appropriate. As the bumper sticker says:Militant Agnostic: I Don’t Know and You Don’t Either.© 2015 Michael Shermer, All rights reserved
Saturday, August 22, 2015
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh, Mr. President, you are the funniest! Congress has never, in the history of all the Congresses, passed a "responsible" budget. The next one will be "responsible" only in the sense that it fulfills repug ambitions to poke you in the eye with a stick.
Full transcript here.
Maybe you think the rich deserve their exclusive access to the best houses in the best neighborhoods and the best schools for their kids and the best jobs and the best of everything.
Do you think they deserve all the drinking water?
As the commonwealth’s reservoirs drop to their lowest levels in decades, the government has declared a state of emergency, and implemented strict rationing. Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans now have had tap water only every third day, and that tightened this past weekend, giving families water only two days a week.“It’s been water for one day, then no water for two days,” explained Fernandez. “In the one day you have water, you fill your buckets.”Government officials are telling residents that now is “not the time” to wash their cars, fill private swimming pools, or hose down their sidewalks and patios. Luis F. Cruz Batista, Director of Puerto Rico’s Office of Management and Budget, told local press: “The rationing affects the rich, the middle class and the poor; it affects children, adults and seniors.”But the rationing has not hit everyone equally. As poor islanders fill up buckets and bathtubs on the few days they have water, the pools, fountains, and showers of the coastline’s hotels and resorts remain untouched.“The most affected residents have been those with the fewest resources,” San Juan academic and activist Jose Rivera told ThinkProgress. “But in the hotels and the majority of condominiums, like the one I live in, the rationing either isn’t being done at all, or they’re only partially implementing it. So far, the population has remained calm, but I expect this inequality of sacrifices to eventually provoke protests.”Rivera added that when public schools reconvene this month, the water rationing will disrupt class schedules and the school breakfast and lunch programs. This will especially harm more than half of Puerto Rican children living in poverty.For Fernandez, the water rationing policy is a symbol of deeper problem. “I see it as such as parallel of government policy in general,” he said. “The government puts more value into those from abroad than they are concerned about the local situation and the well-being of the public.”
Friday, August 21, 2015
Kentucky would get its first two privately operated lodges at state parks if solicitations issued this week work out.The state issued requests for private developers to make proposals on building a hotel or resort lodge with a restaurant at Burnside Island State Park in Pulaski County and at Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Bell County.There already is a popular lodge atop Pine Mountain at the Bell County park. The proposed new hotel or lodge would be at Wasioto Winds Golf Course just off U.S. 25E at the bottom of the mountain, which is part of the park.There are lodges at 17 of the state's 49 parks, not including Breaks Interstate Park, which straddles the Kentucky-Virginia line at Pike County and has a lodge.Burnside Island and Pine Mountain are the only parks where the state is soliciting private proposals for lodges, said Gil Lawson, spokesman for the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.Officials in Burnside and Pineville said Thursday that they thought the proposed lodges would boost tourism and help the local economies.
Translation: the developer will strip the park of every fucking dime in revenue, declare bankruptcy and skip the state, leaving the taxpayers with a piece-of-shit lodge and a mountain of debt.Under the proposals, developers would cover the cost to build and operate the lodges, and pay the state rent or a portion of revenues. It's seen as a way to enhance the parks without the state having to bear the cost.The developer could get back a sizeable piece of the investment through a state tax incentive.
Shame on you, Kentucky! Shame on you, Tourism Cabinet! This is Matt Bevin-level destruction. Pull that RFP now before somebody takes you up on it.
They're stupid, but they're not as stupid as the Tribble-Toupeed One thinks they are.
They should demand cash on the barrelhead. He doesn't have $250,000, much less $500,000, and they know it.Paul, who told callers he was under the weather, called in with nearly 350 members of the Republican Party of Kentucky's state central committee in an effort to persuade them to go ahead with a proposal that would allow him an end-around a state law that prohibits a candidate from appearing on the same ballot twice.The cost of switching to a caucus, which would allow Paul to run for president and the U.S. Senate at the same time, was a major topic as Republicans wanted to know why Paul had not transferred an initial payment of $250,000 to an RPK account as he said he had in a letter this week.Republicans wanted to know why Paul was waiting until the proposal passed at the state central committee meeting this Saturday, and Paul responded that there was no need to transfer the money unless Kentucky's Republicans don't trust their junior senator.Trust emerged as a major theme from Paul, and it appears that will be the crux of his pitch when he tries to convince committee members in person at Saturday's central committee meeting in Frankfort.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
One fucking drop of white blood, you motherfuckers, and it's out to the cotton fields!
My own ancestors pre-date the Articles of Confederation in America by 50 years, but that won't protect me or my 85-year-old parents.
Illegal, schmillegal. Until 1924, any non-Asian who got any part of their body over the border into America was a citizen.
We needed bodies - lots and lots of big, strong, foreign bodies to build this country and do for pennies a day the work slaves used to do for free.
So they came in their millions, the ancestors of all of today's slope-headed, mouth-breathing morons screaming about "illegals."
Especially this motherfucker. Mickelson, Mickelson ... sounds like anglicized bohunk to me. Clap him in irons!
Submitted for your approval, one Jan Mickelson, radio talk-show host and power within the Bible-banging, hayshaking Iowa Republican base to which the party hands the first big test in its nominating process. Mickelson is a big deal; he was the host and maître d' of the Christianist festival at which Scott Walker made such a splash back in April. The party base in Iowa is Mickelson's audience. So Mickelson's views on important issues like, say, immigration, carry enough weight to affect the entire process going forward.
I said, "Well I'd would put them on the end of the highway, on western part of the interstate system, and I'd put them on the eastern side of the state, right there on the interstate system, and in the north on the Minnesota border, and on the south Kansas and Missouri border and I would just say this: 'As of this date' -- whenever we decide to do this -- 'as of this date, 30--' this is a totally arbitrary number, '30 to 60 days from now anyone who is in the state of Iowa that who is not here legally and who cannot demonstrate their legal status to the satisfaction of the local and state authorities here in the State of Iowa, become property of the State of Iowa.' So if you are here without our permission, and we have given you two months to leave, and you're still here, and we find that you're still here after we we've given you the deadline to leave, then you become property of the State of Iowa. And we have a job for you. And we start using compelled labor, the people who are here illegally would therefore be owned by the state and become an asset of the state rather than a liability and we start inventing jobs for them to do.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Did you see this? The Obama administration has a revolutionary plan to help law enforcement officials partner with health experts."
No, it doesn't. Any plan that does not deal with the fact that bans on
prescription painkillers are driving thousands of desperate people in
chronic pain to heroin is a waste of time and money as well as a crime
against public health.
It's spreading. The stupidity of KASPER out of Frankfort has infected Washington. Now everybody in the country gets to suffer in agony because the fucking War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs doesn't have enough victims.
Shame on you, President Obama. You know better. Shame!
The Obama administration unveiled a new strategy to combat heroin abuse on Monday, pledging $2.5 million in additional funds to target five “high intensity drug trafficking areas.” The plan, which aims to pair law enforcement officials with health experts, is notable for its emphasis on connecting heroin users with treatment rather than focusing on putting them behind bars.In the 15 states participating in the pilot program, a public health official will coordinate “heroin response teams” and help track the number of overdoses in their region. More first responders will be trained about how to administer naloxone, a drug that can reverse overdoses from heroin and prescription painkillers.The new strategy “demonstrates a strong commitment to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic as both a public health and a public safety issue,” according to Michael Botticelli, the Obama administration’s director of national drug control policy.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Public education is no longer a right for American kids. It's a weapon to be used to keep them in poverty, to keep them weak, to keep them down.
Monday, August 17, 2015
No, there is no such county as Jonesburg in Kentucky, nor any county seat by the name of Sharp's Peak.
But there should be. Because atheists are way more justified discriminating against freakazoids than any freakazoid ever could be justified discriminating against anyone else.
Posted with permission from The Political Garbage Chute
SHARP'S PEAK, KENTUCKY - When Kentucky's Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis defied the most recent federal order to perform her job duties as prescribed, regardless of the sexual orientation of the people seeking services and denied marriage licenses to gay couples again, that was the last straw for Michael Ragionevole, another Kentucky clerk in nearby Jonesberg County."When Ms. Davis turned those couples away," Ragionevole told The Political Garbage Chute, "I just about lost my shit and threw my remote through my TV." Ragionevole says that in his 12 years as a clerk in Kentucky he has had to marry all kinds of people who didn't share his lifestyle or beliefs. "I'm an atheist in Kentucky. There are more of us than you'd think, but we're still very much so in the minority. So while I'm not gay, I can sympathize with people being treated as less than human, and I know for a fact there are a lot of people in this state and around the country that would have no problem banning atheists from getting married."Ragionevole told us that he has decided to protest Davis' resistance court-ordered equality under the law in a way that he acknowledges "might be a touch hypocritical," but that will "hopefully serve to just prove a point and inspire Davis to stop being such a bigoted shithead." Mr. Ragionevole told our interviewer that he will begin denying marriage licenses to any couple that is of the Christian faith, and tell them that his "profound, deep, and personal views of religion" prevent him "furthering the damage that Christianity has done throughout its history.
"You see, unlike homosexuality, I can actually point to incidents of violence, murder, and lawlessness instigated by so-called ‘good, clean Christians," Ragionevole told us. "The Ku Klux Klan? They're Christians. The inquisitions? Perpetrated by Christians. Timothy McVeigh? A Christian nut job. Who bombs abortion clinics and threatens doctors that work at them regularly? Yup, that's right, violent Christian sociopaths. I don't see a lot of violence at gay pride festivals, do you?"While he is ethically and legally forbidden from asking the religious beliefs of the couples who come into his office for a marriage license, Ragionevole says he can figure out who to disenfranchise through simple observation."If I see any crucifixes on the bride or groom, they're outta there. If I hear them hold a prayer, they're gone. If I get even a whiff of Christendom, I'm sending them packing. Ms. Davis can marry them if she wants to," Ragionevole told The Political Garbage Chute, continuing to add that he "will stop kicking Christians out of my office when Davis stops kicking LGBT couples out of hers.""If they can cite their religious beliefs, I can site my deeply-held irreligious beliefs. See how that works? It's all wrapped up in the First Amendment," Ragionevole said.
It still flies under every U.S. and Kentucky flag in the Commonwealth, over post offices and state government buildings and veteran cemeteries, to the eternal shame of every jingoistic motherfucker propagating its lies.
It's the POW/MIA (sic) flag, and it needs to come down now. 45 years of lies is enough.
I told the story in the first chapter of my 2014 book The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan: how Richard Nixon invented the cult of the “POW/MIA” in order to justify the carnage in Vietnam in a way that rendered the United States as its sole victim.
It began, as cultural historian H. Bruce Franklin has documented, with an opportunistic shift in terminology. Downed pilots whose bodies were not recovered—which, in the dense jungle of a place like Vietnam meant most pilots—had once been classified “Killed in Action/Body Unrecovered.” During the Nixon years, the Pentagon moved them into a newly invented “Missing in Action” column. That proved convenient, for, after years of playing down the existence of American prisoners in Vietnam, in 1969, the new president suddenly decided to play them up. He declared their treatment, and the enemy’s refusal to provide a list of their names, violations of the Geneva Conventions—the better to paint the North Vietnamese as uniquely cruel and inhumane. He also demanded the release of American prisoners as a precondition to ending the war.
This was bullshit four times over: First, because in every other conflict in human history, the release of prisoners had been something settled at the close of a war; second, because these prisoners only existed because of America’s antecedent violations of the Geneva Conventions in bombing civilians in an undeclared war; and third, because, as bad as their torture of prisoners was, rather than representing some species of Oriental despotism, the Vietnam Communists were only borrowing techniques practiced on them by their French colonists (and incidentally paid forward by us in places like Abu Ghraib): see this as-told-to memoir by POW and future senator Jeremiah Denton.
And finally, our South Vietnamese allies’ treatment of their prisoners, who lived manacled to the floors in crippling underground bamboo “tiger cages” in prison camps built by us, was far worse than the torture our personnel suffered. (Time magazine quoted one South Vietnamese official who was confronted with stories of released prisoners moving “like crabs, skittering across the floor on buttocks and palms,” and responded with incredulity that such survivors even existed: “No one ever comes from the tiger cages alive.”)
Be that as it may: it worked. American citizens enacted a bizarre psychic reversal. A man from Virginia Beach, Virginia, described to a reporter the supposed treatment of American prisoners in North Vietnam: “they just dig holes in the ground and drop them in. They throw food down to them, and let them live there in their own waste.” In fact, that was how prisoners were treated in South Vietnam—as recently revealed in a shocking Life magazine exposé.
Actually, as I document in The Invisible Bridge, it’s more complicated than that: many of the prisoners were antiwar activists. One member of the “Peace Committee” within the POW camps, Abel Larry Kavanaugh, was harassed into suicide after his return to the U.S. by the likes of Admiral James Stockdale, who tried to get Peace Committee members hanged for treason. Stockade would become one of the nation’s most celebrated former POWs and a vice-presidential candidate. Kavanaugh took his life in his father in law’s basement in Commerce City, Colorado, in June 1973. Americans would agree that one of them—Stockdale or Kavanaugh—is not a hero—though they would disagree about which one is which.
That damned flag: it’s a shroud. It smothers the complexity, the reality, of what really happened in Vietnam.
We’ve come to our senses about that other banner of lies. It’s time to do the same with this.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
We humanists can achieve a better understanding of the practices and policies that will lead to a better world because—if and when we actually engage in the critical thinking we espouse—we use reason and evidence to examine the consequences of different courses of action and how these relate to the promotion of common human interests. In other words, we give serious thought to the moral aspects of our policies and practices. By contrast, too many religious people still adhere to their religious doctrines (or to religious leaders who interpret the doctrines for them) as a guide for moral decision-making. These doctrines are not typically justified by showing how adherence to them will improve the human condition. Instead, they are justified because they supposedly reflect the will of God. In practice, this means that they reflect the musings of some semiliterate, God-intoxicated, self-designated prophet from centuries ago.This is no way to reason about moral issues, especially moral issues that relate to public policy. As indicated, humanists do have a significantly better way of addressing these issues. We don’t look for answers in scripture. We have no holy texts. We don’t defer to some authority who will instruct us on what to do. We have no authorities. Instead, we carefully consider the objectives of a particular policy or practice, examine the relevant evidence, and then reason together. Humanists don’t look above for answers; we look to each other. Humanist ethics is far superior to religious ethics if for no other reasons than it is focused on the good of humanity and its principles are subject to rational debate, testing, and revision.
Saturday, August 15, 2015
No, Mr. President. Dusting around the edges of "community policing" is not going to solve the problem of roid-ranging KKKops killing blacks with impunity. Only withholding federal funds from an entire state until they implement Guardian training and purge the fucking oath keepers will turn this catastrophe around.
Full transcript here.
It's happening. In Kentucky, bad health and poverty go hand-in-hand. Get people healthy, and you've won half the battle against poverty.
Floyd County Times:
The number of Kentuckians receiving preventive health services has risen dramatically since Medicaid expansion took effect in late 2013, new data from the state Department of Medicaid Services (DMS) show.
In calendar year 2014, more than 159,500 Medicaid recipients received preventive dental services, nearly 51,300 were screened for breast cancer and more than 35,600 received colorectal cancer screenings – more than double the number of people who received those services in 2013.
“I have said from day one that giving every Kentuckian access to affordable quality health care coverage will help us tackle our ongoing abysmal health outcomes,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “We are now seeing our citizens take even greater advantage of the opportunity to receive these life-changing screenings for cancers like breast and colon. No longer are their medical choices limited to emergency room or charity medical visits. As these preventive health services increase so does the compensation to our medical providers who are helping to improve the wellness of our Kentucky families. I’m excited about the enormous gains we’re seeing and even more excited about the long-term implications for our state’s health.”
Friday, August 14, 2015
Oh, how the mighty Libertarian has fallen. When Rand Paul held his filibuster, the media, RNC and many in the conservarazzi were joyous. Not only did he take a principled stand, they said, but he also had the supporter of his Dad's followers by his side to win straw polls and raise tons of cash off of. He seemed like a top tier 2016 presidential candidate. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened so far. In fact, he's fallen so far that his campaign produced a Donald Trump attack ad.
Attacking Trump hasn't been fruitful for any candidate so far, including Rick Perry, so I'm not sure why Paul's campaign thought this was a good idea. It's probably more the fact that he's slipping into the second tier of candidates and feel pressured to try something, anything, to get the poll numbers up. It won't work.
As usual Trump responded. Donald Trump mocks Rand Paul, calls on him to quit presidential race
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Yes, he did. And the freakazoid bitch is still using taxpayer dollars to deny human rights to human beings.
Enough! Charge the dominionist piece of shit with domestic terrorism and ship her to Guantanamo. See if her invisible friend in the sky can protect her from rectal feeding.
According to District Judge David L. Bunning, Davis’ job of authorizing valid marriage licenses does not violate her religious liberty nor her freedom of speech. “Our form of government will not survive unless we, as a society, agree to respect the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions, regardless of our personal opinions,” he writes. “Davis is certainly free to disagree with the Court’s opinion, as many Americans likely do, but that does not excuse her from complying with it. To hold otherwise would set a dangerous precedent.”Davis’ primary objection was Gov. Steve Beshear’s (D) directive ordering county clerks to comply with the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling. She has separately filed suit attempting to hold him responsible for any costs she might face from the same-sex couples’ suits. But Bunning found that the directive simply “serves the State’s interest in upholding the rule of law” and upholding Obergefell.
Davis claimed Beshear’s directive requires her to “authorize” same-sex marriage, which violates her religious beliefs. Bunning refutes this claim: “The form does not require the county clerk to condone or endorse same-sex marriage on religious or moral grounds. It simply asks the county clerk to certify that the information provided is accurate and that the couple is qualified to marry under Kentucky law. Davis’ religious convictions have no bearing on this purely legal inquiry.” It’s the government’s speech to authorize the marriage, not Davis’.Bunning also addressed the claim that this job requirement creates a religious test for the office of County Clerk, a point also made in a satirical video posted this week by Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink. Because Davis’ job is simply to confirm that a couple has met the legal requirements to marry, “it is not a sign of moral or religious approval,” nor is Kentucky requiring her to “express a particular religious belief as a condition of public employment” or “forcing her to surrender her free exercise rights in order to perform her duties.” She is free to practice her religion however she wishes, but “her religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County Clerk.”
He's a repug bidness man full of anti-gubmint FREEDUMB. Of course he will.
James Bruggers at the Courier:
Yeah, it's a federal agency decision, but Bevin vows to defy the EPA on coal rules; why would he obey the feds on fracking?Pushing a toxic mixture of natural gas liquids through an aging pipeline near Mammoth Cave National Park threatens the world-famous cave’s unique and fragile ecological systems, the National Park Service is warning.“The National Park Service is concerned about the potential for a catastrophic failure of the ... pipeline” within areas designed to protect endangered cave shrimp and other rare park resources, park superintendent Sarah Craighead wrote recently in a letter to federal energy regulators.The pipeline is 70 years old and was designed to carry a different product, natural gas, said Bobby Carson, chief of science and resource management for the park. “It’s been underground for a while” and may not be safe for carrying the liquids, which if spilled could damage the park’s rare natural resources, including a variety of endangered species, he said in an interview this week.The proposal by Kinder Morgan to convert part of its subsidiary Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. operations from carrying natural gas to moving natural gas liquids has stirred controversy all year along a 256-mile path through Kentucky, with citizen groups, environmental organizations and some local officials objecting. Many have asked for a full environmental study rather than the less extensive review now underway.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Digital entrepreneur Drew Curtis and his wife, Heather Curtis, paid $500 and submitted more than 9,000 signatures Monday morning to enter the race for Kentucky governor and lieutenant governor as independents.Of course not. Curtis is irrelevant.
The secretary of state's office said a few hours later that the husband-and-wife team from Versailles had submitted at least 5,000 valid signatures of registered Kentucky voters, as required by law, and therefore would appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.
The major party names on the ballot are Democrat Jack Conway and running mate Sannie Overly, and Republican Matt Bevin and running mate Jenean Hampton.
Tuesday is the deadline for independent candidates to enter the race.
Drew and Heather Curtis, both 42, are not the first married couple to run for the state's two highest elective offices. Steven Maynard and his wife, Bonnie, of Inez ran for governor and lieutenant governor in the 1995 Democratic primary. Paul Patton won the nomination.
The Conway campaign said it had nothing to say about the Curtis campaign. The Bevin campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
No, restricting just hand guns or semi-automatics doesn't solve the problem. There are too many fucking guns of all kinds in the hands of people too fucking stupid to keep them from killing their own fucking children.
And you know what those counselors are saying to that captive audience of 12-year-olds? "Don't worry about the guns lying around your house, honey. This was just a freak accident. It won't happen to you."CATTLETSBURG — A coroner says a 12-year-old girl has been killed by her brother in an apparent accidental shooting.Boyd County Coroner Mark Hammond told The Independent (http://bit.ly/1UANbHC) that Halee Marshall, who was a seventh-grade student at Boyd County Middle School, was shot once Monday evening and died at the scene.He said the family was unloading a pickup truck as they moved into a new home in Catlettsburg when Marshall's brother accidentally fired the gun. Hammond said the girl's brother said he had cleaned the gun and didn't remember reloading it.The newspaper reports grief counselors were sent Tuesday to Boyd County Middle School.
Lying to children about guns should be a felony.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
The Pentagon is a funny old dog. When it says stuff like "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction," conservatards cheer and liberals scoff. (Guess who was right.)
But conservatards scoff and liberals cheer when it says stuff like this (and guess who's right again):
DOD Releases Report on Security Implications of Climate Change
The "Report on National Security Implications of Climate-Related Risks and a Changing Climate" was provided to Congress yesterday.Remember that catastrophic global warming is not, repeat not, a threat to the planet. The planet will survive no matter what we do. What's at risk is human civilization. A super-heated, runaway-greenhouse-effect planet will keep orbiting the sun and many of its organisms will continue to live and reproduce, albeit under vastly different conditions.
The report responds to the request by the Senate Committee on Appropriations for information on the National Security Implications of Climate Change made in the report to accompany H.R. 4870, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015.
Specifically, the committee requested that the undersecretary of defense for policy provide a report that identifies the most serious and likely climate-related security risks for each combatant command and the ways those commands integrate risk mitigation into their planning processes. Further, the report was to provide resources required for effective responses and the timeline of resource needs.
The report reinforces the fact that global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the foreseeable future because it will aggravate existing problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions that threaten domestic stability in a number of countries.
The report finds that climate change is a security risk because it degrades living conditions, human security, and the ability of governments to meet the basic needs of their populations. Communities and states that are already fragile and have limited resources are significantly more vulnerable to disruption and far less likely to respond effectively and be resilient to new challenges.
The Department of Defense's primary responsibility is to protect national security interests around the world. This involves considering all aspects of the global security environment and planning appropriately for potential contingencies and the possibility of unexpected developments both in the near and the longer terms. It is in this context that the department must consider the effects of climate change -- such as sea level rise, shifting climate zones, and more frequent and intense severe weather events -- and how these effects could impact national security.
To reduce the national security implications of climate change, combatant commands are already integrating climate-related impacts into their planning cycles. The ability of the United States and other countries to cope with the risks and implications of climate change requires monitoring, analysis, and integration of those risks into existing overall risk management measures, as appropriate for each combatant command.
The report concludes the department is already observing the impacts of climate change in shocks and stressors to vulnerable nations and communities, including in the United States, the Arctic, Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America.
The report is posted at http://www.defense.gov/pubs/150724-Congressional-Report-on-National-Implications-of-Climate-Change.pdf.
But it will finally be rid, after several million years, of the parasite that thought itself beyond destruction simply because it had the power to destroy itself.
Monday, August 10, 2015
I saw the preview and it is wonderful. If you are not moved after watching it to take action for justice yourself, at the very least you will learn why it is a bad idea to get on the wrong side of nuns.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
I'd recommend this ...
but the "debate" has already moved on. It's not about whether blastocyts are human; it's about what to do with the living, breathing, sentient adult women who are really just disposable vessels for said blatocysts.
It's been a long time coming and those who track this issue closely have been sounding the alarm for a while. Presidential candidates for one of America's two major parties are explicitly saying that a fetus is more important than the live woman inside whom it is gestating. If they had to choose, they would not choose the woman.
I don't know how they can make their misogyny more obvious. Whatever reverence they have for fetuses is equalled by their disdain for women as anything but human sacrifices.
The lesson here is that anyone who takes their rights for granted is a fool. It's all well and good to say "it's over" and now we can put all that unpleasantness behind us. But we are dealing with primal issues here and they do not change easily. Don't ever assume that we can't go backwards. We're watching it happen before our eyes.
I have had so many conversations or email exchanges with students in the last few years wherein I anger them by indicating that simply saying, “This is my opinion” does not preclude a connected statement from being dead wrong.It still baffles me that some feel those four words somehow give them carte blanche to spout batshit oratory or prose. And it really scares me that some of those students think education that challenges their ideas is equivalent to an attack on their beliefs.
Posted by Yellow Dog at 7:33 AM