Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Abortion RIGHTS, Motherfuckers

It's not no-charge, no-questions-asked abortion-on-demand yet, but it's a big step closer.

Crooks and Liars:
Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt is completely overturned FIVE TO THREE, with Roberts, Alito, and Thomas dissenting.

Breyer and Kennedy join Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan in the majority. Scotusblog:
Both the admitting privileges and surgical center requirements place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, constitute an undue burden on abortion access, and thus violate the Constitution.
We'll have more as we have time to read the opinion. A very good day for once.
Most importantly, the women on the court finally got the chance to lay some facts and reality upside some freakazoid conservatard heads, and took full advantage.
You'll recall that Sotomayor made her opinion known during oral arguments in March, that demanding surgical centers in order to take two pills was massively stupid. We can't quote this paragraph from Slate enough. Go read the whole thing for a feel-good about the future of SCOTUS once Madam President has a few justices added on.
It felt as if, for the first time in history, the gender playing field at the high court was finally leveled, and as a consequence the court’s female justices were emboldened to just ignore the rules. Time limits were flouted to such a degree that Chief Justice John Roberts pretty much gave up enforcing them. I counted two instances in which Roberts tried to get advocates to wrap up as Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor simply blew past him with more questions. There was something wonderful and symbolic about Roberts losing almost complete control over the court’s indignant women, who are just not inclined to play nice anymore.
Damn right.

RBG's...conclusion is designed to give today's opinion as broad a reach as possible: ....Providers laws like H. B. 2 that “do little or nothing for health, but rather strew impediments to abortion... cannot survive judicial inspection."

This decision is expected to affect other state's efforts to put provider restrictions in place.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Anti-Terrorism Immunization in Louisville

They're all Americans now.

From the Courier:

The children — from Somalia, Burma and Iraq — had only been in the United States for weeks or days. They're refugees, forced to leave their homes because of war or persecution.

Now they were experiencing their first summer camp.

As part of a five-week Kentucky Refugee Ministries program, more than 40 children, ranging from kindergartners to seventh-graders, are taking morning classes in science, math, art and English. They'll also partake in field trips, an art show and other activities planned by the resettlement agency, which has run the camp for at least a decade.

For the students, the program provides an opportunity to learn English, socialize in the language and experience American classrooms, where they are expected to participate and ask questions.

For parents, who worry about the language barrier their child will face in school, it'll ease their kids' transition this fall.

Refugee children — who numbered roughly 600 last year in Louisville — often struggle to integrate into their schools, said Meagan Floyd, youth services coordinator for the agency.

Many suffer from post-traumatic stress, such as anxiety and learning difficulties, she said. And because their schooling abroad faced frequent disruption, they also begin below grade level, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/article85982022.html#storylink=cpy

Sunday, June 26, 2016

And the Horse You Rode in On

Bevin: No money for working poor people to have health insurance that would save the taxpayers billions, but a blank check for freakazoids committing intellectual child abuse.

Shame on you, Herald, for the cutline "Life size Noah's Ark will wow guests with its large size" and I don't mean because that line is badly written.

First, Noah's Ark is a myth.  It never existed, so it can't be "life-size."  Second, as huge as that motherfucker is, it still would not hold a one-millionth of the total animals the bibble claims it did.

And third, if you're wondering why the Freedom from Religion Foundation is not all over this abomination, it's because they know the political and judicial game in Kentucky is rigged against the U.S. Constitution.

From the AP:

Kentucky is paying $190,000 in attorney fees to the Christian group that won a tourism tax benefit for a Noah's ark attraction that will open soon in central Kentucky.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/article85804012.html#storylink=cpy

330 Million Gods

“Because they’re not there, duh 😛

Because they’re not there, duh 😛

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Bevin runs crying to mommy, calling Beshears mean ol' doodyheads

Well, he never claimed to be Henry Clay.  Also, projection is an amazing drug.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

Gov. Matt Bevin said Thursday that former Gov. Steve Beshear is “an embarrassment” to the state and his law firm and that his son, Attorney General Andy Beshear, opposes him because “it’s clearly genetic.”
That's the same Governor Steve Beshear who was President Barack Obama's special guest at the State of the Union, the man lauded nationwide for this foresight and courage and plain genius in implementing kynect and Medicaid expansion,  the history-making leader who put Kentucky on the road to finally kill generational poverty.

Gov. Lying Coward is the one who is destroying working Kentuckians' last hopes and throwing a temper tantrum because Gov. Beshear isn't thanking him for it.
In response, former Gov. Beshear said in an email, “As a lifelong Kentuckian who gave over 30 years of public service to the people of this state, I have always worked to bring people together. As governor, even when there were disagreements on issues, we were able to have respectful and healthy discussion.

“Kentucky would be better off if Gov. Bevin followed that philosophy and realized that name-calling and insults do nothing to help Kentucky’s families.”

Attorney General Beshear said in an email that he has publicly disagreed with Bevin but has never attacked him personally. “His comments are beneath the dignity of that office. Kentuckians deserve better.”
Is Gov. Pants-Shitter trying to emulate the Orange Menace, or is self-destructive arrogance a side-effect of being filthy rich?

I know: both.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article85536627.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article85536627.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, June 24, 2016

Racist Voting Quote of the Day

I don't have any personal axe to grind on Brexit. Except for one: I am sick and tired of watching folks like Boris Johnson, Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, and others appeal to the worst racial instincts of our species, only to be shushed by folks telling me that it's not really racism driving their popularity. It's economic angst. It's regular folks tired of being spurned by out-of-touch elites. It's a natural anxiety over rapid cultural change.

Maybe it's all those things. But at its core, it's the last stand of old people who have been frightened to death by cynical right-wing media empires and the demagogues who enable them—all of whom have based their appeals on racism as overt as anything we've seen in decades. It's loathsome beyond belief, and not something I thought I'd ever see in my lifetime. But that's where we are.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

American Greatness and Who Tried to Kill It

I wonder how that possibly could have happened in this country. How did we abandon our dreams of greatness that we demanded of our self-governing Republic. We didn't dig the Panama Canal. Our government did, after it stole the land from Colombia. We, as individuals, didn't tame the West. Our government did, with railroads and homesteading and the U.S. Cavalry. We didn't ourselves build the Hoover Dam. Our government did. We didn't create our own private space exploration. Our government did. 

How could the country have come to such a sorry pass? Perhaps a clue can be found in a speech given from the U.S. Capitol by a newly elected president on a cold, clear January morning in 1981.

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. 


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How is Gov. Lying Coward Killing KY Poor People Today?

By eliminating the Medicaid expansion that has saved thousands of Kentucky lives and thousands of Kentucky health care jobs and brought billions of dollars in economic growth to the Commonwealth.

A couple of facts before we get to Bevin's lies:

  • Medicaid expansion covers working poor people.  The ones holding down two or three minimum-wage jobs so they make too much money for basic Medicaid but not enough to get kynect subsidies. 
  • No, shrinking Medicaid back to the pre-Obamacare levels will not "save $2.2 billion."  It will COST Kentucky taxpayers far more than $2.2 billion in emergency care for people who no longer have health insurance and in expensive long ambulance trips for people whose local hospital closed because Medicaid funding disappeared. 
  • Not to mention the dead people.  Many, many dead people deliberated murdered by Governor Lying Coward.
Gov. Matt Bevin announced Wednesday he's seeking a Medicaid waiver from the federal government.

Bevin said if the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services does not grant the waiver, he will still move ahead with his plan to repeal Medicaid expansion in the state. 

If the Medicaid waiver is approved, Bevin said it will result in $2.2 billion in taxpayer savings.
The waiver is asking the federal government to allow able-bodied, working-age people to "take ownership" of their coverage, Bevin said. He unveiled Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health, or HEALTH, where Kentucky would impose premiums on Medicaid expansion users from $1 to $15, depending on their income levels. 

The new Medicaid program would put money toward drug addiction services.
The fuck it will.  More taxpayer dollars will flow into the pockets of Beshear's billionaire buddies running storefront addiction clinics, but no actual services will be provided. likes
Bevin said his plan isn't to kick people off health care but it will make Medicaid more accessible by making it more accountable. Requiring Medicaid expansion users to pay for their own premiums will give them "dignity and respect," he said.

The program would begin as a pilot program that will be later rolled out across the state.
The waiver will be released publicly today.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Bevin's Wet Dream for Kentucky

... is actually worse than what repugs have done to Kansas.  Even Brownback hasn't neutron-bombed the state's flagship university.  Yet.

Charlie Pierce:

Sliding north, we find ourselves in the failed state of Kansas, now in the fifth year of the Brownbackian Dark Ages, as such things are reckoned. Somehow, the fact that Kansas' status as a supply-side lab rat has dropped the state down a political garbage chute the likes of which hasn't been seen since they shredded the Articles of Confederation is beginning to seep under the guardhouses of the gated communities. The head of a healthcare company is fleeing to the Missouri border and he's not shy about telling the world why. 
From Pathfinder Health Innovations CEO Jeff Blackwood: 
It wasn't just that Brownback was conservative; it was that he is seen as a tool of the Koch brothers and ALEC, a conservative think tank and lobbying organization. Brownback used his influence and funding to eliminate "moderate" republicans from the Kansas legislature and install his hand-picked conservative cronies. He couldn't do the same with the Kansas Supreme Court, which has ruled a number of the conservative legislature's laws as unconstitutional, so Brownback's administration decided to threaten to cut off funding to the court system and is actively pursuing legislation to impeach the Supreme Court.

Kansas has become a test center of "trickle down" economics, espoused by economist Arthur Laffer during the Reagan years. Nowhere has there been as thorough an implementation of Laffer's policy recommendations… and nowhere has there been as dramatic a failure of government. Under Brownback's direction, Kansas implemented an unprecedented tax cut in 2012, eliminating taxes for LLCs and professional firms (for full disclosure, PHI is a C Corporation) and making the largest cuts in the highest tax brackets. He shifted taxes to create a heavier burden on property and sales taxes, which typically represent a larger burden on lower income brackets. Brownback declared that this tax cut would be a "shot of adrenaline" for the Kansas economy, but the reality is that the tax cuts have had the opposite effect. Kansas lags neighboring states in job growth. For 11 of the last 12 months, Kansas has dramatically missed revenue targets, falling deeper in debt and facing another round of degraded bond ratings.

The worst part is that the burdens for the shortfalls rest on the shoulders of those who can least afford it – children and the developmentally disabled.
No kidding, tell us what you really feel.
The funding problems got so bad that Osawatomie State Hospital's mental health ward had to significantly cut staffing. Over 40% of their staff positions were dormant, leaving the remaining staff overworked and unprepared. This understaffing resulted in an improperly released patient murdering a 61-year-old man, and a hospital worker was raped, having to rely on other patients to save her. In January 2016, the Osawatomie State Hospital lost its certification to provide mental health services, cutting off federal funding that counted for roughly half of the hospital's revenue. It is unclear what will happen to the patients and staff at Osawatomie State Hospital, leaving the fates of the patients in limbo.

The state's public education system, once considered one of the best in the nation, hasn't been spared, either. You'll hear claims from Kansas officials that funding to education is at an all time high, but it's just an accounting trick – they chose to shuffle money for special education and retirement funds through the schools so it could appear as an increase on the books. Salary freezes, underfunding to the point of being ruled unconstitutional, laws allowing teachers to be imprisoned for introducing potentially "offensive" content, cuts and delays in $100 million in payments to the state-run retirement fund, and legislation specifically targeted to cripple the Kansas teacher's union are all part of an ongoing effort to undermine the public education system in Kansas. Instead, the Brownback administration plans to offer vouchers to encourage families to send their children to private and religious schools.

To double down on these policies, Brownback is now ignoring the $250 million shortfall predicted for 2016, instead opting for headlines about closing Kansas to refugees and blaming the "liberal media" for the state's economic woes.

In the end, I believe the goals of the Brownback administration are going exactly to plan – starve the state of resources to the point where it just makes sense to turn over critical government functions to for-profit entities. I can't, in good conscience, continue to give our tax money to a government that actively works against the needs of its citizens; a state that is systematically targeting the citizens in most need, denying them critical care and reducing their cost of life as if they're simply a tax burden that should be ignored. It's because of these moves that I have decided to deny Kansas revenue from Pathfinder's taxes by moving our company to Missouri.
This guy says it flat out–Brownback has engineered the failure of government in Kansas to prove to himself and to the world that government inevitably fails. It's not often that you see it made that plain, and now it's time to point out that enough voters in Kansas showed up and re-elected this cluck in what only can be seen now as a suicide pact.
 You know Governor Lying Coward is thinking up ways he can one-up Brownback and create the Galt's Gulch libertarian paradise of the Bluegrass.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

How Convenient

Divine Irony:

Here Are Aerial Images of Ken Ham’s Ark Under Construction. Notice Anything Un-Biblical?

You’ve probably seen the artist’s rendering of Ark Encounter, Ken Ham’s Biblical theme park that focuses on Noah and the Great Flood. I’m posting it here to refresh your memory – followed by three stills from a drone-mounted video camera. The images, from November, show how the construction is progressing in the real world. Notice any differences?

Full Story: http://ift.tt/1N6M5UL

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“Noah could too have had diesel-powered cranes! And cement mixers! And welding equipment! We just don’t know!"

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Drowning Out the Haters

We were right across the street from the motherfuckers at Fifth and Main.  With their stupid "homo sex is sin" sign and their self-hating closet case screaming through a bullhorn about "penis in rectum" and the brave ones holding up rainbow flags to block them.

Then the first marchers appeared, and the cheers rose and kept rising and you couldn't hear the hate anymore.

From the Courier:

Drag queens in shimmering dresses waved from high atop floats. Families and their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender loved ones marched side by side west down Main to the parade's end at the Belvedere. The mayor, police chief and other city leaders walked beside them, too.

The Orlando tragedy didn't dominate the 15th annual Kentuckiana Pride Parade, but the many groups carrying signs in memory of the victims were a constant reminder.

Fairness Campaign volunteers walked with the names of those killed June 11 at an Orlando gay nightclub, the dead filling their banner. A church group carried 49 red roses attached to papers with the 49 names.

The parade comes nearly one year after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last summer. Perhaps it was that recent victory, or the aftermath of the prior weekend that brought out thousands Friday, said Jeremy Walsburger.

"It's wonderful to see so many people out here," he said. His mother joined him for her first pride parade, as did many of his coworkers.

"It was never a moment I thought we'd have together," he said. "I'd also never thought I'd see my mayor being so supportive. It's just not something you imagine growing up in a one stoplight town."
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer asked residents this week to march with him in solidarity with the LGBT community.

Toward the end of the parade route, JJ Love, his hair done up in a curly, rainbow Mohawk, watched the parade with his boyfriend Tim Netherton.

Love and Netherton met at a now defunct coffee shop in downtown Lousiville, just across the street from gay bar Tryangles. Netherton had recently ended his 17-year marriage.

Now, more than a decade later, his ex-wife and many of his children and grandchildren came to pride to show their unending support.

"We want individuals to know that it's OK to just be yourself," Netherton said. "No matter what that means."
 This atheist's favorite sign, carried by someone marching with a church group:

"God (heart) U. She Thinks UR Fabulous."

OK, Lexington: You've got a tough act to follow next Saturday.

No, Anti-Trumpist repugs are not voting for Hillary. Ever.

There are no such things as independents, swing voters or undecideds.  There are repugs too embarrassed to call themselves repugs and who register as "independent" but who always - ALWAYS - vote repug.  And there are dems who are too stupidly pure to call themselves Democratic voters and who register as "independent" but who always - ALWAYS - vote Democratic.  When they don't sit at home on Election Day and sulk, that is.

Any attempt by Hillary or any other Democratic candidate - like the always-moronic Democratic candidates for the Kentucky state House - to pick up "anti-Trump" repug voters is doomed to not just fail, but to take the entire Democratic campaign down with it through either pissing off actual Democratic voters or giving false confidence that this election is going to be a blowout.

Stop. Just Stop.  
There are millions of loyal Democratic voters who would be happy to vote for Hillary - unless they think the election is already a dem blowout or they think they're being taken for granted.
Those are the voters you need, Hillary.  Those are the voters you need to court.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Great Idea of the Week

Extend it to CEOs and Board Directors of corporations and I'd say this would definitely put an end to the redistribution of income from the working poor to the filthy rich.

Now all we need is an excuse to deny the franchise to repugs, conservatards, freakazoids and other non-Democratic voters.
If states can drug test low-income residents seeking welfare assistance, why can’t they do the same for members of the one percent asking for hefty federal tax deductions?
“We’re not going to get rid of the federal deficit by cutting poor people off SNAP,” Moore told the Guardian, referring to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. “But if we are going to drug-test people to reduce the deficit, let’s start on the other end of the income spectrum.”

The Milwaukee congresswoman's bill comes as a rebuke to Republican lawmakers and her state’s governor, Scott Walker. A state law that went into effect in December forces applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to answer questions about their drug use, and Walker is suing the federal government for the right to drug test Wisconsin residents applying for SNAP benefits.

Other officials like Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) have pushed for similar measures in their states.

Moore told the Guardian she was “sick and tired, and sick and tired of being sick and tired, of the criminalization of poverty.”

Gov. Neutron Bomb Doubles Down; Blasts University of Louisville

He can cite all the KRS he wants; eliminating the entire leadership of one of the state's flagship universities is the act of an out-of-control dictator.

From the press release:

Gov. Matt Bevin today announced a reorganization of the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees, as established by the provisions of KRS 164.821. This reorganization is subject to the approval of the General Assembly in 2017.

“There have been a number of incidents in recent months and years related to the University of Louisville that have shed less than the best of light on the University and the Commonwealth as a whole,” said Gov. Bevin. “The University’s Board of Trustees, as it exists right now, is operationally dysfunctional. Its dysfunction has precluded it from being fiduciarily effective. Today we are going to start putting the University of Louisville house in order. A fresh start is the right thing to do and is in the best interest of the students, faculty and staff.”

An interim Board of Trustees has been created by Executive Order to govern the University of Louisville as needed for the next two weeks until permanent appointments are made to the Board of Trustees.
Man, I can't wait to see the list of rich, white, male, freakazoid wastes of oxygen ol' Lying Coward appoints.

As for you, UK: toe the Bevin Billionaire line, or you're next.

Courier coverage here.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Matt Bevin Now Stealing Money From KY Taxpayers Directly

Not just in the way he redistributes tax dollars from the working poor to his rich billionaire buddies.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin spoke this past weekend at a Utah retreat organized by Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee who has been one of the most outspoken critics of Donald Trump.


The visit by Bevin was “an official trip” made at taxpayers’ expense, said Amanda Stamper, Bevin’s press secretary.
It's not the like the man's a fucking billionaire who could have funded the entire conference out of the change in his sofa.

Yet more proof that there is no limit to the greed of the filthy rich, and that conservative repugs are perfectly fine with big gubmit spending that benefits themselves.

It's only the spending that benefits the non-rich they can't stand.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article83721967.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article83721967.html#storylink=cpy

Dem Challenger Starts Attacking AynRandy

Yes, by Clinton/Obama vs. the Orange Menace standards this isn't much of an "attack," but it's the first of Jim Gray's Senate campaign and we are chanting "hit 'im again, hit 'im again, harder, harder!"

John Cheves at the Herald:

Waving a newspaper story about last weekend’s shooting rampage in Orlando that killed 49 people, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray on Wednesday criticized Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., for opposing a bill that would ban gun purchases by people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list.

“How many headlines like this do we need to see before Congress does something?” asked Gray, the Democratic Senate nominee, standing outside Paul’s Lexington field office. “Senator Paul voted to let potential terrorists buy guns. He chose to protect the rights of radical Islam over the safety of innocent Americans. What was Rand Paul thinking? Where is his common sense? Where’s the backbone?”

In December, the day after an extremist couple shot and killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., Paul voted against a Democrat-backed bill that would have blocked the sale of guns through licensed firearms dealers to roughly 10,000 Americans whose names are reported to be on the secret watch list, indicating that federal law-enforcement officials suspect them of possible terrorist activity.
Yes, the terrorist watch list is dangerously error-ridden and suspect constitutionally, but the point is that Paul follows the repug line that there is no problem - including mass murder - that cannot be solved by MOAR GUNZ.

And that Jim Gray, occasionally suspect Democratic-ly, disagrees.

Gray, by the way, was a guest at the Fairness Alliance of Kentucky's 25th Anniversary celebration last Friday night, barely 24 hours before the Orlando massacre.

The Tribble-Toupeed One is now on notice: This Race is Personal.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article83948022.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Compare and Contrast


Yes, these motherfuckers have always been with us and always will be, but when the majority makes clear that they are not welcome in public, they stay in their caves and sulk.  Not even the Great Demagogue, Huey Long, gave them the utter freedom to exercise their hatred and violence the way Trump has.

Here is how the president responded to Trump yesterday, in case you missed it:
And let me make a final point. For a while now, the main contribution of some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have made in the fight against ISIL is to criticize this administration and me for not using the phrase “radical Islam.” That’s the key, they tell us -- we can’t beat ISIL unless we call them “radical Islamists.” What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to trying to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction. Since before I was President, I’ve been clear about how extremist groups have perverted Islam to justify terrorism. As President, I have repeatedly called on our Muslim friends and allies at home and around the world to work with us to reject this twisted interpretation of one of the world’s great religions.

There has not been a moment in my seven and a half years as President where we have not been able to pursue a strategy because we didn’t use the label "radical Islam." Not once has an advisor of mine said, man, if we really use that phrase, we're going to turn this whole thing around. Not once. So if someone seriously thinks that we don’t know who we're fighting, if there's anyone out there who thinks we're confused about who our enemies are, that would come as a surprise to the thousands of terrorists who we've taken off the battlefield. If the implication is that those of us up here and the thousands of people around the country and around the world who are working to defeat ISIL aren't taking the fight seriously, that would come as a surprise to those who have spent these last seven and a half years dismantling al Qaeda in the FATA, for example -- including the men and women in uniform who put their lives at risk and the Special Forces that I ordered to get bin Laden and are now on the ground in Iraq and in Syria. They know full well who the enemy is. So do the intelligence and law enforcement officers who spend countless hours disrupting plots and protecting all Americans, including politicians who tweet and appear on cable news shows. They know who the nature of the enemy is.

So there’s no magic to the phrase “radical Islam.” It’s a political talking point; it's not a strategy. And the reason I am careful about how I describe this threat has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with actually defeating extremism. Groups like ISIL and al Qaeda want to make this war a war between Islam and America, or between Islam and the West. They want to claim that they are the true leaders of over a billion Muslims around the world who reject their crazy notions. They want us to validate them by implying that they speak for those billion-plus people; that they speak for Islam. That’s their propaganda. That's how they recruit. And if we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush and imply that we are at war with an entire religion -- then we’re doing the terrorists' work for them.

Now, up until this point, this argument about labels has mostly just been partisan rhetoric. And, sadly, we've all become accustomed to that kind of partisanship, even when it involves the fight against these extremist groups. And that kind of yapping has not prevented folks across government from doing their jobs, from sacrificing and working really hard to protect the American people.

But we are now seeing how dangerous this kind of mindset and this kind of thinking can be. We're starting to see where this kind of rhetoric and loose talk and sloppiness about who exactly we're fighting, where this can lead us. We now have proposals from the presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States to bar all Muslims from emigrating to America. We hear language that singles out immigrants and suggests that entire religious communities are complicit in violence. Where does this stop? The Orlando killer, one of the San Bernardino killers, the Fort Hood killer -- they were all U.S. citizens.

Are we going to start treating all Muslim Americans differently? Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to start discriminating against them because of their faith? We’ve heard these suggestions during the course of this campaign. Do Republican officials actually agree with this? Because that's not the America we want. It doesn't reflect our democratic ideals. It won’t make us more safe; it will make us less safe -- fueling ISIL’s notion that the West hates Muslims, making young Muslims in this country and around the world feel like no matter what they do, they're going to be under suspicion and under attack. It makes Muslim Americans feel like they're government is betraying them. It betrays the very values America stands for.

We've gone through moments in our history before when we acted out of fear -- and we came to regret it. We've seen our government mistreat our fellow citizens. And it has been a shameful part of our history.

This is a country founded on basic freedoms, including freedom of religion. We don't have religious tests here. Our Founders, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights are clear about that. And if we ever abandon those values, we would not only make it a lot easier to radicalize people here and around the world, but we would have betrayed the very things we are trying to protect -- the pluralism and the openness, our rule of law, our civil liberties -- the very things that make this country great; the very things that make us exceptional. And then the terrorists would have won. And we cannot let that happen. I will not let that happen.

Two weeks ago, I was at the commencement ceremony at the Air Force Academy. And it could not have been more inspiring to see these young people stepping up, dedicated to serve and protect this country. And part of what was inspiring was the incredible diversity of these cadets. We saw cadets, who are straight, applauding classmates who were openly gay. We saw cadets, born here in America, applauding classmates who are immigrants and love this country so much they decided they wanted to be part of our armed forces. We saw cadets and families of all religions applaud cadets who are proud, patriotic Muslim Americans serving their country in uniform, ready to lay their lives on the line to protect you and to protect me. We saw male cadets applauding for female classmates, who can now serve in combat positions. That’s the American military. That’s America -- one team, one nation. Those are the values that ISIL is trying to destroy, and we shouldn’t help them do it.

Our diversity and our respect for one another, our drawing on the talents of everybody in this country, our making sure that we are treating everybody fairly -- that we’re not judging people on the basis of what faith they are or what race they are, or what ethnicity they are, or what their sexual orientation is -- that’s what makes this country great. That’s the spirit we see in Orlando. That’s the unity and resolve that will allow us to defeat ISIL. That’s what will preserve our values and our ideals that define us as Americans. That’s how we’re going to defend this nation, and that’s how we’re going to defend our way of life.

Bevin Bullying Broke Law

Another nickname for our only guv:  Bully Bevin.

Am I the only one who thinks Governor Lying Coward is trying to compete with the Orange Menace?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

People, Not Bodies

Last Monday, Akyra Murray, who turned 18 in January, graduated third in her class of 42 students at West Catholic Preparatory High School in Philadelphia, where she had also been a 1,000-point scorer on the basketball team. She had recently signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Mercyhurst University in Erie.

"She was very loving, caring, out to help anybody," her mother, Natalie Murray, recalled.
To celebrate her graduation, Akyra, her parents and her 4-year-old sister traveled to Orlando for a family vacation.

On Saturday, Murray told her parents she wanted to party in downtown Orlando. They dropped her off at Pulse at 11:30 Saturday night.

At about 2 a.m., Akyra Murray sent a text message to her mother, saying that she and her cousins wanted to be picked up. She said there had been a shooting.
Moments later, the phone rang.

"She was saying she was shot and she was screaming, saying she was losing a lot of blood," Natalie Murray said.

Murray said her daughter was hiding in a bathroom stall, cowering from the shooter, her arm bleeding for hours with no medical treatment.

Akyra Murray told her mother to call police and send help.

They never spoke again. "It was devastating," Natalie Murray said.
There are 48 more.  Go read them.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Don't Mourn: Organize!

If your city does not have a Fairness Ordinance (I'm looking at YOU, Shelbyville), get to your next city council meeting and DEMAND IT.

Louisville Pride Parade:  THIS FRIDAY, June 17

Lexington Pride Parade:  Saturday, June 25
From TPM commenter stiggy:

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Questions For Atheists

Sigh. Yet another freakazoid making false presumptions.  PZ Myers responds:
I don’t think he understands atheism at all. It doesn’t mean that existence is random, since the universe actually has physical laws that allow some predictability; if I mix hydrogen and oxygen gas, and apply a spark, I’m going to get the release of a lot of energy fairly quickly, and water. I won’t get bunny rabbits, or marzipan, or a sheet of cellophane. That there is no ultimate meaning to life means I am free to set my own goals, and I don’t have to worry about, for instance, getting enslaved in a celestial choir after I die.  
We can establish an objective morality, based on human needs and desires, which is far superior to a morality built on the arbitrary caprice of an imaginary deity (or, more accurately, the self-serving demands of the imaginary deity’s priests). Death is just an end, and while endings are to be avoided, they are a part of our existence. That believers think they will be reunited with loved ones after death does not mean that they will. Finally, I’d rather see justice in this life, where it counts. I also do not consider the Abrahamic idea of justice at all just — murderers are to be tortured with endless misery for all of eternity? Really? You consider that justice?


I don’t expect my answers to please Prager. He has intentionally composed a pair of questions for which he has his pat answers, and he’s not asking out of honest curiosity to find out how atheists think — he’s just looking for excuses to reject atheism. It’s as if he asked the question, “What is 1 + 1?”, so that he could sneer at all the ignorant materialists who answer “2”, by informing them that obviously the answer is “3”, gosh aren’t atheists dumb?

But then, this is the kind of thing I’ve come to expect of dishonest religious apologists.

Designated Driver

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Stop Coddling the Racist, Homophobic, Misogynistic, Xenophobic Hateful Repugs

It only encourages them.
Articles like this can only be written by people who don't live every fucking hour of every fucking day surrounded by white supremacists whining about how oppressed they are.
Perhaps it would be wise to be a bit more charitable to these folks, a little more patient and understanding.

A bleeding-heart liberal acquaintance almost died in a fire deliberately set by her psychopathic adopted son.  Six years old, and he'd been displaying violent behavior since he could walk. But never suffered any kind of discipline for it. I asked her what she was going to do about his fire-setting, and she said she hadn't even criticized him, much less punished him, because she didn't want him to "grow up afraid."

I said: "I want him to grow up afraid.  I want him to spend every minute terrified that he's going to spend the rest of his life in prison."

That psychopathic little shit is American conservatives, and his mother is liberals like Martin Longman, insisting we keep forgiving and coddling and understanding them.

As if doing that consistently for the last 70 years has not been the biggest political failure in American history.

You cannot - CANNOT - change the behavior of a psychopath, whether a six-year-old or a million-moron movement. You can only confine them where they cannot harm others.
But their minority status is precisely why they’re feeling so anxious and angry, and there’s no reason to fear that they’ll somehow constitute an electoral majority (by themselves) in November. If calling Trump on his racism and misogyny makes these folks love him more, it’s not an electoral problem. Their views are on the margin as it is.

What’s problematic is how this affects our culture, and the fissures that are opening in our society are causing a gridlocked government where consensus on issues large and small has become illusive.

It might be healthier for our country if there were a little more space for alternative views before they get shut down as obviously racist and intolerant, but it’s hard to be gracious and patient with people who are trying beat you politically so that they can continue to discriminate against our nation’s most vulnerable people.

On the other hand, while it may be hard, it’s also part of the recipe for political and cultural success. When you meet firehoses and billy clubs with love and a shining humanity, you will eventually win. And, before too long, most of your oppressors will come to respect what you’ve done.
Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me.  When you meet firehoses and billy clubs with love and a shining humanity ... You. Die.  Ask Viola Liuzzo.  Ask Trayvon Martin how non-violence saved his life.  Ask Matthew Shepherd how being a nice guy saved his.

Ask American gays how politely asking conservatives and repugs to grant them human rights achieved marriage equality without having to drag the motherfuckers all the way to the Supreme Court.

Ask Hillary Clinton how 25 years of ignoring and rising above the rabid hatred that spews from the right-wing swamps has turned that hatred into republican respect and admiration for her accomplishments.

Ask President Obama how constant, non-stop compromise with repugs who publicly called him a terrorist and a traitor got the American Jobs Act passed, and the Economic Stimulus extended, and Medicaid expanded in red states, and unanimous support for efforts to stop climate change.

This is not the 1960s, when racists could be shamed into letting Congress pass the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. 

This is the 21st century, when conservatives and repugs represent an immediate and lethal threat to very survival not just of American democracy, but of the nation itself.

You don't fight a genuine existential threat with sweetness and light. You fight it with overwhelming force.

Or you inaugurate Donald Trump today.
Why is it always on people of color and progressives to be the bigger person?

I don’t know. But there are real limits on how much you accomplish by meeting intolerance with intolerance. And it’s hard to be patient with angry people or to win them over with an attitude of moral superiority. That’s why love for your neighbor and setting the right examples are still the best answers.
Meanwhile, conservatard celebration of Trump has already poisoned the nation's children.  Digby:

Yet the spirit of the GOP presidential candidate has surfaced here and, according to one study, in schools across the country.

An online survey of approximately 2,000 K-12 teachers by the Southern Poverty Law Center found toxic political rhetoric invading elementary, middle and high schools, emboldening children to make racist taunts that leave others bewildered and anxious.

“We mapped it out. There was no state or region that jumped out. It was everywhere,” said Maureen Costello, the study’s author. “Marginalized students are feeling very frightened, especially Muslims and Mexicans. Many teachers use the word terrified.” The children who did the taunting were echoing Trump’s rhetoric, she said. “Bad behavior has been normalized. They think it’s OK.”

More than two-thirds of the teachers in the survey reported that students – especially immigrants, children of immigrants and Muslims – have expressed worries about what might happen to them or their families after the November election. More than half reported an increase in uncivil political discourse, and more than a third observed an increase in anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant sentiment.

I'm sure Longman thinks those children should be encouraged in their vicious hatred. Because that will make them such valuable citizens.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Privatization Always Kills: UL Hospital "Unsafe"

Shame on everyone who ever fell for the scam that public services should be "run like a business." A business does not serve the public. A business rakes in profit for its owner(s.) Public services - like hospitals and universities - do not rake in profits. Its owners are the taxpaying public to which the public entity provides services.

The two are not the same and cannot work together. This is fucking obvious, people, and always has been.

Privatization is an unholy partnership between anti-government conservatives and greedhead corporations sucking up tax dollars for bad service.

A leading University of Louisville surgeon says staffing cuts at U of L Hospital since a private company took over its management have made it unsafe, and that the hospital has "never been worse" in his 34 years at the facility.

In an email to the university's top health officials, Dr. J. David Richardson, vice chair of surgery and the current president of the American College of Surgeons, says the hospital is facing "major" safety issues, reported The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/1PiCGFg).

The hospital is poorly staffed at night, resulting in emergency room crowding, Richardson said. The Intensive Care Unit, he said, is understaffed as well.

Furthermore, Richardson said it's "virtually impossible" to do clinic research in the hospital. One approved study was canceled last week because of inadequate nurse staffing, resulting in a "major embarrassment" for the hospital, he said.

The only solution, according to Richardson, is to cut ties with the company that took over hospital management in 2013 and laid off several employees shortly thereafter.

"They are destroying the hospital," Richardson said of KentuckyOne Health.
Talking Points Memo has started a new investigative series on privatization.  Part One is on how the scam got started.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Bevin "Mass Firing" Stopped By Judge Honey Badger

Greg Stumbo may not be able to stop Governor Lying Coward from destroying the Bluegrass State, but Circuit Court Judge Phillip "Honey Badger" Shepherd is giving it a hell of a try.

Saying it appeared to be more of a "mass firing" than a legitimate reorganization, Franklin Circuit Court on Wednesday put a hold on Gov. Matt Bevin's order of last month that abolished and re-created the Kentucky Workers' Compensation Nominating Commission.

The job of the commission is to nominate candidates for appointment by the governor as judges who rule in workers' compensation cases. And on May 9, Bevin issued an executive order that abolished the existing commission (with former Gov. Steve Beshear appointees) and re-established a new commission with his own appointees.

But a 16-page order from Judge Phillip Shepherd on Wednesday suspends Bevin's executive order "pending a final judgment on the merits of this action."

Shepherd's order specifically bans the new appointees named by Bevin from nominating candidates for judgeships, and it prohibits Bevin from appointing any workers' comp judges other than those nominated by the prior commission, until further orders of the court.

The case raises "important issues concerning the scope of a Governor's reorganization power," Shepherd said. And he said the effect of Bevin's order must be held up until "a full and careful judicial review of whether the Governor's action complies with the separation of powers provisions of the Kentucky Constitution and the statutes."

But the judge also expressed strong concerns about Bevin's order.

"It appears from the record before the Court at this time that the primary purpose and effect of the Executive Order is to implement a mass firing of Commissioners, rather than to accomplish a bona fide administrative reorganization," Shepherd wrote.
In the immortal words of our fourth greatest president, "Please proceed, Governor."

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Radical Who Transformed Us

Governor Lying Coward did not have a single word to say about the death of one of the most consequential Kentuckians who ever lived.  Unfortunately, some "news" outlets are attributing to Bevin a statement from the extremely obscure Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission:

"The Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission extends its deepest sympathy to the family of Muhammad Ali. Ali was more than just the three-time heavyweight champion: he was the Greatest. We are so proud to call him a native son and will work hard to advance the sport he loved. Rest in peace, Champ."
Democratic Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer was not afraid to publicly mourn Ali, ordering flags lowered to half-staff throughout the city. But from conservatard repug Bevin we got no statement, no flag-lowering order, just crickets.

For the man whose radical patriotism changed the nation and the world.

Ali was attending a rally for fair housing in his hometown of Louisville when he said:
Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.
Damn. This is not only an assertion of black power, but a statement of international solidarity: of oppressed people coming together in an act of global resistance. It was a statement that connected wars abroad with attacks on the black, brown and poor at home, and it was said from the most hyper exalted platform our society offered at the time: the platform of being the Champ. These views did not only earn him the hatred of the mainstream press and the right wing of this country. It also made him a target of liberals in the media as well as the mainstream civil rights movement, who did not like Ali for his membership in the Nation of Islam and opposition to what was President Lyndon Johnson’s war.
But for an emerging movement that was demanding an end to racism by any means necessary and a very young, emerging anti-war struggle, he was a transformative figure. In the mid-1960s, the anti-war and anti-racist movements were on parallel tracks. Then you had the heavyweight champ with one foot in each. Or as poet Sonia Sanchez put it with aching beauty, “It’s hard now to relay the emotion of that time. This was still a time when hardly any well-known people were resisting the draft. It was a war that was disproportionately killing young Black brothers and here was this beautiful, funny poetical young man standing up and saying no! Imagine it for a moment! The heavyweight champion, a magical man, taking his fight out of the ring and into the arena of politics and standing firm. The message was sent.” We are still attempting to hear the full message that Muhammad Ali was attempting to relay: a message about the need to fight for peace.

Full articles can and should be written about his complexities: his fallout with Malcolm X, his depoliticization in the 1970s, the ways that warmongers attempted to use him like a prop as he suffered in failing health. But the most important part of his legacy is that time in the 1960s when he refused to be afraid. As he said years later, “Some people thought I was a hero. Some people said that what I did was wrong. But everything I did was according to my conscience. I wasn’t trying to be a leader. I just wanted to be free.” Not the fight, the reverberations. They are still being felt by a new generation of people. They ensure that the Champ’s name will outlive us all.

Bill Russell said it best in 1967. “I’m not worried about Muhammad Ali. I’m worried about the rest of us.” That is more true than ever.
Shame on you, Governor Pants-Shitter. You aren't fit to shine Ali's shoes.  And don't you DARE attend the funeral.

Matt Bevin Thinks You Should Be Forced to Shit in Your Pants At Work

New nickname:  Governor Pants-Shitter.  Works for more than one issue!

From the Friday press release:
Gov. Matt Bevin today congratulated Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., a leading poultry producer, on announcing a $24 million project to increase production and create about 140 jobs for Kentuckians at its Graves County plant.
140 jobs for Kentuckians so desperate for work they will accept minimum wage to slave on a dead meat assembly line for 10 hours without a bathroom break.

A new report by Oxfam America, an arm of the international anti- poverty and injustice group, alleges that poultry industry workers are "routinely denied breaks to use the bathroom" in order to optimize the speed of production. In some cases, according to the group, the reality is so oppressive that workers "urinate and defecate while standing on the line" and "wear diapers to work." In others, employees say they avoid drinking liquids for long periods and endure considerable pain in order to keep their jobs.
The findings are the result of hundreds of interviews with line workers from some of the largest poultry processing companies in the United States, including Tyson Foods, Pilgrim's, and Perdue. And they bring the current state of the poultry industry into serious question. Competitive forces, they suggest, are driving poultry processors to produce as much meat as possible, as fast as possible, leading companies to mistreat their workers, even if unknowingly.
Today, poultry processing plants are allowed to funnel chickens through their assembly lines at a rate of 140 birds per minute, a rate which the industry recently lobbied to increase by another 35 birds per minute. The speed has been great for business, but for those working on the line, it has made for extremely taxing shifts. Just ask Debbie Berkowitz, a senior fellow at the National Employment Law Project who used to work with the government agency that oversaw industry practices. On Wednesday, she published a piece in response to the new report. This is how she described the conditions:
In my work at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, I witnessed the dangers: poultry workers stand shoulder to shoulder on both sides of long conveyor belts, most using scissors or knives, in cold, damp, loud conditions, making the same forceful movements thousands upon thousands of times a day, as they skin, pull, cut, debone and pack the chickens. The typical plant processes 180,000 birds a day. A typical worker handles 40 birds a minute.

Tyson and Perdue responded to the report with denials.  Pilgrim just refused to comment.  Great Bluegrass values at Pilgrim, Governor Pants-Shitter!