Sunday, July 31, 2016
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Seriously, Mattie Boy, as long as Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip "Honey Badger" Shepherd is on the bench, you're not getting away with any of that authoritarian bullshit.
No matter how many times Donald Traitor says it's OK.
From the Courier:
In a strong rebuke to Gov. Matt Bevin, a judge Friday ruled that the governor's abolition of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees was illegal and at least temporarily blocked the new one that he appointed from acting.
While allowing the resignation of President James Ramsey to stand, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd said the record "is devoid of any legal or factual precedent for a governor to abolish and recreate an entire board of trustees of a public university."
In a 22-page decision that rejected all of Bevin's arguments, Shepherd said if the governor's interpretation of the law was correct, "any university trustee or group of trustees, can be removed for no reason or any reason – good or bad, well-intentioned or malicious.” The governor could even unilaterally merge U of L with the University of Kentucky, Shepherd said.“The governor’s unilateral action raises profound issues regarding the statutes on governance of public universities and the separation of powers under the Kentucky Constitution,” Shepherd wrote.
Kentucky Democrats split almost evenly between Sanders and Clinton during the primary earlier this year. Of the state’s 55 pledged delegates, 28 are for Clinton and 27 are for Sanders.There are signs within the Kentucky delegation that the two camps are finding common ground. Several Sanders delegates stood and applauded speakers who endorsed Clinton Monday night, and several Clinton delegates waved Sanders’ campaign signs when the Vermont senator took the stage at the end of the night.“It started with a decent amount of divisiveness and then it started to come together toward the end of the night,” Bugg said about Monday's convention action. Speeches by first lady Michelle Obama, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sanders himself were helpful, he said.SNIP“I think if she continues to speak very boldly on those issues, articulates them as the deep moral center of Democratic Party, demonstrates she is committed, then she can earn many Bernie supporters and maybe even more importantly some of those volunteer hours,” Westphal said.Two Clinton advocates who addressed the Kentucky delegation Tuesday morning used the specter of a Donald Trump presidency to woo Sanders voters and urge them to focus on electing Democrats at the state and local levels.SNIPFormer Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said the odds of Clinton winning Kentucky in the fall are long, but any efforts on her behalf will help the party in the long run.“I’ve lost political races and I know how Bernie and his supporters feel, but in the end Sanders and Clinton supporters understand there really is no choice in November and that the only way this country is going to move forward is to elect Hillary Clinton,” Beshear said.
Friday, July 29, 2016
I imagine Notorious RBG, Kagan and Sotomayor reading this opinion over cocktails, shouting out their favorite parts and just licking their chops at the prospect of North Carolina daring to appeal to the Supremes.
One of the main plaintiffs in the case is Rev. William Barber's North Carolina NAACP. This enormous victory coming the morning after his paint-stripping speech at the DNC is the definition of righteousness.
The fuck it's not necessary. Put that state back in Voting Rights Act jail and throw away the key. That's the only way to keep them from doing it again and the only way to put other states on notice not to Even. Fucking. Try. It.In the opinion, the panel of judges said that the law restricted voting in ways that "disproportionately affected African Americans" and that its provisions targeted "African Americans with almost surgical precision." It said the state's defense of the law was "meager.""Thus the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the state’s true motivation," the opinion said.It noted that the legislation was passed as African American voter turnout had expanded to almost the rates of whites, and that the legislature enacted the legislation after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, which had required North Carolina to seek federal approval for changes to its voting policies. The appeals court -- citing a lower court's findings -- pointed out that state lawmakers sought data breaking down voting practices by race. The judges said that the law's provisions singled out the practices disproportionately popular among African Americans, such as preregisteration and provisional voting.SNIPThe appeals court declined the request of the challengers to put North Carolina back under "preclearance" -- the requirement for federal approval of voting laws in certain states that was partially dismantled by the Supreme Court in 2013 -- as is allowed by Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act when discriminatory intent is found. The appeals court said the remedy was "rarely used" and "not necessary" in this case.
It took the challengers two years to stop this massive, blatant disenfranchisement, during which time hundreds of thousands of voters were died their civil rights.
If and when we ever get a Voting Rights Act with teeth, it needs to include jail time for the perpetrators.
Also, somebody tell Nate Silver to put North Carolina back in the Likely Dem category.
Seriously. After Rev. Barber brought the house down, I thought that was a speech for the ages. Democrats will be able to use that one forever.
Then Khizr Khan took the floor. And flattened Donald Traitor with two sentences.
Watch them both.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
So, if they can't bar them from school grounds, they'll just bar them from looking ... shall we call it "ni**erish?"
Attica Scott, by the way, won her seat in the legislature by beating in a primary the last DINO, Blue Dog, Conservadem fake "Democrat" left in the Louisville state house delegation. Beat him bad, too. She's unopposed in the November general election because she represents possibly the single bluest district in Jefferson County, if not in the entire state (downtown Lexington, get your fucking act together!) and repugs never expected their dem mole to lose the primary.Kentucky state representative elect Attica Scott — the first black woman to serve in the state legislature in 20 years — took to Twitter to express disbelief over a policy at her daughter’s school that doesn’t allow students to wear their hair in cornrows, braids, twists, or dreadlocks. Scott’s daughter attends Butler Traditional High School in Louisville.Scott tweeted about the policy on Wednesday, which drew ire from many students and parents. The school district, Jefferson County Public Schools, responded to say it was not a district policy — it was established by the school’s “decision-making council,” according to WKYC.com, which first reported the story. Regardless of whether it was an official district policy or not, Scott’s tweet clearly shows that it is being represented as an actual dress code policy. Former students and parents claimed these rules have been enforced at JCPS schools for some time.According to the text from Scott’s tweet, these hairstyles are considered “extreme, distracting, or attention-getting.” Parents, students, and members of the local community said that the policy seemed discriminatory against black students, considering dreadlocks and cornrows — misspelled “cornrolls” in the dress code Scott provided — are hairstyles traditionally worn by black people.
Liberals all over Kentucky went into insane paroxysms of joy when she won in May. Nobody better so much as whisper a non-complimentary word about her, and if it takes the combined throw-weight of Mayor Greg Fischer and Congressman Awesome John Yarmuth to
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
The McCracken County Attorney’s Office is considering charges in an altercation Saturday at the Cinemark Theater in Paducah that involved one man allegedly pulling a gun on another.The police report released Monday, the Paducah Sun reports, said authorities are investigating charges against John Grabinski, 64, of Ozark, Ill., who reportedly pulled a gun on John Hempen, 38, of Paducah, during a fight that broke out during the showing of “Star Trek Beyond” around noon Saturday.SNIPAccording to the report, Grabinski became angry during the movie because a 14-year-old sitting behind him was kicking his seat. He reportedly cursed the teen, prompting an argument with the teen’s father, Hempen.The verbal altercation got physical when, according to the report, Grabinski became angrier and pushed Hempen. The men then began physically fighting when Grabinski was struck in the face and knocked to the ground.When he got up, the report said he brandished a gun, saying to Hempen, “Now what the (expletive) you going to do?” Hempen answered, “Nothing. I’m good.” According to what Grabinski told police, he was “disoriented” when he got up and pulled his gun.Kentucky law does not prohibit carrying a firearm into a movie theater. Cinemark, however, prohibits firearms in its theaters.
A coalition of health advocacy groups has blasted Gov. Matt Bevin's plan to restructure the state Medicaid plan "as a giant step backward for Kentucky.""This plan threatens to undermine the health and economic gains we have made in the past two years," said the written comments filed last week by Kentucky Voices for Health, a coalition of about 200 groups and individuals.SNIPMeanwhile, a top federal official who must approve the changes has raised questions about Bevin's plan to dismantle or restructure health initiatives, including the Medicaid expansion launched by his predecessor, Steve Beshear, under the Affordable Care Act.Bevin, a Republican, has pledged to dismantle kynect in favor of the federal site, healthcare.gov, and scale back the Medicaid expansion of Beshear, a Democrat.Sylvia Burwell, U.S. secretary of health and human services, raised concerns about Bevin's plans for Medicaid expansion, citing the "historic improvements" in health coverage for Kentuckians. She also questioned Bevin's plans for dismantling kynect, the state health insurance exchange where people may shop for private plans or enroll in Medicaid.
Burwell addressed the proposed changes in two separate letters last week – one to Bevin and one to Beshear.In a July 20 letter to Bevin, Burwell described his plans to dismantle kynect as "highly aggressive" and said it is uncertain whether "we can confirm a transition will be possible this year."As for Bevin's plan to restructure the Medicaid expansion, Burwell, in a separate letter to Beshear, said her agency will review Bevin's request in light of federal law directing that any changes strengthen coverage and increase access to health care."As you know, Kentucky's Medicaid expansion has led to one of the biggest reductions of uninsured people in America," said Burwell, responding to a May 9 letter from Beshear questioning Bevin's plans for Medicaid. "We are committed to the principle that any changes to the program maintain or build on the historic improvements Kentucky has seen in access to coverage, access to care and financial security, rather than take the state backward."
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
This could be huge. East Kentucky Power is the coal-generating utility that supplies electricity to the rural electric cooperatives that keep the lights on in rural homes and businesses throughout Kentucky.
For decades, East Kentucky Power has been the biggest obstacle to reforming energy generation, sale and use in Kentucky. Or in other words, the biggest shill for Big Coal.
While a few small utilities like the one serving Berea have built solar farms for their own customers, East Kentucky Power and its client RECCs have responded to customer pleas for renewable energy with "Fuck off and die, you dirty hippies; Coal RULZ."
Monday, July 25, 2016
Sunday, July 24, 2016
That's what's really going on here. Churches get huge tax exemptions for reasons that pass understanding, and all they have to do is refrain from using their tax-free riches to endorse political candidates.
But the whiny-ass titty babies have been crying for 50 years that they have no free speech. Bullshit. They can say and write anything they want as long as they don't endorse. And they can endorse their fat asses off if they stop taking tax exemptions. But that would mean they have to work for a living rather than scamming their parishioners.
So of course they're lying their asses off about it.
Nancy LeTourneau at Political Animal:
That restriction was passed in 1954 in order to prevent donors from being able to deduct political contributions from their federal tax liability. It has applied to every nonprofit I have ever worked for – including the Washington Monthly. If you’ll notice, we write very openly about issues and politics. What we don’t do is ever explicitly endorse a particular candidate. To do so would threaten the organization’s nonprofit status.
I say all of that by way of explanation of something you might have heard Donald Trump say during his speech last night.
At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical and religious community in general who have been so good to me and so supportive. You have much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits.An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans.Republicans have also called for the repeal of this amendment to the tax code in their party platform. They often call it the “Johnson amendment” because LBJ was in Congress when it passed. So let’s take a minute to look at how Trump’s description of this is all wrong.
First of all, as I’ve explained, this restriction doesn’t only apply to “religious institutions.” Even the media is bad at pointing that out. For example, here is the headline from an article on the topic in TIME: “Republican Platform Calls for Repeal of Ban on Political Organizing by Churches.” Nonprofits as large as private universities and as small as the community-based organizations I worked for have to comply with this restriction in order to maintain their tax exempt status. This is important to keep in mind when Republicans try to suggest that religious organizations and churches are being targeted. That is simply not true.
Secondly, this part of the tax code does not keep organizations from speaking their minds nor does it restrict their free speech rights. As you can observe right here at the Washington Monthly, we talk openly about politics every day. Beyond that, nonprofits like this one are always free to give up their tax exempt status if they want to advocate on behalf of a specific political candidate. Nothing in the law stops them from doing that. It is just that the benefits of tax exempt status far outweigh the narrow gains that would be made in giving it up.
What this all comes down to is that certain religious leaders (like Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Franklin Graham) want all of the benefits of their tax exempt status with none of the rules about what that means. Were they to be successful, their churches and religious organizations would be turned into funnels through which donors could contribute to a political candidate and write it off as a charitable contribution. People who advocate for that are obviously attracted to the power that would give them. But it would become a terribly corrupting influence on their own organizations.
In case you've forgotten just how narrow and exclusive are the rights that repugs claim to defend, here's a reminder from Erik Looms at LGM that with Scalia dead, the new U.S. Supreme Court defender of white, straight, right-wing male freakazoids is Sam Alito:
... his precious religious liberties that apply only to right-wingers seeking to oppress women or gays.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
She took one extra second closing the car door and for that was brutally assaulted, arrested and jailed. I'm amazed the motherfucking cop didn't shoot her dead.
Kudos to the police chief for blasting this cop, but unless he changes his hiring and training practices right now, he's full of shit.
Patrol car video shows a white Austin, Texas, police officer violently throwing a black woman to the ground during a traffic stop, followed by another white officer telling her black people have "violent tendencies" and whites are justifiably afraid.The video is graphic and rage-inducing.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo condemned both officers' actions. He called the officer's comments on the video "disturbing" and said a criminal investigation has been opened against the officer who arrested Breaion King.
The traffic stop happened in June 2015 but was not made public until the Austin American-Statesman published the video Thursday. Acevedo called a news conference hours later and said both officers have been taken off street patrol and are on desk duty pending new internal investigations, which he said will include both officers' conduct in the year since the incident.
Friday, July 22, 2016
Short version: Governor Pants-Shitter's propaganda office promoted it. Any hope of "justice" got stomped to death under the combat boots of "Blue Lives Matter" and barely-disguised white supremacy.
People in shorts and sweat-stained T-shirts marched to the steps of the Kentucky Capitol alongside officers in uniform Thursday as they called for unity and showed their support for the police.The violent deaths of law enforcement officials in Dallas and Baton Rouge this month, along with the most recent fatal shootings of black Americans by police officers, have renewed support for - and debate over - the Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements.
Read the rest if you've got a high gag threshold, but all you need to know is there. Blue and White Lives Are the Only Lives That Matter.Thursday's "Unity March" was organized "to help try to end the violence directed at everyone," said Frankfort City Commissioner John Sower, who helped organize it. The march received support from local law enforcement agencies and other groups as well as Gov. Matt Bevin, who announced that the Capitol building and the governor's mansion would remain lit in blue for the second night in a row as a tribute to police officers.
Same thing happened in Shelbyville Sunday afternoon: it was dominated by local elected officials demanding blind allegiance to the cops and using convenient quotes from the bibble to reinforce it.
You know who else cited scripture to keep black people in their place? Yep, Traitors in Defense of Slavery. And they're still doing it today.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Violations of the Establishment Clause forbidding government from promoting religion rarely gets as blatant as this. Not that Governor Lying Coward gives a shit about the Constitution, genuine religion freedom or the well-being of foster children.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's administration has asked a judge to throw out a legal settlement made under former Gov. Steve Beshear that was meant to ensure church-run foster care programs don't sway children to their religious beliefs.Executive branch lawyers said this week that the court should undo the settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Courier-Journal reported (http://cjky.it/2atVLI1 ). The state's position and all-around "philosophy" has changed now that Bevin is in office, the lawyers said in court filings.Bevin is a Republican, while Beshear is a Democrat.Alex Luchenitser, an attorney for Americans United, said the state must stick to the agreement.
"It's a binding agreement and there is no basis for the state to get out of the agreement," Luchenitser said.The state agreed in 2014 to let Americans United and the ACLU access surveys and exit interviews with children under certain conditions to ensure foster programs aren't trying to proselytize to children. According to the settlement, the two organizations can access the information only if a state inspector general investigation has been initiated.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Only if they've eaten, digested and pledged allegiance to the resulting shit of this:
In just seven weeks, Kentucky's election campaign for the General Assembly begins in earnest. On the line is the slim Democratic majority in the state House.GOP delegates last week approved a draft of the party platform so retrograde it seems to come from another century — and not necessarily the 20th.The draft platform takes a particularly odious stance on social issues. The document proclaims that children of same-sex parents are more likely to become drug addicts and supports harmful “conversion therapy,” prompting the Log Cabin Republicans to declare it “the most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s 162-year history.” It also describes pornography as a “public health crisis” and calls for teaching the Bible in public schools. Meanwhile, it labels undocumented immigrants as “illegal aliens” and endorses Trump’s signature proposal, building a wall along the Mexican border.Political candidates are, of course, not bound by their party’s platform. But as a measure of where the party as a whole stands — and a marker of the direction in which they are headed — platforms still matter. What the Republican platform says is that the party stands in proud opposition to equal rights and inclusion. Worse yet, it signals clearly that the party not only is committed to impeding progress but also, compared with four years ago, is actively moving backward.
A flip of just three seats out of 100 to the repugs would destroy the last defense standing against the slavering barbarians hordes in the state Senate and the Governor's Office.
The last defense between House Democrats and defeat is ... US. You and me. All of us going to every campaign event we can find and demanding that repug candidates either pledge allegiance to the Talibantastical National Republican Party Platform and its leader the Orange Menace or resign from the Party and forfeit the election.
If they do pledge allegiance to that sewage of a platform, make sure everybody knows exactly what that means and rake the candidate over the coals for it.
This election is a gift, people. Don't turn your backs on it.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
Yeah, this afternoon in Shelbyville there was a "unity rally." The liberal white folks were so glad that it was organized by a black kid who never once referred to structural racism or injustice or a long-overdue promissory note still awaiting payment. His pastor must be so proud.
No, they could go to the "unity rally" with their black friends from the NAACP without fear they might have to confront actual injustice and instead pretend that if we all just prayed and were nice to each other racism would disappear.
I wasn't there for reasons of it would make me puke but I am quite sure that the phrase "All Lives Matter" was spoken with deep reverence more than once and "Black Lives Matter" was not.
Or, via Erik Loomis at LGM:Saying all lives matter is not racist. Trying to deny the reality of racism against minorities by drowning out their specific concerns with platitudes is.
Stacey Patton convincingly argues that Hillary Clinton speech about racial unity was wrongheaded.
Beyond that, Clinton’s call for everyone to “do the work” to unite against hatred overlooks the fundamental fact that it’s whites — and only whites — who must work to fix the racist structures in our society.
To quote another historical figure, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “The thing wrong with America is white racism. … It’s time for America to have an intensified study on what’s wrong with white folks.” Clinton could have spoken about racial justice.
Instead, like so many others, she focused on the rhetoric of unity. And calling for unity places yet another burden on black people.
Look at what happens in the wake of a shooting by police like the ones last week in Minnesota and Louisiana and Texas: The relatives of the victims are clearly grieving and traumatized, yet they are pushed to extend empathy and forgiveness to those who killed their loved ones, and to the system that profits from these tragedies. Routinely now, we encounter scenes of black folks hugging racists, praying with and dancing with police officers, being asked to do the additional work of teaching white folks how not to be racist and help them find solutions to a racist system we didn’t invent — while we struggle to keep ourselves and our loved ones alive.
Talk of unity, reconciliation and restoring trust is a diversion from the raw, ugly, excruciatingly painful work of addressing the systemic racism that is tearing our nation apart. In their rush to avoid the real work in favor of a kumbaya fantasy comfort zone, they refuse to confront history and the truth about present moment.Justice, motherfuckers. Then we'll talk about unity.
The point being that no supernatural being presented these to human beings. Or rather that no bunch of Bronze Age desert goat-fuckers claimed they got them from their invisible sky wizard.
These are the tenets of behavior that human beings have tried to follow since we first evolved into human beings. These are the guidelines that allow us to live and work and love within a community of others.
No one ever has to order us to follow them. Our conscience does that for us.
•The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
•One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
•The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.
•Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
•People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
•Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Because in twenty-fucking-sixteen, this shit still happens.
Friday, July 15, 2016
Here's a fascinating study. A pair of researchers at the University of Georgia took a look at what happened to prescriptions for opioid painkillers in states that passed medical marijuana laws. Over at the Washington Post, Christopher Ingraham summarizes their results:They found that, in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013,prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. The drops were quite significant: In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication.Needless to say, the painkiller industry would much rather have you gulp down their addictive and lucrative product. They are not taking the threat from medical marijuana lying down:The tanking numbers for painkiller prescriptions in medical marijuana states are likely to cause some concern among pharmaceutical companies. These companies have long been at the forefront of opposition to marijuana reform, funding research by anti-pot academics and funneling dollars to groups, such as the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, that oppose marijuana legalization.Pharmaceutical companies have also lobbied federal agencies directly to prevent the liberalization of marijuana laws. In one case, recently uncovered by the office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), the Department of Health and Human Services recommended that naturally derived THC, the main psychoactive component of marijuana, be moved from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3 of the Controlled Substances Act — a less restrictive category that would acknowledge the drug's medical use and make it easier to research and prescribe. Several months after HHS submitted its recommendation, at least one drug company that manufactures a synthetic version of THC — which would presumably have to compete with any natural derivatives — wrote to the Drug Enforcement Administration to express opposition to rescheduling natural THC, citing "the abuse potential in terms of the need to grow and cultivate substantial crops of marijuana in the United States."The study estimates that if all 50 states legalized medical marijuana, Medicare would save $500 million per year in painkiller spending. It's hard to extrapolate that to overall spending on painkiller medication, but the total savings would be on the order of $2 billion per year—maybe more.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
If you worry the Creation Museum and its new Noah’s Ark theme park will cause outsiders to think Kentuckians are a bunch of anti-science rubes, at least take comfort in this: Lexington was home to perhaps America’s greatest evolutionary biologist.Sept. 25 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Hunt Morgan, who won a Nobel Prize in 1933 for pioneering research that is the foundation of much modern biology and genetics.But aside from the University of Kentucky’s biology department, almost nobody here seems interested in marking the sesquicentennial of Kentucky’s greatest scientist.Morgan, who died in 1945, remains world-famous. But he has always been overshadowed in Lexington by his uncle, Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan, a controversial cavalry raider whose statue has stood on the old courthouse lawn since 1911.SNIPGarland Allen, who wrote the 1979 biography Thomas Hunt Morgan: The Man and His Science, will speak at UK on Oct. 13. Cassone said the university also is trying to arrange a Lexington screening of The Fly Room, a 2014 movie about the genetics research with fruit flies in Morgan’s lab at Columbia University in New York.The celebration will begin Oct. 1 with an open house featuring the work of biology graduate students at UK’s new Academic Science Building, which is now under construction and will replace the Thomas Hunt Morgan Biological Sciences Building.SNIPMorgan isn’t UK’s only contribution to refuting the pseudo-science of creationism. Nearly a century ago, as now, creationism was enjoying a wave of popularity among Christians who found science incompatible with their narrow interpretation of Scripture.One result was a bill introduced in the Kentucky General Assembly in 1922 that would have outlawed teaching the evolution of man in public schools and universities. The bill was vigorously opposed by UK President Frank McVey and Arthur McQuiston Miller, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and UK’s first football coach.The bill was narrowly defeated, but similar legislation passed in Tennessee and several other states. The Tennessee law became famous in 1925, when the American Civil Liberties Union enlisted one of Miller’s former UK students, John T. Scopes, a high school teacher in Dayton, Tenn., to challenge the law in court.The “Scopes monkey trial” became a national sensation that played a big role in turning public opinion away from anti-science for decades. Scopes was found guilty, but his conviction was overturned two years later. The Tennessee law remained on the books until 1967, but was widely ignored.While Scopes remains a household name, few people remember he was a UK graduate. It seems to me that a good thing to put in front of UK’s new Academic Science Building would be an historical marker honoring the roles Scopes, Miller and McVey played in defending academic freedom.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
A secular foundation has contacted hundreds of public schools in Kentucky to warn them against taking field trips to the Ark Encounter, the new amusement park featuring a 500-foot replica of Noah’s Ark and a belief that the world is only 6,000 years old.
You want to challenge the Establishment Clause, motherfucker, you better be stacking up piles of money taller than that fake boat to defend all the lawsuits from parents who don't want their children abused by freakazoid grifters.Officials with the Freedom From Religion Foundation say field trips would expose children to religious proselytizing that would violate the constitutional separation between church and state.In reply, Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt sent a message to school districts late Monday saying that neither outside groups nor the Kentucky Department of Education should dictate field trip selection. But, he wrote, “it is important to remind educators that at all times and under all circumstances, field trips should be a direct extension of classroom learning. As a result, all off-site trips should be directly related to the school curriculum and should seek to maximize student learning by enhancing the classroom experience.”All public school field trips should be approved by the school’s Site-Based Decision Making Council, made up of the principal, teachers and parents, and local school boards. Brad Hughes, spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association, said districts are encouraged to make sure that field trip approval policies are in place at the school and district levels.Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said the group sent letters to more than 1,000 school districts in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia warning against organizing trips to the Ark.The foundation has heard from parents concerned their districts will organize trips, such as year-end field trips.“That would be completely inappropriate,” Gaylor said. “This is an attempt to proselytize children. The public school is to educate, not indoctrinate.”Donald Ruberg, an attorney for the Grant County schools and an expert in education law, said he thinks the foundation’s position that school field trips would be impermissible in all cases is wrong.“I think they are grossly overstating their case,” he said. “That’s not a correct interpretation of the law, in my opinion.”
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Construction, fishing and farming are more dangerous than law enforcement, but you don't hear those workers demanding they be protected from the horrible fate of being publicly criticized.
On Saturday night, four off-duty Minneapolis police officers walked off their jobs working security at a WNBA Lynx game when the players wore T-shirts with the phrase “Black Lives Matter” and held a press conference focusing on healing the divide between law enforcement and the black community.The president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, Lt. Bob Kroll, praised the action of the officers. “I commend them for it,” he said, as reported by the Minnesota Star Tribune.The players decided to wear the shirts after having in-depth discussions at practice during a week that saw two black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, murdered by police and five police officers killed in Dallas. Castile was killed in the Minneapolis suburb of Falcon Heights.During warm-ups, the Lynx players all donned shirts with the message “Change Starts With Us — Justice and Accountability” on the front. The back of the shirt featured the names of Castile and Sterling, the phrase, “Black Lives Matter,” and, notably, the Dallas Police Department shield.“In the wake of the tragedies that have continued to plague our society, we have decided it is important to take a stand and raise our voices,” co-captain Rebekkah Brunson told reporters in a pre-game news conference. “Racial profiling is a problem. Senseless violence is a problem. The divide is way too big between our community and those who have vowed to protect and serve us.”
I have to ask, what offended them? Justice? Or accountability? Or possibly it was that the names of two dead black men were listed on the back. Please be specific, Minneapolis police. Perhaps you could suggest some edits that would make acknowledging injustice and a lack of accountability palatable to you.
In the wake of the killing of six officers in Dallas last Thursday, legislators across the country are considering bills to offer hate crime protections to cops. Two so-called “Blue Lives Matter” bills have already been announced since the mass shooting, modeled after the law passed in Louisiana this year. But instead of making police safer, the bills may have the consequence of criminalizing protesters and groups that are already targeted by law enforcement.In May, Louisiana became the first state to expand its hate crime protections to include police and emergency personnel. To the disappointment of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and advocates of the First Amendment, the first-of-its-kind Blue Lives Matter law enhanced the penalties for people who attack or threaten cops in the state, effectively lumping a profession into the same category as fixed or perceived traits like race, gender, and religion. When it goes into effect in three weeks, it could be put to the test right away in Baton Rouge, where protesters have taken to the streets in response to the shooting of Alton Sterling.On Sunday, people gathered in the streets were met with police in military gear and tanks. At least one officer was filmed pointing a gun at protesters. Officers also made at least 100 arrests during the mass demonstrations, locking up peaceful protesters including activist DeRay Mckesson.It remains to be seen if the law will have its desired effect of making police safer, but Blue Lives Matter bills that treat police like vilified minorities may gain traction in other parts of the country, following the deadly attack on officers in Dallas. And that means the people demanding an end to police violence in places like Baton Rouge could have an ever bigger target on their backs for exercising their First Amendment rights.
Monday, July 11, 2016
Again, class: The Civil War was about slavery, according to the writings of secession leaders at the time, and nothing but slavery; secession was Treason in Defense of Slavery, and confederates then and now are Traitors in Defense of Slavery.
Kentucky should be ashamed that Treason's President was born inside our borders.
Jack Brammer at the Herald:
A group known as The Friends of the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site is seeking a military designation for the controversial Davis statue in the Capitol Rotunda — a move that would make it more difficult to remove the statue from the Capitol.
State curator Leslie Nigels of Louisville and Steve Collins, chairman of the state Historic Properties Advisory Commission, said Thursday they do not know the group and are studying implications of giving the statue a military designation.
Ed Georgen, president of the citizens group from Lyon County, acknowledged in a telephone interview that the designation would require the advisory commission to get approval from the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission before ever moving the statue.
Currently, the advisory commission has sole legal authority in overseeing the statues in the Capitol. Last August, it voted 7-2-1 to keep the Davis statue in the building.
A debate has raged in Kentucky for years about whether the statue of the president of the Confederacy in the Civil War should be displayed just outside the governor’s office.
Several Kentucky politicians, including now Gov. Matt Bevin, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers, advocated moving the Tennessee marble likeness of Davis, who was born in Kentucky, to the Kentucky History Center in Frankfort or to the Jefferson Davis Historic Site in Todd County.
The issue never came up in this year’s state legislative session.
Raoul Cunningham, president of the Kentucky State Conference and Louisville chapter of the NAACP, said the commission “whitewashed” the issue and promised that debate about the statue’s location would continue.
Cunningham said Thursday it would be a mistake for the historic properties advisory commission to allow the military heritage commission to have a say in whether the statue should ever be removed.
“We would oppose giving the Davis statue the military designation this citizens’ group is seeking,” he said.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article88272002.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article88272002.html#storylink=cpy
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Friday, July 8, 2016
Dallas notwithstanding, targeting law enforcement is already a crime with enhanced penalties, and the danger is part of the job.
Cutting down innocent citizens should not be.
After Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, but before Philando Castile in Minnesota and before five cops in Dallas, there was this, from Charlie Pierce, about Blue Lives Matter:
Edwards signed the bill even though, as Jarvis DeBerry of The Times-Picayune pointed out, Edwards' record provided him with sufficient political cover to veto the law had he decided to do so.But in addition to being generally concerned about hate-crime statutes, I am particularly distressed by a bill that adds police officers to the list of people who can be considered the victims of hate crimes. The primary reason is that police officers are already protected. There are already higher penalties for people who attack and or kill police officers, and it's doubtful that there's anybody around who's unaware that those higher penalties exist. But there's also another reason this bill is a noxious idea. Hate crime bills were put in to place to grant some protections to populations that have historically been powerless. Police officers are representatives of power. We call them "the law." How does it come to be that the very embodiments of the state's power are cast as weak, oppressed and in further need of the state's protection? House Bill 953 is propaganda, pure and simple, furthering the lie that police officers' lives have recently become more imperiled.
And today, the total number of police officers killed in the line of duty this year stands at 58. A little more than 10 percent of the number of people killed by police officers in the same time.“How dare you stand next to me in the same uniform and murder somebody! How dare you! You ought to be ashamed of yourself! So, why don’t we just keep it real? If you’re that officer that knows good and well you’ve got a God complex, you’re afraid of people that don’t look like you, you have no business in that uniform! Take it off! If you’re afraid to go and talk to an African American female or a male, or a Mexican male or female because they’re not white like you, take the uniform off! You have no business being a police officer, because there’s many of us that would give our life for anybody! We took this oath and we meant it! If you are that officer that’s prejudice, take the uniform off and put the KKK hoodie on because I will not stand for that!”
Blue Lives Matter Is Bullshit.In the first half of 2016, police have killed 532 people — many of whom were unarmed, mentally ill, and people of color.This number comes from The Guardian’s police killings database, but the Killed by Police database counts 580 people who have died at the hands of police so far this year. The Washington Post also reports that 488 people have been shot and killed by cops.Going by the Guardian’s count, 261 white people were killed by police — the highest total out of any racial group. But data also shows that black people and Native Americans are being killed at higher rates than any other group.