Tuesday, November 28, 2017

New Renewables Now Cheaper Than Existing Fossil Fuels

Oil, natural gas and nuclear are deader than coal, and their corpses stink even worse.  Get on board, Kentucky: the clean energy train is leaving the station.

In one of the fastest and most astonishing turnarounds in the history of energy, building and running new renewable energy is now cheaper than just running existing coal and nuclear plants in many areas.
A widely-used yearly benchmarking study — the Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE) from the financial firm Lazard Ltd. — reached this stunning conclusion: In many regions “the full-lifecycle costs of building and operating renewables-based projects have dropped below the operating costs alone of conventional generation technologies such as coal or nuclear.
Lazard focused on the cost of a power for a plant over its entire lifetime in North America, and how the “increasing economic advantage of renewables in the U.S.” will drive even deeper penetration of solar and wind here.
But Lazard also makes a key global point: It’s more expensive to operate conventional energy sources in the developing world than it is in the United States. So the advantage renewables have over conventional sources is even larger in the rapidly growing electricity markets like India and China.
Since power from new renewables is cheaper than power from existing coal and nuclear, it’s no surprise that the lifetime cost of new renewables is much cheaper than new coal and nuclear power. And that gap is growing.
Lazard notes that in North America, the cost for utility scale solar and wind power dropped 6 percent last year, while the price for coal remained flat and the cost of nuclear soared. “The estimated levelized cost of energy for nuclear generation increased ~35 percent versus prior estimates, reflecting increased capital costs at various nuclear facilities currently in development,” the analysis found.
Indeed, as Lazard shows in this remarkable chart, while solar and wind have dropped dramatically in price since 2009, nuclear power has simply priced itself out of the market for new power.
The lifecycle cost of electricity from new nuclear plants is now $148 per megawatt-hour, or 14.8 cents per kilowatt, while it is 5 c/kwh for utility scale solar and 4.5 c/kwh for wind. By comparison, the average price for electricity in United States is 11 cents per kWh.
So it’s no big shock that there’s only one new nuclear power plant still being built in the United States — or that even existing power plants are struggling to stay competitive.
Indeed, over half of all existing U.S. nuclear power plants are “bleeding cash,” according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report released earlier this summer. Even the draft report from the U.S. Department of Energy staff for Secretary Rick Perry conceded that coal and nuclear are simply no longer economic.
Right now, as the chart above shows, new solar and wind are actually cheaper than new gas plants. The variability of solar and wind still give new gas power an edge in some markets. But with the price of electricity storage, especially lithium-ion batteries, coming down sharply, the future of renewable energy is sunnier than ever.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Why Repugs Hate College

58% of Republicans in a poll this past summer said that college has a "negative effect" on the country. Which, if you think about it, is pretty fucked up because Republicans are, in large part, responsible for gutting and dumbing down elementary and secondary education and making it so that most decent jobs require a Bachelor's degree. But now that kids are going to college and learning history and other shit that makes them question authority, especially religious and conservative authority, all of a sudden it's bad.

The right can't just say, "We hate universities because they teach kids how to be decent human beings, and it actually sticks for some of them." But conservatives can point to the excesses at a pretty limited number of colleges, like protests against speakers or speech codes or other stuff. Then they can say, "Oh, look at these motherfucking intolerant lefties who get so much from the government."

And if they can fuck the kids over in the name of keeping more people stupid and thus keeping them more Republican, all the better.
Add higher education to the list of nice things we can't have because repugs refuse to vote money for it.

Want affordable college for yourself and your kids?  Vote those education-hating repugs out of office!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Orange Menace Is a Bog-Standard Republican

He is them and they are him. Don't be fooled into thinking he's some kind of anomaly.

The bumbling cruelty of the Trump administration* in response to the disaster in Puerto Rico is not an isolated accident of history. It’s a clumsier manifestation of the way conservative Republican politicians respond to all situations: They draw on their theological devotion to a series of conjuring words while people struggle to get drinking water and to clean the mold out of their houses. One storm follows another, and the answer is always the same. Magical thinking, ideological gobbledegook, and penurious inhumanity. One storm follows the other.
Pierce has written many times about how the republican party first started eating the monkey brains when Reagan was elected, and that now the prion disease has taken over.

Our political leadership is clearly wanting with both Congress and the president out-competing themselves for utter fecklessness. John Adams saw this in his day: “If worthless men are sometimes at the head of affairs, it is, I believe, because worthless men are at the tail and the middle.” With such conditions, he warned, “remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Funny/Sad

Via Wonkette  Commenter Memzilla:


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Your First Kentucky 2018 Candidate for Donations: Sam Gaskin

He's a gun owner who wants background checks, closing the gun show loophole and "red-flagging" people with more than one assault rifle.

No word yet on reproductive rights, but for the moment he looks good.

From the Hopkinsville New Era:

Sam Gaskins is official in his bid to be a U.S. congressman, having filed to run for 1st District representative Wednesday in Frankfort.

If no one else files as a Democrat for the seat, Gaskins is expected to face a familiar foe in 2018 in incumbent Rep. James Comer. Comer won that election in a landslide, but Gaskins did garner 27 percent of the vote.

This time, he believes he has what it takes to win and is better prepared for the long campaign ahead.


“Our president needs to shut up,” Gaskins said in references to Trump’s rhetoric on North Korea, including comments about fire and fury.

As a veteran, Gaskins doesn’t believe there should be troops on the ground, saying they are stretched thin as it is; however, he said if Kim Jong Un continues on his path, and the growing rhetoric between him and Trump continue, he’s afraid troops on the grown will be a reality.


 Gaskins has said many times he believes a single-payer system, like in other countries, is the only way to solve the country’s problem with rising health care costs. As long as competing health care companies are involved, he believes the prices will keep rising. But, whether it’s what is currently happening to health care under the Trump administration or the Affordable Care Act under President Obama, the system needs a full overhaul.
Hopkinsville, by the way, is by far the most diverse community in the far-western First District. If Gaskin can mobilize the African-American community there, he's got a real shot at this.

His website is still under construction - Sam!  Get that thing up and running!  Money won't wait! - but here is his facebook page.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article185780063.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article185780063.html#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Segregation From Reality

This has been a Southern/Confederate speciality literally for centuries. Facts and reality too painful to face? Just ignore them and cling to the myth. 

Political Animal:
David Roberts’s analysis of the American right’s self-segregation from reality, though written before the Moore news broke, nevertheless explains why Moore will likely win in a landslide:
The US is experiencing a deep epistemic breach, a split not just in what we value or want, but in who we trust, how we come to know things, and what we believe we know — what we believe exists, is true, has happened and is happening.
The primary source of this breach, to make a long story short, is the US conservative movement’s rejection of the mainstream institutions devoted to gathering and disseminating knowledge (journalism, science, the academy) — the ones society has appointed as referees in matters of factual dispute.
But the right’s institutions are not of the same kind as the ones they seek to displace. Mainstream scientists and journalists see themselves as beholden to values and standards that transcend party or faction. They try to separate truth from tribal interests and have developed various guild rules and procedures to help do that. They see themselves as neutral arbiters, even if they do not always uphold that ideal in practice.
The pretense for the conservative revolution was that mainstream institutions had failed in their role as neutral arbiters — that they had been taken over by the left, become agents of the left in referee’s clothing, as it were.
Moore win would be the least surprising development in modern American politics. There are millions of Americans, in Alabama and elsewhere, who walked away from facts, truth and reason decades ago. They will never come back. They are wedded to the vision of a permanent 1950s where women, African-Americans, members of the LGBTQ community and anyone who isn’t a straight white Christian male knows their place and knows their role. They regarding voting Democratic as a sin, not what Moore allegedly did to those young women. There is no bottom to the American right, no limits to its loathsomeness, no cap on its cruelty. When it comes to viciousness and venality, it’s fair to say that right-wingers just can’t get enough–and only want Moore.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Stop Targeting the Wrong People for Opioid Abuse

Visit a nursing home sometime.  Look for the old men and women sitting in their chairs with tears running down their faces. They're not lonely; they're suffering non-stop agony because Kentucky's lethal yet ridiculous KASPER law has taken away their painkillers.

Kevin Drum brings the scientific facts:

The main reason prescriptions went up is that doctors really had been undertreating pain for a long time. And it turns out that the biggest problem with high rates of opioid prescription don’t come from pain patients anyway. Addiction rates among pain patients are actually fairly low: anywhere from 0.1 percent to less than 8 percent, and very few pain patients ever move on to heroin or other drugs. Rather, the biggest part of the problem comes from people who score opioid painkillers elsewhere. And where do they get them? From leftovers sitting around their parents’ medicine chests. From friends. From the black market.
In other words, if we really want to address the opioid epidemic, our best strategy is not to focus all our attention on prescriptions among legitimate pain patients. Nor is it to refight the war on drugs yet again. Instead, we need to:
  • Get better at screening people with previous (or current) addictions.
  • Prescribe fewer pills after surgeries, but make it easy to get refills. The idea here is to limit the number of leftover pills lying around, but to do it without making things difficult for pain patients.
  • Crack down on pill mills and on shipments plainly bound for the black market—but without making doctors live in fear of the DEA knocking on their door if they treat their pain patients properly.
  • Get tougher on misleading pharmaceutical marketing.
  • Fund much more research on pain management and alternative pain strategies.
This is what President Trump ought to be doing as part of his “public health emergency” over opioid deaths.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

What's next? Child marriages and executing gays. They won't stop.

Don't worry, they said.  Allowing public prayer by citizens at public meetings is harmless.  It's not like elected officials themselves proselityzing on public property at public meetings ... oh WAIT.

From the press release, because they're not even trying to hide it.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 16, 2017) – Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is joining with West Virginia and 20 other states in filing an amicus brief in support of North Carolina’s writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review Rowan County v. Lund.
The Bevin Administration along with the states of West Virginia, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin are petitioning the Court to uphold well-established precedents protecting the freedom of prayer before public meetings. (SIC)
“Intervention is critical to resolve the disagreement in the lower courts and to preserve the ability of state and local legislative bodies to accommodate the spiritual needs of lawmakers,” states the brief. “This Court should grant review to provide certainty for the thousands of state and local governments that have long allowed lawmaker-led prayer in their proceedings—and thereby continue a tradition that has become part of the fabric of our society.”
In recent months, lower courts have issued conflicting rulings in regard to this topic. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit (which covers Kentucky) and a panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit both ruled in favor of religious liberty (SIC). However, the full 4th Circuit later reversed its panel’s earlier decision.
Citing two landmark Supreme Court cases—Marsh v. Chambers (1983) and Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014), the states argue that the 4th Circuit’s conclusion “is entirely unmoored from [Supreme Court] precedent.”
“Lawmaker-led prayer is a common and important form of legislative prayer, which connects lawmakers to a tradition dating to the time of the Framers and allows part-time and volunteer lawmakers to reflect the values they hold as private citizens,” the brief notes. “This Court’s review is necessary to undo the 4th Circuit’s erroneous decision, which would sweep away what has so long been settled, and threaten to create new controversy and begin anew the very divisions along religious lines that the Establishment Claus seeks to prevent.”
A copy of the full amicus brief can be downloaded here.
First, that's not how you spell "Clause." Second, "religious liberty" under the Establishment Clause does not mean "everybody else has to follow my religion."
In fifty years, christianist have gone from following biblical injunctions to not engage in the world outside the church to demanding that secular society adopt their freakazoid stupidity.
We ignored the warnings of history and the Founders and let them take over one step at a time, and now they're too powerful and our secular institutions too weak to stop them.
When they arrest you for mowing your lawn on a Sunday, don't say I didn't warn you.  

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Southern Tradition: Lynching Black Veterans

Veterans Day: A perfect time to remember one of our national legacies, white people lynching black soldiers and recently returned veterans.

A month after World War I ended, Private Charles Lewis returned home to Tyler Station, Kentucky, where a mob of masked men lynched him on December 16, 1918. Private Lewis was wearing his uniform when he encountered Deputy Sheriff Al Thomas, who attempted to arrest him for robbery. Private Lewis denied guilt and pointed to his uniform, declaring that he had been honorably discharged and had never committed a crime. The two men argued and Private Lewis was charged with assault and resisting arrest. Private Lewis was awaiting transfer to the Fulton County Jail in Hickman, Kentucky, as news of his challenge to white authority spread and a mob of 75 to 100 people formed. At midnight, masked men stormed the jail, smashed the locks with a sledgehammer, pulled Private Lewis out of his cell, tied a rope around his neck, and hanged him from a tree. The next day, hundreds of white spectators viewed Private Lewis’s dead, hanging body, still in uniform. At least 10 more black veterans were lynched in 1919 alone.
But Colin Kaepernick is the traitor.
Tyler Station doesn't exist on state maps any more, but Fulton County is in the far southwestern corner of the state, on the Mississippi River.
According to this archive, 142 black people were lynched in Kentucky, along with 63 white people.  That puts us ahead of West Virginia, Virginia, even South fucking Carolina.  Kentucky lynched more black people than North Carolina.  More than Oklahoma. More than Missouri. More than Indiana.

Only eight states lynched more black people than Kentucky did, and they are all of course deep-south shitholes.
While Kentucky doesn’t have quite as many lynchings on record as other states in the South, it does have some of the most gruesome and heinous accounts of lynchings that took place during this time. Reports indicate that 205 people were lynched in the state during this time frame and 142 of them were Black. They all met with unbelievably inhumane deaths. A glimpse of just how much terrorism Blacks faced in Kentucky can be found in the March 25, 1871 letter sent to the U.S. Congress asking for protection from the Ku Klux Klan for the newly-freed African Americans in Kentucky. In the book Racial violence in Kentucky, 1865-1940 Dr. George C. Wright says “the letter was from Colored citizens of Frankfort & vicinity, signed by Henry Marrs, a teacher; Henry Lynn, a livery stable keeper; N. N. Trumbo, a grocer; Samuel Damsey; B. Smith, a blacksmith; and B. T. Crampton, a barber.” The document contained a list of 116 incidents of beatings, shootings, hangings, tarring and feathering, and other violence that had taken place around the state.
No of course we didn't learn about this in school, or even college. The civil war was about industrialization and states rights. Lee was a hero, Gone with the Wind was nonfiction, Jim Crow who?.  There were whispers, but only about the heinous rapes of white women that those men must have committed to earn lynching.

And that was Kentucky public education in the 1970s.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Trump Administration Targets Lexington Diversity

Complete, total, unmitigated bullshit. And nothing at all to do with Lexington's mayor being gay and the first openly gay candidate for statewide office and contemplating challenging Candy Barr for the Sixth District congressional seat.

Ya know what, assholes?  Jim Gray has dealt his entire life with bigger bullies than you.  Bring it on.

From the Herald:

The Federal Highway Administration wants Lexington Mayor Jim Gray to remove a rainbow-themed crosswalk in downtown Lexington that was installed to promote diversity, saying it poses a legal liability to the city.

“While we recognize in good faith your crosswalk art was well-intended for your community, we request that you take the necessary steps to remove the non-compliant crosswalk as soon as it is feasible,” wrote Thomas L. Nelson Jr., administrator for the Kentucky division of the Federal Highway Administration in Frankfort, in a two-page letter to Gray.

The crosswalk at the intersection of North Limestone and Short Street was painted in rainbow colors just before the June 25 Pride Festival. The Blue Grass Community Foundation sponsored the project through a grant from its Knight Foundation Donor Advised Charitable Fund.

Lisa Adkins, president and chief executive officer of the foundation, said in June that the rainbow crosswalk was intended to celebrate the city’s rich diversity and improve safety at a busy intersection. 

“It surprises me that none of these issues exist in other parts of the country where they are doing the same thing,” said Josh Mers, chairman of Lexington Fairness, a nonprofit group that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. “It’s just another effort by this administration to try to push Lexington into a corner.” 

It’s odd that transportation officials in other states haven’t raised similar concerns, said Mers, who is running next year for a state House seat in Fayette County.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article184775743.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article184775743.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Don't Stop There, Alison: Go for the Recreational Gold

Calling for medical marijuana is so 1990s, Secretary Grimes.  All the cool states are legalizing recreational pot and raking in billions of tax dollars.

Demand Kentucky become the first southern state to reject the ridiculous War on (some classes of people who use some) Drugs, tell Jeffy Sessions to fuck off and die and join the coalition of smart states.

Do that, Alison, and you'll crush Gov. Sniveling Heartless Worm in a landslide in 2019.

From the Courier:

Could legal medical marijuana be on the horizon in Kentucky? 

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said Wednesday she wants to legalize medical marijuana in the Bluegrass State by 2018. 

A task force, led by Grimes, will also study and propose potential implementation and regulation processes. 

In a statement, Grimes said, "2018 is and must be the year when Kentucky finally steps up on medical marijuana. We have to get this done to help Kentuckians who are hurting."

Judge to medical marijuana users: Talk to lawmakers about legalization, not me

State Rep. John Sims, D- Flemingsburg, will co-chair a task force alongside Grimes the statement said.

"Kentucky is getting left behind on this issue. Already 29 states and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana legislation to help their people," Sims said in the announcement. "The research is done. The studies have been conducted. It works, and it's time we end our idling and start having conversations to bring medical marijuana to the Commonwealth."

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Libertarian Moocher

So are they all.

Noah at Down with Tyranny:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

No, Mitch, You Don't Get Credit for This

No, you don't believe the women.

What you believe is that Moore's candidacy is hurting the repugs in advance of 2018 and might even put Democratic candidate Doug Jones in the Senate.

You don't give a flying fuck about the women Moore raped and assaulted.

You only care about keeping the repug majority in the Senate so you can steal more billions from working people to give to the idle rich and the job-killing corporations.

The Orange Loser in the White House publicly confessed to worse crimes than Moore now denies, but you are not calling for him to step down.

Your party is the party of hypocrisy over sexual assault. You allow your candidates any crimes right up to the point it endangers their election.

The Alabama Senate race stands as the perfect symbol of repug politics:

Alabama Media Group:

Monday, November 13, 2017

Is the New Chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party Ready to Take Back the Legislature?

Hmmm.  Original Deaniac, Pike County roots, avoids actually saying dems need to pursue white male voters.

Is he a fighter?  Will he force the party to jettison the repug-lite campaigns that lost the state House for the first time in 98 years?  Ninety. Eight. Years.

Kentucky Democrats have a historic opportunity in 2018 to replicate the Virginia victory of 32 seats in the state legislature.  But not if we keep doing what keeps not working.

From the Herald:

Lexington businessman Ben Self, a co-founder of West Sixth Brewery, on Saturday was elected the new chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party, said party spokesman Brad Bowman.
Self replaces State Rep. Sannie Overly, D-Paris, who announced she was stepping down in August.


Self, 40, told the Herald-Leader that the Kentucky Democratic Party was at a “pivotal moment, and it’s an exciting moment. There’s a lot of opportunity ahead of us.”

Self said Democrats have to win elections, build long-term party capacity, which includes recruiting candidates, training activists, sharing best practices and building long-term knowledge inside the party. 

“It’s time to return the Kentucky Democratic Party to the people,” Self said. “While campaigns and candidates come and go, the only organization that can tie them together, and the grassroots energy and fundraising momentum they produce, is a strong Kentucky Democratic Party."
I don't hear anywhere near enough "Kentucky Democratic voters are sick and fucking tired of the sorry excuse for leadership that the Kentucky Democratic Party insists on protecting and perpetuating."

But if he said that out loud, the party poohbahs wouldn't have given him the job.  Let's hope that he secretly hates despises and loathes them all.

Meanwhile, fuck the party.  Get out their and light a fire under our voters.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article184132126.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article184132126.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article184132126.html#storylink=cpy
 Self, 40, told the Herald-Leader that the Kentucky Democratic Party was at a “pivotal moment, and it’s an exciting moment. There’s a lot of opportunity ahead of us.”

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article184132126.html#storylink=cpy

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Moving Statues Isn't Enough

Kentucky can take the next step by replacing jeff davis in the capitol with Muhammad Ali.

Erik Loomis at LGM:

The only way to fight against all of this is to make interpretations of the Civil War a central part of the left agenda. It’s not enough to say that we will move the Lee and Davis statues to cemeteries. They need to be eradicated entirely. We need monuments to John Brown, Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass erected where they once stood. The bland statues of a typical Civil War soldier you see in towns through the South (and the North) should be replaced by monuments to slaves. We need to make sure that every textbook used by your children has a proper interpretation of the Civil War and when it doesn’t, to raise hell about it with the teachers and the school board. When conservative white male teachers tell your students that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, they need to face repercussions for that. Again, this is a battle that will never end and it’s part of the larger battle against racism and for genuine freedom and justice in this nation. This isn’t some sideshow of a bunch of historians. It is critical to the future we all share.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

How to Get Away With Rape

Claim to be an evangelical and register republican.  

The Madness Now

From before Tuesday's victories, a reminder of what we are up against.

Five years on, it’s hard to recall Obama’s re-election without thinking about the millions of Americans who stewed in racial outrage when Obama delivered his victory speech, who hurled the worst insults at Michelle and Sasha and Malia when they saw that beautiful family on their television screens, who regarded the white voters who rejected Romney in favor of Obama as traitors to their race–and who unleashed their outrage in the 2014 midterm elections and the 2016 Presidential election. It shocks the conscience to think about the sickness in the souls of those who looked at Obama as he delivered that speech and saw him not as the man who rescued the economy, not as the man who brought down Osama bin Laden, not as the man who saved lives through the Affordable Care Act, but as someone who should be a field slave. 
The folks who viewed Obama that way will never leave Trump’s side. They couldn’t care less about Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. They think Robert Mueller’s a member of the “Deep State” trying to remove their hero from power. They agree with every tweet. They will never change–and unless those who opposed the wingnuttery of Romney in 2012 and Trump in 2016 harness their power in a consistent, effective manner in 2018 and 2020, those who hate Obama and love Trump will maintain their outsized influence over this country’s political power.

Five years ago, Obama’s re-election slogan was “Forward.” Will this country move forward again? If so, how soon?

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Big Lie About Veterans Day

I guarantee you that tomorrow, more than a handful of Veterans Day event speakers will repeat the canard that service members returning from Vietnam were spit upon by war protesters.

It. Never. Happened.

I haven’t seen the Ken Burns Vietnam series yet and given my indifference to Burns, not to mention my outright hostility to his anti-intellectual and anti-scholar claims that professional historians don’t want to engage popular audiences, which is bullshit, I may or may not get around to it. But it has led to a number of editorials about Vietnam, some of which discussing things Burns did not and others reminding us of key issues. I don’t know what Burns said about the pervasive and pernicious lie that protestors spat on veterans, but there is absolutely no actual evidence suggesting this is true. Nothing at all. And the man who exposed this myth, Jerry Lembcke (who I got to know because I interviewed him for my logging book because of his organizing in the 70s) has a good op-ed about this.
But you don’t believe the stories, right? she asked. Acknowledging that I could not prove the negative — that they were not true — I went on to say there is no corroboration or documentary evidence, such as newspaper reports from the time, that they are true. Many of the stories have implausible details, like returning soldiers deplaning at San Francisco Airport, where they were met by groups of spitting hippies. In fact, return flights landed at military air bases like Travis, from which protesters would have been barred. Others include claims that military authorities told them on returning flights to change into civilian clothes upon arrival lest they be attacked by protesters. Trash cans at the Los Angeles airport were piled high with abandoned uniforms, according to one eyewitness, a sight that would surely have been documented by news photographers — if it had existed.
And some of the stories have more than a little of a fantasy element: Some claim the spitters were young girls, an image perhaps conjured in the imaginations of veterans suffering the indignities of a lost war.
Listeners, I speculated, are loath to question the truth of the stories lest aspersion be seemingly cast on the authenticity of the teller. The war in Vietnam was America’s longest war at the time, and its first defeat. The loss to such a small, underdeveloped and outgunned nation was a tough pill for Americans to swallow, many still basking in post-World War II triumphalism. The image of protesters spitting on troops enlivened notions that the military mission had been compromised, even betrayed, by weak-kneed liberalism in Congress and seditious radicalism on college campuses. The spitting stories provided reassuring confirmation that had it not been for those duplicitous fifth-columnists, the Vietnamese would have never beaten us.
The “war at home” phrase captured the idea that the war had been lost on the home front. It was a story line promulgated by Hollywood within which veteran disparagement became a kind of “war story,” a way of credentialing the warrior bona fides of veterans who may have felt insecure about their service in Vietnam. In “First Blood,” the inaugural Rambo film, the protagonist, John Rambo, flashes back to “those maggots at the airport, spittin’, callin’ us baby killers and all kinds of vile crap.” The series supported the idea that decisions in Washington had hamstrung military operations. “Apocalypse Now” fed outright conspiracy theories that the C.I.A.’s secret war run from Washington had undercut the military mission. “Coming Home” and “Hamburger Hill” played on male fears of unfaithful wives and girlfriends, a story line hinting that female perfidy and the feminist subversion of warrior morale had cost us victory.
The whole thing is really important. When I lecture on the Vietnam War, this is a huge part of my lecture, because nearly every student has heard this myth and they all believe it. It’s simply an accepted truth now, a truth not that dissimilar from how southern propaganda framed the War to Defeat Treason in Defense of Slavery for a century. It’s tremendously damaging and helps play into people freaking out by football players kneeling during the national anthem today. It’s a myth that doesn’t just need to be debunked. It needs to be defeated and destroyed and discredited.
There are sincere Vietnam Veterans who will swear up and down that they saw protesters spit on veterans, or even that they themselves were spit upon. After 50 years of repeating it, they will not be persuaded otherwise.

But those of us who cherish hard truth over comforting myths should not let lies, especially lies about war and about anti-war protest, go unchallenged.

If you want the real story behind the spitting lie and many more Vietnam and anti-war lies, read "The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory and the Legacy of Vietnam," by Paul Brauner.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Something's Happening

It just keeps getting better. Even the long-shots came in, and the winners won by double their predicted margins.

Via Wonkette:

 Charlie Pierce:
Elsewhere, Jackson Miller, the GOP legislative whip, lost to a Marine veteran named Lee Carter, who ran as a Democratic Socialist. Late in the campaign, Miller’s people sent around a flyer linking Carter to Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx. That didn’t work, either. In the western part of the state, a Democrat named Chris Hurst flipped a Republican-held seat; Hurst’s girlfriend, Alison Parker, was a TV reporter who was shot to death live and on camera. Unsurprisingly, Hurst ran, and won, on a gun-control platform. The Democrats also elected the first Latina ever to serve in the House.


A Sikh was elected mayor of Hoboken, and a Liberian immigrant named Wilmot Collins ran as a progressive for mayor of Helena, Montana, and beat a four-term Republican incumbent. African-American mayors were elected for the first time in Statesboro, Milledgeville, and Cairo in Georgia, and in St. Paul, Minnesota. Charlotte elected its first African-American woman to be its mayor. All of these people were Democrats.
Political Animal:
Of the 16 seats picked up by Democrats, 12 of the winners were women. Not only did trans woman Danica Roem defeat “bathroom bill” sponsor Bob Marshall, Joan Walsh described some of the other winners:
Progressive Jennifer Carroll Foy, one of the first black female graduates of the Virginia Military Institute, became the only public defender in the House of Delegates. Hala Ayala, a single mother who became a Department of Homeland Security cyber-security specialist, and Elizabeth Guzman, an AFSCME member, social worker and Latino immigrant, became the first two Latinas in the House of Delegates. Kathy Tran, who came here at seven months old, became the first Vietnamese refugee. Cheryl Turpin, who ran in a special election earlier this year and lost, defeated her GOP opponent in Virginia Beach.
Tom Periello, who lost the Democratic primary to Ralph Northam but proceeded to work his heart out to help his party win in Virginia said, “Turnout was way up where we ran candidates. And particularly where we ran a diverse slate.”
Now, we’re a year from election day 2018. A lot can happen. But if numbers and enthusiasm look like this on election day, Democrats are in a strong position to reclaim the House and possibly the Senate. A certainty? Of course not. And it is critical to recognize that this didn’t just happen. It happened both because of the country’s basic rejection of Trump and the Trump Republican party but also because of countless hours of work organizing, knocking on doors, planning, and money to fund it all. It took lots of people simply deciding to take the effort to vote.
If there is not a Democratic candidate in Every. Single. Goddamn. Race. In. Kentucky. Next. Year. we richly deserve the down-to-bedrock stripping we are going to get from Governor I Got Mine Fuck You.

The Real Democratic Base

Here's how much real Democratic candidates don't need Trump voters.

Why did Ralph Northam win Virginia's gubernatorial last night by nearly ten points?  Black, Asian, and Latinx voters, and especially black women.


It wasn't women who gave Ralph Northam the win, it was women of color who gave him the win. Among white voters, who still made up two-thirds of voters last night, Gillespie had a cake walk and won going away.

Enough black voters turned out to not only stop Gillespie cold, but to pick up the seats they needed in order to, along with Northam's win and Democrat Justin Fairfax's win as the state's new black Lt. Governor, take control of the state's House of Delegates in a 50-50 split by picking up a whopping 16 seats.

Northam has about an 8.5% win.  That's pretty much the exact margin black women gave him overall.  Without black women, this is a tie race.  With them, Northam won easily.

Oh, and with Dems winning the Washington State Senate special election and New Jersey's gubernatorial race, that's three states last night that went from split to Democratic control.

Maine too voted to expand Medicaid.  Overwhelmingly.

Thanks, Donny!

The lesson is when black voters show up, Democrats win and win BIG. We know this. What I don't know why we're trying to worry about winning back white men who voted for Republicans by a 27 point margin.  Get more black votes out.  Fight voter suppression.  Jesus, it's not multi-variable calculus, guys.

Republicans know this lesson well and have been trying to disenfranchise black voters for decades exactly because they know black voters win election for Dems because we vote for Dems. Duh.

Why some Democrats still yet don't understand this, I'll never know.

Keep This Wave Going

Northam in VirginiaMedicaid expansion in MaineMurphy in New Jersey. Trans women in Virginia and Minnesota. This is the greatest Democratic and liberal night since 2008.

Get out there and register voters.  Find the Democratic voters who sat out 2016 and light this fire under their asses.  Get candidates for every single office in 2018.  In Kentucky, that's every state House member, half the state Senate andevery U.S. House member.

If we don't take advantage of this, we deserve every catastrophe Bevin and the Orange Menace can throw at us.

The repugs are down and hurting.  Let's go kick them.  With VOTES.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

AG: Crafting KY Pension Deform In Secret Was Illegal

If it's done in secret, you can be sure it's something that voters will hate.  As proven by the universal outcry against it the instant this fuck-the-teachers plan hit oxygen.

The Kentucky House of Representatives violated the state’s Open Meetings Act with a closed-door conference in August where lawmakers from both parties huddled to discuss their plans to deal with the state’s pension shortfall, Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office announced Monday.

The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, a free-market think tank based in Lexington, challenged the legality of the private House meeting, arguing that the public should be able to watch anytime the House conducts business. The attorney general — whose opinion carries the force of law on open meetings and open records issues — sided with the Bluegrass Institute.

“A quorum of the House was present,” Assistant Attorney General Matt James wrote. “In closing the meeting to the public without an authorized exception, the House violated the Open Meetings Act.”

In its response to the Bluegrass Institute’s appeal, an attorney for the House said the entire legislative body did not technically meet that day. Rather, it was “a meeting of the House majority caucus, which was open to members of the House minority caucus,” and “both of these entities are specifically exempt” from the Open Meetings Act, the attorney argued.
That was a stretch, legally speaking, said Jim Waters, president of the Bluegrass Institute.

“They have no right to shut the people out of their discussions,” Waters said. “The formation of public policy is just as important as what the final policy turns out to be. And it’s important to remember that the open meetings law is something the legislature has imposed on other public entities to follow.”

Only one lawmaker walked out of the Aug. 29 pension meeting to protest the fact that it was behind conducted in secret — state Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville.
Shame on the dems who did not follow Wayne out the door.

The punishment for violating Kentucky's Open Meetings Act is 30 days in the public stocks.

Sigh, of course not.  At very worst, the repugs will have to release video or audio recordings of the meetings.  Which could be illuminating.  But not as much fun as throwing rotten tomatoes at their faces.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

No, Governor Craven Heartless Worm, Hoover Resigning Will Not Save Your Pension Deform

UPDATE:  Jeffy's out, and the repugs are scrambling.

Funny how Governor Carpetbagger never mentioned the sexual harassment rampant throughout the legislature and the executive branch until it started to endanger his plans to strip Kentucky's economy down to bedrock.

Also, he better be sure he never so much as let his eyes drop below a woman's neck in his entire life, because otherwise this hypocritical bullshit is going to have his victims lining up to sue his ass.

Jack Brammer at the Herald:

Gov. Matt Bevin, making his first public comments on a sexual harassment scandal that has rocked the state House of Representatives, called Saturday for “the immediate resignation of every individual who has settled a sexual harassment case, who is a party to trying to hide this type of behavior.”

Bevin, in a hastily called news conference in the Capitol Rotunda, mentioned no one by name. The Republican governor called the allegations serious and reprehensible.

“These alleged actions, which haven’t been denied, are reprehensible, indefensible and unacceptable. Any elected official or state employee who has settled a sexual harassment claim should resign immediately,” Bevin said. “The people of Kentucky deserve better. We appropriately demand a high level of integrity from our leaders, and will tolerate nothing less in our state.”

He added: “You either publicly condemn or you publicly condone this type of behavior.”

 Bevin made the public statement after Republican Rep. C. Wesley Morgan of Richmond had called Saturday for the resignation of Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover, accusing him and party leaders of concealing sexual harassment allegations against Hoover and three other Republican legislators.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article182770501.html#storylink=cpy

In a statement Saturday night, Hoover accused Bevin of “grandstanding” and said he is “more resolved than ever to continue my work as Speaker.” He said he supported the request by other GOP House leaders for an independent review.


Bevin took no questions and did not say how the scandal might affect his desire to call a special legislative session this year to make changes in Kentucky’s public retirement systems.

Buy popcorn futures.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article182770501.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article182770501.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article182770501.html#storylink=cpy