Saturday, April 21, 2018

What Trump-Driven Terrorism?

I don't see any domestic terrorism. Especially not any domestic terrorism committed by white people.  And certainly not any domestic terrorism committed by white people emboldened by the Orange Loser's blatant racism to kill black kids

Maybe he thought blowing the kid away would make America great again.

In the midst of the media madness over Stormy and Syria, it’s easy to ignore seemingly minor stories that have major implications. One such story comes to us from Michigan, where an innocent 14-year-old was nearly killed due to what can only be described as Trumpian ideology:
The 14-year-old was walking to high school after sleeping late and missing the bus when he decided to ask a neighbor for directions.
It was a banal request, but it nearly got the student from Rochester Hills, Mich., killed Thursday.
The woman who opened the door after Brennan Walker, who is black, knocked on it started yelling at him. Then the woman’s husband grabbed a shotgun and fired it at him, Walker and police officials said.
Walker told WJBK-TV that “she was like, ‘Why are you trying to break into my house?’ I was trying to explain to her that I was trying to get directions to Rochester High. And she kept yelling at me. Then the guy came downstairs, and he grabbed the gun, I saw it and started to run. And that’s when I heard the gunshot.”
After sprinting away from the house, Brennan, who was not hit, hid and broke down in tears, the outlet reported.
“I’m kind of happy that, like, I didn’t become a statistic,” Brennan told the outlet, saying his mother had told him that black boys were at risk of being shot by others.
What would make the homeowner assume that a 14-year-old kid was a dangerous home invader? What would motivate the homeowner want to grab a shotgun and take this young man’s life?
 
Is it too far-fetched to conclude that the homeowner likely had the same thought process Donald Trump had back in 1989 (and afterwards), when he called for the execution of the individuals falsely accused of assault in Central Park?

Anyone who thinks progressives exaggerate when they say Trump has freed Americans to act on their prejudices needs to speak to young Brennan Walker. In one moment, this young man’s hopes and dreams could have been taken from him because of the assumption that he was a criminal–an assumption promoted by the man in the White House and his political and media allies.

The horror of what happened to young Brennan Walker cannot be overstated. This young man is psychologically wounded for life. He will never forget the morning he knocked on a door asking for help–just help–and barely avoided having a bullet in his chest.

These are the bitter wages of Trumpism. This is the natural consequence of a President effectively declaring that it is moral to be malevolent towards minorities. Thanks to Trumpism, it is no longer safe for American citizens to ask for directions when they’re lost…or walk home at night after a 13-hour shift…or even wait for friends at Starbucks.

I can’t help wondering what HUD Secretary Ben Carson–or, for that matter, Diamond and Silk–would say to young Brennan Walker, and what their rationale would be for continuing to support a President who obviously doesn’t believe Walker’s life matters. Then again, it’s probably reasonable to assume they’d use the same excuses right-wing commentator Walter E. Williams used nearly two decades ago when he attempted to downplay the dangers of racial profiling. Yet there’s no excuse for what happened to Brennan Walker.

At some point, Trump will go. Yet Trumpism will remain with us, a social malady that must be resisted with as much political and cultural force as possible–because, as a real President declared over fifty years ago:

These are the stakes. To make a world in which all of God’s children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Can't Lose Democratic Primary in KY Sixth

Democratic voters in Kentucky's Sixth Congressional District have a candidate bounty for once:  Three strong progressive candidates who would each represent a first for the District: a woman, a gay man and a black man. 
 
Amy McGrath would be just the second woman elected to Congress from Kentucky. The Third District (Louisville) elected repug Ann Northup to several terms back in the oughts, for reasons passing understanding.
 
Jim Gray is openly gay, something so boring these days that news coverage hardly mentions it.  But it would be a statewide first to send him to Congress.
 
Reggie Thomas is a reliable progressive vote in the General Assembly and as an African American would be another Congressional first for Kentucky.  He might energize the black vote all over the state if he won the primary.
 
It's a win-win Democratic primary for Central Kentucky and a giant step forward into the future for the state if any one of the three goes on to beat straight white male Candy Barr in November.

Jim Gray pitched experience. Amy McGrath pitched a new generation of leadership. Reggie Thomas pitched a progressive future.

With a little more than a month to go before the May 22nd primary, the hourlong Hey Kentucky! Debate at Transylvania University Wednesday marked the first time the three major candidates in the Democratic primary for the Sixth Congressional District took the stage in front of a television audience.

Those three candidates — Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, retired Lt. Col. Amy McGrath and State Sen. Reggie Thomas — largely agree on the issues. All of them said health care was a top priority. They’re for increasing the minimum wage, changing gun laws and each of them added that they had supported Hillary Clinton in the last presidential race and primary.

That general consensus has forced the candidates to focus on the traits that define them, namely their backgrounds, to separate themselves from the pack and make their case for why they think they’ll beat U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, in November.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Bevin Moves to Get Rid of Pesky Teachers by Just Eliminating Public Education

Step One:  Strip the state economy down to bedrock and turn the treasury over to corporations.

Step Two:  ???????

Step Three:  Profit!

And give the charter school contracts to the same corrupt contractors taking over the state prisons.  Make that school-to-prison pipeline an express train.

The last public servant standing between Kentucky's schools and the corporate drone factories Gov. I Got Mine Fuck You will now install has been quit-fired and replaced with a charter school fuckhead.

“Despite the outcry of tens of thousands of Kentuckians, today Governor Matt Bevin continued his offensive against public education, this time through proxies and behind closed doors,” said Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler, whose group had pushed back against the expected move earlier in the day. “Dr. Stephen Pruitt has been a strong and effective champion for our students and public schools. Forcing an honorable and highly qualified man to resign from his position without any cause is contrary to the best interests of students across the Commonwealth.”
House Democratic Leader Rocky Adkins said that it was “a sad day for public education and the children of Kentucky. This is just another attempt by Governor Bevin to weaken and dismantle Kentucky’s education system and implement his agenda of charter schools.”

Pruitt was hired in 2015, when the board was controlled by appointees of former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.

Bevin on Monday issued an executive order appointing seven new members to the board, including Hal Heiner, former Education and Workforce Development secretary, and the governor’s former communications director, Amanda Stamper. Heiner resigned his cabinet secretary job to take the new post. All seven seats were vacant as of Friday because the terms expired.

Bevin previously named four others to the board that develops policies governing Kentucky’s 173 school districts and the Kentucky Department of Education, so his appointees now have full control.
Colorado makes clear that charter school proponents have no place in the Democratic Party.  That's because charter fuckheads are repugs.

A very short time ago, Rheeists were Democratic Party power players. Remember that charter schools and so-called “education reform” were at the very center of the Obama agenda. Not only was Secretary of Education Arne Duncan right out of that world, but he was also one of Obama’s closest advisors and oldest political friends. But given the utter bankruptcy of charter schools, a movement straight out of neoliberal privatization (which, despite the feelings of some LGM commenters, neoliberalism wasn’t a term made up by Bernie supporters to make Chait or Hillary supporters feel bad) that sought to provide “market solutions” to education problems that busted teachers’ unions and pretend like poverty wasn’t the biggest issue in education, it’s extremely refreshing to see Democrats purge charter school advocates. Take Colorado:
Delegates at the Colorado Democratic state assembly Saturday sent a clear message to the state chapter of Democrats for Education Reform: You don’t have a place in our party.
After booing down the head of the education reform organization, who described herself as a lifelong Democrat, delegates voted overwhelmingly Saturday to call for the organization to no longer use “Democrats” in its name. While it’s unclear how that would be enforced, the vote means a rejection of DFER is now part of the Colorado Democratic Party platform.
The platform amendment reads: “We oppose making Colorado’s public schools private or run by private corporations or becoming segregated again through lobbying and campaigning efforts of the organization called Democrats for Education Reform and demand that they immediately stop using the party’s name Democrat in their name.”
SNIP
There simply should not be any place for neoliberals in the Democratic Party. Purge them all. The Democratic Party needs to stand for strong public schools, strong teachers’ unions, and a strong tax base to fund these things. I don’t want Cory Booker welcoming Mark Zuckerberg to talk about funding schools. I want Cory Booker talking about taxing Zuckerberg at 1950s tax rates to fund education. I want Rahm Emanuel to be forced into the Republican Party. The base revolt within the Democratic Party is happening different ways in different places, as Steve’s post from earlier today about New York and California indicates. But all of these revolts are positive. And when the Democratic Party is taken over by people who reject Republican-lite policies, well this is exactly the politics we should be engaging in. This is how conservatives took over the Republican Party and eliminated Nelson Rockefeller types from relevance. We must do the same. And indeed we are.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Because One Day is Not Enough to Celebrate Crushing Treason in Defense of Slavery

Today is Emancipation Day, which celebrates Lincoln emancipating the slaves of the District of Columbia in 1862.

But it's also my excuse to post - a week late - this wonderful thing from Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns and Money:

Today (April 9) is the greatest day in American history. Robert E. Lee surrendered, effectively ending Treason in Defense of Slavery. The best way to celebrate is to read, or re-read, the single greatest document in American history: Jourdon Anderson’s infamous kiss-off letter to his ex-master.
Dayton, Ohio,
August 7, 1865
To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee
Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin’s to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable.
Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.
I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, “Them colored people were slaves” down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master. Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.
As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor’s visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams’s Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.
In answering this letter, please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up, and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve—and die, if it come to that—than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood. The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.
Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.
From your old servant,
Jourdon Anderson.

Constituent Calls Saved Solar Energy in Kentucky

You think those motherfuckers voted against the most richest and most powerful utilities in the state out of the kindness of their hearts?

No, they voted that way because activist groups like Kentuckians for the Commonwealth mobilized members and others to call their legislators and demand they reject this bill.  I tried to call; the message line was busy non-stop.

Pressure on legislators and elected officials - whether by phone calls or in-person protests - works.  Don't let anybody tell you it doesn't.

From U.S. News:

Kentucky lawmakers have killed a proposal that would have let utility companies pay less for the energy they purchase from solar customers.
 People with solar panels on their homes generate their own electricity. Sometimes they don't generate enough, so they buy power from the utility company. Sometimes they generate too much, and they sell power to the utility company.
Utility companies are required to buy the power at the same rate they sold it. House bill 227 would have let power companies pay less for the excess energy. Supporters said the bill would make the process fair. Opponents said the bill would kill the fledgling solar power industry in Kentucky.
The Kentucky Senate sent the bill back to committee on the final day of the legislative session.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

This Is What You Get When You Agree to Fascist Neighborhood Rules

No, of course the neighborhood association should not ban certain dog breeds.  It also should not ban unmowed meadow yards, clotheslines, vegetable gardens, children's playhouses, compost piles, bright paint jobs and unique mailboxes.

People sign these authoritarian contracts thinking it will keep out people who don't live the way the existing owners prefer.

But first they came for the pit bulls ....

From the Herald

A cluster of huskies, pit bulls and German shepherds were out at Masterson Station Park Friday night, but their owners’ motives for the park visit were more serious than a walk or a game of fetch. 

Dozens of people, several with dogs in tow, gathered at the park to discuss and protest a ban on 11 dog breeds that was detailed in a letter from the developer of McConnell’s Trace neighborhood earlier this month. 

The letter sparked outrage from some in the neighborhood and wider Lexington community, but developer Dennis Anderson told the Herald-Leader earlier this week that the ban has been in place since 2006. Neighborhood residents say they aren’t so sure. 
 Next time, freedom lovers, try buying a place downtown. They like non-conformists there.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article208894704.html#storylink=cpy

ACLU Stops a New Law Aimed At Killing Kentucky Women

Give more money to the Kentucky ACLU.  Right now, it and teachers are the only ones standing between us and the New Feudalism, now with more Gilead!

From the Herald:

Kentucky's new law banning a common procedure for second-trimester abortions was temporarily put on hold when a federal judge signed an order setting the stage for another courtroom battle between the state and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Under the joint consent order signed late Thursday, state officials agreed to take no action to enforce the law pending a ruling on the ACLU's request for a preliminary injunction.

"This brings immediate relief to women across Kentucky who have had their appointments canceled and care delayed if not pushed entirely out of reach," Andrew Beck, senior staff attorney for the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said Friday. "In the meantime, we'll continue to fight this law and look forward to seeing the state in court."
OK, everybody, all together now: A fetus is not a child, not a baby, not a human anything until it is breathing oxygen. What a woman does with her own body, especially including getting rid of growing tumors, is None. Of. Your. Fucking. Business.  Restricting abortion doesn't stop abortion; it just kills women.  Abortion On Demand Now!

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/latest-news/article208824739.html#storylink=cpy

People Like This Vote. Do You?

Yes, it's from Australia.  But you can easily find a majority of repug voters here who agree.

From Pharyngula:

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Bevin: Protesting Teachers Caused Child Rape

No, really.  I am not even exaggerating.

From the Herald:

Gov. Matt Bevin, asked Friday about teachers leaving the classrooms to attend a protest rally in Frankfort, said, “I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them.”
Prove it, motherfucker.  Name the child.  Name the assaulter. If you don't you are the responsible one, not the teachers you falsely accuse.

If anyone out there is looking for a bullshit statement from  an elected official worse than the Orange Loser's "there are good people on both sides" of a Nazi rally, Gov. I Got Mine Fuck You just handed it to you.

And the line of Democratic candidates eager to challenge this trumpian moron next year just got longer.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article208881784.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, April 13, 2018

E. KY Middle-Schoolers Point the Way to Their Future

Ashland is coal country, made filthy and unhealthy by the refineries and coal trucks and poverty.  But these kids - these students of a public school teacher in a public goddamn school - rose above all that to point the way.

Students at Ashland Middle School won a $150,000 grand prize Wednesday in a national Samsung competition for inventing a device that helps people safely pick up dirty heroin needles.
 
The students hope their invention will help keep first responders and others safe in Boyd County, where staff at a local elementary school scan playgrounds every day for discarded needles.

Students who worked on the project said they are happy to be recognized for the invention and hope it is mass-produced and distributed across the country.

“We’re just super excited,” said Aubree Hay, an 8th grader at Ashland Middle School who worked on the project. “Getting our project out and more advertised especially, this is such a big deal for us. It’s a really good feeling.”
Not another dumb robot, this is something practical and necessary that solves an immediate public health and safety problem.

Too bad that Gov. "I Got Mine, Fuck You" and repug legislators are doing every thing they can to make sure those kids will flee Kentucky the second they graduate, and go to states that actually fund their public schools and turn out budgets that grow the economy instead of stripping it bare.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Only White Penis-Havers Who Kill Black Teens Get to Claim Credible Threat

Brown children bearing scars from attacks in their home countries need not apply, because BROWN.

Political Animal:
As the White House heralded the “four pillars” they required for any DACA fix, most of the attention was focused on their attempts to end the diversity visa lottery and family-based visas. What was not as widely reported were the changes they sought to U.S. policy on asylum seekers, which would include many of those traveling in the caravan. Here are some of the items included in their proposal:
* Significantly tighten standards and eliminate loopholes in our asylum system.
* Elevate the threshold standard of proof in credible fear interviews.
* Impose and enforce penalties for the filing of frivolous, baseless, or fraudulent asylum applications, and expand the use of expedited removal as appropriate.
* Ensure only appropriate use of parole authority for aliens with credible fear or asylum claims, to deter meritless claims and ensure the swift removal of those whose claims are denied.
When Trump tweets about how we need to change our weak border laws, this is the kind of thing he has in mind. They want to severely restrict the ability of migrants to claim and prove the need for asylum, which is what David Leopold told Greg Sargent yesterday.
“He’s saying that is a bad border law — that the legal way for them to enter temporarily should be ended,” Leopold tells me. “He’s saying that in order to have effective border laws, we need to cut out the asylum process. That’s a radical shift.”
It is a radical shift that happens to be a significant part of Stephen Miller’s white nationalist agenda.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Killing the Man Makes the Idea Stronger

And in 50 years, the idea attacked on a Memphis balcony has rarely had a more worthy champion.

Political Animal:
* The man I would call the “moral compass of this country,” Rev. William Barber, had some words to share recently.
Four diseases, all connected, now threaten the nation’s social and moral health: racism, poverty, environmental devastation, and the war economy—sanctified by the heresy of Christian nationalism. Since the 2016 presidential election, when white rage propelled a candidate endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan into the White House, racism has been more prominent in public life. Nearly every politician in the United States condemned “hate” after the violence by anti-black, anti-Semitic, and anti-gay white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, last summer. Racism and white supremacy, however, are not about hate. They are about power. The question is not whether politicians condemn hate, but whether they promote the policy agenda of white supremacy.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Study: More Legal Pot = Less Opioid Problem

No shit, Sherlock.  Every Kentuckian with chronic pain who has been self-medicating with illegal marijuana has known this for years.  Big Pharma, which makes billions of dollars every year from getting people addicted to its opioids, and the cops getting billions of dollars every year in war materiel from the War on (some classes of people who use some classes of) Drugs are the ones standing in the way of legal pot.  They, and the legislators they have bought, are condemning law-abiding Kentuckians to excruciating pain or lethal addiction in order to feed their own greed.

NEW YORK (AP) — Can legalizing marijuana fight the problem of opioid addiction and fatal overdoses? Two new studies in the debate suggest it may.

Pot can relieve chronic pain in adults, so it's been proposed as a lower-risk alternative to opioids by advocates for liberalizing marijuana laws. But some research suggests marijuana may encourage opioid use, and so might make the epidemic worse.

The new studies don't directly assess the effect of legalizing marijuana on opioid addiction and overdose deaths. Instead, they find evidence that legalization may reduce the prescribing of opioids. Over-prescribing is considered a key factor in the opioid epidemic.

Both studies were released Monday by the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. They examined state laws and statewide levels of opioid prescribing.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Bury My Heart in Mitch McConnell's Office

Noah at Down with Tyranny:



And the Teachers Are Leading Us

Holy Shit. Buses packed with teachers and students from all over Kentucky bringing traffic to a standstill; not a parking place to found within a mile of the Capitol.  The crowd is the biggest I have ever seen at the Capitol.  The signs are the BEST.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Car, Knife, Hammer

Noah at Down with Tyranny: