Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Indiana A Go Go

Let the mad scramble to "explain" the new Indiana law begin!

I've watched with great amusement as conservatives in Indiana and across the nation have been falling all over themselves to reassure folks that their law does not allow discrimination against gay people. They've foamed at the mouth about "narratives" (code for "shit, we got caught with the truth again") and made false equivalencies to other laws which are supposedly the same thing. If they had only followed their own ideology of laws and unintended consequences, perhaps it might have turned out differently.

Instead, they passed a law to protect the thousands (see: absolutely fucking no one, misleading vividness) of people (see: Christians) being persecuted by the state (see: Obama...somehow) for their religious beliefs (see: making a cake for a gross gay couple) across Indiana. Didn't they realize that the free market (oh, hee hee hee ho ho...giggle fit complete with stomach grab) and the FIRST FUCKING AMENDMENT might not work in their favor?

Well, now Republican legislators are scrambling to add language to the bill that won't allow for discrimination against gays and lesbians. Shit...there goes the whole "I hate gays and won't serve 'em cuz my religion says so" point of this law!

AP has a nice summation of all of the latest, including this most excellent part.

Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Long stressed that the new law is based on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which has been upheld by courts. But the Human Rights Campaign said it's disingenuous to compare the two laws. 

The campaign's legal director, Sarah Warbelow, said the federal law was designed to ensure religious minorities were protected from laws passed by the federal government that might not have been intended to discriminate but had that effect. The Indiana law, she said, allows individuals to invoke government action even when the government is not a party to a lawsuit. It also allows all businesses to assert religious beliefs regardless of whether they are actually religious organizations.


We've Already Had This Conversation

Monday, March 30, 2015

How The GOP Will And Won't Win in 2016

The New York Times has a piece up about the contrast within the GOP today and how that will play out in 2016.

On Jeb Bush...

That night, he told Republicans that their party had to “go out and reach out to people of every walk of life, not with a divisive message but one that is unifying.”

He is telling Republicans, in effect, that they must accept a changing country: that the path to the presidency will be found through appealing to voters who may not look like them, and with a standard-bearer whose state and immediate family resemble tomorrow’s America.

On Scott Walker...

...making his own maiden New Hampshire swing, proudly donned a hat given to him by a gun-rights group and, highlighting his frugality, bragged about the sweater he had bought at Kohl’s for a dollar.

He has succeeded by confronting his adversaries and by generating soaring levels of support from his fellow Republicans in a state they have failed to carry in a presidential race for more than three decades. The party’s way forward, by Mr. Walker’s lights, lies in demonstrating toughness in the face of intense opposition from the left and mobilizing those who are already inclined to support conservatism.

Gee, I wonder which philosophy can win a national election...:)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Fine Tuning the Gay-Dar

Indiana passed a law this week allowing business to refuse customers due to religious objections. Essentially this means that if a business owner sniffs out the gay on someone, the state won't be allowed to compel them to serve said sinner.

There are a number of profoundly stupid things about this law and we are now seeing the fallout. Businesses are scrambling for "We Serve Everyone" stickers. Angie's list is cancelling their plans to expand into Indiana. The NCAA is reconsidering its place in Indianapolis and for future Final Four events. Indiana tourism are worried that the 4.4 billion dollar a year/75,000 jobs industry is going to be hit. Even Indiana businesses, the ones that conservative ideologues in the state are saying they are "protecting" are in full on pants shitting mode.

But the one thing I can't figure out is this. How can someone who is one of these "religious freedom riders" tell if someone is gay who enters their store? Men carrying photos of themselves with a vagina? :)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Anger And What They Want To Hear

I'm not a fan of Lindsey Graham but I agree with this.

I’m not going to tell people things that they emotionally want to hear that I don’t think are going to happen. People are picking up on anger and frustration with the president, which I get. They are turning that anger and frustration into an emotional response to try to get people to vote for them. What I’m trying to do is talk about the anger and frustration but also try to get realistic assessments of how we solve these problems. 

You can’t govern the country based on being angry.

Exactly right. And this is why the Republicans are having such trouble winning national elections. All they have is anger and all they want is someone to tell them what they want to hear...

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Recipe for Total Disaster

Well, that didn't take long. Yesterday European authorities determined that the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 was depressed and responded by locking out the pilot and crashing his aircraft into a mountain.

Today we have people making suggestions like this:
With the news that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, apparently brought down the plane deliberately, killing all 150 on board, we should quickly develop procedures and install equipment to allow air traffic control officials to override cabin cockpit controls. They could then take over a troubled flight — whether from an incapacitated crew or someone bent on malevolence — and fly the plane to safety, much in the way that drones are routinely operated.
This is, to put it mildly, a colossally stupid idea. Every day we hear more stories about hackers getting into bank computers, cash registers for major retailers, email accounts for major corporations, and nuclear power plants.

When you write code you either do it fast or you do it right.
Now they want to quickly place the thousands of airplanes flying through our skies at the mercy of hackers. As every software engineer knows, when you write code you either do it fast or you do it right. Mucking around with code that operates the flight controls of an aircraft and exposing them to external influence will introduce thousands of unintentional security vulnerabilities, especially if we rush to do so.

There are tens of thousands of flights per day. Terrorists could kill a hundred thousand people in a single day if they discovered a security hole in the remote control code for the Airbus 320. After 9/11 the airline industry was screwed up for years. If terrorists crashed 100 planes simultaneously the airline industry would never recover.

And even if the remote control code was 100% bulletproof, what if an unbalanced person or a group of terrorists or took over the remote control center itself?

In any case, remote control would be trivial to circumvent: would-be hijackers or suicidal pilots could simply jam radio signals on the plane. For decades the FAA has been afraid that cell phones, MP3 players and laptops would interfere with avionics, which is why we always had to turn them off during vulnerable times like takeoff and landing. Devices that intentionally jam radio signals could easily be smuggled aboard planes in the guise of those very same laptops, cell phones and MP3 players, rendering any form of remote control impossible.

There is no technological fix for a human problem
The reality is, there is no magic technological fix for what is essentially a human problem. All of our security ultimately relies on trusting human beings to do their jobs. Even the most popular idea, requiring two pilots in the cockpit at all times, isn't foolproof: it assumes that the pilot and copilot would never conspire in a suicide pact.

It also assumes that a pilot can't get a gun or knife aboard a plane and would never shoot or slit the throat of the other pilot. This is a foolish assumption, because it's ridiculously easy for airline employees to smuggle weapons onto airplanes, as we witnessed last year when Delta employees at the Atlanta airport smuggled hundreds of guns to New York aboard airplanes.

We also allow sky marshals to carry firearms on airplanes, and it would be trivial for them to shoot the pilots when the cockpit door is open. Given the recent spate of scandals at the Secret Service, I can't imagine the sky marshal service is any more rigorous in its screening of its employees, so there are without a doubt a few bad eggs there as well.

It looks like at least three airline pilots (on Egypt Air, Malaysian Airlines and Germanwings flights) have committed suicide by plane since 1999, despite rigorous psychological screening.

People need to stop running around screaming it's the end of the world and just accept the fact that it's impossible to be 100% safe. After all, there are 200 million idiots out on the highways, and you're far several thousand more times likely to be killed on the road by some drunken dolt on a Friday night than by a terrorist or suicidal pilot crashing a plane.

Yes, we need to take reasonable precautions, but in the heat of the moment we must not get sidetracked with stupid unworkable ideas in our attempt to pander to chicken littles who think the sky is falling, and avoid doing things that will only make us less safe.

It's Worse If You're Correct

I have come to the conclusion that when you are debating politics with a conservative, it gets worse the more you are accurate.

I recently engaged in a long discussion on Facebook over whether or not Barack Obama has destroyed our economy. I pointed out several key indicators (jobs, GDP, stock market, debt/deficit) which indicate that he has not "destroyed" our economy. In fact, it has vastly improved on his watch. As I presented them with more and more data, they grew increasingly hostile. One fellow named Dana eventually wrote this.

I hope that you and the rest of the liberals in this country do us a favor and end your own lives. 

I have to admit that I was pretty shocked by this statement. No one in the group (about 14 people) called him out on it. In fact, they kept piling on me. I did get a message from a guy named Connor who told me that Dana said the same thing to him. How can someone like this be so angry? The whole discussion certainly confirms many of the assertions I've made about conservatives in the past (adolescent, anger, hate, fear etc) but something new came out of it.

As we near the end of the Obama presidency, our country continues to improve in a number of sectors. Like the frustrated child that simply can't take someone doing a better job than they do, conservatives are going to grow more petulant...more hateful...more angry...and behave in ways that we probably can't imagine.

I'd advise all of you to be careful about future discussions like this and realize that facts may no longer help. It seems now that they make it worse.

Good Words

Thursday, March 26, 2015

An Apology To Readers

I'd like to apologize to my 200-300 daily readers of this site for losing the courage of my convictions. It's been something that has been sticking in my craw for a while now and I felt it necessary to get it off my chest.

About a year ago, I noticed something about Benjamin Netanyahu and how he treated President Obama. It was merely how he treated him but how he looked at him. It reminded me a lot of how white men from the South look at the president. But I didn't say anything because I had doubt. That doubt was placed there by conservatives with their continual redirect and DARVOing. Being the reflective fellow I am, I listened to them and thought twice about putting up a post about how it's incredibly fucking obvious that Bibi no likey the blackies.

Yet now that he has made his comment about Arabs voting in droves, my suspicions are confirmed. So, I apologize, dear readers, for holding back. It will NEVER happen again. Clearly, their main goal in life is to foment doubt and act like adolescents. My days of listening to their garbage are over.

Now that we have comments cleaned up and monitored more closely, I encourage you to leave feedback and start some conversations. Registration is no longer required and you can post under any name you like..even anonymous. The comments will be moderated and checked for personal remarks to posters/commenters and spam so you will not be attacked by other commenters. The issues themselves will be the foundation of the discussion.

Thanks for sticking with us for all these years!

Fading Into Irrelevance

From a recent question on Quora...

If we look at the historical record. In the period from 1990 - 2915. You will find that the GOP has more consistently refused any Compromise. You also have GOP politicians stating that "there is no Compromising their values." Newt Gingritch was essentially de-throned as Speaker because he Compromised with Clinton. Conservatives try to pretend that "Democrats are exactly the same." But this would be nothing more than their continued slide into a Post-Modernist world where they can basically invent their own facts, rather than accepting that a consensus reality exists for which concrete observable facts are a part. 

And, it represents their failure to understand that on some issues (abortion, Global Warming, Religion, .....) that we have established laws, and they are trying to re-litigate these issues. Today's GOP has essentially become a mixture of the John Birch Society and Neo-Confederates trying to continue to fight the Civil War. And the fact that they have had to resort to cheats, gaming the system, and brinksmanship for EVERY ISSUE rather than let their ideas stand on merit shows that they are holding a losing hand (the only reason they remain in power in Congress is through a heavily gerrymanders majority, which defies the millions of votes more that went to Democratic Candidates than went to the GOP). 

 But... This will all get ironed out in 2016, when they are likely to fare even worse than they did in 2012, and by 2020, the new SCOTUS will likely undo all gerrymandering. So, by then, unless the GOP begins to accept reality, they will then fade into irrelevance as a regional party of grumpy old white guys.

Intelligent minds think alike!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Five Numbers, Five Years

As the Affordable Care Act hits its five year anniversary, here are five numbers to keep in mind.

$7.4 Billion: The Amount of Money Hospitals Saved on Uncompensated Costs Last Year

29: Number of States (Including the District of Columbia) That Have Expanded Medicaid

$66 Billion: The Amount of Economic Output the Nation Is Losing by States Not Expanding Medicaid

$1.2 Trillion: The Cost of Obamacare Over the Next Decade (Revised lower yet again)

56: Number of Unsuccessful Votes in Congress to Undermine/Repeal the Law

Ted Cruz Going On Obamacare

No, that's not an Onion headline. It's the real deal.

It's a deeply ironic development for the Texas conservative firebrand, who vaulted to fame during his few years in the Senate in large part by denouncing President Barack Obama's landmark health care law. He led an effort to defund the law that contributed to the 2013 government shutdown.

Actually, what's deeply ironic is that he could end up voting to repeal his own health care!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Billions Saved Because of ACA

HHS: Hospitals saved billions under ObamaCare

A massive expansion of insurance programs like Medicaid and a drop in emergency room visits saved hospitals at least $7.4 billion over the last year, the Obama administration announced Monday. With millions more people covered under ObamaCare last year, hospitals faced fewer bills from patients who lacked insurance and were unable to pay. Hospitals also saw fewer emergency room visits, which rack up far higher costs and often leave hospitals with the tab.

Thanks, Obama!!

Thanks Obama!

Victim George Zimmerman has someone else to blame for all his troubles...Barack Obama!

Q. George you mentioned unfairness and if you had to point to a government agency or official, who do you think the highest level of fairness to your personal situation? 

A. By far, the President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama. He had the most authority and in that sense I would hold him in the highest regard believing that he would hold that position and do his absolute hardest to not inflame racial tensions in America. Unfortunately after even after Jay Carney, his press secretary stated in the White House briefing that the White House will not interject in a local law enforcement matter and at most a state criminal matter, President Obama held his Rose Garden speech stating if I had a son he would look like Trayvon. 

To me that was clearly a dereliction of duty pitting Americans against each other solely based on race. He took what should have been a clear-cut self-defense matter and still to this day on the anniversary of incident he held a ceremony at the White House inviting the Martin-Fulton family and stating that they should take the day to reflect upon the fact that all children’s lives matter. Unfortunately for the president I’m also my parent’s child and my life matters as well. And for him to make incendiary comments as he did and direct the Department of Justice to pursue a baseless prosecution he by far overstretched, overreached, even broke the law in certain aspects to where you have an innocent American being prosecuted by the federal government which should never happen.

I bolded the right wing dog whistles. Perhaps he wants his own show on Fox someday.

Gee, it looks like someone has fully embraced right wing victimhood with all this wacky, ideological nonsense. His lot in life is Barack Obama's fault?

Thanks Obama!

He Can't Say "Climate Change"

Witness what happens when you allow Republicans to lead governments


I suppose I would be laughing along with the Democrats on the panel but this Soviet style muzzling is more nauseating than anything else.

Good Words

From a recent question on Quora...

In the old Soviet Union, people who expressed unwelcome opinions or stated unflattering truths about the regime in power, were often sent to mental hospitals. This served the dual purpose of getting them out of the way for a while, and discrediting their mental health so people were less likely to listen to them. Governor Scott is simply following in this repressive tradition. 

This behavior is typical for American Conservatives today who are waging what Jon Stewart called "a chronically angry war for ideological purity, where every aspect of life becomes a two-dimensional battle for America’s soul." Nowhere is this more evident than their rejection of science.

A chronically angry war indeed...

Thank You, Ted Cruz

Now that Ted Cruz has entered the presidential race, Hillary Clinton can breathe a sigh of relief. He's going to do her job for her.

People close to Clinton smiled at the sight of the first-term senator wandering alone on stage at Liberty University, implicitly threatening a civil war with the “mushy” establishment of his party that he loves to decry — while at the exact same time Clinton sat comfortably alongside heavyweights from her own party’s progressive and labor elements, who have thus far entirely declined to challenge her.  

So, not only will to be amusing to watch Cruz wax short wave radioese but it will also be tons o' fun watching him take apart the rest of the field, leaving them so bruised that by the time they get to the general to face Hillary, it will be like Mitt Romney 2012 all over again:)

Not So Much On The Ted Cruz Bandwagon

Ted Cruz Has Skeptics at Liberty, and They Use Yik Yak

Looks like they were forced to be there. And they like Rand Paul much more.

Check out some of the posts...hee hee...will conservatives ever appeal to young people again?

Monday, March 23, 2015

GOP Adds First Victim To Clown Car

Senator Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for president today and became he first official conservative to throw his hat into the ring.

“Imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel,” he said. “Imagine in 2017, a president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare.” Story Continued Below Referring to the educational standards backed by Bush, the Texas senator said: “Imagine repealing every word of Common Core.” In another swipe at the governor, who has supported comprehensive immigration reform, Cruz promised to oppose “unconstitutional executive amnesty.”

It's going to be fun watching him get his ass kicked. Even more amusing will be the mental calisthenics that the right wing blogger crowd (Cruz's gristle) will perform in an attempt to be all factsy and truthy about how there are literally millions (see: maybe a few thousand in the comment section of this one awesome blog read in parent's basements across the country) upon millions of Americans that have embrace this ideology to run the United States.

Of course, there is also that issue of where Ted Cruz was born...cue the crickets:)

Here Come The Thought Police!

Conservatives like to caterwaul about authoritarian government and how liberals are bringing all of us closer and closer to totalitarianism. I submit that the reason why they say this is because THEY are the ones who can't resist the elixir of power and would do all of things they say liberals would do. Likely worse. Remember this? Well, it's gotten worse.


Washington, DC — A Florida state employee is in hot water for speaking about climate change at an official meeting and keeping notes of that discussion in official minutes, according to a complaint filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In response, his superiors at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued him a letter of reprimand, ordered him to take two days leave and then told him not to return until he had medical clearance of his fitness for duty.

Medical clearance? WTF?

Well, apparently, Mr. Bibler has to see a psychiatrist in order to return to work. Perhaps he will need psychic probe to remove all of those evil climate change thoughts from his noggin. Here is a copy of the official reprimand.

The next time you hear a conservative bitching about "liberal fascism," show them this story.

A Clinical Psychologist On Ayn Rand

Here's an interesting piece on Ayn Rand which posits the following.

A century later, Ayn Rand (1905-1982) helped make the United States into one of the most uncaring nations in the industrialized world, a neo-Dickensian society where healthcare is only for those who can afford it, and where young people are coerced into huge student-loan debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

Sadly, somewhat true. The entire piece is fantastic. Check it out!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Good Words

From a recent piece in Politico from Representative Mike Thompson

To that end, the priority of Congress should be straightforward: Keep guns away from criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. The best way to do this is by expanding criminal background checks. 


The reaction on one side of the debate is to argue that guns have no place in our society. Significant constraints on gun ownership are proposed as legislative remedies. On the other side of the debate, we’re told the answer is to put more guns in schools and make it easier for people to carry weapons in public places such as malls and movie theaters. Both responses are extreme. Neither side gets anywhere. Gun violence continues unabated, and we fail to pass meaningful legislation that could save lives


If you’re a Second Amendment supporter like me, this is problematic. Persistent gun violence will eventually lead to laws that place substantial and overly burdensome restrictions on our right to own guns. You don’t have to look any further than California’s attempt to require that all ammunition purchases be made through face-to-face interactions, or New York’s attempt to limit magazine capacity to seven rounds despite the fact that almost no handguns have seven-round magazines available to see the truth of this.


We need to stop criminals, domestic abusers and those with a history of dangerous mental illness from getting guns.
The only way to know if someone falls into one of these categories is to conduct a background check. This is a rationale that an overwhelming majority of gun owners support. It’s one that even the National Rifle Association used to support before it changed its stance. Ironically, by flip-flopping on expanded background checks, the gun lobby has undermined a legitimate effort to reduce gun violence and, in doing so, has left the door open for more stringent restrictions on Second Amendment rights in the future. 

In short, the Gun Cult should give a little now and save themselves a whole worse later...

Watch That Gun Cleaning!

God Shoots Himself While Cleaning Gun

Saturday, March 21, 2015

ISIS, Death and Taxes

An article in the New York Times raises the specter of Americans haring off to the Middle East to join ISIS and wreck havoc. It's supposed to be particularly shocking because several of these would-be terrorists are coming from white-bread Minnesota, where Somali immigrants have been settling for decades with very few problems.

The total number of ISIS sympathizers who have left the US is unknown, but is probably small. The FBI and concerned Somali Americans have been working together to keep these kids from going to certain misery and death in Iraq and Syria. They have been monitoring social media and have stopped many would-be terrorists from leaving the country. For example,
Mohammed Hamzah Khan, 19, took his younger brother and sister with him to O’Hare airport in Chicago, where agents intercepted them. He left his parents a long letter saying he could not stay in the United States because his taxes might be used to kill Muslims overseas.
It's interesting how the right-wing American objection to their taxes being spent on things they don't like -- such as abortion -- has now been wedded with Islamic fervor. Right-wing crazies are the same no matter what their religion.

The thing is, ISIS terrorists spend almost every waking moment in the Middle East killing other Muslims. This kid doesn't want his taxes to be spent killing Muslims, but he wanted to go to the Middle East where ISIS would make him kill Muslims. Huh?

Sure, ISIS terrorists have lopped off the heads of a few American, Japanese and British aid workers and reporters. But the vast majority of their victims have been tens of thousands of Iraqi, Syrian, Egyptian, Yemeni, Tunisian Muslims.

By now it's clear that ISIS doesn't give a damn about Muslims or Islam. They're just a bunch of hoodlums and thieves who want to steal oil and land from real Muslims in the Middle East.

It's also clear that we can't defeat ISIS by declaring a war against all Islam. We must defeat them by exposing them as the hypocrites they are: a bunch of greedy scum bags flying a fake Islamic flag using Muslim kids to murder other Muslims to set themselves up as petty dictators, pedophiles and slave traders.

By characterizing ISIS as an Islamic entity and declaring war on all Islam, Republicans are blundering into the trap that ISIS has set. The more Republicans scream about the fight against ISIS being a war against Islam, the more American kids will want to join ISIS.

Because, you know, kids are contrary like that.

Declining Gun Ownership

I'll always be amused by the calisthenics on display by the Gun Cult when the facts of declining gun ownership are presented.

They can try to pull whatever they want out of their collective asses but the simple fact is that younger people generally aren't interested in guns. Once the boomers are gone, the debate over guns will effectively be over because there won't be anybody on one of the sides. The NRA knows this and their masters in the gun industry (side note: also eternally amused by the men who run the NRA who claim to be all about individualism and freedom. How does it feel to someone's bitch every single fucking day?)see the writing on the wall via their market projections, hence the fear/shit your pants push to buy more guns.

They are cashing in now while they have the chance.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Good Words

Stepping Up On Carbon Emissions

The president announced yesterday that he would be directing federal agencies to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent by the year 2025. While it's more symbolic than anything else (federal agencies only account for 0.7 of our country's carbon emissions), I still think it's significant. It sets a precedent for the private sector and other countries to follow.

The United States has always been a leader in the world. In fact, we are THE leader. Despite the denying of science by the adolescents on the Right, the US will be the go to country for renewable energy and solving the problem of increased carbon emissions that is leading to climate change. It will be our technology, our innovation, and our ingenuity that will eventually save the day...again!

Good Words

Thursday, March 19, 2015

They Opened A Gun Shop (AKA How The Gun Cult Loses)

When It Becomes A Meme, You Know Your Ideology is Fucked

I think it's fucking hilarious that Obama bashing has become so played that it's now a meme.

Has any Republican every made fun of himself like this?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

So Much For the Hillary Clinton Emails Scandal...

Check out the latest polls...

That's double digits against all of

The Gun Cult's History of Flip Flopping

At a recent gun show in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a vendor had these targets for sale.

As the article notes, the vendor was quickly removed from the show and banned. I applaud the show runners for their quick action and this incident is most illustrative of how this sort of thing simply isn't tolerated anymore. Of course, the cynic in me questions the motivations of the show runners. Do they really feel that this was racist or are they worried about the stereotype of old, angry white men? I suppose it doesn't really matter either way.

However, this incident reminds me of a time when the NRA once supported gun control. Yep, that's right, folks, they surely did. Take note of the several points in history when the NRA lobbied hard for laws they say are freedom killing today. This point in time was particularly interesting, hence the connection to the target above.

The nation’s white political elite feared that violence was too prevalent and there were too many people—especially urban Black nationalists—with access to guns. In May 1967, two dozen Black Panther Party members walked into the California Statehouse carrying rifles to protest a gun-control bill, prompting then-Gov. Ronald Reagan to comment, “There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.”

This led to the 1968 Gun Control Act. There is some fascinating background in the piece on how this law got passed and the fissure that developed within the NRA.

I'm going to amend my original prediction regarding how gun laws will be changed in this country. It may be due to some horrible shooting at a gun rights event or it may when white American feels more threatened by non white America. This doesn't just include African Americans. If a substantial number of Islamic people start shooting up parts of our country, watch how the NRA and other gun rights people start a flippin' and a floppin'!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Broken Tail Light Policing

We live in a fairly well-off suburb of Minneapolis. The crime rate is pretty low, though our house was broken into fourteen years ago and a worthless twenty-year-old stereo was stolen. Fixing the front door cost us 20 or 30 times more than value of the stolen property.

My wife recently went on a ride-along with a city police officer. The cop spent most of the time running license plates. He also spent a long time watching a gas station near the high school that's the hub for drug deals.

Unlike Ferguson, MO, our city doesn't depend on traffic citations to balance the budget. We've got one of the biggest shopping malls in the area, lots of nice houses on lakes and in wooded areas, and plenty of businesses, all of which provide a decent property tax base. That also means we have almost no poverty, which means we have a pretty small minority community: the city is 95% white, and blacks make up about 1.5%.

Yet on my wife's ride along three of the five drivers stopped were black.

There are no laws on the books specifically intended to target minorities. It was a winter night in Minnesota and there was no way to tell the race of drivers. Objectively, there was no attempt to target African Americans, but somehow blacks were stopped far more frequently relative to their population in the city and the state.

Cops here only stop cars for real violations. That includes moving violations, speeding, expired or missing plates, faulty equipment (missing mufflers, broken tail lights), erratic driving, and violations of driving restrictions (convicted drunk drivers have special plates so curfew violations can be identified).

Traffic stops don't target by race, they target by income.
The effect of this is that traffic stops here don't target by race, they target by income. Poor people are more likely to own older or cheaper cars, which means they're much more likely to have something go wrong with them and get stopped by the cops. Poor people are more likely to be strapped for license and plate renewal fees, and will be more tempted to risk stretching out the grace period.

But since African Americans are much more likely to be poor, they're much more likely to be stopped. Even if they're committing crimes at the same rate as whites, they'll get caught more often because they're stopped more often.

For example, one of the cars stopped was in violation of a law that prohibits tinted windows (it was dawdling at the drug-dealer gas station). The driver was black, and was cited for driving without a license. It turns out that the car was a former police cruiser (I'm guessing it was bought cheaply at auction in another state -- the driver was from Ohio).

A rich white person with a brand-new SUV driving with an expired driver's license will just never get caught.

It was a very quiet Friday night on my wife's ride-along, and there weren't any drunk or high drivers. But the cop said they get a lot of arrests for drug possession and drunk driving because they are stopped for some other minor equipment violation, like burned-out tail or brake lights.

There are plenty of rich whites who drive drunk, or high, or are holding. But unless there's some cause for them to be stopped, they'll never get caught. Traffic laws discriminate between rich and poor. And since income is closely linked to race, they discriminate between black and white.

There's nothing inherently wrong with the laws on our books. People with unsafe cars should be made to fix them. People should have current licenses and plates.

Laws that discriminate by income cause blacks to be stopped more frequently because they're poorer.
But the laws do two things that perpetuate the idea that African Americans are criminals. First, they preselect poorer minorities for closer scrutiny by police, which means that even if richer whites commit crimes at a higher rate, they're able to slip by unnoticed because of their wealth. This creates a perception that minorities are more criminal.

Second, these laws start the poor on a downward spiral. If you get stopped for a cracked wind shield and your license is expired -- because finances are tight or you just don't have time to get it renewed because you're working three minimum wage jobs 80 hours a week and can't afford to take time off to go to the DMV during the typical 7:30-4:30 M-F schedule they're open -- you can't drive anymore and they might even impound your car. And you get a $200-plus in fines, plus towing and storage fees at the impound lot. And you still don't have the time or money to renew your license.

Since ours is such a car-centric culture, now you can't get to work. You wind up coming late a lot because you have to bum a ride or have a bus ride that takes two hours one way, or pay a cab, stretching your finances even further. That means you can't pay the fine for driving without a license, so the city garnishes your pay check. You're not looking like a very reliable employee any more. When a layoff comes, you're the first to go.

This isn't just a problem for blacks, it's a problem for whites too. A lot of formerly middle-class white Americans got sucked down the poverty drain in Great Recession.

But the real difference between Ferguson and our city is the attitude of the cops. In Ferguson, the cops piled on one bogus citation after another. They had contests to see who could get the most violations in a single stop (I think 14 was the highest).

On my wife's ride-along the officer was a stickler for the law. He stopped one car without plates that had a yellow piece of paper taped to the inside of the back window, which at first glance looked like a temporary permit for a new car. But it wasn't a permit, it was just a piece of paper with lines drawn on it. The driver was black, and had just picked up her kids at a school event. It was her brother's car. The cop told her she couldn't drive it home, so she called the brother to figure out what to do. Only then did she find out that the plates were actually in the car.

Clearly, the brother was violating some law. But since he wasn't driving, and the plates were in the car, the cop felt he had nothing to charge her with. And he just let her go.

The cop could have been a hard-ass and issued a citation immediately, called a tow truck and cost this woman hundreds of dollars in fines and towing fees. He would have been justified, and no one would have been the wiser, because technically, that woman was in violation of the law. But he didn't.

Did he let her go because my wife was there? Because there were kids in the car? Because he was so meticulous about the law? Because he was a nice guy? Because his conscience had been raised by Ferguson? Because cops in suburban Minnesota are soft touches? I don't know.

But I do know that every citizen in Ferguson, and every other town that has been leeching off  poor and black Americans, deserves that same kind of consideration.

The Still Lower Costs of the Affordable Care Act

I know that conservatives like to live in the own little bubble where they feel entitled to their own facts but I have to wonder what goes through their head when they see stories like this.

Obamacare’s projected cost falls due to lower premiums under health care law, CBO says

The Congressional Budget Office announced on Monday that the Affordable Care Act will cost $142 billion, or 11 percent, less over the next 10 years, compared to what the agency had projected in January. The nonpartisan agency said the Affordable Care Act will cost less for two essential reasons. The first, and most significant, is that health insurance premiums are rising more slowly, and thus requires less of a government subsidy.

In addition, slightly fewer people are now expected to sign up for Medicaid and for subsidized insurance under the law's marketplaces. That's because the agency now says that more people than anticipated already had health insurance before the law took effect, and fewer companies than anticipated are canceling coverage. All in all, three million fewer people are expected to sign up for Affordable Care Act provisions by 2025. Still, by 2025, the CBO estimates "the total number of people who will be uninsured ... is now expected to be smaller than previously projected," because more will have had health insurance to begin with.

Will they capitulate or continue to believe?

Changing Our Gun Culture

From a recent question on Quora...

When Americans find a stoic heart and stop their national anxiety attacks over every little problem in the world guns will seem unnecessary to those who don't actually need them. I bet obesity rates would go down too as people find it unnecessarily to eat their anxiety. The recent mass panic and persecution related to the Ebola problem is illustrative. 

Anxiety is killing Americans and gun ownership and violence is a relatively small aspect of the problem. All gun deaths are regrettable, but as pointed out in other answers the numbers are decreasing. Stop listening to media hyperbole and have a chat with your friends. Fear and anxiety are the problem and unnecessary gun ownership is one of the minor consequences.

Exactly what I have been saying for years!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Poopy Pants People Who Are Fat and Stupid!

Here is a photo of Richard Nixon talking to Mao Zedong...

Mao was incredibly evil man responsible for the deaths of millions of people.

Here is a photo of Ronald Reagan signing a deal with the Soviets

The Soviets were the "evil empire," right?

So, two Republican leaders, the second of which is highly revered among conservatives today, talking and making deals with mortal enemies far greater than the likes of Iran or Syria.

Yet, if you listen to Republicans today, even sitting down and talking with countries like Iran signifies capitulation. Why? The only explanation I see is that they don't want to talk with their fat headed fat faces ever again because they are poopy pants people who are fat and stupid!! Plus, if that fat headed Obama gets another victory then it will be a never ending shame spiral of seeing him win...again!!

When The Whole Fear and Shit Your Pants Thing Kinda Fails...

Ted Cruz terrifies a little girl in New Hampshire 

“The world is on fire?” piped up 3-year-old Julie Trant, sitting with her mother. The senator answered in the affirmative: “The world is on fire. Yes! Your world is on fire. But you know what? Your mommy’s here and everyone’s here to make sure that the world you grow up in is better.”

When the only tool in your tool kit is the Apocalypse...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Full of Racists

How To Tell The Difference Between An Open Carry Patriot and A Deranged Killer

Occupying the Homeless

I remember, quite fondly, actually, the derision towards the Occupy movement. "Occupy a job" was a common dig along with predictions that the movement would never amount to anything.

Yet this story from the front page of newspaper illustrates several things. First, the Occupy movement has amounted to something: helping the homeless have a place to live. And they are doing it through a nonprofit umbrella which means donations, not government help.

Second, they are continuing their mission to reduce inequality by building these homes. That's something Jesus would be proud of, right? That whole helping the poor thing...mentioned more times than anything else in the Bible.

Third, they are doing it in Wisconsin, right in the back yard of Scott Walker. He has stated repeatedly that his policies will help middle class and poor families by freeing up the private sector. Where are their 98 foot houses for the homeless? Where is the Tea Party version of this?

If this is the future of the Occupy movement, I say, "Well done, folks!"

Will Scott Walker Survive The Primary?

Scott Walker seems to be the early favorite in the GOP field but, as this article notes, he may not survive the primary process. As with the 2012 election, Republicans will likely beat up on each other so much that they will end up handing many gifts to the Democrats. If Hillary is indeed the nominee, the field is going to be cleared for her with very little of this adolescent sniping.

Oh, and speaking of Hillary...looks like the latest fake scandal hasn't hurt Hillary at in the latest polls. She's still kicking everyone's ass.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Me Too, Mr. President

"I'm embarrassed for them," Obama told Vice. "For them to address a letter to the ayatollah -- the supreme leader of Iran, who they claim is our mortal enemy -- and their basic argument to them is: don't deal with our president, because you can't trust him to follow through on an agreement... That's close to unprecedented."

Me, too, Mr. too:)

The Public's Reaction to the Gun Cult

Check out the video below from a recent Ann Arbor school board meeting.

I love it when clinically insane people like Joshua Wade get up in front of the general public:)

Sounds like Elena Chesney's daughter just torpedoed a substantial myth of the Gun Cult...out of the mouths of babes...

Rules For Email Don't Apply To Congress

Well, I guess Congress doesn't have the same email rules that are currently being applied to Hillary Clinton. How convenient for GOP lawmakers who are critical of the likely Democratic nominee for president.

Congress makes its own rules, and has never subjected itself to open records laws that force agencies such as the State Department to maintain records and turn them over to the public when asked. There's also no requirement for members of Congress to use official email accounts, or to retain, archive or store their emails, while in office or after. That's in contrast to the White House and the rest of the executive branch. Official emails there are supposed to be retained, though the controversy over Clinton's use of a personal email account while secretary of state has exposed vague and inconsistent requirements from one agency to another.

I hear the sound of crickets already:)

Oh, and yes, we are officially back to Benghazi again...

Sooner and Later

Friday, March 13, 2015

He Shot His Friend In The Face

Confederate Memorial Day

Did you know that there are still states that celebrate Confederate Memorial Day? I happened to come across an article about it by chance.

Apparently it's getting less popular, since people are inconvenienced by local government office closings.

But apparently there are still some folks in Alabama and eight other states who want to celebrate the greatest treachery this country has ever known. And, not surprisingly, those states are now all represented by the Republican Party and the most fervent Tea Partyers.

The Labor Participation Myth

The Republican talking point about labor participation was recently torpedoed by Among the facts...

Sen. Lindsey Graham said the labor participation rate “is at an all-time low.” That’s not accurate. It was lower between 1948 and 1978. 

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus blamed the shrinking participation rate on “the Obama economy,” but economists say most of the decline, which has been happening for more than a decade, is due to demographics, including the trend of baby boomers reaching retirement age and deciding to no longer work.

More specifically...

1) The aging of baby boomers. A lower percentage of older Americans choose to work than those who are middle-aged. And so as baby boomers approach retirement age, it lowers the labor force participation rate. 

2) A decline in working women. The labor force participation rate for men has been declining since the 1950s. But for a couple decades, a rapid rise in working women more than offset that dip. Women’s labor force participation exploded from nearly 34 percent in 1950 to its peak of 60 percent in 1999. But since then, women’s participation rate has been “displaying a pattern of slow decline.” 

3) More young people are going to college. As BLS noted, “Because students are less likely to participate in the labor force, increases in school attendance at the secondary and college levels and, especially, increases in school attendance during the summer, significantly reduce the labor force participation rate of youths.” 

So no matter who was president, and independent of the health of the economy, BLS projected in 2006 that labor force participation rates were going to go down.

As usual, conservatives feel that they are entitled to their own facts:)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How Obama Should Handle Republicans

Disturbing Parallels

TPM has a post up about the parallels between the segregationists that opposed the Civil Rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s and the Tea Partiers we see today. It's incredibly disturbing and nauseating. As the president noted...

[A]t the time of the marches, many in power condemned rather than praised them. Back then, they were called Communists, half-breeds, outside agitators, sexual and moral degenerates, and worse – everything but the name their parents gave them. Their faith was questioned. Their lives were threatened. Their patriotism was challenged.

Conservatives today have said all of these things about liberals and progressives. Indeed, the same people that were against federal government involvement in Alabama are blowing bowels all over our country about federal government involvement in health care and immigration.

Of course, these are the same people that think the Civil War was about states rights, not slavery.

Hillary Mental Meltdown Syndrome

Republicans have really become unhinged since the Hillary Clinton email kerfuffle began. Of course, they are like this with all of their opponents, especially the ones that have kicked their ass electorally (Bill, Barack). Now they want to see every single email she has ever sent which strikes me as odd for a number of reasons. Aren't they the party that prides themselves on the privacy of the individual? Their calls for all her emails runs counter to this tenet. It also shows their secret, authoritarian streak that they would like to keep hidden but somehow manages to always reveal itself.

Like the adolescent gossip that has to know what's going on all over the school, they REALLY want to know about every detail of Hillary's life. In more than a few ways, it strikes me as somewhat perverse. What they also don't realize is that their demands for all her emails, which grow more shrill by the minute, will eventually lead to demands for ALL THEIR EMAILS. I realize that some Senators like Lindsey Graham claim to never use email but I'm sure that many Republican Senators and Congressmen do use email.

So, does that mean we get to see their emails now too?:)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Have High Stock Prices Slowed Down the Economy?

Conservatives like Paul Ryan have been crying wolf about inflation in the general economy for years now, yet inflation has been essentially flat for the last two decades. A large part of the reason is that wages have been stagnant, declining in real terms during the Bush years. It's only now getting better, with companies like Walmart announcing minimum wage increases.

Yet there is something that has experienced wild Weimar levels of inflation that Republicans have been predicting: stock prices. The stock market more than doubled between 2009 and 2015.

The economy has been improving slowly since the recession, with the United States doing better than most countries. But world-wide the economy has been pretty lackluster, in part because governments -- especially in Europe -- drastically cut spending at a time when their economies needed a boost.

Companies are not sharing their profits with the people who actually do all the work.
But even though the fundamentals have been mediocre, corporate profits have been very high ever since the recession. How come? Partly because companies have been making fewer workers do more work for less money. Companies are not sharing their profits with the people who actually do all the work.

A big reason stock prices have gone up so much is stock buy backs. For example, just this week GM announced $5 billion in stock buybacks and $5 billion in dividends. Target, which just laid off 1,700 workers, announced that it will buy back $15 billion worth of stock over the next five years:
As its new buyback effort kicks in, Target again joins the sizable number of American companies to rely on the financial maneuver, which has drawn criticism despite its uplifting effect on corporate results and stock values.

Josh Mason, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute in New York who has written about the history of buybacks, said they first accelerated in the 1980s and even more in the last decade. This paralleled a shift in corporate thinking that managers should place shareholders’ interests above those of employees and ­customers, he said.

“It’s the natural effect of the shareholders’ revolution,” Mason said. “People who own stock want to see money in their pockets now.”
You can give GM the benefit of the doubt, a reward for investors who bought company stock to help it recover after the federal government bailed it out. But Target's stock buyback is simple extortion: shareholders have vowed to destroy the company unless they get their pound of flesh.

How do companies justify buy backs? They claim it will increase earnings per share, a metric that shareholders use to measure share values. Not by increasing earnings, but by reducing the number of shares. It's sheer sophistry. Instead of doing something concrete to make the company actually earn more money, they will spend billions just to make it look like they're earning more money.

Companies are spending billions placating activist investors instead of building for the future.
Target is not unique. Shareholders across the board have been demanding they be placated. Thus, companies are no longer investing money in their futures. Target's stock buybacks will only make it more difficult for the ailing company fix its problems.

But why do shareholders deserve more money? The overwhelming majority of them contribute absolutely nothing to a company's bottom line. They simply buy stock on the open market from other shareholders, who bought it from other shareholders, who bought it from other shareholders.

"Activist" investors like Carl Icahn have become the norm. They buy up stock in companies and squeeze the cash out of them like Gordon Gekko, with little care for the future of the company or its workers. 

The vast majority of shareholders take no real risks, never contribute a single dime to the companies they own stock in, never do a lick of work to contribute to the company's success. They're just playing roulette on the stock market instead of in a casino.

But increasingly, shareholders are forcing corporate management to make foolish short-term decisions that take cash out of the company to pay off shareholders in dividends, and jack up the stock price by spending billions on stock buybacks.

So you gotta ask: how much are cynical economic manipulations like stock buybacks slowing the growth of the economy? Companies justify the buybacks by saying that demand for the their products is low, so there's no sense in spending money on expanding their business, so they consolidate their gains. But it all goes into the hands of shareholders.

But why demand is low? Because companies are laying people off and paying lower wages, and fewer people can afford to buy the products the companies make.

Instead of the vicious cycle of inflation that Republicans keep predicting, we're stuck in the virtueless cycle of wage deflation for the people who actually do all the work, and hyperinflation in stock prices that reward the leeches on Wall Street who caused the recession in the first place.

Reaping What They Sow

When you help create an instransigent ideology, this is what you get.

Tea Party Divided by Export-Import Bank

“At the end of the meeting, there were a lot of angry Texans there,” said Mr. Schubert, who identifies himself as a Tea Party Republican. “We didn’t come there to talk the talking points. We were there to talk the complexities of international trade.”

Well, there's your first mistake. Complexities isn't something that the people YOU helped elect do. Their minds are very simple. Stomp your feet. Shout about the government. Act like an adolescent.

I feel no sympathy for these businessmen. What did they think was going to happen?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Adolescent Babies

When have the Democrats ever done anything like this?

GOP Tries to Undercut Nuclear Deal With Warning to Iran

Seriously, what a bunch of fucking adolescent babies!

Barack Obama must fail at everything he does regardless of the cost to the United States' standing in the world. Like the adolescent that wants to destroy the roof over his head and the table that feeds him, Republicans have honestly gone way over the line on this one. Imagine what would happen if Democrats did something like this. The right wing bubble would be screaming about treason and traitors!

Worse, the Republicans who signed this letter are completely failing (as usual) to think in a forward fashion. Iran is likely going to be a future ally in the region (see also: the real reason Bibi Netanyahu is blowing a bowel) because of the threat of ISIL. We are going to need Iran if we want to stop these guys. Don't they understand this?

Ah, right...understand...a word that is eternally absent from their vocabulary.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Gun Cult Member v Police/School

Enjoying The Republican Reaction

I have to admit that I'm enjoying the Republican reaction to the Hillary email (see: Fake Scandal #389). As they usually do, they end up making things worse for themselves than for their intended target.

Lindsey Graham: I've never sent an email

Wow...way to go, dude!! You've managed to sound antiquated, completely out of touch, technologically illiterate and dishonest all at the same many ways, an excellent summation of the Republican party today.

Even Republican media strategists like Rick Wilson aren't helping either.

After eagerly cheerleading Barack Obama for eight years, they stood ready to help break the ultimate glass ceiling and play their role as part of the uncritical chorus of Hillary Clinton’s coronation, first as the Democratic nominee then as President. It’s why they hate this story. 

Complete straw man. Worse, if you read the whole piece, he ends up contradicting himself and offers no real solutions to our actual problems.

Why does the Right hate the media so much? Because they call them on their bullshit and have fat faces with their facts and stuff. The media loves this story about Hillary because they are operating under the false assumption that the rest of the country gives a shit. The only people that care are the media and right wing bloggers. Go ask a couple of average Americans if they even know about Hillary's email kerfuffle. They will probably respond with a query about what's being done about actual problems like climate change, immigration, wage stagnation or the institutional racism that is present in our criminal justice system.

The real scandal last week was the Justice Department's findings with Ferguson. If the presidential candidates were smart and wanted more votes, they'd be talking more about this. So far, the only one that is talking about it is Rand Paul. Smart guy...

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Supreme Court of United States Gives Air Time To Right Wing Blogger

It comes as  absolutely no surprise to me that the face of King V Burwell suffers from Obama Mental Meltdown Syndrome.

The man who could cripple Obamacare isn’t shy about telling the world that he thinks the president is an “idiot,” posting altered images of the first lady in Middle Eastern clothing and expressing his hatred for the “Democraps” who enacted the health care law.

A review of King’s public social media accounts show he is a proud grandfather who loves his family, enjoys cooking and sharing photos from conservative blogs. One image shows a photo from the movie “Back to the Future” with instructions to the time traveler: “Marty, there is no time to lose. You must go back in time and give Obama’s dad a condom.”

On Facebook, King frequently criticizes Obamacare and immigration policies and espouses support for limited government, the Second Amendment and Republican political candidates. He jokes often that the federal government is watching him.


So, somehow, the Supreme Court of the United States managed to give air time to a fucking right wing blogger. I do take heart in one thing, though...

“So do you think NSA, FBI and the other three letter government workers watch face book? Just wonder because if they do I’ll have a house full of them soon. I guess we will be able to enjoy a cold beer and make fun of the idiot in the White House,” he posted on Oct. 8, 2013. “I sued the irs over this bull shit so … get ready.”

So much for the "frivolous" lawsuits meme!

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Ferguson: Racism in Action, or Just Plain Old Greed?

The Department of Justice has issued its report on the police in Ferguson, Missouri, and it's completely disgusting.

The city Finance Director ordered the Chief of Police to increase revenue by writing more tickets. The police attack blacks preferentially, stopping and arresting them at a higher rate than whites.

A black woman parked her car illegally once, got two tickets for $152, and when she couldn't pay the fine, she was arrested twice, and spent six days in jail. The city refused partial payments, and over seven years she has paid $550, and but they keep jacking up the fines and she still owes $541.

And when these people are jailed, the time served isn't even recorded by the court to reduce their fine.

Cops just drive up to people sitting in cars or waiting for the bus and harass them, accusing them of being pedophiles.

The only reason the cops arrest these people is because they resisted arrest.
In all cases where the only reason cops arrested a stopped driver is for "resisting arrest," the victim was black. Yeah, you read that right. The only reason they arrest these people is because they resisted arrest. If you're black and you complain when the cops in Ferguson harass you, they arrest you.

And because these people have no money, they can't hire a lawyer to sue these bastards.

The Ferguson city government is trying to balance its budget on the backs of its poorest citizens, who are overwhelmingly black. This is part of a larger pattern of the rich and powerful using their economic clout to take away what little money the poor have. This pattern is well established with payday lenders who entrap the disadvantaged in an endless cycle of usurious loans, and rent-to-own stores that charge twice what you can get products for at Walmart.

Does Ferguson do this for malicious and racist reasons, just to keep blacks down? Or is it just because the poor can't afford to pay the fines up front, which means that -- like the payday lenders -- they can just keep poor blacks on the hook forever, charging them again and again and again for the same minor infractions that whites are never charged with, because the cops don't even patrol those areas since they're ostensibly "low crime?"

This is the kind of crap that African Americans in Ferguson have to put up with every day of their lives. And it's not just Ferguson. This happens all over the country, as with Eric Garner in New York. More disgustingly, it's not just African American adults, it's even the kids.

For example, in Georgia two girls, one white and one black, wrote on a lavatory stall. The treatment they received at the hands of the system was totally different. The white girl's parents paid $100 restitution and that was basically it. But Mikia Hutchings couldn't afford to pay:
While both students were suspended from school for a few days, Mikia had to face a school disciplinary hearing and, a few weeks later, a visit by a uniformed officer from the local Sheriff’s Department, who served her grandmother with papers accusing Mikia of a trespassing misdemeanor and, potentially, a felony.
As part of an agreement with the state to have the charges dismissed in juvenile court, Mikia admitted to the allegations of criminal trespassing. Mikia, who is African-American, spent her summer on probation, under a 7 p.m. curfew, and had to complete 16 hours of community service in addition to writing an apology letter to a student whose sneakers were defaced in the incident.
It is just crazy that a school is involving the police and the courts in cases of childish misbehavior. The rich can just buy their way out of all their problems, while the poor have their entire lives ruined from childhood on.

Worse, why are the cops are wasting their time harassing twelve-year-old children instead of doing real police work? How many hours of the court's and the police department's time were wasted? Ten? Twenty? Forty? This city most likely spent $1,000 to $5,000 in a vain attempt to extract a $100 fine from a 12-year-old.

It's hard to believe that cities like Ferguson can recoup the salaries of court officials and police officers with fines levied against African Americans who can't pay them for puffed-up offenses they don't even bother to charge whites with. And I thought putting people in jail for not paying fines went away with debtor's prison? Apparently not... Private probation companies are raking in millions by putting poor people in jail for non-payment of fines.

Do these cities have more cops than they need, if they have nothing better to do with their time than hassle poor people? Or write racist emails at work joking about how Obama wouldn't be president for more than four years because "what black man holds a steady job for four years?"

No wonder their budgets are in such a mess.

Sounds like a whole lot of these folks should be fired.


As I predicted, conservatives are only interested in the Hillary email kerfuffle as it relates to Benghazi. Like a dog that just won't let go of that Frisbee, they are laser focused in on the emails that pertain to the thing they still think they can "get" Obama on and win (see: still with the sour grapes that he got bin Laden and Bush didn't).

At first, I couldn't figure out why they haven't been more vocal about these emails but this piece on Politico explains it quite well. They know that their emails are next. In fact, I predict that every candidate who currently holds public office is going to have to release all their emails to the public. Further, their silence calls attention to the fact that it was the New York Fucking Times that broke this story. So, I guess the whole "liberal media" narrative has been blown to shit...again.

The media does deserve some criticism, though, because we are likely going to have to hear about this shit for the next 20 months along with a bunch of bullshit stories about the rest of the candidates. Wouldn't it be nice if we looked at how each candidate might, y'know, address the myriad of challenges our nation faces?

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Hillary's Emails

Yesterday's revelation that Hillary Clinton used her personal email while Secretary of State seems like no big deal to me. John Kerry is the first Secretary of State to actually use the government email. Condeleeza Rice didn't use email and Colin Powell used his personal email. This all has the smell of government silliness.

But it should matter to Hillary Clinton because, once again, she's seen as hiding something. Handing over 55,000 emails is nice but now we will have every fat ass blogger with man titties howling about secrecy and Benghazi again because she didn't hand over all of them. I see a lot of tone deafness within her almost launched campaign and she needs to tighten up that shit most ricky tick.

The air of inevitability thing is what did her in during the 2008 campaign. That's why I think it would behoove the Democrats to put up some serious challengers to her so she can stay on her game. If she somehow manages to end up tanking, at least they will have some other players in the mix. Right now their other star (Elizabeth Warren) has repeatedly said she is not running. Let's see some new faces like Joaquín or Julian Castro. What about Maggie Hassan? Or my own Amy Klobuchar?

Hillary needs to get kicked in the ass a bit if she's going to earn it.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Standing in King V Burwell

Two recent stories in the Wall Street Journal (here and here) raise significant queries as to whether or not the people bringing suit against the ACA have standing to even do so.

Legal experts say the fact that Mr. King could avoid paying the penalty for lacking insurance by enrolling in VA coverage undermines his legal right to bring the case, known as “standing.” The wife of a second plaintiff has described her husband on social media as being a Vietnam veteran. The government previously questioned the standing of a third plaintiff on the grounds that her income may exempt her from paying the penalty for lacking insurance, but a lower court didn’t address the issue.

So, why did they bring about this suit?

Mr. King said his challenge to the law is “not about me,” but rather an effort he undertook for his family and others to bring down the health law.

Ah, so he suffers from Obama Mental Meltdown Syndrome....always a sound reason to go to the Supreme Court.

Worse, we are still stuck on the "not letting him win no matter what!!" mentality.

Monday, March 02, 2015

House Republicans to Host Sharia Law Foreign Leader

Lots of Republicans think the United States is a Christian nation, and that Congress and state legislatures should make it official. Yet Republicans in Congress are asking the leader of a foreign country that recognizes Muslim Sharia Law to lecture Americans about moral imperatives.

They criticize President Obama because he frames the war against the so-called Islamic State as an action against criminals and terrorists. Obama refuses to give into the terrorists' narrative that they somehow represent Islam, and that Islam and Christianity are somehow at war. The president believes that if the United States is perceived as embarking on another Crusade in the Middle East, as Republicans appear to fervently desire by their pious declarations, then other Muslims will feel that the US is waging a war against them as well.

Anti-Islamic rhetoric has reached a fevered pitch in many parts of the United States since 2001. Republican-controlled legislatures have debated or passed laws that prohibit "Sharia" law, or recognizing any form of "foreign" law. They believe that only "Christian" law should apply in the United States.

Common law, the basis of American law, predates Christianity.
However, the Christian part of the bible, the New Testament, doesn't establish any laws: it's just the story of Jesus, plus some dire predictions about hellfire and damnation. The part of the Bible that contains actual laws is the Torah, also known as the Old Testament. This set of laws, known as Mosaic Law, is not Christian, it's Jewish law, and is expanded upon by the Talmud. American law is based on British common law, which existed before Christianity.

In Israel Judaism is the official state religion. Religious law governs family matters. That means that in order for a Jewish woman to get a divorce, she has to get her husband's permission, even if she's an atheist Russian emigree who's never set foot in a synagogue. Some women have been forced to wait for decades to get a divorce, held hostage by husbands who are free to take up with other women and have children who will be recognized as Jews by the rabbinate.

However, Israel has a very large Muslim population, and a sizable Christian one. That means that Israel also recognizes Sharia courts:
The jurisdiction of the Sharia Courts
Under  the Palestine Order in Council 1922-1947, the Sharia Courts were given jurisdiction to adjudicate the following matters in accordance with the Sharia Courts Procedure Law for the year 1333 E:
  • Marriages - Proof of marriage, annulment of marriage, ratification of marriage, bride prices and dowries.
  • Divorce - Proof of divorce, arbitration, separation and dissolution of marriage.
  • Maintenance - Wife, son, father and grandfather.
  • Legal capacity and guardianship.  
  • Custody of children - visitation and accommodation arrangements.
  • Inheritance.
Republicans invited Bibi Netanyahu, a foreign leader, to come scare Americans with stories of Muslim bogeymen, when his own country allows Sharia Courts dictate the most basic rights of Israeli citizens to marry, divorce, have children and inherit property.

Yeah, there are complex historical reasons for this. But it just shows how foolish the idea is that a democracy should have an official state religion, especially Christianity. Because there's no such monolithic thing called "Christianity" -- or Judaism or Islam, for that matter, which demonstrates what a farce the Israeli situation is.

The theocracies in Iran and Saudi Arabia illustrate the evils of official state religions run amok, and even Britain has several dark pages in its history when the State wielded religious power to murder its political opponents.

Religious laws governing marriage and family are all over the map in Christianity: most protestant faiths allow divorce, Catholicism bans it, and when it started, Mormonism allowed polygamy, and some adherents still claim it does.

Think of the utter chaos trying to enforce several hundred religious courts in this country over issues of marriage, divorce and child custody and especially inheritance, considering how frequently Americans marry people of other faiths, and how Americans can simply change faiths by walking across the street.

Our modern secular moral code is stronger than so-called biblical morality.
And an official state religion is unnecessary. Morality has nothing to do with religion -- it's just a set of rules established to govern social interaction. Morality is merely informed by religion and philosophy, not dictated by them.

Despite the popular claim to the contrary, morality can, is and should be legislated. By Americans, for all Americans who alive right and here and now. Not by decree of some self-styled foreign oracle who's been dead for centuries, for a tiny sliver of Americans who think they know better than everyone else.

The irony is that our modern secular moral code is stronger and more just than so-called morality of the Bible, which condoned, promoted and even glorified genocide, vengeful murders, ritual human sacrifice, polygamy and slavery.