Contributors

Monday, August 31, 2015

An Immigrant?


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Debt Is Good

Remember all that talk about the debt and deficit and how it was going to be the end of us?

Yeah...still not happening.

Paul Krugman is wondering that as well and he's got some hilarious points in his pondering.

Wags quickly noted that the U.S. economy has, on the whole, done pretty well these past 180 years, suggesting that having the government owe the private sector money might not be all that bad a thing. The British government, by the way, has been in debt for more than three centuries, an era spanning the Industrial Revolution, victory over Napoleon, and more.

Any day now...

After all, we’ve spent much of the past five or six years in a state of fiscal panic, with all the Very Serious People declaring that we must slash deficits and reduce debt now now now or we’ll turn into Greece, Greece I tell you.

Does anyone take them seriously anymore? Ron Paul is now setting up his retirement by fear peddling but that's about it.

So, is debt good?

I’ve already mentioned that having at least some government debt outstanding helps the economy function better. How so? The answer, according to M.I.T.’s Ricardo Caballero and others, is that the debt of stable, reliable governments provides “safe assets” that help investors manage risks, make transactions easier and avoid a destructive scramble for cash.

Yep.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Yet another parent joins the club that our culture continues to allow a charter...

Wow


Pretty much sums up everything wrong with conservatives today...

Friday, August 28, 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

I Rest My Case

From a recent conversation on Quora...

I don't know how anyone who has ever played a videogame in their life can look someone else in the eye with a straight face and say a gun can't have saved you. While a game is not reality, the basic concept of being able to end a threat with deadly force remains the same. It's obvious to most 10 year olds.

Pretty much sums up everything I have ever said about the Gun Cult.

Trump Pulls A Palin

Donald Trump loves the Bible. It's his favorite book!!

But can he name his favorite passage or testament?



Nope.

And he's leading among evangelicals? I guess it shows how full of shit they really are...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

We're #1!!!

A new study by sociologist Adam Lankford of the University of Alabama shows that the United States is #1 in mass shootings since 1966. I don't think we needed a study to figure that one out. This information stands in stark contrast to the declining levels of violence seen here and around the world. I think it's nice that there is less violence but it means bupkis if we have 10 or more mass shootings every fucking month.

America's "gun culture," wrote Lankford, is deeply rooted in the idea that broad gun-ownership is a bulwark against the emergence of tyranny. And those roots continue to lie close to the surface, he wrote: A national survey conducted in 2013 found that 65% of Americans believe that the purpose of their right to bear arms remains "to make sure that people are able to protect themselves from tyranny."

How exactly does that fucking work when the federal government has drones, tanks, battleships, and even bigger guns? Some fucking protection...

Of course, these same people who believe their guns are protecting themselves from "tyranny" also vociferously support increased defense spending. At least we are in agreement there. I want the government to spend a ton of money on defense in case we have to put down the Gun Cult.

This new study confirms the reality of the US today. It's become the very dystopia that the Gun Cult claims to want to avoid.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

My Advice For Hillary Clinton

Hillary has been under fire a lot from the media over yet another "scandal." I say "scandal" because I liken this to movie casting. If you wanted to make a good Western (back when they still actually made them), you cast John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. If you want to tell a scandal story, nothing sells more like the Clintons.

The thing is...Hilz plays the part so well and the media knows this. She'll say and do all the things she always says and does and the media will foam at the mouth, engage in consistent fallacy, and predict a Clinton imminent demise. We've seen this film many times and everyone is pretty sick of it. But that's the point, right? The media have decided that they don't want a Hillary Clinton presidency. When she is found (once again) to have done nothing wrong, they won't report it and they will move on to something else. They are very firmly in the tank now for Donald Trump because he gets ratings. So, what should Hillary do? Here's my advice...

1. Embrace a Joe Biden run. When he announces his expected candidacy, welcome him with open arms and say you want the competition. Praise him for his experience, service and knowledge. You will be a better candidate with him in the race.

2. Lose your top advisers-YESTERDAY! Has anyone ever seen Huma Abedin smile? A google search does have a few images of her looking happy but they mostly look like this...


Always looking like she's at a funeral...really? 

And every time Jennifer Palmieri opens her mouth, she makes Hillary seem like DB fucking Cooper. With the exception of John Podesta, everyone on her campaign should be considered on the chopping block. What they are doing simply isn't working. Time for some new advisers. 

3. Call a press conference. In fact, call so many that the press get sick of you. Take away the talking point that you are being elusive to the press. Take away the Trump coverage. And have them be at a circular table. That way everyone is equal. When they ask you the inevitable "how long have you been beating your wife" questions, call them on it. Be an asshole like Donald Trump. Give them the facts. Reality is on your side. 

Don't prepare any statements. They make you sound guilty when you aren't. I'd also consider having some actual voters along with you who want to talk about the issues and not the email scandal. Have them chime in on what they want to hear. Show the press what is really on the mind of the American voters.

4. Be yourself. I hear all the time about how their is the Hillary that her friends love...honest, tough, compassionate, driven...and then the Hillary that the media says...controlled, evasive, prepared. Lose the second one forever and just be the first one. That's what will win you the White House.

Which is still yours to lose...

Go, Mr. President, Go!

Obama Feeling 'Feisty,' Ready to Take on the 'Crazies'


Yeah, he's not going to go gently into that good night, is he? Hee hee...

Monday, August 24, 2015

Right, Jesus?


A Fair Shake?

With Hillary Clinton currently under fire for kicking a dog in Iowa and telling some kid that he wasn't good at sports in New Hampshire, the normally conservative Chicago Sun Times has an interesting piece about how she can't seem to get a fair shake in the media.

“Someone said the other day that Washington may now have reached the state-of-the-art point of having a cover-up without a crime,” pronounced the Washington Post. By failing to come clean, Hillary had managed “to make it appear as if the Clintons had something to hide.” “These clumsy efforts at suppression are feckless and self-defeating,” thundered The New York Times. Hillary’s actions, the newspaper continued, “are swiftly draining away public trust in (her) integrity.” 

OK, I’m teasing. Both editorials appeared 21 years ago, in January 1994. They expressed outrage at Hillary Clinton’s turning over Whitewater documents to federal investigators rather than the press, which had conjured a make-believe scandal out of bogus reporting of a kind that’s since grown all too familiar in American journalism.

Hilarious!

Even more amusing...

Bottom line: When they start talking about narratives and perceptions, these would-be insiders, they’re talking about themselves.

Exactly right.

Prediction...

This has to be at least the fourth time the same crowd has predicted her imminent demise, if not her indictment and conviction. All based upon partisan leaks — this Trey Gowdy joker is nothing compared to Kenneth Starr’s leak-o-matic prosecutors — and upon presumed evidence in documents nobody’s yet seen. From the Rose Law Firm billing records to Benghazi, it’s the same old story: When the evidence finally emerges, it turns out that Hillary has been diligently coloring inside the lines all along.

I doubt that uncomfortable feeling in their brains (cognitive dissonance) will allow them to admit this, though. Expect more dogs kicked and little kids feelings hurt.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Donald Trump Love Fest, The Hillary Clinton Hate Fest

The only news program I watch on the main news networks is Morning Joe. I'll always be a fan largely due to the guests they have on panel every day. Lately, however, it's been pretty frustrating to watch because they are absolutely in love with Donald Trump, letting him slide on nearly everything. The worst thing they let him get away with is his complete lack of specific policy points. Yeah, we know Trump has feelings about what should be done with our country but what are his action policies? He still hasn't answered that yet.

Mika and Joe shamelessly fawn over Donald Trump like two high school girls hoping to get asked to the formal. They might as well have a fucking hope chest on their set with Trump's head shot and lone candle burning next to it. Juxtaposed with this nauseating behavior is their absolute hated of Hillary Clinton. Critical of nearly everything that comes out of her mouth, Mika and Joe pout, pontificate and faux shake their heads at the "collapse" of Hillary Clinton. Facts don't really seem to matter as they discuss Hillary's ongoing email server problems.

Perhaps they should read Julian Epstein and Sam Sokol's recent piece in USA Today which leaves the emotion out of the equation. For example,

But a bad decision is not a crime. Using a personal email server for State Department work during Secretary Clinton’s tenure was not a crime; the statute requiring official email accounts for official business wasn’t even passed until 2014. And receiving or transmitting information that was not known to be classified at the time also was not a crime. This is true even if the information was mislabeled or misclassified. And reports that a larger number of emails are now under review don’t change this — the essential fact remains that there is no evidence that Secretary Clinton sent or received any email marked classified.

Key words being "no evidence." Everything Mika and Joe are talking about is pure speculation and innuendo. I wish they would knock it off and actually be critical thinkers for a change.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Stupid And Ugly

I was all set to write a piece about Donald Trump and how it's entirely possible that he could: a) win the GOP nomination and b) win the presidency. Of course, that's the emotional side of my brain working, not the rational and more cold side. It's being a cynic. He would not be able to break the Democratic wall of 246 given his comments about Hispanics and women that any Democratic nominee would win.

But Matt Taibbi's recent article in Rolling Stone more or less beat me to it. Quite accurately, he describes the Trump voter and more.

People are tired of rules and tired of having to pay lip service to decorum. They want to stop having to watch what they say and think and just get "crazy," as Thomas Friedman would put it. Trump's campaign is giving people permission to do just that. It's hard to say this word in conjunction with such a sexually unappealing person, but his message is a powerful aphrodisiac. Fuck everything, fuck everyone. Fuck immigrants and fuck their filthy lice-ridden kids. And fuck you if you don't like me saying so. 

Those of us who think polls and primaries and debates are any match for that are pretty naive. America has been trending stupid for a long time. Now the stupid wants out of its cage, and Trump is urging it on. There are a lot of ways this can go wrong, no matter who wins in 2016.

The cynic in me agrees with him yet I think he's putting this stuff out there to shock people into reality. Imagine how our country would be viewed around the world if Trump were president. We'd lose a great deal of respect and our enemies would run the table on someone so naive. In so many ways, Trump is the adolescent that is illustrative of the GOP base today.

A higher level analysis shows that the GOP is doing the same things to themselves they did in 2012. They are going as insane as insane dictates to win a primary filled with anger, hate filled fear mongers that are completely irrational. It didn't work in the general last election and it won't work now.






Friday, August 21, 2015

Off-Duty U.S. Marines Stop a Terrorist in France

Two heroic American men, unarmed and in civilian clothing, helped overpower a 26-year-old gunman armed with an automatic rifle, knife and razor blades who brazenly opened fire in a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday evening.
And somehow they did it all without guns.

Training and competence are far more important than having a gun. Had there been untrained, armed, Second-Amendment-quoting, trigger-happy "Oath-keepers" aboard instead, half the train could have been shot up.

More guns do not make us safer. Quick-thinking and heroic people do.

Professional Opinions


Thursday, August 20, 2015

If Guys Said What Donald Trump Says

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAHAHHAHAHAHHAAA!!!!!

Armed 'Patriot' Guarding 'Muslim-Free' Gun Store Accidentally Shoots Himself

Here's to hoping a whole lot more of armed "patriots" and "oathkeepers" shoot themselves

They Want Planned Parenthood Defunded


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

More Blood On Their Hands

Take a look at these hearses...























That's one for each of the eight people killed by David Conley in Houston last week. Despite the fact that Conley had a history of domestic violence, he was still able to obtain a gun. How?

He was able to purchase the gun online.

Had Manchin-Toomey been passed in 2013, all 8 of these people would still be alive. So would others. If you advocate for gun rights and against universal background checks, these deaths are your responsibility. Their blood is on your hands.

And you need to be put away.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Victim George Zimmerman Goes Full On White Supremacist!

Victim George Zimmerman has finally decided to throw his lot in with like minded individuals in the Gun Cult. Remember the gun store in Florida that declared a "Muslim Free" policy? Well, ol' Georgie has painted them a little Confederate flag to auction off.  Make sure you check out the video in the link. What an excellent illustration of the Gun Cult!

Although, I am still wondering if they understand that by vigorously fighting for looser gun laws, they are, in fact, helping the very Muslims they purport to be against acquire more weapons. Don't they realize how much they have in common with Islamic extremists?

Maybe the could just hug it out:)

Frank Zappa Long Ago Predicted Where The GOP Would Be Today


Frank Zappa Sees the Future of the Republican Party in 1986
Frank Zappa Sees the Future of the Republican Party in 1986THE SOURCE for this videohttp://youtu.be/WmhjyB3QfEg
Posted by Roger A Summers on Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Problem We All Live With

Right now, all sorts of people are trying to rethink and reinvent education, to get poor minority kids performing as well as white kids. But there's one thing nobody tries anymore, despite lots of evidence that it works: desegregation. Nikole Hannah-Jones looks at a district that, not long ago, accidentally launched a desegregation program...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Southern Politics

I've been visiting family in Southern Illinois and Missouri for the past few days and it's always amusing to discuss politics with them. Both of my mom's sisters love Donald Trump. Interestingly, the cite the same reasons as many other conservatives have cited. He says what he thinks, he's not a career politician, he'd be tough with China (that's a big deal down in these parts...you know, those crafty Chinks), and he'd fix our country's financial woes because he's a good businessman.

Politics must be the only field where a good chunk of the country doesn't want specialists in that field running the show. Think about this for a minute...would you want an electrician doing your plumbing? How about a lawyer building your house? So, the least of us that is experienced in government should get the nod. Yeah, that sounds like a whole bunch of adolescent nonsense to me. If you are one of these people that is bent out of shape about career politicians, why don't you put your put your time where your mouth is and run for office yourself? Or support someone with a like minded ideology? Otherwise, get over the fact that you didn't succeed in life and someone else (a politician) did.

I can report some good news from the Show Me State. One of my aunts finally gave in and enrolled in the Affordable Care Act. My mom and I kept telling her that she would save a ton of money if she did but she didn't believe us...because Obama. Cognitive dissonance finally gave way to the reality of a premium drop from $800 a month to $100 a month. They get to keep their own doctor (hee hee) and actually have better coverage.

Recent polls show the rest of America is catching up as well. Funny how reality works...

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Real Reason Conservatives Oppose the Iran Deal? Oil!

The news is full of stories of economic woe in oil-producing states. From North Dakota:
The benchmark crude price has declined to $42 per barrel, after rallying in June to $60. North Dakota’s crude oil trades at a discount to the Oklahoma benchmark because of the higher cost of shipping most of it by rail. Helms said Friday’s North Dakota wellhead price estimate was $28.50 a barrel, down nearly $11 from last month.
From Texas:
“People didn’t have to work anymore [during the height of the fracking boom],” said Elliott Skloss, a sign maker for the county road and bridge department. “Now they’ll have to work or panhandle if the oil price doesn’t go back up.” His family farms had five oil and gas wells that earned monthly checks worth $50,000 just a year ago, but they now earn one-tenth as much because of the decline in prices and well production. 
From Alaska:
The result, historians and economists say, is beyond the experience of this state, or probably any other in modern times: more than half of the tax base — predicated on crude oil selling at around $110 a barrel — is simply gone in the whirlwind of $50 oil, as though it never existed. A spending plan of $6.1 billion for 2015, passed by the Legislature last year, will fall $3.5 billion short, or more, if oil prices keep falling. Alaska collects no state sales or income taxes to pick up the slack; a savings fund from past oil earnings will help, but it cannot fully fill the gap either. 
If the Iran nuclear deal goes through, the sanctions that keep Iranian oil off the world market will be lifted. Iranian oil will flood the market and oil prices will plummet to even lower levels. Oil industry analysts are predicting major savings:
"Once we get past Labor Day, we should see gas falling by 10 to 15 cents a month," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with the Oil Price Information Service. "By December a lot of places are going to see gasoline at $2 or less."
Remember Sarah Palin's salacious "Drill, baby, drill!" innuendo? Michelle Bachmann's "I'll bring back $2 gas" promise? Well, it's happening on Barack Obama's watch.

This is the real reason conservatives are opposed to the Iran nuclear deal. This is the real reason conservatives are opposed to renewable energy such as wind and solar power, which are quickly becoming cheaper than oil and natural gas even at historically low fossil fuel prices. This is the real reason conservatives oppose fuel economy and power plant emissions regulations, which save consumers money and and save lives.

The oil and pipeline billionaires dictate domestic and foreign policy to the Republican Party based on what's profitable for them, regardless of what's good for the economy and the environment.

Spock and Kirk Sound Off


Friday, August 14, 2015

The Beauty of The Free Market

Check out this fantastic piece on the decline of coal.

The overblown political rhetoric about the plan tends to obscure the market reality that the coal industry has been in steady decline for a decade, partly as a result of the natural gas boom, but mostly because consumers are demanding cleaner air and action on climate change. Communities across the U.S. have led the way in persuading utilities to close dirty old coal plants and transition to cleaner forms of energy.

Man, I love the free market!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Yet Another Affordable Care Act Lie Torpedoed

Conservatives spent a great deal of time assuring Americans that the Affordable Care Act's rules on health care for businesses would result in all sorts of problems ranging from less hiring to reduced hours.Three recent studies, including one from a conservative group the American Enterprise Institute, shows that this has not been the case.

So far, though, researchers say employers have not changed how they hire and schedule their workers in response to the law. "The data, to date, basically say that that hasn't happened, at least on aggregate basis -- that there really hasn't been nearly the change that some people were expecting," said Chris Ryan, a vice president at the payroll-management firm ADP.

Shocking, I know, that a prediction of doom and gloom from the right did not, in fact, come to pass. Ah well, reality has a well known liberal bias:)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Call To The Private Sector On Inequality

Peter Georgescu has become another member of the one percent to call for action on the inequality in our country. This time, however, he's going directly to the private sector.

Who will be courageous enough to start the ball rolling? The most obvious choice is our government. But the current Congress has been paralyzed.

Paralyzed by ideological intransigence...

Gerogescu lays out the future quite nicely.

If inequality is not addressed, the income gap will most likely be resolved in one of two ways: by major social unrest or through oppressive taxes, such as the 80 percent tax rate on income over $500,000 suggested by Thomas Piketty, the French economist and author of the bestselling book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.”

I've said the the same thing many times on this site.

So what are the action items that the private sector can pursue?

First, invest in the actual value creators — the employees. Start compensating fairly, by which I mean a wage that enables employees to share amply in productivity increases and creative innovations.

Second, businesses must invest aggressively in their own operations, directing profit into productivity and innovation to boost real business performance. Today, too many corporations reduce investment in research and development and brand building. As a result, we see a general decline in the value of their brands and other assets. To make up for those declines and for anemic revenue, businesses buy back their stock (now at record levels), and thus artificially boost earnings per share.

Yep.

Will they do it?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The President Channels Zombie Politics

I wonder if the president reads Zombie Politics...

President Obama stands by comments linking Republicans to Iranian hard-liners 

“Just because Iranian hard-liners chant ‘Death to America’ does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe,” Obama told students and faculty at the university. “In fact, it’s those hard-liners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hard-liners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.”

Hee hee...

Was The American Civil War About Slavery?

Here is a great answer to that question...


Was the Civil War About Slavery?
New Video! "Was the Civil War About Slavery?"What caused the Civil War? Did the North care about abolishing slavery? Did the South secede because of slavery? Or was it about something else entirely...perhaps states' rights? Colonel Ty Seidule, Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point, settles the debate once and for all.
Posted by Prager University on Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

Just Let the Lower Ninth Ward Go...

For years there have been articles (like this one) about how poor neighborhoods in New Orleans have not come back after Hurricane Katrina. The implication is that society doesn't care about poor people and revitalizing the places where they live.

There might be some truth to that. But the bigger truth is that people should never have lived in those places to begin with. The elevation of the Lower Ninth Ward is zero -- it's at sea level -- and some parts are four feet below sea level.

Lots of New Orleans is below sea level. That part of Louisiana is basically a gigantic swamp built up by silt in the Mississippi delta over millennia. No amount of money spent on Army Corps of Engineer projects will ever make the Lower Ninth a safe place to build homes.

As climate change causes sea level to rise, places like New Orleans and Florida are going to get flooded more and more frequently (high tides now threaten major flooding in Miami Beach). The Lower Ninth Ward was one of the last areas developed in New Orleans because it's a stupid place to build. The poorest people are victimized because they could only afford cheap (and unsafe) land.

But it's sheer stupidity to compound these travesties by bemoaning the fact that few people are moving back and encourage them "return home." On the contrary, everyone should be moving out. Turn the whole place into a big park designed to survive flooding.

I'm not just picking on the Lower Ninth Ward. In 1997 the Red River flooded, destroying thousands of homes and businesses in North Dakota. Fifty thousand people were evacuated. And lots of them wanted to rebuild in exactly the same place. It's sheer idiocy, as shown by the 2009 flooding of the Red River.

It's stupid and dangerous to build in the Lower Ninth Ward, on Florida's eroding beaches and in the flood plains of the Red River and the Mississippi. The federal government should help out the victims of natural disasters, but they shouldn't subsidize greedy developers and local politicians who blindly focus on growth and build on land that will be under water when the next hurricane or spring thaw hits.

Climate Change Goes Local

I was very please to see this week's cover story in CSM regarding climate change going local. Here's the skinny...

In city after city in South Florida, local officials are dealing with climate change. So, too, are municipalities big and small across the United States. The same determination is evident among governors and legislators in more than two dozen states. And it is magnified worldwide: Surprising progress in grappling with global warming is coming from surprising nations. 

This groundswell of action on climate change is producing solutions and often bypassing lagging political leadership. The gathering force of these acts, significant and subtle, is transforming what once seemed a hopeless situation into one in which success can at least be imagined. The initiatives are not enough to halt the world’s plunge toward more global warming – yet. But they do point toward a turning point in greenhouse gas emissions, and ambitious – if still uneven – efforts to adapt to the changes already in motion.

Outstanding!

Here's something else that's very interesting...

Green lawns trump the political arguments over climate change, says Mr. Brown. “We don’t say ‘climate change,’ ” he admits. “It’s ‘protecting resources’ or ‘sustainability.’ That way, you can duck under the political radar.”

Right. This is exactly what Mooney talked about in "The Republican Brain." When words like "climate change" become so propagandized, you have to tell a different story. Who wouldn't be for protecting resources and sustainability?

Sunday, August 09, 2015

It's Not _____________ When We Do It!

Donald Trump banned from RedState over menstruation jibe at Megyn Kelly

Aw...were their feelings hurt? Are they are all PC and shit now?

Sheesh...what a bunch of hypocrites. So much for the "outrage" over everyone being offended all the time:)

Good Sunday Words

"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class. We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all. And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: We need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. 'But I don't believe, Father, I am an atheist!' But do good: We will meet one another there." 

  ---Pope Francis, 22 May 2013

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Debate A Go Go

Lots of post debate analysis out there. Here are a few of my favorites...

Fear That Debate Could Hurt G.O.P. in Women’s Eyes

Ya think? It will never cease to amaze me how conservatives play the victim card and blame the media for the ACTUAL WORDS THAT COME OUT OF THEIR FUCKING MOUTHS. Save Carly Fiorina, none of the GOP nominees will get the female vote. I thought they were going to try to fix that after 2012.

FactChecking the GOP Debate, Late Edition

Darn those pesky fact checkers!! Reality has a well known liberal bias...

If you listened closely Thursday night, several Republican candidates let some heresies slip out.

Indeed:)

Hillary Clinton Can’t Stop Laughing At Dumbass Republicans 

I wonder how much she wants Trump to be the nominee...:)

Fox News panel blasts Trump’s debate complaints

Are they serious wondering why Trump is so high in the polls right now?

Think about the personality of Donald Trump and how that represents the characteristics of the GOP base. Trump is angry, hateful and peddles fear on a consistent basis. His behavior is similar to that of an adolescent bully and is most aristocratic, believing firmly in a hierarchical structure for society where the wealthy and privileged few lord over the peasants (see also: the Antebellum South). These are all traits that exemplify people in the GOP base and it's exactly why he is ahead in the polls.

More importantly, Trump is a "have"...a mega wealthy person who GOP voters...the "soon to haves"...believe will someday be them if they just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. That is, of course, if the federal government, liberals, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the gun grabbers don't foil them in their quest to be just like The Donald.


Friday, August 07, 2015

Political Correctness? Conservatives Invented It!

It's common for conservatives to bitch about "political correctness." In the debate last night, Megyn Kelly called Trump out:
You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals,' " Ms. Kelly said during the debate, which set a cable record, with 24 million viewers tuning in. "How will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who [is] likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?”

“I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct,” Mr. Trump said, to some applause.

Then it got slightly ugly. “And honestly Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn’t do that,” Trump said.
As you can see from the highlighted section, Trump was not-so-subtly threatening to savage Kelly with the same sort of epithets he uses on other women if she didn't treat him with kid gloves. And, true to form, after the debate Trump whined like some fourth grader about what a meanie Kelly was:
“The questions to me were not nice,” Trump said. “I didn’t think they were appropriate.”

Trump especially took issue with Megyn Kelly, the Fox News host who began her first question to Trump by listing the derogatory remarks he’s made about women he doesn’t like.

“I think Megyn behaved very nasty to me,” he said.
Did she call him an egotistical, misogynistic, fat, old, balding, combed-over, narcissistic, smug, sociopathic liar and dick? No, even though all of those things are demonstrably true. She said nothing nasty or profane about Trump. She merely asked him to how he would respond when the vileness and insults that he and so many conservatives spew about women were quoted back to him. How dare she confront him with his own words!

Tellingly, Trump's first recourse, like so many conservatives of the Limbaugh ilk, was to hide behind the guise of speaking truth and being put down by "political correctness." Whenever these ... men blurt out the verbal diarrhea that is their misogyny, racism and homophobia, and people call them out for it, they defend themselves by claiming that they are the victims and that "politically correct feminazis and liberals" are trying to muzzle them.

Which is the height of hypocrisy, because conservatives invented political correctness. They don't call it that, of course. They gave it all sorts of dire-sounding names: blasphemy, sacrilege, heresy, miscegenation, profanity. In Trump's case it's different, obviously, because nothing is sacred to him except himself.

When teachers first taught evolution in the schools conservatives called it sacrilege and tried to muzzle them. More recently conservatives have literally forced political correctness on school curricula by rewriting history to edit out the crimes whites visited upon black and native Americans, and turning history books into Ronald Reagan hagiographies. When blacks demonstrated in the 1950s and 60s for civil rights, challenging the conservative notion that God had made the races separate with whites superior to blacks, conservatives sent cops and dogs to beat the protesters into submission. When blacks married whites conservatives called it blasphemy and miscegenation. When homosexuals marched in gay pride parades and demanded the right to marry the person they loved conservatives screamed blasphemy and claimed God sent hurricanes in retaliation.

Whenever their sacred cows are gored, conservatives are the first ones to whine about being attacked. When their tender notions of religion or sexuality or American exceptionalism (or Trump's ego) are challenged they act as if the trumpets of doom have sounded and the world will end at any moment.

The thing that conservatives call "political correctness" is just the Golden Rule: treat others as you would have others treat you. But that's a teaching they don't seem to have heard of.

If Trump is going to call women fat pigs and and Mexicans rapists he can't whine about "political correctness" when people call him what he's just demonstrated he is: a misogynist and a racist. Donnie boy, if you're going to dish it out, you have to take it -- you can't go whining to mommy that Megyn was being nasty to you by holding you to account for what you said.

Debate Winners and Losers

Here are my takeaways from the two GOP debates yesterday...

For the first debate, Carly Fiorina was the clear winner. She was sharp, articulate, and substantive. The other six were essentially non entities although Lindsey Graham made some interesting points but that was largely due to his experience in the Senate. Rick Perry was awful. He just looked ridiculous. Pataki and Gilmore...why are they even running? Jindal very much looked and acted like he belonged at the kiddie table. Santorum's time has come and gone...just like evangelical Christians.

In the second debate, the clear winner was John Kasich. Even when pressed on issues like Medicaid and gay marriage, he stuck to his guns and proudly defended himself. Jeb Bush did an alright job as well but he needed to do more than that. The Donald was the Donald, of course, and, once again, lacked any real substance on policy. The first question was hilarious and it's going to be mighty interesting if he decides to run as a third party candidate.

Ben Carson was too flat. Chris Christie's main schitck has been stolen by the Donald so he wasn't much of a factor. A lot of people thought Rubio was good but I didn't see it. It's the same old ideas dressed up in a young, diverse looking package. Like Santorum, Huckabee's time is done. Cruz couldn't really be himself, again because of Trump. Paul really looked terrible but at least he didn't come off as bland as Walker, the real loser of both debates. His defense of himself as "aggressively normal" does not translate well to the national stage. If he is going to catch fire, he has to be a whole lot more than he is now. I don't think he can do it.

I'll give some props to the Fox News commentators for asking tough questions but they started off so fucking bad it was hard to take them seriously. Did they know the cameras were on for that pre -game 10 minutes? How was this planned? They looked very unprofessional.

Look for Fiorina and Kasich to move up in the polls.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Where's the Outrage? Where's the Video?

Almost two weeks ago South Carolina cops shot and killed Zachary Hammond, a 19-year-old unarmed white man, in a drug bust. His family and lawyer are dismayed that there isn't a national outcry:
“It’s sad, but I think the reason is, unfortunately, the media and our government officials have treated the death of an unarmed white teenager differently than they would have if this were a death of an unarmed black teen,” Bland told The Washington Post this week. “The hypocrisy that has been shown toward this is really disconcerting.”

It's not hypocrisy because the situations isn't the same: Hammond was not "unarmed" -- he was driving a car -- and most importantly, there's no video of the shooting. 

In the Sandra Bland case a cop forced Bland to change lanes, then pulled her over and ticketed for not signalling the lane change, then arrested her for not putting her cigarette out in order to receive the ticket. Then she was thrown in jail for three days and committed suicide.

In the Samuel DuBose case the shooting officer's own body cam recorded an assassination. In the Walter Scott shooting a passerby used his cell phone to record the cop murdering a fleeing man. In the Michael Brown case there was no video, but the cop was in a car and Brown was just walking down the street.

In Hammond's case, the shooting officer is claiming that Hammond was trying to run over him with a car. This is what the officer claimed in the DuBose case, but the video showed he was lying. (There are also rumors that DuBose had marijuana in the car.)

Getting run over by a car is a serious concern for cops at traffic stops. Two years ago police in Des Moines shot and killed Tyler Comstock, an "unarmed" white 19-year-old man who had taken his father's truck after an argument over cigarettes. The elder Comstock reported it stolen; when police caught up with Tyler he led them on a wild car chase through city streets, endangering many other drivers and pedestrians, finally pulling into a park, where he tried to ram cop cars. The police finally shot and killed him.

Did they really need to kill Comstock once his car was stopped in the park? Hard to say. But the episode was caught on video, and it was clear that the kid was totally out of control, trying to kill the cops. Hence, no outrage.

Last weekend Officer Sean Bolton, a cop in Memphis, was killed during a traffic stop for drugs:
"Officer Bolton apparently interrupted some sort of drug transaction," Armstrong said. "A digital scale and a small baggie of marijuana ... were located inside of the vehicle."

The violence was senseless given how mundane the stop was, Armstrong said.

"We're talking about less than 2 grams of marijuana. You're talking about a misdemeanor citation," he said. "We probably would not have even transported for that."

I suspect that the cop in Zach Hammond's death used excessive force. I suspect it was a bad shoot, that the cop was angry because the murdered kid was fleeing (the Guardian reports that Hammond was shot in the side, which means the car wasn't bearing down on the cop). I suspect that the department are helping Hammond's killer cover up a bad shoot by refusing to name him and release video of the killing. But I can't know these things without that video.

Our system gives cops the benefit of the doubt to use deadly force to protect themselves and others. That's the deal society makes with cops to make it possible to put their lives on the line every day.

This situation might seem hopeless, but there is something that we can do about these senseless deaths at traffic stops. And it's not just putting body cams on every cop.

Both Bolton's and Hammond's -- and perhaps DuBose's -- deaths were ultimately caused by drug laws. I personally think smoking weed is stupid and useless. But it's clearly no worse than drinking whiskey.

The easiest thing we could do to make cops and the public safer during traffic stops would be to decriminalize drug use. Drivers would be a lot less likely to flee or fight if drugs are legal.

That will make cops a lot less likely to stop random cars for minor infractions -- it's usually just an excuse to check for drugs, except in cities like Ferguson that balance their budgets by making cops shake down motorists for trivial offenses.

It would also prevent a lot of gang warfare and put South and Central American drug cartels out of business.

GOP Debate Tonight!


If These Guys Were Muslims...

The FBI has arrested three right-wing nut jobs who think that the government is going to use Operation Jade Helm 15 to declare martial law. 

The response of the national media has been muted, as it has been the numerous other times right-wingers have hatched plots to murder law enforcement officials and American military service members.

These guys were getting ready for armed insurrection and ambushes:
There were Kevlar helmets and body armor, pipe bombs and handmade grenades, large amounts of gunpowder and dozens of rounds of ammunition for a military-grade sniper rifle.

Federal officials say three North Carolina men — Walter Eugene Litteral, 50; Christopher James Barker, 41; and Christopher Todd Campbell, 30 — spent months compiling their cache, much of it purchased through a military surplus store owner who became so concerned about the plot that the person became the FBI’s informant.
Their plan including murdering U.S. military forces:
The plan involved testing the explosives on land in Shelby, N.C. But the ambush against U.S. forces would take place on Litteral and Campbell’s a 99-acre camp in Clover, S.C.

“According to [Campbell], he and Litteral intend to booby-trap the camp and draw government’s forces into the camp and kill them,” the warrant states.
Remember the fear and outrage that the shootings in Chattanooga caused when a depressed Muslim kid killed American service members? These rednecks in North Carolina were plotting something much worse.

Recordings of their telephone conversations are illuminating:
The documents indicated that Litteral told another person in a phone conversation: “I got a f—— .45 beside my bed. I got a .45 and a 9-mil in my truck. I’ve got a 9-mil and a .380, or a .380 in her car. Safe full of weapons. You know what? Every time I open up this damn safe, I mean I’ve got, I’ve got at least 30 weapons that I can see and some tucked all the way in the back back.” 
How much you want to bet that Litteral thinks of himself as a "good guy with a gun?"

He sounds an awful lot like the vigilante gun-lovers who set themselves up outside recruiting centers across the country after Chattanooga.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

How Not to Prove Your Point

Vanity Fair has an article about the "staggering" inequality in Hollywood movies, as reported in a study from USC. But what is really staggering about this study is how extremely bad it is: it is riddled with errors and outright lies.

The claims are:
After seven years of collecting data from the 100 top-grossing fictional films from 2007 to 2014, the group has produced a report titled “Inequality in 700 Popular Films.” Here is just some of what they found:
  • Gender: In the 700 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2014, only 30.2 percent of the 30,835 speaking characters were female. That means for every 2.3 guys with lines, you’ll only see one speaking woman. And while there’s no analysis of the quality of the lines given to women, the 2015 blockbusters don’t exactly paint a pretty picture.
  • Age: Nestled inside the gender statistics is the fact that in the 100 top-grossing films of 2014, “no female actors over 45 years of age performed a lead or co lead role.” (Nope, not even Meryl Streep. As Manohla Dargis of The New York Times points out, in 2014 “the hardest-working woman in cinema had only supporting roles, including in the Disney musical Into the Woods.”) And outside of the lead roles the study notes that “only 19.9 percent of the middle-aged characters were female across the 100 top films.”
  • Race and Ethnicity: Of the speaking characters in the 100 top films of 2014, 73.1 percent were “White,” 12.5 percent were “Black,” 5.3 percent were “Asian,” 4.9 percent were “Hispanic/Latino,” 2.9 percent were “Middle Eastern,” less than 1 percent were “American Indian/Alaskan Native or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander,” and 1.2 percent were from “other” racial and/or ethnic groupings. Given that statistic, the uproar over Emma Stone’s controversial casting in Aloha seems pretty justified. As the report points out, sadly, this represents no change “in the portrayal of apparent race/ethnicity” from the previous seven years.
First off, these statistics are not derived from all movies and therefore totally bogus. They're only from the top 100 grossing movies. That means these are the most popular movies, the ones that audiences pay to see over and over again. The demographics for typical repeat movie-goers skews young and it skews male. Any conclusions drawn say nothing about bias and inequality in Hollywood, and everything about the biases of movie-goers.

What these contrived statistics show is that young people don't want to spend their money to see character-driven movies about older people and women. They prefer to see action movies about younger men. Well, duh...

The claim that “no female actors over 45 years of age performed a lead or co lead role" is an outright lie. Sigourney Weaver starred in Avatar at age 59 -- which was the #1 grossing film in 2009. Sandra Bullock starred in Gravity, released in 2013 when she was 49 (sixth grossing film in 2013). Bullock was the only person on screen for about 95% of the film! Judi Dench starred in Philomena in 2013, which was the 80th grossing film in 2013. Dench's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was the 73rd grossing film in 2012Meryl Streep was in the The Iron Lady, which as the 100th grossing film in 2011. Michelle Pfeiffer starred in Dark Shadows (39th grossing film in 2012) at age 54. If you dig, I'm sure you will find dozens more examples.

The numbers on race are fairly close to reality: African Americans make up 12.6% of the population, while the numbers cited for the films is 12.5%, directly reflecting the U.S. population. Asians make up 4.8% of the population (vs. 5.3% in film). The complaint that less that 1% of actors are native American/Hawaiian is similar nonsense, because those ethnicities comprise only 1.1% of the American population in the first place. Ergo, not very far off.

Where popular films do diverge from the reality is in Latinos, who make up 16.4% of the US population (vs. 4.9% in films). But again, the stats derived in this study are bogus, because they come only from the most successful films, not from all films.

Now, I'm not claiming Hollywood is innocent. Do they cast young and attractive people in action flicks instead of old ladies and ethnic actors in sedate internal psychological dramas? Of course, that's what sells! Does Hollywood have an inequality problem, paying female actors less than their male costars? Yes! Is it a crime against nature that older male actors are always paired with love interests 20 or 30 years their junior? No question! Do they put more marketing dollars behind their loud, big-budget, action-filled, youth-oriented action flicks? They would be idiots if they didn't.

But cherry-picking the films for these statistics based on their success completely prevents making any conclusions about inherent bias in Hollywood. Hollywood definitely has a lot of terrible biases, but this is a totally bogus way to show it. This study only says what the preferences of audiences world-wide are.

Yes, Hollywood makes lots of movies about young men in action roles because that's what makes them the most money. They also produce movies that have Latinos, old ladies, old men, fat guys, fat girls, skinny guys, gays, lesbians and so on. And a lot of these movies even gross in the top 100!

Obama Coming For Your Guns?


Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Here's One the NRA Won't Be Talking About...

Alabama police shoot woman after she shot home invader

Police in Alabama said officers shot a woman who had shot an intruder during a home invasion after she didn’t drop her weapon.

Huntsville police spokesman lieutenant Darryl Lawson told local news site AL.com the woman’s estranged husband came into the house she shared with her mother armed with a gun on Sunday afternoon. The woman opened fire with a shotgun, wounding him.

Her mother called 911 and when police arrived, they heard gunshots and saw the woman in the garage holding the shotgun. They demanded she drop the weapon and when she turned toward them with the gun in her hand, at least one officer fired.

Officers say the estranged husband’s injuries are life-threatening. The woman is expected to survive.

Lawson says the officer who shot the woman has been placed on administrative leave. 
This is a great example of why you are not safer around cops or guns. You especially don't want cops near you when you have a gun...

They Can No Longer Be Trusted

Check this piece out from William Selatan at Slate. Here's only the first reason why Republicans should not be leading our country.

1. North Korea. In all three hearings, Kerry explained how the inspection and verification measures in the Iran deal are designed to rectify flaws that led to the failure of the North Korean nuclear agreement. He spent much of his opening statement outlining these differences. This made no impression. When the Senate held its next hearing a week later, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presiding Republican, dismissed the Iran agreement with a quip: “How did that North Korean deal work out for you?”

Seriously, how old are these guys? 12?

Monday, August 03, 2015

Will Joe Run?

The political world is abuzz this AM with talks of Vice President Joe Biden jumping into the race. Once unthinkable given the death of his son, Beau, a Biden run seems more likely for a couple of reasons.

First, Democrats are worried that the issue of Hillary's authenticity will be a factor in the general election. One would have to be a fool in ignoring the appeal of Donald Trump to the masses. What you say is what you get and, in many ways, Biden is like Trump...for good or ill:)

Second, Beau apparently made his dad promise that we would run so that there would be "Biden values" in the White House and not Hillary Values. I'm not sure what the difference in those values are but we are talking about a deathbed wish here.

Third, Joe Biden is the fucking Vice President of the United States. He has been instrumental in shaping many of Barack Obama's policies and add in his 40+ years of experience. He has to be sitting there thinking...why not me?

In my view, Joe Biden should run for president. Even as someone who thinks that Hillary Clinton has the best chance of continuing the progress we've seen over the last six years, he should be in there to mix it all up. Much of the focus so far as been on Trump and the 89 other candidates running for the GOP nomination. Think of the contrast that would show as the Democrats would have the Vice President, a former Secretary of States, a leading voice on inequality, and Ronald Reagan's Secretary of the Navy up on stage. The GOP clown show would look even more ridiculous.

So, Run Joe Run!! Let's have your personality in this race to make it even more colorful!!!


Sunday, August 02, 2015

Indeed

From Tom Teves, father of Alex Teves killed in the Aurora shooting.

Another man with a gun. Another movie theater. Another devastated community. Something is very wrong in our society when Americans can’t feel safe in a movie theater, their school, where they worship, or in a shopping mall.

We have an entire federal department devoted to terrorism from outside our borders. What about the terror our communities and families are experiencing right here within our borders? It’s time for meaningful solutions to ensure Not One More life is taken by gun violence. Failure to act makes our politicians culpable for this unending carnage.

The ones that are really culpable are the members and leaders of the gun rights lobby.

If you are actively supporting the loosening of gun laws, you are allowing irresponsible people to gain access to weapons and hurt or kill people. As far as I'm concerned, that makes you an accessory to murder.

And you should be thrown in jail.

The Price of Admission is Bullets

Unwittingly, I became a member of a club no one wants to belong to early on a chilly Friday morning, December 14, 2012. I had never even heard of this club. There is no formal name for this group and we don't have a clubhouse. The members are from across the country, all races, ages and genders. We live in urban areas, the suburbs and rural communities. Yet we all met the memberships' one criterion, a life taken by gun violence. The price of admission to this club is bullets. 

The price of my admission was my sister Mary Sherlach.

---Jane Dougherty, sister of Mary Sherlach, killed at Sandy Hook on December 12, 2012. 

Saturday, August 01, 2015

How They Are Brainwashed

Trump Is Creating American Jobs, but Giving Them to Foreigners

You know how Trump keeps telling us that as president he'll create lots of American jobs? Like this:
"I will be the greatest jobs president that God every created," he said in announcing his candidacy on June 16. "I will bring back our jobs from China, Mexico and other places. I will bring back jobs and our money."
The problem is, based on his track record, he won't be creating them for Americans. He's creating them for foreigners that he brings in on H2-B visas:
The temporary work visa program through which Trump's companies have sought the greatest numbers of workers, H-2B, brings in mostly workers from Mexico. Mexicans made up more than 80 percent of the 104,993 admissions to the United States on H-2B visas in 2013. The Trump companies have sought at least 850 H-2B visa workers. 
Remember what Trump told us about Mexico sending us people?
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," he said in the speech. "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists."
I guess Trump should know. He's hired hundreds of Mexicans in the last several years. And he's still doing it:
This month, [Trump's Mar-a-Lago] resort filed paperwork seeking to bring in 70 foreign workers later this year on H-2B visas to serve as maids, cooks and wait staff, according to paperwork known as "job orders" published on the Labor Department's web site.
And menial labor isn't the only thing Trump thinks foreigners are fit for:
Two of his companies, Trump Model Management and Trump Management Group LLC, have sought visas for nearly 250 foreign fashion models, the records show. 
Trump also prefers to give the job of being Mrs. Trump to foreigners.

His first wife, Ivana, was a model born in Czechoslovakia. They stayed married for 15 years. He did try marrying an American the second time around (Marla Maples) but American women are just so ... uppity. She only lasted six years. So for the third wife he married another woman born in the Soviet bloc, Melanija Knavs, who for some reason Germanized her name when she came to the United States (Melania Knauss, perhaps it was originally German).

Trump and Melania have been married now for 10 years, but I don't imagine this marriage will last -- she's 45 and she's had a child. I can't imagine Trump will put up with that for much longer.

Apparently Trump's whole Miss Universe enterprise is just an audition for the next Mrs. Trump.

How's That $15 An Hour Working Out For Seattle?

Well, it's still too soon to tell, obviously, but Ivar's Salmon House in Seattle seems to be handling it just fine.

As Washington, D.C., and other cities consider following Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles in phasing in a $15-an-hour minimum wage, Ivar's approach, adopted in April, offers lessons in how some businesses might adapt. Ivar's Seafood Restaurants President Bob Donegan decided to raise prices, tell customers that they don't need to tip and parcel the added revenue among the hourly staff. 

For some of the restaurant's lesser-paid workers - including bussers and dishwashers - that's meant as much as 60 percent more. Revenue has soared, supportive customers are leaving additional tips even though they don't need to, and servers and bartenders are on pace to increase their annual pay by thousands, with wages for a few of the best compensated approaching $80,000 a year. 

It is staff, not diners, who feel the real difference, with wages as much as 60 percent higher than before. One waitress is saving for accounting classes and finding it easier to take weekend vacations, while another server is using the added pay to cover increased rent

"It's been a surprise," Donegan said. "The customers seem to like it, the employees seem to like it, and it seems to be working, at least in this location." 

Rochelle Hann, 25, is a second-generation worker at Ivar's. Like her mom, she has performed a variety of roles, including serving, bookkeeping and even dressing up as a giant clam. If she keeps working 30 hours a week, her annual pay will jump about $12,000 - money she's socking away for accounting classes at a community college.

Weird...it'a almost as if the economy is improving and becoming (gasp!) not quite as hierarchical in nature. Speaking of adding customers, look who else has had to add more staff.

Could we see a return to the golden age of capitalism?:)