Monday, December 22, 2014

Andrew Hawkins' Powerful Statement

There has obviously been a lot said on Tamir Rice's murder, but I found this video of Browns player Andrew Hawkins explain his decision to wear a shirt calling for justice extremely smart and inspiring.

 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I Can't Breathe

Like Kari said, I'm pretty much at my end on this without more time to reflect, but for now I think looking at Eric Garner's words is pretty important.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

No Justice for Mike Brown

Monday, November 10, 2014

Causality/Correlation

These lines from this very good Matt Stoller piece stood out as obvious but also very important and often misunderstood:
The only time the question even comes up now is in an inverted corroded form, when a liberal activist gnashes his or her teeth and wonders — why can’t Democrats run elections around populist themes and policies? This is still the wrong question, because it assumes the wrong causality. Parties don’t poll for good ideas, run races on them, and then govern. They have ideas, poll to find out how to sell those ideas, and run races and recruit candidates based on the polling. It’s ideas first, then the sales pitch. If the sales pitch is bad, it’s often the best of what can be made of an unpopular stew of ideas.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

How the Rich Stay Rich

Good stuff in this Guardian piece,  but this chart in particular shows how the super rich stay richer: (via this tweet)


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Romney Unleashed

In a article about Mitt Romney considering another presidential run (lol), I honestly find these quotes at the end kind of incredible:
Romney himself told the New York Times several weeks ago that “circumstances can change.” He also suggested that if he ran again, he would focus on avoiding off-the-cuff remarks, like the notorious “47 percent” line that dogged his campaign in 2012.

“I was talking to one of my political advisers and I said: ‘If I had to do this again, I’d insist that you literally had a camera on me at all times,” Romney told Leibovich. “I want to be reminded that this is not off the cuff.”
If Romney thinks he lost because he let down his weird pseudo-human persona to often...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Arm Everyone, Let God Sort it Out

This does seem to be our basic policy. I find it kind of crazy that the proponents of arming people are never really forced to acknowledge that this isn't like changing money between bank accounts. When you give guns to people in failed states, there is a very good chance those guns will end up in someone else's hands.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Selling The War

I'm kind of surprised that more hasn't been made of this:
NEW YORK –- President Barack Obama met with over a dozen prominent columnists and magazine writers Wednesday afternoon before calling for an escalation of the war against the Islamic State, or ISIS, in a primetime address that same night.

The group, which met in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in an off-the-record session, included New York Times columnists David Brooks, Tom Friedman and Frank Bruni and editorial writer Carol Giacomo; The Washington Post's David Ignatius, Eugene Robinson and Ruth Marcus; The New Yorker's Dexter Filkins and George Packer; The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg and Peter Beinart; The New Republic's Julia Ioffe; Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll; The Wall Street Journal's Jerry Seib; and The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky, a source familiar with the meeting told The Huffington Post.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough also attended the meeting, according to the source.
I understand there is some amount of this stuff going on all the time that we don't hear about, but the formality of it and the number of people seems particularly gross. Not to mention it includes some of the dumbest "journalists" we have out there in David Brooks Tom Friedman and Jeffery Goldberg. But then again, that is the point. You're not inviting people here to question their actions, you're bringing them in so they can help sell your war.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The March to War

We've learned so much from the first several wars with Iraq that we're giving it another try. Maybe this time our bombs will give them the freedom and democracy that our previous bombs did not.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fast Food Strikes Continue to Grow

Going for civil disobedience is an interesting escalation of the campaign:
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- About two dozen of this city's fast-food workers marched Thursday afternoon to a street corner that's home to a McDonald's, a Wendy's and a KFC. Calling for a living wage of $15, they seated themselves in the middle of a freeway entrance, backing up traffic as far as the eye could see.

Charleston police were eventually forced to pull them out of the street one by one, citing them for disorderly conduct in what were deemed "non-custodial" arrests. All told, 18 people -- most of them earning right around minimum wage -- were arrested next to the McDonald's parking lot.

"I'm just tired of seeing my family struggle," Robert Brown, a 20-year-old with short dreadlocks sprouting from his McDonald's visor, said right after a cop handed him a citation ordering him to appear in court. "I can't help them at all with what I make."

The Charleston arrests were part of Thursday's nationwide protest coordinated by Fight for $15, a union-backed campaign in which workers are demanding a $15 wage and union recognition. With the support of local labor and community groups, workers have been taking part in a series of intermittent one-day strikes in various cities over the past two years, shaming big fast-food companies like McDonald's over low pay and irregular hours.

Organizers billed Thursday's strikes and protests as an escalation of the campaign through civil disobedience. Notably, the demonstrations have spread well beyond big cities like New York and Chicago, where they were originally based. On Thursday, workers took to the streets in places like Durham, North Carolina; Tucson, Arizona; and Rochester, New York, according to news reports.

A Fight for $15 spokesperson said that roughly 500 people had been arrested in the demonstrations as of Thursday afternoon, though a portion of those appeared to be citations without arrest.

In instances that HuffPost could confirm, police arrested 47 people in Kansas City, Missouri; 27 in West Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 19 in New York City's Times Square; 30 in Detroit; 11 in San Diego; 8 in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania; seven in Miami; and three in Denver. Police also confirmed 19 citations in Chicago; 10 in Indianapolis; 13 in Hartford, Connecticut; and 10 in Las Vegas. In most cases, the arrests and citations came after protesters were blocking traffic.
This is obviously difficult to pick out, but it would be interesting to know SEIU's internal info on how many of these strikes have sprung up on their own due to the attention the previous ones received.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Fuck Everything

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Killer Mike on Ferguson

Have loved Killer Mike for some time, so glad he got some airtime on CNN. Really smart stuff:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Police Shoot Unarmed Black Teen, Part 10,000

Post racial America:
Dorian Johnson told WALB-TV that he and Brown were walking home from a convenience store when a police officer told them to get out of the street and onto the sidewalk. Johnson said they kept walking, which caused the officer to confront them from his car and again after getting out of his car.

Johnson said the officer fired, and he and Brown were scared and ran away.

"He shot again, and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air, and he started to get down," Johnson said. "But the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hillary Fills in For Speech To Bankers after W Pulls Out

You can't make this shit up: (via Sirota)
Former President George W. Bush was supposed to give a speech to Ameriprise Financial conference in Boston next week but had to bow out because he’s recovering from surgery on a bum knee. But the financial services firm was able to secure a prominent substitute speaker: Hillary Clinton.

Clinton’s speech, confirmed by two sources familiar with the event, is the latest in a series of paid speaking-circuit gigs for the former secretary of state and likely 2016 presidential contender, who charges upward of $200,000 to deliver remarks or take part in question-and-answer sessions.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

100-0

The vote in the senate to give Israel a blank check on their actions in Gaza was 100-0. No Bernie Sanders, no Elizabeth Warren, no Sherrod Brown. No one. And this is why I am depressed that our support of this aparthied state will not change in my lifetime.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Speaking Truth To Power

This was particularly on my mind since finally watching the extremely underwhelming Chris Hayes interview with Netanyahu's spokesperson, but this was fairly amazing to see:

And sadly, the extremely predictable result:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"The fear in their faces"

Few things are as disgusting as human beings organizing to protest and yell at buses of unaccompanied migrant children, but this is America's right wing so I've kind of stopped being surprised. The sheer inhumanity and stupidity of the situation can be summed up by what happened here:
A Republican running for Congress in Arizona snapped a photo of a passing school bus full of children on Tuesday near a housing facility for undocumented minors. He posted the picture to Twitter with a stern warning to his followers: "Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law."

Adam Kwasman later spoke with a local reporter and described seeing "the fear" in the children's faces, urging authorities to abide by the law and enforce the border against the influx of child immigrants crossing into the United States.
But there was a problem with Kwasman's story. The school bus was carrying local children on the way to a YMCA camp not far from the migrant shelter. A reporter at the scene said he saw the children laughing and taking pictures with their iPhones.
The 'fear on the faces' of those YMCA kids they were yelling at...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Missing the Point


Most coverage of Israel's siege of Gaza has been horrific, even by the low standards I expect for the US media covering anything related to Israel. I think most of these problems come from the fact that the media is trying to report on events that occur while ignoring the context of the situation. The context is that Israel has been engaged in a military occupation of Palestinian lands and has been colonizing them for many, many years now. Objectivity fetish journalists seek out away to turn any story into he said/she said or "both sides are doing it" and while that type of coverage is bad for most political journalism, it is even worse in this case. The coverage of the conflict won't always be this bad, but it won't be getting better until they start acknowledging the history context of why we are here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Israel Begins New Gaza Bombing Campaign

This Majority Report podcast has a good summary of the events that led us here.




I was watching Chris Hayes' segment from last night and I didn't really agree with his point that this most recent violence would do anything further to change Israel's perception in the world or serve as a wake up call to the Israeli people. I think we're passed that point, and Israel's new bombing campaign they began today is a further sign of that. As was said in the podcast, there are multiple ways to get to a one state solution, and it looks like we're headed there in the most awful and bloodiest way possible.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What's Wrong With This Picture

Pretty amazing Fox News graphic on anti-immigrant protests. The statue's text is missing for some reason...


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hillary Clinton is Not Popular

Among the endless efforts to make Hillary Clinton's 2016 candidacy seem inevitable, the most absurd is those who claim that she has suddenly transformed into so a candidate with a broad base of popular support. This was always ridiculous, and the reasons why were obvious to anyone who understands our personality driven political system. You get popular when you are in positions outside of the daily cable media puke funnel, and you become extremely divisive the moment you return to it. If you don't believe me take a look at George W. Bush's approval ratings at the moment.

Hillary Clinton is exactly the same things she was last time she ran for office: Extremely divisive, not a good campaigner or speaker, and an extraordinary fund raiser. Literally nothing has changed, she remains all of these things, and her favorable ratings will continue to plummet, the more unpopular she will become. Here is her current graph, and it's not going to get worse before it gets better.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My MD Ballot

Heather Mizeur for Governor
Brian Frosh for Attorney General

Mizeur is a genuine progressive, and she deserves your vote. Brown will probably win and will be your standard issue blank slate democrat in a blue state, I don't think he's a Cuomo level centrist won't veto shit but he won't fight for much either. Gansler is an unspeakable asshole and will hopefully be humiliated by the end of this.

Frosh is fantastic and has been a leader on a bunch of issues, especially Maryland's repeal of the death penalty. Jon Cardin is a do-nothing state senator who only has his position because his uncle is our do-nothing representative in the US Senate. This race is actually going to be close, and here's hoping we don't promote another worthless Cardin to a position of actual power.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bigotry is the Rule, Not the Exception

Yesterday, at the most important conservative think tank in America:
Representatives of prominent conservative groups converged on the Heritage Foundation on Monday afternoon for the umpteenth in a series of gatherings to draw attention to the Benghazi controversy.

But this one took an unexpected turn.

What began as a session purportedly about “unanswered questions” surrounding the September 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Libya deteriorated into the ugly taunting of a woman in the room who wore an Islamic head covering.

The session, as usual, quickly moved beyond the specifics of the assaults that left four Americans dead to accusations about the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrating the Obama administration, President Obama funding jihadists in their quest to destroy the United States, Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton attempting to impose Sharia blasphemy laws on Americans and Al Jazeera America being an organ of “enemy propaganda.”

Then Saba Ahmed, an American University law student, stood in the back of the room and asked a question in a soft voice. “We portray Islam and all Muslims as bad, but there’s 1.8 billion followers of Islam,” she told them. “We have 8 million-plus Muslim Americans in this country and I don’t see them represented here.”

Panelist Brigitte Gabriel of a group called ACT! for America pounced. She said “180 million to 300 million” Muslims are “dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization.” She told Ahmed that the “peaceful majority were irrelevant” in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and she drew a Hitler comparison: “Most Germans were peaceful, yet the Nazis drove the agenda and as a result, 60 million died.”

“Are you an American?” Gabriel demanded of Ahmed, after accusing her of taking “the limelight” and before informing her that her “political correctness” belongs “in the garbage.”

“Where are the others speaking out?” Ahmed was asked. This drew an extended standing ovation from the nearly 150 people in the room, complete with cheers.

The panel’s moderator, conservative radio host Chris Plante, grinned and joined in the assault. “Can you tell me who the head of the Muslim peace movement is?” he demanded of Ahmed.

“Yeah,” audience members taunted, “yeah.”
It's worth pointing out that the problem of bigotry in today's conservative movement is often portrayed (and not totally incorrectly) as elite big money GOP vs the tea party base. Except when this type of vile bigotry occurs at a fancy elite event at the most important conservative think tank in existence. It wasn't just tolerated, it received extended applause.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

John Oliver on Fifa

So this John Oliver show... it seems really fucking good. For a written view of why Fifa is so awful, Dave Zirin's piece is very good.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Death of the Left



I'm working on a post that deals with some of the same issues in greater detail, but for now read this Matt Stoller commentary on Cuomo's endorsement from the Working Families Party. A tough read but extremely important:
After a resurgence under Bush from 2005-2008, liberals have been losing consistently for six years now. Donna Edwards and Ned Lamont were the last stand. Now there is no real war within the Democratic Party. In blue states like Wisconsin, public unions got crushed, the centrist beat the liberal in the primary and then lost to Scott Walker. Primaries all over, blue states and red, are slaughters for liberals. EMILY'S list, the DCCC, the White House, and every other party institution makes liberals their chew toy. There are no challenges to incumbent centrist Democrats anymore, but there are right-wing challenges to liberals (see Ro Khanna).

There are some bright spots. Elizabeth Warren is a good Senator with a strong sense of consequential policy moves. But she uses her vast political network to help mainstream Democrats, not liberals. And Bill de Blasio and Eric Schneiderman, both aesthetically left-ish I suppose, are essentially failed at policymaking and stumped for Cuomo. The bright spots are not advancing the ball politically, or even worse, they are making things worse.

Meanwhile, forums for discussion are ruined. There's no place where genuine debates happen, where people debate and fight over what to do, where intellectual centers bubble over with energetic policy questions. Nothing like CPAC, for instance. There is grassroots energy, in some places, but that is totally disconnected from the political establishment.

I don't know what to do about this. I think, after years of watching this, that liberals have just been convinced that liberalism doesn't work. They think that liberals can't govern. Even though they dislike Cuomo, they don't actually think Zephyr could be Governor. They want mythic conservative figures, like Cuomo, and Obama, and so forth, and they don't really believe that government can make their lives better in any fundamental way. But Zephyr could be Governor! It's just a job. She could actually make college free in New York, and start a state debt card competitive with the banks, and bring small farms back to NY, and make the state carbon neutral. That's all possible! It's not that hard!

Anyway, I hope people take away from what happened last night a real sense that we need some soul-searching. We need to start asking ourselves why we dare not work for a better world, why when faced with a choice of the good versus the evil, the courageous versus the cowardly, the hope versus the fear, we pick fear. Because that's what happened. There was no structural blah blah blah this time. It was a group of liberals picking fear, fighting for fear, and making fear the guiding point of politics, one more time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

Snowden's NBC Interview

He's obviously preaching to my choir, but I thought this came off extremely well:


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Yes All Women

Bors:

For a more in depth discussion of the issues at play here check out Kari's post on the subject. I'll add that what I found most troubling about this person's manifesto was that if you take out the overtly violent stuff and the most vile comments, I feel like you could hear a lot of this same sentiments randomly walking through a college dorm. The men's rights activists and pick up artists are more obvious in the way they catalog their sexist ideologies, but so many conversations men have about women rob them of their agency almost by default. It's obvious that most people aren't going to take these feelings to their violent extremes, but I do think it's important to acknowledge what happens when you take these beliefs to their logical ends. As in war, when you rob "the enemy" of their agency and humanity, people become capable of monstrous things.

Also, what Nick said:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

50 Senators Push Back On Redskins Name

Considering the senate, I'm actually floored it was this many:
Fifty senators are teaming up to call on the National Football League to change the team name of the Washington Redskins, declaring that "racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports."

The senators wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell -- led by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and co-signed by 47 others -- invoking the racist comments by NBA Clippers owner Donald Sterling as an opportunity for the NFL to follow suit and take action.

"The despicable comments made by Mr. Sterling have opened up a national conversation about race relations," the senators wrote. "We believe this conversation is an opportunity for the NFL to take action to remove the racial slur from the name of one of its marquee franchises."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Years Later, Iraq Is Still Ruined

Really wonder how those who brought us this horror can sleep at night:
(Reuters) - Thousands of civilians have fled Falluja since last week after the Iraqi military intensified shelling in a new bid to crush a five-month old Sunni uprising, killing scores of people in what residents describe as massive indiscriminate bombardment.

The mortars, artillery and what residents call "barrel bombs" rained for at least seven days on Falluja - a city that was the nemesis of U.S. troops a decade ago and is now the main battle ground in a war pitting the Shi'ite-led government against rebellious Sunni tribal chiefs and an al Qaeda offshoot.

More than 420,000 people have already escaped the two main cities of western Anbar province, Falluja and Ramadi, in fighting since the start of the year. Residents say the new pounding of Falluja's residential neighborhoods appears aimed at driving out all remaining civilians in preparation for an all-out assault to defeat armed groups once and for all.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is trying to cobble together a coalition to keep himself in office for a third term after an April 30 parliamentary election, has vowed to destroy fighters who seized parts of Anbar province last year.

The mainly Sunni desert province borders on Syria, and many of the fighters belong to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al Qaeda offshoot waging war and holding territory on both sides of the frontier.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Michael Sam Gets Drafted

He had a shitty pro day (generally something that gets overblown positively or negatively no matter who the player is) so I was wondering how far he'd slip. Getting emotional and celebrating with loved ones on a hostage video style live shot is a staple of draft day (this classic comes to mind), but Sam's was particularly amazing.

It will be great to see how his career unfolds.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy May Day



A good history of why we don't have May day in the US and have "loyalty day" (gag) instead can be found here.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Scale of the Fight On Climate Change

This is a really great piece from Chris Hayes on climate change. It's sobering:
In 2012, the writer and activist Bill McKibben published a heart-stopping essay in Rolling Stone titled “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” I’ve read hundreds of thousands of words about climate change over the last decade, but that essay haunts me the most.

The piece walks through a fairly straightforward bit of arithmetic that goes as follows. The scientific consensus is that human civilization cannot survive in any recognizable form a temperature increase this century more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Given that we’ve already warmed the earth about 0.8 degrees Celsius, that means we have 1.2 degrees left—and some of that warming is already in motion. Given the relationship between carbon emissions and global average temperatures, that means we can release about 565 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere by mid-century. Total. That’s all we get to emit if we hope to keep inhabiting the planet in a manner that resembles current conditions.

Now here’s the terrifying part. The Carbon Tracker Initiative, a consortium of financial analysts and environmentalists, set out to tally the amount of carbon contained in the proven fossil fuel reserves of the world’s energy companies and major fossil fuel–producing countries. That is, the total amount of carbon we know is in the ground that we can, with present technology, extract, burn and put into the atmosphere. The number that the Carbon Tracker Initiative came up with is… 2,795 gigatons. Which means the total amount of known, proven extractable fossil fuel in the ground at this very moment is almost five times the amount we can safely burn.

Proceeding from this fact, McKibben leads us inexorably to the staggering conclusion that the work of the climate movement is to find a way to force the powers that be, from the government of Saudi Arabia to the board and shareholders of ExxonMobil, to leave 80 percent of the carbon they have claims on in the ground. That stuff you own, that property you’re counting on and pricing into your stocks? You can’t have it.

Given the fluctuations of fuel prices, it’s a bit tricky to put an exact price tag on how much money all that unexcavated carbon would be worth, but one financial analyst puts the price at somewhere in the ballpark of $20 trillion. So in order to preserve a roughly habitable planet, we somehow need to convince or coerce the world’s most profitable corporations and the nations that partner with them to walk away from $20 trillion of wealth. Since all of these numbers are fairly complex estimates, let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that we’ve overestimated the total amount of carbon and attendant cost by a factor of 2. Let’s say that it’s just $10 trillion.

The last time in American history that some powerful set of interests relinquished its claim on $10 trillion of wealth was in 1865—and then only after four years and more than 600,000 lives lost in the bloodiest, most horrific war we’ve ever fought.
Read the whole thing, I think understanding the scale puts the fight in a different light and makes me rethink what organizing methods would be most effective.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WIZARDS!!!

Up 2-0 over the Bulls, heading back home...

Also I could look at this picture for hours:


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Train of Thought Lounge: Backyard Band



One of my favorite gogo covers.

Sorry for the lack of posting. End school... forever... is near.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pharoahe Monch On TV

So this happened and it was amazing. Pharoahe Monch, my all time favorite rapper was on Melissa Harris Perry's weekend show. His album comes out tomorrow, and it will be bought at midnight.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Change the Fucking Name

This is a thing that happened in Cleveland.

Amazingly enough, as predicted by this cartoon.

Change the fucking name.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Worst Interview By Any Politician, Ever?

I put this on twitter, but in case people missed it I wanted to make sure I gave it more airtime because it's so genuinely jaw-dropping. This is from a DCist interview with the next mayor of DC, Muriel Bowser (read the whole thing here):

The response of the DCist reporter is incredible because she seems legitimately stunned at Bowser's repeated question of "what does introducing legislation have to do with being mayor?" Her response is so patronizing it would be inappropriate under "not dealing with a question that idiotic" circumstances.

And this isn't even a case of someone who has been on the council for a year or so before running. She has been on the city council for SEVEN YEARS.

My god. I am always happy to be wrong/surprised, but Bowser seems like Fenty style neoliberal platitudes except without the substance. I just don't see how this ends well.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Female Senator Too "Emotional" about Torture

These words come from former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden:
Former CIA and National Security Agency director Michael Hayden suggested Sunday that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) might have compromised the objectivity of a report on CIA interrogation techniques because she personally wants to change them.

On "Fox News Sunday," Hayden cited comments Feinstein made last month in which she said declassifying the report would "ensure that an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation will never again be considered or permitted."

Hayden suggested Feinstein feels too strongly about the issue on an "emotional" level.

"That sentence -- that motivation for the report -- may show deep, emotional feeling on the part of the senator, but I don't think it leads you to an objective report," Hayden said.
I for one am glad this guy led the agency that was able to spy on all Americans at any time for any reason. He seems swell.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

DC's Democracy Not In Great Shape

Via Charles Davis on Twitter:
This is obviously a problem.

The usual answer is anger at people, but as someone who has spent a lot of time on voter registration in my past, I have a very hard time with that argument.

This seems like a case of bad candidates depressing interest combined with structural problems with DC's governance that make the mayor less powerful and able to do things. The last election that swept Gray into power was much more about hatred of Fenty and Rhee than it was positive feeling about Gray, so with those villains out of the picture this type of result seems likely. It also didn't help matters that the two main candidates were: Bowser (maybe the worst politician I remember winning an office this large, ever) and Gray (under a federal investigation). Not good times.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

GOP Offered VW 300 Million To Stop Union

Holy fuck, this is actually worse than I thought:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Were hundreds of millions of your tax dollars offered to Volkswagen -- and then pulled back -- to try to keep the United Auto Workers out of Chattanooga?

For months, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has denied any connection.

But documents leaked to NewsChannel 5 Investigates offer conclusive proof that the Haslam administration wanted a say in the automaker's deal with organized labor -- in exchange for $300 million in economic incentives to help VW expand its Chattanooga operations.

Volkswagen opened the Hamilton County facility in May 2011 with great fanfare.

Initially producing the midsize Passat, there were hints of more to come. It was located on a 1,400-acre site with plenty of room for expansion.

Last year, when Volkswagen began talking about adding a midsize SUV to its product line, the Haslam administration began discussing financial incentives to convince the company to build it in Chattanooga.

At the same time, VW began talks with the UAW about creating a workers council to help run the plant.

Yet, the governor had emphatically denied rumors heard by Democratic lawmakers that state incentives were tied to Volkswagen rejecting the UAW.

"This is exactly what we was looking for," said House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Turner when we showed him the evidence.

But while the state refused to give the documents to the Nashville Democrat, NewsChannel 5 Investigates obtained a summary from last August for what the Haslam administration called "Project Trinity."

Marked confidential, it offers Volkswagen incentives of some $300 million -- in exchange for 1,350 full-time jobs at a new SUV facility.

The catch?

"The incentives … are subject to works council discussions between the State of Tennessee and VW being concluded to the satisfaction of the State of Tennessee."
God knows labor law in this country is totally fucked, but this might be enough of a smoking gun to get a new election. You can basically threaten all this stuff and not fear penalties (even though it's technically illegal as well), but if you actually offered an extra 300 million in incentives... that could be just enough of a BFD to get attention.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Beginning of The End for the NCAA

Big, big news and a big first step to fairness in college athletics:
The National Labor Relations Board in Chicago has ruled that football players at Northwestern University are employees and can unionize, the board said Wednesday.

In a statement, Northwestern acknowledged the ruling and says it plans to appeal.

The players' petition was a way to get a seat at the bargaining table in college sports and could change the landscape of the NCAA model.

Northwestern University fought the petition by saying its players are students, not employees.

But the board's decision indicates that there was enough evidence presented that the athletes are employees of the university -- getting paid in the form of scholarships, working between 20 and 50 hours per week and generating millions of dollars for their institutions.

The athletes have said they're seeking better medical coverage, concussion testing, four-year scholarships and the possibility of being paid.
For more on the reaction check out Kari's post about this. While this is a huge deal, this is only the very first step in what is likely to be a very long journey. Ned Resikoff mad a really great chart for those that aren't familiar with our labor laws:

The NCAA's days of massively profiting on unpaid labor are numbered, and you can look back on this week as when it really started to unravel.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The World Cup Of Death

The most corrupt organization in the world's decision to award the world cup to a country with temperatures of 120 degrees in the summer continues to impress:
"Qatar is a country without a conscience," begins the International Trade Union Confederation's recent report on the working and living conditions of the 1.4 million migrant workers living in Qatar, many of whom are there to build stadiums and infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup. After reading through the report, it's hard to disagree.

The ITUC estimates that 4,000 migrant workers will die before the 2022 World Cup, an estimate based on mortality trends previously reported by embassies within the country.
Worse yet, the ITUC concludes that Qatar's recent efforts to improve the working and living conditions of its migrant work force are a sham. In the last year, Qatar set forth two charters—the Qatar Foundation Mandatory Standards (QFMS) and the Supreme Committee Workers' Welfare Standards (SCWWS)—that were supposed to ensure that migrant workers were treated properly and afforded basic human rights. It seems, though, that both charters are completely toothless and unenforceable.

The QFMS, for example, requires that contractors submit a "welfare adherence plan" with their bids in order to prove that workers will be properly compensated and treated. The adherence plan, however, is the result of a self-audit by the contractors. The Qatari Foundation will occasionally perform its own audits on construction companies, but companies aren't scrutinized by a truly independent organization that has the power to enforce laws.
So yeah the world cup is going to be held at temperatures so hot it will be unplayable but at least as a bonus we will murder many of workers that build the stadiums. FIFA, the absolute worst.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Duke Energy Caught Dumping Million Gallons Of Contaminated Water into River

Well this is just great:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- North Carolina regulators say Duke Energy illegally pumped 61 million gallons of contaminated water from a coal ash pit into the Cape Fear River, marking the eighth time in less than a month the nation's largest electricity company has been cited for environmental violations.
The pumping violated the terms of Duke's wastewater permit at its Cape Fear Plant, State Department of Environment and Natural Resources spokesman Jamie Kritzer said Thursday. Kritzer said the agency has issued Duke a formal notice of violation, which could result in hefty fines.

Regulators from the agency said the illegal pumping had been going on for months. It wasn't immediately clear if Duke's efforts to empty the pond were related to a crack in the earthen dam holding back the coal ash. Duke first disclosed the existence of the crack to regulators on Thursday.

Inspectors are trying to determine the cause of the crack, but the dike does not appear to be in imminent danger of collapse, said State Dam Safety Engineer Steve McEvoy.

Duke did not respond Thursday to requests for comment from The Associated Press.

A Feb. 2 pipe collapse at a similar Duke coal ash dump in Eden coated 70 miles of the Dan River with toxic sludge. Duke has nearly three dozen other ash pits spread out at 14 coal-fired power plants across the state.
Any negative attention Duke gets from this is important, mainly because it is likely the only meaningful consequence they will face for what they've done. Just like the banks and so many other major corporations, they do these things knowing they will eventually get caught and eventually have to pay some minor fine that is way cheaper than not breaking the law.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Iraq War Anniversary Day

We just passed the anniversary of going to war with Iraq. Although I lived it and protested against it at the time, going back and looking at the discourse at the time is simply jarring. This (via atrios), is probably the perfect example of the idiotic and soulless logic that led us into that conflict:



None of the people who gave us this war have paid any sort of price, the least we can do is make sure we don't forget what horrible destruction they brought into the world for absolutely no fucking reason.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Terrifying Comments From Pelosi On the CIA

For a former speaker of the house/current house minority leader to say this out loud is shocking:
“I salute Sen. Feinstein,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference of the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “I’ll tell you, you take on the intelligence community, you’re a person of courage, and she does not do that lightly. Not without evidence, and when I say evidence, documentation of what it is that she is putting forth.”

Pelosi added that she has always fought for checks and balances on CIA activity and its interactions with Congress: “You don’t fight it without a price because they come after you and they don’t always tell the truth."
“You don’t fight it without a price because they come after you and they don’t always tell the truth."

She isn't talking about her electoral opponents, she is talking about an agency that works for her, and reports to an elected government. Holy crap.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Price of Solar Panels is Plummeting

This is obviously very good news:
The rest of this article is pretty interesting, discussing the possibility that it might mean people go off the grid in the long run and are no longer dependent on awful utility companies. Let's hope so!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Obamacare lowering the Number of Uninsured Americans

This is an interesting graph, and it will be fun to track over time after the ACA's implementation:


I'll be curious to see how low this number gets, and how close the ACA model can get to actual universality. As Jon Walker points out, it would also be interesting to know how many people are getting new access through the exchanges vs the medicaid expansion.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Local Famous Person that Murdered a Child

Just unreal:
George Zimmerman was shaking hands, smiling and signing autographs at a central Florida gun show Saturday.

Zimmerman greeted people and autographed photos of him posing with his dog. He appeared at a scaled-down version of the New Orlando Gun Show at the Arms Room store on East Colonial Drive.

The show was originally set to be held at the Majestic on John Young Parkway, but organizers said the venue canceled late Thursday after getting negative feedback about Zimmerman's planned appearance.
It's fairly incredible that neither Zimmerman (or the sociopaths asking for his autograph) can understand that EVEN if you thought he was innocent of murder and acting in self defense, that killing a child is nothing to celebrate or be celebrated for. Instead he's signing photos of himself at gun shows. What a world.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Individual Courage Matters: Jack Conway Edition

Much of our politics is determined by systematic factors that make it a big deal when someone breaks the mold and goes against those forces. While there is no denying the larger money and other forces that effect politics, it's become something of a catch all defense used to defend shitty actions by either President Obama or Democrats in general.

As powerful as many of these forces are, you can still do the right thing:
Kentucky's chief lawyer Jack Conway went against his governor and arguably the will of his constituents when he tearfully announced on Tuesday he wouldn't defend a Kentucky law banning recognition of out-of-state gay marriages.

"I felt like I would be defending discrimination," the Democratic attorney general told TPM in an interview on Tuesday. "And for me that's a line in the sand. I couldn't do it."

It was a rare and extraordinary move that split the administration of Gov. Steve Beshear (D), who revealed that he would appeal a federal judge's ruling against the statute after his top lawyer refused to do so.

"I've known for the last couple of days that's where he was headed. I respect Steve Beshear. I had a duty to defend the law ... and I read the [judge's] decision, I agreed with it, and I informed my client I agreed with it," Conway said, citing attorney-client privilege in refusing to divulge the details of their conversations.
If the Attorney General in Kentucky come out in favor of gay equality, I'm pretty sure some other politicians can step the fuck up as well on issues that are far more popular.

Friday, February 28, 2014

TPP Officials Still Getting Bank Bonuses

Not surprising... but this is to be expected with trade deals negotiated in secret by the rich for the rich. Lee Fang:
Officials tapped by the Obama administration to lead the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations have received multimillion dollar bonuses from CitiGroup and Bank of America, financial disclosures obtained by Republic Report show.

Stefan Selig, a Bank of America investment banker nominated to become the Under Secretary for International Trade at the Department of Commerce, received more than $9 million in bonus pay as he was nominated to join the administration in November. The bonus pay came in addition to the $5.1 million in incentive pay awarded to Selig last year.

Michael Froman, the current U.S. Trade Representative, received over $4 million as part of multiple exit payments when he left CitiGroup to join the Obama administration. Froman told Senate Finance Committee members last summer that he donated approximately 75 percent of the $2.25 million bonus he received for his work in 2008 to charity. CitiGroup also gave Froman a $2 million payment in connection to his holdings in two investment funds, which was awarded “in recognition of [Froman's] service to Citi in various capacities since 1999.”

Many large corporations with a strong incentive to influence public policy award bonuses and other incentive pay to executives if they take jobs within the government. CitiGroup, for instance, provides an executive contract that awards additional retirement pay upon leaving to take a “full time high level position with the U.S. government or regulatory body.” Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, the Blackstone Group, Fannie Mae, Northern Trust, and Northrop Grumman are among the other firms that offer financial rewards upon retirement for government service.

Froman joined the administration in 2009. Selig is currently awaiting Senate confirmation before he can take his post, which collaborates with the trade officials to support the TPP.
Thankfully the momentum on the TPP seems to have stalled at least for a moment, with Reid and Pelosi both publicly putting the break on Fast track. Make no mistake, the administration won't give up pushing this deal, but it may not happen until next year with a new congress.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bible Sized Tax Code

Via atrios
On the NPR I heard Dave Camp, the dude with the latest Republican plan to cut taxes for rich people, say this:
[the tax code] is now 10 times the size of the Bible, with none of the good news.
Obviously the tax code is far to complex, which screws over non rich people the most. But the tax code being 10 times the size of the bible... that is something we should care about.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Colonialism Explains the World

Here is a map of all the countries that Great Britain never invaded: (via various people on twitter)



Friday, February 21, 2014

(Short Term) Victory On Social Security

Obama caves (for now) in his 5 year long quest to cut Social Security:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says President Barack Obama's upcoming budget proposal will not include his past offer to accept lowered cost-of-living increases in Social Security and other benefit programs. Those had been a central component of his long-term debt-reduction strategy.

Officials said Thursday that those potential reductions in spending, included in last year's Obama budget, had been designed to initiate negotiations with Republicans over how to reduce future deficits and the nation's debt. But Republicans never accepted Obama's calls for higher tax revenue to go along with the cuts.

One official said the offer would remain on the table in the event of new budget talks but that it would not be part of the president's formal spending blueprint for fiscal 2015.
Well done to all of us who fought hard to against this. We don't get many wins but he put a ton of weight behind efforts to do this so it's a big deal that he's backing off, if only for now.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Obama Admin Selling the TPP Using His Broken Pledge to Renegotiate NAFTA

This could not be more insulting:
"As a candidate for president, then-Senator Obama said he would renegotiate NAFTA, put labor and environmental standards at the core of trade agreements and make those standards enforceable like any commercial commitment," Froman said at CAP. “That’s exactly what we’re doing in TPP."
So to state the obvious, that is not what they are doing with the TPP. From what we know (which isn't much, since the agreement has been negotiated in secret with corporate lobbyists), the labor standards will be non-existent or non-enforceable. You know why I know this? Because the *entire point* of these agreements is avoid meaning labor and environmental standards in the United States.

But mainly, this is such a fuck you to go back to Obama's obviously bullshit NAFTA pledge and use that as an excuse to pass an agreement worse than NAFTA. Fuck all these people.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Go back and listen to this whole album if you can. It's too fucking good:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Who Likes Chris Christie More *After* His Scandals?

This backs up atrios' long held view that "things that (in the teabagger mind) piss off liberals" is the way to the heart of any hardcore conservative. Pareene:
Here’s some good news for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie! His support in national polls is way, way up among an important constituency: People who love assholes. Obviously, not a lot of voters self-identify as “people who love assholes,” but pollsters have a special technical term for this small but terribly influential demographic group. They call them “core Republicans.”

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows that Gov. Christie is now viewed less favorably by all voters, and even by Republican voters, than he was just a few short months ago, dropping from 41 percent positive feelings among all voters last June to 22 percent positive feelings last month. But every cloud of scandal has a silver lining:
While the poll showed a drop in the positive feelings toward New Jersey Gov. Christie overall and a drop in positive feelings even among Republicans, Mr. Christie’s numbers actually improved among more strongly partisan Core Republicans. Among Core Republicans, only 32% had positive feelings about Mr. Christie in October. In January, that number climbed to 42%.
I honestly love this. The conservative ID is one of the most fascinating things in human history.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Train of Thought Lounge: Prelude to Snow Storm Edition

With 8-12 inches of snow coming our way in the next two days, here is a soul-warming deep house mixtape by Arjuna Deep labelist Lane 8.

Enjoy.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The NFL Will have its first Openly Gay Player This Fall

Michael Sam, the SEC defensive player of the year. The story of how he told his teammates (who knew all year and didn't give a shit) is probably the most powerful element in this whole thing:
Coaches at the University of Missouri divided players into small groups at a preseason football practice last year for a team-building exercise. One by one, players were asked to talk about themselves — where they grew up, why they chose Missouri and what others might not know about them.

As Michael Sam, a defensive lineman, began to speak, he balled up a piece of paper in his hands. “I’m gay,” he said. With that, Mr. Sam set himself on a path to become the first publicly gay player in the National Football League.

“I looked in their eyes, and they just started shaking their heads — like, finally, he came out,” Mr. Sam said Sunday in an interview with The New York Times, the first time he had spoken publicly about his sexual orientation.
For another interesting behind the scenes look on how this transpired, this outsports article is amazing.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Carbonated Beverage for Every Occupied Palestinian!

In case you, didn't hear, Scarlet Johansson recently got into trouble for being an ambassador for Oxfam (actual human rights organization), while shilling for Sodastream (company that has a factory in occupied territory in the west bank). Anyway, Matt Bors is probably my favorite political cartoonist, and he just knocked this one out of the park:

Check out the rest of his site for more awesomeness if you aren't familiar with his work.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Let's Starve Poor People

Good job, Republicans, Democrats and President Obama!
After nearly two years of stasis and bickering, the House of Representatives passed a nearly $1 trillion farm bill on Wednesday with a bipartisan majority.

The final vote was 251-166, with only 63 Republicans registering their disapproval.

A majority of Democrats, however, voted against the bill, primarily due to the roughly $8 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps. Yet even this cut is considerably smaller than the $39 billion Republicans in the House initially wanted to see shaved from the program.

“This bill will make hunger worse in America, not better,” said Democratic Rep. James McGovern, the leader of the House Democrats’ push to avoid cuts to food stamps. “If this bill passes, thousands and thousands of low-income Americans will see their already meager food benefit shrink.”

The bill is nevertheless fully expected to pass in the Senate later this week, and White House spokesperson Jay Carney is on-record saying that if it maintains its current form, President Obama will sign it into law.
You spend your whole presidency focused on cutting the budget and this is what you get. Starvation!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Need More Guns

I mean hate girl scout cookies too but this is a bit extreme: (via Digby)
A California man was taken into custody over the weekend after he allegedly pulled a gun on a young Girl Scout who was selling cookies.

A press release from the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner’s office that the father of the girl, who is a minor, contacted authorities after he saw 59-year-old John Dodrill point the gun at his daughter while she was selling cookies door-to-door on Sunday.
I was joking over the weekend that it's probably easier to buy a gun than it is to put money in my online sportsbook account. We obsessively regulate and criminalize the dumbest shit on earth (who can get married, gambling, immigration violations, marijuana) and basically live in a Randian paradise for stuff that really matters (guns, labor law, banking law, etc). It's all just so fucking absurd. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Another reason to be happy the Broncos lost

John Elway on why he's a Republican:
I don’t believe in safety nets. Obviously, we’ve got to have some kind of safety nets. But I think my philosophy is when given the opportunity to go take advantage of that, I think that’s when you get the best out of people.
The NFL pays no taxes, is a government granted monopoly and as David Sirota points out, teams receive 900 million dollars in subsidies every year. Fuck him.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Reid Won't Move Fast Track



This is a massive, massive deal. Trying to figure out what the game is here, but this kills the TPP dead at the moment. Reid might just disagree on the White House strategy on when to bring it up, but this is a major deal that he'd go public in the way that he did.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The GOP is seriously screwed

Not that we didn't know that, but the numbers Jon Walker of Firedoglake highlights here are pretty shocking:
Walker:
For decades young adults have tended to lean slightly Democratic but now the preference is overwhelming. Democrats have an unbelievable 18 point advantage among the current youngest generation. This is unlike anything in the past 20 years.
This is the dynamic that is going to dominate politics in the coming years. On many issues Millennials  are dramatically to the left of the rest of the American public. The generation is often even more progressive than self-identified “Liberals.”
This is why there is serious concern among GOP elites, but nothing is going to change until their base starts to die off. They aren't going to change who they are, and for the next 20-30 years they're going to drag the entire Republican party down with them. Couldn't happen to nicer people.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Daft Wins Album of the Year

I was trying to think of the last time my actual favorite album of the year was named album of the year. Anyhow, this picture is the greatest:


Friday, January 24, 2014

And then Saint Clinton Moderated The Communists...

Atrios does a great job here of rehashing how most political media types view the last 30 years:
The story the Dem party likes to tell itself is that it went all crazy hippie dippie in the 70s and 80s, elected that communist Jimmy "deregulation" Carter to the presidency, then nominated noted communists Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis who were deservedly destroyed. During this period, a time when half of the party were conservative southern racists, the party didn't do enough for the Real American white working (male) class. Then along came the DLC and the new Democrats and the new new Democrats and the new new new new new new new Democrats and they moderated the party by informing big business that we were their friends too and we'd love their money. Then the party enhanced its appeal by backing off on support for gun control and abortion rights.

By doing all of this the party ushered in the great Glorious Age of Democrats, otherwise known as the election of Bill Clinton, which was followed by a Republican takeover of the House, their frequent control of the Senate, the destruction of the welfare system, the election of George W. Bush, some lovely little wars, and out of control banksters that destroyed the economy and got rich doing it. Yay great moderation.

Obviously that isn't quite the story they like to tell themselves, but hopefully you get the point. Anyway the real point is that while the narrative is always about how the Dems turned their backs on the white working class, during the grand "rescue the party from the hippies" period, it isn't as if they suddenly did a bunch of stuff to help these people. They mostly just tried to convince them that they love guns and war and don't much like those abortion sluts either. Also, too, don't worry white working class, we aren't going to do anything to help you but we aren't going to help the blah people either.
This is absurd of course. The TL;DR version of this history is that corporate power has grown wildly during this time period and Bill Clinton made a conscious effort to move the Democratic party to the right on economic issues because he wanted them to also get a share of Wall Street's money for his side as well.

Defenders of this will say that it was needed to stay competitive electorally, but we're living with the result now: Two corporately owned political parties who differ mostly on social issues and whether or not we should try to help those in need a little or not at all. It's worth remembering we didn't get to this point because the Democratic party was ever "too liberal".

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Good Old Fashioned Corruption

The details of this still amaze me:
Earlier this month, Bob McDonnell became former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. On Tuesday, he became indicted former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Just days after he left office, the Republican and and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, were charged in federal court with more than a dozen counts related to the tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and loans they accepted from a wealthy Virginia businessman. (The ex-governor maintained on Tuesday that he had done nothing illegal.)

The fact that the McDonnells were under scrutiny from prosecutors was no secret. Stories about the investigation, and the relationship between the McDonnells and the businessman, Jonnie Williams, had been appearing in the press for months. We knew (thanks in large part to stellar reporting from The Washington Post) about the Rolex, and the Oscar de la Renta dress, and the Ferrari joyride, and the golf outings.
Dresses, a watch... what did he think this was, the 1950s? You can get sooooooo much more money now from your corporate backers and no one will even blink! Get a superpac! Someone really let Bob McDonnell down in telling him how to sell out his office. He could have gotten so much more, and kept his career and prestige at the same time!

Monday, January 20, 2014

If A Blog Stops Posting In the Forest...

I was in Mexico for a little more than a week, and I thought I had set a few posts to auto post... but I apparently failed to do that correctly. Lack of consistent internet in Mexico prevented me from fixing it manually.

Anyhow, here is probably the coolest view I saw, closer to normal posting will resume shortly.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Brian Schweitzer Says Interesting Things

He's clearly running for president, and might be the best chance to beat Hillary Clinton, so my ears are open especially when he says stuff like this:
David Weigel: You start off every morning at 4 a.m. or so, reading national news, so I assume you read the New York Times editorial calling for clemency for Edward Snowden. Do you agree with the Times? Would you grant clemency?

Brian Schweitzer: If Edward Snowden is a criminal, then so are a lot of people that are working within the CIA and the NSA who have been spying illegally on American citizens. They ought to grant Snowden clemency. Now, let me say this: Shame on us if we had a person working for a private contractor, without a high school diploma, who was in possession of our most delicate secrets. We look like Keystone Kops! But I don’t have any problem with the NSA and their mission of collecting information on foreign leaders. They spy on us; we spy on them. I’ve got a real big problem with American neighbors spying on American neighbors.
...

DW: Do you think the Affordable Care Act can be made to work?

BS: I will give you not just how this thing should have been written, but what it will get to be, because what we have right now will not work. No. 1: You pass national health insurance laws that say you can’t discriminate against women, charge them higher premiums than men of the same age, you can’t discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, you can’t have annual caps. Then you allow insurance companies to compete wherever they want, in any state. Boom. The second thing is, you say to every citizen in the United States, now you have the option to buy into Medicare.
He's also making anti-Iraq war statements the center of his stump speeches. Count me as interested.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Train of Thought Lounge: Mya and Jay Z

Such a jam, brought back to mind recently by T quoting some of these lyrics unintentionally.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Al Qaeda is now taking over cities in Iraq

Reminder that before our invasion, Al Qaeda wasn't a presence in Iraq:
Al-Qaeda militants have seized Fallujah, a key city in western Iraq, engaging Iraqi army forces in pitched battles there in a brazen challenge to Iraq's central government.

"The whole of Fallujah is taken," said Qasim Abed, a member of the provincial council in the region and the former governor of Anbar. "The situation is very bad."
Thanks Iraq war creators and supporters! Heckuva job!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Michael Moore On Obamacare

This captures a lot of my thoughts (good and bad) on the ACA. It's worth your time:
I believe Obamacare’s rocky start — clueless planning, a lousy website, insurance companies raising rates, and the president’s telling people they could keep their coverage when, in fact, not all could — is a result of one fatal flaw: The Affordable Care Act is a pro-insurance-industry plan implemented by a president who knew in his heart that a single-payer, Medicare-for-all model was the true way to go. When right-wing critics “expose” the fact that President Obama endorsed a single-payer system before 2004, they’re actually telling the truth.

What we now call Obamacare was conceived at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and birthed in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, then the governor. The president took Romneycare, a program designed to keep the private insurance industry intact, and just improved some of its provisions. In effect, the president was simply trying to put lipstick on the dog in the carrier on top of Mitt Romney’s car. And we knew it.

By 2017, we will be funneling over $100 billion annually to private insurance companies. You can be sure they’ll use some of that to try to privatize Medicare.

For many people, the “affordable” part of the Affordable Care Act risks being a cruel joke. The cheapest plan available to a 60-year-old couple making $65,000 a year in Hartford, Conn., will cost $11,800 in annual premiums. And their deductible will be $12,600. If both become seriously ill, they might have to pay almost $25,000 in a single year. (Pre-Obamacare, they could have bought insurance that was cheaper but much worse, potentially with unlimited out-of-pocket costs.)

And yet — I would be remiss if I didn’t say this — Obamacare is a godsend. My friend Donna Smith, who was forced to move into her daughter’s spare room at age 52 because health problems bankrupted her and her husband, Larry, now has cancer again. As she undergoes treatment, at least she won’t be in terror of losing coverage and becoming uninsurable. Under Obamacare, her premium has been cut in half, to $456 per month.

Let’s not take a victory lap yet, but build on what there is to get what we deserve: universal quality health care.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

War Sucks

Maybe we should spend a bit more time protecting our children from dying in actual wars then worrying about what they see on licences plates:
The state of Michigan is defending its rejection of an anti-war license plate, saying children riding in cars need to be protected from seeing "WAR SUX."

Attorneys for the secretary of state's office asked a judge this month to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses officials of violating the First Amendment by broadly controlling speech. David DeVarti, a Washtenaw County man, wanted the six-letter plate but was turned down.
Goddam idiots.