Saturday, December 20, 2014

Policing Police

15 reasons America’s police are so brutal - Salon.com:

...The DOJ’s observation that many of the same problems of excessive force are back more than 10 years after a similar federal investigation and settlement suggests that reforming America’s runaway police departments is going to be incredibly difficult. Despite public protests, there’s little evidence that police themselves want to change from within.

Obama Agonistes: The Liberation

Obama Unbound - NYTimes.com:

There may not be a lightness to his step, a lilt in his voice or a bit of jauntiness returned to his manner. The office ages everyone prematurely, and makes spontaneity all but impossible. But President Obama is acting like a man who’s been given the political equivalent of a testosterone boost.

Perhaps the best thing to happen to him was the crushing blow his party took in the midterm elections. Come January, Republicans will have their largest House majority in 84 years — since Herbert Hoover was president. Granted, no politician wants to join Hoover and history in the same sentence. But Obama is not cowering or conceding. He’s been liberated by defeat, becoming the president that many of his supporters hoped he would be...

Friday, December 19, 2014

Clinton Likes Cuba Move

With Cuba Decision, Obama Hands Hillary Clinton A 2016 Gift:

Potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton knows a political gift when she sees one.

She was quick to embrace the step this week when President Barack Obama, a fellow Democrat no longer having to face an electorate, relaxed U.S. policy toward Cuba.

While assailed by Republicans opposed to restoring ties with the communist-led island, the action has the power to solidify support for Democrats among increasingly influential Latino voters and appeal to voters in farm states like Iowa eager to do business in Havana...

Right Thinking?

WSJ Just Realized The Anti-ACA Lawsuit It's Pushing Could Be Ruinous For Americans -- Including Republican Voters | Blog | Media Matters for America:

The number of people who could lose their insurance subsidies will be far greater than the number cited by the Journal, which only accounts for consumers who bought insurance in 2014. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) analysis of Congressional Budget Office enrollment estimates, far more Americans will be eligible for subsidies in 2016 after the ACA is fully implemented -- meaning upwards of 13.5 million people who are otherwise eligible for tax credits could soon lose out depending on the ruling in King. As KFF also pointed out, the Journal's fear about the impact on Republican governors is well-founded, since "[m]ore than half are in a few big anti-ACA states that chose not to run their own exchanges: Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, and Pennsylvania..."

Econ Obvious 101

Robert Reich: The Reagan revolution is killing America’s middle class - Salon.com:

...One factor here has been a sharp decline in union membership. In the mid 1970s, 25 percent of the private-sector workforce was unionized.

Then came the Reagan revolution. By the end of the 1980s, only 17 percent of the private workforce was unionized. Today, fewer than 7 percent of the nation’s private-sector workers belong to a union.

This means most workers no longer have the bargaining power to get a share of the gains from growth.

Another structural change is the drop in the minimum wage. In 1979, it was $9.67 an hour (in 2013 dollars). By 1990, it had declined to $6.84. Today it’s $7.25, well below where it was in 1979.

Given that workers are far more productive now – computers have even increased the output of retail and fast food workers — the minimum wage should be even higher.

By setting a floor on wages, a higher minimum helps push up other wages. It undergirds higher median household incomes.

The only way to grow the economy in a way that benefits the bottom 90 percent is to change the structure of the economy. At the least, this requires stronger unions and a higher minimum wage...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cops Changing?

Police Nationwide Alter Tactics, Bolster Arsenal After Protests, Killings:

With tensions running high over the killings of blacks by police, departments around the country are changing policies and procedures to curb the use of deadly force, ease public distrust and protect officers from retaliation.

New York City plans to issue stun guns to hundreds more officers. The Milwaukee department is making crisis-intervention training mandatory. And in Akron, Ohio, police have begun working in pairs on all shifts for their own safety...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Always, Always, Follow The Money

Congressman Who Blocks D.C. Pot Measure Now Faces A Major Backlash - attn::

...Attn: also covered Harris' connection to the health care industry, which supplies his largest amount of campaign contributions. In particular, Harris has received campaign donations from Maryland’s Emergent BioSolutions, whose Epsil product treats common side effects of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Any legal access to marijuana then, which is regularly prescribed to stave the deleterious effects of cancer and chemotherapy, is a direct competitor to Emergent...

Cruz Cries

Ted Cruz apologizes to his Republican colleagues.:

...Ted Cruz did something on Tuesday he never does. He apologized. That is equivalent to bringing him to his knees given his intrinsic conceit. Reuters reported his apology as follows...

Pot Prohibition Ending?

Congress quietly ends federal government's ban on medical marijuana - LA Times:

Tucked deep inside the 1,603-page federal spending measure is a provision that effectively ends the federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana and signals a major shift in drug policy.

The bill's passage over the weekend marks the first time Congress has approved nationally significant legislation backed by legalization advocates. It brings almost to a close two decades of tension between the states and Washington over medical use of marijuana.

Under the provision, states where medical pot is legal would no longer need to worry about federal drug agents raiding retail operations. Agents would be prohibited from doing so...
Diabetic might be happy, in addition to the stoner contingent, since diabetics can't drink alcohol, they might have a less dangerous way to get a smidgen of pleasure from life, given that other pleasures are usually denied.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Keystone Econ Rationale Fading

Keystone: The Republican Congress's First Priority May No Longer Make Sense - Bloomberg Politics:

...While Keystone has long been a top priority for Republicans who argue that the pipeline linking tar sands oil fields in Alberta, Canada, and an existing network in Steele City, Nebraska, is a no brainer, the economic dynamics that have bolstered the GOP's rationale for building it have changed considerably...

Hating On Vets

It's an AP story so no words: Coburn blocks bill on veterans' suicide prevention

Cruz Bombs

Ted Cruz's stunt backfires as Harry Reid & Democrats smile big:

Ted Cruz thought he was doing something that would give him notoriety. He was going to stand up to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Democrats. Instead, he got eggs all over his face. His immaturity and stupidity was there for all to see. Harry Reid took Ted Cruz’s lemon and made sweet tasting lemonade...
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Torture Tales

Daily Politics Blog - Charles P. Pierce - Political Blogging - Esquire:"There Is Nothing New Under The Son Of A Bitch" 
By Charles P. Pierce 12/15/2014 at 4:14 PM

As the apologists fanned out over the weekend, and as the country's attention span wanes and the new normal asserts itself, some of us decline to let go of what was revealed about the war criminals amongst us, particularly those who bragged about what they'd arranged, got all puffed up with the courage to be savages, and who already had benefitted in their careers mightily from The Great Mulligan demanded by the last administration for "keeping us safe," if you don't count the anthrax attacks and that other one, in which 3000 people died. There is not a single defense raised by these barbarians that has not been raised in the past by people who wanted to torture people with impunity. They can't even summon up the common humanity to concoct original alibis...

Instant Replay: O Shafting Clinton

Daily PUMA:

While DailyPUMA is not surprised to see Barack Obama staffers stabbing Hillary Clinton in the back and supporting Elizabeth Warren for 2016, it's also probably because the Barack Obama staffers are soon to be out of work.

Hypocrisy North

The North isn’t better than the South: The real history of modern racism and segregation above the Mason-Dixon line - Salon.com:

...Yet important generalizations emerged. There was a surprising amount of agreement among whites when it came to race. Liberal leaders and purveyors of the white backlash alike believed that their region was a bastion of racial tolerance. Louise Day Hicks led the white resistance against school integration in Boston. At the same time, she championed her city’s enlightenment. “The important thing is that I know I’m not bigoted,” Hicks said. “To me that word means all the dreadful Southern segregationist Jim Crow business that’s always shocked and revolted me.” By the same token, many liberals blanched at the prospects of open housing and school integration. Racial conservatives and progressives shared a vast middle ground. They could agree that they were more advanced than southerners, that African Americans could rise high in the North, and that African Americans ought neither move next door nor enroll their children in majority-white schools...

Stealing Pensions For The Rich

Kansas Governor Proposes Using Pension Money to Cover Budget Gaps Created By His Tax Cuts:

In 2012, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a landmark bill that delivered big tax cuts to high income earners and businesses. Less than two years after that tax cut, the state's income tax revenues plummeted by a quarter-billion dollars -- and now Brownback is pushing to use money for public employees’ pensions to instead cover the state's ensuing budget shortfalls. 

Brownback's proposal: Slash the state’s required pension contribution by $40 million to balance the state budget. But Kansas already has one of the worst-funded pension systems in the nation. The state was also recently sanctioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission for not accurately disclosing the shortfalls...

Darth Lies--- Who Knew?

Dick Cheney Hides Behind Torture Myths To Evade Questions On Meet The Press | Research | Media Matters for America:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney dodged pointed questions from Meet The Press host Chuck Todd by pushing myths about the CIA's use of torture on terrorist suspects during the Bush administration...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Way It Is

Is It Bad Enough Yet? - NYTimes.com:

THE police killing unarmed civilians. Horrifying income inequality. Rotting infrastructure and an unsafe “safety net.” An inability to respond to climate, public health and environmental threats. A food system that causes disease. An occasionally dysfunctional and even cruel government. A sizable segment of the population excluded from work and subject to near-random incarceration.

You get it: This is the United States, which, with the incoming Congress, might actually get worse...

And I Am The King Of Siam

Koch brother: I'm a social liberal | MSNBC:

David Koch, billionaire donor to conservative causes, claimed once again that he is a “social liberal.” His own political contributions suggest otherwise.

“I’m basically a libertarian, and I’m a conservative on economic matters, and I’m a social liberal,” Koch said in a forthcoming interview with Barbara Walters that was previewed on “This Week” Sunday...

Dems Have A Thought In FL

Dems Have a Clever New Plan to Turn Florida's Governor's Mansion Blue | Mother Jones:

Over the past few years, Republicans across the country have adopted a novel strategy for winning elections: Change the rules to make it harder to vote against them. In seven states, Republicans passed new laws requiring voters to show photo ID before getting a ballot. They pared down early voting. In some states, they even contemplated changing how Electoral College votes are awarded in order to give the GOP candidate an advantage.

Now some Florida Democrats want to change election rules to benefit their own side—by holding big elections in the years that people actually vote. Over the past few election cycles, Democrats have thrived in presidential years, when more voters—especially young and minority voters, who tend to be Democratic—turn out to vote. But the party has floundered in off-year elections, which feature higher percentages of older, more conservative voters. Florida, like 35 other states, elects its governors in midterm years, when there is no presidential race on the ballot. Now a small group of political consultants is mulling a campaign to change that...