Monday, October 20, 2014

Trolls Beware

Internet Trolls Could Get Two Years in Jail : Discovery News:

People found guilty of Internet "trolling" in Britain could be jailed for up to two years under government proposals outlined on Sunday, following a number of high-profile case of abuse on Twitter...

A Real American Hero

Captain America - Esquire:

...And then, when confronted by Robinson with this covert campaign of decency and integrity, this is how Moulton explained it.

In the interview, Moulton asked that the Globe not describe him as a hero. "Look,'' he said, "we served our country, and we served the guys next to us. And it's not something to brag about.' The greatest honor, he said, his voice choked with emotion, had nothing to do with the medals. "The greatest honor of my life was to lead these men in my platoon, even though it was a war that I and they disagreed with."
Nobody who reads this blog can be unclear about where I stand on how I hope the midterms play out. But I can honestly say that there's only one person for whom I am shamelessly rooting. That person is Seth Moulton and, if the veterans of our 21st century wars are looking for their own JFK, be that John F. Kennedy or John Forbes Kerry, I think they've found him...

Have We Become A Nation Of Cowards?

In U.S., Fear of Ebola Closes Schools and Shapes Politics -

...A crowd of parents last week pulled their children out of a Mississippi middle school after learning that its principal had traveled to Zambia, an African nation untouched by the disease...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Comment Of The Day: Phony Patriot Edition

A Texas Border Militiaman Reconsiders the Mission

I spent 24 years in the US Army, all of it in combat arms. I'm entitled to wear the Combat Infantryman's Badge on appropriate occasions. Most of the guys in these militia organizations seem to be people who never had what it takes to volunteer for military service where they might actually have to put their lives on line for the nation. Doing this sort of crap makes them feel all manly and important, but, as the article points out, what they are mostly doing is chasing down people who are tired, hurting and dehydrated, and then abusing them once they catch them. We used to have a term for people who beat up on people who can't fight back, and it wasn't a nice term at all. 

You will have noticed, haven't you, that none of these militias are offering to go over to the Middle East and help the Kurds fight ISIS? Says a lot, right there.

NRA & Ebola

Howard Dean Slams Rick Perry As Know Nothing 'Ignoramus' On Ebola | Crooks and Liars:

...HOWARD DEAN: I think it's fine. He's a manager. He's not a doctor. Look, the Republicans just slay me. They are just so ridiculous. So they had an Ebola czar. His name is Vivek Murthy. He's President Obama's nominee for Surgeon General which the Republicans have been stalling at the request of the National Rifle Association since February. So, the Republican's idea of how to practice medicine is to listen to the National Rifle Association. I discount everything they say, they know nothing. They're not interested in health; they're interested in politics. We've got to manage this thing. I think Klaine is a good manager...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ginsburg Gets Real

Justice Ginsburg sees what motivates Texas' voter ID law: racism - LA Times:

As one might expect, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had no difficulty putting her finger on the point of Texas' voter ID law: it's openly racist...

Muslims In India

Why India’s Muslims Haven’t Radicalized -

...Back in 2009, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman reported on a growing trend among Indian Muslims wherein community members refused to bury the bodies of suicide bombers. “That’s why India’s Muslims, who are the second-largest Muslim community in the world after Indonesia’s, and the one with the deepest democratic tradition, do a great service to Islam by delegitimizing suicide-murderers by refusing to bury their bodies. It won’t stop this trend overnight, but it can help over time,” he wrote.

“The fact that Indian Muslims have stood up in this way is surely due, in part, to the fact that they live in, are the product of and feel empowered by a democratic and pluralistic society,” Mr. Friedman explained. “They are not intimidated by extremist religious leaders and are not afraid to speak out against religious extremism in their midst. It is why so few, if any, Indian Muslims are known to have joined Al Qaeda...”

Friday, October 17, 2014

Inequality Number One

Americans consider inequality world’s greatest danger | Making Sen$e | PBS NewsHour:

Nuclear weapons. Ethnic conflict. Global warming. Americans have a lot to be worried about these days. But what do they see as the biggest threat to the world? Inequality.

Americans aren’t alone. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, Europeans, too, rank inequality as the top threat. People in the Middle East, meanwhile, are most concerned about religious and ethnic hatreds, while Asians worry about pollution and the environment. For Latin Americans, nuclear weapons pose the greatest global threat, and for people in African nations, it’s AIDS and other diseases. Note that the survey was conducted between March 17 and June 5 — before either ISIS or Ebola had become big international stories...

Good News In WI

Scott Walker fighting for his political life as voters reject his callous policies -

Less than three weeks before voters head to the polls, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker finds himself in a struggle for political survival, with a new survey from the state’s most respected pollster finding that his lead over Democratic challenger Mary Burke has vanished.

The poll, from Marquette University Law School, shows a dead heat between Walker and Burke, with each candidate garnering 47 percent among likely voters. Two weeks ago, Marquette’s survey had given Walker a five-point lead. RealClearPolitics’ polling average now gives Walker just a 0.4 point edge over Burke...

A Touch Of FL Justice

Michael Dunn gets life in prison for killing teenager over loud music -

A man convicted of first-degree murder for fatally shooting a teenager in an argument over loud music outside a Florida convenience store was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Goating Of Todd

Dem rallies for Grimes: McConnell can’t win with ‘words that come out of Chuck Todd’s goatee’:

...“And what the national folks haven’t seemed to catch on to is this, this election is not going to be won by some party hack or words that come out of Chuck Todd’s goatee!” Conway exclaimed. “It’s going to be won by you on the ground, and your hearts and minds, and Allison’s hard work!”...

Today In Ebola Nuttiness

Conservative Activist Klayman: Obama Must Be 'Taken Alive' For Inflicting Ebola On White Americans | Firebrand Progressives:

The furor over the Ebola “outbreak”, the one that has affected a massive 3 people in the United States, has really exposed us for how collectively stupid we are. The media has most of us freaked out with their wall to wall coverage of the virus, to the point where many of us are sitting on the edge of our couches, scared that the next person who contracts Ebola just might be our next door neighbor. It’s like we’re all itching to go into panic mode. Maybe we’re just looking for an excuse to not go to work the next day, or maybe we’re all subconsciously hoping for a complete breakdown in society that many of us are not happy with....

Any Important Voice Against Police Militarism

WATCH: “My Son-In-Law Was Killed By The SWAT Team I Founded” Former Sheriff Turned Activist, Speaks Out:

William “Dub” Lawrence is a former city police officer, former US Marine, and former Sheriff of Davis County who has awaken to the reality of Police State USA. Sadly this awakening was sparked by the murder of his son-in-law by a SWAT team that he created.

In September 2008, he watched helplessly as the same SWAT team he helped create over 30 years earlier shot and killed Brian Wood, his 36-year-old son-in-law...
There is a contingent who say the SIL deserved shooting but that's another story.

PC Stupidity

Thanks, Duke English Department, for coming up with this "politically correct" nonsense. Liberals need to get away from this kind of energy-sucking crap and focus on important issues like income disparity. (A heavier teaching load for university faculty would have prevented pcism from taking hold.)

Despite Critics, Army Helicopters Named After Indian Tribes Are Not Racist -

Political Correctness: Despite the latest example of word-use insanity, naming a helicopter after the Indian nation that handed the U.S. Army one of its most ignominious defeats is a sign of respect, not racism...

Sermon Hysteria

No, The City Of Houston Isn't Bullying Anti-Gay Pastors - This Is Basic Lawyering | Blog | Media Matters for America:

...But the facts of the case - and normal legal procedure -- don't support right-wing claims of religious persecution:

The Subpoenas Are In Response To A Lawsuit Filed By HERO's Opponents. The subpoenas are part of the discovery phase of a lawsuit filed by HERO's opponents after they unsuccessfully tried to gather signatures to repeal the ordinance. The lawsuit claims that the City Attorney "wrongly determined that they had not gathered enough valid signatures" to qualify for a vote to repeal HERO. As one conservative commentator noted: "This is basic court procedure. But the headlines make it sound like a surprise attack by leftists advancing their agenda on unsuspecting Christians..."

Lying Liars Lying About Campaign Spending

Fox News Ignores "Dark Money" To Pretend Democrats Are Destroying Republicans In Election Spending | Blog | Media Matters for America: .

...But Fox News is trying to absolve Republicans by dismissing dark money and pretending it is not, as the Center for Responsive Politics says, "still dominated by conservative organizations."

As the amount of conservative-leaning dark money is expected to double between now and the election, this distinction could make a huge difference. Despite Fox News' protests, the Koch brothers and others who oppose campaign finance transparency are still very much one of the big stories of 2014...

Crazy In NC: Profitizing Children Edition

Charter School Power Broker Turns Public Education Into Private Profits - ProPublica:

...In that regard, Mitchell, 74, appears to be thriving. Every year, millions of public education dollars flow through Mitchell's chain of four nonprofit charter schools to for-profit companies he controls.
How Public Dollars for Charters Flow to For-Profit Companies

Over six years, Mitchell's two companies have taken in close to $20 million in fees and rent — some of the schools' biggest expenses. That's from audited financial statements for just two schools. Mitchell has recently opened two more.

The schools buy or lease nearly everything from companies owned by Mitchell. Their desks. Their computers. The training they provide to teachers. Most of the land and buildings. Unlike with traditional school districts, at Mitchell's charter schools there's no competitive bidding. No evidence of haggling over rent or contracts...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

To Err is GoodHair (ebolaebolaebola)

Why Is Texas Gov. Rick Perry Hiding From The Ebola Virus In His State? | Crooks and Liars:

...OMG, say it ain't so? He left his home state to run to Europe for a conference while an infectious disease is on the loose there? (That's what Fox News would have you believe anyway) Where's those leadership skills that he's been telling us about? Doesn't the governor have a duty to protect his people and take an active role in a situation like this?...

Union Truths And Ebola

Dallas Nurses Accuse Hospital of Sloppy Ebola Protocols - ABC News:

Co-workers of a Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola from a sick patient say they worked for days without proper protective gear and that the hospital’s Ebola protocols and procedures were unclear and inadequate, leaving workers and hospital systems prone to contamination, according to a statement by the largest U.S. nurses’ union.

The statement, which was provided by National Nurses United on behalf of several registered nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, details hospital procedures after Thomas Eric Duncan arrived at the hospital. The nurses are not represented by the union, and the group declined to reveal the nurses’ identities...

Fear Mongering Winning

Republicans Are Pressing the ISIS Fear Button Hard for Midterm Votes - The Daily Beast:

Jihadis pouring across the border. Obama powerless to respond to the chaos. Democrats out to lunch. That’s the picture GOP campaigns and political groups are painting—and it’s working...

What's Wrong With Congress

This article is a long, thorough and enlightening examination of Congressional dysfunction. Our Lives are Hell - Esquire

Con Icon Fries Voter ID

Reagan-Appointed Federal Judge Who Approved First Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent AGAINST Photo ID Voting Restrictions | The BRAD BLOG:

If you read just one top-to-bottom dismantling of every supposed premise in support of disenfranchising Photo ID voting restrictions laws in your lifetime, let it be this one [PDF]!...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bad Advice For Dems

How to save the Democratic Party from milquetoast sellouts - The Week:

...That brings us to policy, which is where Marshall really goes off the rails. Again he admits that Republicans have the worst of it, with their vicious austerity budgets and their magic asterisks. But he insists that Democrats are just as bad because they have built up progressive advocacy groups, think tanks, and so forth. Lefty organizations both new and old, he moans, are mobilizing against self-evidently wonderful things like "modernizing entitlements" (read: cutting Social Security and Medicare), free trade agreements, and fracking! We should be focusing instead on getting some high growth, the "best antidote to inequality" since it ensures "shared prosperity..."

Gov. GoodHair Loses One

Supreme Court blocks Texas abortion restrictions | Reuters:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked certain restrictions on abortion contained in a Texas state law that abortion rights groups said would have forced all but a handful of clinics to shut down in the state of 26 million people...

Holy Rollin' The Economy

How Righteousness Killed the World Economy -

...Why are debtors receiving so little relief? As I said, it’s about righteousness — the sense that any kind of debt forgiveness would involve rewarding bad behavior. In America, the famous Rick Santelli rant that gave birth to the Tea Party wasn’t about taxes or spending — it was a furious denunciation of proposals to help troubled homeowners. In Europe, austerity policies have been driven less by economic analysis than by Germany’s moral indignation over the notion that irresponsible borrowers might not face the full consequences of their actions...
...But it has been very hard to get either the policy elite or the public to understand that sometimes debt relief is in everyone’s interest. Instead, the response to poor economic performance has essentially been that the beatings will continue until morale improves...
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If "They" Fill Heaven, I'll Stay Here

Christian right’s vile PR sham: Why their bizarre films are backfiring on them -

...“We don’t believe that billions of people are going to be tortured in hell,” David told me recently. His is a mature faith, based on reason, self examination and even doubt. He seems as exasperated with the religious right as I am. For me they are a never-ending source of essay fodder but for my father in law, they have hijacked and twisted his deepest beliefs. Religion and non-religion can only live together if we acknowledge each other’s fundamental humanity and right to exist. Even though I’m an atheist, I can see a place in society for faith communities built on kindness and mutual understanding. This kind of community is not the face of American Christianity nor do you ever see this message in any Christian film.

The people who create and consume Christian film are neither mature nor reflective. They are at their core superstitious, afraid and tribal. They self-identify overwhelmingly Republican and shout about “moochers” while vilifying the poor. They violate the teachings and very essence of their own “savior” while deriving almost sexual pleasure from the fictional suffering of atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccans, Hindus, and even liberal Christians. To top it all off, the stories they tell themselves are borderline psychotic...