Tuesday Reads: Evil is as Evil Does

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Good Morning!!!

I really don’t want this to turn into a mini version of my mom’s rants on “people are no damn good”  that I grew up hearing as frequently as some kids hear bed and supper time prayers.  However, it seems that some of the things I’m reading these days just cry out for mom’s mantra on the nature of humanity.  The last few days have seen a constant stream of evil on parade.

On Sunday, David Koch tried to convince ABC viewers that he wasn’t real “evil” because he actually was socially liberal.  Yeah, lot of good that does us when every National Park is timber and animal free, fresh water has been fracked into nonexistence, and every school in America never turns out another scientist.  Doesn’t this guy have enough money yet that he can just quit destroying the planet like some cartoon villain?

“I’m basically a libertarian and I’m a conservative on economic matters, and I’m a social liberal,” Koch responded.

Walters then asked Koch why he uses his wealth to elect socially conservative candidates if he supports gay rights and a woman’s right to choose.

“Well, that’s their problem. I do have those views,” he said.

“What I want these candidates to do is to support a balanced budget,” he added. “I’m very worried that if the budget is not balanced that inflation could occur and the economy of our country could suffer terribly.”

Asked whether he thought it was fair that he’s able to influence elections because of his vast wealth, Koch said that he obeys federal limits on how much he can contribute to individual candidates.

But Koch and his brother, Charles, also donate large sums to support the arts and other philanthropic causes. Walters asked why, then, Koch has developed a reputation as an “evil billionaire.”

“Well, I don’t understand that,” he said.

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Yeah, he sure has his priorities straight.  Fuck People. Fuck the Planet.  Fuck the Economy.  Just don’t fuck with my right to exploit every resource every where possible.

PolitiFact has named it’s Lie of the Year, 2014.  Yup, it’s the damned hyped-up exaggerations on Ebola just ready made to prime the outrage pump of dumb red state Americans.  Notice we heard nothing more about it once Fox News turned out its idiot viewership to let lose the plague of congressional republican locusts on the nation?

Yet fear of the disease stretched to every corner of America this fall, stoked by exaggerated claims from politicians and pundits. They said Ebola was easy to catch, that illegal immigrants may be carrying the virus across the southern border, that it was all part of a government or corporate conspiracy.

The claims — all wrong — distorted the debate about a serious public health issue. Together, they earn our Lie of the Year for 2014.

PolitiFact editors choose the Lie of the Year, in part, based on how broadly a myth or falsehood infiltrates conventional thinking. In 2013, it was the promise made by President Barack Obama and other Democrats that “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” While no singular line about Ebola matched last year’s empty rhetoric about health care, the statements together produced a dangerous and incorrect narrative.

PolitiFact and PunditFact rated 16 separate claims about Ebola as Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire on our Truth-O-Meter in 2014. Ten of those claims came in October, as Duncan’s case came to the fore and as voters went to the polls to select a new Congress.

The Northern White Rhino will likely go extinct in a few years because a lot of Chinese Men are worried about Dick Performance.  There are only five left now and they are all elderly and in Zoos and Reserves.   This just makes me want to cry and hate people.

A northern white rhino has died at a San Diego zoo, leaving only five worldwide and bringing the species closer to extinction.

Angalifu, 44, died of old age Sunday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park announced that Angalifu, one of six remaining northern white rhinos in the world, died Sunday.\nCredit: \tSan Diego Zoo/Helene Hoffman\n
San Diego Zoo Safari Park announced that Angalifu, one of six remaining northern white rhinos in the world, died Sunday. Credit: San Diego Zoo/Helene Hoffman

“With Angalifu’s passing, only five northern white rhinos are left on the planet, including Nola, our elderly female,” the zoo said in a statement.

He was one of a handful of northern white rhinos left worldwide, including a few at a wildlife conservancy in Kenya. There are no known northern white rhinos left in the wild.

Northern white rhinos and southern white rhinos are different subspecies genetically.

Last year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature declared the northern white rhino as “teetering on the brink of extinction.”

Rhinos are killed by poachers almost exclusively for their horns, which sell for tens of thousands of dollars.

Experts say that rhino horn is becoming more lucrative than drugs. The demand is driven primarily by buyers in East Asia, who believe it cures a series of ailments.

Meanwhile, pregnant women are being victimized by state laws and health officials that can’t seem to keep their religious views to themselves. A woman was placed in jail because of Wisconsin’s personhood law.  The woman’s not a person, but war-on-womenthe 14 week old fetus evidently is now and can be protected on the word of any religious hysteric that happens to be a nurse.  Here’s a story where the state put lives at risk out of the concern of religious zealots that believe that women can’t be trusted to be pregnant.  Here’s a story that violates every citizen’s right to privacy and every health care giver’s oath to do no harm.

Tamara Loerstcher was suffering from an untreated thyroid condition and depression and had begun to self medicate with drugs when, in late July 2014, she suspected she might also be pregnant. Loerstcher, uninsured at the time, went to an Eau Claire, Wisconsin, hospital for medical treatment and to confirm her pregnancy.

After submitting to a urinalysis, Loerstcher disclosed her past drug use to hospital workers. But instead of caring for Loerstcher, who as it turns out was 14 weeks pregnant, hospital workers had her jailed.

Those are the allegations in a soon-to-be-filed federal civil rights lawsuit by attorneys from National Advocates for Pregnant Women, the Carr Center for Reproductive Justice at New York University School of Law, and the Perkins Coie law firm.

Loerstcher and her attorneys, in a call with reporters, detailed her experience, including her alleged mistreatment by Wisconsin officials and the ongoing deprivation of Loerstcher’s constitutional rights under a Wisconsin law that grants authorities the power to involuntarily detain and confine a pregnant woman for substance use if she “habitually lacks self-control” and her substance use poses a “substantial risk” to the health of an egg, embryo, or fetus.

The Wisconsin policy is similar in nature to radical “personhood” laws pushed in state legislatures controlled by anti-choice lawmakers. “Personhood” amendments, which would outlaw abortion at any stage of pregnancy, were roundly rejected by voters in several states on Election Day.

According to Loertscher and her attorneys, unbeknownst to her, as hospital workers were preparing a prescription to treat Loertscher’s thyroid condition, they were also initiating unborn child protection proceedings on behalf of Loertscher’s then 14-week-old fetus.

Loertscher and her attorneys claim that within days of Loertscher seeking care, hospital workers had already turned over Loerstcher’s hospital records to the state without Loerstcher’s knowledge or consent. They also claim that with those records in hand, state officials filed a petition accusing Loerstcher of abuse of an unborn child and held a hearing in which the state had appointed an attorney, known as a guardian ad litem, for the 14-week-old fetus, but granted Loerstcher no meaningful representation.

At the hearing, Loertscher and her attorneys allege she was ordered by the court into in-patient treatment even though she had not used drugs recently and voluntarily sought medical care. When Loerstcher refused to go to in-patient treatment, she was held in contempt of court and sent to jail, where she was held for 17 days without prenatal care and subject to abuse and harassment.

“This was my first pregnancy, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Loerstcher told reporters. “I was having lots of cramping and a lot of stress from everything and they [jail officials] wouldn’t allow me to see the doctor. They told me I would have to see a jail-appointed doctor who told me she wanted me to take a pregnancy test to confirm the pregnancy even though that’s why I was in jail, because I was pregnant. They knew that’s why I was there.”

Loerstcher claims she refused the pregnancy test, and in response, correction officials put her in solitary confinement and threatened to use a taser on her. “The jail doctor told me if I chose to miscarry, there wasn’t anything they could do about it anyways,” Loertscher said through tears.

About a week after Loerstcher’s release, she says she got a notice in the mail from the state stating they had found she had engaged in child abuse.

“It was really devastating to get that letter,” said Loerstcher. Unless it’s overturned on appeal, Loerstcher’s name will appear on the state’s child abuse registry for life. That would mean Loerstcher, who is a certified nurse’s aid, would be unable to work in her field, noted her attorney, and that she would be barred from ever volunteering at her son’s school after he is born in January. “This has very serious ramifications for her life and economic stability long term,” said Sara Ainsworth, director of legal advocacy at the National Advocates for Pregnant Women and counsel for Loerstcher.

In order to be released from jail, Loertscher had to sign a consent decree agreeing to additional drug tests, so she remains under state custody to some extent, her lawyer said.

GOP and WomenMore evidence that Republicans can’t be trusted to govern as written by Steve Benen.   No idiot media seeking continual bipartisanship, there  simply is no Bipartisanship Santa.  A vote for a Republican is a vote for a destroyed economy, a destroyed ecosystem, a destroyed school system, and a lot of disenfranchised Americans who will have their rights stripped away quickly.

Just one month later, there’s already ample evidence that those assumptions about Republican maturity were completely wrong.
Republican Tom Price, the incoming House Budget Committee chairman, said his party could demand steep spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling next year, the most provocative comments by a senior GOP member to date on how negotiations could play out.
The Georgia congressman, during an hour-long briefing with reporters Friday, said the expected mid-2015 debate over whether to raise or suspend the debt ceiling offered Republicans an opportunity to make a sizable imprint on government policy.
The far-right Georgian added that he wants to see Republicans bring back the so-called “Boehner rule” – an arbitrary policy that demands a dollar in cuts for every dollar increase in the debt limit – that even Republicans recognized as ridiculous a couple of years ago.
“I prefer to think about it as opportunities and pinch points,” Price said, apparently using “pinch points” as a euphemism for “causing deliberate national harm.”
It’s worth emphasizing that Price isn’t some random, fringe figure, shouting from the sidelines – the Georgia Republican next month will fill Paul Ryan’s shoes as chairman of the House Budget Committee.
In other words, it matters that Price envisions a strategy in which Republicans threaten to hurt Americans on purpose unless Democrats meet the GOP’s demands.
That said, Price would be wise to start lowering expectations – his intention to create a deliberate crisis will almost certainly fail.
The gist of the plan is effectively identical to the scheme hated by House Republicans in 2011. Next year, the Treasury Department will alert Congress to the fact that it’s time to borrow the funds necessary to pay for the things Congress has already bought. As Price sees it, the GOP-led Congress will tell the Obama administration, “We’ll cooperate, but only if you slash public investments. If not, we’ll default on our debts, crash the economy, and destroy the full faith and credit of the United States.”
Why Price or anyone else would want to slash public investments right now – hurting the economy, just as the recovery gains steam – is a bit of a mystery.

No conversation on evil can forget Dick Cheney. I’m not sure how close you’ve been following the Dick Cheney Torture-rama Press tour, but it’s pretty disgusting.  I’m usually not up for Conor Friedersdorf, but even he thinks Cheney’s an Evil Dickhead.  Cheney’s interview with Chuck Todd on Sunday was like watching one of those mad scientist movies.

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That exchange leaves no room for mistaking former vice-president Cheney’s position: better to chain a man to the wall of a cell, douse him in cold water, and leave him there to freeze to death, even if he later turns out to be innocent, than to release that same man and risk not that he detonates a nuclear bomb in Manhattan, but that he ends up “on the battlefield,” where there’s a chance he could harm Americans. What if fully one-in-four prisoners tortured by the CIA were innocent?

Cheney is still unmoved:

CHUCK TODD:

Is that too high? You’re okay with that margin for error?

DICK CHENEY:

I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective.

The ends justify the means.

There is no clearer illustration of the morally corrosive nature of torture than the once unthinkable position that Dick Cheney is unashamedly espousing on television. The position is even less defensible than the conceit that the Office of Legal Counsel defines what torture is. It is so indefensible that Cheney himself can scarcely maintain it.

You have to wonder where you measure on the vast barometer of human sewage if Conor Friedersorf won’t defend your evil ass as a former Republican ‘Conservative” Vice President.

Jon Stewart for the win, however.  “Puppet Master Cheney’s mind” is “the scariest fucking place in the universe.” 

“George W. Bush, thank you for not dying while you were in office,” Stewart said to the former president.

When pressed by Todd to explain his definition of torture following the release of a Senate report criticizing the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” procedures, Cheney continually defined torture as the events of the 9/11 attacks.

“I see — that’s just what meets the definition of torture in his mind,” Stewart said. “His mind, I assume, being the scariest f*cking place in the universe.”

Stewart then tried to get a peek inside the “presidential puppet master’s” mind, only to find a scene out of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

“Never took him for a brony,” Stewart observed.

What set Cheney apart, Stewart explained, was his ability to set the “moral bar” for the U.S. at anything just shy of the worst thing that had been done to the country, as well as his confidence.

“He’s impervious to doubt,” Stewart said. “It never enters his mind that the confident, plain-spoken pronouncements of truth are often times complete bullsh*t.”

shutterstock_101263915-800x430There, name that republican presidential candidate for 2016 over in that line up.  Whichever one gets on the ballot, there will be a Koch entering his backside. My guess is that he’ll have Dick Cheney on the campaign trail for him too.

 And, yes, David Koch is Evil.  Amanda Marcotte gets it right.

Here’s the thing about men like David Koch: Making money is basically just a video game to them. For the rest of us, making money is about being able to pay for things we need and want, such as rent and food and actual video games. But David Koch has made so much money that he literally cannot spend it all. There is nothing he would want to buy he cannot already afford. The only purpose at this point in making more money is for the pleasure of beating your high score. In other words, it really is just a very consuming video game. But unlike when you kill people in Call of Duty or crush candies in Candy Crush, the game David Koch is playing is very real. Millions of people will suffer and die because he wants to “win” his video game by manipulating the public to avoid taking action on global warming. That is evil and hateful and selfish on a level that puts the word “selfish” to shame.

And no, being pro-choice and pro-gay doesn’t make up for it. That’s like having a hobby of strangling kittens and then saying it’s all good because you donate clothes to Goodwill once in awhile. Worse, actually, because David Koch isn’t actually pro-choice in any meaningful sense, because he gives money to anti-choice activists, as documented by Adele Stan at RH Reality CheckThe Koch brothers give money to right wing umbrella groups, who then give it to anti-choicers. Why is fairly obvious. This is about manipulating misogynist, anti-sex hysteria in order to elect politicians who are on board with the anti-environmentalist agenda. A manipulation that is, in itself, evil on a couple of levels, both because you’re manipulating people and because you’re engaging bad people who have bad motivations to hurt and control others. It’s terrible, hateful behavior all the way down.

With that, I’ll leave you to grade papers.  I’m pretty sick of humanity at the moment and I do not understand how any one with a will to survive could vote Republican anymore.

Anyway, I dare y’all to find good news today.  Please!!!


Friday Reads: Congress and its Sisyphus Heydays

tumblr_mtyp65iZcW1qbnjcwo1_500Good Morning!

I have to keep it short today because I’ve got a lot of work to finish up within a week and I’m just about to collapse.  Well, I actually I have a few times.  I fell asleep mid-day for two days in a row now.  

Still, I’ve kept a jaundiced eye on a lame duck congress who still hasn’t dealt with the financial obligations of the country.  The same guys that vote for crap for their political sponsors and for world wide war just can’t seem to come up with the balls to pay their bills. Republican voters have condemned us to rolling rocks up mountains and just waiting for the inevitable crush.  How can you hate your own country that much?

House Republican leaders are skating on thin ice with the government funding bill, facing stiff opposition from the left and the right that threatens passage just hours before a midnight deadline to avert a shutdown.
GOP leaders temporarily recessed the House and postponed a final vote scheduled for the afternoon, while informing members to be ready to vote.

“Leadership teams are still talking to their respective Members. A vote is still planned for this afternoon,” a House Republican leadership aide said.

Republicans long expected some opposition from their right flank due to the fact that the $1.1 trillion spending bill doesn’t block President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. What has thrown the plan into chaos is that numerous House Democrats are defecting over extraneous policy provisions that would weaken derivative trading rules on big banks and loosen campaign finance laws. The bill likely will need significant Democratic support to pass.

The Democratic opposition is being led by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA), who call the bank provision a giveaway to Wall Street.

According to multiple sources, the legislation was negotiated by GOP and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate. House Democratic leaders stress that they don’t support all the provisions in the bill but want to keep the government open. They say they are not whipping against the bill.

The White House came out for the bill after it cleared a test vote in the House by a narrow 214-212 margin earlier on Thursday. It said it objects to the weakening of Wall Street reform but signaled Obama would sign the bill anyway.

Republicans just won’t pay the bills unless Democrats agree to blow something up.  It’s ridiculous.  We’ve got a new political term for the lexicon.  It’s a “Cromnibus” bill. It tries to tear apart what little Wall Street oversight regulation we’ve put through 1165988_525_350_wsince the global financial crisis on Wall Street and Banks.  It also increases the amount of money that an individual can give to a political party.  So, we can either destroy our country now by not funding its debt and by not running our government or we can destroy it with more incentives to the financial gambling industry and to billionaire party sponsors.

The $1.014 trillion spending measure has been criticized for easing rules on campaign finance and the banking industry. But its supporters say it’s also a bipartisan deal that would fund most of the U.S. government until next October.

Disagreement over the bill forced the final vote to be delayed for hours Thursday. It also created unlikely alliances: The White House joined with House Speaker John Boehner to rally support for the measure, most House Democrats agreed with a small group of Republicans – including Rep. Michele Bachmann – that the bill should be rejected.

As we noted when the bill was agreed upon and published on Tuesday, the House was slated to hold the first vote on the spending bill Thursday, with the Senate to follow.

You can read the bill, broken down by government agency, on the House Appropriations Committee site.

The legislation was nicknamed “cromnibus” because it combines the traditional sweeping scope of an omnibus spending bill with a continuing resolution (CR). While it would fund most of the government until the next financial year, the Department of Homeland Security would only be funded through February, in a move that seeks to limit President Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration.

Another part of the measure would vastly increase the maximum amount of money a contributor can give to a political party.

“Right now a person can give just under $100,000 a year to a party through its various committees,” NPR’s Ailsa Chang reports on All Things Considered. “And under this bill, that cap goes up to almost $800,000.”

Shortly after noon Thursday, the bill squeezed by in the rules vote, 214-212, after Republican leaders including Speaker John Boehner and Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry, walked the floor to bolster support, NPR’s Juana Summers reports.

After no Democrats voted in favor and more than a dozen Republicans defected to vote against, the House was adjourned so Boehner could organize his support.

Stei100222So, as of yesterday afternoon, here were the poison pills.  This bill had Elizabeth Warren hopping mad.  Please go check that they were basically a Grinch to the poor while giving the rich enough presents that elephants should be blushing.

In addition to spending appropriations, the bill includes changes to various laws that are known as “policy riders.” One of these is drawing sharp criticism from Democrats and financial industry watchdogs. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform package passed in 2010 on how banks that receive taxpayer backing can use high-risk financial instruments known as a swaps, which were a key driver of the last financial crisis. Banks and other financial companies the “swaps pushout rule,” which has been praised as a crucial component of the reform law by the White House, Sen. (D-MA), and Bush-era banking regulator .

In addition to spending appropriations, the bill includes changes to various laws that are known as “policy riders.” One of these is drawing sharp criticism from Democrats and financial industry watchdogs. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform package passed in 2010 put new limits on how banks that receive taxpayer backing can use high-risk financial instruments known as a swaps, which were a key driver of the last financial crisis. Banks and other financial companies hate the “swaps pushout rule,” which has been praised as a crucial component of the reform law by the White House, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Bush-era banking regulator Sheila Bair.

The cromnibus repeals the swaps pushout rule. Americans for Financial Reform and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights blasted the move as “a backroom deal buried deep in a stopgap government funding measure” that will increase the risks taxpayers and the economy face. Former Rep. Barney Frank called it “a terrible violation of the procedure that should be followed on this complex and important subject, and a frightening precedent that provides a road map for further attacks on our protection against financial instability.”

Compared to repealing the swaps rule, Congress’ second gift to the financial industry is a mere stocking stuffer. But it will have long-term consequences for public oversight of risky Wall Street behavior. The bill gives the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) a $250 million budget, which is $65 million less than what the White House asked for and $30 million less than the maximum CFTC budget that would have been allowed under last year’s long-term budget deal. While the CFTC number is an increase over previous years, the bill requires the agency to spend $50 million of the budget on information technology. The agency needs to upgrade its systems to perform its vast new responsibilities under Dodd-Frank reform, so the tech money is welcome in a sense. But it also needs way more money for staff than is allowed under the cromnibus budget. The bill won’t require layoffs at the CFTC, but it will prevent the agency from staffing up in the coming year to keep up with its growing role in regulating the financial industry, a Democratic staffer close to the negotiations told ThinkProgress. Departing CFTC commissioners have been saying for years that the agency is understaffed, and employee morale is dangerously low at the agency already according to press reports.

la-tot-cartoons-pg-061 Yes, yes … it removes regulation  on exotic derivatives that got us into the horrible financial crisis.

While several controversial policy riders were quickly discovered, it was the change to Dodd-Frank that generated the loudest outcry.

The provision would no longer require that big banks separate trades in financial derivatives from traditional bank accounts, which are backed by the government through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The derivatives played a key role in the financial collapse.

Critics argue the change would leave taxpayers on the hook if trades explode. Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) called it a “stealth attack” on his namesake achievement.

Still, it’s unclear whether the opposition from Warren, Frank and others will persuade House Democrats to risk a government shutdown by voting against the bill.

Even vocal critics in the Senate of the provision, such as Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), stopped short of promising to oppose it.

The White House, similarly, is not saying whether President Obama would sign the cromnibus, though White House press secretary Josh Earnest said he was “pleased” to see a bill produced.

The change to the Dodd-Frank law has enjoyed bipartisan support in the past.

Republicans and 70 House Democrats voted for a version of the tweak in 2013, with most arguing it would boost economic growth and lessen the regulatory burdens on banks.

“There’s huge misunderstandings about what this thing says,” said Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), who was an early sponsor of the original House bill.

Himes argued that the most dangerous derivatives would still be kept away from government-backed banks under the provision, and that banks would only be allowed to trade “plain vanilla” interest rate swaps.

But that was yesterday afternoon, about last night ….cartoon_wall_street_theft

The House on Thursday approved a $1.1 trillion bill funding most of the government through September despite an outcry from Democrats and significant defections in both parties.

By a vote of 219-216, the House sent the bill to the Senate, where a similar debate may break out between liberal Democrats and the White House.

The vote split Democratic leaders, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) opposing the bill and criticizing the White House, but Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) backing it. Fifty-seven Democrats voted for the bill, while 139 opposed it.

Hoyer said it was “better to pass it than to defeat it.”

Democrats objected to changes to the Wall Street reform bill that were included in the 1,600-page bill, and many were unswayed by a last-ditch White House lobbying push.

Conservative Republicans, meanwhile, opposed the bill for not doing more to curtail President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. While 162 Republicans voted for the bill, 67 rejected it.

For much of the afternoon and evening, the bill looked to be at death’s door as a government shutdown loomed at midnight.

The bill’s passage, as a result, was a remarkable victory for both Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama, who were able to cobble together the votes for passage.

The so-called “cromnibus” included an omnibus of 11 appropriations bills funding most of the government through September, and a continuing resolution funding the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 27.

“This plan was put together after consultation with our members,” Boehner told reporters Thursday morning. “And we worked through this process in a bipartisan, bicameral way.”

He implored his members to back it: “Listen, if we don’t get finished today, we’re going to be here until Christmas.”

GOP leaders suspended debate on the floor for hours as the White House made a push to win over Democrats.

House Democrats have long-been agitated with the White House and its outreach efforts, but they’ve largely kept the grumbling behind closed doors and off the record.

With the arrival of the “cromnibus” debate — and Obama’s backing of the package — the frustrations spilled over.

Pelosi, rarely a public critic of the president, minced no words in denouncing the “cromnibus” — and Obama’s support for it.

Yes, you read that right.  The President supported and also lobbied for the cromnibus despite it containing some really really awful things.  Pelosi  turned on the President.  It passed by 1 voted.  Yup, that’s right ONE VOTE.  The Senate just gave itself 2 days to pass the monster.  Oh, btw, the part about giving more money to political parties?  That’s the REID-Boehner Bill.  You won’t believe what got slipped into this 1600 page budget bill.

If anything, Thursday’s tumult highlighted the disconnect between Obama and congressional Democrats. Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, came out in strong opposition to the measure even as Obama was pressing her members to back it.

Democrats aligned with Pelosi took issue with policy provisions added to the bill addressing campaign finance reform and a key provision of the financial overhaul.

“This bill puts a big bow on a holiday gift for the Wall Street contributors who get special treatment in the provisions of this bill,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, said ahead of the vote. “It’s all about stuffing the silk stockings, and these people want to gamble with our money.”

Conservative Republicans, meanwhile, fought the bill because they were angry that it didn’t combat Obama’s executive action on immigration.

We are so screwed.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Reads: No Joy in Mudville

Good Morning!

10606019_830737330303137_5287611947599042743_nWell, the Southern Strategy is alive and well and still working in the South where Republicans have officially run a campaign for a know nothing and do nothing crook based on absolutely nothing but racist dog whistles.  The whistles were really loud and clear. They worked too.

All you have to do is ask a Cassidy voter what said congressman voted for or against, or what he stands for or against, or anything based on issues or record. They go silent. Ask them about the fact he is now under investigation for bilking Louisiana taxpayers out of money and ignoring the details of his outside work agreement granted by Congress and they scream “they are all crooks”. This is just a new one.  The only other thing they say is that “Miss Piggy” is with Obama and Obama is bad  and then they add something about not being racist and trying to be politically correct but Obama has run the country into the ground.  Then, they ignore any and all contrary facts and accuse you of dissing their valid opinions because you are a libtard and a sore loser.

They cannot tell you not one thing about him other than he’s not a white woman in the party that brought you a black president.  I am clearly appalled by the audacity of it all.

Many African-Americans saw Cassidy’s TV ads as a primer in race-baiting. The spots evoked the primal myth of the Old South in which white womanhood must be defended. In ads that ran around the clock, viewers saw Landrieu’s face pictured cheek-to-jowl with the black president like uneasy lovers in a Valentine.

“They’re pandering to the lowest common denominator,” bristled Stanley Taylor, a retired African-American member of the National Association of Letter Carriers, speaking by cell phone as he canvassed voters before the election. “Those spots are racist and totally dismissive of people’s ability to figure out their own self-interest.”

The blowback of racial politics marks the end of an era that began in 1970 when the senator’s father, Moon Landrieu, as the newly-elected mayor of New Orleans ushered African-Americans into local government, while guiding an era of dramatic urban growth. New Orleans had a white voting majority at the time; today it is about 60% African-American.

“Rather than suggest some policy objectives, it’s been easier for the Cassidy campaign to enflame racial fear to motivate Republican voters,” brooded community organizer Jacques Morial, whose father Dutch was the first African-American mayor of New Orleans, succeeding Moon in 1978. His brother Marc later served two terms as mayor and is today president of the Urban League.

Landrieu’s loss showed yet again that the great power in American politics is to make people believe that something false is true. Cassidy’s campaign recast the three-term senator as a projection of the black president largely reviled by the majority of white voters here, as in the rest of the South.

I’ve found a bevy of ways that white folks can say they’re not racist while saying racist things.  One of my major clues is when they start any sentence “I’m not racist”.  I’ve been astonished at the number of racist things people say shortly after they couch it with “I’m not racist but …”   There was a Face the Nation conversation on Racism on Sunday about an interview that the President has given BET that basically states that “Racism is deeply rooted in our Nation”.  This conversation surrounds the recent spate of police murder of unarmed black citizens where threat wasn’t really present. The central pale question was why hasn’t President Obama has made everything all better when it comes to race relations.  I can give you my take.  Many people are so deeply racist that they don’t even see it and refuse to see it.  Others are unabashedly racist and think they’re justified for whatever reason.  Many people seem to just be willfully ignorant which makes me wonder if they will ever learn.  No one black man can overcome years steeped in white privilege just as one woman serving in a public office can’t overcome years of shoving women into subservient roles based on outdated notions.  It’s not their fault.  The faults lie within us.tumblr_mjway6L5L91rast55o2_1280

In a special segment, “BET News Presents: A Conversation with President Barack Obama,” the president will help find meaningful solutions to unrest after the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner sparked nationwide protests.

“This isn’t going to be solved overnight,” Obama said in an excerpt of the interview to air Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.

The interview, hosted by BET host and TV journalist Jeff Johnson, marks the president’s first network discussion outlining his strategy to investigate the incidents and ways the country can unify during this time.

“This is something that’s deeply rooted in our society, deeply rooted in our history. But the two things that will allow us to solve it: Number one: Is the understanding that we have made progress and so it’s important to recognize that as painful as these instances are, we can’t equate what’s happening now with what was happening 50 years ago. If you talk to your parents, grandparents, uncles, they’ll tell you that things are better,”

Speaking to youth on the music-variety series targeting African Americans, Obama also cited “progress” as the second most critical step.

Charles Blow was one of the speaker’s on the Face of Nation segment which debated the progress made or unmade in race relations since the President was elected 6 years ago.  So was David Ignatius.  How is it that so many people can completely miss the institutional differences in the way people are treated simply based on surface differences.  Folks in hoodies are thugs and deserve it. Folks that don’ make the police feel safe must be themselves scary, threatening individuals whose life history must be slandered to protect the guilty. Our white male straight christian culture looks for ways to make every body that’s not them a culpable party.  We’re all deserving of pain and violence simply by not being them. Hoodie wearers deserve to be shot.  Slinky Dress wearers deserve to be raped.  Loving any one outside a sanctioned straight marriage deserves to be bullied and turned away from your business.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Charles, let me — I want to get back to this — this first finding here, that relational — race relations are worse under a Black president than they were under a white president.

>hat — what do you make of that?

CHARLES BLOW, “NEW YORK TIMES”: Well, I mean they…

SCHIEFFER: Or at least they’re saying that’s what people say — are saying.

BLOW: Right. So — but you have to figure — ask yourself, is it a causal relationship, right?

Is it because of him and something that he has done or is it a reaction to him actually being the president, which is — which is not really about him, but about us, right?

And — and I think that is the bigger question, that is a bigger philosophical question as to how do we respond to people who do not look like us?

Do we believe that they have our interests at heart?

Do we believe that we can — we can identify and — and empathize with that person?

And — and if we cannot, then there’s — we kind of exacerbate something that may already exist in terms of bias, in terms of how we see race relations in this country.

And I think that’s a real question that we have to ask ourselves about who we are and whether or not things were, in fact, better before this president and — and just were kind of underneath the — kind of under the surface.

SCHIEFFER: David, what do you — and I don’t mean to suggest that it’s Barack Obama’s fault.

BLOW: Right.

SCHIEFFER: But I mean I found that stunning, that this would be the finding that a lot of people say that things are worse now than they were.

DAVID IGNATIUS, “WASHINGTON POST”: Sociologists sometimes talk about a revolution of rising expectations, where because of changes, the election of the first African-American president, having Eric Holder, an African-American as our — as our attorney general, people expect things are changing.

And then when they see evidence in these cases where young unarmed black men are being shot and they’re — they’re not — the people who shoot them are not being indicted, there’s a special anger because people thought things were getting better. They thought with this African-American president that it would be different six years on.

And I think that’s part of what’s behind it, is a sense of disappointment. You know, America has had race issues. This is our original sin. And it’s a continuum in our national story.

But I wonder if the explosion of anger now doesn’t have something to do with people saying it should have been better because of the changes we thought the country had made in electing Barack Obama.

SCHIEFFER: And — and it’s not.

IGNATIUS: And it’s not…

(CROSSTALK)

IGNATIUS: Here’s this problem that — I mean how many years have we heard about driving while black as an experience that African- Americans have?

You know, white people hear this, but do we really react?

In A Tight SituationI’ve been experiencing all kinds of deja vu all over again in all kinds of things relating to civil rights issues.  Here’s another clueless white male–David Lowry–on why forcing a woman to return your kiss isn’t a form of sexual assault.  But, but isn’t it cute that I want to invade her body space and physically do things to her she doesn’t want.  She’s not saying no!  She is just being coy so I won’think here a slut!!!  Coy deserves to be force kissed!!!

National Review editor Rich Lowry on Sunday argued that “attempted forced kissing” doesn’t count as sexual assault.

During a discussion about the Rolling Stone story on an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, Lowry suggested that the magazine “had an agenda.”

“Rolling Stone didn’t do basic fact-checking here, I believe because they had an agenda to portray UVA as the bastion of white male privilege, where basically rapists rule the social life,” he said.

CNN’s Van Jones then referenced the statistic that one in five women are sexually assaulted in college.

Lowry shot back that the statistic was “bogus” and complained that the survey used “includes attempted forced kissing as sexual assault.”

The ABC panelists then berated Lowry for his claim.

“It’s not a crime that the police are going to be involved in and prosecute,” he insisted.

Here’s another cluess white male with his christian privilege showing.  Everybody’s beliefs are made up and not real except his.  Other people’s religions deserve to be ignored.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson argued over the weekend that a Satanist holiday display should be banned from the Florida state Capitol where a Christian nativity had been erected because they did not practice a “legitimate religion.”

Last week, the Satanic Temple won the right to place a display of an angel burning in hell alongside other holiday displays in the Florida Capitol building after officials initially rejected it, saying the Satanic message was “grossly offensive during the holiday season.”

“I’m assuming that there aren’t a ton of Satanists in Tallahassee,” Carlson told Bible Based Church Pastor Darrick McGhee on Saturday. “I’m assuming there really aren’t any at all, and this is purely an attempt to stick a finger in the eye of Christians in Florida.”

“So the rationale here is that Satanism is legitimate religion,” the Fox News host complained.

McGhee explained that the Satanic Temple had met the guidelines set by Florida’s Department of Management Services.

“They must be pretty stupid guidelines,” Carlson quipped, later adding that Satanist should have chosen any of the “51 other weeks in the year.”

“Just to be totally clear, you would not have an objection if a Jewish group or a Muslim group or a Baha’i group or something legitimate other religion wanted a display in the state capitol, would you?” Carlson wondered.

“No objection whatsoever,” McGhee agreed.

“I mean, this is just an inability to draw reasonable distinctions between reality and what is a pretty offensive prank,” Carlson concluded.cbe0925cd-beliefs-500

And more of this crap from states trying to put white male privilege into law.   Michigan wants to enact a religious right to discriminate.  In other words, if it offends white male christians, they can do whatever they want to the rest of us.

The Michigan House of Representatives, led by Speaker Jase Bolger (photo, above, left, with Gov. Rick Snyder,) just passed a bill that would allow discrimination to become sanction by the state. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, akin to one that made nationwide headlines in Arizona but was vetoed, appears to merely force the government to step aside if a person’s “deeply-held religious beliefs” mandate they act, or not act, in a certain manner.

Supporters of these bills claim they allow people of faith to exercise their religion without government interference, but in reality, they are trojan horses, allowing rampant discrimination under the guise of religious observance.

For example, under the Religious Freedom law, a pharmacist could refuse to fill a doctor’s prescription for birth control, or HIV medication. An emergency room physician or EMT could refuse service to a gay person in need of immediate treatment. A school teacher could refuse to mentor the children of a same-sex couple, and a DMV clerk could refuse to give a driver’s license to a person who is divorced.

Michigan Speaker Bolger fast-tracked the bill, which passed on partisan lines, 59-50. It now heads to the Michigan Senate, and if successful, to Republican Governor Rick Snyder. It is not known if Gov. Snyder would sign it.

“I support individual liberty and I support religious freedom,” Bolger said today. “I have been horrified as some have claimed that a person’s faith should only be practiced while hiding in their home or in their church.”

MLive reports that Michigan’s RFRA is “modeled after a federal version that the Supreme Court has said should not apply to states.”

I’m just having a real difficult time handling all of this.  Sometimes I believe that things will never get better.  Discrimination Nation

How do you fight back?  These folks have media outlets spewing continual hatred and crap.  They’re obviously not beneath running complete nonsense and obvious fear mongering ads and TV programs.  They’re not ashamed to lie or slander.  They also know exactly what to say and do to keep the angry sheep in line.  I’ve got very few answers these days to anything

So, want to play a little Spot the Africa to pass some time?

Have a great day!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads: Strange Things Afoot

Good Morning!

images (3)Well, it’s not the Ciricle K, but there’s a lot of odd things going on right now in the Landrieu / Cassidy race.  Yes. I’m going local again and it’s all for a lost or good cause and what looks like my last stand in Louisiana.  We’ve been Koch’d to death already.  I can’t take any more.

First, Cassidy has fled to the safety of John Boehner’s arms after being constantly questioned about what looks like payroll fraud at his part time job at LSU’s HSC.  Tiger Beat on the Potomac thinks he’s so far ahead in the race that he basically skipped out on appearances with Rick Santorum and Reince Preibus.  I think he doesn’t want to answer any more questions and look as lame as he appeared on the Monday Night debate.  Every time he opens his mouth, it’s basically yet another audition opportunity for a remake of Clueless.  I still couldn’t believe how completely unprepared he seemed for that one debate.

Here’s how lopsided Louisiana’s Senate runoff is: Bill Cassidy is so far ahead that he’s not in the state campaigning. Two days before the election.
While Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu hustles across the Bayou State ahead of Saturday’s runoff, the Republican congressman is in Washington this week, voting on legislation and debating how to keep the government from shutting down. His press operation appears to be nonexistent.

Cassidy is the overwhelming favorite to win this weekend, and he’s acted in the final weeks like a football team trying to run down the clock. He’s run a surprisingly low-profile campaign, trying to keep the race a referendum on the incumbent, who received just 42 percent of the vote in last month’s primary.

Cassidy skipped an appearance that he was supposed to make with former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) on Wednesday night in Shreveport, sending his wife, Laura, in his place. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is campaigning solo in the state Thursday.

Landrieu has an aggressive schedule with stops on Thursday in Grambling, Minden, Shreveport and Lake Charles. The last two days she was in Gretna, Hammond, Baton Rouge, New Roads, Vidalia and Monroe.

Cassidy told POLITICO off the House chamber during a round of votes Thursday afternoon that he will be in Lake Charles on Friday with Sen.-elect Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). Then he will drive across southern Louisiana and finish up in Jefferson Parish.

tumblr_ma1shxyB8N1qdj9xio1_r1_250Mary’s Obituary is already being written by District Insiders. 

Mary Landrieu is dead, and everyone knows it but Mary Landrieu.

The senior senator from Louisiana, a diminutive blond woman with a round, youthful face, is standing under a green canopy in the middle of an airfield. The canopy reads, “City of Hammond, Too Lovely to Litter.” There is frustration in her voice as she repeats, yet again, the message nobody seems to be hearing. “The national race is over,” she says. “This race is clearly now about what’s in Louisiana’s best interest.”

Landrieu’s death was foretold on November 4, when any remaining hope Democrats might have had that their candidates’ individual qualities could overcome voters’ hostility to the president was washed away in a national Republican wave of unexpected proportions. Though Landrieu was also on the ballot that day, thanks to Louisiana’s quirky election laws, it was only the first round—an all-parties primary featuring four Democrats, three Republicans, and a Libertarian. Landrieu got 42 percent of the vote; Bill Cassidy, a physician and Republican congressman, got 41 percent. Now the two of them are pitted head-to-head in a runoff election Saturday.

It is the last Senate contest of 2014 to be decided, a lingering loose end, a hangnail of an election that—now that Republicans have already won the Senate majority—will affect practically no one, except Mary Landrieu and her constituents.

Since the primary, Landrieu has undergone a series of humiliations. First, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced it would not spend any money supporting her in the runoff. Landrieu’s campaign was already practically broke, and in the weeks following the primary more than 90 percent of the television ads Louisiana voters saw were from Cassidy or groups supporting him.

Then, in a last-ditch attempt to demonstrate her clout in the Senate, Landrieu—who describes herself as “a strong supporter of the oil and gas industry”—persuaded Harry Reid, the outgoing Senate majority leader, to hold a vote on a bill to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline. She spent several days pleading with her Democratic colleagues to vote for it. On November 18, every Republican and 14 Democratic senators supported the bill. It fell short by a single vote. “FAIL MARY,” declared a Politico headline.

Now, no one gives Landrieu much of a chance. “She’s going to lose—it’s just a matter of how much,” Bernie Pinsonat, a pollster who works for both Republicans and Democrats, tells me. (Pinsonat began as a Democratic pollster, but that is no longer much of a viable occupation in this state.) Elliott Stonecipher, a Shreveport-based political analyst, adds: “She’ll have trouble doing better than the 42 percent she got in the primary, and it could be worse than that.” Many observers question Landrieu’s campaign strategy, from her muddled message to the way she has allocated her funds. But, says Bob Mann, a former Democratic staffer who now writes a newspaper column and teaches at Louisiana State University, “She could be the best swimmer in the world, and it wouldn’t matter. The tide is just too strong.”

Still, Landrieu must go through the motions. She must play out the string. “I am fighting hard until the end,” she announces in Hammond, surrounded by several local mayors and state legislators and a couple of dozen supporters. December in Louisiana: sunny and 80 degrees. Outside the canopy, a man and a woman with six platinum-blond children are waving a sign that says, “Babies are a blessing. Choose life.” They are handing out pro-Cassidy literature. On the other side of the canopy, a woman is holding a Sierra Club sign that says, “Keep the Frack Out of My Water.” (Landrieu is pro-fracking.)

Landrieu approaches a pair of grandmotherly women in Democratic Party T-shirts and puts her arm around one of them. They’ve been making phone calls on her behalf, and she wants to know if the word is getting out—are people starting to see that this race isn’t about the national parties, but about the local matters Landrieu wants it to be about? Has anything changed since the primary?

“I haven’t seen any change,” says Jeanne Voorhees, a 72-year-old with a cross necklace. Bernadette Powell, who is 68 and moved to this part of the state when she lost her New Orleans house in Hurricane Katrina, tells Landrieu she thinks she spent too much time in this week’s debate haranguing Cassidy about a late-breaking scandal involving his Louisiana State paycheck.

“Focus on your record! Your record is good!” Powell tells Landrieu.

“You would think people would be focused on that,” Landrieu says, shaking her head, “but it’s tough.”

Pimp and Rape Barn owner James O’Keefe–who frequently masquerades as a “journalist”–has been parading 10849775_10153801759957619_745472262863728417_naround Landrieu’s offices with a camera harassing people.  The New Orleans Twitterarti have been having a bit of fun with him.   How many folks will want to go down his rabbit hole?

O’Keefe and creepy friend Gavin McInnes have been stalking Mary and the rest of us for some time.   I mean really, he’s already on parole for breaking into her office.   Don’t we get some kind of notice when sexual predators are around?

After Nadia sent the rape barn email, she says James published a response on Project Veritas’ website, then deleted it. Nadia writes that it contained images of documents from James’ legal battle with Isabel Santa, the former Project Veritas member who warned CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau about James’ plan to trap and sexually humiliate her on a “love boat.” Apparently Project Veritas fired Isabel after the ordeal; her lawyer argued that this treatment could qualify as “wrongful termination, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, harassment, negligence, conspiracy and detrimental reliance,” and ended up with a $20,000 settlement. Nadia saved the documents and published them on her blog.

In the words of blogger Lamar White, “What if I told you that the guy who orchestrated Cassidy’s employment arrangement with LSU actually quit his job for two weeks in order to begin drawing his pension? And then he was rehired? What if his pension was $20,000 A MONTH? ”  Yes. Double Bill was mentored by a stellar double dipper.  I’m actually beginning to think the Cassidy candidacy was all about getting him to a place where he’d have to resign so Bobby Jindal could appoint Tony Perkins as a Senator.  Could any one find a worse candidate than this man?

In a real bizarre turn of events, Landrieu has been dissing Maria Cantwell  for being a greenie.

“If I don’t get back there as a senior member of the committee,” said Landrieu, “we’re gonna have a woman who I like very much, [but] I’m not sure Louisiana’s going to think very much of a senator from Washington state who’s all for windmills and alternative energy, and doesn’t support the oil and gas industry! That’s who’s gonna take my place as head of this committee.”

She was talking about Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, a third-term Democrat from a far less conservative state. At 9:39 Pacific time—minutes after Landrieu said this—subscribers to Cantwell’s donor list got an e-mail asking them to help out a friend.

Katrina-WaterIsRising-HelpWhile a conservative PAC has been dissing her as taking too much money from the oil and gas industry.  We’ve seen really lopsided numbers of ads the last week.

Groups backing Landrieu have aired just 100 television ads on her behalf since the Nov. 4 primary. Conservative organizations, meanwhile, have run about 6,000 commercials for Cassidy, according to the The Center for Public Integrity. The election is Saturday.

Anyway, I’m going to try to make some last ditch efforts for her tonight and tomorrow. I still can say one thing for sure.  I don’t want to be here for another big hurricane with Vitter and Cassidy being the major politicos around.  The state will be drowned for certain.

 One last nail in the coffin for me was announced by UNO where more faculty and programs are being cut.   What can I possibly say about a state that’s more willing to subsidize the salary of Tom Cruise than rebuild it’s one major public urban university?

I just don’t think I can take any more of this.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

 

 


Monday Reads: We call it riding the Gravy Train

Louisiana Purchased

Good Morning!

I’m going to go a bit local on you again with this eye popping set of numbers and business welfare stories from The Advocate.   The state’s budget is in ruin.  Public hospitals and universities have been defunded to the point that their services are in shambles and their accreditation/certifications have been questioned.  However, we seem to have plenty of room to subsidize rich people and high earning industries.  The eight part series is extremely well documented and it shows exactly how much our state has given to these businesses for nothing comparable in return. Watch out for give aways like these in a state near or around you.

Duck Dynasty” is the most popular show in the history of A&E. Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer. Valero is America’s biggest independent refiner, earning $6 billion in profits last year.

But despite all that success, they’re all receiving generous subsidies from the taxpayers of Louisiana, through programs that funnel more than a billion dollars every year to coveted industries.

Every time the Robertson clan films another episode of “Duck Dynasty,” Louisiana is on the hook for nearly $330,000, at last count.

During the past three years, state taxpayers agreed to fork over nearly $700,000 to Wal-Mart to build new stores in two affluent suburbs.

And when Valero announced an expansion of its Norco operations, creating 43 new jobs, Louisiana promised to cover $10 million of the cost, or nearly a quarter of a million dollars per job.

Louisiana’s giveaways to businesses, aimed at boosting economic development in what historically has been one of America’s poorest states, have been growing at a much faster rate than the state’s economy.

Louisiana isn’t the only state that actually bribes Walmart to ruin its local businesses and labor markets.  I’ve linked toscizzorhandz the subsidies in Louisiana, but you can find your own state’s largess at the site too.

There are no centralized databases of economic development subsidies, but Good Jobs First found 20 deals worth a total of about $96.5 million in Louisiana.  …

Many Wal-Mart workers are ineligible for health coverage from their employer or choose not to purchase what is available, because it is too expensive or too limited in scope. These workers often turn to taxpayer-funded health programs such as Medicaid. Louisiana is among those states that have not disclosed data on the employers with the most workers or their dependents enrolled in such programs.

What we have is a mess and I have no doubt that Kansas and other Republican run nightmare states can’t be too far behind in the race to the bottom.

When the Legislature convenes next year, an even bigger shortfall of as much as $1.4 billion is expected. Many legislators, including Republicans overseeing key financial committees, speak of a “structural deficit” of at least $600 million that they trace in large part to the growing giveaways. Because the programs are built into the law, they don’t have to compete for funding with other state services: The state just pays the tab, whatever it is.

Indeed, Louisiana’s incentive programs are viewed with increasing bipartisan skepticism.

Liberals have long complained that the giveaways divert money from programs that help the poor and middle class, directing it instead into corporate coffers. Conservatives are uncomfortable with the state picking winners rather than letting private enterprise sort things out in the marketplace. An alternative would be to simply let taxpayers keep more of their money. And many members of both parties think the cuts, especially to higher education, have gone too far.

Still, the programs have proven difficult to corral, in part because Jindal — who holds considerable sway over the Legislature — has pledged not to raise taxes in any form. According to the rules of the pledge, promulgated by the powerful group Americans for Tax Reform, any legislative action that increases revenue to the state constitutes a tax increase, even if the action simply gets rid of a costly giveaway. Jindal responded to requests for an interview for this story by issuing a written statement saying his administration’s policies have led to economic and population growth, and that the state should not seek to increase revenues.

Jindal’s fealty to the anti-tax pledge may have helped keep his presidential ambitions alive, but it hasn’t necessarily made the business world see Louisiana as a tax paradise. Though some surveys put the Pelican State’s actual tax burden among the five lowest in the country, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation recently ranked Louisiana No. 35 among the states with the best tax climates for business.

It’s not hard to see why.

“States are punished for overly complex, burdensome and economically harmful tax codes but are rewarded for transparent and neutral tax codes that do not distort business decisions,” the group said in a news release.

With more than 450 tax breaks enshrined in state law, some of them massive, Louisiana undeniably fails that test.

You can read horror story after horror story in the paper’s 8 stories written by various Advocate staff.   Here are two more examples that just left me flabbergasted.

  • Louisiana’s film incentive program cost state taxpayers $251 million last year and returned less than 25 percent of that to state coffers in the form of taxes. Considered the most generous of its kind in the nation, the film incentive has made the state America’s busiest locale for making feature films. It’s no wonder: State taxpayers cover 30 percent of the cost of movies filmed here, including eight-figure star salaries such as the estimated $20 million paid to Tom Cruise for 2013’s “Oblivion.”

  • Refunds of a property tax that businesses pay on their inventory have more than doubled in the past seven years, reaching $427 million last year and widening the hole in the state budget. The tax, little known to most Louisianians, is assessed at the local level and paid by businesses to parish governments. The state then cuts refund checks for the entirety of the tax paid, under a law passed in 1992. The pass-through in effect means taxpayers around Louisiana are subsidizing parishes with heavy industry, which generates most of the tax. For example, roughly 6 percent of the revenue from the inventory tax program goes to St. James Parish, which has just 0.5 percent of Louisiana’s population.

So like nearly every other Republican who screams about being a fiscal conservative,  Bobby Jindal is pretty much proving it’s not so much about that as ensuring his donor base is tax free and  subsidized.  So some one please tell me why Tom Cruise is so deserving of a multi million dollar income support but we can’t feed poor children?  Any one?

EmperorOr hey, what about this?  You’re filthy rich, you own a highly subsidized business–namely a pro football team–so you’ve got big bucks.  Why not go take advantage of some homeless people?

Before every Tampa Bay Buccaneers home game, dozens of men gather in the yard at New Beginnings of Tampa, one of the city’s largest homeless programs.

The men — many of them recovering alcoholics and drug addicts — are about to work a concessions stand behind Raymond James Stadium’s iconic pirate ship, serving beer and food to football fans. First, a supervisor for New Beginnings tries to pump them up.

“Thank God we have these events,” he tells them. “They bring in the prime finances.”

But not for the workers. They leave the game sweat-soaked and as penniless as they arrived. The money for their labor goes to New Beginnings. The men receive only shelter and food.

For years, New Beginnings founder and CEO Tom Atchison has sent his unpaid homeless labor crews to Tampa Bay Rays, Lightning and Bucs games, the Daytona 500 and the Florida State Fair. For their shelter, he’s had homeless people work in construction, landscaping, telemarketing, moving, painting, even grant-writing.

Atchison calls it “work therapy.” Homeless advocates and labor lawyers call it exploitative, and possibly illegal. It is the latest questionable way Atchison has used homeless people, and public money, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found.

Now Atchison is applying to run Hillsborough County’s new homeless shelter, a contract worth millions of public dollars that would entrust him with the county’s most vulnerable people.

The Times reviewed thousands of pages of public records about New Beginnings, including police reports, bank statements, grant documents and court proceedings, and interviewed more than 20 current and former New Beginnings residents and employees. Among the findings:

• Employees and residents said Atchison took residents’ Social Security checks and food stamps, even if they amounted to more than residents owed in program costs.

• A New Beginnings contractor told the Times he overbilled the state for at least $80,000 of grant money, then gave the money to the program instead of returning it.

• While claiming to provide counseling, New Beginnings employs no one clinically trained to work with addicts or the mentally ill. One minister cited his experience running a motorcycle gang as his top qualification. The Times couldn’t verify the doctorate in theology Atchison said he earned from a defunct online school.

Atchison, 61, defended the work therapy as a vital component of his program, and an important source of revenue. He said he never stole any Social Security checks or food stamps.

So, here’s today’s list of people that got huge sums of money that certainly didn’t do anything deserving of it. First up, I know will think twice before I EVER EVER EVER watch anything on ABC again.   Why?  ABC Reportedly Paid Darren Wilson Six-Figure Fee for Interview

ABC offered Darren Wilson a “mid-to-high” six-figure payment to give his first and only public interview on the network, according to the website Got News. An unnamed source from NBC reportedly told the website that both networks engaged in a bidding war to score the first interview with Wilson but NBC backed out after its rival “upped the ante.”

WTF?  Will they be hiring Mr and Mrs Charles Manson for a show for Newly Weds next?feature7c47790737384c50fcf3162a3b1d

Two republican senators–Diaper Dave being one of them–think that breathing is a privilege.  Two little piggies at the taxpayer’s trough continue to sell their souls to big oil.

Right-wingers are already peeved about the  new EPA regulation proposed by the Obama administration this week. The new rule would cap ground-level ozone—pollutants that make air risky to breathe—at 65 to 70 parts per billion. The standard “will represent one of the costliest rules ever issued by EPA and will serve as one of the most devastating regulations,”  wrote U.S. senators James Inhofe and David Vitter, in an effort to convince the American public that gradually choking to death is much, much cheaper. (The New Republic reports that the histrionic numbers they’re bellowing about are based on “the strictest assumptions to generate the highest dollar value.”) Luckily, Inhofe and Vitter will soon have the opportunity to vote for the  “Science Advisory Board Reform Act” when the bill hits the Senate, thereby assisting big business temper tantrums to drown out peer review science in EPA advising. But why should we trust Inhofe’s and Vitter’s take on the relative frivolousness of breathing air? Because they are respected experts, that’s why. Inhofe once conclusively debunked climate change  by citing the Bible, after which he presumably dropped the mic and ran off to stone his co-conspirator David Vitter  for adultery.

It’s enough to make one run for the borders of Canada!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Happy Thanksgiving!! Let’s Talk Turkey!!!

stock-graphics-vintage-thanksgiving-postcard-02625

Good Morning and Happy Thanksgiving!

We’ve gotten passed the Turkey Amnesty Day–an executive action–with President Obama.   Mac and Cheese were saved from Thanksgiving Dinner and will live out their lives in the National Zoo.  You can see the President talk turkey on that link. It was a cute speech with Sasha and Malia standing by to clap for the rescue.

President Obama poked fun Wednesday at his conservative critics over his executive actions that give legal status to as many as five million undocumented immigrants, saying his Thanksgiving pardon of a turkey would doubtlessly be criticized as “amnesty.”

Obama joked that the pardon of a turkey named Cheese would be the “most talked about executive action this month” and one that’s “fully within my legal authority, the same kind of action taken by Democrats and Republican presidents before.”

“I know some will call this amnesty, but don’t worry, there is plenty of turkey to go around,” he said.

During a speech at a Polish community center in Chicago on Wednesday, Obama used similar language to his turkey pardoning. He called his actions within his “legal authority,” reminded the audience about former President Ronald Reagan’s immigration executive order, and hit back against those who call the executive order “amnesty.”
The turkey pardon’s White House audience chuckled at Obama’s jokes, but last week’s executive action that gave legal status and work permits to illegal immigrants isn’t a laughing matter for many conservatives. Republicans ripped Obama’s decision, accusing him of acting outside his authority, and threatened that they’ll go after him with legislation that seeks to block Obama’s order.

I know most of us aren’t in the mood today for something long and depressing. I thought I’d take this opportunity to lay down a little dirt on the Cassiday-Landrieu Race and a lot of good research done by two fellow Louisiana Bloggers on Triple imagesDipping “Double Bill”  Cassiday.  Cassiday has been running on an nti-Obama and anti-government health care program campaign and that’s just about it.  Interestingly enough, the millionaire doctor has three sources of income and all are either from State or Federal Government sources.  He also appears to be commiting payroll fraud concurrently.  I’m glad to see that National media and state Newspapers are now picking up on the story.  We vote in a few weeks.  I’m not sure this will make any difference but it really should give some of these voters pause.  Will they vote this turkey into office?

Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge is disputing reports on two political blogs about his part-time work at LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) that suggested he was compensated for hours he didn’t perform, didn’t do the teaching work for which he was given a House ethics waiver to perform, and filed work sheets indicated he did medical work when Congress was conducting votes and holding hearings.

The allegations, based on records obtained by Jason Berry writing on theamericanzombie.com, were posted Tuesday — just 11 days before the Dec. 6 Louisiana Senate runoff between Cassidy and incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu. The records also were the subject of a report on the political blog by Lamar White Jr. on CenLamar.com.

The reports outline Cassidy’s continued work for LSUHSC after his election to Congress in November, 2008. The House Ethics Committee approved part-time work for Cassidy as a “teaching physician,” offering a “regular course of instruction.”

In an interview Wednesday, Cassidy said that although LSUHSC records don’t show him doing lectures, he taught students as he and they worked with patients at clinics and other facilities. He also advised students, worked with them on their research and papers, including in Washington when he would meet with students doing residencies and internships in area medical facilities after the day’s congressional work ended.

Memos from LSUHSC said that Cassidy was expected to work, “on average,” 7.5 hours a week, or 30 hours a month, for a stipend of $20,000, reflecting about one-fifth of his hours and pay from before 2009 when he was working full-time.

But 16 time sheets obtained from LSU by American Zombie, and later provided NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, show he reported working a cumulative 219.75 hours, or 13.7 hours per month — well short of the 30 hour per month figure. None of the time sheets showed him working more than 27 hours in a single month.

Cassidy said that he wasn’t being paid “by the hour,” and that he worked longer hours when Congress wasn’t in session. A Cassidy campaign spokesman said he often worked more than the specified hours for LSCHSC.

The blogs questioned whether it was appropriate for Cassidy to retain his tenure at LSUHSC after going part-time, and to be compensated for malpractice insurance. Cassidy said LSU provides malpractice insurance for all is part-time physicians.

As for tenure, Cassidy said he wasn’t even aware he had been kept in a tenured position.

HTPKG200277To quote my friend Nath Pizzolato,  “BILL CASSIDY draws a PAYCHECK from the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND from the STATE GOVERMENT for a job he’s NOT EVEN WORKING? And even though BILL CASSIDY is in the top ONE PERCENT, his wife draws her own GOVERNMENT PAYCHECK for NOT WORKING? THREE GOVERNMENT PAYCHECKS? Sounds like THE CASSIDYS are some WELFARE FREELOADERS GETTING RICH off HARD-WORKING, HONEST TAXPAYERS.”

Not only that, he basically billed the LSU HSC for time spent teaching and working while he was physically present on the floor of Congress.

Late Tuesday, a handful of local Louisiana political blogs released internal emails and school records they say call into question whether Cassidy remained on payroll as a congressman while not contributing at the school, wrongly logged hours at LSU while he was in Washington, and whether he maintained tenure when he didn’t meet the minimum requirements.

“The documents speak for themselves and certainly raise serious questions that Congressman Cassidy will have to answer,” Landrieu spokesman Fabien Levy said in a statement.
“Congressman Cassidy may have taken home over $100,000 in taxpayer funds for work he never did. Most people don’t get paid enough for the work they do, let alone for the work they don’t do. But it seems Congressman Cassidy got a pat on the back and a check in the bank. Louisiana taxpayers deserve answers.”

The Landrieu campaign noted that some people at LSU have been arrested for falsifying time sheets.

Lamar White’s blog piece was picked up by IND Reporter the day he published it.  I love that he’s coined the Congressman “Double Bill” Cassiday given he’s getting paid by Congress and the state simultaneously.

On at least 21 different occasions during the last 2.5 years, Rep. Bill Cassidy billed the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the Affordable Care Act, according to records first posted by Jason Berry ofThe American Zombie. Cassidy, a medical doctor, remained on LSU’s payroll after he was first elected, despite concerns by his associates about the nature of work that Cassidy, as a member of Congress, could legitimately conduct in his capacity as an employee of LSU.

Cassidy faces incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in the Dec. 6 runoff.

In May of 2010, Cassidy received an extensive opinion from the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, advising, among other things, that he could be compensated as a “teaching physician” who teaches “a regular course of instruction.” The House Committee also advised Cassidy that, although he is prohibited from practicing medicine for compensation, he could still accept “payments for professional medical services in an amount that does not exceed the actual and necessary expenses associated with the medical services provided.” Payments for actual and necessary expenses associated with medical services, it is worth noting, are considered on a case-by-case basis; physician members of Congress are not allowed to earn a salary for the practice of medicine.

Although the records released are incomplete, they raise serious legal and ethical questions about Cassidy’s role at LSU and seem to suggest that Cassidy may have been in open violation of the House Committee’s clear guidelines and may have been grossly overcompensated for his work.

Instead of taking a leave of absence from LSU after he was elected in November 2008, Cassidy agreed to an 80 percent reduction in his salary, or approximately $20,000 a year, slightly less than the $26,550 annual limitation on outside wages earned by members of Congress. There were practical reasons a physician who had been newly and narrowly elected to a Congressional seat that had already changed hands twice in the last two years would want to remain on LSU’s payroll: In addition to his salary, LSU also paid for Cassidy’s medical malpractice insurance, continuing education, and licensing fees, expenses that can easily total in the thousands. In the event that he lost re-election, he would be able to immediately return to his medical practice, without even skipping a beat.

Remember this guy is part of Boehner’s gang that hates the Affordable Health Care Act and votes against poor people getting any kind of government money.  He even voted against his own district getting Hurricane Relief.  He also wants to thanks_1privatize Medicare while his wife uses it as part of her disability benefits.   He said that he didn’t during a recent debate, but here’s the article from two years ago showing the votes.    Again, Newspapers across the state are supporting  Landrieu.  I can’t imagine facing a major hurricane again without her.

Mary Landrieu has stood up for Louisiana time and again during her 18 years in the U.S. Senate. She fought for our fair share of oil and gas lease revenues. She made sure our communities received vital disaster aid after Hurricane Katrina and the levee breaches, after Hurricane Rita, after Gustav, after Isaac. She understood the need to keep flood insurance premiums affordable long before others in Congress came to that realization.

Her opponent is trying to distract voters from Sen. Landrieu’s accomplishments in the Senate. He shouldn’t be allowed to get away with that.

The most important question in the Dec. 6 runoff election is who would best represent the interests of Louisiana residents in Washington. The answer is clear: Mary Landrieu.

Her Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which passed in 2006, achieved something Louisiana leaders had tried for decades to do: Require the federal government to give our state and other energy-producing states a significant share of revenues from offshore drilling. By 2017, the act will provide an estimated $500 million each year for restoring Louisiana’s coast.

Those revenues will benefit Louisianians for generations to come and help families hold onto the land they love.

Sen. Landrieu also helped ensure that New Orleans and other communities across South Louisiana got the federal resources essential to rebuilding homes, businesses and levees post-Katrina. That wasn’t an easy task, with influential members of Congress questioning whether we deserved help.

She played a key role in writing and passing the Restore Act, which will ensure that the vast majority of BP’s fines for the 2010 oil spill will go to coastal restoration — with Louisiana in line for the largest share. Her leadership and ability to work with Republican colleagues in other Gulf states was essential to the act’s approval.

She also wrote provisions into law allowing FEMA to forgive community disaster loans, which eliminated $391 million in post-Katrina debt for parish governments. In the past year, $54.8 million in loans for Jefferson Parish, $67.8 million for St. Tammany Parish schools and $24.4 million for the St. Tammany sheriff and parish government were wiped off the books thanks to her efforts.

Sen. Landrieu also successfully fought last year to reverse exorbitant flood insurance rates that would have been devastating for homeowners and businesses. Not only did she help get legislation through the Senate, she brought the stories of distressed homeowners to Congress with a collection of anecdotes and photos called MyHomeMyStory.

These are major achievements that speak to her leadership skills, her effectiveness and her commitment to her state.

Anway, I hope you have a good long weekend and that you have plenty of food on your table!  I’m terrifically busy right now but I will be attending a brunch on Sunday with Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  I hope I can report back on that for you.

If you want to read the original great analysis and work done by two Louisiana bloggers, be sure to check out their original analysis on the Double Bill.  Here’s the article from CenLAmar’s site.  Also, here’s the link to American Zombie.  Lamar and Jason did a great job pulling the data together and doing the analysis.  It appears their work has “legs”.  Go give them some traffic love!!!

What’s on your agenda today?  This is an open thread so have at it!!!

Bonus Turkey Material:  TURKEYS AWAY!!!

 

 


Monday Reads: Counter the Culture

Joni MitchellGood Morning!

I’m going to try to go light and easy this morning since we’ve had enough trauma recently.  Here are some interesting reads! For those of you who are fans of Joanie Mitchell, there’s a great set of interviews with her on the occasion of her 71st birthday and her release of new and old music.  Mitchell has been a nearly life long muse for me.

Q: You’ve voiced concern over what you call the “push-button generation of today.” What is impairing us the most?

A: Everything is about channel changing. It has ruined attention spans. I spaced out in school but I didn’t develop attention-deficit issues because I placed attention on my imagination and ignored the curriculum. I didn’t have a million newsfeeds to contend with. It is just like when I have people over to my house to watch a film—it’s like living in a Robert Altman movie! They are always talking over each other. We are all losing the plot. It’s an addiction to phones and too much information.

Q: What repercussions do you think future generations will feel now that everyone is on their phone during concerts, etc.?

A: Here’s an example. My grandson and I were sailing on a boat and he said, “It’s boring.” I asked, “How can you say it’s boring? The sun is shining, we’re going across the water so fast . . . ” And he said, “Not fast enough.” Technology has given him this appetite.

Another inspiration from my high school and university days was Jack Kerouac.  I live less than a block where he used to jump off the train–you’ll Jack Kerouachear it frequently if you’re on the phone with me–and hang out at one of my neighborhood bars.  It seems the Neal Cassady letter that described Joan Anderson and inspired “On the Road” has been found and will be sold at auction.  It’s been lost for 60 years.

It’s been called the letter that launched a literary genre — 16,000 amphetamine-fueled, stream-of-consciousness words written by Neal Cassady to his friend Jack Kerouac in 1950.

Upon reading them, Kerouac scrapped an early draft of “On The Road” and, during a three-week writing binge, revised his novel into a style similar to Cassady’s, one that would become known as Beat literature.

The letter, Kerouac said shortly before his death, would have transformed his counterculture muse Cassady into a towering literary figure, if only it hadn’t been lost.

Turns out it wasn’t, says Joe Maddalena, whose Southern California auction house Profiles in History is putting the letter up for sale Dec. 17. It was just misplaced, for 60-some years.

It’s being offered as part of a collection that includes papers by E.E. Cummings, Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Penn Warren and other prominent literary figures. But Maddalena believes the item bidders will want most is Cassady’s 18-page, single-spaced screed describing a drunken, sexually charged, sometimes comical visit to his hometown of Denver.

“It’s the seminal piece of literature of the Beat Generation, and there are so many rumors and speculation of what happened to it,” Maddalena said.

Kerouac told The Paris Review in 1968 that poet Allen Ginsberg loaned the letter to a friend who lived on a houseboat in Northern California. Kerouac believed the friend then dropped it overboard.

“It was my property, a letter to me, so Allen shouldn’t have been so careless with it, nor the guy on the houseboat,” he said.

As for the quality of the letter, Kerouac described it this way: “It was the greatest piece of writing I ever saw, better’n anybody in America, or at least enough to make Melville, Twain, Dreiser, Wolfe, I dunno who, spin in their graves.”

00d866b924c60902c085c1c947c755b9Well, I’ve always known my life in the Dismal Science as a woman wasn’t easy.  Here’s more on that.

British physicist Matt Taylor, who was involved with the Rosetta comet landing, recently found himself in the middle of a controversy about sexism and bad taste, after he was interviewed wearing a tacky shirt featuring pin-up girls toting guns. In true Internet fashion, the incident was labeled ShirtStorm, and it sparked a debate about sexism in the sciences. Taylor has since apologized, issued a series of mea culpas, and showed as much contrition as one person could for a sartorial offense. Some of his female colleagues even came to his defense.

But all of this raises a question: Why is it that the sciences look like a feminist nirvana compared with the economics profession, which seems to have a built-in bias that prevents women from advancing?

Consider this 2011 blog post by George Mason University economist Robin Hanson. Hanson writes that “gentle, silent rape” of a woman by a man causes less harm than a wife cuckolding her husband:

I [am puzzled] over why our law punishes rape far more than cuckoldry…[M]ost men would rather be raped than cuckolded…Imagine a woman was drugged into unconsciousness and then gently raped, so that she suffered no noticeable physical harm nor any memory of the event, and the rapist tried to keep the event secret…Now compare the two cases, cuckoldry and gentle silent rape.

There was no outcry whatsoever over these remarks, nor any retraction that I could find.

Or consider this similar post from 2013 by University of Rochester economist Steve Landsburg:

Let’s suppose that you, or I, or someone we love, or someone we care about from afar, is raped while unconscious in a way that causes no direct physical harm — no injury, no pregnancy, no disease transmission…Ought the law discourage such acts of rape? Should they be illegal?    

The  blog post sparked protests at Landsburg’s university, but silence from the economics profession itself. Landsburg later apologized, stating that some readers “got the impression that I was endorsing rape, while my intent was to say exactly the opposite.” Although it’s good that he apologized, Landsburg has made other sexist remarks on his blog. In 2012, he seemed to call pro-contraception activist Sandra Fluke a “prostitute,” and defended Rush Limbaugh’s demand that Fluke post a sex tape for the world to view.

In physics, a shirt depicting scantily clad women is a big deal, but in economics, everyone just sort of expects these things.

These aren’t just anecdotes. There is quantitative evidence showing that economics is uniquely biased against women. According to a new paper by economists Donna Ginther and Shulamit Kahn and psychologists Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams, sexism in econ is much more severe than in the sciences.

Oh, and that’s economist Joan Robinson up there if you don’t recognize her.   She was an major influence on J.M. Keynes.  She extended Keynes’ analysis in to the long run in the 1950s and also took Keynesian analysis to Marx’s works.  She’s also a mentor to Joseph Stiglitz and one other Nobel Laureate. 

It has been claimed that Joan Robinson did not mind upsetting people with her work: “Never one to mince words, possessor of a civilized wit, sometimes bleakly rude, not always fair but always honest, as hard on herself as on those she criticized, Joan Robinson more than any other economist of the twentieth century became a model for progressive radicals, fearlessly following arguments to conclusions no matter how incompatible they proved to be.”

 Journalists are being arrested in Ferguson, MO again despite court orders and instructions. 

A Journalist’s arrest during a protest near the Ferguson, Mo., police headquarters early Sunday drew renewed attention to disputes over 1st Amendment rights in the wake of a white police officer’s killing of an unarmed black man.

Trey Yingst, a reporter with News2Share, was accused of unlawful assembly and taken into custody, according to St. Louis County police. News2Share publishes stories by freelance reporters online.
A police summary notes that Yingst was among a group that was obstructing traffic at South Florissant Road and Compton Avenue.

“The group of subjects were gathered on the street and sidewalks at that intersection. The on-scene commander engaged the crowd and instructed them that they were impeding the flow of traffic and would be subject to arrest if they did not exit the roadway,” the police summary says. “The crowd ignored the commander’s verbal commands to exit the roadway and continued to impede the flow of traffic.”

Police say most of the crowd dispersed, but Yingst and another person, David Rodriguez, 26, did not, so they were taken into custody. Several witnesses said Yingst was on the sidewalk when he was arrested.

Shortly after his release from jail, Yinsgt said on Twitter that he had been “arrested for exercising my 1st amendment rights on a public sidewalk.”

The protests in Ferguson began Aug. 9, when police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot an 18-year-old unarmed black man, Michael Brown. In August, some journalists were arrested while covering the demonstrations.

On Sunday, the American Civil Liberties Union said it was “unclear what legal authority police officers would have had to order him to disperse.”

“We are deeply troubled that the 1st Amendment rights of the media are still being violated in spite of the recent court order we secured against such action by the County of St. Louis,” said Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri, in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation and if necessary swiftly pursue aggressive action to ensure that unlawful interference with the press comes to an end.”

 A 12 year old boy that was playing in a play ground with a toy gun was shot and killed by the Cleveland Police.  I’m sure you don’t have to guess the fergusonrace of the child that law enforcement is now characterizing as a “young man”.

The 12-year-old boy wielding what turned out to be a BB gun when he was shot by police outside a Cleveland recreation center died early Sunday morning, a police union official confirmed.

The boy, whose name has not been officially released, was shot in the stomach at Cudell Recreation Center, at Detroit Avenue and West Boulevard, about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.

He was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in serious condition, EMS officials said. Throughout the night his condition deteriorated and he died early Sunday, Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association president Jeff Follmer said.

The shooting came after a man at the park adjacent to the rec center called police when he saw “a guy with a gun pointing it at people.

The caller twice said the gun was “probably fake” and told dispatchers the person pulling the gun from his waistband was “probably a juvenile,” according to audio released by police officials late Saturday.

3568ecaa36b392f4d5b0ca08cbe0dc39Sunday news shows including shows of white men defending a system where police indiscriminately shoot black children.  The worst of them was ABC where Rudy Gulliani  blamed black people for causing white police presence in their neighborhoods.   I seriously wish these guys would actually come live some place other than white enclaves with gates everywhere and see what the real deal is.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) got into a heated argument about race and crime with Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson during a discussion on Ferguson, Mo.

“But the fact is, I find it very disappointing that you’re not discussing the fact that 93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks. We’re talking about the exception here,” Giuliani said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” while discussing whether police forces reflect the demographics of the communities they serve.

Dyson called this a “false equivalency.”

“Can I say this, first of all, no black people who commit crimes against other black people go to jail. Number two, they are not sworn by the police department as a agent of the state to uphold the law,” he said. “So in both cases, that’s a false equivalency that the mayor has drawn, which is exacerbated tensions that are deeply imbedded in American culture.”

Later in the argument Giuliani argued that while police officers are only present in certain communities because black people are committing crimes.

“It is the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community,” he said. “White police officers won’t be there if you weren’t killing each other 70 percent of the time.”

Dyson shot back at Giuliani and said, “this is a defense mechanism of white supremacy at work in your mind.”

So, that gives you a choice of the serious and the interesting to read this morning.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?