Once again, I’ve spent my early morning hours looking at pictures–this time I have a collection of Boston statues to share–there are gazillions of them here! I’ve got news too, of course.
Last week I wrote a post about a rape trial in Concord, New Hampshire. The case highlighted a culture of misogyny and sexual assault at St. Paul’s, an exclusive private boarding school. Well, the verdict is in.
The jury found Owen Labrie not guilty of aggravated rape, but they convicted him of several other charges, which could still result in jail time. NYT:
…after about seven hours of deliberations over two days, the jury appeared to dismiss Mr. Labrie’s insistence that he had not penetrated the girl in any way, but found that the state had not proved that what happened was against the girl’s expressed wishes.
The nine men and three women rejected the more serious accusations of aggravated sexual assault, as well as a misdemeanor assault charge of biting the girl’s chest, but convicted Mr. Labrie of three misdemeanors related to the girl’s age and involving penetration with his penis, mouth and finger. He was also convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, and a felony charge involving use of a computer to lure a minor.
It seemed, one expert said, to be a compromise among the jurors.
The conviction on using a computer to abuse a child means Labrie will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
In the end, the jury believed her. Owen Labrie had sex with her when she was just 15.
But just like she feared, they didn’t think she did enough to stop him.
Over three days of testimony, the now 16-year-old girl described her encounter with one of the more popular seniors on the campus of her elite New Hampshire prep school last year. She described how Labrie, then 18, invited her to a rendezvous in a secluded St. Paul’s School building. She told of kissing him, of taking off her sweatshirt and then her shorts. And then feeling everything go way too far.
His fingers were inside her, then his tongue, then his penis. He wasn’t getting the message when she pulled her bra strap back on, held onto her underpants, pulled his head away from between her legs as she said no repeatedly, she said. She said she winced and stiffened as he penetrated her.
She should have never left her room that night, she thought, as she stared up at the ceiling and waited for it to end.
“If I had just been able to kick or yell at him,” she testified. “If I just had been able to get the point across. To push or do something. I could have stopped it.”
So they believed Labrie penetrated her when she was under the age of consent, but they still thought it was consensual? I don’t understand that.
At Slate, Mark Joseph Stern explains: The Odd Sexual-Consent Law That Explains the Bizarre Owen Labrie Verdict.
Like many states, New Hampshire has a “Romeo and Juliet” exception to statutory rape. Such exceptions allows individuals to have sex with minors if they are close in age. These laws are designed to allow teens to engage in consensual sex without fear of prosecution. Florida provides a good example: There, the Romeo and Juliet law creates a four-year bubble, so that an 18-year-old can legally have sex with a 14-year-old, but a 19-year-old cannot.
New Hampshire’s law follows this model—with a twist. It sets a hard age of consent at 13: Before then, all sex is illegal. After 13, the rules change. It isn’t illegal to engage in consensual non-penetrative sexual contact with an individual between ages 13 and 16 unless you are at least five years older than the younger person. (Think necking and fondling.) It is always illegal, however, to engage in penetrative sexual contact with any individual between ages 13 and 16. (16 is the universal age of consent in the state.)
Here, the Romeo and Juliet law only affects the severity of the punishment. If you have penetrative consensual sex with an individual between ages 13 and 16 but are within four years of age, you are guilty of misdemeanor sexual assault. If the age difference is more than four years, you’re guilty of felony sexual assault.
Labrie was 18 when he allegedly put his penis, tongue, and finger in a 15-year-old’s vagina. The jury did not find that the girl resisted, so he isn’t guilty of felony rape. But he still had penetrative sex with a girl under 16, the jury believed. Thus, Labrie is guilty on three counts of misdemeanor sexual assault, one for each form of penetration.
A couple more links:
Boston Globe: Owen Labrie and the ‘nerd defense’
I thought I’d share a heartwarming story with you for a change. My mom passed this one on to me.
It wasn’t really a feud, just one nasty neighbor with no sense of humor.
High school student Hannah Brewer, with her mother’s permission, painted the garage door of their residence in an attempt to prove she is the biggest fan of the pop/punk band 5 Seconds of Summer, aka 5SOS.
“Get creative and prove you’re the biggest 5SOS fan on your garage door so the whole neighborhood can see it!” the radio station said in announcing the competition. “Color, paint, decorate … whatever you can think of! Just make sure we can see RadioNOW 100.9 … somewhere” on the door.
The winner will receive tickets to the band’s Aug. 22 concert and get to meet the four members backstage at Klipsch Music Center.
Hannah and her friend Morgan Whitmer worked on the garage door mural together “painting images of the band members, a message reading, “5SOS is kinda hot!” a skull, an astronaut and other things on the door.” An anonymous neighbor was so scandalized that she wrote the ridiculous letter:
Soon after that, an anonymous letter titled “A NOTE FROM YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD” was left in Brewer’s front door at 3305 W. Oaklyn Ave.
It said, “At first we all thought you had been a victim of vandalism on your garage, seeing how NOTHING like that has ever happened around here before … In case you haven’t noticed this isn’t LA or Chicago or Mexico and it certainly isn’t south Muncie.
“There is discussion of getting up a petition, calling the newspaper and retaining a lawyer in case you don’t do the right thing over the ghetto painting … We are all sorry we have had to do this but nobody has ever treated this neighborhood in a trashy manner!”
The author of the letter left another copy of it in the front door on another day.
Hannah’s mother Carrie Mote Craig, a teacher, called the police and learned there was nothing illegal about the painting. One police officer even came to their house and posed for a picture in front of the garage door. Craig then sent an explanatory letter to all of the neighbors and the girls ended up getting tons of support and lots of people stopping by to look at the painting.
Well, it turned out that Hannah wasn’t eligible for the radio station contest, because she doesn’t live in Indianapolis. But when the station heard the story, the girls still got tickets and a chance to meet their favorite band. Indy Star:
RadioNOW 100.9’s afternoon drive host Mike Klein and midday host Hunter personally delivered the good news to Brewer, a high school senior, at her place of work (Wendy’s) on Wednesday night.
“She didn’t actually win the contest,” Max Williams, marketing director at Indianapolis-based RadioNOW, said. “The reason why is she lives in Muncie, which is technically not part of our market. She was not even eligible to win according to the contest rules.”
However, “because of everything that happened and the extra exposure she got for us it is definitely worth her getting to meet the band,” Williams said. “The record label thought it was great extra attention to their band. They loved it, so we were able to secure the extra meet and greet and tickets. They won some pretty decent seats and will get to go backstage prior to the show and meet the band.”
It’s just a small story, but it gave me a good feeling, so I thought I’d share it.
How about some politics? I know, ugh. But there is some political news about Democrats today that isn’t about Emailghazi.
National Journal: At DNC Meeting, Hillary Clinton’s Quiet Moves Are the Ones that Matter.
MINNEAPOLIS—Hillary Clinton publicly bashed her Republican presidential rivals in the cavernous hotel ballroom here Friday, but her bigger accomplishment at the Democratic National Committee summer meeting was what her campaign was doing privately.
At a meet-and-greet at a nearby office tower, in small group sessions, and in one-on-ones behind closed doors at the meeting hotel, Clinton and her top staff worked the 700 or so “superdelegates” who will help choose the next Democratic nominee for firm commitments.
“They’re working really hard to solidify their count going in,” said Florida DNC member Alma Gonzalez. “It is a continual and consistent push.”
“This is really about how you put the numbers together to secure the nomination,” Clinton said at a brief news conference. She said the effort springs from one of the lessons learned from her failed run in 2008, when then-Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign took advantage of party rules to win more delegates even when failing to win the primary vote in a particular state.
“I got lot of votes, but I didn’t get enough delegates, and so I think it’s understandable that my focus is going to be on delegates as well as votes this time,” she said. “I’m very encouraged by the kind of response that I’m getting.”
Two more links on this:
Naturally, other candidates were not happy.
Washington Post: Democratic challengers launch attacks against Clinton, party leadership.
What began as a routine forum of candidate speeches evolved into a surprisingly dramatic day at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley issued thinly veiled attacks on Clinton and the party leadership.
Speaking from the dais, with DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz sitting a few feet away, O’Malley blasted the party’s limited number of sanctioned debates as a process “rigged” in favor of the front-runner. The DNC is holding six debates, only four before February’s first caucuses in Iowa, which O’Malley argued is a disadvantage for all the candidates and a disservice to Democrats generally.
“This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before,” said O’Malley, who has struggled to gain traction in the polls. He added: “We are the Democratic Party, not the undemocratic party.”
Sanders — who later told reporters he agreed with O’Malley — lamented low Democratic turnout in last year’s midterm elections and said the party must grow beyond “politics as usual” if it hopes to produce the level of voter enthusiasm required to retain the White House in 2016.
“We need a movement which takes on the economic and political establishment, not one which is part of that establishment,” said Sanders, who is an independent but caucuses with Democrats in the Senate.
Asked later whether he was speaking specifically about Clinton, he told reporters, “I’ll let you use your imagination on that.”
Tough shit. Obama was completely ruthless in 2008, and it worked. I’m glad Hillary is following his lead.
More news, links only:
Did you see Peggy Noonan’s latest word salad? Wall Street Journal: America is So in Play, and commentary from Gawker: Peggy Noonan’s Dominican Friend, Cesar, Works at the Deli Counter. Good for a laugh.
Meteor Blades at DailyKos: Clinton’s support for 50-state strategy the right move for any Democratic candidate.
From Vox, a very good long read: Tech nerds are smart. But they can’t seem to get their heads around politics.
The Independent: Study reveals that a lot of psychology research really is just ‘psycho-babble’ (um . . . not quite what the study says)
Washington Post: No, science’s reproducibility problem is not limited to psychology.
So . . . what stories are you following today? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a terrific weekend!
August is my least favorite month. I basically try to slog through it. I can’t recall anything good EVER happening in August. This year is no different.
They say criminals always return to the scene of their crimes. Today, Dubya Bush returned to New Orleans to “commemorate” Katrina. But, it’s a brief hit and run before he heads off to Mississippi. That should remind every one that what they asked Louisiana to do before getting help was not what they required of Mississippi where Haley “white council” Barbour reigned. Mass Murderer Heckuva Job Brownie needs to be reminded of this fact still. This sentence from the ABC link pretty much says it all.
Bush largely took a hands-off approach, frequently saying that rebuilding was best left to locals.
All over our country, Republican government officials are refusing to do their jobs in a hissy fit of selfishness and ideology. I mean really, if you don’t like government, maybe you shouldn’t be an elected government official or a government worker. We generally call them public servants for a damned good reason.
Kim Davis is doing everything she can to avoid doing her job. Now the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk is petitioning the Supreme Court to allow her to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Davis was slapped down just yesterday by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said that she or anyone in her office must issue marriage licenses to all couples regardless of gender.
Davis’ office just this morning again refused a same-sex couple the right to marry. Her office has until Monday to comply with the federal courts’ rulings.
Davis is represented by the founder of a certified anti-gay hate group, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel.
“Davis will appeal one more rung up the ladder, to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, who can intervene in 6th Circuit cases, Staver said,” according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
“It is disappointing, certainly for our client, because the ramifications of the ruling is that there are no religious freedom rights for individuals if you can say a case is just against the office,” Staver told the newspaper. “The problem with that is, individuals who hold public office don’t forfeit their constitutional rights.”
But Right Wing Watch notes Staver is incorrect.
“While Staver claims that the clerk’s ‘constitutional rights’ are being violated when she is required to perform her job duties, the appeals court points out that this is not a case of individual free speech: ‘[W]here a public employee’s speech is made pursuant to his duties, ‘the relevant speaker [is] the government entity, not the individual.'”
She’s free to believe whatever nonsense she wants to believe on her own time and dime. She needs to comply, quit, or go to jail for breaking the law. PERIOD. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to Elena Kagan ripping her a new one.
Hillary Clinton, however, tells it like it is. “On women’s health, Clinton compares Republicans to ‘terrorist groups'”
Republican presidential candidates are striking back Friday after Hillary Clinton compared some of them who hold conservative views on abortion and women’s reproductive rights to “terrorist groups.”
During a riff Thursday where Clinton name checked Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Clinton said Republicans are “dead wrong for 21st century America.”
“Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world, but it’s a little hard to take from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States,” Clinton said at a speech in Cleveland. “Yet they espouse out of date, out of touch policies. They are dead wrong for 21st century America. We are going forward, we are not going back.”
Meanwhile, Ben Carson has women reduced to vessels with “contents”. This is yet another Republican attack on woman’s autonomy and moral personhood. How did this guy pass an anatomy course?
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is dismissing the notion that there is a “war on women,” saying the real war is on “what’s inside of women.”
“They tell you that there’s a war on women,” Carson said at a rally in Little Rock, Ark., on Thursday.
“There is no war on women — there may be a war on what’s inside of women, but there is no war on women in this country,” he continued, referring to abortion.
Democrats have accused Republicans of waging a war on women, citing efforts to limit abortion rights or access to birth control. But Republicans have pushed back on that language.
Carson said such rhetoric is only being used to divide people.
“All of those people who are trying to drive wedges between us, they are the enemy, they are not our friends, and we must learn to recognize them, and not allow them to manipulate us,” he said.
Carson’s comments come as the GOP contender’s anti-abortion-rights stance has come under fire after it was revealed that the retired neurosurgeon had co-authored a paper in which research was done on tissue acquired from fetuses aborted at nine and 17 weeks’ gestation.
“I have never actually worked with fetal tissue,” he told Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly earlier this month.
Carson also took flak when he said that RU-486, which has been dubbed the “chemical abortion pill” by some anti-abortion-rights groups, should be administered to women in cases of rape and incest.
However, some have speculated that Carson mistakenly referenced RU-486, which is administered five to seven weeks into a pregnancy, when he really meant to refer to emergency contraception known as the morning-after pill.
Anyway, I’m making this short today. I have a blanket fort to defend for a few more days and we’re running low on our supplies of red wine and pet treats.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Morning (Barely)!!
I wish I could spend this morning looking at paintings on the internet and then take a long nap. I don’t want to know anymore about workplace shootings, theater shootings, “domestic abuse” killings, rapes, hate crimes, and clown car politicians who stoke the rage of crazy people. This country, this world cannot be as crazy as it seems, can it? Here’s some of crazy stuff I’ve been reading. The peaceful paintings are to distract us from the insanity of today’s current events.
On the latest nutcase shooting:
Vester Flanagan, the gunman who killed two journalists in Virginia, was told by his bosses to seek medical help after colleagues at the television station where he worked with his victims repeatedly complained about him, according to memos obtained by the Guardian.
Several flare-ups were detailed in internal messages from Dan Dennison, then the news director of WDBJ7, that were sent to Flanagan and copied to senior colleagues. Flanagan on Wednesday morning shot deadreporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward.
Flanagan, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound later on Wednesday, was reprimanded for “lashing out” at a colleague and for his “harsh language” and “aggressive body language” while working as a reporter.
He was told to contact employee assistance professionals at the company Health Advocate. “This is a mandatory referral requiring your compliance,” Dennison told Flanagan on 30 July 2012. “Failure to comply will result in termination of employment.”
On Christmas Eve that year, Dennison emailed colleagues to say he had just warned Flanagan that he had one final chance to save his job. “I’m not entirely sure where his head is at,” said Dennison. Flanagan was fired three months later.
Flanigan apparently spent months preparing to go out with a bang with everything recorded on social media before he committed suicide. More links:
The Daily Beast: TV Station Called 911 When They Fired Vester Flanagan.
Fox News: Inside Vester Lee Flanagan’s life.
We old folks remember how shocked we were when Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV. Little did we know that a half century later such horrifying events would become almost ordinary–shocking at first but swiftly and easily absorbed into the flow of daily violence reported by the news media.
The latest from the crazy-ass Duggar family:
In a bombshell world-exclusive interview with In Touch magazine, stripper and porn star Danica Dillon, 28, reveals she had sex not once, but on two separate occasions, with Josh Duggar, both occurring when his wife, Anna, was pregnant with their fourth child!
Danica — who passed a polygraph test conducted for In Touch by a top certified polygrapher on Aug. 24 — details her two sexual encounters with Josh in the new issue of +In Touch+, on newsstands now. The first occurred after Josh approached her at the Gold Club in Philadelphia, where she was performing, in mid-March and the second only a month later when Danica was performing at Creekside Cabaret in Colmar, Pa.
Josh paid Dillon for “$600 in private dances,” and then asked her to spend the night with him. She agreed to do it for $1,500, but she soon learned that Josh was into violent sex.
Danica admits she “took the opportunity because Josh offered to gift [her] $1,500.” But soon after Josh arrived at her hotel m, things got rough.
“He was manhandling me, basically tossing me around like I was a rag doll,” Danica, whose real name is Ashley Lewis, and although the sex was consensual, “It was very traumatic. I’ve had rough sex before, but this was terrifying.”
Ugh. A few more Duggar links:
AP via ydr.com: Josh Duggar in rehab after admitting to pornography habit.
Amanda Marcotte at Slate: Josh Duggar’s Brother-in-Law Speaks Out Against Him.
Zach J. Hoag at Huffington Post: Divorcing Josh Duggar’s Monster God.
I don’t believe for one minute that Josh Duggar got so warped without some serious abuse in early childhood. Mark my words, it will come out eventually.
The latest on creepy old Uncle Joe:
New York Times: Tom Harkin Cautions Joe Biden Against Running for President.
Former Senator Tom Harkin, a fixture in Iowa Democratic politics for over four decades, discouraged Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday from entering the presidential race, suggesting that Hillary Rodham Clinton, if elected, could name him to a top diplomatic post instead.
Mr. Harkin, who served with Mr. Biden in the Senate for nearly 25 years and is now supporting Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, said the vice president should not risk ending his career with what would be a third bid for the presidency.
“He has served the country so well and been a good friend of mine — I love Joe,” Mr. Harkin said in a phone interview. “I just don’t think this would be a wise move.”
Without prompting, Mr. Harkin added that there were “other ways Joe can serve the country.”
“With Hillary as president, I can see him being secretary of state or ambassador to the United Nations,” he said. “There are a lot of things he can do down the road that would be of valuable service to the country or the world.”
Good advice. It sounds like Biden is having second thoughts anyway.
Christian Science Monitor: Poll: Joe Biden runs better than Hillary Clinton against Republicans.
Well, the grass is always greener . . . those poll numbers would collapse very quickly if Biden actually got into the race.
The latest on the elephant in the clown car:
Joe Conason at The National Memo: ‘Fascist’ Trump Isn’t First Demagogue Laughed Off As A Buffoon.
Although he is still a clown, nobody laughs at Donald Trump anymore — which may be the real purpose of his candidacy, at least as far as he is concerned. The casino mogul is pleased to instill fear among Republican elites, as he dominates their presidential nominating contest — and forces them to face a hard question about the man who is exciting such belligerent enthusiasm among Republican voters:
Is Trump a real live fire-breathing fascist?
From Newsweek to Salon to the Daily Caller, commentators of various colorations have found ample reason to apply that often-discredited label to him. While these observers hesitate to lump Trump in with totalitarian dictatorships and historic crimes against humanity, they are clearly worried by his strongman appeal, his populist rhetoric, and his rejection of GOP free-market orthodoxy. Matt Lewis complains that Trump is reviving Nietzschean notions that inspired fascist ideology; Jeffrey Tucker warns that Trump is hostile to individual freedom and sees himself as the embodiment of the state, like fascist leaders before him.
Such worried conservatives aren’t wrong, but they seem unwilling or unable to grasp the clearest evidence that Trump is channeling toxic currents from the past—namely, his appeals to racial bigotry, his xenophobic and truculent attitude toward other nations, and his extremist “solution” to the problem of illegal immigration. Others have observed that the Republicans have only themselves to blame for encouraging the crude prejudices that Trump now calls forth in his “un-P.C.” way, as Maureen Dowd so cutely phrased it.
Read the rest at the link. I have to admit that Trump is starting to scare me. More links:
Nate Silver: Donald Trump Is Running A Perpetual Attention Machine.
Jennifer L. Pozner at Politico: Think Reality TV Is Sexist? Blame Donald Trump.
Amanda Marcotte at TPM Cafe: Why Fox News’ Defense Of Megyn Kelly Is Going To Backfire.
Greg Sargent: Megyn Kelly nails it on why Donald Trump matters.
Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump’s Insults Rattle Republican Rivals, Please Fans.
That’s about all the news I can stomach for this morning. Am I just focusing on the negative or are things really this bad?
As always, this is an open thread. Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread and enjoy your Thursday.
This is unbelievable. Take a look at these headlines, how can these people be serious contenders…. and yet we have the press going ape shit crazy over Hillary with the non-scandal email server crap.
Jeb Bush aggressively defended his use of the term “anchor babies” during a trip on Monday to the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the term describes fraudulent immigration “more related to Asian people.”
“This is ludicrous for the [Hillary] Clinton campaign and others to suggest that somehow I am using a derogatory term,” the presidential candidate said after a roundtable with local officials on border security and immigration in McAllen, Texas.
“What I’m talking about is the specific case of fraud being committed where there’s organized efforts — frankly, it’s more related to Asian people — coming into our country, having children in that organized effort, taking advantage of that noble concept, which is birthright citizenship.”
This was an absolutely horrifying glimpse of what it would mean if by some chance this caveman is elected president, as Donald Trump had his burly bodyguards eject one of the most popular anchors for Hispanic television network Univision, Jorge Ramos, saying scornfully to him, “Go back to Univision.”
Wow. Just wow. Then Trump described the incident this way: “He stood up and started screaming. He’s obviously a very emotional person.”
More on this, see the reaction from National Association of Hispanic Journalist:
As for Trump’s views on what is illegal:
What the meaning of “illegal” is
I keep hearing Trump go on and on about “getting all the bad people out” and he’s not always explicit that these are “bad” undocumented workers. In fact, when he’s talking about the gang members he plans to deport it’s not at all clear that he’s talking about non-citizens.
Digby links to a video of Trump, so take a look….
If you watch that video for a few minutes you’ll see that he claims the 9/11 hijackers were all in the country illegally and that hordes of middle eastern psychos were coming over the border all the time.
The 9/11 hijackers were not in the country illegally. They had legitimate visas, although in fairness, Trump isn’t the only one lying/mistaken on this count. This is a very creepy “misunderstanding” in that it suggest people think that forein=gners in the country on visas are not actually legal.
The point is that I think someone needs to ask The Donald and, by extension, his slavering followers, what they consider to be an “illegal alien” and how they would go about deciding who is and isn’t one.
Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke recently praised Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his tough stance on undocumented immigrants, which Duke called the “greatest immediate threat to the American people.”
So take a look at what he said:
“I praise the fact that he’s come out on the immigration issue,” Duke explained. “That he’s an entrepreneur and he has a good sense of what people want to hear what they want to buy.”
“And I think he realizes that his path to popularity toward power in the Republican Party is talking about the immigration issue,” the radio host continued. “And he has really said some incredibly great things recently. So whatever his motivation, I don’t give a damn. I really like the fact that he’s speaking out on this greatest immediate threat to the American people.”
“I’ve said from the beginning I think his campaign is good in the sense that it’s bringing these issues to a discussion which we have to have in America. And he’s continuing to move the envelope further and I think he understands the real sentiment of America.”
Duke concluded by calling Trump’s campaign a “great opportunity.”
“So although we can’t trust him to do what he says, the other Republican candidates won’t even say what he says,” he opined. “So he’s certainly the best of the lot. And he’s certainly somebody that we should get behind in terms, ya know, raising the image of this thing.”
Let’s update you on a few stories:
A man arrested for climbing a White House wall earlier this year was shot and killed at a suburban Philadelphia courthouse Tuesday after he sliced a sheriff’s deputy with a knife, the local district attorney said.
Curtis Smith, 34, was accused of entering the lobby of the Chester County Justice Center in West Chester about 11 a.m. and slashing a sheriff’s deputy on the arm or hand, Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan said. A second deputy in the lobby drew his weapon and shot Smith, who was treated at the scene but later died at Paoli Hospital in Paoli, Hogan said.
A new judge in Ferguson, Missouri, has halted court practices that were seen as a major factor in unrest over the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown a year ago.
Judge Donald McCullin cancelled arrest warrants issued before this year, mainly to African Americans.
It follows a US justice department report that found the police in the city unfairly targeted black people.
The photo of Borders, taken by AFP photographer Stan Honda as the attacks on the Twin Towers unfolded, has endured as a haunting reminder of the chaos and horror of Sept. 11.
STAN HONDA VIA AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Borders, who was 28 at the time of the attacks, was working on the 81st floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower when the first plane hit. She fled down the stairwell and emerged from the building as the South Tower fell, covering her in dust and debris.
“I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face,” she told the New York Post in 2011. “The world went silent.”
Borders told the Post a stranger pulled her to safety in a nearby building, where Honda took the now-famous photo. According to the Telegraph, Borders kept the clothes she was wearing — still covered in ash — in a plastic bag in her wardrobe, but as of 2011 had never looked at them.
In an interview with the Jersey Journal last fall, Borders speculated that her cancer was related to the attacks.
“I’m saying to myself, ‘Did this thing ignite cancer cells in me?'” she said. “I definitely believe it because I haven’t had any illnesses. I don’t have high blood pressure … high cholesterol, diabetes. … How do you go from being healthy to waking up the next day with cancer?”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 4,000 first responders, rescue workers and survivors who have been diagnosed with cancer linked to the attacks. According to the CDC, skin cancer, prostate cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are among the most common illnesses among those individuals.
And for the last few links…. dementia:
And on that depressing note, hope everyone has a happy day.
Well, today’s the kind’ve day that makes me want to hide under the covers and have my mother do all my laundry and cooking. Well, actually my Dad used to do all the cooking but you know what I mean. It’s been like that for at least a few days as my car’s battery gave out in a very inconvenient location on Thursday night and my bills are bigger than my latest paycheck. A lot of my ennui and accompanying stress has to do with the uberhype of the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina which for a lot of us is an ongoing process of things becoming more undone than they were before.
Then, there’s just the constant barrage of news–none of which is particularly good–which includes ISIS destroying an ancient wonder. You know what an armchair archaeology buff I am. It’s just so easy to deal with dead civilizations rather than live ones. Trump continues to belittle any one in his path, and every one in the Republican primary is unleashing misogyny and racism. I’m going to focus on the racism today because I think both BB and JJ have given the current misogyny binge complete justice.
My friend Peter has actually written exactly what I’m feeling on this dreadful week where they’re actually pulling out parades and doing “resilience tours” to hype the city and its survival. Like I said, we may have survived Katrina, but I still have my doubts about our surviving the hipsters, the gentrification, and our elected overseers who have forced us to privatize things that weren’t working before but now are worse and to capitalize on things that turn us into a Disaster Minstrel Show. Again, this is not my writing but Peter’s but I could’ve written it word for word except I obviously don’t have his wife!
I am dreading the influx of disaster tourists who will surely be showing up in town this week. Some of them will be sincerely motivated and others will be of the “I volunteered once with Habitat for Humanity after Katrina so I know what it was like” variety. No, you don’t. You don’t know what it’s like to be barred from your home for 6 weeks and have to sneak in like Dr. A and I did. You don’t know what it’s like to have a bad case of survivor’s guilt because you didn’t fare as badly as other people in town. You don’t know what it’s like to have to re-tell your “Katrina story” over and over again. You don’t know what it’s like to be having dinner and have do-gooders burst in to save your pets because you didn’t, or couldn’t, wash the marks off your front door. Actually, neither do I but it happened to some friends of mine. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase putting on the dog…
The aftermath of the storm was a very painful period in the lives of New Orleanians. We’ve lived it day-in and day-out for 10 years at varying levels of intensity. That’s why I’m not enthusiastic about rehashing those days regardless of whether it’s done by resilience tour types or the krewe of “we’ve gone to hell in a designer handbag.” I wish they’d all piss off and leave me alone. I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Yes. I feel that way. Piss off and leave me alone. Unfortunately, my neighborhood has turned into the mini-Quarter and I can’t even walk the dog around the block or have a beer without either bumping into seven bridesmaids giggling, six film crews taping, and five fucking Air BnB parasites.
This headline from WAPO actually made me scream: A ‘resilience lab’. They’ve obviously bought into the Mayor’s hype. This is the paragraph that’s described my reality. Every day I walk out of my house and feel like screaming “WTF are you doing here? Why don’t you go back to the hell realm you came from instead of bringing it here to me?” No east coast newspaper article on New Orleans is complete these days without telling people that the place to be is my freaking neighborhood, the Bywater. I have fewer and fewer neighbors all the time. My neighborhood has been completely overrun with people hoping to redefine and cash in on cool.
He smiled at first. It looked so charming, all those people driving slowly down Burgundy Street through the Faubourg Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods, pointing cameras.
Then it dawned on Keith Weldon Medley: These folks weren’t tourists or architecture buffs. They were shoppers. And on their shopping list was almost everything that could be had in these neighborhoods, a collection of Creole cottages, shotgun doubles, warehouses and small manufacturers at a humpback bend of the Mississippi River.
In the evolution of post-Katrina New Orleans, few phenomena have been more striking than the dramatic demographic shift of places such as Bywater from majority black to majority white. One census block group in Bywater dropped from 51 percent African American before Katrina to just 17 percent afterward; the largest went from 63 percent to 32, according to a Washington Post analysis of U.S. census data.
“You saw all these white people. Obviously they were displacing black people who were here before,” said Medley, a historian who lives in the house where he grew up in the Marigny.
My daily mantra is “I see fucking stupid White People.”
So, I really don’t intend for this to be my Katrina post. I’ve been there and done that. Let me post a few more things that are pissing me off today.
There’s an obvious asset bubble bubbling away here so the market’s correcting and the Fed is going to start bringing up interest rates. This blog has an interesting take on what’s going on which is particularly relevant to my field of research as a currency bloc and international economist.
Global stock markets are in a 2008ish kind of crash today and I really don’t much time to write this, but I just want to share my take on it.
To me this is fundamentally about the in-optimal currency union between the US and China. From 1995 until 2005 the Chinese renminbi was more or less completely pegged to the US dollar and then from 2005 until recently the People’s Bank of China implemented a gradual managed appreciation of RMB against the dollar.
This was going well as long as supply side factors – the opening of the Chinese economy and the catching up process – helped Chinese growth.
Hence, China went through one long continues positive supply shock that lasted from the mid-1990s and until 2006 when Chinese trend growth started to slow. With a pegged exchange rate a positive supply causes areal appreciation of the currency. However, as RMB has been (quasi)pegged to the dollar this appreciation had to happen through domestic monetary easing and higher inflation and higher nominal GDP growth. This process was accelerated when China joined WTO in 2001.
As a consequence of the dollar peg and the long, gradual positive supply shock Chinese nominal GDP growth accelerated dramatically from 2000 until 2008.
However, underlying something was happening – Chinese trend growth was slowing due to negative supply side headwinds primarily less catch-up potential and the beginning impact of negative labour force growth and the financial markets have long ago realized that Chinese potential growth is going to slow rather dramatically in the coming decades.
As a consequence the potential for real appreciation of the renminbi is much smaller. In fact there might be good arguments for real depreciation as Chinese growth is fast falling below trend growth, while trend itself is slowing.
The market has rebounded but the financial markets are obviously still shaky. China is the world’s largest economy now so anything that happens there is bound to ripple around the world.
The global whiplash underscored investors’ shaken confidence in China’s slowing economy and central bank. The world’s second-largest economy is now reeling over what China’s state media is calling “Black Monday,” during which its markets just recorded their biggest one-day nosedive in eight years.
But the mid-morning bounce off deep trading lows led some analysts to question whether financial markets had already finished their fall. Tech giant Apple, which begun the morning down 13 percent and dipping below $100, was trading 2 percent higher by the afternoon, at about $107.
The dismal opening marked a worrying continuation of last week’s free fall. The Dow’s blue-chip index plunged more than 500 points on Friday, capping its worst week since 2011 and entering what Wall Street calls a correction, having tumbled 10 percent from its May peak.
The sell-off bruised every industry, wiping out gains in rapid order after a year of mostly steady trading. Some of America’s biggest companies shed tens of billions of dollars in market value in only a few days, and the markets’ early gains have yet to restore those losses.
S&P 500 companies lost more than $1 trillion in market value last week, and the Dow and other indices are on track to record their dreariest month since February 2009.
On Friday, China reported its worst manufacturing results since the global financial crisis, following shortly after Beijing earlier this month surprised investors by announcing it would devalue the nation’s currency.
China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite index has fallen by nearly 40 percent since June, after soaring more than 140 percent last year. Markets in Europe also plummeted, and Asian shares on Monday hit a three-year low.
Economist gadfly and miserable human being Larry Summers is pearl clutching about the rate hikes. He seems to be on a search to be relevant again but on a very wrong path. This article alone ought to make you very glad that he’s not the Fed Chairman since he seems completely oblivious to the asset bubbles that I see in assets around the country including houses once again.
Like most major central banks the Fed has put its price stability objective into practice by adopting a 2 per cent inflation target. The biggest risk is that inflation will be lower than this — a risk that would be exacerbated by tightening policy. More than half the components of the consumer price index have declined in the past six months — the first time this has happened in more than a decade. CPI inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food prices and difficult-to-measure housing, is less than 1 per cent. Market-based measures of expectations suggest that, over the next 10 years, inflation will be well under 2 per cent. If the currencies of China and other emerging markets depreciate further, US inflation will be even more subdued.
Tightening policy will adversely affect employment levels because higher interest rates make holding on to cash more attractive than investing it. Higher interest rates will also increase the value of the dollar, making US producers less competitive and pressuring the economies of our trading partners.
Please check out housing and stock prices Lala and then try again.
Republicans continue to show they have no idea about the reality of black people in this country. Trump attacked Martin O’Malley for sensitivity to the Black Lives Matter Campaign.
Appearing on Fox News over the weekend, Donald Trump admitted to being completely ignorant about the Black Lives Matter movement. “I know nothing about it,” the billionaire real estate developer said.
Of course, his lack of knowledge didn’t prevent him from harshly criticizing the effort. Trump said that he’s “seeing lot of bad stuff about it right now.” He said Martin O’Malley, a contender for the Democratic nomination, was a “disgusting little weak pathetic baby” for apologizing to Black Lives Matter activists earlier this year.
Martin Luther King III, the son of the late civil rights leader, said he was “perplexed” by GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee’s comments last week suggesting that his father would be “appalled” by the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I think dad would be very proud of young people standing up to promote truth, justice and equality,” King said during an interview on SiriusXM radio. “I was perplexed by the comments, but people attempt to use dad for everything.”
King’s comments come in response to a CNN interview last week in which the former Arkansas governor spoke out against the Black Lives Matter movement, saying racism is “more of a sin problem than a skin problem.”
If you look at the picture of flooded New Orleans and the view over the flooded lower ninth ward towards city, you’ll see a cluster of white tallish buildings sitting right on the river in the middle of that photo. Just a hair to the right is where my house still stands and where I’m there right now with a pillow pulled over my head trying to block out the world of adults. I don’t want to be one of them at the moment.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
This story of sexism from Great Britain’s soccer elite is an example of how professional women are treated with an utter lack of respect.
We see it with Hillary. We see it with journalists who have the audacity to ask questions of presidential candidates.
Check this out:
To say that sexism exists in soccer is like saying that leaves grow on trees. The average female player’s salary in the United States is about $15,000 per year, while the average for men is $155,000. Considering that women’s sports generally have a smaller audience, that gap can make sense. But given the numbers from July 5, it’s harder to make that case. And unfortunately, the inequalities don’t stop at salaries.
Consider the unfolding dispute between José Mourinho, manager of the Chelsea club, one of the top teams in Britain’s Premier League, and Eva Carneiro, Chelsea’s first-team doctor and assistant medical director.
The dispute stems from an Aug. 8 match between Chelsea and Swansea. With two minutes to play, Swansea captain Ashley Williams crashed into Eden Hazard, Chelsea’s forward. The referee called a foul on Williams and immediately beckoned for the medical team – which included Carneiro and Jon Fearn, the first-team physiotherapist – to enter the pitch and treat Hazard. Unsurprisingly, Fearn dashed onto the field, Carneiro hot on his heels. What was surprising was the reaction of Mourinho, who leapt forward angrily, shouting obscenities and gesturing wildly at his medical staff.
It had been a difficult game. The score was locked 2-2, and there were only 10 players left on Chelsea’s side of the field, since the goalkeeper had been sent off. The moment Fearn and Carneiro stepped on the pitch, the rules dictated that Hazard would have to be taken off.
Mourinho later defended his outburst, stating that the medical team had acted incorrectly in entering the pitch and leaving the team with nine men. “Without a doubt, if you are involved in the game, you have to understand the game,” he said, calling his medical staff “impulsive and naïve.”
In fact, Carneiro has been a part of Chelsea’s first team for four years. Also, with 90 seconds left in the game, and Chelsea poised for a free kick that Hazard was unlikely to have a large role in, Mourinho’s anger was both misplaced and inappropriate. Nevertheless, Carneiro has since been banned from matches or training sessions, as well as entering the team’s hotel.
It turns out, however, that she does understand the game. The Premier League Doctors’ Group released a statement declaring that “a refusal to run onto the pitch would have breached the duty of care required of the medical team to their patient.” Carneiro was beckoned onto the field by the referee. Her response was appropriate, and her punishment does not correspond with the performance of her duties. So the question is, why was she punished?
Carneiro – one of three women on Chelsea’s 13-person medical and fitness staff – is a prime example of what happens when a woman gains a position of power usually reserved for men. Last year, on the sidelines during matches, she faced obscene chants from fans. It seems her gender controls her career. Type her name into YouTube, and the first clip is titled “Eva Carneiro Hot Chelsea Doctor.” It’s just a video of her doing her job.
Considering that Carneiro was only performing her duties in the match against Swansea, Mourinho’s overreaction – especially his claims that she is naïve and ill-informed when he himself didn’t know the rules – clearly demonstrates that some people in authority in the world of soccer are not prepared to treat women equally. It’s bad enough that so few women can attain positions in the sport, but this rash and unfounded demotion indicates that Mourinho does not consider her valuable, despite a positive injury record and years of service to the team.
Mourinho has never apologized for his actions, and even with the League doctors supporting Carneiro…no official action, fines or sanctions were taken against Mourinho. Even though there is an actual rule against the sort of conduct Mourinho exhibited toward Carneiro.
Rule 7 of the Premier League’s Code of Conduct for managers states: “A manager shall not make public any unfair criticism of any match official or any other manager or any player, official or employee of his or another club.”
But the Premier League says it is a:
The Premier League said it considers the situation to be a “club matter”.
My god, it is like some kind of domestic dispute. WTF?
So what did the asshole say to Carneiro?
Dr Carneiro was lambasted by Jose Mourinho for running on to the pitch to treat player Eden Hazard during stoppage time of the club’s 2-2 draw against Swansea City.
Never mind that she was doing what she gets paid for. Never mind that she wasseemingly summoned on to the pitch twice by the referee Michael Oliver and that physio Jon Fearn went on to the field alongside her.
Cue major Mourinho tantrum on the sidelines.
After the match on Saturday, the Chelsea manager explained:
“I wasn’t happy with my medical staff because even if you are a medical doctor or secretary on the bench, you have to understand the game.”
“My medical department left me with eight fit outfield players in a counter attack after a set piece and we were worried we didn’t have enough players left.”
Take key note about the dig….regarding whether you are a medical doctor or a secretary…you have to understand the game.
And Carneiro, 41 who was born in Gibraltar, posted a message on Facebook:
“I would like to thank the general public for their overwhelming support. Really very much appreciated.”
How depressing, that one of the women at the forefront of football in this country feels she has to thank the public for encouraging her to simply do her job.
The sexism is strong with Mourinho….
Chelsea fans are upset, criticising Mourinho for ‘blaming anyone but himself’. While others are accusing
him of sexism, following an earlier incident this month where he ranted at the wife of Real Madrid manager Rafael Benítez, saying she should ‘occupy herself’ by ‘taking care of her husband’s diet’.
Now this is where that crack about understanding the game comes into play:
There are also those asking that we leave Carneiro’s gender out of the equation – but I’m afraid that’s impossible.
By saying that she doesn’t “understand the game”, Mourinho has made this all about her gender. The insidious narrative he’s perpetrating is that, as a woman, Carneiro couldn’t possibly grasp the complexities of football. It’s the old, sexist joke about women not getting the offside rule, on a massive scale.
Such comments, coming from a highly respected football manager, are dangerous. They give fans the impression that it’s OK to make Carneiro’s sex an issue. That maybe they were right to treat her differently. That she really in an outsider.
He has sanctioned their sexism, as the below tweets (just a sample of the comments Carneiro receives on social media) show. And one can’t help but speculate that Carneiro might agree.
Seriously, I bet there are more disgusting tweets out there and you can be sure she gets horrible sexist shit yelled to her at the games as well. (Go to that link, middle of page, and see the sexist abuse Carneiro received from fans as she took to the field.)
“Women want to be leaders, we just put them off as we go along,” she told the audience.
“In every programme I’ve watched in my life, the female doctor is either hyper-sexualised or she’s not present. This needs to change. Women are discouraged at a young age.
“As a male you can aspire to having a successful professional life and a fulfilling personal life. Women are told that if they want to have both, at best it’s going to be difficult and at worse it’s going to be a disaster. Ninety percent of the mail I receive is from young women wanting to perform the same role. We need to tell them it’s possible and that their presence will improve results.”
Carneiro doesn’t need special treatment. She has, to my knowledge, never asked for it.
But nor does she need a boss who tells her how to do her job, when she’s already playing by the rules – those set by football’s overwhelmingly male governing bodies (that Mourinho admitted he knew Hazard wasn’t properly injured only highlights where the grey area really lies here).
For this talented doctor to be demoted, simply for performing her job as asked, shows the sexism that flows through the veins of the beautiful game.
And I, for one, am calling foul.
Oh, yeah…and what is more disgusting is the reports that Mourinho called the doctor a slut. Which, I have looked and have been unable to find the original transcript for btw:
Sky Sports have published a transcription of the exchange, which took place in Portuguese and includes two insults directed towards Carneiro by Mourinho. In addition to yelling “slut” in her direction, the Chelsea boss calls for the medic to stop offering Hazard treatment whilst waving his arms theatrically and shouting,“stop, for f*ck’s sake”.
Not only do these reports indicate a massive lack of respect on Mourinho’s part, but what must not be neglected is the fact that Carneiro had no option but to enter the field of play after having been waved on by the referee.
In the aftermath of this incident, Mourinho has been heavily criticised by the English footballing world and this saga could very well impact on his relationship with the club owner,Roman Abramovich.
Other very interesting articles about this story, read them in full:
This next article talks about the ethics involved in the demotion and mistreatment of Carneiro. My question is, but….would the situation have turned out different if Carneiro was a man? I don’t know.
(Yes, there is another link dump ahead…but please take a look at these stories, they are important.)
Periods make you good at bowling?
Seriously…take a look at that video.
This next link is a pay per view, but if you subscribe it looks good: Kadner: ‘Horrific’ toll of unsolved Robbins rape cases – Daily Southtown
Read this next link with the story about being nice to asshole men in mind.
Man gives attention to a woman. Woman expresses her lack of desire for said attention. Man immediately turns hostile.
Unfortunately, it’s a dynamic as old as time — or at the very least, as old as Internet chat rooms. And anyone looking at BuzzFeed staff writer Grace Spelman’s Twitter feed on Monday saw said dynamic play out as Spelman tweeted her unsolicited, increasingly hostilecorrespondence with former “MuggleCast” host Ben Schoen.
Schoen initially tweeted at Spelman on August 5 after finding her Twitter feed funny. She “favorited” at least one of his tweets, but didn’t respond. He then sent her a lengthy Facebook message (see below), calling her a “special soul,” to which she responded kindly, but informed him that she had a boyfriend. She then blocked him on both Twitter and Facebook.
Yeah, take a look at that post, and see why it makes sense…a victim is trying to be nice to the attacker so that the violence does not get even more out of control…there are so many abused women who fit that mode. That assholes don’t see this, and will use it against the woman…saying her behavior asked for it. Bullshit!
Anyway, this is a shitload of links I know, hope you take your time and read them.
What is going on in your part of the world today?
It’s getting to be the ugly season of American politics which makes writing about it and discussing it terrifically unpleasant. Part of the problem is that we rely on a two party system and one of the parties has basically gone off the rails. It’s difficult to imagine the the overall majority of candidates for president in the Republican party today even gaining the least amount of traction around 10-20 years ago or more. Of course, there have been George Wallaces that pop up every now and then, but it seems that we’ve got a bumper crop of them. Meanwhile, the nation’s major newspapers are off chasing imaginary scandals. It’s even harder to believe that the newspapers that printed the Pentagon Papers and chased down the Watergate story might actually finding anything that major and truthful today. They seem more caught up in conspiracy theories and failed opposition research. They don’t even seem to fact check prior to going to press given the recent spate of nothing but speculation that passes as coverage of Hillary Clinton at the NYT.
The ugly faces of both parties are evident in the misogyny aimed at Hillary Clinton and the continuing presence and political viability of showmeister Donald Trump. Trump’s supporters are as filled with ugly thoughts and rhetoric as the master of nasty himself. Alabama is one of those states where being “backwoods” and “backward” are symbols of pride. Along with Texas and Mississippi, it’s one of those states I try to drive through as quickly and low profiled as possible. Trump’s appearance there has brought out the angry, ignorant hillbilly hoards. This is Nixon’s Southern Strategy come full circle. The pictures of the crowd are frightening. Basically, it’s full of love for Jesus and hate for humanity in that mishmash of synapses that come from the brains of the completely deluded.
Trump fans came by the thousands, driving from the Florida panhandle, from Mississippi, from Tennessee and Texas. Traffic was backed up for more than a mile.
On the street, Olaf Childress, a neo-Confederate activist, gave out copies of “The First Freedom” newspaper, which had headlines about “Black-on-white crime,” “occupied media” and “censored details of the Holocaust.”
The most-enthusiastic Trump backers began arriving at the stadium at dawn, hoping to get a spot close to the stage. The first in line were Keith Quackenbush, 54, and Bill Hart, 46, co-workers at a retail giant in Pensacola, Fla.
“I’m telling you, everyone who is a worker at our store, they’re excited about Trump,” Quackenbush said. “I don’t care what race or gender, whatever age — they love Trump. This is a movement.”
The Atlantic published some “voices” from Trump supporters. If these folks are in your neck of the woods, move! They’re everything that we’ve ever been told about the “ugly American”. It seems difficult to wrap your brain around this brash trust fund baby New Yorker as a Southern idol, but whoops there it is! It’s also part and parcel of the Trump political strategy.
Here is the Trump political logic: “Alabama is extremely critical,” a close associate of Trump’s told me (actually, we agreed I’d call him “a close associate of Mr. Trump”). “You have Iowa’s caucus on February 1st, New Hampshire on the 9th, and South Carolina on the 20th.” The race, this associate explained, would not be wrapped up by then. According to this political calculus, the crucial moment arrives three days later, on March 1st, with the “SEC primary”—the belt of Southern states that encompass the Southeastern Athletic Conference—when Alabama, Texas, Georgia, Arkansas and several others hold their primaries.
Trump is currently leading the polls in many of these states. A new Texas poll has him in first place, beating actual Texans Ted Cruz and Rick Perry. He’s dominating the field in Alabama, as well, doubling the support of second-place finisher Jeb Bush, from neighboring Florida. (Trump is winning in Florida, too, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll, which, although it is an SEC state, doesn’t hold its primary until March 15th). If Trump sweeps the early states, or even just wins Iowa and South Carolina, these advisers believe he could effectively lock down the Republican nomination by sweeping the SEC primary on March 1st. “He feels he wins the nomination on 1 March w/ a sweep of the populist anti-establishment South,” another adviser emailed. “That’s when Trump’s ‘nationalism’ coupled with Sessions’ ‘populism’ comes to full fruition.”
The Alabama rally is meant to show that “he’s starting to motivate and cultivate the base there,” the close associate said, and to demonstrate that Trump is putting in place the strategy and structure to actually win the Republican nomination and not just—as some haters surmise—make a big splash in Iowa and then bail out to go cut the ribbon in some new hotel.
Furthermore, Trump believes he has a secret weapon that could help him carry the South. “The other thing people don’t know about Mr. Trump is that his brand and sales are strongest in the South,” the associate told me. “His TV ratings, his Trump Resorts guests. So this [stadium rally] is about bringing the message that he is here to stay, and is the legit frontrunner. This shows a calculated strategy, that he understands the process and understands it’s not going to end in South Carolina. We’re going to bring the message down further into the belt and expand his support.”
There is truth to the notion that you must get the South to get the Republican nomination. Afterall, the South and the American Outback are home to the base of today’s Republican Party. Trump’s outrageous blend of Gordon Gecko style greed and George Wallce style racial animosity is selling well. So well, that his idea of overturning the 14th amendment to the Constitution has Republican candidates jumping on the bandwagon that would literally mean they and family members would’ve never been citizens. There is nothing more fascinating that watching actual “anchor babies” argue against their circumstances of citizenship. Two of Jeb Bush’s children and Bobby Jindal fall under this category. Mark Rubio and Ted Cruz would probably have never even made it into the country. It’s pretty amazing when you can diss your own circumstances with a straight, angry face.
Following the release of Trump’s plan, several of his fellow 2016 candidates, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina followed Trump by coming out in favor of the policy Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Friday rolled backstatements that suggested he also favored the policy, saying he had been misunderstood and would not take a position “one way or the other”. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has previously supported birthright citizenship legislation.
“I think he’s done a lot of damage,” says Lynn Tramonte, deputy director of America’s Voice, a pro-immigration reform group. “He’s not only now leading in the polls, but he has the ‘Trump effect,’ pulling other candidates to his position on this issue.”
Democrats pounced, and the party’s congressional campaign arm launched a Twitter ad campaign in six swing states targeting Republicans, including Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado.
“Republicans, including Mike Coffman, want to end birthright citizenship,” one of the Spanish-language ads said. “Tell @RepMikeCoffman that is wrong.”
The ads also hit Reps. Marthy McSally of Arizona, Steve Knight of California, Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Crecent Hardy of Nevada and Will Hurd of Texas, all of whom represent districts with large Hispanic populations.
Bush, whose past stances on immigration have been more moderate than his party’s, tried to split the difference.
“This is a constitutionally protected right, and I don’t support revoking it,” Bush told reporters in South Carolina on Tuesday.
But while he said he would “just reject out of hand” revoking birthright citizenship, Bush used a term that some consider offensive: “anchor babies,” children born to non-citizen parents who travel to the U.S. specifically to give birth and obtain citizenship for their newborns.
“That’s the legitimate side of this,” he said on conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt’s show. “Better enforcement so that you don’t have these, you know, ‘anchor babies,’ as they’re described, coming into the country.”
Bush stood by his comments even as Democrats and immigration activists rained down criticism, saying he “didn’t use it as my own language.”
“Do you have a better term?” he fired back at reporters in New Hampshire. “You give me a better term and I’ll use it.”
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton piled on, suggesting several alternatives.
“How about ‘babies,’ ‘children’ or ‘American citizens,” she tweeted. “They’re called babies.”
Norm Ornstein–writing for The Atlantic–wonders if this election cycle will be different. Is it possible that Trump will actually defy history and turn out to be the one that takes on Clinton? Insurgent candidates are common in the United States and ever so often, they do pull through despite the party establishment. The base in the Republican party is all about insurgency. It’s all they do. They’re just angry in general.
Still, I am more skeptical of the usual historical skepticism than I have been in a long time. A part of my skepticism flows from my decades inside the belly of the congressional beast. I have seen the Republican Party go from being a center-right party, with a solid minority of true centrists, to a right-right party, with a dwindling share of center-rightists, to a right-radical party, with no centrists in the House and a handful in the Senate. There is a party center that two decades ago would have been considered the bedrock right, and a new right that is off the old charts. And I have seen a GOP Congress in which the establishment, itself very conservative, has lost the battle to co-opt the Tea Party radicals, and itself has been largely co-opted or, at minimum, cowed by them.
As the congressional party has transformed, so has the activist component of the party outside Washington. In state legislatures, state party apparatuses, and state party platforms, there are regular statements or positions that make the most extreme lawmakers in Washington seem mild.
Egged on by talk radio, cable news, right-wing blogs, and social media, the activist voters who make up the primary and caucus electorates have become angrier and angrier, not just at the Kenyan Socialist president but also at their own leaders. Promised that Obamacare would be repealed, the government would be radically reduced, immigration would be halted, and illegals punished, they see themselves as euchred and scorned by politicians of all stripes, especially on their own side of the aisle.
Of course, this phenomenon is not new in 2015. It was there in 1964, building over decades in which insurgent conservative forces led by Robert Taft were repeatedly thwarted by moderates like Tom Dewey and Wendell Wilkie, until they prevailed behind the banner of Barry Goldwater. It was present in 1976, when insurgent conservative Ronald Reagan almost knocked off Gerald Ford before prevailing in 1980 (and then governing more as a pragmatist than an ideologue). It built to 1994, when Newt Gingrich led a huge class of insurgents to victory in mid-term elections, but then they had to accept pragmatist-establishment leader Bob Dole as their presidential candidate in 1996. And while John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012 were establishment figures, each had to veer sharply to the radical right side to win nominations; McCain, facing a possible revolt at his nominating convention if he went with his first choice for running mate, Joe Lieberman, instead bowed to the new right and picked Sarah Palin.
It’s still difficult to think of this privileged white man as an insurgent. Still, American Populism is a weird phenomenon that seems more like a religious cult than anything rational.
The Beltway definition of populism is disdainful. When it’s affixed to unexpected movements like the Trump insurgency, it seems to mean little more than a prolonged public tantrum. Looking back at recent pundit-diagnosed outbreaks of the populist bacillus, one sees it dubiously attached to causes as different as the drawling “Two Americas” stump speeches of John Edwards, and the America First culture-war candidacies of Pat Buchanan. Going further back, historians and pundits have spied populism everywhere from the racist shade of George Wallace and other stiff-necked Southern segregationists, to the red-baiting career of Joseph McCarthy, to the redistributionist reign of Huey Long in New Deal Louisiana. Still further back, populism has been detected in such 19th-century figures as its great Gilded Age avatar William Jennings Bryan and Andrew Jackson.
It’s tempting to dismiss populism as an epithet deployed by the power elite—a label that members of our political class slap on something popular that they also deem threatening. But there’s more to it than that. The populist movement of the late 19th century, for instance, was grounded in economic grievances, with leaders like Bryan seeking to unite the nation’s producing classes—farmers, small-town businessmen and urban workers—who thought they could overthrow the industrial age’s regime of market cartels, debt peonage and degraded wage labor.
But populism, during the farmers’ revolt of the 1890s, was also a cultural insurgency—a kind of self-administered political wake for the beleaguered middle American Protestant soul, newly adrift in an urbanized, capitalist nation of immigrant laborers and international bankers, and yearning for the folk egalitarianism of an idealized Jeffersonian republic. This is how populism has come to double as a synonym for modern cultural conservatism. Historian Richard Hofstadter famously branded the Gilded Age agrarian uprising as a precursor to McCarthyism: an outpouring of economic resentments that gave aggrieved farmers license to scapegoat any and all available elites—Jewish bankers, British titans of industry, American robber barons—for their declining cultural influence.
Trump is an unlikely populist because he subscribes to so few positions associated with the cultural side of conservative populist revolt. Before his plunge into the 2016 race, he hadn’t taken a hard-line stance against gay marriage and reproductive rights; and as a twice-divorced, one-time Manhattan playboy, he’s anything but a poster boy for family values. While all the Republican candidates denounce Obamacare, including Trump, and all have plans to expand coverage, Trump is the most liberal sounding. On the pundit altar of Morning Joe he praised single-payer Canada as a system that works but said America needs a private health insurance. “You can’t have a guy that has no money, that’s sick, and he can’t go see a doctor, he can’t go see a hospital,” Trump recently told conservative radio talk show host John Fredericks. Trump added that even if his position costs him support in the GOP primaries, “you have to take care of poor people.”
And yet GOP primary voters have flocked to the early Trump boom. A recent CNN poll indicates that 53 percent of GOP voters feel their views aren’t represented well in Washington—virtually double the 27 percent of Democrats agreeing with that idea. (Never mind that the federal government that so rankles Republican voters is now overrun with Republican leaders—populists often lay into their ideology with the greatest enthusiasm.) Among those saying they want Trump to continue his primary run, CNN also found, are “those seen as the core of the GOP primary electorate: 58 percent of white evangelicals, 58 percent of conservatives and 57 percent of Tea Party supporters.”
Look at those stats. White Evangelicals? I guess we’ve learned about their massive ability to support guys with multiple wives and sins since so many of their men are outright pervs and lawbreakers. This may be the first political season that I truly wish I could avoid. This is exhibit one for that rationale.
“Donald Trump is telling the truth and people don’t always like that,” said Donald Kidd, a 73-year-old retired pipe welder from Mobile. “He is like George Wallace, he told the truth. It is the same thing.”
If that doesn’t get you running for the nearest distraction, check this out.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?