Monday Reads: Here we go again

12809656_10153257291792352_1600803200710685432_nGood Morning!

I had quite the weekend.  It was so hectic I managed to miss a wedding because I got the dates totally confused.   I’m trying to undo some of my karma this morning and that’s definitely going on the list. I’m so scatter brained these days I don’t even feel like me at times.  I had friends in from NYC and lots of Hillary work to do. It’s just been super crazy here.

Most everyone knows that the New Orleans Hillary peeps–including me–have been making phone calls to GOTV. We’ve had all kinds of stuff going on on the ground related to actually getting people to the polls. I’ve not gotten any calls from the other side but several folks showed up for a march around the French Quarter for Bernie.  As you probably know, our city is like 60% black.  There might have been 100 or so people in the march.  I only saw white faces there.  This continues to be sadly telling.

However, I can tell you about the time I’ve spent with the Hillary campaign this last few weeks. I’m so proud of the diversity of her supporter base.  I was on the phone yesterday and there were two of us aging boomers in the room. Both of us were women.  One white. One black. The diversity of the young supporters was amazing and there was a good size group. There were two Asian Americans, a Hispanic, three young black women, a young white woman and a black man. I know that many were from the GLBT community too. They were all millennials, so don’t believe it when they say there are no young people supporting Hillary.  She has a rainbow of them right down here in New Orleans.  I also spent the evening talking to Dr. Son in law who is a strong Hillary supporter along with Dr. Daughter.  As you know, Dr. Daughter had a Japanese Grandmother and Dr. Son-in-law’s family hails from the Bengal region of India. Both are avid Hillary supporters.

BB mentioned the stages of grief.  I’m pretty sure folks I know in the Sanders camp are somewhat stuck between denial and anger.  The South Carolina primary should’ve been a wake up call for the narrowing path to victory for their candidate.   The Team fighting here for Hillary on the ground definitely matches these kinds of numbers.Miguel

A bruising, nearly 48-point loss to Hillary Clinton in South Carolina on Saturday night dramatically narrowed the path forward for Bernie Sanders, raising serious doubts about his ability to win the delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination.

South Carolina will widen Clinton’s delegate lead, which stood at one after her Nevada win on Feb. 20. But more significantly, the contest here demonstrated that the Vermont senator has failed to make any headway at all with African-American voters in the South. Even with 200 paid Sanders staffers on the ground and nearly $2 million in television spending, Clinton swept the black vote by a 5-to-1 ratio, according to exit polls. Among black voters 65 and older, Clinton won by a stunning 96 percent to 3 percent.

“When we stand together, there is no barrier too big to break,” Clinton said at her victory rally in Columbia, where, for the first time on a 2016 election night, she took the stage without Bill or Chelsea Clinton by her side. “Tomorrow, we take this campaign national.”

Now, heading into Super Tuesday, when 11 states will cast ballots on March 1, Sanders will face possibly insurmountable contests in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and Virginia, all states with sizable black populations in which he has not invested as much time or money.

“Delegates determine the presidential nomination, and I don’t see a path for Sanders to get there,” said Jeff Berman, a consultant to the Clinton campaign who ran Barack Obama’s 2008 delegate strategy.

Running through a best-case scenario for Sanders, Clinton operatives said they expect Sanders could win Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont — states tailor-made for the democratic socialist because they hold caucuses, are predominantly white, located in New England or have a history of electing progressives.

But even if Sanders manages to pull out significant wins in all five, the delegate math will make it difficult for Sanders to catch up: They represent only one-third of the delegates up for grabs on Tuesday. And the Clinton campaign has invested heavily in states like Colorado and Minnesota in order to limit Sanders’ margins.

Sanders’ operatives said they are looking beyond Super Tuesday, to the friendlier terrain of Kansas, Nebraska and Maine to deliver them wins. But by then, Clinton operatives predicted, it could be too little, too late to close the delegate gap.

 

krewe hillary swagBB has been insistent that Mass. will go for Hillary.  It seems that recent polls back her up.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton holds an eight-point lead over Bernie Sanders in a new poll of Massachusetts Democratic primary voters, suggesting that the Vermont senator needs to attract significant support during the final push to eke out a much-needed win in Tuesday’s Massachusetts presidential primary.

Clinton draws 50 percent of the vote, while Sanders picks up 42 percent and eight percent remain undecided, according to the Suffolk University poll released Sunday. The poll was conducted Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

I expect record turnout to continue with the nation’s Black voters because they know what’s at stake.  The dismantling of the Voting Rights Act is a not something trivial.  This will not go away.  Here in Louisiana and in New Orleans, turning out the Black vote is important.   The community is coming together for Hillary as she stands as the symbol and the promise of continuing President Obama’s legacy.  This is something not lost on any of us that were active in 2007 and 2008 from either the Clinton or Obama Camps.

As voters in South Carolina’s Democratic primary cast ballots that would ultimately lead to a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton deployed surrogates in an attempt to expand that winning strategy to Louisiana.

Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stumped for Clinton in Louisiana, hoping to increase turnout among black voters.

That bloc proved key to Clinton’s win in South Carolina. There she picked up 86 percent of the African-American vote, according to ABC News exit polling data.

Nutter was in Baton Rouge Friday (Feb. 26) to host a round table discussion with business leaders before campaigning with Landrieu at Dillard University.

Foxx, who joined the Obama administration in 2013, spent Sunday touring African-American churches in New Orleans.

There’s still one HUGE deal.  The Donald and his goosestepping followers really trouble me. There are two things that have popped up that are just beyond the pale.  Let’s start with this one: 12795310_10207586747399152_76255253964693655_n

Don Trump Jr. said he would happily pay for some of his father’s black critics to leave the United States.

The Republican presidential candidate’s son appeared Monday morning with his brother, Eric Trump, on “Fox and Friends” to discuss the “Super Tuesday” primary elections and the concerted attacks on their father by his GOP rivals.

And then there’s this one. His earpiece made him all confused about not knowing about David Duke and his association with the KKK.  This guy blames every one and every thing for his own damned ignorance, I swear!

Donald Trump on Monday blamed a poor earpiece for sparking a misunderstanding over white nationalist David Duke’s support of the GOP presidential front-runner.

“I’m sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece they gave me,” he told hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “Today” show.

“I sit down and I have a lousy earpiece provided by them,” Trump continued. “You could hardly hear what [CNN anchor Jake Tapper] was saying.

“What I heard was ‘various groups.’ I have no problem disavowing groups, but I’d at least like to know who they are. It’d be very unfair disavowing a group if they shouldn’t be disavowed.”

Trump waved off questions about Duke during a Sunday morning appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He repeatedly told Tapper he is unaware of the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard’s background and stances.

The outspoken billionaire on Monday lashed out at CNN for ignoring his multiple rejections of Duke’s support over the weekend.

“I’ve disavowed David Duke all weekend long on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s obviously never enough,” Trump said. “I disavowed David Duke the day before in a major news conference.

12798958_10101603023909336_5483709449666623779_nEven the ever Trump-fellating Joe Scarborough thought this gaffe was a bit off. 

They weren’t hard questions to answer.

“Do you condemn David Duke? And the Ku Klux Klan?”

A simple “yes” would have worked. But on Sunday, Donald Trump swatted away the easy answers and instead feigned ignorance about the KKK and its most infamous Grand Wizard. The Republican frontrunner’s failure to provide what should have been a simple answer has raised even more disturbing questions about the man who is on course to lock down the GOP’s nomination for president.

The first question is why would Trump pretend to be so ignorant of American history that he refused to pass judgment on the Ku Klux Klan before receiving additional information? What kind of facts could possibly mitigate a century of sins committed by a violent hate group whose racist crimes terrorized Americans and placed a shameful blot on this nation’s history?

Why would the same man who claims to have “the world’s greatest memory”say “I don’t know anything about David Duke” just two days after he condemned the former Klansman in a nationally televised press conference? And with that amazing memory, how could Donald Trump have forgotten that he himself refused to run for president as a Reform Party nominee in 2000 because “Klansman” David Duke was a member of that same party?

These are questions that have no good answers for a Republican Party on the verge of nominating a man who sounds more like a Dixiecrat from the 1950s than the kind of nominee the GOP needs four years after losing Hispanics by 44 percent, Asian-Americans by 47 percent, and black Americans by 87 percent.

anthony foxx and hillaryAs I said, ask any black voter in the South and you’ll hear exactly what’s at stake. Women, minorities, and the GLBT community do not want to go back to the kind of American that Trump’s voters represent because we all know what that means. Will the Republican Party really implode?  How far can Trump go in the General and what will he say and do once he faces former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?  This is Philip Rucker and Robert Costa writing at WAPO.

The implosion over Donald Trump’s candidacy that Republicans had hoped to avoid arrived so virulently this weekend that many party leaders vowed never to back the billionaire and openly questioned whether the GOP could come together this election year.

At a moment when Republicans had hoped to begin taking on Hillary Clinton — who is seemingly on her way to wrapping up the Democratic nomination — the GOP has instead become consumed by a crisis over its identity and core values that is almost certain to last through the July party convention, if not the rest of the year.

A campaign full of racial overtones and petty, R-rated put-downs grew even uglier Sunday after Trump declined repeatedly in a CNN interview to repudiate the endorsement of him by David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Trump had disavowed Duke at a news conference on Friday, but he stammered when asked about Duke on Sunday.

Marco Rubio, who has been savaging Trump as a “con man” for three days, responded by saying that Trump’s defiance made him “unelectable.” The senator from Florida said at a rally in Northern Virginia, “We cannot be the party that nominates someone who refuses to condemn white supremacists.”

The fracas comes as the presidential race enters a potentially determinative month of balloting, beginning with primaries and caucuses in 11 states on Tuesday. As the campaign-trail rhetoric grew noxious over the weekend, a sense of fatalism fell over the Republican firmament, from elected officials and figureheads to major donors and strategists.

“This is an existential choice,” said former senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota, who is backing Rubio. Asked how the party could unite, Coleman said: “It gets harder every day when you hear things like not disavowing the KKK and David Duke. It’s not getting easier; it’s getting more difficult. . . . I’m hopeful the party won’t destroy itself.”

The choice for voters is not simply one of preference but rather a fundamental one about the direction they want to take the country, with the insurgent Trump promising utter transformation.

“For many Republicans, Trump is more than just a political choice,” said Kevin Madden, a veteran operative who advised 2012 nominee Mitt Romney. “It’s a litmus test for character.”

Madden, like some of his peers, said he could never vote for Trump. If he is the nominee, Madden said, “I’m prepared to write somebody in so that I have a clear conscience.”

More splintering came late Sunday when freshman Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who has been a vocal Trump critic, declared on Twitter that if the reality TV star is nominated, he will “look for some 3rd candidate — a conservative option, a Constitutionalist.”

12799370_10207103252433397_7610076389051235349_nWith all Trumps’ issues, I agree with Amanda Marcotte on this one.  He’s not less crazy than the Cruz and Rubio boys.  I recommend reading her latest just for the linky goodness.  She’s documented some pretty unpalatable stuff.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I like Trump — I hate him with the passion of a thousand burning suns — or that I want him to be president. But yes, I think he should win the Republican nomination. He’s run the best campaign, one that speaks to what Republican voters want to hear, and, by that measure, he deserves to win the nomination, so that Hillary Clinton can wipe the floor with him in November.

This is not a popular opinion, and not just with the establishment Republicans who can’t help acting like the main problem with Trump is he puts his dirty shoes on the couch. The common wisdom in most of the media — conservative, mainstream and liberal — is that a Trump nomination would be a ruinous thing, a blow to both the Republican Party and the political system as we know it. To which I can’t help but say, “So what?”
 I don’t agree with Trump supporters on, well, almost anything, but I can’t help sharing in the pleasure they take with the way that Trump’s very existence exposes the smarmy two-faced hypocrisy of the modern Republican Party. Modern conservatism is built on a base of protecting men’s dominance over women, white people’s dominance over people of color and rich people’s dominance over everyone else, but it’s generally considered impolite to say so bluntly. Instead, it’s standard for Republicans to pretend that policies obviously designed to screw people over are meant to help.  That puts journalists in this terrible situation of having to pretend that Republicans mean well, since it’s generally considered impolitic to call someone a liar.
Trump doesn’t play that game, at least not as much, and it is nakedly obvious that this, and not his actual beliefs and policies, is what angers many of his detractors. Take, for instance, Jonah Goldberg of the National Review on Fox News recently, complaining that Trump is “completely overturning what the Republican reset was supposed to be about after 2012, which was this idea that it was going to be a more consistently conservative but more inclusive and nicer toned party.”
“And instead it’s going to be a less conservative but meaner toned and less inclusive party,” he added.

To which I must again say, “So what?” People who value kindness and inclusivity already have a party. They’re called the Democrats.

12803006_1718058728406271_183103720682307753_nI can certainly attest to that down here in the Mississippi River melting pot of America called New Orleans.  The line’s in Hillary speech that got the most applause for the night were just about that.  Our country is a great country  but unless is kind and inclusive of all its peoples, we’re not being the sort’ve of country that’s the shining beacon on a hill.

So, you’re seeing pictures of the folks working for Hillary here in New Orleans. I added one of the Honorable Anthony Foxx for good measure.  I see lots of YOUNG people with energy, smiling faces, and enthusiasm!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?  Be sure to holler out about the upcoming primaries in your states!  I know we’ve got lots of Sky Dancers out there ready to vote for Hillary this week and this month!!!


Live Blog South Carolina Republican Debate(s): Going South and then some

images (6)Good Evening!

The main stage debate of the Republican party Presidential wannabes will showcase seven candidates.  Four candidates were sent to the kiddie table but Rand Paul has decided to stay home since this time he couldn’t whine himself out of his basement level poll numbers . The main debates starts at 9 pm eastern.  It’s on the Fox Business News Network so be prepared to hunt for it or to stream it.   (EWWWWWWWWWW)

Seven Republican candidates are set to clash in the sixth GOP presidential debate Thursday night, hosted by FOX Business in Charleston, SC. The debate, slated to begin at 9pm ET, will feature Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich.

Another four candidates who did not meet the network’s public polling requirements qualified for an undercard debate at 6pm ET: Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. But Paul has announced that he will boycott the event, accusing the network and the RNC of picking winners and losers in the GOP field.

Fiorina already said something completely objectionable in the currently running kiddie debate.

Unlike another woman in this race, I WAS actually spending time with my husband.”

Newsweek is live blogging both the debates here and she’s a mean one, Ms. Grinch.

“Unlike another woman in this race, I actually like spending time with my husband.” Thus did former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina open the sixth Republican primary debate in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday. It was a barb aimed squarely at Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, whom pundits and analysts expect to be a popular topic of discussion throughout the evening. Fiorina also criticized Clinton’s response to the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead—an event recently immortalized in a factually dubious film directed by Michael Bay, of Transformers fame.

“We should stop letting refugees into this country,” Fiorina continued. A similar proposal to refuse refugees, floated by Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, earned him a bump in the polls, but has garnered widespread criticism from the political class.

As the night went on, Fiorina did not let up on Clinton. “Mrs. Clinton, you cannot wipe a server with a towel,” she said, referring to the Democratic candidate’s ongoing private email server scandal.

South Carolina is looking to play an important role in the elections so how the candidates position themselves will be significant.  

As this state prepared to host GOP primary debates on Thursday and next month, many Republicans are rooting for South Carolina to reclaim its kingmaker role in 2016.

Polls currently show celebrity businessman Donald Trump with a commanding lead, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. But voters here are widely considered up for grabs, likely to be influenced by earlier contests in Iowa and New Hampshire and the unpredictable 11 days of the campaign after those votes and before the Feb. 20 GOP primary.

Candidates who are struggling in Iowa—such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose father and brother won victories in South Carolina that helped them clinch the nomination—are jockeying for better-than-expected showings in New Hampshire, hopefully followed by a strong finish in South Carolina.

“It’s a chance to reset the race,” said South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who quit running for president last month and has questioned Mr. Trump’s ability to build a winning national coalition in the general election. “My goal for South Carolina Republicans is get back to our roots. Let’s pick a conservative who can actually win the race because winning matters.”

South Carolina Republicans say they have had better luck picking candidates who end up winning the GOP nomination because the electorate is broader and more representative of the country than in the smaller states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

There are evangelical Christians in the northwestern part of the state near Bob Jones University in Greenville; affluent, more moderate professionals and retirees around the capital in Columbia and along the Atlantic coast in Charleston, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, and foreign policy hawks concentrated around the military bases in the central and southern parts of the state.

“South Carolina is a test for every facet of a campaign,” Mr. Moore said. “It’s not just about organization. It’s not just about message. It’s about winning a state with a broad and diverse electorate, so really it’s a test if you can win beyond South Carolina.”

In particular, South Carolina looks like a gateway to a potentially pivotal cluster of nearby southern states that will vote on March 1.

So, pull up a seat and join us for a lively discussion!!


Tuesday Reads

T75460-2

Good Morning!!

You’ve probably seen the latest police violence story out of South Carolina. From Mother Jones: Disturbing Video Shows School Cop Body Slam and Drag a Black Female Student.

Authorities in Richland County, South Carolina, are investigating a video that surfaced Monday showing a uniformed officer aggressively confronting a high school student. Local station WIS-TV reports that county sheriff’s deputies are investigating the incident, which took place on Monday at Spring Valley High School, according to school officials. The video, which appears to have been recorded on a cellphone by a classmate, shows a white male officer standing over a black female student sitting at her desk; moments later he grabs the student and flips her on her back. After dragging her across the floor, the officer says, “Hands behind your back—give me your hands.” The video has no additional context as to what led to or followed the altercation.

“Parents are heartbroken as this is just another example of the intolerance that continues to be of issue in Richland County School District Two, particularly with families and children of color,” a local black parents group wrote in a statement responding to the video.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told WIS-TV that the school resource officer (SRO) was responding to a student who was refusing to leave class. “The student was told she was under arrest for disturbing school and given instructions, which she again refused,” Lott said. “The video then shows the student resisting and being arrested by the SRO.”

Here’s the video.

 

Why on earth was that level of violence necessary? It’s not even clear what this young girl did to cause the teach to order her to leave class. From WISTV10: Sheriff contacts FBI, DOJ to investigate violent incident involving deputy at Spring Valley.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says he’s asked the FBI to investigate an incident involving a school resource officer at Spring Valley High School.

Monday night Lott called the Special Agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigations for South Carolina, Dave Thomas to request an independent investigation of the incident. Tuesday morning the Sheriff followed up with a formal written request to U.S. Attorney William Nettles and Thomas for the US Justice Department asking for a formal investigation.

Richland School District 2 school officials have banned the officer from the district in response to a video supposedly taken at Spring Valley High School showing the officer slamming and dragging a student from her desk.

School officials confirmed the incident happened on Monday between a female student and school resource officer Ben Fields.

You can watch other angles of the violent attack at the link.

Deputy Ben Fields

Deputy Ben Fields

Sheriff Lott says he wants to know what happened beyond the video. He said his department will cooperate with the federal investigation.

“The public wants answers. I want answers too and we’re going to get them very quickly, and we’re going to make sure the public knows what we’re going to do and why we’re going to do it. There’s nothing that we’re going to hide at the Sheriff’s Department,” Lott said. “His actions reflect on all of us and I’m about as upset as anybody can be right now.”

Fields will not be back at any school pending the results of an investigation, Lt. Wilson said. Fields is currently on unpaid leave.

According to Heavy.com, the girl was using her cell phone in class and refused to get off it. Then a teacher and administrator told her to leave class. I have to believe there was more going on between this girl and the teacher/administration. We’ll probably learn more in the days to come. Also from Heavy, a student named Aaron Johnson who was in class when the incident happened said the girl was new to the school and was “sitting quietly.”

Johnson said, “When I asked (their teacher) Mr. Long if he felt bad for what happened to her … his reply was ‘she should have cooperated.’”

He added, “I think we were all in shock and afraid they would say something to us, he put another girl in handcuffs for standing up, like standing up for the girl.”

Apparently a boy in the class was also arrested and was still being held yesterday. Read more about Ben Fields past history and more videos at the Heavy link.

Hobby Lobby CEO David Green holding a bible.

Hobby Lobby CEO David Green holding a bible.

The family that owns Hobby Lobby created some bad Karma for itself with its lawsuit over having to provide access to birth control in its health insurance plans, and no it’s coming back to bite them. Exclusive from The Daily Beast: Feds Investigate Hobby Lobby Boss for Illicit Artifacts.

In 2011, a shipment of somewhere between 200 to 300 small clay tablets on their way to Oklahoma City from Israel was seized by U.S. Customs agents in Memphis. The tablets were inscribed in cuneiform—the script of ancient Assyria and Babylonia, present-day Iraq—and were thousands of years old. Their destination was the compound of the Hobby Lobby corporation, which became famous last year for winning a landmark Supreme Court case on religious freedom and government mandates. A senior law enforcement source with extensive knowledge of antiquities smuggling confirmed that these ancient artifacts had been purchased and were being imported by the deeply-religious owners of the crafting giant, the Green family of Oklahoma City. For the last four years, law enforcement sources tell The Daily Beast, the Greens have been under federal investigation for the illicit importation of cultural heritage from Iraq.

These tablets, like the other 40,000 or so ancient artifacts owned by the Green family, were destined for the Museum of the Bible, the giant new museum funded by the Greens, slated to open in Washington, D.C., in 2017. Both the seizure of the cuneiform tablets and the subsequent federal investigation were confirmed to us by Cary Summers, the president of the Museum of the Bible.

If the investigation ends with a decision to prosecute, on either criminal or civil charges, the Greens may be forced to forfeit the tablets to the government. There may also be a fine involved. The Green family, who successfully forced the federal government to legally recognize their personal moral standards, now find themselves on the other side of the docket, under suspicion of having attempted to contravene U.S. laws.

It’s not yet clear if a crime has been committed, but the fact that the investigation has gone on so long suggests that some of the antiquities may have been illegally purchased and imported. Read the rest at the link.

Ben_Carson_SaysA new CBS/NYT poll has Ben Carson leading Donald Trump nationally. CBS reports:

Ben Carson has surpassed Donald Trump and now narrowly leads the Republican field in the race for the nomination in the latest national CBS News/New York Times Poll.

Twenty-six percent of Republican primary voters back Carson, giving him a four-point edge over Trump (22 percent). Support for Carson has quadrupled since August.

The rest of the Republican presidential candidates lag far behind in single digits. Marco Rubio is now in third place (eight percent), followed by Jeb Bush (seven percent) and Carly Fiorina (seven percent). All other candidates are at four percent or lower.

Carson has made gains across many key Republican groups. In a reversal from earlier this month, he is now ahead of Trump among women and is running neck and neck with him among men. Carson’s support among evangelicals has risen and he now leads Trump by more than 20 points with this group.

Carson performs well among conservative Republicans and those who identify as Tea partiers. Trump does well with moderates and leads Carson among those without a college degree – although Trump had a larger advantage with non-college graduates earlier this month.

Ben Carson2

Perhaps we’re going to go through a cycle that resembles what happened in the Republican race in 2012–except that the cycles are longer. Could it be that Donald Trump is on his way out? Of course Trump is claiming the polls are mistaken. From Mediaite:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump explained on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that the reason rival Ben Carson had surpassed him in recent polls was because they weren’t “scientific.” ….

“I think you have to understand polls…” Trump said. “I believe in polls. I generally believe in polls. The thing with these polls, they are all so different. They are coming from all over the lot where one guy is up here, somebody else is up there, you see swings of ten and twelve points immediately, even the same day.”

Trump actually may have a good point. Anyway, the problem with Ben Carson taking over the lead is that he is even scarier than Trump. Paul Waldman at The Week: How Ben Carson’s snoozy demeanor masks his bonkers views.

Ben Carson is calm — calm like a cool spring breeze, or a long nap on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The Republican presidential hopeful speaks softly and slowly. He doesn’t wave his arms about. He shows barely any emotion at all. But Ben Carson is also the possessor of ideas that are positively bonkers, not just about policy questions, but about the world and how it works.

This odd combination of a gentle manner and extremist ideas seems to be just what a healthy chunk of the Republican electorate is looking for. Carson is running a close second to Donald Trump nationally, and leading in Iowa. As The New York Times recently reported, Iowa voters in particular are enraptured with Carson’s manner. “That smile and his soft voice makes people very comforted,” said one farmer. “I believe someone as mild-mannered and gentlemanly as Ben Carson is just about the only kind of person that could” get things done in Washington, said another Iowan.

You’d think they were talking about someone with moderate views who’d be able to get along and work with anyone, not someone who wants to outlaw abortion even in cases of rape and incest, thinks we should ditch Medicare, and holds to all manner of weird conspiracy theories. And that’s not to mention all the stuff the retired neurosurgeon says about slavery and Nazis, his belief that Muslims should be barred from the presidency unless they offer a public disavowal of their religion, or his latest proposal to turn the Department of Education into something that sounds like it comes out of China’s Cultural Revolution, in which he would have students report professors who displayed political bias to the government so universities’ funding could be cut.

Read the rest at The Week.

Carson

More interesting Ben Carson links:

Inside Higher Ed: Ben Carson explains how he would have education department identify and end “extreme views” on campus.

News Mic: Ben Carson Just Said Women Seeking Abortions are Tantamount to Slave Owners.

Mother Jones: Does Ben Carson Believe Most Evangelical Voters Are Going to Hell?

Dakinikat told me about this amazing and fascinating story about a historical find related to Thomas Jefferson. From NPR: Historic Chemistry Lab With Links To Thomas Jefferson Discovered Behind Wall.

A hidden chemistry lab was unearthed by a worker doing renovations to the iconic Rotunda at the University of Virginia, and school officials say the room is directly linked to the third U.S. president, Thomas Jefferson, who helped design the building.

The “chemical hearth,” which dates back to the 1820s, is thought to be one of the few remaining in the world. It featured two sources of heat for conducting experiments and a system for pulling out fumes.

According to the University of Virginia press release, the room, described as “a semi-circular niche in the north end of the Lower East Oval Room,” was preserved because the walls of the hearth were sealed shut in the mid-1800s:

This photo from the University of Virginia shows a chemical hearth discovered in the Rotunda at the University of Virginia during renovations at the school in Charlottesville, Va. Dan Addison /University of Virginia Communications

This photo from the University of Virginia shows a chemical hearth discovered in the Rotunda at the University of Virginia during renovations at the school in Charlottesville, Va.
Dan Addison /University of Virginia Communications

“The University of Virginia’s Rotunda still has its secrets, as conservators are discovering amid the building’s ongoing two-year renovation.

“One of them is a chemical hearth, part of an early science classroom. It had been sealed in one of the lower-floor walls of the Rotunda since the 1850s, and thus was protected from the 1895 fire that destroyed much of the building’s interior.
“Two small fireboxes of the hearth were uncovered in a 1970s renovation, but the hearth itself remained hidden until the current round of renovations. When preparing for the current renovations, workers examined some of the cavities in the walls and found the rest of the chemistry hearth.”

The discovery was made by Matt Scheidt, who is a project manager for the company overseeing the renovations to the rotunda, according to the Charlottesville Newsplex. Scheidt told the publication he wanted to know how thick the walls were.

 

What else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread and enjoy the rest of your Tuesday.

 


Thursday Reads: The Confederate Flag, The GOP Clown Car, and Other News

 

Young Lady Reading, by Mary Cassatt

Young Lady Reading, by Mary Cassatt

Good Morning!!

The Confederate Flag Debate in South Carolina

The South Carolina House has voted to remove the Confederate flag from the state capital grounds, according to The Charlotte Observer. The bill will now go to Governor Nikki Haley. Once she has signed it, I hope the flag will be taken down immediately.

The Confederate flag will leave the South Carolina State House grounds after five decades this week after the House overwhelmingly approved a bill to remove the Civil War icon early Thursday morning.

The House voted 94-20 to banish the flag from the Capitol after more than 12 hours of debate over the historic measure.

The bill now heads to Gov. Nikki Haley for her signature. Haley started the call for removing the flag in the days after nine African-Americans were shot and killed in a historic Charleston church last month.

Nurse reading to a little girl, Mary Cassatt

Nurse reading to a little girl, Mary Cassatt

“It is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of, a day that truly brings us all together as we continue to heal, as one people and one state,” Haley said in a Facebook post.

If Haley signs the bill Thursday, the flag could be taken down Friday.

A two-thirds majority vote in the House was needed for final passage, a requirement of the the 2000 law that took the flag off the State House dome and put it next to the Confederate Soldier Monument on the north side of the Capitol.

The House gave final approval to the final two readings of the bill within minutes of each other at 1 a.m. Thursday. The Senate approved removing the flag on Tuesday.

Republicans fought tooth and nail, but

The House did not change the Senate bill after spending much of Wednesday considering amendments from Republicans who insisted on finding another way to honor the Confederate dead if the controversial banner was removed from the State House grounds.

More than 25 amendments were voted down or rejected before they came for a vote.

Auguste reading to her daughter, Mary Cassatt

Auguste reading to her daughter, Mary Cassatt

In a sudden shift, Jim Webb, who is supposedly running for president as a Democrat, “says Confederate flag was ‘long due’ to come down in South Carolina.” From the Washington Post:

Democratic presidential contender Jim Webb, a former senator from Virginia, sought Thursday to clarify his views on the Confederate battle flag, saying it has “long been due to come down” from the capitol grounds in South Carolina.

Webb’s position was more opaque in a Facebook posting last month in which he called for respecting “the complicated history of the Civil War” at a time when emotions were running high following the shootings at an historic African American church in Charleston, S.C.

During an appearance Thursday on “CBS This Morning” — billed as Webb’s first interview since declaring as a long-shot presidential candidate last week — he spoke approvingly of the South Carolina legislature’s overnight vote to take the flag down.

“It assumed a lot of unfortunate racist and divisionist overtones during the civil rights era,” Webb said.

I don’t see how the flag could have been more racist or divisive in the 1960s that it was 100 years earlier when it represented the fight to preserve slavery and secession.

Speaking again of the “very complex history of the Civil War itself,” Webb cited a statistic that only 5 percent of whites in the South owned slaves and that four slave states remained in the union during the Civil War.

“If you were a young person being called to duty during that period, this was a very complicated decision to make, and we should remember that,” Webb said.

Whatever. These days, only 1% of the population wants to turn everyone else into serfs, and they have quite a bit of power to control the public dialogue.

The GOP Clown Car

Francoise in a round backed chair, reading, Mary Cassatt

Francoise in a round backed chair, reading, Mary Cassatt

The powers that be in the Republican Party are struggling to get fake presidential candidate Donald Trump under control, and they are doing a very poor job of it.

NBC News reports: GOP Chief Reince Priebus Calls Donald Trump to Tell Him to ‘Tone It Down.’

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called presidential candidate Donald Trump and asked him to pull back his rhetoric on immigration, a source familiar with the conversation told NBC News on Wednesday.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said Priebus made the request to “tone it down” during an almost hour-long conversation covering a wide range of issues when he returned an earlier call from Trump.

Trump disputed that account on Twitter, saying that Priebus said during the call that he was “doing well.”

Hahahahahahahahaha!!! They’re going to need someone a lot more powerful than Priebus to get Trump to STFU.

According to The Washington Post: GOP leaders fear damage to party’s image as Donald Trump doubles down.

The head of the Republican National Committee, responding to demands from increasingly worried party leaders, spent nearly an hour Wednesday on the phone with Donald Trump, urging the presidential candidate to tone down his inflammatory comments about immigration that have infuriated a key election constituency.

The call from Chairman Reince Priebus, described by donors and consultants briefed on the conversation and confirmed by the RNC, underscores the extent to which Trump has gone from an embarrassment to a cause for serious alarm among top Republicans in Washington and nationwide.

But there is little they can do about the mogul and reality-television star, who draws sustenance from controversy and attention. And some fear that, with assistance from Democrats, Trump could become the face of the GOP.

Rather than backing down from his comments about illegal immigrants — whom he characterized as rapists and killers, among other things — Trump has amplified his remarks at every opportunity, including in a round of interviews Wednesday.

He insisted to NBC News that he has “nothing to apologize for” in his repeated remarks about Mexicans. But he also predicted that, if he secures the GOP nomination, “I’ll win the Latino vote.”

OMG! ROFLMAF! The Republican Party’s “image” is already shot to hell. I’m not sure even keeping Trump in the Clown Car can make it much worse.

Mrs. Duffee Reading on Striped Sofa, Mary Cassatt

Mrs. Duffee Reading on Striped Sofa, Mary Cassatt

Dana Millbank: Donald Trump is the monster the GOP created.

It has been amusing to watch the brands — the PGA, NBC, Macy’s, NASCAR, Univision, Serta — flee Donald Trump after his xenophobic remarks. Who even knew The Donald had a line of mattresses featuring Cool Action Dual Effects Gel Memory Foam?

But there is one entity that can’t dump Trump, no matter how hard it tries: the GOP. The Republican Party can’t dump Trump because Trump is the Republican Party.

One big Republican donor this week floated to the Associated Press the idea of having candidates boycott debates if the tycoon is onstage. Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham and other candidates have lined up to say, as Rick Perry put it, that “Donald Trump does not represent the Republican Party.”

But actually, he does represent the party’s views. He’s just more up front about them than the rest of the mealy mouthed GOP candidates.

But Trump has merely held up a mirror to the GOP. The man, long experience has shown, believes in nothing other than himself. He has, conveniently, selected the precise basket of issues that Republicans want to hear about — or at least a significant proportion of Republican primary voters. He may be saying things more colorfully than others when he talks about Mexico sending rapists across the border, but his views show that, far from being an outlier, he is hitting all the erogenous zones of the GOP electorate.

Anti-immigrant? Against Common Core education standards? For repealing Obamacare? Against same-sex marriage? Antiabortion? Anti-tax? Anti-China? Virulent in questioning President Obama’s legitimacy? Check, check, check, check, check, check, check and check.

Mary Cassatt, The Reader

Mary Cassatt, The Reader

More good stuff at the link. BTW, Trump is topping all other GOP candidates in the South Carolina PPP poll. What does that tell you?

PPP’s newest North Carolina poll finds that Donald Trump’s momentum just keeps on building. He’s the top choice of Republican primary voters in the state, getting 16% to 12% for Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, 11% for Mike Huckabee, 9% for Ben Carson and Marco Rubio, 7% for Rand Paul, 6% for Ted Cruz, 5% for Chris Christie, 4% for Carly Fiorina, 2% for Rick Perry, 1% each for Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum, and less than 1% each for John Kasich and George Pataki.

Trump’s favorability rating in North Carolina is 55/32, much higher than we were finding in national polls prior to his entry into the race. Trump’s really caught fire with voters on the far right- 66% of ‘very conservative’ voters see him favorably to only 24% with a negative view of him. Trump is polling particularly well with younger voters (29%) and men (20%).

Another racist homophobe has the highest favorability rating in SC–Mike Huckabee at 65/19.

Another popular Clown Car passenger, Jeb Bush, has put his foot in his mouth once again. In an interview with New Hampshire’s ultra-conservative Manchester Union Leader, Bush recommended that “people should work longer hours.”

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Wednesday that in order to grow the economy “people should work longer hours” — a comment that the Bush campaign argues was a reference to underemployed part-time workers but which Democrats are already using to attack him….

He was answering a question about his plans for tax reform and responded:

“My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours” and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this rut that we’re in.”

Already the Democratic National Committee has pounced, releasing a statement that calls his remarks “easily one of the most out-of-touch comments we’ve heard so far this cycle,” adding that Bush would not fight for the middle class as president.

Read about Bush’s “clarification” at the Washington Post.

Mrs. Cassatt reading to her grandchildren, Mary Cassatt

Mrs. Cassatt reading to her grandchildren, Mary Cassatt

More News (links only)

Newsweek: Real Vampires Exist, and They Need Counseling Too.

Reuters, via Raw Story: Same-sex couples to get federal marriage benefits: attorney general.

Raw Story: All GOP presidential hopefuls decline speaking invite to America’s largest annual gathering of Latino.

Talking Points Memo: Matthews Blasts Cruz: SCOTUS ‘Seized’ 2000 Election, ‘You Did Not Complain’ (VIDEO).

Gawker: Garbage Joke News Website Fools Presidential Hopeful Martin O’Malley

Buzzfeed: White Supremacy, LMFAO, LOL. Inside the lightning-fast, wildly absurd, occasionally terrifying world of app-based teenage white supremacy.

Washington Post: Thomas Piketty accuses Germany of forgetting history as it lectures Greece.

Tech Times: Exxon Documents Hint That Oil Companies Have Known About Climate Change Since 1981.


Tuesday Reads: The Republican Party’s Mess

 tea-party-confederate-flag-rally

Good Morning!!

I’m sure you’ll recognize the image at the top of this post. The photo was taken at a Tea Party rally in Washington, DC, a couple of years ago. I’ve included other similar photos in this post. Don’t tell me the people holding these flags don’t understand that it is a symbol of racial hatred.

Since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, we have seen shocking overt racism on display by right wing Republicans, and so called “mainstream” Republican elected officials have done nothing to stop it. The simple truth is that the Tea Party is a racist hate group that was formed in reaction to the election of a black president.

As a consequence of Republican officials’ refusal to call the Tea Party what it is, we have seen extreme right wing candidates like Ted Cruz elected to high office and stupid and hateful people like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann treated seriously by the media. It’s a national disgrace, and we should begin to hold Republicans responsible for it.

110902_Confederate_flag_2

Nikki Haley was elected governor of South Carolina in 2010 as a Tea Party candidate, although she has since fallen out of favor with the group. Yesterday Haley made a cowardly, mealy-mouthed public statement calling for removal of the Confederate flag from the state house grounds, and yet today she is being celebrated in the media for her “courage.” Here’s part of it:

For many people in our state the flag stands for traditions that are noble. Traditions of history, of heritage and of ancestry.

The hate-filled murderer who massacred our brothers and sisters in Charleston has a sick and twisted view of the flag. In no way does he reflect the people of our state who respect, and in many ways, revere it.

Those South Carolinians view the flag as a symbol of respect, integrity and duty. They also see it as a memorial. A way to honor ancestors who came to the service of their state during time of conflict. That is not hate, nor is it racism.

At the same time, for many others in South Carolina, the flag is a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past. As a state, we can survive and indeed we can thrive as we have done whilst still being home to both of those viewpoints. We do not need to declare a winner and a loser here.

We respect freedom of expression. And that for those who wish to show their respect for the flag on their private property, no one will stand in your way.

But the statehouse is different. And the events of this past week call upon us to look at this in a different way….

One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come. There will be some in our state who see this as a sad moment. I respect that. But know this, for good and for bad, whether it is on the statehouse grounds or in a museum the flag will always be a part of the soil in South Carolina. But this is a moment in which we can say that that flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state.

It is South Carolina’s historic moment, and this will be South Carolina’s decision. To those outside of our state, the flag may be nothing more than a symbol of the worst of America’s past. That is not what it is to many South Carolinians. The state house belongs to all of us. Their voices will be heard, and their role in this debate will be respected….

But we are not going to allow this symbol to divide us any longer. The fact that people are choosing to use it as a sign of hate is something that we cannot stand. The fact that it causes pain to so many is enough to move it from the capitol grounds.

Confederate-Flag-Flying-in-the-Sun

Why couldn’t Haley just admit that the flag on the her state house grounds is a symbol of resistance to integration and to legal recognition that African Americans should have equal rights; and that decades after the changes brought about by Civil Rights Movement they are still not treated equally by many, including police officers? By the way, maybe she should also consider opposing the efforts of Republicans in South Carolina to prevent African Americans from voting.

Last night I watch Rachel Maddow’s show for the first time in months, and I’m very glad I did. Maddow presented a detailed history of the Council of Conservative Citizens, the group whose website inspired Dylann Roof to murder nine African Americans at a prayer group meeting at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC last week. The Council of Conservative Citizens grew directly out of the White Citizens Councils  that fought to maintain racial segregation in Southern cities in the 1950s and 1960s. From Wikipedia:

The Citizens’ Councils (also referred to as White Citizens’ Councils) were an associated network of white supremacist organizations in the United States, concentrated in the South. The first was formed on July 11, 1954 After 1956, it was known as the Citizens’ Councils of America. With about 60,000 members across the United States, mostly in the South, the groups were founded primarily to oppose racial integration of schools, but they also supported segregation of public facilities during the 1950s and 1960s. Members used severe intimidation tactics including economic boycotts, firing people from jobs, propaganda, and occasionally violence against civil-rights activists.

By the 1970s, following passage of federal civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s and enforcement of constitutional rights by the federal government, the influence of the Councils had waned considerably. The successor organization to the White Citizens’ Councils is the Council of Conservative Citizens, founded in 1985.

images

Maddow pointed out that in 2010, Haley Barbour was quickly eliminated from the race for the GOP nomination when he publicly praised the White Citizen Council in his home city of Yazoo, Mississippi. Maddow also interviewed SC Rep. James Clyburn about the history of the Confederate flag that still flies on the SC state house grounds. He explained that that flag was a Virginia flag flown by Robert E. Lee and that it has nothing to do with South Carolina history. It was put up over the SC state house in 1962 as a direct response to the battle for civil rights for African Americans.

Why couldn’t Nikki Haley simply admit that in her statement? Frankly, the Republican Party has allowed itself to become the party of racism and hatred; and it’s time for decent Republicans to face up to that and and deal with it honestly.

Here’s what Melissa McEwan wrote about Haley’s statement:

She couldn’t even be bothered to say that the thing is a racist symbol. Which has nonetheless not stopped members of her party from celebrating her courage.

The thing is, it’s not really “brave” to take down a flag that never should have been flying in the first place.

I see what Haley is doing as approximately as “brave” as when I clean up cat vomit. You’re supposed to clean up gross messes in your home….

let’s not pretend that it’s a Great Leadership moment, when it took 150 years of fluttering insult, and nine deaths in the last week at the hands of one of the many white people to embrace that contemptible symbol of white supremacy, to pull it off the flagpole.

tea-party-confederate-flag

I completely agree. As I wrote in a comment yesterday, the Confederate flag is a symbol of hate and fear that should be in the same category as the Nazi swastika and the “n” word. Why should people be allowed to fly it on their own property? Why should more intelligent and sensitive neighbors or even people driving by have to see it?

It’s way past time for Republicans to stop beating around the bush and clean up the disgusting mess in their party, and it’s time for all Americans to recognize that racism in any form is evil.

Here’s a more serious discussion of the meaning of the Confederate flag by Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic:

What This Cruel War Was Over. The meaning of the Confederate flag is best discerned in the words of those who bore it.

This afternoon, in announcing her support for removing the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley asserted that killer Dylann Roof had a “a sick and twisted view of the flag” which did not reflect “the  people in our state who respect and in many ways revere it.” If the governor meant that very few of the flag’s supporters believe in mass murder, she is surely right. But on the question of whose view of the Confederate Flag is more twisted, she is almost certainly wrong.

Roof’s belief that black life had no purpose beyond subjugation is “sick and twisted” in the exact same manner as the beliefs of those who created the Confederate flag were “sick and twisted.” The Confederate flag is directly tied to the Confederate cause, and the Confederate cause was white supremacy. This claim is not the result of revisionism. It does not require reading between the lines. It is the plain meaning of the words of those who bore the Confederate flag across history. These words must never be forgotten. Over the next few months the word “heritage” will be repeatedly invoked. It would be derelict to not examine the exact contents of that heritage.

This examination should begin in South Carolina, the site of our present and past catastrophe. South Carolina was the first state to secede, two months after the election of Abraham Lincoln. It was in South Carolina that the Civil War began, when the Confederacy fired on Fort Sumter. The state’s casus belli was neither vague nor hard to comprehend:

…A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction. This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

In citing slavery, South Carolina was less an outlier than a leader, setting the tone for other states, including Mississippi

Please go read the whole thing at the link.

Republicans are now arguing that Democrats are responsible for the confederate flag symbolism and for the South’s history of racism. It’s true that Dixiecrats fought to maintain segregation, but most of those old guys switched to the Republican Party back in the Civil Rights era. The Republicans own the mess now, and they need to get busy cleaning it up.

As always, this is an open thread. Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comments below.


Friday Read: “Weaponizing” Angry White Men

Good Day!

birthers-forgot-racismI was waiting to write this until we got more information on the Charleston church shooting and shooter.

I feel like I spend a lot of time writing blog posts on angry–mostly young–white males with easy access to weapons who go on shooting sprees.  I very much related to the President yesterday when he stated that he had spent far too much time dealing with the aftermath of mass shootings which are extremely rare in all other developed countries.  We have a small group of powerful and wealthy men who forge their profits and might in the fire of white male anger and resentment. Far too often, they set the laws and agenda that encourage, enable, and let loose the hounds of hell.

I personally believe that when you have one political party and an entire “news”network fueling anger and resentment for the purposes of turning out the votes of angry, resentful white people that they should be held responsible for “weaponizing” these young men.  Much like shouting “fire” in a theater, right wing media continually feeds the demons in people like Dylann Roof. This should give us pause and compel us to action.  Reality TV shows also make celebrities of some very sick minds.  The Duck Patriarch comes to my mind.

Giving platforms to antisocial, violent, racist, misogynist, and homobigot lies and anger gives these folks the idea that they are some kind of warped heroes.  The Roof kid actually said he “had to do it” being fully convinced he was doing the country a favor.  But, it’s very easy for him to find TV News anchors, radio jocks, reality TV personalities, and social media sites that feed his illness and give him easy access to weapons of destruction.  These same folks worship guns and ensure that any whacko in the country has easy access. The combination is just sick and deadly in so many ways that I’m sure some one could write a book on it if one or a dozen hasn’t been written already.

The most disgusting thing is that the same groups of politicians and media personalities are trying hard to twist the latest shooting spree as an attack on churches and the latest right wing screed of “religious liberty”.  It was clearly an attack on black America and our American commitment to a diverse plurality.  Rick Santorum denounced the shooting as an attack on religious liberty.  Is he really that obtuse?

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Thursday called the tragic church shooting in Charleston, S.C. — which left nine people dead — a “crime of hate” and connected the event to a broader “assault on our religious liberty.”

“You just can’t think that things like this can happen in America. It’s obviously a crime of hate. Again, we don’t know the rationale, but what other rationale could there be? You’re sort of lost that somebody could walk into a Bible study in a church and indiscriminately kill people,” Santorum told radio host Joe Piscopo Thursday on AM 970, a New York radio station. “It’s something that, again, you think we’re beyond that in America and it’s sad to see.”

The former Pennsylvania senator pointed to what he described as anti-religious sentiment.

Lindsey Graham says that “the shooter may have been looking for christians to kill.”

But despite the fact that the Justice Department has labeled the attack a “hate crime,” Graham was not willing to go that far. “There are real people who are organized out there to kill people in religion and based on race, this guy’s just whacked out,” he said. “But it’s 2015. There are people out there looking for Christians to kill them.”

Jeb Bush is confused too.reverse-racism

As more becomes clear about the motives of the man believed to be behind the Charleston church shooting, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was hesitant to connect Dylann Storm Roof’s alleged actions to any racial prejudice.

When asked about whether he thought the attack was racially motivated, Bush told a Huffington Post reporter, “It was a horrific act and I don’t know what the background of it is, but it was an act of hatred.”

When pressed again about whether race motivated the attacks, Bush said, “I don’t know. Looks like to me it was, but we’ll find out all the information. It’s clear it was an act of raw hatred, for sure. Nine people lost their lives, and they were African-American. You can judge what it is.”

The question came after a speech Bush made at a Faith and Freedom Coalition summit in Washington.

“I don’t know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes,” Bush said in his remarks. “But I do know what was in the heart of the victims.”

How many of you actually believe Jeb can empathize with the victims?

Rich, privileged, white Republican men!  Not every fucking thing is about you and your delusion that you’re under attack! You’re part of the problem!  Your speech weaponizes these little white boys with dick issues who don’t have the where withal to access your level of privilege!  They get to believing that every one else must be taking it away from them! Then they go on “missions”.

Racism_b28d1c_4450441This morning  we have learned more about mass murderer Dylann Roof and his racist inclinations.  Dylann was on a mission and was looking for ways to display a manifesto supportive of segregation and racial discord. We’ll undoubtedly hear more about how he choose his victims. Rev. Clementa Pinckney’s name undoubtedly came from the South Carolina Plantation owner and former Governor that signed the US Constitution–along with his cousin–for South Carolina.  He introduced the Fugitive Slave Act and was a well known foe of the clause that bans “religious tests”.  He was definitely one of the first angry, young white men in our country. (I’m also one of his descendants and not a very proud one tbh.) Clementa’s ironic last name and his strong showing of civil rights leadership undoubtedly were a red flag to this very disturbed young man with hate in his heart and a father that put a gun in his hands as a right of passage. The church’s historical mission was much more important to Roof than the religion practiced there.

So, we are learning more about Dylann Roof.  Early this morning, Roof confessed to the murders.

Dylann Roof, the man accused of gunning down nine parishioners at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, has been charged with nine counts of murder and illegal weapons possession, police said.

Roof confessed to the horrific killings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston on Wednesday night, two sources confirmed to NBC News.

Roof, 21, has told police that he “almost didn’t go through with it because everyone was so nice to him,” sources told NBC News.

And yet he decided he had to “go through with his mission.”

Yes.  Roof characterized it as a “mission”.  We have only heard from an uncle who insists that Dylann was not raised to be a hero for Storm Front.  He’s even offering to press the button should Roof be given the Death Penalty.

The uncle of a 21-year-old man accused of opening fire inside a Charleston church — killing nine people — says he will “push the button myself” if his nephew receives the death penalty, which is legal in South Carolina.

Carson Cowles said he can’t forgive Dylann Roof, who was arrested Thursday after he allegedly opened fire on a Bible study group at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He was taken into custody by authorities in Shelby, North Carolina, about 250 miles away, but has since been extradited to South Carolina.

“I’ll be the one to push the button. If he’s found guilty, I’ll be the one to push the button myself,” Cowles said. “If what I am hearing is true, he needs to pay for it.

I’m waiting to hear about the father who gave a gun to a son with a growing criminal record related to drug issues.

UPTOWN_racism_cartoonHowever, I’m not willing to put this little boy into the category of lone wolf and sick individual which is where most little white boys that become spree shooters wind up.  He can only be seen in context.  That context is the white anger and resentment sowed by right wing media and politicians at all levels.  I just pulled this out of the NYT from last February.  There are far too many of these racist fueled crimes to not wonder in what ways our society encourages and condones them.

Judge Carlton Reeves of United States District Court sentenced Deryl Paul Dedmon, 22, to 50 years; John Aaron Rice, 21, to 18 and a half years; and Dylan Wade Butler, 23, to seven years on the most serious count against them, commission of a hate crime. All three men are from Brandon. They were charged in the death of James Craig Anderson. Prosecutors said the men had harassed or assaulted black people who they thought were homeless or intoxicated. Victims were chosen because the men thought they would not tell the police, the authorities said. The harassment began in April 2011, culminating in the death of Mr. Anderson. Seven others are awaiting sentencing.

When young angry white men go off, they take black people, women, children, any combination of GLBT people, and bystanders with them.  I hate to completely project, but it always seems like it’s pathetic losers who think they’re entitled to the life and times of Donald Trump and they blame every one around them for their lackluster social and economic status. They frequently hook up with hate groups that eventually wind them up and turn them loose.  Extreme christian, right wing men are at the heart of many of the worst mass killings we’ve seen.

When white males of the far right carry out violent attacks, neocons and Republicans typically describe them as lone-wolf extremists rather than people who are part of terrorist networks or well-organized terrorist movements. Yet many of the terrorist attacks in the United States have been carried out by people who had long histories of networking with other terrorists. In fact, most of the terrorist activity occurring in the United States in recent years has not come from Muslims, but from a combination of radical Christianists, white supremacists and far-right militia groups.

I’m not the only one that thinks that Republican politicians and right wing media outlets weaponize these cretins. Yesterday, I pointed to Donald Trump’s horrible remarks about Mexicans as an example. Today, Hillary Clinton has done the same.

Hillary Clinton didn’t call The Donald out by name, but she suggested in an interview Thursday that comments like ones the real estate tycoon-turned-Republican presidential candidate made during his recent announcement speech could “trigger” events like this week’s church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

“We have to have a candid national conversation about race, and about discrimination, hatred, prejudice,” Clinton said of the Charleston shooting in an interview with Jon Ralston on his show “Ralston Live.”

“Public discourse is sometimes hotter and more negative than it should be, which can, in my opinion, trigger someone who is less than stable.”
Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, did not say Trump’s name, but went on to explicitly mention remarks he made during his announcement speech on Tuesday, the day before a white gunman opened fire in a historically African-American church, killing nine people.

“I think we have to speak out against it,” Clinton explained. “Like, for example, a recent entry into the Republican presidential campaign said some very inflammatory things about Mexicans. Everybody should stand up and say that’s not acceptable.”

Trump did not respond to a request for comment by ABC News.

During his announcement speech Tuesday, Trump said “the U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems” and said people who immigrate here from other countries, like Mexico, are not the “right people.”

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us,” Trump said. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

In actuality, we’ve had net negative immigration from Mexico for quite a few years. It’s truthfully less than zero.images (1)

I’ve written about this before. The last time was when the Sikh Temple massacre occurred or was it the man that went after Jewish children and people in Kansas City?  I have a really hard time remembering each time in 7 years of blogging that I’ve written about this.  Here’s one from 2012.  And a real big one from 2011.  Here’s one from BB from 2014.

We have a growing threat from Home Grown, White male, right wing terrorists.  The FBI has said this many times but always runs afoul of white male, right wing congressmen.

…right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, causing a total of 254 fatalities, according to a study by Arie Perliger, a professor at the United States Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center. The toll has increased since the study was released in 2012.

Other data sets, using different definitions of political violence, tell comparable stories. The Global Terrorism Database maintained by the Start Center at the University of Maryland includes 65 attacks in the United States associated with right-wing ideologies and 24 by Muslim extremists since 9/11. The International Security Program at the New America Foundation identifies 39 fatalities from “non-jihadist” homegrown extremists and 26 fatalities from “jihadist” extremists.

I’m sure we’re going to be treated to many white male media figures explaining why this little boy had drug issues and was the poster child for (insert mental health issue here). It’s a hell of a lot easier when a hell realm being doesn’t look like you, isn’t it?

South CarolinaThere will be no context that includes how many of the countries right wing political outlets found a way to press his many buttons or those of a long list of his predecessors.  Pay no attention to the confederate flag of treason flying over the state capitol of South Carolina.  Pay no attention to Donald Trump’s fatwa on Mexicans. Pay no attention to the number of Republican politicians that race bait and confuse “religious freedom” with gay bashing that become actual assault and battery in many, many places.  Pay no attention to all those messages that tell men that they own women and children so they can do with them whatever they will.

Meanwhile, we can just follow Huckabee’s suggestion that we all carry concealed weapons while waiting around for one of his followers to go after us.  Never mind the cognitive dissonance that should occur when a preacher suggests we should all carry concealed weapons to “prayer” meetings.

Yes, you’re at fault if you die by a shooter because you didn’t pack heat and take him out first. Or, if you dare suggest that not every one in American should have a gun or easy access to a gun.

NRA board member Charles Cotton blamed Clementa Pinckney, a victim of the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, for his own death. He also blamed Pinckney, the pastor of Emanuel AME and a state senator, for the deaths of the other eight people killed.

As a state senator, Pinckney supported tougher gun regulations and opposed a bill that would have allowed people to carry concealed guns in churches. On TexasCHLForum.com, a message board, Cotton wrote that “Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue.”

So, I sit and think.   Several hundred years ago my ancestors and Clementa Pinckney’s ancestors lived a shared existence on very different terms. Our country was built on both promise and deeply shameful actions. Rev. Pinckney’s political legacy is in our hands now.  South Carolina Governor Charles Pinckney may have signed the Constitution, but it is South Carolina Senator Clementa Pinckney who has shown us its promise through his work.  I hope we can both honor and carry that promise into the future.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

P.S.  South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley:  Take that damned flag of treason and slavery down!!!


Wednesday Reads: Sinkholes and Chris Christie

Good $(KGrHqEOKnIE44R2dbwLBOWl4kko9w~~_35Morning

It was a busy day for me yesterday, and as usual, I am late to catch up…because of this I am writing the post this morning in a fog. So if any of the links below are repeats, I am sorry.

Yesterday Boston Boomer wrote about the court battle as BP Goes on Trial over 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Well, there were also some new developments in that other environmental disaster in Louisiana known as the Assumption Parish Sinkhole. Increased seismic activity halts work at giant Louisiana sinkhole

Officials say they have put a hold on all work directly connected to the giant Louisiana sinkhole in Assumption Parish due to increased seismic activity.

The seismic monitoring in the past 24 hours turned up what appears to be an increase in the underground movement of fluids in the area of the failed Oxy 3 cavern.

Just like in the past, officials say the underground movement is also likely connected to trees falling into the sinkhole and an increase in hydrocarbon odors.

Analysts say even though there appears to be no additional significant threat to the general area, until the underground activity slows down again, operations directly on the sinkhole have been suspended.

The main sinkhole has reached more than 800 feet in diameter and the western wall continues to collapse.

Two weeks ago, officials reported about 5,000 square feet fell in on the southwest side of the sinkhole, officials call this sloughing.

The Texas Brine people say this is part of the stabilization process. I don’t know about the technical aspects of the whole thing…but as the BP trial gets underway, Assumption Parish residents turn to lawmakers, seeking buyouts of property near sinkhole

Frustrated Assumption Parish residents displaced by a massive sinkhole that has swallowed 9 acres of land near their homes asked lawmakers Tuesday to assist them in getting buyouts of their property.

People who packed a hearing of the Senate and House natural resources and environment committees described 200 days of disruption and uncertainty since an August evacuation order of 150 homes.

They talked of children moved from schools and scared of their own houses, retirement dreams upended and families struggling to pay two mortgages while they decide what to do with their future and with their now nearly-worthless property.

“This has taken too damn long and people need to be bought out. They can’t go back,” said Henry Dupre, an Assumption Parish police juror.

Dakinikat has written repeatedly about Jindal’s record in recent weeks, this op/ed from The Advocate focuses on his response to the big ass hole in Jindal’s backyard…Inside Report: Sinkhole critics: O, Governor, where art thou?

For months now, a vocal group of activists and residents has found fault with Gov. Bobby Jindal over his absence from the scene of the Bayou Corne sinkhole.

Why, they ask, has he not made the commonly seen leadership visit to a disaster area that, while brief, boosts morale and provides hope?

Sinkhole activist John Achee Jr., a regular critic of Jindal and state government’s handling of the sinkhole and salt dome regulation, leveled this complaint again during a Feb. 19 joint hearing of the House and Senate committees on Natural Resources.

He called Jindal’s absence “disheartening” and “very concerning.”

“This to me is unacceptable and cannot or should not be tolerated,” said Achee, a polarizing figure himself over his criticisms of Jindal and state and parish government.

In response, Jindal’s press office provided its answer, quoting the governor as saying he receives regular updates and that state agencies have put out abundant resources in response to the sinkhole under his orders.

No matter how many times your subordinates send them, though, news releases will never be the same as a handshake, a pat on the back and encouraging words directly from the governor.

This perceived inattention has given Jindal’s critics a useful symbol for the way, they say, state government has inadequately responded to the Assumption Parish disaster and regulated salt dome operators.

The absence has also fit neatly into the narrative of an insulated governor with eyes on Washington 2016 and not Louisiana 2013.

But these complaints, it seems, could be neutralized for most with one helicopter ride to the command post in Bayou Corne.

So why not?

Jindal’s press office did not respond to requests for comment.

It seems to me Jindal’s non-existent response should be no surprise to anyone who reads our blog regularly, but I don’t think a helicopter fly over is going to help things. That Op/Ed is written by David Mitchell, maybe Kat can fill us in on what she thinks about this other mark against her governor. When I see the horror stories out of Louisiana, it makes me feel my hell pit of Banjoland is a cakewalk.

Since we started this post on one GOP Gov with eyes on the White House, let us look at another governor who fancies himself as a possible candidate in 2016.   Chris Christie Medicaid Plan To Offer Coverage To Poor New Jersey Residents

Christie, a potential 2016 presidential contender who is up for reelection this year, defied conservative opponents of Obamacare by embracing one of its key components when he announced his plan to the Democratic-controlled state legislature in Trenton. So far, more than a dozen Republican governors, including Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Perry of Texas, have declared their opposition to the Medicaid expansion.

“After considerable discussion and research, I have decided to participate in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. While we already have one of the most expansive and generous Medicaid programs in the nation, including the second highest eligibility rate for children, we have an opportunity to ensure that an even greater number of New Jerseyans who are at or near the poverty line will have access to critical health services beginning in January of 2014,” Christie said.

Expanding Medicaid in New Jersey would provide new health care coverage to an estimated 291,000 people through 2022, according to an analysis released by the Urban Institute and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation in November. New Jersey would spend an additional $1.5 billion and receive $15.4 billion from the federal government to finance the expansion during that time period, the report predicted.

Even the folks at Hot Air are complaining about the big man from the Garden State. You can Google this next link, I just don’t have the energy to deal with trolls today.  CPAC source: Christie wasn’t invited this year because he has a “limited future” in the GOP; Update: Sandy relief and Medicaid? « Hot Air

Hard to argue with that assessment today of all days, but … Mitt Romney’s also been invited this year. The future doesn’t get any more limited than that.

Also, since when is one’s prospects in the GOP a litmus test for whether you’re CPAC-worthy or not? Every time someone objects to GOPround’s exclusion, the rejoinder inevitably comes that it’s the “Conservative Political Action Conference,” not the “Republican Political Action Conference.” Okay, in that case, who cares about Christie’s future in the GOP? Either his ideas are conservative enough or they aren’t.

Verdict: They aren’t.

I think all those CPAC members are still pissed with Christie’s little sitcom, or after-school special, Barack and the Fat Man.

Guess Fox News hasn’t gotten the memo: Same Day Christie Embraces Obamacare, Fox’s Eric Bolling Tells Conservatives He’s Their 2016 Savior

Bolling advised his fellow Republicans that they must embrace Christie as the future leader of their party.

The Five hosts noted that Bill O’Reilly told Fox’s audience on Monday that the GOP needs a leader who can articulate a conservative message and “fight back” against the press in order to move the country to the right.

Andrea Tantaros warned that the GOP has a big challenge in the effort to “fight back dependency.” She said that the future political battles Republicans will have to wage will become harder as the populace becomes more comfortable with government-backed programs that ensure financial security.

“I hate all this,” Bolling said of infighting within the GOP about the future direction of the party. “They need to get together and form one party that has a big tent for everyone; whether you’re gay, straight, black, white, male, female.”

“Bill O’Reilly’s right,” added Bolling . “You need someone who’s charismatic. He’s got to be a leader. And, this one: the way O’Reilly puts it, ‘fight back the media jackals.’ That’s Christie.”

Bolling continued to make the case for Christie as the natural leader of the Republican Party moving into the next election cycle. However, he anticipated that the party’s conservative wing will have problems embracing Christie due to the unorthodox positions on issues like global warming and gun control.

I could make a comment about how anyone would have problems “embracing” Chris Christie, but since my ass is just slightly smaller than his, I won’t.

Okay, because I’m writing this post on the quick, here are a few other stories in link dump fashion. Let’s stick with US news, shall we?

From Colorado….Threats to Dem Rep: ‘I Hope Someone Giffords Your Ass With A Gun’

Franklin Sain, a 42-year-old Colorado Springs man, was arrested last Friday for threatening Colorado lawmaker Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) over gun control legislation that she is currently sponsoring and that recently passed in the state House.

Franklin Sain is accused of threatening Fields and her daughter using racial and sexual slurs.

Fields told KOA Radio that she does not know Sain, and said “All I know is the kinds of things that he said were very inappropriate, and they’re alarming, and they were very intimidating.”

[…]

There are many misspelled words and incorrect grammar usage in the messages, and they appear as written in the affidavit, along with censoring of offensive words.

According to an affidavit, one of the letters alleged to have been written by the Colorado Springs man reads, “Rhonda Fields, mother of [Field’s daughter]. Death to both.” The letter goes on to say “There will be blood! I’m coming for you, N—– B—-.”

In one of the emails, Sain allegedly wrote, “hopefully somebody Gifords [sic] your asses with a gun.”

The following is one of seven emails police say Sain sent to Fields:

“THANKS N—– C—! You really think passing nay more laws will stop gun violence? You and that other N—– OBAMA are living in fantasy land. Chicago and DC have the most strict gun laws in the nation and more people die from gun violence than anywhere. You f—ing c—s are pathetic excuse for civil servants. Hell, n—–s love shooting themselves with GATS, isn’t that what your people call it. What you have done here is creater [sic] criminals out of law abiding citizens, and put yourself out of a job. You politicians have no idea what you are even doing anyway, do you know how long it takes some to change a magazine, less than a second, so what if some with experience decides to flip out and bring their gun in with 5 or so 10 round magazines, they can do the same amount of damage. Limiting magazine sizes is stupididty, [sic] and will not work…”

Then the most unhinged of Sain’s messages also refers to Field’s daughter:

Rhonda Fields, N—– C—, Mother of —–, Death to Both, All N—– Back to Africa, F— you, F— Your Laws, I Keep my 30 Round Magazines, There Will Be Blood!, I’m Coming For You, N—– B—-

Sain told police that he didn’t mean to threaten Fields, and regrets the language he used. He has no prior record, and is the chief operating officer at SofTec Solutions in Englewood, Colorado, where he does consulting work for the government and private organizations

House Speaker Mark Ferrandino and two other Democratic Reps also received similar threatening messages.

WTF? That is all I can say.

Latest news out of South Carolina: One student dead after South Carolina university shooting

A 19-year-old student died following a shooting on Tuesday at a residence hall of a South Carolina university near the resort area of Myrtle Beach, and authorities were searching for a gunman, university officials said.

Meanwhile in Connecticut: 2 Missing Children, Grandmother Found Dead in Conn.

And over in Illinois, Robin Kelly wins Illinois Democratic primary on gun control.

The headlines for California: Slayings of 2 officers in Santa Cruz mark ‘darkest day,’ chief says

This last link is written with Georgia in mind, but it deals with immigration news hitting most states: Feds free illegal immigrants in Georgia, other states

Y’all have a great day, and let us know what you are reading and blogging and thinking about today.