It’s Sunday again and the Villagers will be hanging out on the Sunday shows pushing the austerity agenda and talking about the two other issues that are on their minds these days–guns and immigration. I have to wonder if they aren’t ginning up those two issues just to keep Americans in the dark about how the oligarchs, with the help of President Obama, are trying to make the U.S. economy into as big a mess as Europe’s.
Here’s a list of the folks who’ll be lecturing us on the various “news” and talk shows today, courtesy of DailyKos. Basically it’s going to be the Marco Rubio show.
Meet the Press: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); Sen. Mike Lee(R-UT); Roundtable: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Katty Kay(BBC), David Brooks (New York Times) and Chuck Todd (NBC News).
Face the Nation: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV); Sen. Pat Toomey(R-PA); Former Astronaut Mark Kelly; Roundtable: David Ignatius (Washington Post),David Sanger (New York Times), Amy Walter (Cook Political Report) and John Dickerson(CBS News).
This Week: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Sen. Jeff Sessions(R-AL); MLB Player Mariano Rivera; MLB Player Robinson Cano; Roundtable: George Will (Washington Post), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Ruth Marcus (Washington Post) and Kimberley Strassel (Wall Street Journal).
Fox News Sunday: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL); Sen. John Cornyn(R-TX); Roundtable: Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), Marjorie Clifton (Spike the Watercooler), Republican Strategist Karl Rove and Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN).
State of the Union: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV); Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA); Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile; Republican Strategist Ana Navarro; Gerald Seib (Wall Street Journal); Reliable Sources:Amy Holmes (The Blaze); Ana Marie Cox (The Guardian); Nia-Malika Henderson(Washington Post); Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN); Democratic Strategist Paul Begala; Filmmaker Robert Greenwald.
The Chris Matthews Show: Joe Klein (TIME); Katty Kay (BBC); Amy Walter (Cook Political Report); Peter Alexander (NBC News).
Fareed Zakaria GPS: Former OMB Director David Stockman; Former Economic Adviser to President Obama Austan Goolsbee; CourtTV Founder Steven Brill; Game Show Network CEO David Goldhill; Anthony Bourdain (CNN); Former Tata Group Chair Ratan Tata.
Plus, I’ve got a few interesting reads for you from various sources.
Politico finds that Obama’s big donors aren’t ponying up for his “Organizing for America”–the group that is supposed to help push his austerity agenda.
The group, which has no fundraising limits and is not required by law to release donor information, raised $4.9 million in its first three months of existence. By comparison, the Democratic National Committee — which is limited in what it can raise by law — brought in $14 million in the quarter after Obama was first elected in 2008.
The top donor to OFA, Philip Munger, gave $250,000 – a modest sum for a top contributor to a major profile outside group.
Earlier reports in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times suggested that the pro-Obama nonprofit was looking for a high-profile group of donors to chip in $500,000, $1 million or more.
Democratic Party donor mainstays like Fred Eychaner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Stephen Speilberg, Steve and Amber Mostyn and others are missing from the list, which includes all donors who gave $250 or more.
Barack and Michelle Obama also are not listed as donors.
Loyal Obama donors like Penny Pritzker, Jane Stetson, Azita Raji and others are also missing — though the top Obama campaign bundler Andrew Tobias chipped in $50,000 to the new group.
Other major Obama campaign fundraisers on the list include: Barbara Grasseschi, Nicola Miner, William Freeman, Wayne Jordan, Michael Kemper, Imad Zuberi, Frank White, Naomi Aberly, and South Carolina Democratic Party chair Dick Harpootlian.
Business Insider publishes The States With The Heaviest Student Loan Debts And Highest Delinquency Rates (the research comes from the St. Louis Fed). Check those out at the link.
To continue the academic theme, Alternet has a piece on Academia’s Indentured Servants. This may give you an idea of why I soured on teaching for a living.
On April 8, 2013, the New York Times reported that 76 percent of American university faculty are adjunct professors – an all-time high. Unlike tenured faculty, whose annual salaries can top $160,000, adjunct professors make an average of $2,700 per course and receive no health care or other benefits.
Most adjuncts teach at multiple universities while still not making enough to stay above the poverty line. Some are on welfare or homeless. Others depend on charity drives held by their peers. Adjuncts are generally not allowed to have offices or participate in faculty meetings. When they ask for a living wage or benefits, they can be fired. Their contingent status allows them no recourse.
No one forces a scholar to work as an adjunct. So why do some of America’s brightest PhDs – many of whom are authors of books and articles on labour, power, or injustice – accept such terrible conditions?
“Path dependence and sunk costs must be powerful forces,” speculates political scientist Steve Saidemen in a post titled ” The Adjunct Mystery“. In other words, job candidates have invested so much time and money into their professional training that they cannot fathom abandoning their goal – even if this means living, as Saidemen says, like “second-class citizens”. (He later downgraded this to “third-class citizens”.)
I spend much of yesterday playing a video game called Minecraft. When my nephews were little, I helped them play games on the computer. Nowadays they help me (they are ages 10 and 7). Every time they get hooked on a new game, they want me to play it too, we play games as CSGO, with the help of sites that give csgo boosted guide so is easier for us.
First it was Plants vs. Zombies, which I loved. Now it’s Minecraft, and I’m getting addicted to that too. It’s a virtual world where you build things out of 3-D looking blocks. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s amazingly fun because it’s open ended and can go on forever, limited only by your imagination and designing and building skill. Of course there are other challenges like attacks by monsters and getting lost underground–which happened to me yesterday.
Anyway, there was an interview with the guy who developed Minecraft, Markus Persson, in The New Yorker this week. Not only that Persson has currently been voted number 2 on Time’s list of most influential people.
So if you like to escape into virtual worlds, check it out. I have to add that I never played video games at all until I met Dakinikat. She encouraged me to get started at my advanced age.
Last night the news broke that a man named Eric Williams had been arrested in connection with the murders of two Texas prosecutors. He is a former Texas justice of the peace. TPM reports:
Williams, 46, had not been publicly named a suspect or a person of interest in the case, but authorities did interview him and test him for gunshot residue on March 30, just hours after the bodies of the county District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found in their home in Forney, Texas.
Williams lost his position after being convicted last year of stealing county computer equipment. Both McLelland and Mark Hasse, a county prosecutor killed Jan. 31, were reportedly involved in Williams’ case.
According to The Dallas Morning News, investigators searched Williams’ home late Friday and “have obtained old cellphones, his computer and boxes of other materials.” Williams’ attorney, David Sergi, said Williams was cooperating with investigators and “vigorously asserts his innocence and denies any involvement” in the killings.
According to CBS News, Williams was charged with “making a ‘terroristic threat'” and is being held on $3 million bond. It sounds serious, doesn’t it?
CBS News correspondent John Miller spoke to “CBS Evening News” on Saturday about the latest development in the case. “What is going on,” he said, “is they shifted their view in this case away from their original theory that it might have been part of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang — because that prosecutor’s office was involved in a case there — more to individual people who were prosecuted by both of the district attorneys who were murdered.
“And that brought them to Eric Williams, who is an elected justice of the peace, who was then both prosecuted by Mark Hasse, one of the murdered district attorneys, and by Mike McLelland, the D.A. Looking into him, they found out he was somebody who made threats to other people, who had a large collection of guns, and possibly had a grudge. Of course he denies all this.”
Miller had previously spoken to Williams a couple of times. “He says he understands why they’re looking at him,” Miller explained. “that they have to do their jobs, that he has nothing to do with that case, and that he’s been cooperative. He says his case was about the political undertows in the county, but he understands what’s going on.”
Miller’s home was searched on Friday, but law enforcement officials were looking at him previously.
Earlier this month, Williams said he voluntarily submitted to a gun residue test after authorities contacted him while investigating the deaths of the McLellands. Sergi has said Williams also submitted to a gun residue test and gave his cellphone to authorities when he was questioned after Hasse’s death.
I’m going to wrap this up with something uplifting (pun intended). It’s an amazing video of a golden eagle flying in slow motion. Sadly, I can’t embed it here, but please go watch it. You won’t be sorry.
What’s on your mind today? Please post your links freely in the comments, and have a great Sunday!!
Listening to that gun violence hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday was truly mind blowing. It’s very difficult for me to understand how someone like Crazy Wayne LaPierre or Gayle “Guns Keep Women Safe” Trotter can actually be permitted to testify before Congress. It was also mind-blowing to hear these people (Senators and pro-gun advocates) attacking “the mentally ill” and video games, yet no experts on mental illness or the effects of video games were invited to testify, since people will still continue playing games as CSGO and Overwatch, and even going online to find sites with the best OW boost prices to improve these games.
My mind was so blown by what I saw and heard yesterday that I have been unable to think of much other than gun violence and the refusal of our “leaders” to do anything about it. So this will be a gun-oriented post. First some information about the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
TPM Muckraker: NRA Spent Big To Help Senate Judiciary Republicans
The biggest recipient of the NRA’s money is one of the committee’s newest members: freshman Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who got a $344,742 boost in independent expenditures from the NRA during his race against former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona. According to Public Campaign’s figures, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has received $136,639 from the NRA, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the Judiciary Committee’s ranking member, has received $78,526. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is the only Democrat on the committee who has received an NRA donation. Leahy’s Green Mountain PAC has received $7,000.
Patrick Leahy sells out pretty cheaply. According to the San Francisco Chronicle: Senate Judiciary chair rejects Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapons ban.
The Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee did not endorse colleague Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapons ban at a packed Capitol Hill hearing on guns Wednesday in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shooting.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., called for “common sense reform,” that closes loopholes in current gun laws and enforces background checks. Buthe did not endorse Feinstein’s tougher ban. “I know gun store owners in Vermont,” Leahy said. “They follow the law and conduct background checks…why should we not try to plug the loopholes in the law that allow (criminals and the mentally ill) to buy guns without background checks?”
The rebuffed California Democrat plans to hold her own hearing in her Judiciary subcommittee on her legislation, which is strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association. Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has also refused to back a ban on military-style weapons and high-capacity clips. Reid’s position reflects the political fact that a whole bevy of conservative Democrats do not support Feinstein’s ban.
HuffPo: Senate Judiciary Committee Includes At Least Seven Gun Owners.
* At least 7 of 18 committee members own guns (7 committee member refused to answer the question)
* Senator Leahy was champion marksman in college
* Senator Sessions has about a dozen firearms
And guess what Lindsey Graham has in his closet with him?
“I have an AR-15 at home and I haven’t hurt anybody and I don’t intend to do it,” Graham declared on Wednesday at a Judiciary Committee hearing.
We’re all relieved to hear that, Senator.
Again, I had planned to write an easy post tonight…since all the wacko debates, I’ve noticed my irritant level rising, have you all been getting that itchy feeling? The kind that makes you crinkle up your nose in disgust?
So here I am trying to write the fun Friday evening news post, and I see this crap on Memeorandum:
The last legal public hanging in America took place in 1936 in Owensboro, Kentucky. The “event” attracted 20,000 people and turned into such a sickening spectacle that many credit it with ending the practice in the U.S.
But one North Carolina Republican believes that as a country we’ve grown soft since banning public hangings and is calling for them to reinstated as a deterrent to crime. If Rep. Larry Pittman had his way, “abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers” would be first in line for the gallows:
Republican Rep. Larry Pittman, who was appointed to the District 82 House seat in October, expressed his views in an email sent Wednesday to every member of the General Assembly. […]
“We need to make the death penalty a real deterrent again by actually carrying it out. Every appeal that can be made should have to be made at one time, not in a serial manner,” Pittman wrote in the email. “If murderers (and I would include abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers, as well) are actually executed, it will at least have the deterrent effect upon them. For my money, we should go back to public hangings, which would be more of a deterrent to others, as well.”
As ThinkProgress reported, last year Republicans in South Carolina, Nebraska, and Iowa pushed legislation that would essentially legalize the murder of abortion providers. Such radical sentiments have been echoed by prominent conservatives like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who said during his 2004 campaign, “I favor the death penalty for abortionists.”
What the hell can you say to that? It is so surreal…and crazy, absolutely crazy.
Then we have the latest from Family Research Council…Tony Perkins: Star Wars ‘surrenders to gay empire’
An evangelical leader is calling on his army of followers to take action against a software company for allowing same sex relationships to be represented in a new Star Wars video game.
Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council — a hate group, according the the Southern Poverty Law Center — took to the radio to denounce Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic, a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game.
“In a new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists!” Perkins announced during his daily radio commentary. “In a galaxy not so far far away, Star Wars gamers have already gone to the dark side. The new video game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, has added a special feature: gay relationships.”
“That surprised a lot of gamers, since Bioware had made it clear in 2009 that ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ don’t exist in the Star Wars universe. Since the announcement, homosexuals have been celebrating the news, but parents sure aren’t.”
He continued: “On the game’s website, there are more than 300 pages of comments–a lot of them expressing anger that their kids will be exposed to this Star Warped way of thinking. You can join them by logging on and speaking up. It’s time to show companies who the Force is really with!”
If only we could send all these people to the moon, or at least to Alderan…prior to the Death’s Star visit. I guess to make it more “homosexual” and to get in the spirit of the man on dog debauchery, I suggest that the Death Ray be rainbow-colored.
A quick search of Bioware’s forum shows that there are probably not “300 pages of comments” on the topic — and very few if any of the commenters were “angry” about the idea. In fact, most players were more concerned that the featured had not already been released.
“[I]t does feel a bit like bioware neglected the same sex community,” a player named Romanticyde wrote. “I hope this will be fixed, in any way.”
See, why can’t these people realize that the average person doesn’t give two “Star Warped” shits about the Dark Side with the Gay Force a plenty on a video game…or in real life…and as far as the abortion providers being hung in the town square, I still don’t have any words to write about that.
That is all I have tonight…may the “break the dawn” force be with you!
(And btw, you must click that link or this one to find out what the phrase means. RuPaul’s Drag Race Slang: Tuck, Sickening, and More Drag Terms – The Daily Beast)
This is an open thread, have at it!
Oh, but one more thing…you need to see this amazing photo of the Aurora Borealis Solar Storm.
More images here Flickr: Northern Lights