Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Your day breaks, your mind aches

Bernie Sanders wants to end the for-profit prison industry, from his speech in Reno, Nevada. "When congress reconvenes in September, I will be offering legislation, I will be introducing legislation, which takes corporations out of profiteering from running jails."
* "The Story of How Bernie Sanders Became Famous Will Make You Love Him Even More."
"Top 10 Reasons Why Bernie Sanders May Actually Become President"
* Michael Tkaczevski, "Nothing to See Here: On Pooh-Poohing Sanders' Surging Crowds" - Why, one would almost think the establishment doesn't want to acknowledge that Bernie is a threat to the Clinton campaign.

Latest polls: Hillary is slowly sliding down, Bernie trending upward, latest poll - from FOX - shows Clinton at 49% and Sanders at 30% (up 8% from their poll two weeks earlier). Frankly, I'm thinking if protesters want to make any real headway, they should be demanding debates now. (A few are.) There had been at least nine Democratic debates by this time in 2007.

Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report: "#BlackLivesMatter Performs a Self-Humiliation at Hillary Clinton's Hands: It is painfully evident from the video of last week's meeting between a #BlackLivesMatter delegation and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that the organization is philosophically incapable of making demands on the political representatives of the rulers of the United States. #BLM's leadership is either confused as to the nature of political demands, or has decided to reject the most fundamental lessons of mass movement politics - indeed, of human social dynamics. Political movements are defined by their core demands. The video of #BLM's closed-door encounter with Clinton in New Hampshire, August 11 - after the five activists had been prevented from attending and, presumably, disrupting her campaign event - should become a staple for future political education classes on what happens when would-be movement operatives enter the lion's den unarmed with political demands: they are humiliated and eaten alive."

Touré F. Reed at Jacobin: "Why Liberals Separate Race from Class [...] This is not just wrong, but the formulation - which ultimately treats race as unchanging and permanent rather than a product of specific historical and political economic relations - undermines both the cause of racial equality in general and pursuit of equitable treatment in the criminal justice system in particular. [...] By the late 1980s, Moynihan's dystopian vision - which presumed that African-American poverty had taken on a life of its own, making it nearly impervious to economic intervention - had become liberal orthodoxy." One of the horrific revelations of getting onto the internet after having been physically separated from general discourse on the left in America once I moved to England was the discovery that some pretty high-information readers from back home harbored the illusion that Daniel Patrick Moynihan was some kind of great liberal. This was shocking to me, as I had been acutely aware of Moynihan's blind, sexist racism in his formulation of "benign neglect" from the bowels of the Nixon White House. See if you can figure out what is wrong with stating that black poverty and other alleged dysfunctions in the black community in America are caused by a "culture" in which black women in the workforce have better educations than black men in the workforce. It's that phrase "in the workforce" - and a less obfuscatory way to put it would be, "Black women must have better educations than black men in order to compete in the workforce." It's even more fun when you know that there's no control group, here - Moynihan made no attempt to determine a comparison with whites, although it is implied by making the statement as if this was a condition found only in the black community - but of course, it is also true that white women must have better educations than white and black men in order to compete in the workforce. Even way back then, this was obvious. And Johnson's War on Poverty had proven that economic action could change things - not only was poverty in the United States cut in half, but killings of black people by cops declined quite a bit as the black community started to accrue greater wealth and its middle class burgeoned. (But, ironically, not as much as it did during the earlier, real, New Deal era, when growth was strongest for everyone except the very rich, who were restricted in just how much of their income they could keep.) Of course, conservatives have eliminated or weakened Johnson's programs into oblivion and Clinton and Obama have given criminal banksters primacy over our economy, with the result that most of that hard-earned wealth has been stripped from the black community, so it's no surprise that racism seems so much stronger today than it was 30 years ago. Touré continues: "While centrist liberals like Presidents Clinton and Obama have encouraged conversations about race and have been willing to concede that racism can undercut the life chances of blacks and Latinos, they are more likely to trace poverty and inequality to the habits, attitudes, and culture of the poor than to the disastrous effects of labor or trade policies or even the health of a particular sector of the economy." Yes, indeed, the most useful thing so-called "liberals" can think of to fix our racial problems is to scold black people about their bad habits and ultimately blame the victims while throwing up their hands about the "intractable" problems that have been the result of their own atrocious right-wing policies.

They now want me to believe that our best bet for the Democratic nominee will be the Senator from the credit card companies. Longtime readers of The Sideshow will recall that Biden was right behind one of the most pernicious pieces of law imaginable, a celebration of usury and theft. It looks like he wants to be Hillary's Secretary of State, really, but that's just yet another reason to vote for Bernie.

David Cay Johnston reckons Donald Trump is all mobbed up, among other things, and gets a free pass from the media. Likewise, his extensive ties to the biggest Mafia figures in New York and Atlantic City, his history of cheating workers and vendors, and other unsavory aspects of his biography go largely unreported. I laid these out in an earlier National Memo column, but the major news organizations have tended to ignore skeletons in Trump's closet - again there are exceptions, namely Michael Smerconish on CNN; Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC. Trump gets a free ride because it's cheap and easy to cover what candidates say, but takes actual work to examine what they have done. And work costs more."

"This Democrat sits in a blue seat - and he wants to amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage: Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski is one of the worst Democrats - very possibly the worst - in the House: Among other things, he voted against Obamacare from the right, he's reliably anti-choice, and he's hostile to gay rights. But that thumbnail sketch doesn't fully convey just how awful Lipinski truly is in his heart. What follows will. [...] What's really insulting is that Lipinski represents a solidly blue district in the Chicago area that Obama won by 56-43 margin, so Democrats can and should do better. Pathetically, the establishment has long propped up Lipinski, even going so far as to remove the home a potential primary challenger from his district back in 2011. (Lipinski's father, Bill, was also a congressman; he handed his seat to his son years ago by retiring after the filing deadline.)"

As Atrios says, this is hilarious. Democrats passed a whole bunch of bills they knew wouldn't pass because Governor Paul LePage (R-Sloth) would veto them. But he forgot to.

"This is what the United States looks like if you scale states by population."

"The IRS Is Allegedly Being Pressured Into Taxing Televangelists Thanks To John Oliver."

Chevron attempts to enter Unist'ot'en Camp for fracking survey on unceded land. They brought an offering! Surprised they left out the beads.

Radley Balko, excerpted from his new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces, in Salon: "'Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book': The new warrior cop is out of control: SWAT teams raiding poker games and trying to stop underage drinking? Overwhelming paramilitary force is on the rise "
* "Former U.S. Marshal and DEA agent was told not to enforce drug laws in white areas."
* "Officer Brad Miller fired after it was determined he lied about murdering teenager Christian Taylor." And yet, he is not in jail, and the media is silent.

How much do you really know about the Drug War?

"New Ferguson Judge Withdraws All Arrest Warrants Issued Before 2015: Ferguson's new municipal court judge, Judge Donald McCullin, issued an order Monday to withdraw all arrest warrants issued before the end of last year. The order may affect thousands of people in Ferguson who have racked up exorbitant debt for traffic violations or other minor offenses. McCullin also reinstated all driver's licenses suspended solely because the driver failed to appear in court or pay a fine. Suspended license penalties tend to trap poor people into cycles of debt, as they have little choice but to continue driving to work and risk being arrested for driving with a suspended license. The defendants whose warrants have been withdrawn will be given new court dates. Pretrial release conditions will also change, the judge said. Rather than jail people, the court will come up with alternative payment plans, commute fines for people who can't afford them, or require community service."

"Picking Apart One of the Biggest Lies in American Politics: 'Free Trade' [..] When Washington became president in 1789, most of America's personal and industrial products of any significance were manufactured in England or in its colonies. Washington asked his first Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, what could be done about that, and Hamilton came up with an 11-point plan to build American manufacturing, which he presented to Congress in 1791. By 1793, most of its points had either been made into law by Congress or formulated into policy by either Washington or the various states. Those strategic proposals built the greatest industrial powerhouse the world had ever seen, and were only abandoned, after more than 200 successful years, during the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, and Bill Clinton (and remain abandoned to this day, as President Obama prepares to further expand 'free trade')."

"In Chicago, a new synagogue seeks Judaism minus Zionism [...] We believe that that's led to some very dark places and that the establishment of an exclusively Jewish nation-state in a land that has historically been multiethnic and multireligious has led irrevocably to the tragic issues that we're facing today."

Greek Left Platform Creates New Popular Unity Party: The new Popular Unity Party will hold up the "NO" Referendum, honor the Anti-Austerity wishes of the people, stop privatization, break up the banking system, build a new economy and exit the Eurozone."

'Go Back To Mexico' Sentiment Is Most Prevalent In States That Used To Be Mexico.

QI: Where are 1% Of Americans? "I'd very much like to say something hilarious, but something must be done!... It's slavery by the back door."

The New York Times did a story in which some ex-employees accused Amazon of being a brutal employer, and apparently Nancy Pelosi purports to be upset.
Dean Baker on Jeff Bezos, Amazon, and the Lack of Profits

"Stop the Jared Fogle 'footlong' jokes: Why do we still find prison rape acceptable, let alone funny?: I promise you this - you are not going to make the world a better place with your prison rape joke. You are not. I further promise that you can be entirely appalled by a story involving the sexual abuse of children and still not resort to gags about dropping the soap. And perhaps someday the idea that rape is not a hilarious feat of karmic comeuppance will be so widely accepted that we won't need to keep saying this. Not today, though."

"Stop calling abortion a 'difficult decision' [...] However, when the pro-choice community frames abortion as a difficult decision, it implies that women need help deciding, which opens the door to paternalistic and demeaning 'informed consent' laws. It also stigmatizes abortion and the women who need it."
"Why I am pro-Abortion, not Just Pro-Choice"

"Forgetful scientists accidentally quadruple lithium-ion battery lifespan" - Man, I hope this turns out to be true. I need some yesterday.

"Welcome to Dismaland: A First Look at Banksy's New Art Exhibition Housed Inside a Dystopian Theme Park"

I think my favorite part of this Lily Tomlin interview is where she says, " It's the same as watching what the gay community has accomplished in the past 10 years. It's staggering, the progress they've made. I want the gay community to become president - they seem to get things done."

Honor Blackman turns 90, and you still would.

Noah Ward sweeps Hugo Awards.
Jim Henley's post-Hugo summation echoes my reaction at the very beginning - a denial of service attack on better works getting on the ballot. He's also got a few interesting links up to other articles on the subject.

Peter Capaldi Shows Wil Wheaton How to Drive the TARDIS

How to grow old gracefully - advice for the ages.

Congratulations to Lines and Colors, for ten years of blogging about drawing, painting, and illustration.

Baba Yaga: The Wild Witch of the East in Russian Fairy Tales - with lots of nice illustrations.

Hypnotizing Translucent Waves In 19th Century Russian Paintings Capture The Raw Power Of The Sea

The Sea Organ in Zadar, Croatia

Jon Stewart interviews George Carlin - Unless it's just me, the audio drops out for a bit but it comes back eventually. (I've never seen Stewart looking that way - it was interesting just for that.)

John Lennon premiers "Imagine" video on The Dick Cavett Show, September 11, 1971.

Jeff Beck's Rock n Roll Party Honoring Les Paul 2010

Postmodern Jukebox, "All About That Bass"

Paul McCartney, "For No One"

Friday, August 21, 2015

Your happening world, too much

RIP: Julian Bond, Former N.A.A.C.P. Chairman and Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 75. He was a charming, witty, and very smart speaker - and in his day, possibly the best looking guy ever to be in politics, before or since. I was crushed when I woke up Sunday and his departure was the first thing I read. I always wanted him to be president - he would have been a great one.
As evidence of Julian Bond's unchanging good looks, here's a photo of him as a child, hanging out with Paul Robeson.
John Nichols in The Nation, "Julian Bond Built Coalitions, Practiced Solidarity, and Showed Us the Future."

"Is it rolling, Bob?"
* NYT: Bob Johnston, 83, Dies; Produced Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash Albums
* Guardian article, Legendary Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen producer Bob Johnston dies and obituary
* Rolling Stone Bob Johnston, Bob Dylan Producer, Dead at 83: Columbia Records staffer worked on 'Blonde on Blonde,' Johnny Cash's prison LPs and Leonard Cohen's 'Songs of Love and Hate':
And, though none of the headlines mention it, he produced The Byrds and Simon & Garfunkle, too.

RIP Yvonne Craig, 78, who played Batgirl in the Batman TV show and the green Orion slave girl in Star Trek (original series) and guested on many other popular shows of the '60s, including The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis.

Bill Scher is an old friend of The Sideshow from back when the liberal blogosphere was wild and energetic and we used to link to each other a lot between here and Liberal Oasis. But Bill is a bit more partisan and mainstream than I am, and I'm not surprised to see him with an article at Politico dropping the old line about how Bernie shouldn't be primarying Hillary because it might weaken her in the general election. Um. Well, anyway, Josh Holland says a more accurate title for this article would be "Bernie Sanders learns it's tough to herd cats," but someone thought it was better to call it "Bernie Sanders, Progressive Enemy #1." (I don't blame Bill for that - my experience is that editors always do that crap.)

It's funny, I keep hearing about how Bernie Sanders doesn't connect with people of color, but I keep seeing videos like this from people of color....

Just how bad is Bernie on the middle east? Still much better than everyone else.
* Juan Cole, "The Middle East Policy of President Bernie Sanders"
* "Bernie Sanders' Stance On Israel Has Caused Some Tension For Him In The Past"
* "Bernie Sanders Explains Puzzling Education Vote - It's Because Accountability." I need to read this one again, I'm still not sure it makes sense.

World Socialists don't think Bernie is a socialist. Actually, I think he's what we used to call a "liberal", as in "liberal government," which is the form of government Thomas Jefferson thought he was creating.

Interesting that CNN has a a fairly positive article, "Could a 'President Bernie Sanders' deliver?"

I love the way Hillary Clinton's surrogates criticize him as a socialist because he wants to expand Social Security and Medicare. I love the way they claim the media is giving Bernie a pass by never mentioning that he's a socialist - as if I have ever yet seen any coverage of him that didn't mention it. This one is very nice indeed, since the questioner is asking an intelligent question (!) for which McGaskill was completely unprepared.

Thom Hartmann on "Why Republicans Vote for Bernie" - I'm not sure Ann Coulter is serious about being afraid Bernie can beat any Republican, but she's probably right all the same. And it doesn't matter - it never has - that most Americans believe the same things Bernie does if it doesn't translate into votes. The public first has to hear his message, and with Hillary Clinton doing her damnedest to minimize debates and thereby reduce his exposure, that could be hard. And on that front, "Martin O'Malley raises legal questions with Democratic debate plan." By this time in 2007, there'd been six Democratic debates.

Ralph Nader with some good advice for Bernie Sanders.

Andy Borowitz, "Sanders Shamelessly Pandering to Voters Who Want to Hear Truth"

I realize she probably feels like she has to say this, but for me, it's a great reason to support Bernie: "Hillary Would Consider Naming Obama To Supreme Court After 2016 Win"
Hillary Clinton seems to have some rather unpleasant-looking campaign bundlers, including "Gordon Giffin, a former lobbyist for the Canadian company working to build the Keystone XL pipeline. Giffin is also on the board of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which paid Clinton $990,000 for speeches she gave immediately before announcing her presidential campaign." - and prison industry lobbyists.
* And Bruce Dixon says, "From Roosevelt Island to Rikers Island - Hillary Clinton Can't See Mass Incarceration "
* "The Clinton dynasty's horrific legacy: How 'tough-on-crime' politics built the world's largest prison system "
* In an open letter to the DNC and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz CREDO announces it will not support Hillary Clinton because of the way the debate schedule suppresses democracy - they'll take your signature.

On the other hand, "Hillary Clinton sways the doubters at Wing Ding: She attacked her speech with a vigor Iowans - and even skeptical liberals - said they'd never seen from her before."

"Donald Trump Told the Truth and You Didn't Listen."
Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic, "What Do Donald Trump Voters Actually Want?"

R.L. Stephens on the usefulness of new black leaders who connect with the white elite, "Dear #BlackLivesMatter: We Don't Need Black Leadership." I'll have to think more about whether I agree with this. It sounds true in some ways but not in all ways.

Stephen Colbert shocks South Carolina schools by funding every single teacher-requested grant

"Justice Department Says Homeless Shouldn't Be Cited, Sit/Lie Laws Unconstitutional."

"New Statue in Germany Illustrates Just How Much the Rest of the World Opposes the U.S. Police State [...] Berlin, Germany 'This past Friday life-size bronze statues of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning were unveiled in Berlin's Alexanderplatz Square in front of German politicians and activists. In Germany and much of the world, the three are considered heroes in the fight for freedom of information and speech, for their respective leaking of classified U.S. documents."

"Flamethrowers, given up by military, are now being sold to the public." What could possibly go wrong?

"When Public Servants Refuse to Serve the Public [...] Government in particular has an obligation to dismiss any employee who claims a right to discriminate against citizens."

Ryan Cooper in The Week, "America's despicable, hypocritical persecution of Chelsea Manning: Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. Army private who was imprisoned for giving thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, was recently threatened with torture for supposedly violating the conditions of her detention. As yet, the charges have not been officially verified. But Manning, who since her conviction has transitioned to female and been hired by The Guardian as a columnist, read the charges to one of her supporters, who posted them online. They are unbelievably petty. She is charged with: 1) sassing a guard; 2) spilling food on the floor; 3) possessing some books and magazines, including the Catilyn Jenner Vanity Fair issue; and 4) possessing an expired tube of toothpaste. There is to be a hearing on Aug. 18. This is exactly the kind of trumped-up nonsense a pissed-off bureaucrat out for revenge would come up with. And as punishment, she apparently faces unlimited torture, in the form of "indefinite solitary confinement.""

Laurie Penny in The New Statesman: "Europe shouldn't worry about migrants. It should worry about creeping fascism [...] The behaviour of the British and wider European elite towards migrants is not simple inhumanity. It is strategic inhumanity. It is weaponised inhumanity designed to convince populations fracturing under hammer-blows of austerity and economic chaos that the enemy is out there, that there is an 'us' that must be protected from 'them'. There is a reason why David Cameron's precise suggestion as to how to deal with the desperate human beings coming across the channel is 'more dogs and fences'. There is a reason that Angela Merkel's response, in June, to a demonstration where the bodies of drowned migrants were buried on the front lawn of the Bundestag was stony silence. All of this has happened before. All of this, in fact, is precisely what the European Union was established to prevent."

Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows.
* Medical Marijuana States See Painkiller Deaths Drop by 25%
* So, which is it? "Colorado Sells $34 Million in Marijuana in One Month: $3.4 Million Goes to Schools, and Crime Down 15%," or "Crime Is Up in Colorado: What That Tells Us About Pot Legalization"? (I admit to cracking up when I got to the claim in the last sentence that journalists "wouldn't blindly trust coal-industry statistics on the environmental effects of strip mining," since, of course, they do.)

"Matt Taibbi: America Has A 'Profound Hatred Of The Weak And The Poor'."

I'll give The Washington Post some credit for the article "Black and Unarmed" for actually being about the real issue instead of just casting it as another campaign race article. I've heard lots of people talking about the importance of BLM but damn few actually talking about police killing unarmed black people (or other people). This article is at least somewhat informative, although it still seems to express far more concern for police officers than for the citizens they kill. It's obvious to everyone that the police are out of control and something has gone very wrong with policing in America, and no, bodycams - while I think they are a great idea - are not The Answer. There is something deeply wrong with both the way cops are being armed and trained and the way politicians are using them.

"Obama Announces Ban on Sale of Military-Style Equipment to Police Departments." I almost stood up and cheered when I read that headline until I remembered that (a) this is Obama, and his good news usually turns out to be a sham, and (b) since the only charge cop departments are having to pay are shipping and handling, they already aren't selling them this stuff, they're essentially giving it away. Also, the article says that "some" equipment will no longer be sold to them, but doesn't say what. No more desk lamps? Seriously, what actual change is really being made?

Atrios reminds us that one reason some Labour Party hacks are so adamantly opposed to a Corbyn leaderships is that it would cost them their jobs.
* "Gordon Brown urges Labour not to be party of protest by choosing Jeremy Corbyn " - because there will likely be no place for Brown in a Corbyn leadership, either.

"Ex-Baltimore Cop Gives Brutally Honest Interview On Police Corruption & How The System Is Engineered Against Blacks & Latinos!" - This 30-minute video is really worth hearing.

It's official: Texas Executed An Innocent Father After Prosecutor Hid Evidence In Kids' Arson Deaths. That guy should be on trial for murder.

"It's Time to Admit It. Israeli Policy Is What It Is: Apartheid."

John Oliver exposes the disturbing world of Christian televangelists: 'This is about the churches that exploit people's faith for monetary gain'. I couldn't see the video there in "my" country, but a search on YouTube found what appears to me the same thing, and I could see this phone call.

"WATCH: Navajo Activists Chase John McCain Off Reservation: "Given the federal government's silence in the wake of the EPA's accidental Gold King Mine spill that contaminated rivers near the Navajo Nation, perhaps yesterday was not the day for U.S. Senator John McCain and Arizona governor Doug Ducey to visit the reservation. [...] To be clear, our government is doing a terrible job addressing the concerns of Natives. It is nothing short of obtuse to visit the Navajo Nation in their time of utmost need to talk about building a museum when they are in the midst of a crisis no one is paying attention to. It is foolish to think Natives would welcome anyone who has had no problem signing away sacred indigenous sites in the name of corporate greed."
* Native American Council Offers Amnesty to 220 Million Undocumented Whites
* This map is a .pdf of the tribal nations, and includes lots of names you've never heard before (including the actual name of the people who were known to whites as "Comanche"). Story here. No, no, not this map!

"How a dubious statistic convinced U.S. courts to approve of indefinite detention" - Radley Balko on fact-checking the phony statistics behind extreme laws.

Important news for convention goers: "It's About Damn Time: FCC Says Convention Centers Can't Block Wifi.

"Christians Putting Bibles in Schools Flip Out After Atheists Hand Out Humanist Literature!"
I guess I missed a similar event earlier this year: "Florida schools hand out Satanic colouring books to children"

The famous Robert Frost poem we've read wrong forever

TRUMBO, official trailer. Whew, I can't wait! (And here's an altogether different trailer for a different movie about Trumbo from the last decade.)

"Elise Andrew F*cking Loves Science" - I confess to being surprised. I've always enjoyed the posts I've seen from her page, of course, but this isn't quite how I pictured the person behind it.

Two Cellos. I'm sorry I can't figure out how to link directly to the version of this I originally saw (on Facebook), which didn't include a title so I wasn't prepared for suddenly recognizing the tune. Cracked me right up. :)

Pretty: Time-Lapse: Watch Flowers Bloom Before Your Eyes

Strangely work-safe: "The Hitachi Magic Wand Throughout Art History

Interactive kinetic sculptures by John Edmark

Miss Piggy & Nathan Fillion

Everybody has a crazy old aunt. Alas, Molly West, who was apparently too "pink" for the family, died recently, before Rick Perlstein could ever meet her. And now he knows who she was.

I haven't been able to find this on YouTube, as yet, but if you can get Facebook, this is a lovely (and short!) bit of animation, especially if you love the Beatles.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fever all through the night

I'll start with the latest headline, which made me happy: "New poll shows Sanders ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire: Sanders seen at 44 percent, Clinton with 39 percent of likely New Hampshire primary voters" - Sure, it's just one poll and it's just New Hampshire and we're more than a year out, but hey, who says he can't win?

In between sleep, I keep waking up and seeing more and more about Black Lives Matter versus Bernie. Possibly the best piece I've seen on the issue is from Doug at The South Lawn, who expresses doubt about both the efficacy of the tactics of the people who are going after Bernie and the analysis that underpins their actions, in "Black Lives Matter and The Failure to Build a Movement," where he notes that they refer to Bernie's position as "weirdo populist economic determinism" and seem to deny that these economic issues are of interest to black Americans (including the 90% of black people who say they are very much concerned about these issues). There are many articles on the web questioning the bona fides of the two women who prevented Bernie from speaking, but what bothers me is that they've said themselves that was precisely their intention. What they did not do is expand or add to the (already-existing) discussion of police violence. The media misreports that Bernie has added the issue to his speeches in response to BLM, but the fact is, Bernie isn't saying anything he wasn't saying weeks and months and years ago, it's just that the press is noticing it now (and BLM and their defenders are taking credit for it). In any case, you can watch video of Bernie's Portland rally here and judge for yourself. Meanwhile, there is no shortage of links to articles about the disruption in Seattle.
* Oliver Willis: "Right Now #BlackLivesMatter Is Wasting Everybody's Time: Representatives of the Black Lives Matters movement met with Hillary Clinton, and if you actually thought this movement was about stopping black people from being killed and reforming criminal justice issues with minorities, you should not only be disappointed but disgusted."
* Pierce at Esquire: "Bernie Sanders and Ferguson Gunfire: When Protest Loses Its Purpose"
* Seattle Times: "Black Lives Matter protesters shut down Bernie Sanders; later rally draws 15,000"
* Washington Post: "Protesters drove Bernie Sanders from one Seattle stage. At his next stop, 15,000 people showed."
* David Atkins at Washington Monthly: "BlackLivesMatter Protesters Err in Attacking Those Who Give Them the Microphone"
* "Black Lives Matter Movement Gives Bernie Sanders' Racial Justice Agenda the Push It Needs"
* Pramila Jayapal at The Stranger: "Guest Editorial: Why Saturday's Bernie Sanders Rally Left Me Feeling Heartbroken"

Somewhere along the line, I was reminded of Bill Moyers' interview with Adolph Reed last year about the demise of the American left, which seemed to me to have some salience. And here's an article by Reed from 2009, "The limits of anti-racism".

* The Hill: "Poll finds Clinton losing to four Republican candidates in Iowa [...] A recent survey by Quinnipiac showed Clinton trailing GOP candidates in the swing states of Iowa, Colorado and Virginia. Other polls have suggested voters don't trust Clinton."
"Lewis Black Endorses Bernie Sanders, Tells Bill Cosby to F Himself"
* National nurses union backs Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton
* "Almost Every Major Poll Shows Bernie Sanders Challenging or Defeating Clinton and Republicans. Here's Why" - Actually, I'm not entirely sure this piece was good support for the headline, but it's a data point that the article exists at HuffPo.
* Why Liberty University is requiring its students to attend a Bernie Sanders speech - Well, Hillary didn't accept the invitation....
* "Former Clinton Adviser Predicts Bernie Sanders Will Beat Hillary Clinton"
* Feel the Bern

Black Agenda Report: "Where's the #BlackLivesMatter Critique of the Black Misleadership Class, or Obama or Hillary?"
Also at BAR, "Why Bill Clinton's Apology and Barack Obama's Prison Drive-By, Token Clemencies Are Cynical Election Year Posturing"

Maybe Rev. Barber's Forward Together has that "All power to all the people" feel I can get behind. Here's Nicole Sanders' interview with him just after Netroots Nation, and here he is on video, delivering.

"Ferguson is our "libertarian moment," but not in the way some libertarians want you to believe"

Yes, Obama really is doing his best to make slavery acceptable.

Charlie Pierce says, "The Keystone XL Pipeline Hits a Snag: Following hearings in South Dakota to determine whether to recertify TransCanada's expired permits for the pipeline, the project must now deal with a concern for safety issue. Up in the newly formed petro-state of South Dakota, the people wishing to build our old friend, the Keystone XL pipeline, the continent-spanning death funnel, have run into a snag, having discovered that all politics is local...and unusually pissed."

MoveOn announces donor strike in response to Schumer's Iran position - Schumer is angling to replace Harry Reid as Senate leader, he needs to be stopped.

"NYPD union introduces vagrant-shaming photos to address quality-of-life issues." Hm, in the richest country in the world, who should be ashamed of people having to literally live on the streets? Time for Ezekiel 16:49, again.

Los Angeles Times fires Ted Rall and tries to ruin him completely, over BS.

Jeremy Corbyn's try for the Labour leadership seems a lot like Bernie's run, complete with "serious" people saying it's a loony idea. I always did like Corbyn, but of course, the New Labour types don't. Brian Eno likes him, too.

Meanwhile, if you're in Canada, you can geek out on this election choice.

"Global movement votes to adopt policy to protect human rights of sex workers: A crucial vote to protect the human rights of sex workers was passed today in Dublin at Amnesty International's decision-making forum, the International Council Meeting (ICM). Delegates from around the world adopted a resolution which authorized the International Board to develop and adopt a policy on the issue.'

Another High-Profile Sex Trafficking Tale May Be Falling Apart [...] It's a pretty good summary of the standard narrative on sex-trafficking these days: it's everywhere, all the time, and we don't even know it; the only way to combat it is to keep throwing cops and money and laws at it; and anyone who questions any of this is only aiding the evildoers. It's almost impossible to argue with people who buy this narrative, because the more evidence you present challenging sex trafficking's pervasiveness, the more they see proof that sex trafficking is so under the radar we need to throw more cops and money and laws at it. As we've seen time and again, however, these tactics tend to under-produce on the stopping sex trafficking front and overcompensate by targeting consenting adult sex workers - either by arresting them or labeling them victims and sending them to things like "prostitution diversion therapy" - and their clients. "

John Oliver on Sex Education, and a strangely slow Part 2. - or you can just watch the sex ed video itself at normal speed.

RIP: Frances Oldham Kelsey, FDA scientist who kept thalidomide off U.S. market, dies at 101
* George Cole, actor who played Arthur Daley, dies aged 90. The world is your lobster, and it's time again for this song.
* Wrestling legend Rowdy Roddy Piper dies aged 61. But his real name-check, of course, is for his role as Nada in John Carpenter's movie about living in a neoliberal nightmare, They Live, in which he was out of bubblegum but he kicked ass.

Strangely, they let me see the last of Jon Stewart.

A Personal Take on Go Set a Watchman from Ursula Le Guin.

"Obesity 'can cause sanctimonious, idiotic advice'."

Cthulhu Announces He's Running For President, Promises To Eliminate ISIS By Destroying Reality"

Elmer Fudd chasing Bugs Bunny and Daffy duck through an art gallery

Carol Kaye - you may not know her name, but you know her bass lines.

Bette Middler, "Fat As I Am"

Peggy Lee, "Fever"

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Anyone who had a heart

"Understanding US public policy, both domestic and foreign, is impossible without considering the role of intelligence operations, government, contracted to government and private. The roles of domestic surveillance, foreign infiltration, and exploits directed at US assets are not reported in traditional media unless the breaches are yawning. Marcy Wheeler is on this beat, and reports upon it at emptywheel.net. We discuss espionage and its role in contemporary policy making" on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd. "Our biggest adversary knows all our biggest secrets, so let's move to a beyond-secrecy regime."

I can't recommend Thandeka's 1999 article "Why Anti-Racism Will Fail" enough, because I think there's a lot of supposedly illuminating discussion of race and racism among largely white liberals that can most charitably be summed up as a load of guilty wank, and it is definitely not helping. There's a reason Bobby Seale still says the important thing is "All power to all the people."

"What Happened To Rex Henry In A Philadelphia, Mississippi Jail Cell?: Rexdale Wayne Henry, a Mississippi Choctaw Native American activist, was arrested on July 9 for failing to pay an old traffic fine. He was found dead in his Philadelphia, Mississippi jail cell on July 14. What happened?" Statistically, Amerinds are more likely than any other group to be killed by cops.

Christy has packed up Firedoglake, and the torch is being picked up at Shadowproof.

Hm, is Ezra Klein really this dumb, or did he just try to befuddle Bernie with a bunch of DLC-style talking points? Not that Bernie fell for it, but it appears a lot of other people did. (You can watch the video of the interview Ezra did with Bernie here.)

In theory, Steve Israel is no longer running the show, but his jihad against progressives continues to weaken Democrats' chances. "More than a few highly qualified progressives told me they would never-- or, in many cases, never again-- waste their time and resources running for Congress with Blue Dog Steve Israel anywhere near the DCCC."

So, we have two candidates in the race who have never and will not get the support of the Koch brothers. One is Bernie Sanders and the other is Donald Trump.

It's a sad thing that the chair of the Democratic National Committee isn't smart enough to answer Chris Matthews' stupid question about what the difference is between socialism and the Democratic Party by simply saying, "Chris, socialism is an economic idea and the Democratic Party is a political party," but at least it's obvious she can tell he's being a jerk. In any case, it's worth clicking on this link to Matthews' attack on Sanders just to see the headline Ring of Fire gave it.

David Sirota tweeted this quote from Obama: "We've put in place new rules to hold Wall Street accountable." And then said, "Oh really?" - and linked to this story: "US Prosecution of White Collar Crime Hits 20-Year Low: Report." Seems the Obama administration has become adept at making deals to make sure Wall Street isn't held accountable at all.

There has never been a shortage of STEM workers. Never.

"The Fight for American Voting Rights: Inside Ari Berman's New Book [...] In Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, journalist Ari Berman looks not just at the significance of this landmark civil rights law, but at what's happened to voting right in America since Lyndon Johnson signed the VRA in 1965." Ari talked to Sam Seder about it on The Majority Report.
* Scott Lemieux in The Week, "John Roberts has been trying to gut the Voting Rights Act for decades." Thanks, Obama.

The Restrictions Journalists Agreed To In Order To Attend The Koch Brothers' Conference
Media Experts Blast New York Times Over Glowing Profile Of Koch Brothers

If you've got self-appointed "experts" telling cops to shoot first all the time, then going into court and insisting that an officer who shot an unarmed person in the back had no choice, "Even when witness testimony, forensic evidence or video footage contradicts the officer's story," yes, the cops become the most dangerous people on the streets.
Back in April and May, Tom Sullivan did two posts on this sick situation and at least one experienced cop who says the current training cops are getting is deadly wrong.

I almost didn't read far enough into this story to find out why someone sent me the link, but if you ever needed proof that it's possible to go beyond tribe and race, then read about Bryan Stevenson's legal work to keep black kids out of prison and off death row and why there's an even bigger story there.

"Alabama case fills out the police brutality bingo card: This story out of Huntsville, Ala., reads like a checklist of police brutality cases. [...] The only thing missing here is the common racial element. In this case the officer is black, his victim is white. The other cops who lied for the black cop were also white. When it comes to covering up brutality, the blue code apparently transcends race. Progress!"

Paul Craig Roberts, "Would Somebody Please Bring Freedom & Democracy To America [...] If you're starting to feel somewhat overwhelmed, intimidated and fearful for your life and your property, you should be. Never before have 'we the people' been so seemingly defenseless in the face of police misconduct, lacking advocates in the courts and in the legislatures."

This is the way to do it: "Facebook Co-Founder Giving Millions Directly To The Poor, No Strings Attached" I'm not saying we should have to rely on private charity (the kindness of rich strangers!), but squeezing out a few paltry bucks and telling people exactly what they are allowed to spend it on is a wasteful kind of "help", it doesn't allow them to make decisions and frequently locks them into bad decisions someone else made.

90 Year Old Legendary Speaker of the House Jim Wright Denied Texas Voter ID Card

Happy Birthday Copyright Bombshell: New Evidence Warner Music Previously Hid Shows Song Is Public Domain

This is interesting: Funding for students activism has been dropping all the time, but apparently the Ford Foundation is stepping up. Can't help but wonder if something might actually come of this.

"How Medicaid forces families like mine to stay poor: 'You'll have to get rid of everything'"

There's a lot of interest in this interview Laura Flanders did with Cornel West, but I was particularly interested in his remarks on music, which were something I'd never thought about before.

"Let's Go Full Crocodile, Ladies: A documentary that disappeared more than 40 years ago - available to everyone for the first time here - is a gift to modern-day feminists. It's belligerent, it's hilarious, and it reveals exactly what the Clinton campaign is missing." Actually, the Clinton campaign is missing a great deal more than what's in this video, but never mind that. Year of the Woman is the feminist movement that really was and that you never hear about - no bra-burning, no hairy legs, but raucous humor and righteous anger versus a bunch of smug, lame, guys who didn't get it or didn't want to know. And McGovern - oh, lord, he could have done the right thing and he could have chosen Sissy Farenthold as his runningmate and he could have won, but he didn't, and he didn't, and he didn't. That is a part of the McGovern loss that you never hear about, and it's just the kind of mistake Clinton is making right now by taking the wrong side in the issues of the day.

Great moments in White House history: The Richard Nixon - Ray Conniff Incident

BIG Plans to Turn 4 London Power Plant Chimneys into Tesla Coils

7 minutes of Alfons Mucha art, with pretty music

500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art

Interview by Peter Bebergal in The New Yorker, "Samuel Delany and the Past and Future of Science Fiction"

RIP: Cilla Black, singer and TV star, dies aged 72. Her image became square and dowdy as her singing career turned into a TV career, but she had the pipes, and hers is still the definitive version of "Anyone Who Had A Heart".

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

They decide and the shotgun sings the song

They told me the radiation treatments would make me tired. They did. On the last day, they said, "It'll get worse before it gets better." They were right, but they didn't tell me how much worse. It's like my entire body is in open rebellion. Also, alien skin. Yikes. I really gotta post these links before it's suddenly September.

Stuart Zechman was on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd to discuss The Liberal Policy Agenda and popular politics.

Apparently, Barney Frank wants me to support Hillary because William Kirstol is always right. Barney Frank is tight with the banksters, you know. The only trouble with this formula is that there is plenty of reason to believe that Hillary can't beat the Republican nominee, but Bernie can. And Bill Curry at Salon figures Bernie to win the nomination. The polls are not with Hillary.

Something strange happened at Netroots Nation. To set the scene for this, you need to know that a panel that immediately preceded the Incident was about police violence and that, of course, Bernie Sanders has talked about it all the time and in fact had done so twice in the preceding week. Bernie objected to the Clintons' Tough on Crime policies back in the day and has never changed his mind about it. So then up comes the event where two presidential candidates are supposed to address the crowd, and Jose Antonio Vargas had just asked Martin O'Malley about the sharp rise in arrests of black young people in Baltimore during his administration. So, you can understand the surprise of those in attendance when a bunch of black activists came in and appeared to accuse those present of "ignoring the issue" of police violence. Oliver Willis was not impressed. Sanders arrived at the event mere moments before he was supposed to go on stage and had no idea what had been going on; he reacted to the heckling that never let up much the same way he usually reacts to white hecklers. I'm told there was actually a lot of local infighting involved that no one from outside of the area would necessarily have been prepared for. Yes, Sandra Bland's death after a traffic stop raises lots of questions, but I'm not sure repeating a Twitter tag or even her name really addresses that. It did seem to some that it was really self-promotion. The Young Turks report. Josh Holland interviewed Charles Lenchner, co-founder of People for Bernie Sanders, and Imani Gandy, AKA @AngryBlackLady, separately on his podcast. Meanwhile, nothing has stopped the cops from making up silly stories "explaining" Bland's death, and there's still no explanation for her illegal arrest. Finally, Chuck Todd tried to sell the narrative but Bernie wasn't sitting still for it.

Elizabeth Warren's speech at Netroots Nation 2015
How Politico reported it

Warren is pushing to reinstate Glass-Steagall, but Hillary doesn't seem interested. She should be. "To this day some Wall Street apologists argue Glass-Steagall wouldn't have prevented the 2008 crisis because the real culprits were nonbanks like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. Baloney. These nonbanks got their funding from the big banks in the form of lines of credit, mortgages, and repurchase agreements. If the big banks hadn't provided them the money, the nonbanks wouldn't have got into trouble. And why were the banks able to give them easy credit on bad collateral? Because Glass-Steagall was gone."
But it sounds like Marcy Kaptur's bill to restore Glass-Steagall is better than Warren's. In fact, it's curious that Warren's bill doesn't have these virtues.

Radley Balko enlisted attorney Nathan Burney, "author of The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law, to draw up some cartoons to help explain some of the more complex issues in this area of the law." In this cartoon, "What is 'qualified immunity,' and how does it work?"
And on a related subject, the Dyller Law Firm on False Or Wrongful Arrest Or Malicious Prosecution.

Conservatives started attacking the Iran deal long before they had any idea what it was going to be, mainly because they think war is a good answer to everything. They still haven't read it but they are talking like Iran and Obama got together and bombed Pearl Harbor. The Rude Pundit knows what it's about, and here's Fred Kaplan's view of Why Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Neocons Hate the Iran Deal. Just knowing they hate it is a good enough reason to be hopeful. Funny how neocons never mind holding hands with Saudi Arabia, the country that exports extremist Wahabism all over the world, resulting in minor inconveniences like 9/11. (Not sure whether you can still get Nicole Sandler's interview with Alan Grayson about his concerns about the Iran deal, but you can try here.)

Digby at Salon, "The quiet Social Security revolution: How Democrats learned to stop loving benefit cuts. Duncan Black may turn out to be the hero of the 21st century.

Okay, the Chicago school system is officially doomed: "Senate Passes Bill Letting Schools Give Education Money To Financial Consulting Firms: As budget-strapped Chicago follows a mass school closure with a new plan to layoff more than 1,400 teachers, one set of transactions sticks out: the city’s moves to refinance $1 billion in debt through complex financial instruments called swaps."

Georgia claims that publishing its state laws for free online is 'terrorism'

Froomkin, "Justice Department Watchdog Complains He's Been Curbed: The Justice Department’s internal watchdog said Thursday that his independence has been undermined by the department’s refusal to let him see information derived from wiretaps or national security letters without special permission. The department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued a 68-page opinion Thursday saying that Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s office should not be granted access to several different kinds of typically confidential material unless there is a clear law-enforcement or counterintelligence purpose - and that the department’s lawyers, not the inspector general’s, would make that determination. That would appear to rule out many of the typical goals of oversight, such as rooting out fraud, incompetence, rule-breaking and cover-ups."

UK Police Confirm Ongoing Criminal Probe of Snowden Leak Journalists: A secretive British police investigation focusing on journalists working with Edward Snowden’s leaked documents remains ongoing two years since it was quietly launched, The Intercept can reveal. London’s Metropolitan Police has admitted it is still carrying out the probe, which is being led by its counter-terrorism department, after previously refusing to confirm or deny its existence on the grounds that doing so could be 'detrimental to national security.'"

Some days it just seems like Obama is taking the piss. It's bad enough they claim all these trade deals will "create jobs", which of course they won't, but they tacitly acknowledge that they will destroy jobs when they start talking about "trade adjustment" to give meagre help to those who lose jobs. And then insist we have to pay for it (even though hardly anyone will need it!)... out of Medicare! William Rivers Pitt on Killing a Nation With Euphemisms: TPP-Eats-Medicare Edition.

McKinney Police Chief says cop who attacked girl at pool party was out of line, fails to defend him.

I was dismayed to see people who should know better asserting that Donald Trump is the craziest clown in the GOP clown car. Leaving aside that these people clearly haven't noticed Cruz and Santorum, I have evidence that Trump is less crazy than most of the Democratic leadership, right here. A Democratic president should have said that years ago, dammit.

The Young Turks got together with Amex, interestingly, to make a documentary about the finances of the poor, Spent: Looking For Change. Being poor is expensive.

"Class vs. Special Interest: Labor, Power, and Politics in the United States and Canada in the Twentieth Century" - or why American pundits' explanation of the decline of unions is all wrong.

The tech start-up plan

I need to stick Stirling Newberry's website, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, over on my sidebar, as soon as I can remember how.

Dan Perkins celebrates 25 Years of Tom Tomorrow.
Tom Tomorrow on the gun argument

Porn Sex vs Real Sex: The Differences Explained With Food

'Lost' material by Monkees star Micky Dolenz released.

Book review comparing To Kill a Mockingbird to Go Set a Watchman

A generous gift from Ursula Le Guin to the writing community

Apparently, it's the return of Bloom County.

And, apparently, the Lone Gunmen are coming back from the dead!

Mr. Peabody adopts Sherman and invents the Wayback; plus, Rapunzel

Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly - together.

The Who live, 1978, final performance with Keith Moon, "Won't Get Fooled Again"

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

She's so glad, she's tellin' all the world

Jay Ackroyd got to interview a much-read and much-admired economist on Virtually Speaking: "Henry Jacob Aaron is an American policy analyst and economist. He is the Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Senior Fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, where he has been employed since 1968, author and co author of a plethora of public policy publications, including the seminal Setting National Priorities series analyzing the US budget."
And David Dayen and Digby talked about Greece on Virtually Speaking Sundays.

Atrios has a good, quick primer and summing-up of what's going on with Greece right here, a lot more straightforward than anything you'll read in most newspaper accounts. Read it all but here's the pull-quote: "Whatever it is, it ain't democracy. It's banksterocracy. The concept of central bank independence was, once upon a time, thought to be necessary to prevent irresponsible governments from doing, or being perceived as doing, irresponsible things with the money supply. Now the point of central bank independence is to hand immense power to a bunch of unelected unaccountable people engaged in revolving door careers with the banking system. Let's continue laughing at the silly Greeks and their silly corruption."
Meanwhile, the Germans (who owe their quick recovery after WWII and continued success in large part to the Marshall Plan and a generous welfare state), don't exactly have a leg to stand on when they whine about Greece not paying their debts, since Germany hasn't, either.

Alan Grayson is in - to be the Senator with Guts!

Glen Ford on Eric Holder's next trip through the corporate revolving door.

"TiSA WikiLeaked: Winners & losers of multinational trade deal [,,,] Leaked documents of TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement) negotiations reveal that the treaty is looking to undermine 'governments involved in the treaty' by supporting multinational companies instead of local businesses, according to a WikiLeaks press release. The revelations come just one week before TiSA talks resume on July 6. Negotiations have been taking place in secret since early 2013. [...] Even after the deal is finalized, WikiLeaks said that the TiSA documents are meant to remain secret for five years."

The Young Turks on What Abigail Fisher's affirmative action case is really about

America loved the marriage equality ruling - at least on Twitter.

Isn't it funny that Claire McCaskill's campaign stumping for Hillary is saying all the stuff that would make people want to vote for Bernie? Meanwhile, not sure this will endear her, either.

Just imagine if it had been the other way around. "Man Admits To Plotting To Massacre Muslims, Judge Sets Him Free Anyway."

"Florida Judge Says It's Illegal to Force Women to Wait 24 Hours Before Terminating a Pregnancy: Florida Chief Circuit Judge Charles Francis blocked an intrusive bill on Tuesday that was signed by unpopular Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), reported CBS News. The bill would have required a one-day waiting period for women seeking to have an abortion."

The Prosecutor Who Says Louisiana Should ‘Kill More People' [...] Within Louisiana, where capital punishment has declined steeply, Caddo has become an outlier, accounting for fewer than 5 percent of the state's death sentences in the early 1980s but nearly half over the past five years. Even on a national level Caddo stands apart. From 2010 to 2014, more people were sentenced to death per capita here than in any other county in the United States, among counties with four or more death sentences in that time period. Robert J. Smith, a law professor at the University of North Carolina whose work was cited in Justice Breyer's dissent, said Caddo illustrated the geographic disparity of capital punishment. But he said this analysis did not go far enough. Caddo, he noted, has bucked the national trend in large part because of one man: Dale Cox.

GREECE'D: We Voted ‘No' to slavery, but ‘Yes' to our chains: [...] fact is that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Cruella De Vil of the Eurozone, will ignore the cries of the bleeding Greeks and demand we swallow austerity - or lose the euro. But, so what if we lose the euro? The best thing that can happen to Greece, and should have happened long, long ago, is that Greece flee the Eurozone. That's because it is the euro itself that is the virus responsible for Greece's economic ills."
* "Greece Nazi occupation: Athens asks Germany for €279bn"

Stanley Greenberg on A New Formula for a Real Democratic Majority - Basically, you want Democrats who sound like Democrats.

"The £93bn handshake: businesses pocket huge subsidies and tax breaks: Guardian's analysis reveals that hidden subsidies, direct grants and tax breaks to big business amount to £3,500 a year given by each UK household [..] Many of the companies receiving the largest public grants over the past few years previously paid little or zero corporation tax, the analysis shows. They include some of the best-known names in Britain, such as Amazon, Ford and Nissan. The figures intensify the pressure on George Osborne, the chancellor, just as he puts the finishing touches to his budget. At the heart of Wednesday's announcement will be his plans to cut £12bn more from the social welfare bill."

Lee Camp on Obama's Legacy - Gay marriage became legal because gay activists kept fighting for it, not because Obama did anything. Obama gave us TARP and undercut health insurance reform and prevented criminal banksters from being prosecuted and made sure the Bush administration paid no price for torture, but no, he is not responsible for gay marriage being legal.

A Johnson & Johnson's heir finds that the 1% really don't want to talk about how they've vacuumed resources out of the country.

I was always disappointed in the Cosby show for a number of reasons. For one thing, nothing about it reflected the genuinely funny comedian who warned me about ice cream and tonsillectomies or a $100 car or Sheldon Leonard. But there was also one very obvious other problem.

Macy's fireworks.

Your widely spread-out Grateful Dead Ripple moment.

This is not work-safe. And yes, I know someone who says that's just how it was where she grew up back home in Texas - they knew they couldn't "do it" until they got married, so they did everything else.

Live at Shea Stadium, "I Feel Fine".

Sunday, July 5, 2015

I thought our little wild time had just begun

"Legacy racism. Guns, statutes, and other artifact of our political, and social systems need to go, Fasttracking secret trade agreements. Commentary from Andrew Jerrell Jones, Stuart Zechman and Jay Ackroyd," on Virtually Speaking Sundays

The Supremes startled many people by deciding King v. Burwell in support of the PPACA and Obergefell v Hodges in favor of same-sex marriage, and Ben & Jerry's renamed its Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream to celebrate the latter decision. Meanwhile, Antonin Scalia impressed many with his incoherent dissent in which he (this is Scalia, remember) complained that the court majority was a threat to American democracy Didn't worry about that much in Bush v. Gore, did ya, Tony? The Mary Sue celebrated, and The Huffington Post asked the nearest hippie as per Scalia's advice.

Some people were just always cool, and they stayed cool even as they got older and greyer. Bernie Sanders is one of them, and the kids know it. "Brendan Eprile remembers the first time he saw Bernie Sanders on TV. Eprile was an 8-year-old growing up in Vermont, and he recalls 'being amazed, because I understood what he was talking about, unlike all the other politicians.' Sanders was on his soapbox about Iraq -or maybe it was economic inequality? In any case, the famously blunt independent from Burlington had him riveted. Jonah Ragir has a similar recollection. When he was young, he says, his grandmother was watching Sanders on C-SPAN in her California living room. 'I asked my grandma who he was, because he didn't sound like the other guys who were speaking,' Ragir says. 'He wasn't "boring" and he wasn't "lying," were the words I used as a little kid.'" And here's a completely different kid speaking up for Bernie.

At Naked Capitalism, Yves and Robert Scheer on The Bankruptcy of America's Elites: "And I have spent my life interviewing people generally around power, in government and so forth. I've traveled with Nelson Rockefeller and David Rockefeller. You know, I have interviewed people who became president, from Richard Nixon, Clinton, and so forth and so on. And if I were to try to explain, the big shift that I've seen is long-term as opposed to short-term, that most of the people I had interviewed in the first stage of my career, say somewhere up until 1970, were people that at least were concerned what their grandchildren might think. You know? There was either through family, inherited wealth, or going to certain schools, or there was some sense of social responsibility, you know, that you could find, that we have to leave our mark, we have to leave it a better place, we have to - and just for our place in history, that it mattered. Okay? So you could be concerned, oh, we'd better get with the civil rights movement, because otherwise we're going to fall apart, or we'd better care about the economic condition of the rest of the world, because otherwise it will rebel, we'd better worry about the living condition of our own people here or they'll rise up with pitchforks and toss you out. I think what happened is we went into this madcap period of short-term greed."

"Congressional Democrats Introduce Ambitious New Bill to Restore the Voting Rights Act." To me, that's not good enough. It should simply be illegal *everywhere* to try to prevent citizens from exercising their right to vote, including to use any method that is a known voter-suppression strategy. And that would overcome the Supremes' objection, too.

"Christie's Conspiracy: The Real Story Behind the Fort Dix Five Terror Plot [..] For the Duka family, the arrests marked a tragic turn. They had escaped the turmoil of the former Yugoslavia and managed to start anew in the United States, only to find three sons publicly branded as terrorists. Dritan, Shain and Eljvir, seized when they were 28, 26 and 23, would be convicted of conspiring to kill U.S. military personnel and sentenced to life in prison, devastating the Duka family and putting an end to their nascent American dream. Beyond the sensational headlines is the story of paid FBI informants with long criminal histories who spent a year working to befriend the brothers and enlist them as terrorists. This effort, both expensive and time-consuming, nevertheless failed to convince the Duka brothers to take part in a violent attack. Indeed, over the course of hundreds of hours of surveillance, the plot against Fort Dix was never even raised with them."

Ettlin thinks it's time to write a whole new state song for Maryland, to replace An anthem from the Confederacy .

Over here they're calling it TTIP, but even the Evening Standard is beginning to view it with alarm.

We really need to rethink our relationship with Saudi Arabia. And, of course, the oil industry.

I have a dumbphone, but it's not this dumb.

Hefner: classier than you think.

I thought this was fun.

And this looks like it will be fun for some of us.

Rainbow unicorn cookies

Simels is having fun going all gay all of a sudden.