But before we get to that history, it's worth going over exactly what happened this week to our erstwhile defender of white people, Mr. Limbaugh. Here's the falsehood he peddled to his listeners on Tuesday:
There’s a professor…a liberal professor named Noel Ignatiev, and he is actually teaching—and I am not making this up—he is actually teaching and telling white male students to commit suicide to benefit society.In mid-stream Limbaugh was informed by one of his staffers that the story of this lecture was actually a hoax. But, if the comment boards on the right-wing websites that also picked up the same tale are any indication, right-wingers had no problem believing it was true. And think about the absurd sense of victimhood a white person would have to feel to (a) believe this actually happened, and (b) be concerned that such a sentiment could have any effect on his or her actual life.
This stuff plays into exactly the kind of white identity politics right-wingers like Limbaugh feed into. The right-wing base's political strategy now consists in large part of stoking white fear that the all-powerful minorities (ha!) and their liberal, white, race-traitor allies are going to somehow oppress white people. The practitioners of white identity politics have become experts at playing the victim.
Fear-mongering of course is not limited to the right or to race-baiters, it is as old as the Republic, as Richard Hofstadter explained in his still essential classic essay, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." Limbaugh, however, has made ginning up race-based anxiety among whites a real specialty of his.
Follow me below the fold for one of the most disgusting examples from Limbaugh's decades as a media figure.
My wife has lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease. This disease is characterized by flares. Whenever a lupus sufferer is flaring, bad things happen to the body. In previous flares, my wife has had renal problems, nervous system problems, lung problems and other organ involvements. In one particular flare, my wife started losing her hair. As one of the least life-threatening manifestations of the disease, one would think that it should not matter as much as other critical organ involvements. I was so wrong. Her loss of hair seemed to affect her more than the other life-threatening organ involvements that she had.
I just did not get it. In solidarity with her, I cut off all of my hair and I've been bald since. She was touched by that. My baldness, however, did not remove the sting of losing her hair even as she attempted to make me believe otherwise.
At our Thanksgiving gathering a few couples started discussing women issues. I brought up the hair incident. It turns out that one of the women there was a 10-year breast cancer survivor. Her husband did the same thing when she went through chemo and lost her hair. This breast cancer survivor knew she was going to lose her hair, and she was upset that her choice was hair or death.
My wife did not have a choice in losing her hair—the disease took it. The breast cancer survivor had a false choice in losing her hair—a drug she took to save her life took it. Most women have an attachment to hair that, as empathetic as I attempt to be, I still cannot understand.
Is it a male-dominated society that somehow looks at women’s hair as an ideal? Have men instilled this into women’s psyche? Neither my wife nor the breast cancer survivor could answer that question definitively. What they did know is they felt that they lost control.
Over the last several years, Republicans have been chipping away at women’s rights, rights women have fought for for decades. Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a bill to equalize pay between women and men. Texas, Wisconsin and many other states have circumvented women’s rights to an abortion by forcing trans-vaginal or abdominal ultrasounds in an attempt to coerce women. They have further eroded women’s rights by forcing impossible regulations on abortion clinics that are causing many to close. This will leave many disadvantage women with no recourse.
Republicans are aiding and abetting public companies that are attempting to restrict women’s abilities to get employer-based insurance provided contraception. This is an economic and medical attack on the sovereignty and health of women’s own bodies.
Republicans complain that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) forces young men to pay for insurance that includes mammograms. That is an implicit support for charging women more than men for health insurance.
Republican-controlled states like Texas and North Carolina have instituted voter ID laws that make it more difficult for women to vote. Because women driver’s license name changes tend to lag behind their married legal name on voter registration rolls, it affects them disproportionately.
Since the 2012 elections, Democrats have been leading in the generic poll for Congress. Over the last few weeks, there has been a 10-point swing towards Republicans. Republicans now lead 49 to 47. Many blame the abysmal launch of the healthcare.gov website for this reversal.
The reality is that women make up a larger portion of the voting electorate. The rights of women are under attack for financial, patriarchal and ideological reasons. Will women really allow a failed website rollout to have them elect those that would re-impose restrictions they have fought for over many decades? Are women really ready to entrust their freedoms to those intent on relegating them back to male dominion?
My wife and the cancer survivor did not have a real choice in losing something dear to them. All women that vote, however, have the right and ability to vote their economic interests, their bodily control interests and their equal access interests. Will women follow the path of many oppressed groups and either vote against their interests or not participate in the election process at all? Or will women revolt in 2014 to rid Washington of all those opposing their interests? The results of the 2014 election will affect women’s rights for decades to come.
- This New York Times article details the turmoil within the administration, the Democratic caucus, and the insurance industry over the last two months since the launching of healthcare.gov.
The story of how the administration confronted one of the most perilous moments in Mr. Obama's presidency—drawn from documents and from interviews with dozens of administration officials, lawmakers, insurance executives and tech experts working inside the HealthCare.gov "war room"—reveals an insular White House that did not initially appreciate the magnitude of its self-inflicted wounds, and sought help from trusted insiders as it scrambled to protect Mr. Obama's image.
- As bad as the rollout of the Obamacare website was, the fact that most Americans are optimistic that the problems will be fixed should send shivers down the spine of all those who oppose it.
The latest CNN/ORC International poll showed that 53 percent of Americans think it's too early to characterize the health care law as a failure, while 54 percent expressed optimism that the problems currently plaguing Obamacare be resolved.
- Paul Krugman's positive outlook on Obamacare going forward.
I suggested yesterday that we're probably heading for a turning point in the health reform discussion. Conservatives are operating on the assumption that it's an irredeemable disaster that they can ride all the way to 2016; but the facts on the ground are getting better by the day, and Obamacare will turn into a Benghazi-type affair where Republicans are screaming about a scandal nobody else cares about.
- It is the political movement of the disenfranchised most of us should be waiting to embrace.
Firebrand Congressman Alan Grayson hailed Black Friday civil disobedience in an afternoon interview, saying the protests by Wal-Mart workers and supporters show "the dissatisfaction of the middle class" since the 2008 financial crash "coming to a slow boil." "If one person falls out of the middle class, that's sad," Grayson told Salon. "But if millions of people fall out of the middle class, that creates a backlash which is being seen all over the country, and will potentially create a new political movement of the disenfranchised."
- The return of Liberalism. So it is New York City. Hey, this supposed Liberal city voted in a Republican/Independent for the last 0 years.
To observers as well as Democratic legislators, the last election marked a major change in New York City politics, with a new breed of highly liberal politicians ready to enact a series of progressive policies that would have been dead on arrival under Bloomberg or his predecessor Giuliani.
- Charlie Cook looks at President Obama's poll from a numerical and statistical perspective. Ana Marie Cox views it from the gut. Charlie Cooks numbers validate Ana Marie Cox's gut.
- Select tweets:
A few weeks ago there was an election in Virginia where the polls were off by a fair amount—the margin of victory for the Democrat in the governor's race was about five points less than the polling average had predicted.
The question I wanted to answer is, just how unusual is it for such a polling miss to occur?
The simple answer: it's pretty much normal when there's a third candidate polling more than 5 percent.
We already know that a substantial portion of polling error is related to Obama's 2008 vote share in that state, so we need to take that into account when considering what the typical polling error would be.
Here's a graph of the error in the margin predicted by polling plotted against Obama's 2008 vote share, for elections between 2003-2013 with more than five polls in the polling average.
Learn more about what this graph means below the fold.
Winthrop's "Counting on Grace."
With kids not learning labor history in school, it's going to have to come from other sources if they're going to really understand that, once upon a time, kids like them worked in factories and mines, that they did this because those factories and mines didn't pay their parents enough to support a family. If they rely on school they won't really learn that it was workers organizing together into unions that led to the 10-hour day and then the eight-hour day, to weekends and overtime and minimum wage. They definitely won't learn the value of solidarity, of coming together around what you have in common and knowing that you share your fate with your coworkers and the people in your community, that you are stronger together than apart, and that struggle—even struggle that is painted as unreasonable or radical at the time—is an integral part of changing the world for the better.
Popular culture isn't exactly in your face with that message these days, either. But if you look around, there are some wonderful books and movies for kids that do convey some of the history and some of the values of worker strength. With the gift-giving holidays coming up, I've compiled a list of suggestions.
Just as the mission of Daily Kos Labor isn't to talk only about unions but to offer a worker-centered perspective on the economy, these books and movies aren't only about unions or specific strikes or even exactly about work. Some of them are—from the Lowell mills to the Los Angeles janitors strike of 2000—but others are about life in a coal town or as a migrant worker; about solidarity, regardless of if that's the name that's used; about the ways that people (and animals) find freedom and dignity in even the most oppressive economic systems.
I'm starting off with some of my personal favorites; below the fold you'll find a longer, but still not comprehensive, list, with less in the way of description.
- Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type, by Doreen Cronin, is for the really little ones. It's about farm animals bargaining collectively and ultimately going on strike, helped by their access to an old typewriter. It's deft and light-handed and funny, but it gets the message across.
- If you were a girl in the 1980s, maybe you came across the Sunfire romances. Each one featured a teenage girl in a specific historical setting—an Irish girl fleeing the potato famine, working as a maid in Boston; a girl heading west with a wagon train—who had to choose between two suitors. They're out of print now, but there are still used copies floating around the internet, and Sunfire's Joanna, by Jane Claypool Miner, is one of my all-time favorite labor books.
In 1836, Joanna Adams goes to Lowell, Massachusetts from her family's Vermont farm to work in the mills. She has no plans to join any labor organizing efforts—she just wants to earn money, help her family make ends meet, and get ahead herself. But oppressive conditions and pay cuts challenge her determination to stay on the good side of the bosses. Though it's a formulaic series romance for teenagers, Joanna really does have politics. And if there was any doubt that its author intended it that way, one of Jane Claypool Miner's other Sunfire books is Jennie. The centerpiece event of Jennie is the Johnstown Flood of 1889, but even before the dam breaks, something for which Jennie unequivocally blames wealthy factory owners, Jennie's view of the world is this:
Her father had died working to defend the property of a rich factory owner named Anthony Wright. Two days after the funeral, Mr. Wright had turned the Brooks out of their home without an extra dollar to pay their moving expenses. Jennie had been ten, but she'd clearly understood that the rich factory owners were the enemies of the poor workers.So, yeah. Jane Claypool Miner deserves major credit for giving teenage girls a solid class analysis in the (successful) guise of historical romance. Joanna has the more fully drawn characters and romance, and the character's trajectory from wanting the approval of her bosses to ultimately joining a walk-out is perhaps more interesting than Jennie (correctly) disliking and distrusting rich factory owners from start to finish.
- Lassie Come-Home, by Eric Knight. Lassie, really? Yes. Put the execrable "Timmy's down a well" television show out of your mind and for that matter avoid the shortened picture-book versions of the original. Lassie Come-Home is a beautiful story about class and money and pride and love and loyalty.
Sam Carraclough has always refused to sell his collie, Lassie, at any price:
The village knew all about that. And that was why Lassie meant so much to them. She represented some sort of pride that money had not been able to take away from them.But Lassie will have none of it, and travels 400 miles to be with the family she loves.
Yet, dogs are owned by men, and men are bludgeoned by fate. And sometimes there comes a time in a man's life when fate has beaten him to the point that he must bow his head and decide to eat his pride so that his family may eat bread.
- The Littlest Horse Thieves, a movie, is set in early 20th century England, where the ponies who haul coal within a mine are being replaced by machinery, and three children work to save them from slaughter. It's an affecting story, not without its serious and sad moments, but it is after all Disney, which is more or less a guarantee of appropriateness. The movie does a lovely job capturing the threat of mechanization to human jobs, and the degree to which workers were at the mercy of their employer, through the story of the ponies; the children are clever and resourceful without being all-knowing.
The Littlest Horse Thieves is not the easiest to get ahold of—Netflix doesn't have it, my local library didn't have it, and the DVD is relatively expensive. Amazon does have it on instant video, and of course, you may get lucky elsewhere.
Continue reading below the fold.
As the story fell into tatters, Logan reappeared on 60 Minutes on November 10 to deliver an apology. However, this apology was far from sufficient, implying as it did that Logan and her associates had done their job, but had simply been taken in by a con man, and the gist of the story was still accurate, since it was only a single source that had proven unreliable. At that point I was one of many who wrote in disappointment and in hope that CBS wouldn't let this drop with only Logan's weak apology.
The good news is, they didn't, and just as it was important that we stand up to rail against CBS when they were in the wrong, we should acknowledge their efforts to address the issues. In my previous diary, I pointed up specific areas of concern, and it's worth looking at CBS reaction to see how they viewed these issues. The statement of the issues, found below the fold, is from the article that ran here on Nov 13, and the CBS response is from the memo prepared by Al Ortiz, CBS News' executive director of standards and practices.
Like a pack of slavering Baskerville hounds, the card-carrying members of "RRR" (acronym meaning varies—rabid Republican racists, religiously race-baiting right-wingers, reactionary racist Repubs, right-wing racist rhetoricians, or your choice) are on the scent of their new meme of "racialism" and their target is one of President Barack Obama's nominee's—Debo Adegbile.
Adegbile was nominated to head-up the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
Seems like there is a logic to selecting a lawyer to head up a civil rights division who has actual experience with (gasp) civil rights litigation. Adegbile has it.
Debo P. Adegbile is Senior Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, a position he has held since July 2013. Previously, from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Adegbile held a number of roles at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., including Special Counsel, Acting President and Director-Counsel, Associate Director-Counsel and Director of Litigation, Associate Director of Litigation, and Assistant Counsel.
Debo Adegbile is one of the preeminent civil rights litigators of his generation and a bipartisan consensus builder. His experience as the two-time defender of the Voting Rights Act in the Supreme Court puts him in a class of his own when it comes to understanding the application and enforcement of complex civil rights issues. Add that to his stellar career over ten years at the nation’s leading civil rights law firm—the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund—as well as his work in the Senate and in the private sector, and it becomes clear that Adegbile’s skill set, talents, and experience make him the perfect choice to head the Civil Rights Division.The problem for RRR's is that Adegbile is black. Worse—from their perspective—he is black and a veteran of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (who they see as anti-white), and from a birtherist nativist xenophobic perspective clearly not "Amurrican" enough.
Adegbile’s life mirrors that of the American Dream. A son of immigrants from Ireland and Nigeria, Adegbile grew up in poverty with periods of homelessness to work his way through law school and one day defend American democracy in the Supreme Court.
Millions of Americans rely on the Civil Rights Division to enforce housing, education, and employment discrimination laws, hate crime laws, the Violence Against Women Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the core civil rights statutes that allow all of us to take part in the fullness of American life. Debo Adegbile is the right nominee to head the Civil Rights Division. We call on the Senate to swiftly confirm him.
There's that surname of his—Adegbile, which is Nigerian, from his father. And he's the son of parents who, according to Richard Cohen, are probably causing a lot of gagging, since his mom is Irish.
Follow me below the fold for a journey into RRR reactionary land.
After Francis’s latest headline-making exhortation, which roves across the entire life of the church but includes a sharp critique of consumer capitalism and financial laissez-faire, politically conservative Catholics have reached for several explanations for why ... they aren't the new "cafeteria Catholics."Well, pardon my French, but damn that's handy. Pronouncement I like? Infallible! Pronouncement I don't like? Eh, not in the Pope's wheelhouse. Because, you know, things like policy toward women is a moral issue while policy toward the poor is an economic issue. And the Pope just don't do economy. All good here. Some might even say that's like, hmm, being a cafeteria Catholic, turbo edition.
... they have insisted on the difference between church teaching on faith and morals, and papal pronouncements on economic issues, noting that there’s nothing that obliges Catholics to believe the pontiff is infallible on questions of public policy.
...Finally, it’s true that there is no Catholic position on, say, the correct marginal tax rate, and that Catholics are not obliged to heed the pope when he suggests that global inequality is increasing when the statistical evidence suggests otherwise
The rest of the article consists of Douthat lecturing the Pope on capitalism because, you know, the Pontiff may not be infallible, but conservatives always are. Even better are his notes explaining the proper understanding of Catholic teaching.
...Catholic social teaching, properly understood, emphasizes both solidarity and subsidiarity — that is, a small-c conservative preference for local efforts over national ones, voluntarism over bureaucracy.Won't someone please explain to the Pope what it means to be Catholic? And while you're at it, please, please show that bear where to find the woods.
Then come inside. We've got other pundits to visit.
And so, this week, the administration was forced to up its game.
However, all they ended up doing is proving how awesome modern conservatism is.
The reality: The memo had nothing to do with the October 1 launch of healthcare.gov. It concerned a component of the website that is not planned to launch until April 2014 and would only be used by insurance companies to supply information about their plans to the health care exchanges. The reason key technical staff did not see the memo was that it was not relevant to them, had no bearing on the October 1 launch, and had nothing to do with personally identifiable information.
Stuff like this keeps on happening with Darrell Issa. He makes a sweeping allegation of malfeasance, and the claim proves to be incorrect. It happens often enough that the default position should be to assume that he's lying. Yet all too often, media outlets regurgitate his garbage.
It's easy to see why Issa would lie: It's great politics for him. But reporters shouldn't enable him, no matter how many clicks it buys them.
It's familiar territory for Issa, who tends to shoot first and ask questions later. From Benghazi to the IRS to Fast and Furious, almost every investigation he has helmed has blown up in his face.Is anything new ever discovered? For all the talk of oversight, the Issa-led committee has done precious little of it, or at least has almost nothing to show for it. We don't know anything about the eff-ups in implementation of the HealthCare.gov website that we would not have known without Issa. The Issa investigation of how the IRS investigated prospective tax-exempt political organizations shed no light on the subject, but instead actively misrepresented agency actions in a way that a better oversight committee might want to itself review. Part of this is due to Issa's obsession with using the committee as partisan vehicle—for example, "Benghazi" as vehicle for harming Hillary Clinton, period, regardless of what any actual evidence might turn up. A larger part of it, though, is that Issa is so enmeshed with conspiracy theorizing that the things he wishes to "investigate" are very often (Benghazi, cough) based on fringe theories and conspiratorial delusions. It's small wonder when the committee then comes up with scant evidence of the conspiracy, but that never seems to temper Issa going forward.
Democrats can't help but marvel and feel compelled to offer some advice. "Not that I want to be calling attention to it, but he totally wasted a huge opportunity and got nothing," a Democratic staffer familiar with the oversight process, granted anonymity to speak candidly, said of Issa's hearing last week. For one, the staffer noted, Issa failed to mention anything about a report that HealthCare.gov might not be ready by the administration's Nov. 30 deadline. "From our perspective, they had so much that they could have asked, but nothing new was discovered."
From Ted Cruz's new McCarthyism to Issa's various and colorful explorations of other people's fever dreams, the intellectual devolution of the party doesn't just manifest itself in conspiracy-laced campaigns (see: Obama birtherism, "death panels"). They're governing as conspiracy theorists as well. ACORN continues to be regularly defunded in new legislation on the off chance that it still secretly exists, somewhere, as the malevolent secret pro-Obama force that various lunatics are convinced of. We had legislators beside themselves at the thought that a government agency might be buying too much ammunition, a concern lifted directly from conspiracy theories peddled before Obama had even taken office. Go to various strongly-Republican states and legislation meant to battle imaginary plots hatched by the U.N. or the menace of creeping sharia are, at this point, commonplace.
Like a remarkably large portion of his party and base, Darrell Issa suffers from being a conspiracy theorist. More specifically, Issa suffers from being a conspiracy theorist with enough actual power to accidentally disprove his own conspiracy theories, which must be among the more terrible things that can happen to a conspiracy theorist. So far, though, there's no sign that he's taken any of this as a learning experience. He's always convinced that everything the committee deals with is a likely conspiracy that leads directly to the door of the White House, and whether or not he's doing that because he is a partisan hack who can think of no better use for the committee's time or whether he really, truly believes that all bad things in the world emanate from that bad man in the Oval Office, the result is the same. He's bad at it, the committee he chairs has become a national running joke, and as much as we all love a good joke there is probably some actual oversight that ought to be going on that isn't, thanks to Issa's propensity to constantly break off his leash in order to go chase cars.
What's coming up on Sunday Kos ...
- Riled-up Republican racists rant over another African name, by Denise Oliver Velez
- Give credit to CBS, by Mark Sumner
- Beyond the Margin of Error: The Virginia polling errors in context, by dreaminonempty
- The sudden (and somewhat premature) pundit obsession with 2010, by Steve Singiser
- Rush Limbaugh and the long, sordid history of pitting whites against blacks in America, by Ian Reifowitz
- Could Charlie Crist save Florida from climate change, by VL Baker
- Will women revolt in 2014 or let others control their interests, by Egberto Willies
- Changes in driving behavior, especially among the young, should spur reworked transportation policy, by Meteor Blades
- Stories of solidarity: Children's books and movies about labor and organizing, by Laura Clawson
|Every week Daily Kos diarists write dozens of environmentally related posts. Many don't get the readership they deserve. Helping improve the odds is the motivation behind the Green Diary Rescue. In the past seven years, there have been 251 of these spotlighting more than 15,294 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 45 more that appeared in the past seven days. That makes for lots of good reading during the spare moments of your weekend. [Disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary in the rescue does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.]|
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Southern Illinois Unprepared for Social Costs of Fracking Boom—by Willinois: "The Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence is concerned southern Illinois is unprepared for the social costs of a potential fracking boom. Most attention is given to the environmental consequences of fracking, but a Pennsylvania study by Food & Water Watch is bringing focus to social impacts on rural areas. Arrests for nuisance crimes, drug use and sexually transmitted disease rates went up disproportionately in fracking regions. I spoke with ILCADV's executive director, Vickie Smith, who says that law enforcement and social service agencies in fracking areas, such as North Dakota and Montana, have struggled with increases in domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes that come with fracking booms. Dickinson, N.D., for example, saw a 300 percent increase in assault and sex offense cases."
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Bombshell: Methane in U.S. atmosphere 50% higher than previously thought—by VL Baker: "Methane may be a bigger global warming issue than thought, according to a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Methane is 21 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, the most abundant global warming gas, although it doesn't stay in the air as long. The study says that the EPA has underestimated the amount of methane in the atmosphere due to faulty testing and reporting methods. Much of that extra methane, also called natural gas, seems to be coming from leaks from the refining and drilling for oil and gas, known as fracking, which blows up the whole notion of natural gas as a short-term bridge fuel to a carbon-free economy. It also includes a major contribution from industrial livestock production which it says has been underestimated."
More rescued green diaries can be found below the fold.
- Baghdad Marching Steadily Towards Civil War, One Execution-Style Murder at a Time
Extrajudicial, mob-style killings appear to be increasing in frequency in Bagdad. Thursday's murder and body-dumping on a farm of 18 Sunnis (including a local province official) after their arrest by folks in "military style uniforms", suggesting the imprimateur of Shia ethnic hate under color of law enforcement/military, follows three separate incidents of virtually the same murder/body dump variety occurring just one day before. Add this to the bombings that left 29 dead as well, and it is clear that the Bush Administration's misadventure in Iraq that left 100,000 dead (including 66,000 civilians) all in the name of taking out Sadaam Hussein because he once insulted Papa Doc Bush did that country no demonstrable good, and may have possibly enabled renewed unspeakable harm: the sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni that has in the past left tens of thousands dead.
- A Must-Read, No Matter What Your Religion (Even it's No Religion):
Whether you're Catholic, lapsed Catholic, never was Catholic or won't ever be Catholic, Pope Francis' first Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Guadium, issued this week, is a must read. (All 217 pages of it.) Not only does the Pope set forth a vision of the gospel that is thorough and decidedly non-Westernized in its utter rejection of materialism, consumerism and selfishness, he indiscriminately (more than 100 times!) uses throughout one of the English languages' dirtiest words (going by how rarely it is uttered by most people, especially those in politics and in power): poor. Here's one of my favorites: With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs.” (Don't you feel naughty just reading that? Gives me chills.) Now, if we could get our President, Congresscritters and every politician on the planet to install the Pope App so they can hear these words on an hourly basis (or at least compel them to receive his Twitter feed, @Pontifex; the Pope is nothing if not social-media savvy!) we might get somewhere making a dent in global poverty.
- Food Banks Can't Keep Up, Not Surprisingly, Since November 1
Right now, in the war between human dignity and the wages of poverty, poverty is winning handily. As the New York Times reported the day before Thanksgiving, and as NBC is reporting the day after Thanksgiving, food banks are being pushed to their limits trying to meet the ever-increasing need of the poor for food just to survive since the inexcusable November 1 cuts in Food Stamps took effect. And to think it's going to get worse, not better. All the ACA health care in the world doesn't do people any good if they are starving.
- Retail Workers Having to Serve When They Can't Provide Shames us All:
IMO the "black" in Black Friday should stand for more than the retail world's "our books are finally in the black" reference. It should also stand for "black mood". That is the mood of many underpaid, overworked, and definitely underappreciated retail workers on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season. And no wonder: as the linked article makes clear, it's hard being cheerful after spending all day helping frenzied consumers buy even modest things knowing that the person behind the counters helping folks get their shopping freak can't even afford for their own children despite working, at times, more than one job. Fortunately, Walmart workers continue, despite corporate lies and retaliation, to show another way to react to Black Friday.
- What's the Excuse Not to Raise the Minimum Wage Again?
As the saying goes, where there's a will, there's a way. Well, recent polling makes clear that there clearly is will, and majority consensus (yes, national as in "including even those damned Republicans") that the minimum wage must be raised. So now, let's get busy with the way: local and state-level enactments accomplishing what all the politicians in Washington DC from President Obama on down can't manage to get done. We can, in that, emulate Seattle, Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties in Maryland (and San Francisco, which got its raise done in 2003) and put boots on the ground for the campaigning and/or ballot initiates needed to increase the local minimum wage. Now that's how you start a movement.
- Yet Another Chink in the Dodd-Frank Armor:
The "risk retention" rule sought to limit the possibility of another financial crisis by requiring that lenders and syndicators keep a meaningful financial stake in the loans and investment vehicles they market, and was one of the many bright spots of Dodd Frank. Unfortunately, like other key elements of Dodd Frank that have been weakened, the risk retention rule is now in danger of being largely nullified through regulation, especially that which will make it far easier to deem a mortgage "qualified" and thus allowing the exceptions to ultimately swallow the rule. This unfortunate development is thanks to an unholy alliance between folks whose hearts really are in the right place (affordable housing advocates opposed to the minimum 20% down payment requirement because of the impact on access to credit by otherwise creditworthy minority borrowers) and those whose hearts are made up entirely of dollar signs (the banks, lenders and securitization trust managers because why should they now have to face financial risk when so far homeowners and government have borne the entirety of it so far?). Given that this might end up resulting in almost every residential mortgage being "qualified" (and thus exempt from the risk retention rule under Dodd Frank and the consequences for issuing bad loans), it looks like the 1% is poised for yet another victory against Main Street. /ffs
- Dinesh D'Souza: STILL a Racist
What is it with racists not having the cojones to take the heat their racist actions deservedly bring upon them? Not only did this holiday week see the latest conflagration in the never-ending sure-there's-racist-behavior-but-there-are-no-racists-war that has gone at Daily Kos for years, but Dinesh D'Souza (aka the most IGNANT non-white racist on the planet) tweeted to the world that he was thankful on Thanksgiving Day not because white folks all over America lap his IGNANT bullshit up and he gets paid handsomely for it, but instead because "America is big enough and great enough to survive the Trayvon Martin in the White House." Of course, D'Souza deleted the tweet rather than defend his racism, proving once yet again that D'Souza is not the man that either President Obama is or Trayvon Martin (RIP) was.
- 9 Days Later, Illinois Man and Dog are Reunited:
You can't get more holiday spirit than this: Separated for 9 days following the tornado that destroyed their town in Washington Illinois, Jacob Montgomery and his best friend, six-month old Dexter, were reunited. They are camping at a friend's until they find a new home, but at least they are together. (I haven't had such an 'awww gee" moment since Barbara Garcia found her dog, Bouncy, while being interviewed on camera following the tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma earlier this year.)
- The Gap Knows Racism when It Sees It, And Takes a Stand:
Even businesses with mediocre at best, crappy at worst, corporate citizenship records can get one right every now and then where being anti-racist is concerned (begging the question of why many so-called liberals have such trouble!) . Such is the case with The Gap, and its reaction to the racist defacement of one of the most visually compelling ads it has ever issued: a portrait of Sikh actor and jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia. After the company learned on Twitter that the ad had been defaced with racist and ethnocentric anti-Arab bullshit (substituting the words "Make Bombs!" for the ad's "Make Love" theme and adding"Please stop driving taxis"), The Gap not only immediately sought information about where this act had occurred, but it changed its corporate Twitter logo in solidarity. It responded equally quickly to another defacement with the words "Bin Laden" written across Ahluwalia's forehead. Baby steps? Yes, but that's how you do anti-racist when you're serious. (Here's hoping that similar sensibilities in corporate will ultimately prevail and The Gap will stop opposing labor reforms necessary to ensure the safety of the nonwhite people all over the globe that sell its clothes.)
Three years into Mr. Walker’s term, Wisconsin lags behind Minnesota in job creation and economic growth. As a candidate, Mr. Walker promised to produce 250,000 private-sector jobs in his first term, but a year before the next election that number is less than 90,000. Wisconsin ranks 34th for job growth. Mr. Walker’s defenders blame the higher spending and taxes of his Democratic predecessor for these disappointments, but according to Forbes’s annual list of best states for business, Wisconsin continues to rank in the bottom half.Republicans have all sorts of excuses, always, but it's worth noting that we see similar patterns at the presidential level.
Along with California, Minnesota is the fifth fastest growing state economy, with private-sector job growth exceeding pre-recession levels. Forbes rates Minnesota as the eighth best state for business. Republicans deserve some of the credit, particularly for their commitment to education reform. They also argue that Minnesota’s new growth stems from the low taxes and reduced spending under Mr. Dayton’s Republican predecessor, Tim Pawlenty. But Minnesota’s job growth was subpar during Mr. Pawlenty’s eight-year tenure and recovered only under Mr. Dayton.
As Diane Ravitch says, this message from New York City parents and students "is addressed to Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio but it could just as well be addressed to every governor, state legislator, Congressman, and mayor in the nation."
Continue reading below the fold for more of the week's education and labor news.
Today's source material:
Add it up. The 2012 Presidential election was stolen based on the cover-up of murder in Benghazi, a mafia-like conspiracy to use the IRS to silence free speech and destroy Obama’s political opposition, fraudulent health care promises, and fraudulent jobs reports. The Gambino crime family hasn’t got anything on Obama.
In 2000 Democrats talked about a President getting elected under “illegitimate terms.” Well look who perfected the art. Barack Obama committed pure fraud to win re-election. If this doesn’t rise to the level of impeachment, nothing ever will.
There was something in there too about the Black Panthers, because you can't have wing nut conspiracy theories without racism.
So folks…what are we doing about it?Glenn Beck will probably play dress up:
In an interview with a local radio station Monday night, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called Obamacare a “train wreck.”And here's Christie nine months earlier, when he was running for re-election:
"This is just an awful law. It made no sense and that's why I didn't get into a state exchange. And no, I have absolutely no regrets. In fact, I’m really glad that the train wreck’s not mine; it’s his," Christie told listeners on New Jersey 101.5FM, referring to President Barack Obama.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie became the eighth Republican governor to back expanding Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care reform law on Tuesday. [...]Obviously, Christie's statements were focused on different aspects of the law—letting New Jersey build its own health care exchange versus participating in Medicaid expansion—but they nonetheless represent a big shift in tone. Today, he says Obamacare is nothing but "an awful law" that has nothing to do with him, but just nine months ago he was praising Obamacare's Medicaid expansion as a way to expand access to "critical health services."
"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.
The explanation for the shift is pretty obvious: Back then, he was running for re-election in a Democratic state; now, he wants to be the Republican presidential nominee and he's trying to fend off Republicans like Rand Paul who accuse Christie of "embracing Obamacare."
Clearly, Christie hopes that he can make Republican primary voters forget about his support for Obamacare Medicaid expansion by focusing on his decision to block a state-based health care exchange in New Jersey. Of course, if Christie had allowed New Jersey to build its own exchange, it would be better off today, but Republicans won't see it that way. Instead, the question is whether Rand Paul's line of attack resonates and they convince themselves that Christie is a RINO, or if they'll forgive him for supporting a key part of Obamacare just like they forgave Mitt Romney for inventing it.
Whatever ends up happening, one thing is clear, however: By the end of the 2016 primary, the Chris Christie that existed between Hurricane Sandy and his re-election will be gone, replaced by the same right-wing robots that invaded Romney when he decided to run.
When Republicans talk about their big tax cut coming in January, people will be forgiven for not getting all that excited. The bottom rate will drop from 6.0% to 5.8%, which qualifies as nothing more than chump change. For a person making $25,000, the tax cut is whopping $50. Impressive.At Blue Hog Report of Arkansas, Matt Campbell writes—The Comedic Stylings of Mark Darr:
Of course, if you happen to be a high-income earner, the picture is a lot prettier. Your tax rate will drop from 7.75% to 5.8%. So if you're making $200,000, you'll get a $3,900 tax break. In other words, your benefit from the Republican plan is 78 times higher than the person at the bottom of the income scale. Seventy-eight freaking times!
But the gift that keeps on giving doesn't stop there. In addition to that whopping $50 savings, all income earners will now be paying taxes on movies, museums, live entertainment, service contracts, warranties, maintenance agreements, repair contracts, electricity and natural gas, manufactured homes and modular homes sold at retail, and a whole lot more. So if you spend as little as $5,000 on all of those services combined, you'll be paying an additional $235 each year. Most people will pay twice that.
Over the month ahead, right wing nutjobs will be singing the praises of tax reform as a giant step forward for North Carolina families. Don't buy their bullshit. You've been played. This is nothing more than the old bait and switch, and the only people who will make out are ... you guessed it ... the rich and well-to-do.
At Blue Cheddar of Wisconsin, Worley Dervish writes—Ungerrymander Us!A friend passes along this screen shot of erstwhile House candidate and über-part-time Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr making a funny:
While it’s hard to compete with the kind of comic genius that considers “blogger” a punchline, let’s see if we can come up with some other options for who that guy might be.
• A process server, finally locating the guy who was too cowardly to pick up certified mail.
• A state trooper, providing additional pointless security at the Lt. Gov.’s request. [...]
• A member of the Ethics Commission, investigating why Darr has still not filed a third-quarter CC&E report.[...]
•A window washer who went to work that day without expecting some moron to take his picture and belittle his profession.
Maybe, rather than trying to be witty, Darr could use moments like that to complete and file the amended CC&Es that he promised back in August.
Below the fold you will find additional excerpts from progressive state blogs.In Wisconsin, as in other states, democracy is being gerrymandered to death, and now is the time for us to put pressure on the Wisconsin legislature to put an end to partisan redistricting.
In 2012, Republicans won just 46 percent of the votes cast in Wisconsin Assembly races, whereas Democrats won 53 percent. And yet 60 percent of that body are Republicans.
Also in 2012, Wisconsinites cast 43,020 more votes for Democrats than Republicans in U.S. House races, but statewide we are “represented” by five Republicans and three Democrats.
In neither case could you call the election results a mandate. And yet, Republicans are so secure in their gerrymandered little seats that they can openly fly in the face of what the majority of Wisconsinites want. Rather than being concerned with the needs of the majority, the Republicans continually pander to the needs of the corporate backers whose big money put them in office.