Joanne Dixon

Pithy Progressive #5

 Posted by at 3:26 pm  Politics
Jun 202017

Back in the day when Democrats could actually run as Democrats, we never had to ask questions like the ones we are looking at today:  How can we get Democrats elected to offices since a Teflon President has apparently passed on that mantle (now usually referred to as IOKIYAR) to an entire guilty party, for whom people CONTINUE TO VOTE?

While the whole country has been focusing on the special election for Georgia’s Sixth, it has kind of gone under the radar that South Carolina’s Fifth also has an election today, for the same reason – the previous Rep, Mike Mulvaney, accepted a position with the Trump Administration.  Here, Archie Parnell (D) is hoping to take it away from Ralph Norman (R).  So I think I should address him while he is still a candidate.  I’ve cut (and I do mean cut, including whole planks) information on his biography and issues from his website.

A South Carolina native, Archie graduated from Sumter High School and earned bachelor and law degrees from the University of South Carolina. He worked as a tax attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice and for the House Ways & Means Committee under Democratic leadership.  Archie then accumulated business and international experience while working for some of the biggest American companies.

 1.  Taxes and Big Corporations

Archie will use his decades of experience and detailed knowledge of the tax code to make big corporations pay their fair share. He knows how to close the loopholes that allow big companies to stash trillions of dollars overseas, and will use that revenue to strengthen our infrastructure and create jobs here at home.

2.  Education

As a product of South Carolina public schools, Archie knows the life-changing power of teachers. This Congressional district is home to 95 Title I schools – schools that are a majority low-income and are recipients of Federal funds. Archie will stand up for all South Carolina public schools, and will fight to keep the US Department of Education funded and in existence. Our schools must give every child in every zip code the opportunity to succeed and fulfill their potential.

3.  Jobs and Infrastructure

While much of the economy has improved since the crash of 2008, real wages have not gone up for many working Americans in over three decades…. Archie believes that infrastructure enables small businesses to grow locally and attracts larger businesses to move here from elsewhere in the US and abroad. Archie knows that expanding and modernizing broadband infrastructure and cell coverage will create more economic opportunities for South Carolina as well.

4.  Healthcare and Medicare

Archie will stand up for families and defend healthcare and Medicare from Washington’s attempts to weaken them. Archie believes that if you have paid into Social Security and Medicare, you have earned it — it should never be taken away from you. He opposed the Republican bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, which would have raised premiums on older Americans and weakened Medicare, and has called on all candidates in the race to do the same.

6.  Veterans and Military Families

Archie grew up in a military family. After his father grew up in an orphanage, he entered the Army and, later, the Army Air Corps and the United States Air Force. Like many others, his father’s military service offered a stepping-stone to a better life for Archie’s family.

South Carolina is full of active duty personnel, reserve forces, members of the National Guard, and veterans of all ages. Those brave men and women have earned access to not only to world quality healthcare, but also to educational and professional opportunities that will allow them to be successful after their service. The Department of Veterans Affairs not only owes top quality care to veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, but long-term preventative care and wellness to younger veterans of more recent conflicts. Archie believes that no one who sacrificed blood for their country should ever have to worry about the quality of their healthcare.

8.  Energy and the Environment

South Carolina has been at the forefront of renewable energy for more than a century. The power of the Catawba and Broad Rivers has been harnessed for hydroelectric power since 1904, providing clean energy to thousands of customers. Nuclear power plants in York and Fairfield Counties employ thousands of people and provide electricity to millions of homes. Archie supports the expansion of these renewable resources as we continue to decrease our dependency on fossil fuels that damage our water and air. He opposes the dismantling of Federal environmental regulations that allow corporate polluters to get away with poisoning our community’s drinking water, soil, and air. He believes that it is possible for industry to thrive without abusing our air and water, and he looks forward to giving the EPA back the enforcement capabilities that keep South Carolina workers and families safe.

9.  Equality and Opportunity

Our nation is built on the idea that all people are created equal and our Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law. We are bound by these legal principles, but more than that, we are bound by a shared hope and vision for our country and our children.

Our fellow citizens fought and died for their right to cast a ballot, but many also sacrificed in their righteous pursuit of all kinds of equality. Women fought for the right to vote and the right to work; Archie will push to ensure that equal work receives equal pay, and he will fight for an expansion of medical leave laws that allow families to feel secure, whether they suffer from an illness or are blessed with a child. He supports the protection of civil and marriage rights for all Americans, and rejects prejudice of every description.

OK, I am not so sure hydroelectric (and certainly not nuclear) power quite make it to sustainable energy.  But, as TomCat said of Jon Ossoff, Archie “has tailored [his] agenda to the needs of his own constituents.”  And I guarantee he will be better for both South Carolina and for the country than Ralph Norman.

Cross posted to Care2 at


Everyday Erinyes #79

 Posted by at 8:00 am  Politics
Jun 172017

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

Let’s start today with Mike Moon, a member of the Missouri House of Representatives since 2013, who too the occasion of a special session being called to consider “nothing but abortion” to make a promotional video showing him – beheading a chicken?!?

I am not making this up.

I should point out that he is from Ash Grove, which is nowhere near Kansas City, ot Saint Louis, or anywhere else civilized.  Nevertheless, he is a legislator, and proud of it.  From the video:

When the governor called for the second special session this year, I was right in the middle of my summer job. But like any good career politician, when I get the call (breaks to behead chicken), I’m going back to work… God gave us man dominion over life. He allows us to raise animals properly and care for them and then process them for food so we can sustain life. And that’s what I’m doing here with this chicken. So we’ve been called back to this special session for the primary purpose of supporting life, protecting the unborn specifically. I think we need to get to the heart of the matter here (pulls out chicken’s heart). So today, I’m filing a bill that will lead to the stopping of abortion in the state of Missouri and I hope you’ll support it.

Robin Marty, writing in Care2 (from which truthout often picks her up, but if they picked up this one I missed it), points out that Moon “is far from the only politician to compare abortion and animal welfare — often to the detriment of the pregnant people wanting a termination.”  I’ll spare you the barf-inducing examples she gives from Alabama, Massachusetts, and Illinois; they are at the link if you are curious.

But she does point out,

While Moon may have been the most explicit of them all when he said directly stated, ”God gave man dominion over life,” he is only saying what so many far-right social conservative lawmakers believe: it is a man’s job to make decisions about “life.”

So thank you to Moon for teaching us a real — albeit extremely graphic — lesson about what is really at the “heart” of the anti-abortion movement: man’s complete and utter control, be it over livestock or women.

Alecto – how old is the patriarchy now?  Endless enough to make you the logical choice to – instruct – him.

In a story a couple of weeks old which was also picked up by a Daily Kos contributor, Wayne Allyn Root, a conservative talk-radio broadcaster, advanced the theory that, in order to  destroy liberal groups before “our lives are erased,” Conservatives should employ Special Forces Operatives “who have killed people.”

This to me takes on an added dimension in view of the latest mass shooting, even though it was #154 this year (or was it #155?)  I can hardly wait to hear what he has to say in his next broadcast.  No, wait – I wish I could wait forever.  After all, he was already saying

We need to hire former CIA or NSA or FBI or Navy Seals that have been involved in counter-insurgency operations all over the world, that have killed people, that understand how to fight; that don’t bring a knife to a gunfight, that bring a gun to a gunfight, preferably a shoulder-fired missile to a gunfight, preferably a nuclear weapon to a gunfight!

It is time to go after the left as viciously as they go after us. These people are mentally insane … and I will tell you right now, they would burn books if they could.

They would love to burn the Bible, because we all know they hate God. And you know they hate the country.

I wonder whether Mr. Root is any relation.  Oh, wait, no, that was “Roof.”  But I am pretty sure the entity Root  worships as God is not who he thinks it is.  Tisiphone?

I have been screaming for a number of years now that our failure to concentrate on electing Democrats to state offices, like Governorships, in and prior to 2010, is one of the factors why we have been so killed by gerrymandering.  Which it is.  But never in my wildest dreams did I foresee a federal administration getting into power before 2020 which would be doing its best to destroy the census, along with all other functions of government.

The census in this country doesn’t just determine how much funding cities and states receive from the federal government, it also determines the boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts. Undercounting marginalized communities directly disenfranchises them and perpetuates the cycle of disempowerment.

From Bloomberg:

The Government Accountability Office has added the 2020 Census to its list of high-risk projects. Costs at the Census Bureau have mounted each decade as the office failed to use new technology, relying on paper forms and hundreds of thousands of human enumerators. In 2010, an aborted effort to use handheld devices cost hundreds of millions of dollars, eroding legislators’ patience with further budget increases. Seven years on, the bureau is struggling to get ready for the next count […]

All this might be surmountable if the bureau had the right leadership and adequate resources. It doesn’t. Its director, John Thompson, announced his resignation last month, and other key positions aren’t staffed. Trump’s budget proposal falls short of what’s needed for next year’s planned test of the new systems — a sort of dress rehearsal crucial to avoiding expensive mistakes in 2020.

We can’t just sit back and let Megaera take care of all this for us, although I do hope she will help with the funding aspect (I would love to see a bunch of Republican budget makers hounded into Hades, wouldn’t you?)  But here’s a comment from someone who knows, and from anyone who is physically able to work on it, here’s what we can do:

just go on-line to and watch for positions—starting in 2019. They are experimenting with new ways to cut costs — and have done field tests in several large cities about having an on-line form. I worked as a Field Operations Supervisor in 2010 and now work as a permanent Field Rep for the Bureau of the Census in the Commerce Dept. We collect a lot of data for the Commerce Dept (especially Consumer Spending), The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Housing and Urban Development, The Dept of Justice Crime Statistics, NIH, and keep local demographic data up to date. I can say local gov’ts either hate us or help us—the ones who help get the most accurate data because they know it’s where the funding comes from and explain that to constituents. When I said to one guy who was refusing —“we need to know how many 4 year olds there are in this county”—he asked “why?” I said “we already know the High School is over crowded; if there are more 4 year olds than freshman, we’ve got 10 years to pass bonds, buy land, build the new buildings, and make room.” People just don’t have a clue how this mass collection of data affects their lives.

check out the—it will shock you how many professions are “in decline”

check out—the data on identity theft and school bullying are shocking

check out–one of the most important sources of information on fish and wildlife recreation in the United States.

check out the most comprehensive national housing survey in the United States.

We do a lot. We are SWORN Federal Employees who take a lifetime oath of confidentiality.

The Repubs would like to eliminate everything we do but for the Constitutionally mandated decennials — kos is right—they will screw with us if they can.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at

Jun 152017

Senator Chris Murphy had this to say today about the shooting yesterday at the Congressional Baseball practice:

I am going to play baseball tonight. And I want to be honest with you – I don’t know what to think about that.

On one hand, I’m glad the congressional baseball game is going forward in the wake of yesterday’s tragic, soul-crushing shooting. I’ve played catcher for the Democratic team for the better part of the last ten years, and the game, to me, is one of the few things that is truly good about Washington D.C. It’s a chance for Republicans and Democrats to put politics aside and create lasting friendships. And the game raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for local kids’ charities. Moving forward with the game, even after the shooting, sends an important signal that the tradition of bipartisanship represented by the century-old congressional baseball game cannot be ruined by one unhinged individual.

So I get the importance of displaying our resilience. But what does it say about us as a country that we can so easily move on from such a seemingly cataclysmic event? Are we so jaundiced to gun violence and mass shootings that it only takes us twenty four hours now to revert back to business as usual. I mean, a Congressman is in critical condition after a ten minute long shoot out, and it feels like this story has another day or two of attention before the news media, and the public, moves onto the next set of headlines.

This was the 154st mass shooting of 2017. You heard that right – number 154. Mass shootings, defined as incidents where four or more people are killed or injured by gunshots, are happening a higher rate in 2017 than previous years. And it feels like no one has noticed.

Maybe that’s because regular slaughter has become the norm in America. We are becoming massively desensitized to the carnage. That’s what I feared exactly one year ago today, when I went to the Senate floor in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting and held a 15 hour filibuster. I worried then that our reactions to mass shootings had become predictable and rote. And I still worry today.

So I’m going to suit up tonight. I might even consider tipping a few pitches to my friend Senator Jeff Flake, who tended to Steve Scalise’s wounds as he lay on the practice field yesterday morning, when he comes to bat.

But we can never ever let this feel normal. We can never forget that this pace of carnage happens nowhere else but America. No other nation has to live through mass shooting after mass shooting like the United States. And in the end, the data tells us there is only one explanation. We don’t spend less on law enforcement. We don’t have more mental illness. We just have more guns. There are more guns in America than people, and many of them are dangerous, military-style weapons and many others are in the hands of very dangerous people.

I am keeping Steve Scalise, the Capitol Police, and everyone who was at yesterday’s shooting in my thoughts. But after tonight’s game, I’ll get back to work. Because until the laws of this country change, the slaughter – and the risk of normalizing it all – won’t stop.

Thank you for reading.

Every best wish,

Chris Murphy
U.S. Senator, Connecticut

Normally the pithy Progressives I write about are seeking office, where Senator Murphy is already in office.  But I don't have a new Pithy Progressive this week, so perhaps this thoughtful and heartfelt essay (from a Senator whi represents the state Sandy Hook is in) will stand in.

Cross-posted to Care2 at

Jun 132017

You have probably noticed that SoINeedAName has alerted us that he will be away this weekend and won't be able to post a Friday Fun.  Well, darn. 

I was hoping to use this week's Friday Fun to, in the comments, follow up on the one which will be two weeks old this Friday, the wonderful COVFEFE post.

However, in view of the fact that TC's very own Congressman, Earl Blumenauer, has just introduced the PARIS Act (Prohibiting Aid for Recipients Ignoring Science) into Congress to make sure (if it passes) that Trump and other climate deniers cannot claim against federally subsidized flood insurance when (not if) their properties (such as Mar-a-lago) go underwater in the near future –

I think this is the time to announce the introduction, by Mike Quigley of Illinois, of the COVFEFE Act (Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically For Engagement), an Act to ensure (if passed) that all Social Media postings by the Resident are preserved for posterity.  Yes, all Presidential "communications and statements" are already legally required to be preserved, but it's a bit of a gray area whether tweets, for example, are in that category.  This will update the law so that everything may be "properly" preserved.

Rep. Quigley (D-IL) is both co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Transparency Caucus.  Because of course he is.

Here is the article and a poll so everyone can record his or her reaction to the proposed legislation.

And I couldn't follow up on COVFEFE without sharing Randy Rainbow's take, with parodies from seven movies (most were also on Broadway, but all were movies, if one may have just been on PBS):

In case anyone is having a senior moment and can't place one or two of these (I was, though the penny dropped for me about ten seconds after I finished watching), here are the titles of the movies and the songs.  Yes, I know it looks blank.  Highlight over the blank space with your mouse, keyboard, or a combination, and you'll be able to see them.  No spoilers here unless you want them.  wink

Mary Poppins  "Chim Chim Cheree"
Shall We Dance  "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off"
The Music Man  "Shipoopi"
Cats  "Memory"
Oliver  "Consider Yourself at Home"
West Side Story  "Maria"
Oklahoma  "Oklahoma"

Cross posted to Care2 at


Everyday Erinyes #78

 Posted by at 11:34 am  Politics
Jun 102017

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can't include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

A rather disgusting practice in Longmont, Colorado, is over now (for now), but not everyone who was involved in it or aware of it has been held accountable.  From Denver's Channel 9 (NBC) News:

Some powerful people in Longmont appear to have forgotten that the Constitution still exists.

The Longmont Housing Authority says it was using the homes of low-income residents to train police drug dogs. There weren’t warrants, but simply a notice that the landlord was coming, and a police officer and drug dog would be there, too.

The director of operations of the Housing Authority is Krystal Winship Erazo.  She says,

“Two months ago, there were some rumors and some concerns about drug activity on the property and one way we found to address it was to invite a partnership with the Longmont Police Department – to invite the canines over on their training day.  Usually it helps the residents feel really secure in that we're following up, we're holding residents accountable, it's an opportunity for the dogs to train."

Yes, the head of a public housing agency in Colorado said they use the homes of low-income people to train police dogs.  (emphasis Chennel 9's)

Channel 9 interviewed the heads of other housing authorities in the area, who confirmed their gut feeling that this is unconstitutional.  (One laughed out loud because the concept is so ridiculous.)  Of course, like a good Republican, Erazo had a ready response:

If there is concern, it kind of sparks some curiosity for me. You know, what are they concerned about if (the officers’) only job is to ensure there aren't drugs in the unit?

In other words, if you aren't using, you have nothing to fear.  Where have I heard that before?

Anyone who follows statistics on drug use knows that, if police want to find actual drugs, they should be training K9's at the homes of the wealthy in gated communities.  The obvious deduction is that the police have no interest in actual drug use.  Their interest is in persecuting the poor, and particularly, the poor of color.

At least city officials in Longmont grasp this.  They, and the station, are still looking for whoever in the police department knew about this.  Perhaps, Megaera, you can help ferret this out.

Staying on the topic of drugs, we now move to Worth County, GA, where, on April 14, the day students at Worth County High School returned from spring break, they found a police state in possession of their school.  Worth County High has 900 students.  Every one of those 900 was patted down for drugs.  From the complaint:

Defendants’ searches of students were intrusive, performed in an aggressive manner, and done in full view of other students. For example: a) Deputies ordered students to stand facing the wall with their hands and legs spread wide apart; b) Deputies touched and manipulated students’ breasts and genitals; c) Deputies inserted fingers inside girls’ bras, and pulled up girls’ bras, touching and partially exposing their bare breasts. d) Deputies touched girls’ underwear by placing hands inside the waistbands of their pants or reaching up their dresses; e) Deputies touched girls’ vaginal areas through their underwear; f) Deputies cupped or groped boys’ genitals and touched their buttocks through their pants. 8. Defendants had no warrant or other authority to perform a mass search on hundreds of public school children.

Now, that complaint is the complaint in a class-action civil lawsuit.  There are currently no criminal charges, although, according to mark Begnaud, the attorney for the students, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has opened an investigation.

I see that the Worth County Sheriff's Office website has a sex offender map.  It's handy for the Sheriff that he already has the addresses of all of his deputies.  Not that I actually expect to see any such result, you understand.

Like a good Republican (for whom the only part of the Constitution actually in effect is the Second Amendment), Sheriff Hobby stands by his actions, "noting that as long as a school administrator was present, the search of the children was legal."  I don't know where he came up with that.  Not from the School Handbook, that's for sure.

Tisiphone, following up the civil suit to make sure immense damages are awarded appears to be just the tip of the iceberg here.

Moving now to Iowa, where Steve King, Representative from the Fourth District, is working hard to achieve the title of, if not the stupidest member of Congress, still the meanest member of Congress.  Perhaps his most memorable quote is wht one about "calves the size of canteloupes,"  but "not a safety net, it's a hammock" and "let's not get bogged down in Americans dying" also made the news. 

One might argue that he appropriately represents his district in view of this:

Kim Weaver, who had announced in March that she would challenge one of the most repugnant members of Congress, Steve King, for the 4th District seat in Iowa, has withdrawn from the race,. Weaver cited death threats that she has received and political retaliation against the state agency where she is employed.

She said in a post on Facebook:

Beginning during my 2016 campaign, I have received very alarming acts of intimidation, including death threats.  While some may say enduring threats are just a part of running for office, my personal safety has increasingly become a concern.

Enduring threats just a part of running for office?  Dear God, I hope not!  I don't think I even want to know who says that!  Alecto, can you work on that before it becomes "unceasing" – if it isn't already too late?

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at


Pithy Progressive #4

 Posted by at 11:28 am  Politics
Jun 072017

Back in the day when Democrats could actually run as Democrats, we never had to ask questions like the ones we are looking at today:  How can we get Democrats elected to offices since a Teflon President has apparently passed on that mantle (now usually referred to as IOKIYAR) to an entire guilty party, for whom people CONTINUE TO VOTE?

The email I received from another Progressive who is running for the Georgia State Legislature didn't include position statements, but referred me to his website which does.  So I will be including a link, while abridging the contents that I post.  Yes, there are a couple of "Donate" buttons at the link, but one is not compelled to push them.

Here's what Sachin Varghese has to say:

I Stand for Quality Education for All.  Ensuring that every child regardless of race, wealth, or neighborhood has access to a high-quality public education is critical to the success of our state and its citizens. To reach that goal, Georgia must:

  • fully fund public schools and end its disinvestment in education; 
  • support and empower great teachers and school leaders;
  • provide universal access to high-quality Pre-K, and invest in education for children under the age of 4;
  • ensure the affordability of Georgia's public colleges, universities, and technical schools, protect and restore funding of the HOPE Scholarship, and provide need-based financial aid.

I Stand for Healthcare Access for All.  Healthcare is a human right and every Georgian should have access to quality, affordable healthcare. To reach that goal, Georgia must:

  • expand Medicaid coverage to the full extent allowed under the Affordable Care Act;
  • support community and women's health clinics so that Georgians can access vital health services that are convenient and affordable.

I Stand for Women’s Rights.  Women are a majority of Georgia’s adult population, almost half of the workforce, and are vital income earners in more than half of Georgia households. Eliminating barriers facing women is critical to Georgia’s present and future success. To eliminate barriers, Georgia must:

  • ensure women receive equal pay for equal work;
  • allow women full autonomy of their own healthcare decisions;
  • expand childcare support;
  • ensure that our justice system protects women and treats them fairly and equitably. 

I Stand for Equality.  No Georgian should be discriminated against based on race, sexual orientation, gender, or age.  To protect all its citizens, Georgia must:

  • adopt a comprehensive state civil rights law to protect Georgians from discrimination;
  • examine state policies prior to enactment to determine whether there are disparate impacts based on race, sexual orientation, gender, or age, and correct such impacts.

I Stand for Greater Economic Opportunity.  All Georgians should have the opportunity and tools necessary to work and create a quality life for themselves and their loved ones.  To provide this opportunity, Georgia must:

  • increase the minimum wage;
  • protect the rights of workers to organize;
  • expand paid sick leave and family care leave;
  • provide childcare support;
  • promote affordable housing.

I Stand for a Fair and Effective Criminal Justice System  Georgia’s justice system needs to be fair and effective. The state needs to hold serious criminals accountable, but find smart and effective alternatives for low-level offenders. To do so, Georgia must:

  • eliminate imprisonment resulting from an inability to pay a fine or bail;
  • reform mandatory minimum and recidivist sentencing statutes in Georgia, restoring discretion to judges;
  • end private probation;
  • advance policies that make it easier for individuals with convictions to reenter society and lead productive lives.

I Stand for Georgia’s Environment.  Georgia has abundant natural resources that need to be preserved and protected, and every Georgian deserves to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live on clean land.  To protect these resources and rights, Georgia must:

  • expand generation of power from renewable resources, including solar and wind;
  • enforce existing environmental regulations and strengthen those regulations to protect our air, land, and waterways from polluters. 

I have cut his position statement so severely it kind of bleeds, but I have left enough to give you an idea.

Cross posted to Care2 at