Oct 222014
 

Once upon a time, Democrats and Republicans presented their issues to the people, and let the majority decide whose policies would be implemented.  The problem is that now only Democrats are trying to win that way.  Since Republicans can no longer win an honest majority, they are trying to keep the people, whom they have offended through their wars on everyone but the 1%, hate mongers, wing nuts, and people too stupid to pay attention, from voting.  Nothing is too sleazy for them.

GOPvotingAre voting laws requiring photo IDs inherently racially discriminatory, as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg maintained in her blistering dissent Saturday morning? 

A team of politician scientists from Appalachian State, Texas Tech and the University of Florida took on that question for an article just published in Political Research Quarterly (h/t: Justin Levitt). Their conclusion is that the claims of proponents that they’re just upholding the principle of ballot integrity can be discounted; the photo ID laws aim to disenfranchise Democratic voters; they cite findings that the raised cost of voting imposed by photo ID requires "falls overwhelmingly on minorities." In other words, the answer is yes

…What happened? The GOP, they say, recognized that its homogeneous white, male, older and Southern electoral base was competing against "a racially and ethnically diverse, younger, secular, liberal, and Northern-based Democratic Party." Moreover, the demographic changes bringing more Latinos, African Americans, and Asians into the voting population were working strongly against the GOP and strengthening the Democratic coalition.

The GOP could have evolved to meet these voters on their turf, but chose not to. "Rather than altering issue positions as a means to attract new supporters, the GOP has turned to restrictive voter ID laws to disproportionately deter the participation of current Democratic Party supporters," the researchers write.

In other words, appealing to a racial coalition was beyond the GOP’s capacity, so the party chose instead to disenfranchise the members of that coalition

Inserted from <LA Times>

Had SCROTUS not gutted the Voting Rights Act several of these new restrictions could never have become law, because the racial discrimination is so blatant, not to mention discrimination against workers and students.

Rachel Maddow discussed Ginsburg’s dissent and the effects of disenfranchisement on the election with Emily Schultheis.

If you can’t see it here, try the direct link to the video on MSNBC.  If that doesn’t work, it may still be available on YouTube.

For starters the Dems on Oliver’s Court should have been DemoCATS! I’m amazed Obama didn’t have a Republican poll watcher in his face challenging his right to vote.

The bottom line here is that Republicans are doing their best to sow confusion to further suppress voting. What does it say about a political party when they try to prevent legitimate voters from exercising their right to vote?  It says they are not fit to govern!

Get Out The VOTE!!!

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Oct 192014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 181.  I’m sorry about yesterday.  I just ran out of gas and had to recharge.  Tomorrow is a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Ord.  My Broncos’ have the featured Sunday night service with the the Fortyniners.  I’m glad it’s at home.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:11 (average 4:40).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Right now, income inequality is the highest it’s been in our society since 1928. A lucky few in America make billions, while millions of others struggle just to get by. Nowhere is this gap more apparent than in the 4,100 plus Walmart stores across the country. Rob Walton and his family have amassed an empire of riches, and they built it on the backs of the working poor. The consequences of such skewed earning potential – where the family on top is worth $150 billion while their employees earn less than $25,000 per year – are significant and unsustainable.

As the nation’s largest employer, with $15 billion in profits annually, Walmart can afford to pay their employees a livable wage. Instead, they choose to manipulate schedules and hours to pay the majority of their workers abysmal wages. Sandra Sok, who works in Phoenix Walmart Store #5331 is a perfect example. After eight years of service to the company, she still struggles for enough work and income to make ends meet. She pleads with management every week for additional shifts because the 30 hours she is usually scheduled for simply aren’t enough. Sandra’s done her part to help Walmart succeed – she deserves more than poverty pay in return.

Many workers like Sandra are forced to rely on food stamps, health care assistance and other taxpayer-funded programs to get by. So while the Walton family alone has as much wealth as 43% of American families combined, the American people still have to pick up the tab for the Walton’s appalling business practices. And it’s not cheap: Walmart is estimated to cost the taxpayers $6.2 billion annually through public assistance costs, with expenses ranging between $3,015 and $5,815 per worker. All the while, Walmart and the Waltons are taking $8 billion a year in tax breaks that subsidize their low-wage business – and add to their profits. It is estimated that the family has avoided paying $3 billion in taxes by using special trusts to dodge estate taxes.

It’s time to end this charade and shut down the Walmart scam.

Click through for more. If you must enter Wal-fart, go to leave methane, not money.

From Upworthy: I come from a Caribbean immigrant household. Even with all the advances gay rights have made in America in the last few years, my family is still pretty much stuck in 1950. There are, of course, a few exceptions — shoutout to my sister Loree!

After watching this clip and hearing the crazy things this family says, this scenario playing out in the lives of every gay person with a less-than-accepting family would be a beautiful, absurd, and hilarious step forward.

That’s hilarious, but I can see it happening.

From TPM: The Supreme Court has rejected an emergency appeal from the Justice Department and civil rights groups who were trying to prevent the Texas voter ID law from being enforced in the November election. As you’ll recall, a district judge found the law to be unconstitutional last week because it intentionally discriminated against minority voters. But the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and now the Supreme Court have blocked that ruling from going into effect while appeals are pending. That clears the way for Texas to enforce the law in the upcoming election.

You’ve got it fight. A District Judge has ruled that this law is racist. It INTENTIONALLY discriminates against minority voters. But the Fascist Five Injustices from SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) say, go ahead and discriminate, as long as it’s on appeal.

Cartoon:

1019Cartoon

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Oct 132014
 

Every week, Republicans join a competition to see who can say the most outlandish things, and in the process, every week they push the envelope on just how outrageous InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

Phyllis Schlafly: Obama wants America to be just like Africa, Ebola and all.

1013PhyllisSchlaflyPhyllis Schlafly is working hard to be the most hateful woman on the planet well into her dotage. In the last few weeks, the 90-year-old Eagle Forum founder has said some real doozies, from advising young women to get married to avoid being raped, to attributing the Secret Service mess-ups to the fact that an overweight woman was leading the agency.  Now she is turning that lightning intellect to the scourge of ebola, which she says Obama is trying to spread around America.

To be fair, she thinks he’s also trying to spread other diseases. That’s why he let those kids from Central America in.

“Out of all the things he’s done,” Schlafly told WorldNetDaily in an interview this week, “I think this thing of letting these diseased people into this country to infect our own people is just the most outrageous of all.”

These diseased people. Let’s just contemplate the hatefulness in that.

The problem, Schlafly says, is that Obama wants America to be as awful as other places. Especially Africa, because he rejects American exceptionalism. And because he’s black, of course. And because he’s living in the White House with his family while black.

“Obama doesn’t want America to believe that we’re exceptional," Phyllis whined. "He wants us to be just like everybody else, and if Africa is suffering from Ebola, we ought to join the group and be suffering from it, too. That’s his attitude.”

Oh, ugh. Can’t someone get her to shut up? She is spreading the disease of hatred and ignorance every time she opens her mouth. Talk about a public health threat…

Inserted from <AlterNet>

Seldom will y6ou see a more typical example of Republican hatred, and this is only one of five Republican outrages from last week alone.  Click through for the other four.

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Oct 132014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 175, and due to volunteer work, I’ve been going non-stop since 6:00 AM, and it’s now evening, except for three hours of intense religions mediation upon the wonderful Holy Ellipsoid Orb.  Pardon my brevity.  The Cartoon is resurrected from last year.  (Early AM Update: Unplanned vertical sleep has me running way late).

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:23 (average 5:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

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Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (Hat-Tip: JL A from Care2): …These are the sorts of bigotry, harassment and human rights violations faced on a regular basis  by American Indians seeking equal access to the ballot box. The discrimination that they endure is remarkably similar to that of African-Americans and Latinos, but odds are that you hadn’t been thinking about the voting rights of American Indians. In fact, outside of the #ChangeTheName controversy surrounding Washington DC’s professional football team, I doubt that American Indians have crossed many of your minds recently. This may be in part because there are only 1.9 million American Indians in this country and you don’t have much direct interaction with them, but I think it is also because the Civil Rights Movement in the United States during the fifties and sixties was almost exclusively an African American movement.

If you doubt me, I urge you to a little free association exercise with yourself and take note of the events from that era that first come to mind. When I think on it, the images I see are of sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina and bloody marches in Selma, Alabama; I envision Dr. King speaking of his dreams in front of a packed National Mall and I think about the bodies of 3 civil rights workers being buried on a hot Mississippi night during Freedom Summer. At no point do I think about “No Indians or Dogs Allowed signs” in Wyoming during the 1960s or the Occupation of Wounded Knee, because these things aren’t part of our mainstream narrative of civil rights in America. They aren’t part of our narrative, but they should be. Civil rights movements are not mutually exclusive and there is no cause too remote or removed from our personal experience to be fought. Many of us may not live near a reservation or interact with American Indians in our daily lives, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold ourselves as responsible for their voting rights as we do any other race or ethnicity. First and foremost, voter discrimination is not a southern problem; nor is it an African American problem, a Latino problem or an American Indian problem. It is an American problem and it’s about time we treated it as such…

This article is a veritable history lesson of the disenfranchisement of native people, and I’ve shared just a tiny part of it. Click through for a most informative read and an issue that needs more exposure.

From Upworthy: The context (not to mention that footage) at the beginning of this clip is key. Her reaction is just on point. It takes a lot to say something like that on live television.

 

Kudos to Sony Hostin. The rest? Not so!

From NY Times: It turns out that the Internet does not have infinite capacity. At least not for political ads.

As an increasing number of campaigns and outside groups are finding out, premium space on the web has long been booked. Digital advertising is maturing much in the way television did, as targeting becomes more sophisticated and the definition of a viewer expands drastically.

“Many political strategists don’t think of the Internet as something that can sell out,” said Rob Saliterman, leader of the elections team at Google, which owns YouTube. “But in these smaller states, just as there’s a finite amount of TV inventory, there’s a finite amount of YouTube inventory.”

Like anything else competition for these limited resources drives up their cost. It’s only a matter of time before legitimate human political advertising is crowded out by unknown corporate vultures, including foreign corporations.  Thanks SCROTUS!!

Cartoon:

1013Cartoon

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Oct 042014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 166.  I’m pretty tired, because I had to be up early for an O2 delivery.  After it came, I took an hour break and sat outside in the sun.  Before long the webbing between my toes will grow back for the Oregon winter, and I’ll forget what the sun is.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 4:58).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: …Dear white racists and your fragile fee-fees:

Relax, I’m white, too. Look, I can do the secret handshake and nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Lemme whitesplain something to you, fellow white men: no one buys your bullshit.

That’s because your bullshit runs like this: For historically- and presently-oppressed black people to be treated decently, they must carefully avoid doing anything that could be remotely twisted into behaving like a white racist, even if you’re squinting and looking at it from five hundred meters away in a thick fog. Because that would be racist, and therefore hypocritical, and if that’s the case, they deserve to continue to be oppressed.

Here’s the thing you thick-headed assholes totally fail to get: NO ONE DESERVES TO BE OPPRESSED, PERIOD. You can talk all you want about how it’s okay for black people to be mistreated if— but get this, there is no "if". It’s not okay, ever. That’s why we call it mistreatment. Your error is to think that it’s ever justified, and your active misdeed is to constantly search for a justification. Black people, collectively, are not guilty of anything. In fact, a basic principle of civil society is that we reject the notion of collective guilt.

Some individual black people, like individual white people, have done bad things, and in those cases, may deserve judicial punishments. But even those people don’t deserve mistreatment from some random white guy on the street. And black people in general don’t owe anyone anything as a prerequisite for being treated decently. No one does…

Click Through for the rest of this excellent piece, which should begin, "Dear Republicans."

From NY Times: The Supreme Court on Thursday added 11 cases to its docket, including ones on redistricting, judicial elections and discrimination in housing and employment.

The court, which will return to the bench on Monday, took no action on seven petitions urging it to hear cases on same-sex marriage. The cases it did agree to hear will be argued this winter and are likely to be decided by the end of June.

The court will continue to add cases in coming weeks and remains likely to accept one or more same-sex marriage cases.

Click through for more info on the cases that SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) have decided to here. They will have ample opportunities to further undermine the Constitution, democracy and human rights.

From Bill Moyers: We’re still posting a new chart on the current state of income inequality every day over the next week. Yesterday’s looked at how the top 1 percent of Americans have captured half of all income.

Today, let’s talk taxes. In the past few years, we’ve heard a lot about overtaxed “job creators” and freeloading “takers.” But consider this: As the income rates for the wealthiest have plunged, their incomes have shot up.

1004happy-returns

You can’t argue with those numbers. We need all three branches of government to BEGIN to undo the damage, and 2016 has all the earmarks of being a banner year. But first, we need to survive 2014. Get out the VOTE!!

Cartoon:

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I was nine at the time, but I knew to be afraid from the way my family and neighbors reacted to the news.

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Oct 022014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 164.  I spent most of the day collecting and formatting data for the Monthly Report.  I also spent some time at Care2 deleting a bunch of “friends” that do not seem to be there anymore.  It has gotten so bad that I have to delete over two hundred notices a day in my email that my eCard (used to forwards links) from a couple days earlier had not been picked up.  If you’re reading this, and I deleted you by accident, appease add me again.  Store to Door will be delivering groceries this afternoon.  I have an extra large order to put away, because I had no delivery last week.  I was doing prison-volunteer work.  Tomorrow is my physical with fasting blood work with my primary care physician.  I will be leaving early in the morning.  God only knows when the Lift bus will get me back.  So in all probability, I will have only a Personal Update for Friday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:05 (average 5:33).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Wendell Pierce, who played one of my favorite cops on HBO’s "The Wire," decided to share this personal story of the day he was dressed in a suit, had two toddlers in the backseat of his car, and was heading to a funeral. It was 100 degrees outside, he had the air-conditioner on and a police officer pulled him over. At 0:47, he starts sharing his story. At 2:28, he gets to the heart of the matter.

 

Ludicrous as that story is, it’s actually mild compared to other’s we’ve heard of late. Perhaps out police have been getting their information from Faux Noise. That would explain why they are so afraid.

From the New Yorker: President Barack Obama has decided to move his family into a full-service doorman building in Washington, D.C., saying that “it just makes more sense right now.”

“It really will work better for us,” Obama said in a press conference Tuesday morning. “In addition to the doorman, there’s a guy at the front desk, and, if anyone comes to see you, the desk guy will call up to your apartment first to make sure it’s O.K.”

The senior doorman at the Obamas’ new building, Alex Kornash, seemed unfazed about providing security for the President. “I’ve been a doorman for twenty-three years,” Kornash said. “Someone doesn’t belong here, you tell them to go away. What’s so hard about that?”

Sure, Andy’s being funny, but in light of recent events, it might actually be a pretty good idea!

From Daily Kos: Within minutes of the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision to leave Democrat Chad Taylor off the Kansas ballot for U.S. Senate (dealing a blow to Kris Kobach–worst secretary of state in the nation) a Kansas City-area Democrat named David Orel filed a challenge trying to force Democrats to name a new candidate. David Orel also happens to be the father of a Alexander Orel, regional director for ultra-conservative Sam Brownback’s re-election campaign.

Kris Kobach once again tried to intervene by joining the lawsuit, but the district court ruled against him and refused to let him join the suit.

Kris Kobach’s week was about to get worse. Yesterday, David Orel was set to have his day in court, but his case took a serious hit after he failed to appear before the Shawnee County District Court:

Poor Kobitch! Could it be that this so-called Democrat, who I have no doubt just registers that way, misses the court date, because someone forgot to remove his fur lined handcuffs, after rewarding him for his intended perjury with Gov. Brownback’s toy collection.

Cartoon:

1002Cartoon

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Oct 012014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 163.  It’s a busy day, and I have much to do.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:46 (average 5:43).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the latest from our own fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends.

Scores:

4Scores

Standings:

4Standings

Since my best players have returned from a bye week, I hope to do better.

Short Takes:

From Rolling Stone (Hat-Tip Daily Kos): [T]he enormity of the Koch fortune is no mystery. Brothers Charles and David are each worth more than $40 billion. The electoral influence of the Koch brothers is similarly well-chronicled. The Kochs are our homegrown oligarchs; they’ve cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Their political network helped finance the Tea Party and powers today’s GOP. Koch-affiliated organizations raised some $400 million during the 2012 election, and aim to spend another $290 million to elect Republicans in this year’s midterms. So far in this cycle, Koch-backed entities have bought 44,000 political ads to boost Republican efforts to take back the Senate.

What is less clear is where all that money comes from. Koch Industries is headquartered in a squat, smoked-glass building that rises above the prairie on the outskirts of Wichita, Kansas. The building, like the brothers’ fiercely private firm, is literally and figuratively a black box. Koch touts only one top-line financial figure: $115 billion in annual revenue, as estimated by Forbes. By that metric, it is larger than IBM, Honda or Hewlett-Packard and is America’s second-largest private company after agribusiness colossus Cargill. The company’s stock response to inquiries from reporters: "We are privately held and don’t disclose this information."

But Koch Industries is not entirely opaque. The company’s troubled legal history – including a trail of congressional investigations, Department of Justice consent decrees, civil lawsuits and felony convictions – augmented by internal company documents, leaked State Department cables, Freedom of Information disclosures and company whistle­-blowers, combine to cast an unwelcome spotlight on the toxic empire whose profits finance the modern GOP…

Click through for the rest of this inclusive exposé on the evil brothers Republicans love to … nevermind.

From Slate (Hat-Tip Daily Kos): Many of the police officers present during protests that followed the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, did not wear nametags and refused to identify themselves to members of the public when asked, a practice that is prohbited by law in some places and by department policy in many others. Per a Department of Justice letter sent to Ferguson police on Tuesday, Ferguson officers are in fact required to wear identification by the department’s own regulations. The DOJ instructed officers to begin following this requirement immediately. From Reuters: 

… the Justice Department said its investigators had observed Ferguson police officers not wearing, or obscuring, their name tags on their uniforms, a violation of the police department’s rules.

"The failure to wear name plates conveys a message to community members that, through anonymity, officers may seek to act with impunity," the letter said.

The Justice Department then reiterated the identification requirement in a second letter to Ferguson police (whose main purpose was demanding that officers stop wearing "I Am Darren Wilson" solidarity bracelets):

It further was reported to us that some officers affirmatively displaying these bracelets had black tape over their name plates. The practice of not wearing, or obscuring, name plates violates your own department’s policies, which we advised you earlier this week when we requested that you end the practice imrnediately.

The second letter is dated Friday.

Indict the pigs! (I use this not a generic term for police officers, but an insult to these racists, who should not be wearing the uniform.)

From NY Times: The Supreme Court on Monday blocked an appeals court ruling that would have restored seven days of early voting in Ohio.

The Supreme Court’s order was three sentences long and contained no reasoning. But it disclosed an ideological split, with the court’s four more liberal members noting that they would have denied the request for a stay of the lower court’s order extending early voting. Dale Ho, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the court’s action “will deprive many Ohioans of the opportunity to vote in the upcoming election as this case continues to make its way through the courts.”

The ruling, which reflected a partisan breakdown in many court decisions nationwide on voting issues, saw the five Republican-appointed justices uphold the voting restrictions enacted by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature in February. The new limits removed the first week of Ohio’s 35-day early voting period, in the process eliminating the only week that permitted same-day registration, a feature most often used by minorities.

The Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) just took another bite out of Democracy. Only Democrats can occupy the White House until these totalitarian bastards are gone!

Cartoon:

1001Cartoon

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