Sunday, November 30, 2014
Who the hell is Stephen Lee Fincher? Who the hell are you, Lauten? This is your idea of Congressional "communications?" Of "class?" Hot pink business suit? Puh-leeze! You going to a bar after work? How dare you tell anyone how to dress?
You evidently skipped the "awful teenage girl" segment of your own life and proceeded directly to your current status as a full-grown adult asshole.
Go stretch yourself!! Preferably over something painfully large and rough. (I'm making a face at you right now.)
Officer Wilson fired his weapon because he wanted to, not because he had to. He has been shielded, protected and coached every step of the way. He had months to get his story together. The county prosecutor led the grand jury down the primrose path. The whole affair has been an obvious and gross miscarriage of justice.
If you can't see it, if you really agree that Wilson should just walk with no indictment and no trial, I think you're willfully blind. Or prejudiced. Or you believe that cops can do no wrong. Maybe all of the above.
The ABC network paid Wilson a six-figure fee for his exclusive "story," after which Wilson promptly resigned from the Ferguson PD. Surprised?
Here's no surprise: Amadou Diallo (shot 41 times in NYC), Eric Garner (the NYC choke-hold death), Michael Brown, John Crawford III (the Dayton-area Walmart shooting), Tamir Rice (the Cleveland kid). And that's just what comes to mind at the moment. Since Mike Brown's death, 14 more unarmed kids have been killed by police. More to follow. Something's wrong.
Question: Do cops ever kill unarmed white people?
State Rep. Mike Duffey
State Sen. Jim Hughes
I’m writing to ask you to oppose H.B. 248, the so-called “Heartbeat Bill”. Reps. Wachtmann and Hagman have resurrected their unconstitutional attempt to effectively ban all abortions in Ohio. Their bill would make abortion illegal the moment a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is well before most women even know they’re pregnant. This is a cruel and regressive piece of legislation. It has failed to pass before, and deserves no better fate this time. I urge you to strongly oppose H.B. 248.
Societal benefit comes not from punitive heartbeat bills but from reducing unwanted pregnancies, which in turn reduces abortions. Therefore I ask you to work to reduce unwanted pregnancies through increased education and increased access to affordable contraception. I also urge you to undo the damage done by previous ideological legislation by working to restore safe, legal and widely-available abortion services throughout Ohio.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Another young man I know responded with a foolish comment:
"How about let's not riot about a single court case that most people know nothing about (including myself). Much worse happens every day. Rioting and burning shit and causing the police to waste resources doesn't help. If you ask anyone rioting, they have no idea what, why or who [they're rioting about]. This happens consistently. They don't take personal responsibility to be educated and civil."
Wow! That's more than just tone-deaf. It's chock-full of race-tinged code. (I've heard this young man drop the N-word, so I can't say I'm surprised by the attitude.) His essential message:
"One dead black kid. So what? It's no big deal, not worth a riot. These black people are irresponsible, uneducated and uncivilized, and when they get all uppity like this, the cops have to go to work and donut shops lose money."
The capper is that he openly admits he doesn't know anything about the issue, but will nevertheless publicly share his ignorance at great length. An opinionated dumbass. Wonderful.
As other calmer, wiser young commenters in the thread pointed out to their misguided friend, Ferguson represents so much more than a single court case (or more accurately, lack of a court case), and the hashtag is intended to raise awareness of the Michael Brown case, not to condone rioting. Amen to that.
Everybody knows that riots and looting are frightening and are not solutions in and of themselves, but they can be a catalyst. If you can't understand why they have occurred, and will reoccur, you're a poor student of history and a callous human being.
Martin Luther King Jr., famous advocate of non-violence, put it this way:
"It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without at the same time condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard."
Monday, November 24, 2014
And then I listened to our President, who was presidential and urged calm and peacefulness and respect for the rule of law, as he should, as he must. But you could tell he was disappointed. So was I. This entire episode is an ugly reminder of how far we still have to go. Obama said as much, in carefully couched language.
In our society, the presence of police/law enforcement is essential. We know that. Sometimes, cops have a tough job. Sometimes, they have to make split-second decisions. Sometimes, they must use lethal force.
The Michael Brown killing was not one of those cases. How many times must you shoot an unarmed person before self-defense turns into execution? If nothing else, it was clearly excessive force.
Officer Wilson may have been within the law when he gunned down Michael Brown in the street. But he'll never work in law enforcement again, and he'll have the rest of his life to contemplate his actions. I hope he'll consider this:
There is often a difference between being within your rights and doing what is right.
Best wishes for Ferguson, Missouri.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
(A shout-out to my cousin-in-law from Cali for sharing this. Thanks, P.A.! And a disclaimer -- Buster is no expert on this subject, but the link below will lead you to some thought-provoking information.)
GMO. Genetically modified organisms. Used in genetically engineered foods. In the basic process, genes of one species are artificially transferred into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The technique modifies or enhances certain "desirable" food traits and has been in commercial use for 20 years or so. Advocates say the process is safe, and genetically engineered food is no riskier than any other. Others question the industry's research and objectivity, and are understandably concerned about unknown long-term effects.
Truth be told, we all consume our fair share of crap -- my share is often 80 proof -- but most of our food and drink has labeling requirements, so if we care to read the fine print, we can get an idea of what's actually in the stuff we ingest.
The idea of labeling genetically modified foods and identifying them as such turns out to be a sticking point. Proponents would simply like to know if a food product contains GMO ingredients, and then make informed decisions for themselves. Many state legislatures agree. And it certainly seems reasonable enough to me.
So who doesn't want GMO labeling? Huge agro-chemical and agro-biotech companies like Monsanto, the GMO industry leader. The industry's vehement opposition to labeling, and willingness to spend like a drunken sailor on lobbyists in order to prevent labeling regulations, speaks volumes.
There are now two bills in the U.S. House (a.k.a. Boehner's House of Horrors). The GOP bill, H.R. 4432, will get a subcommittee hearing on December 9th or 10th. It's also known as the Pompeo bill, or the "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act." The title could not be more misleading, since it will effectively prohibit all GMO labeling in the U.S. (Of local interest, it's co-sponsors include Ohio Reps Pat Tiberi, Bob Gibbs and Bob Latta, R's all of course.)
The Democratic alternative is H.R. 1699, a.k.a. the DeFazio bill, or the "Genetically Engineered Food Right-To-Know Act", which does what the name implies and provides for the labeling of most genetically modified foods. (Co-sponsors include Ohio D's Joyce Beatty, Marcy Kaptur and Tim Ryan.) The DeFazio Bill was introduced over a year and a half ago, but has been ignored by Boehner's Nut House and gone without even a hearing.
Perhaps you'd find it appropriate to contact your Representative and ask him or her to support the DeFazio bill, and oppose the cravenly dishonest, industry-backed Pompeo bill. I know I will.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Republicans screamed bloody murder about this horrible, burdensome, job-killing "employer mandate." They argued that this part of Obamacare should be postponed so small employers could have more time time to figure out this "complicated" new government regulation. The House even passed a bill to that effect. Obama caved in and issued orders delaying implementation of the employer mandate for one year.
The Orange Man's lawsuit claims that the president's perfectly legitimate executive action "changed the law without Congressional approval." In other words, even though you did what we wanted, you didn't ask us first. So we're gonna sue you.
No one was harmed by the delay (at least no one the R's care about). The House's lawsuit does not ask for any relief, or damages, or changes in the law. Boehner's doing it just to do it, just to be as shitty as possible. It's a frivolous lawsuit, utterly without merit. It's purpose is to grab media attention and keep the foamy-mouthed haters all stirred up.
As I said back in June, we've seen this movie before.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Remember when the Columbus Dispatch fired their highly-regarded and nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist Jeff Stahler for "plagiarizing" a cartoon which had appeared elsewhere? The moderate Stahler was replaced by the little-known Nate Beeler, a good artist who usually takes a more conservative viewpoint (which pleases the Dispatch's editorial board).
Well, it seems young Nate is doing the same thing. It looks to me like he's "borrowed" the concept of today's cartoon from a recent internet meme. Two things:
1. It appears that Charlie Manson is a Michelle Bachmann supporter, which is completely hilarious.
2. In the name of consistency, the Dispatch should fire Nate Beeler.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The R's are pissed! McCain says he has "begged" the president not to do it this way, to instead wait for the next Congress to do it legislatively. The Weeper of the House upped the ante with an outright ultimatum: Orange John said that if Obama refuses to wait and acts now by Executive Order, it would "poison the well" and the president could just forget about any Congressional action on immigration reform for the next two years. In other words, do it our way, or else!
Ooh, you're scaring me, Boner-Man! You're threatening to do what you always do -- NOTHING! For six years, you've repeatedly blocked all votes on immigration reform, but now you'd like us to believe you have a plan. Sorry, that's just bullshit. You had plenty of opportunity to do something before, but you chose to do nothing (because you have nothing).
Here's reality, and why there's no need to wait further: Obama will issue Orders and they will be reasonable, e.g. no more mass deportations, work permits, protection for the "Dreamers", and a clear path to citizenship for all undocumented folks who are behaving themselves. (If it were me, I'd give 'em all full citizenship yesterday, but you know my Cousin Barry will be more moderate.)
Then in January, if the Orange Man allows it, if the new GOP-controlled Congress feels like doing their own immigration reform thing, they can go ahead and surprise us and do it. If Obama thinks it's OK, he'll rescind his Orders and the new bill will be law and the R's can take the credit. On the other hand, if the GOP's bill is the usual conserva-tard junk, Obama will veto it and his Orders will stand through 2016, when the R's can try to take the White House and rule the world!
So what are we waiting for? If the R's really had any sort of palatable immigration reform plan, wouldn't we have seen it by now? Another two months won't make a bit of difference. No one seriously believes they have any plan at all. They're just trying to stall and delay and prevent Obama from taking credit for doing something positive.
It won't work, because Cousin Barry's gonna do something anyway! Good!!
Thursday, November 13, 2014
At the APEC Summit, the U.S. and China reached a surprising and historic agreement on the climate and pollution, promising significant reductions greenhouse gas emissions. It's really kinda of a big deal, and step in the right direction. (China has never agreed to a damn thing before.)
Naturally, the Republicans were of one mind (or, as some call it, sharing a brain).
Mitch McConnell: "I'm not a scientist, but it's an ideological war on coal."
John Boehner: "I'm not a scientist, but it's a jobs-killer."
James Inhofe, soon-to-be Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee: "I'm not a scientist, but global warming is a hoax."
. . . at minimum wage! Walmart does a great job congratulating itself for its pledge to hire veterans. Walmart is also well-known for its low pay, part-time hours, shitty benefits and anti-labor policies. So someone posted this meme on Facebook,
and the conservatives rushed in to defend good ol' Walmart, their comments best summarized like so:
"At least it's a job."
"Does your company hire veterans?"
"If they don't like it at Walmart, they should work someplace else."
Yes, it's comforting to know they're free to explore all their many minimum wage options. But that not's the point of the meme. It's that Walmart, McDonald's and too many other employers these days rely on the tax-paying public to subsidize their low labor costs via government programs for their poverty-level workers. Walmart is abusing the social safety net for its own bottom-line benefit. No wonder they have Low Prices. Always.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
(This was all over the place yesterday, and it made me chuckle. Thanks to those who shared it with me. It's worth another share today.)
From Valerie Beaumont of IfYouOnlyNews.com
"Conservatives continually whine that President Obama is destroying America, without ever stopping to think that many others around the world envy the current conditions in the U.S.
"If you listen to right-wingers, America is a smoldering wasteland in which gay illegal immigrants forcibly convert pristine white Christians to Islam while aborted fetuses decorate the streets of our once-great country.
"In Canada, however, they wonder why Americans don't properly appreciate their President."
Hooray for you, Richard Brunt, whoever you are!
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Updates from The Heart of it All . . .
Ohio Board of Education Replaces Educators With Public Library
Two For the Price of Two (Replacing One) at the Ohio Dept.of Health
Barbarians at the Gate of Obamacare
Monday, November 10, 2014
A minority of eligible voters -- too many of them of the low-information variety -- have, in their infinite lack of wisdom, just traded economic recovery, social progress and cool, calm foreign policy for voo-doo trickle-down economics, neo-Puritanism, raging Tea Baggers, and knee-jerk sabre-rattling. Thank you so much.
Feeling all spunky, the GOP is issuing "warnings" to President Obama that the election was a clear signal that the public wants both sides to work together. This message is coming from the same McTurtle and Boner who spent the past six years doing everything they could to do as little as possible. They dawdled, obstructed, filibustered, and even shut down the government. But now they want to play nice and fair.
The next two years will be hard to take, but there are still some things that Obama and the lame-duck Senate can do and should do. Make that must do, by any means possible, including Executive Orders:
- In the next couple months, before this Congress ends, confirm as many federal judges as you can.
- Don't agree to any cuts in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Tell Paul Ryan to stuff it!
- Don't cave in on EPA power plant emissions rules. Coal is a dirty 19th century fuel, and its days are numbered, even though the GOP pretends otherwise.
- Reject the Keystone XL pipeline. If our society is ever to get serious about climate change and reducing fossil fuels, we have to start somewhere, sometime. Let Keystone XL be our line in the sand. Let's have a policy presumption that cleaner is better.
- Put a freeze on further deportations until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform.
- Don't send ground forces to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, etc. That part of the world is just a black hole.
- Fight back against the war on women taking place at the state level. Defend women's rights with everything you've got. Fight for equal pay and workplace protection, and restore ready access to contraception and abortion services.
- Tell your FCC chief Tom Wheeler that you expect him to make Net Neutrality the law of the land. Fire his ass if you need to.
- Use the FEC to fight back against voter suppression legislation occurring in so many states.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
I'm not saying that being a judge is easy, but two recent judicial developments have me scratching my head.
1. The Supreme Court has agreed to review a lower court decision regarding Obamacare's premium subsidies. Undisputed facts: The ACA established income-based premium subsidies, and it established both federal and state health insurance exchanges.
At issue is a single sentence which authorizes subsidies for insurance obtained on an ". . . exchange established by the state . . . " It doesn't say "state or federal," just "state."
So the legal challenge, pushed by the Cato Institute and other right-tard organizations, asserts that because of those few words, only those insured through state exchanges qualify for subsidies. The 5-to-6 million Americans in the 36 states on the federal exchange --which includes your humble correspondent -- would be ineligible for any subsidies.
Federal courts have twice upheld the validity of the subsidies for all states, no matter what the exchange. And the crystal-clear intention of the ACA law itself is to offer subsidies in every state, via both state and federal exchanges.
The legal challenge is a crock, a cheap trick, a semantic gotcha, but four SCOTUS justices (you can guess which ones) believe it has merit. If they can persuade one more old robe to see it their way, Obamacare is dead.
The Scalia-led faction of strict constructionists will insist that a card laid is a card played, that the sentence doesn't mention the federal exchanges, and therefore they cannot be expected to infer intent or interpret meaning. And if as a result millions of people in 36 states lose their health insurance, too friggin' bad.
These are of course the same legal linguists who so easily interpret the 2nd Amendment's train-wreck language to mean that the Founders intended all of us to individually possess as many military-grade assault weapons as possible.
It's laughable and dangerous at the same time, and proves yet again that the right-wingers just won't let us have nice things.
2. In Cincinnati, a 3-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that state bans on gay marriage in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee are indeed constitutional. This decision flies in the face of a number of other federal courts who've recently found gay marriage prohibitions to be unconstitutional, not to mention the Supreme Court's invalidation of DOMA.
In his opinion upholding gay marriage bans, Judge Sutton wrote that "people may need the government's encouragement to create stable relationships within which children may flourish."
So, Jeff, you believe that gay people are unstable and shouldn't be allowed to raise children. Really?
Sutton went on to say that his court didn't have the authority or responsibility to even consider the issue, let alone make a decision to right the obvious wrong. Instead, he suggested the plaintiffs petition their state legislatures -- who enacted the stupid, hateful bans to begin with -- to change their laws. In other words, "It's not my job, and you've come to the wrong place."
Judge Jeff is living in the past, in some sort of Rovian time warp where the wheels of progress fell off the axles and no one cared. Somebody send this asshole a calendar and a clue.
This is what passes these days for American jurisprudence. Juris? Yeah, I suppose so. Prudence? Not so much.
Friday, November 7, 2014
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Very soon, the campaigning and the elections will be over, and we'll all enjoy taking a break (of at least a week or two) from ridiculous, fear-mongering attack ads like these. (Real? Nah, but they could be.)
Twice a week, Bill Loney eats lunch at a Middle Eastern restaurant which is actually a front for a secret back-room madrassa, where young Al Qaeda chefs learn to prepare delicious but deadly terrorist falafel. Call Bill Loney -- tell him to eat American food and stand up for real American values!
My opponent Drew Peacock raised your taxes then used taxpayer money for Las Vegas gambling trips and for his wife's boob job. But that same Drew Peacock voted against funding for shoes for unemployed veterans. He's just another tax-and-spend liberal. We can't afford another four years of Drew Peacock!
Norma Lee Lyon says she'll do what's right for our state, but Norma Lee Lyon refused to cut your taxes, did not pay her own taxes, received 163 parking tickets, has several unpaid library fines, and did not even send her own grandmother a Christmas card! You just can't trust Norma Lee Lyon.
This election, vote for General Doug Graves, or there may not be a next election.
Monday, November 3, 2014
These elections must have set some sort of record for political email solicitations, almost all of them asking for money. For the past few days, my inbox has been flooded by literally a hundred emails a day from my good "friends" such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Sherrod Brown, Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Jimmy Carter, Gabby Giffords, Michelle Obama and my honest-to-god very distant cousin President Barack Obama.
|Michelle and my cuz|
|Bill and Hillary|
|Harry and Nancy|
|Franken and my homeboy Sherrod|
|Warren and Sanders|
Conspicuously absent from my in-box are my Republican legislators in D.C., Sen Robbie Portman and Rep. Pat Tiberi. They don't call, they don't write! Was it something I said? Almost certainly!! Tee-hee!
Pat? Rob? Hello??