Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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I think that was the most disgraceful collection of degenerates and idiots that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Donald J. Trump dined alone. –S.Kenawe, with apologies to JFK.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Birthday

UPDATE BELOW


My mother gave birth to me on this day, and this pop song by Joni Mitchell resonates:








But for incomparable beauty and affirmation of life, despite its tragedies, I always return to Mahler.




 




Poetry and classical music soothe one's heart and tell us more about ourselves and the world we struggle to make sense of than anything else I know.



Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver


You do not have to be good. 
You do not have to walk on your knees 
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. 
You only have to let the soft animal of your body 
love what it loves. 
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. 
Meanwhile the world goes on. 
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain 
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees, 
the mountains and the rivers. 
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, 
are heading home again. 
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination, 
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -- 
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things.




Wow!  I was surprised with this:

Birthday dinner HERE tonight!  Can't wait!!!



Saturday, July 26, 2014

What Have We Become?



This is what Americans once believed in:


“Give me your tired, your poor, 
 Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 
 The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 
 Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: 
 I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” ― Emma Lazarus



Now groups of Americans scream at refugee children, telling them to GO HOME!  WE DON'T WANT YOU HERE!


The nasty posts we've read on so many conservative blogs shows us, sadly, that we've learned nothing and we do not believe a word of what the plaque on Lady Liberty says.  We're now repeating what we've done in our recent past to other refugees.  After the Vietnamese conflict, many refugees who supported America in the war came to this country.  They were met with exactly the same sort of abuse and animosity that the refugee children from Central America are receiving.

Shame on us.  We brag about being the beacon of hope and freedom in the world, then when we're tested on how serious we are about those ideals, we tell the freedom seekers to GO BACK HOME!  WE DON'T WANT YOU!



Digby:


Unfortunately, this is as American as apple pie. The following is an excerpt from Rick Perlstein's forthcoming book called "The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan." It's about how we welcomed the Vietnamese refugees who were forced to leave their country after having allied themselves with the US during the war:

After the Vietnam War, the US accepted 531,310 Vietnamese political refugees and asylum seekers.

At the time, a majority of Americans objected to the immigration. Despite protests, the Congress passed several pieces of legislation allowing Vietnamese refugees to stay in the US and eventually become citizens. Over 85% of those refugees became American citizens.






"Some of the Vietnamese who made it to the United States were preliminarily resettled at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida panhandle -- in defiance of a hastily assembled petition got up by residents of the base's host city, which was called Niceville.  A radio poll that found 80 percent of Niceville's resident didn't want them.  The Associated Press reported, "Children in one school joked about shooting a few."  High school kids spoke in class of plans to organize a "Gook Klux Klan."  Student in a twelfth-grade psychology class told their teacher they were worried the refugees would try to convert them to Communism.

Disease, disease, disease , that's all I've heard," complained a congressman representing another relocation site, the San Diego County Marine base, Camp Pendleton of the phone calls he was getting.  "They  think of the Vietnamese as nothing but diseased job seekers."  In Arkansas at Fort Chaffee which admitted twenty-five thousand refugees, the compound was so well guarded that a radical journalist compared it to the "strategic hamlets" the U.S. m military used to build in South Vietnam.  A recently returned veteran told him, "I don't like the people personally.  I didn't see anything worth saving and I don't now."  

The protest placards read "GOOKS GO HOME."



Tea Party town hall erupts as Texas state Rep urges ‘compassion’ for migrant kids 


What have we become?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Massachusetts Tops US in Study of Children’s Well-Being




Well done, Massachusetts.  

But there's still lots of work to be done.  





Young people have a better chance to thrive in Massachusetts than in any other state, according to a national analysis of children’s overall well-being. 

 Nearly all children in the state, 99 percent, have health insurance. Reading and math proficiency rates exceed the national average. 

About 1 in 7 children live in poverty, compared with about 1 in 5 nationwide, according to the 25th annual Annie E. Casey Foundation “ Kids Count” report, released Tuesday. 

 [skip] 

Several other New England states fared well in the rankings. Vermont placed second, with New Hampshire and Connecticut also in the top 10. 

Mississippi placed last.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rush to Derangement





Just when you think they can't get any crazier, mega-crazy Gee-Oh-Pee-ers pop up like mushrooms after a hard rain. But you never hear any sane Gooper tell them to STFU and go away, so the Gee-Oh-Pee-ers must admire these schlubs.




In a classic just asking the question column, WorldNetDaily pundit Erik Rush argues today that the Obama administration may have been behind the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, suggesting that the White House worked with the Ukrainian government in order to blame Russian-backed militia groups for the crash. 

 This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Rush also claimed that President Obama was behind the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. 




In saner times when the Republican Party was run by humans instead of jackasses,  a person like Erik Rush would have been laughed at then pitied for his pathetic attempts at political theater.  Instead more than a few conservatives will lap up his putrescent mind-droppings and belch them back into their blog posts and blast emails where their equally weak-brained readers will nod their heads, scratch their chins and say "damn right."  

Because "Obummer!" Their O.D.S. is such that more than a few will believe it. The crazier the theory, the more likely they'll embrace it.


Someone somewhere in wingnut land actually paid Erik Rush for that load of codswallop.

Ah, such is the result of the continuing decline of a once sane political party.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

This is What the GOP is Attracting These Days






GOP candidate from Indiana, John Johnson







“For almost three generations people, in some cases, have been given handouts,” Johnston said during the discussion. “They have been ‘enabled’ so much that their paradigm in life is simply being given the stuff of life, however meager.” 

“What you see is a setting for a life of misery is life to them never-the-less,” he continued. “No one has the guts to just let them wither and die. No one who wants votes is willing to call a spade a spade. As long as the Dems can get their votes the enabling will continue. The Republicans need their votes and dare not cut the fiscal tether. It is really a political Catch-22.” 

 “The voters are the ones in charge,” Johnston said. “(H)owever when only 10-11 percent show up to vote, not much will change. People simply are not hurting enough, or simply happy enough that they will do nothing. consequently the dole continues.”






After this mouthful of slop got published in the local newspapers and on the "intertubes," John Johnson whines that he was taken out of context and he didn't really mean what he exactly said about letting poor people "wither and die."  And did you catch "...calling a spade a spade..." dog whistle?

The GOP attracts lots of these misanthropic jerks.  Can anyone guess why?

"...To See Ourselves As Others See Us"



O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us. 
 (O would some power the gift to give us to see ourselves as others see us.) 
--Robert Burns, Poem "To a Louse" - verse 8





HOW SOME BRITS SEE THE USA:



































Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Yes, Governor Patrick!



Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick




Governor Deval Patrick stepped up to the plate and offered to give refuge to 1,000 Central American children fleeing from murder and mayhem.  He now has to face opposition from those in the legislature and other parts of the state who believe we should repeat the U.S.'s shameful history and turn these refugees away, just as we turned away hundred of Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany, and who were sent back to their certain deaths.

Governor Patrick:

“We have rescued Irish children from famine, Russian and Ukrainian children from religious persecution, Cambodian children from genocide, Haitian children from earthquakes, Sudanese children from civil war, and New Orleans children from Hurricane Katrina,” Patrick said. “Once, in 1939, we turned our backs on Jewish children fleeing the Nazis, and it remains a blight on our national reputation. The point is that this good Nation is great when we open our doors and our hearts to needy children, and diminished when we don’t.”

Patrick’s remark alluded to the refusal on the part of U.S. in 1939 to allow a ship carrying more than 900 Jewish refugees escaping the emerging Nazi regime in Germany to land on American shores. Belgium, France, Britain and the Netherlands subsequently took the refugees in.


 
CBS News reported in May that the U.S. also denied London stockbroker Sir Nicholas Winston’s request that same year to provide asylum for 669 Czechoslovakian children — many of them Jewish — who were also fleeing from the Nazis. A memo from the State Department to the American embassy in London instructed embassy staff to tell him that the U.S. “unable, in the absence of specific legislation, to permit immigration in excess of that provided for by existing immigration laws.” Those children were also taken in by Britain."


More here from Squatlo Rant.

Monday, July 21, 2014

"This Is How Progressives Should Deal With A Post-Hobby Lobby America"





Reason number eleventy-hundred why I like living in Massachusetts.  

Gordon College in Salem, Mass., wants the government to allow it to discriminate against people based solely on their sexual orientation.  The mayor of Salem says no, you can't discriminate based on sexual orientation.  

At one time people with "sincerely held religious beliefs" discriminated against interracial couples, and Jews, and Mormons, and Catholics, and anti-slavery groups. However, religious beliefs do not give people the right to deny other people their Constitutional rights.

Bravo to Mayor Driscoll and the city of Salem, Mass. (where my children were born).



"The mayor of the city of Salem, Massachusetts doesn’t regret her city’s decision to sever its ties to Gordon College, the Christian university that asked the federal government to grant it a religious exemption from workplace protections for LGBT employees.

In fact, in a letter she posted to the city’s Facebook page, Mayor Kimberly Driscoll pledged to donate five dollars to an LGBT youth charity for every angry phone call her office gets from conservatives bent on harassing city employees over the decision.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s historic decision in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, Gordon College President D. Michael Lindsay joined a group of other Christian leaders who sent a letter to President Barack Obama insisting that their “sincerely held religious beliefs” compel them to demand exemption from federal nondiscrimination laws.

Gordon College, Lindsay argued, is “an explicitly Christian institution,” and as such, should be allowed to fire or to refuse to hire individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Some students and faculty reacted angrily, saying that Lindsay was making their school sound bigoted and backward. 


The New England Association of Schools and Colleges announced earlier this week that it is considering pulling Gordon College’s academic accreditation over its insistence on adhering to discriminatory policies, regardless of their religious foundations. Then came the city of Salem’s decision to cut all contractual ties with the college until its rules match the federal government’s."



***********



I've read many an essay about people who wish to discriminate against the LGBT community based on their sincerely held religious beliefs and how we who do not share those beliefs should be more understanding and respectful of their feelings on this specific issue.  

I've also read that people with sincerely held religious beliefs love the sinner but hate the sin.  How is discrimination against the LGBT community, which forces people into second-class status through shaming and rejection and limits their employment opportunities,"loving the sinner?"  What some religious people see as loving the sinner and hating the sin other people see as bigotry.  And their sincerely held belief is as legitimate as anyone else's.




This Is How Progressives Should Deal With a Post-Hobby Lobby America

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Science Blog





Richard Dawkins







Big Bang Discovery Opens Doors to the "Multiverse"


Gravitational waves rippling through the aftermath of the cosmic fireball, physicists suggest, point to us inhabiting a multiverse, a universe filled with many universes. (See: "Big Bang's 'Smoking Gun' Confirms Early Universe's Exponential Growth.") 

 That's because those gravitational wave results point to a particularly prolific and potent kind of "inflation" of the early universe, an exponential expansion of the dimensions of space to many times the size of our own cosmos in the first fraction of a second of the Big Bang, some 13.82 billion years ago. 

"In most models, if you have inflation, then you have a multiverse," said Stanford physicist Andrei Linde. Linde, one of cosmological inflation's inventors, spoke on Monday at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics event where the BICEP2 astrophysics team unveiled the gravitational wave results.

More here:  Alan Guth, Waiting For The Big Bang.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"MH17 -- Another Putin Disaster," by Infidel753




The usual howler monkeys were out in full force after hearing reports about the downed Malaysian flight.  Their gripe?   On the day of the tragedy, the president gave only a brief mention of it, then went on to talk about other issues.

Apparently, the Obama Derangement Howlers expected President Obama to give a full, detailed report on something no one had any real information on.  

IOW, the people ululating the loudest were the people who grab onto the latest rumors and right wing misinformation and run with it, especially if they can blame it all on President Obama.

I put more trust in people who actually know what they're talking about.

Infidel753 has been writing about this issue for a long time, and he has some thoughtful, non-hysterical, insights into what's been happening in the Ukraine:






"First off, let's be clear that yes, we do know beyond any real doubt that it was the Russian-backed "rebels" in eastern Ukraine who shot down MH17. They've been shooting at Ukrainian military aircraft in the same area on a regular basis recently. They have the "Buk" anti-aircraft system, supplied by Russia, which is capable of hitting planes at airliner cruising altitude. A recording of rebel officers discussing having shot down a plane, then finding out that it was civilian, has been released. The Putin regime has made a feeble effort to blame the Ukrainian government, but Ukrainian forces have not been using anti-aircraft weapons for the simple reason that the rebels are not using aircraft. 

Here is a good report on what's currently known and on world reactions, and here's some video of the crash site -- real video, not the sanitized images the US media give you with human corpses edited out, so be warned. 

This is ultimately Putin's fault. He made the decision to supply powerful military weapons to what are basically the Russo-Ukrainian equivalents of the trigger-happy morons who rallied around the Bundy ranch back in April and are now freaking out at random school buses in Arizona. It was easily foreseeable that some gargantuan fuck-up like this would be the result."



*************


Just for the record, here's a look back in history at how the right's favorite president handled a similar situation (via Andrew Sullivan's blog):

How Reagan Handled A Situation Like This 
JUL 18 2014 @ 1:00PM 

"Andrew Rudalevige draws parallels between the MH17 tragedy and the USSR shooting down a Korean Airlines plane in 1983. Reagan’s reaction to it: Reagan demanded an apology to the world and continued a number of sanctions — but he decided not to end grain sales to the USSR or to suspend arms control talks. 

George Will argued that “the administration is pathetic…. We didn’t elect a dictionary. We elected a President and it’s time for him to act.” The Manchester Union-Leader editorialized that “if someone had told us three years ago that the Russians could blow a civilian airliner out of the skies – and not face one whit of retaliation from a Ronald Reagan administration, we would have called that crazy. 

It is crazy. It is insane. It is exactly what happened.” Even at the height of the Cold War, however — and keeping in mind that the flight had departed from the U.S., with dozens of American passengers, including a sitting member of Congress – Reagan told a National Security Meeting that 'we’ve got to protect against overreaction. Vengeance isn’t the name of the game.'”




**************


One wonders if the Putin fanboys and fangirls on the right are still secretly admiring their favorite "strong leadership" guy.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Moderate Kansas Republicans Rebel Against Gov. Sam Brownback

What's the matter with Kansas?

Governor Sam Brownback and Tea Party policies. 

The saner members of the Kansas Republican Party have had it with Gov. Brownback's destructive Tea Party policies:  tax cuts for the rich, no expansion of Medicaid for the poor, and deteriorating public school education, just to name a few.  One hundred plus GOP politicians are backing the Democratic candidate, Paul Davis, for the governorship.

The extremist T-GOPers will ignore this or, as is their usual behavior, blame President Obama for Governor Brownback's policy failures.  But facts are stubborn things, and  these stubborn things  have turned his own party against him.

Here's the report:



More than 100 Kansas Republican politicians and activists Tuesday threw their collective weight behind Democratic governor candidate Paul Davis, a move designed to inspire other rebellious Republicans to action and weaken the re-election bid of GOP Gov. Sam Brownback.

Public expression of support for Davis by Republicans from across the state at a Topeka news conference exposed a new civil war within the Republican Party between moderates and conservatives. The endorsements also reflected Davis' effort to frame his campaign in bipartisan tones.


[skip]


The 104-person list of Davis backers included former Senate Presidents Bud Burke, Dick Bond and Steve Morris, one-time Kansas House Speakers Wendell Lady, Jim Braden and Robert Miller, former Lt. Govs. Gary Sherrer and Shelby Smith, former U.S. Rep. Jan Meyers, prior Kansas GOP chairman Bill Falstad, Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger as well as national GOP delegates, local school board members, mayors, and city and county officials.

"This election should not be about electing a Republican or a Democrat as governor," Bond said. "It must be about electing a moderate, common-sense Kansan for governor. It's time for us to say, 'Enough is enough.' "

"Kansans know that Sam Brownback will try to distract and mislead throughout this campaign. He wants to blame the mess in Kansas on Barack Obama," Bond added. "From our stalled economy to his ill- advised tax policy to our struggling schools -- to the Kansas drought. But the only person to blame for this mess is Sam Brownback

[skip]


Republicans joining Republicans for Kansas Values were motivated by disappointment in Brownback's policies to aggressively reduce state income through tax cuts, withdraw resources dedicated to highway projects, block expansion of Medicaid, undermine judicial independence and resist funding of K-12 public schools.

"The place where many of us see and feel the devastating impact of the Brownback experiment the most is in our public schools," said Carol Rupe Linnens, a former member of the Kansas State Board of Education.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Humanitarian Crisis at the Border



Please watch the video in the link below:


America's child migrant crisis, explained in 2 minutes


"Unaccompanied children who are caught crossing into the US are supposed to stay in the custody of Border Patrol agents for no more than 72 hours. During that time, they're screened by a Border Patrol officer. Children coming from Mexico have to prove to the Border Patrol officer that they fear persecution or trafficking in order to stay. Otherwise, they're returned. (It's believed that President Obama plans to ask Congress to extend this to Central American children as well.)

Children who pass the Border Patrol screening, or aren't subjected to it, are sent into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement — part of the Department of Health and Human Services. Because the government is so overwhelmed by the current influx, many of these children are being held in Border Patrol custody for more than 72 hours, or being held in intermediate detention centers — some of which are makeshift spaces on military bases. Once the Office of Refugee Resettlement receives a child, it's responsible for keeping the child in an HHS facility while it finds a relative or family friend who can take the child on. (The current crunch has made it difficult for HHS to screen relatives appropriately.)

If no relative can be found, the child is placed in long-term foster care. Meanwhile, the child's immigration case is being processed. In some cases, an asylum officer evaluates a child's claim for asylum; in other cases, the child goes through immigration court, where they might receive asylum or request Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (for children who can't be reunited with their families because of 'abuse, negligence or neglect')."


More here:

Thousands of children are fleeing Central America to Texas — alone



 The conservative blogsphere has exploded with emotional, and mostly inaccurate, reporting on the current crisis. 


From the New York Times, Sunday, July 13, 2014:

There is a reasonable way to confront the influx of Central American children at the southern border, and the White House is getting it mostly right. It has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to pay for more immigration judges, for legal assistance to children and parents, and to help care for tens of thousands of children in shelters in Texas and elsewhere. 
  
The request seeks more money for the Border Patrol, and for speedier prosecutions and deportations of adults with children, repatriating migrants and addressing causes fueling the exodus in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. And it includes an ad campaign to urge parents there to keep their children at home. ... 
 
 But instead of supporting the package, Republicans are throwing up roadblocks. And through dangerous overreaction, some are urging actions that would make the situation worse. They want to make the children’s deportations speedier by amending or repealing the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, a 2008 law signed by President George W. Bush that gave new legal and humanitarian protections to unaccompanied migrant children from countries other than Mexico or Canada. 

"Republicans could fix the problem on the border, but they're not about to surrender a talking point just because it stops a metric ton of human misery. On this issue, as with nearly every other, they much prefer 'look how bad a job Obama is doing' to 'look how good a job we're doing.' Government doing a bad job, no matter where the fault lies, is considered a win by this Republican Party." --Mark Sumner




Question of the day.



Saturday, July 12, 2014

Good News for the A.C.A. -- Bad News for the T-GOP




Since the passage of the A.C.A. and the SCOTUS's decision that affirmed its constitutionality, a great many libertarians and conservatives have predicted that the law would fail; that it would make health care coverage more difficult to obtain; that doctors would opt out of it by quitting the medical profession; that people would suffer more than before its passage, etc., etc., etc.   

None of those predictions have come to pass.  In fact the A.C.A. is pretty much doing what it was supposed to do. It needs adjustments, but the Republican House and Republicans in general have no intention of working with Mr. Obama and the Democrats to fix the problems and to make the A.C.A. more workable for Americans.  Instead we've had a petulant Speaker Boehner allow 50+ votes in the House to repeal the A.C.A. and not one single plan to replace it.  IOW, grandstanding in the best tradition of our current Grand Old Party of NO!

Now comes reality.  Something with which the modern Republican Party, and especially its Crazy Flank, the T-GOPers, do not deal very well:




Libertarian Accidentally Shows How Obamacare Is Succeeding 
 By Jonathan Chait 


"The Commonwealth Fund has a new survey showing that the proportion of adults lacking health insurance has fallen by a quarter, from 20 percent of the population to 15 percent. (Most respondents, including 74 percent of newly insured Republicans, report liking their plan.) 

Also, this week, the Congressional Budget Office again revised down its cost estimates for Medicare, which now spends $50 billion a year less than it was projected to before Obamacare passed. Also, the New England Journal of Medicine recently estimated that 20 million Americans gained insurance under the new law. The latter study comes in for criticism by Peter Suderman, Reason’s indefatigable health-care analyst. Like the entire right-wing media, Suderman’s coverage of Obamacare has furnished an endless supply of mockery of the law’s endless failures and imminent collapse. 

While some of his points have validity, it’s fair to say that the broader narrative conveyed by his work, which certainly lies on the sophisticated end of the anti-Obamacare industry, has utterly failed to prepare his libertarian readers for the possibility that the hated health-care law will actually work more or less as intended."

More inconvenient truths about the T-GOP's hated A.C.A.:










Friday, July 11, 2014

Why the GOP is Losing Young People



This is a follow-up to the post on "The Kids Are All Right, Part III.

Millennials writing in Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish blog have explained why they are staying away from the GOP in droves and why the GOP fails to appeal to this group. They see themselves as Libertarian/Liberal, and here they are, in their own words, to explain why:



"I totally agree with what your Millennial reader wrote, and I want to add a few points. First, we have grown up in the most diverse America in history. My closest friends don’t look like me, don’t go to the same church, and some don’t even speak English as their first language. We have more contact with immigrants, gays, the disabled, and multicultural families than any generation before us. So when a party tries to bemoan the loss of the “white establishment,” even my white male friends – the supposed members of this establishment – are shocked and alienated. You can’t try to win a demographic and think they won’t notice that you are leaving behind their girlfriends, boyfriends, classmates and coworkers. 

 We are also the most educated generation yet. And while you can try to write off academia as a liberal indoctrination, what is really happening is that the anti-science, anti-evidence, anti-fact machine of the GOP can’t stand up to people who know how to ask the right questions and have the Internet to find the answers. We are not going to take kindly to a party that would pass Medicare and start two wars without paying for any of it, blame the deficit on the next president, and then try to bill itself as the fiscally responsible party. The facts are out there, whether it’s about climate change, birth control, or what you voted for on the House floor last year. 

The Internet only strengthens both of those traits in our generation. O’Reilly can rant about Gangnam Style all he wants. [The above video] is perhaps the best example of how his party has lost a generation of supporters through willful ignorance." 

 Another writes: 

 "I agree wholeheartedly with your reader on some of the big issues, but gay marriage support cannot be understated. Eighty percent of millennial voters know someone personally who is gay. Unsurprisingly, there’s a 20% difference in marriage support amongst those who know someone that is gay. These are our family members, our friends, our co-workers. We not only know them, but we see the love they have in their hearts for their partners. And it’s starting to work on our baby-boomer parents, too. My mother was a lifelong Republican voter. But since 2008, she has become close, personal friends with a gay man. She and her fiance have him and his partner over to dinner just as they would any other couple. In two weeks, they are standing up with her at her wedding. My mom voted for the President this year almost solely on that issue alone. 

You have always written that marriage equality moves forward because it’s virtually normal. That it doesn’t have to be won in court cases or by demanding it. Marriage equality is being won because gays are no longer an enigma being defined by the Christian Right. We know gays and lesbians. We’re friends with gays and lesbians. We share our lunch table at work and our dinner table at home. And more troubling for Republican Party, we’re starting to have our own children. Children that are growing up in households with parents who support marriage equality, who are going to daycare with children of same-sex couples. And to them, it won’t even be virtually normal. It will just be normal."

One more:

"Here is what I learned about politics in my formative years: Under a moderate Democrat president, the economy was doing well and we had budget surpluses, while the Republicans threw fits, shut down the government, and impeached him over bullshit. A Republican won a close election after which he might have been expected to try for a bipartisan approach in the face of a weak mandate, but instead pushed a strident conservative platform that, even before two wars, erased the budget surplus. Republicans got us into a quagmire in Iraq that (no disrespect to you) was obviously a bad idea from the beginning. When another moderate Democrat won election, Republicans engaged in an epic tantrum and behaved like babies for four years, culminating in a disgraceful Presidential field in 2012. 


For the record, I am not a liberal. I would describe myself as a moderate libertarian, and my political idols are Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower. What has the Republican party done since 1995 to convince me that it has any positive vision for responsible governance, or any solutions to the problems facing the country and the world? What have they done that measures up to the legacy of our country’s historical leaders? With the sheer audacity of the volte-faces they have made in the last couple decades on every issue, how can they be trusted with any power?"



From Reason.com:
Jul. 10, 2014 

"Millennials Think Government Is Inefficient, Abuses Its Power, and Supports Cronyism 

But young Americans also want government to guarantee health insurance and living wages; plan to vote for Democrats in 2014 and 2016."  



Smart, thoughtful, cogent responses.  

Yes, the kids are most assuredly all right!


Rational Nation USA has a post up on this subject as well.


 And MORE HERE:  


The Secret Language of Millennials

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cranial Explosion Alert!









While extremist T-GOPers are running around shrieking "IMPEACH!"  "BENGHAZI!"  "BROWN REFUGEE CHILDREN WILL MAKE US ALL SICK!" "IRS!," President Obama is doing his job and demolishing every lie the T-GOPers read at Breitbart, Drudge, and FAUX NEWS.


Remember this phrase?:  "It's the economy, stupid!" 

Read this report from the right-leaning Rasmussen Report: 




Obama May Be Best Economic President Ever 


In case the above link fails, paste this into your browser:  http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/political_commentary/commentary_by_froma_harrop/obama_may_be_best_economic_president_ever




"...Bob Deitrick, a principal at Polaris Financial Partners in Westerville, Ohio. Deitrick crunched 80 years of numbers. Politically, 1929 to 2009 were exactly divided -- 40 years under Republican presidents and 40 under Democrats. He put his extraordinary findings in a book, "Bulls, Bears and the Ballot Box."

 Because President Obama was in office for only three years at the time of the writing, Deitrick and his co-author left him out. But Deitrick now has enough of an Obama track record to have recently declared in a Forbes interview, "By all measures, President Obama has outperformed every modern president." His findings were so lopsided in favor of Democrats I had to ask him whether he is one. He said no. "I really was apolitical until 2000," start of the George W. Bush era. That's when he saw massive mismanagement of the economy at the expense of his middle- to upper-middle-class clients.

 "The average retail investor got slammed, where hedge funds were allowed to take advantage of everyone else," he told me. The best overall economic performance pre-Obama was that of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson (whom Deitrick put together because of Kennedy's early death).

No. 2 was Bill Clinton, with Franklin D. Roosevelt in third place.

The top six included two Republicans. Dwight Eisenhower ranked fourth, and Ronald Reagan sixth, edged out of fifth place by Harry Truman.

 Were it not for Herbert Hoover, George W. would have ended up last. Reagan was a "stimulus addict," in Deitrick's view. His economic growth came through massive spending on defense and deep tax cuts.

The price was a tripling of the national debt."

[skip]


Here's an interesting calculation: Suppose that in 1929, you put $100,000 in a 401(k) fully invested in stocks. Under the 40 years of Republican presidents, you would have ended up with only $126,000. Under the Democrats, you would have amassed a retirement nest egg of $3.9 million!   If you added Obama, the Democrats' number would be much bigger. 

 Deitrick believes that presidents largely control the economy -- through the bully pulpit and the power to appoint leaders, enact executive orders and issue vetoes. (Not everyone agrees they hold most economic cards.) 

 Deitrick is a disciple of Marriner Eccles, the rich Republican banker whom Roosevelt named Federal Reserve chairman. Eccles held that putting more money in middle-class hands is key to recovery and that trickledown economics helps mainly those providing the trickle. 

 Speaking of income inequality, the gap between the top 1 percent and bottom 99 percent widened 20 percent in the 40 years Republicans ran the Oval Office. In the Democratic presidential years, it narrowed 16 percent. 

Obama's greatest successes, Deitrick says, are the auto rescue plan and the Wall Street reforms, which revived faith among investors. The annual compound return on stocks has averaged between 25 and 30 percent (depending on the index) since the lows of March 2009. 

 Deitrick says he's perpetually shocked that Democrats don't trumpet their economic triumphs. You don't have to be a Democrat to wonder why."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Kids Are All Right, Part III


Good news!:


College GOP chairman resigns, joining Democrats


The chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans has resigned his post and "will be changing my party affiliation to Democrat in the next few days." 

 Evan Alvarez resigned his post this morning, which was made public by a release sent out by MFCR with a copy of his resignation. In the letter, he says that tea party activists have too much of a voice in the party, "and because of that, the platform of the Republican Party has shifted too far to the right in my opinion." 

In a separate email..., he says he has already begun talking with Democrats about joining their party.




More good news:


"The Millennial generation is forging a distinctive path into adulthood. Now ranging in age from 18 to 31, they are relatively unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry— and optimistic about the future. 


They are also America’s most racially diverse generation. In all of these dimensions, they are different from today’s older generations. And in many, they are also different from older adults back when they were the age Millennials are now. 

Pew Research Center surveys show that half of Millennials (50%) now describe themselves as: 

1)  political independents and 
2)  about three-in-ten (29%) say they are not affiliated with any religion. 

These are at or near the highest levels of political and religious disaffiliation recorded for any generation in the quarter-century that the Pew Research Center has been polling on these topics." 


Even better news:

"At the same time, however, Millennials stand out for voting heavily Democratic and for liberal views on many political and social issues, ranging from a belief in an activist government to support for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization."

Don't worry; be happy:

"While the 2014 elections may be favoring the Republican party, a new Pew Research study has some encouraging data for progressives and liberals, reflecting a growing electorate that is quickly evolving on many social issues. 


The data could spell real trouble for conservatives who steadfastly continue to allow religious views to drive their political agendas. 

Using data from a Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 14-23, 2014 among 1,821 adults nationwide that examines the trends and ideological beliefs of Millennials – those now ranging in age from 18 to 33, - the study highlights some startling and very encouraging findings. 

Included in the findings is the revelation that, although a full half of those surveyed identified themselves as political independents (a record high), “…Millennials stand out for voting heavily Democratic and for liberal views on many political and social issues, ranging from a belief in an activist government to support for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization.” 

In an article about the study, the New Yorker Magazine - while correctly pointing out that white conservative voters are literally dying off - uses the following graphic to illustrate the stark differences by race of how voters view the role of government, writing: 

Conservatives have a double problems with millennial voters. The first is that they’re much less white than older voters, which means that, as time goes on, Republicans would need to get much higher voting margins among millennial whites merely to stay even. 

But the second problem is that millennial whites have more liberal views than older whites. Support for smaller government polls in the +40-to-+50 range among Generation X and Baby Boomer whites, but only +13 among millennial whites. Universal health insurance polls at around -20 points among older whites, but only -10 among millennial whites."





The Kids Are All Right, Part I

The Kids Are All Right, Part II



Monday, July 7, 2014

Oops!

UPDATE HERE


Gun-toting, flag-waving, Bible-holding conservative woman and her doppelgänger. 


She didn't see this one coming, did she:




People like her are never self-aware. They're the same sort of people who howl about President Obama imposing Sharia law on the U.S.A., and then act like the very people they fear.

O the humanity!

Why Are We Not Surprised?



Last week I put up a post on the poorest states in the country.  Sadly, they're all southern states traditionally run by conservative Republican governors and/or state legislatures.  Not one conservative came here to explain why that is.  Instead one commenter pointed out that his relatives who live in North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico are all doing well.  That, of course, doesn't change the fact that the south delivers poverty and misery for most of its citizens, and it's not a stretch to say that the policies set out by those states' political leaders contribute to the sad state of their affairs.  

We all know that pockets of poverty exist in all fifty states, but that's not what the statistics about poor southern states are about.  The studies show that a majority of the people in that region of the country are poor, are in need of access to health care (Medicaid expansion is being withheld by their governors); and they need an education that doesn't teach them nonscientific stories in their science classes.  

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, one of the poorest and one of the highest in the misery index, has said he's fine with teaching a religious story as scientific fact. Keeping people ignorant keeps people in poverty.  It is shameful that a governor, who should know better, would promote religion as scientific fact.

Another study by Fortune Magazine reports on the most corrupt states in the U.S.  Eight out of the top ten are run by conservative governors and/or legislatures.  The other two are Illinois and Pennsylvania.  Corruption in government allows funds to be diverted from desperately needed services as well as repairs to infrastructure in crumbling cities and towns--funds that could contribute to employment, which would get people off of welfare and give them a chance to be independent.

Here's what Fortune Magazine reported:




The 10 most corrupt states in the U.S.



New research takes a look at decades of corruption convictions to find the crookedest states in the union.

When we think of government corruption (as one tends to do), our biased minds often gravitate to thoughts of military juntas and third world governments. But, of course, corruption is everywhere, in one form or another. And it’s costing U.S. citizens big time.

A new study from researchers at the University of Hong Kong and Indiana University estimates that corruption on the state level is costing Americans in the 10 most corrupt states an average of $1,308 per year, or 5.2% of those states’ average expenditures per year.

The researchers studied more than 25,000 convictions of public officials for violation of federal corruption laws between 1976 and 2008 as well as patterns in state spending to develop a corruption index that estimates the most and least corrupt states in the union. Based on this method, the the most corrupt states are:

1. Mississippi
2. Louisiana
3. Tennessee
4. Illinois
5. Pennsylvania
6. Alabama
7. Alaska
8. South Dakota
9. Kentucky
10. Florida

 That these places landed on the list isn’t exactly surprising. Illinois, which has gain notoriety for its high-profile corruption cases in recent years, is paired with states like Mississippi and Louisiana, which are some of the least economically developed in the country.

The researchers also found that for 9 out of the 10 of the most corrupt states, overall state spending was higher than in less corrupt states (South Dakota was the only exception).  Attacking corruption, the researchers argue, could be a good way to bring down state spending without hurting services that people need.

 Researchers also found that spending in these states was different than their less corrupt counterparts. According to the report, “states with higher levels of corruption are likely to favor construction, salaries, borrowing, correction, and police protection at the expense of social sectors such as education, health and hospitals.”

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Stupid is as Stupid Does





Conservatives Are Purposely Making Their Cars Spew Black Smoke To Protest Obama And Environmentalists 



"Pickup trucks customized to spew black smoke into the air are quickly becoming the newest weapon in the culture wars. "Coal Rollers" are diesel trucks modified with chimneys and equipment that can force extra fuel into the engine causing dark black smoke to pour out of the chimney stacks. 

These modifications are not new, but as Slate's Dave Weigel pointed out on Thursday, "rolling coal" has begun to take on a political dimension with pickup drivers increasingly viewing their smokestacks as a form of protest against environmentalists and Obama administration emissions regulations." 










And these unfortunate people wonder why they're perceived as not too bright?  This "protest" they're engaging in does no harm to President Obama whatsoever nor the environmental "libtards" they love to hate.  

The spiteful spewing of noxious fumes will, in fact, affect their babies, children, the elderly and others who have breathing problems.  That'll show Obama!  

Their way of protesting?   Hurting themselves, while acting like demented fools.


Stupid is as Stupid Does.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Governing in the Spirit of Revenge



Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post explains how Congressional Republicans have done their best to gridlock the country, interfere with allowing President Obama to even begin to enact his policies and appoint his nominees, which, because he was elected twice by the American people, are what the American people voted for.  Those policies and nominees have been thwarted and even nullified by a vengeful, nihilistic cult within the GOP:



"As we celebrate the Fourth of July, who can argue that our democracy is working the way the Founders intended? And who can deny that most of the blame for dysfunction must fall to the Republican Party? 

George Washington distrusted all political parties. He warned in his farewell address that, as they alternated power, parties would act in “the spirit of revenge” — rather than, presumably, in the best interests of the nation. The “disorders and miseries” that resulted, Washington feared, would inevitably threaten democracy. 

For most of U.S. history, the major parties, even while differing sharply on philosophy and policy, have acted in a spirit of shared enterprise. There are significant exceptions — notably the years leading up to the Civil War. There was no possible compromise on an issue so fundamental as slavery. 

Today, we face no question of such magnitude. Yet Republicans have decided not to collaborate with President Obama in fulfilling the most basic obligations of government, preferring to let “disorders and miseries” fester rather than address them. 

Perhaps the House Republicans who block Obama’s legislative proposals and the Senate Republicans who block his executive and judicial appointments are acting in narrow political self-interest. Perhaps, as much of the overheated GOP rhetoric suggests, they are acting with the vengeful animus that Washington feared.

Whatever the motivation, Republicans have paralyzed our government in a way that would have shocked and depressed the Founders. Compounding the outrage, Republicans have the temerity to criticize Obama for using his executive powers in the national interest. This is dangerously close to nihilism."



Read the rest here.

While the extremists in the GOP busy themselves this weekend celebrating Independence Day, our country is suffering from the bitterness and spite they have spread across this land because they refuse to work with or recognize the legitimacy of our duly elected president, a man the American people, their fellow citizens, elected and re-elected, Barack Hussein Obama.

Their idea of governing is to make the country suffer because its citizens elected a man they hate.

What we are experiencing is the GOP's "spirit of revenge."  And that is not what the Founding Fathers-- whom they venerate but mock with their hostility to and contempt for cooperative governing--that is not what those true patriots hoped for this country when they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in signing the Declaration of Independence.