5 @ 5: Soldiers On Food Stamps

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012 • no responses - be the first

Some soldiers, and their families are unable to make ends meet. So they end up at food pantries, and on SNAP. “I thought this was America people!” American society allegedly reveres our military “heroes.” Guess not:

Fort Hood soldiers fight to make ends meet

Frank Bruni writes a non-obtuse op-ed for once:

The God Glut

 Right To Work (for less) passes the Michigan House. These people are degenerates:

Michigan Bills Limiting Union Power Pass in Legislature

The Atlantic’s mostly brilliant staff tells you the best books they read this year:

The Best Book I Read This Year

#ICYMI. I wrote about Black Republicans, and their propensity to refer to Black Dems as being on the “plantation.”:

Black Republicans & The “Plantation”

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Quote of the Day: Fiscal Cliff Taxes

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012 • no responses - be the first

Derek Thompson:

When President Obama says he’s going to raise the top marginal tax rate, the key words there are “top” and “marginal.” According to the president’s plan, every dollar under $250,000 of earned income will enjoy the same tax cut it has today. He’s only pledged to raise taxes on income above that level by about 5%. So, if you make $251,000 next year, your tax bill wouldn’t go up by $12,000. It would go up by $50. A steak dinner, not a small car.

Thompson’s post is titled, Rich People Who Don’t Understand Taxes Should Be Told So. I completely agree with that statement, but they should only be a starting point because of their outsized influence in our political system. We need as many people as possible to understand this. It’s mind-boggling the number of people who don’t understand or possible feign ignorance at our marginal income tax rate structure. Including many in the press. We got to do better.

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Scalia, Homosexuality & Morality

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012 • no responses - be the first

AP:

Speaking at Princeton University, Scalia was asked by a gay student why he equates laws banning sodomy with those barring bestiality and murder.

“I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective…”

If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”

Scalia goes on to note that he’s not comparing homosexuality to murder (right), bu I don’t have much to say about that. I think the ludicrousness of the above statements speak for themselves. I acutely interested in this though:

Scalia said, adding that legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral.

Oh really? I’d be very interested to hear what Antonin thinks of banning fur or meat-eating or hunting. How about a ban drinking again? Maybe we should ban women wearing pants? We could ban inter-racial marriage again too! All of these things have a constituency, and Justice Scalia has just said that if a legislative body has enough votes for ban any of the above because they think it’s immoral then that’s ok.

Somehow, I don’t think Antonin would go along with many of the above bans. But he clearly believes it’s ok to legislate your personal morality. Never mind that the point of laws is to protect people, other certain entities & create a society that’s as free & and as safe as possible. That’s why banning sodomy is stupid, and immoral. It has nothing to do with protecting anyone. It’s all about pushing a certain view of morality. So yes, Justice Scalia, you can have all the moral feelings about homosexuality you want. That is absolutely your right. It is not your right to infringe on someone’s individual liberty just because you, personally, think it’s immoral. When folks attempt to turn their morality into law on things like homosexuality, I find that profoundly immoral. Murder, as a law, is less about morality then it is about the most serious form of infringement of one’s personal liberty, the right to live. Laws legislating what we can do with our bodies infringe upon that most basic right as well. Keep your morals out of my pants.

 

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5 @ 5: Fast Food Nation

by TKOEd • Monday, Dec 10, 2012 • no responses - be the first

We’re are becoming a nation of service workers. And fast food workers have a long, hard fight ahead of them to get living wages. With perseverance, and our support they can get there sooner rather than later:

A Fast Food Nation Fights for Living Wages—Against Long Odds.

You think Barry was fucking ’round in that election? Nah, B. Just like ’08, he played to win:

The Science Behind Those Obama Campaign E-mails.

I wish this was a surprise, but it’s not. The NYCHA sucks, badly:

Housing Agency’s Flaws Revealed By Storm.

In arguing against raising the Medicare eligibility age, Charles P. Pierce shows why he’s necessary:

The Actual Cost Of Washington’s Clever Debt Deal.

#ICYMI. I wondered aloud about Jeffrey Goldberg’s gun fantasies.

Jeffrey Goldberg’s Gunsmoke.

 

 

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Quote of the Day: Norman Ornstein

by TKOEd • Monday, Dec 10, 2012 • no responses - be the first

…what are you there for? What’s the whole notion of a free press for if you’re not going to report without fear or favor and you’re not going to report what your reporters, after doing their due diligence, see as the truth?

“And if you don’t do that, then you can expect I think a growing drumbeat of criticism that you’re failing in your fundamental responsibility.

Your job is to report the truth. And sometimes there are two sides to a story. Sometimes there are ten sides to a story. Sometimes there’s only one.

“Somebody has got to make an assessment of whether the two sides are being equally careless with their facts, or equally deliberate with their lies.”

I LOVE this quote. As Erika can attest to, this is a point I’ve made for a very long time. Forget balance, that’s a canard. Report the fucking truth, and report as much of it as you can find out. Don’t be a fucking stenographer. Don’t tell me 6 days in a row that a pol said X when he or she has said X for months. That’s not news. Find out why they keep repeating it. Find out if their record backs up what they’re espousing. Enlighten us, don’t infantilize us.

Source.
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The Big Story: Jeffrey Goldberg’s Gunsmoke!

by TKOEd • Monday, Dec 10, 2012 • no responses - be the first

Jeffrey Goldberg advocates for more guns, and more gun control in this month’s Atlantic magazine:

I shared—and continue to share—the view that muscular gun-control regulations, ones that put stumbling blocks in front of criminals seeking firearms, are necessary. But I was also seized by the thought that, had I been on the train, I would much rather have been armed than unarmed. I was not, and am not, under the illusion that a handgun would have necessarily provided a definitive solution to the problem posed by Colin Ferguson. But my instinct was that if someone is shooting at you, it is generally better to shoot back than to cower and pray.

The problem with this, and Goldberg’s entire argument is that it’s mostly built on the back of fighting back an assailant who also has a gun. Goldberg asks victims of gun violence if they would have preferred to have been armed on the day they were shot, and all them dismiss the idea to varying degrees. Now the people who were actually in the middle of it all are highly skeptical that being armed would have done them any good, but Goldberg is pretty damn sure it would have. Lots of people like to think they would have saved the day had they been in the theater in Aurora, but the folks who went through it are much less sure. That should give us all pause. Not Jeffrey Goldberg though:

But the worst thing that could have happened to Daniel Mauser did, in fact, happen. The presence in the Columbine library of a well-trained, armed civilian attempting to stop the killers could hardly have made the situation worse.

The fact that extremely few civilians are “well-trained” in the use of firearms doesn’t seem to faze Goldberg in the least. Furthermore he knows that it wouldn’t have made the situation worse. Because he was there! Wait, no, he was not. He doesn’t consider how a shoot-out could have easily made things worse. He moves on to Columbine after talking to an Aurora survivor who’s pretty sure that armed civilians wouldn’t have been helpful at all. You know because it was a theater, and it was fucking dark, and who knows who’s shooting at who? And did I mention the shooter was wearing body armor?

The whole piece seems built around a fantasy Goldberg seems to have about taking down someone shooting at him or someone else. He mentions places with less gun violence in passing, but only to say that we’ve gone past the point of no return, and that we already have so many guns so the only answer is MORE GUNS. Or he posits that the U.K. has more home break-ins when people are home because they have less gun ownership. Never mind that those places have far less gun violence, and crime in general.

Goldberg mentions Trayvon Martin, but only to call Zimmerman a “cowboy.” I’m also thinking of Jordan Davis, and Robbie Tolan, and Oscar Grant, and Sean Bell. All of who were killed or shot by people who were lawfully carrying guns. I point this out because that’s the crux of Goldberg’s argument. Lawful gun owners. He puts up lots of statistics to show that concealed-carry laws don’t create more gun violence. But when I look at how many people seem to have an irrational fear of Black men more guns on the street, no matter how they were obtained doesn’t make me feel any safer. I also think that’s what makes it easier for Goldberg to be so dismissive of the idea that more people with guns could be a problem. It’s doesn’t seem to be a problem for people who look like him. All the most famous instances of people being shot by someone who legally carried a weapon are Black men.

Goldberg seems to assume that when a law-abiding citizen pulls a gun on a criminal the criminal will flee. But given his focus on fighting guns with guns, then what seems more logical is to assume is a shoot-out. Does a shoot-out sound safer then a stick-up for the general public? Shouldn’t we also assume that faced with an increasingly armed populace that more, and more criminals will take up James Holmes’ lead, and wear body armor when they go out to commit crimes? There are so many issues & questions he fails to consider in what is a relatively long piece. In addition his other “evidence” he strongly implies that the rise of concealed-carry laws has played a significant part in bringing down the crime rate in America:

Today, the number of concealed-carry permits is the highest it’s ever been, at 8 million, and the homicide rate is the lowest it’s been in four decades—less than half what it was 20 years ago. (The number of people allowed to carry concealed weapons is actually considerably higher than 8 million, because residents of Vermont, Wyoming, Arizona, Alaska, and parts of Montana do not need government permission to carry their personal firearms. These states have what Second Amendment absolutists refer to as “constitutional carry,” meaning, in essence, that the Second Amendment is their permit.)

He throws out a couple more stats like that in other parts of his piece. But he also hints that his attempts at providing causation between c-c, and less crime might be bullshit:

Others contend that proving causality between crime rates and the number of concealed-carry permits is impossible. “It’s difficult to make the case that more concealed-carry guns have led to the drop in the national crime rate, because cities like Los Angeles, where we have very restrictive gun-control laws, have seen the same remarkable drop in crime,” Winkler told me. (Many criminologists tend to attribute America’s dramatic decrease in violent crime to a combination of demographic changes, longer criminal sentencing, innovative policing techniques, and the waning of the crack wars.)

He attempts to refute it in the very next paragraph though. The above quote mentions L.A., and its restrictive gun-control laws, but leaves out many other cities like say, NY or D.C. Large cities are responsible for a large majority of the reduced crime in America, and they are also the places most likely to have strong gun-control laws.  All of this gives me the sense that rather than going in trying to find the best resolution to out gun problem, Goldberg went in trying to figure out how to have it both ways. He wants to have his gun so he can one day be a hero, but he wants to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill & criminals. All of this is supposed to make us safer. Despite all the stats he throws out in this piece, at no point does he even hint at any other country where more guns = less crime. Only America do we have this backwards logic. He says 47% of people in this country own guns, he wants us to believe the only real way for the rest of us to stay safe is by getting one ourselves.

It’s clear to me that Goldberg has succumbed to “The Seductive Dream of Standing Your Ground”, but the biggest fantasy is the idea that we can get even get moderate forms of gun control passed at a national level. We’d get more guns, and but no more control.

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Black From The Past: Maya & Malcolm

by TKOEd • Monday, Dec 10, 2012 • no responses - be the first

Maya Angelou, and El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz in 1964.

 

Source.
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Black Republicans & The “Plantation”

by TKOEd • Monday, Dec 10, 2012 • no responses - be the first

Why do Black GOPers like Herman Cain & Shirley Husar like to refer to Black Democrats as being on the “Democratic plantation” or in “bondage” to Democrats? Why do they always seem to do when addressing white Republicans? And why are they surprised after making such statements that a Black person might call them a “sell-out” or some variation?

I don’t know about you, but when you say that I’m a slave to the Democrats I suddenly don’t think very highly of you. And when you do it while addressing nearly all white audiences I’m become extremely skeptical of your motives. Because you’re clearly not trying to convince me to come over to your side. You’re not even talking to me. Usually you’re in the middle of giving advice to white GOPers about how they should “recruit” Black folks.

Herman Cain described himself as a “modern-day Harriet Tubman.” Shirley Husar (who? exactly) said:

It is time to lay down the tracks of a new “underground railroad,” a movement to help a people who are in bondage to the Democratic Party find hope and encouragement in the GOP…

These self-styled Harriet Tubmans didn’t do so well this year, Obama won 93% of the Black vote. Damn those stubborn coloreds. They really love their massa.

We have values that resonate strongly with GOP values – love of family, the desire to succeed, hatred of cronyism and concentrated power, which are often used against us.

Let’s break this down a bit.

Love of Family: The GOP is generally considered the party of “family values”, but are they really? The Family & Medical Leave Act passed, but nearly all who voted against it were Republicans. They’re anti-gay marriage. They’ve been anti-programs like S-CHIP. They’re anti-family planning.They voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Desire to Succeed: I’m not sure what this is referring to specifically, but I’m assuming it has something to do with work. GOPers are often cited as being on the side of “small business”, but who are they really in the pockets of? Big Business. Who are they always working for? Rich investors and/or rick business owners. They’re virulently anti-union. Again, they voted against Lily Ledbetter. They are generally the ones voting against raising the minimum wage. All these are ways in which people try to better themselves, and the lives of their families.

Hatred of Cronyism & Concentrated Power: Is she really serious with this one? “Heckuva of job Brownie.” Enron. The Wall Street recession. Iran Contra. Blackwater. As far as concentrated power goes, all I’ve got to say is reproductive rights.

Do these people think we’re stupid? Shirley says no:

Blacks and Latinos aren’t genetically Democratic. We aren’t stupid. We aren’t blind.

You’re right, Shirley. We’re not stupid. That’s why we aren’t persuaded by charlatans like yourself looking to bamboozle & swindle us. This isn’t about helping Black folks. It’s about selling the white GOP establishment on how you can magically bring minorities to their side, by telling them to get off the plantation.

Again you’re right, we’re not stupid, and we’re not blind. As a matter of fact, we see right through you.

 

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5 @ 5: Standing Your Ground

by TKOEd • Friday, Dec 7, 2012 • no responses - be the first

Ta-Nehisi Coates speaks of the boy that still lives inside me as well. I suspect he still lives in inside any man who grew up in the hood or the ghetto:

The Seductive Dream of Standing Your Ground.

Is warp speed possible? Not without the mas-energy of Jupiter:

What If NASA Could Figure Out the Math of a Workable Warp Drive?

Let’s hope SCOTUS doesn’t fuck this up:

Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Two Cases On Gay Marriage

Biggie’s still dead, and his murderer(s) are still on the loose, but his autopsy has just been released:

Long-sealed Notorious B.I.G. Autopsy Released.

Sign of the times? Jet mag gets with the program:

Jet Magazine Features Its 1st Gay Male Couple.

 

 

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