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Miss Tick
10-10-2013, 07:58 AM
This just makes me sick to my stomach. How can you live with yourself doing shit like this? I mean don't people with Down Syndrome have enough they have to deal with every day. Now we can add the possibility the cops will just kill them for being a special needs person and acting accordingly. We haven't come very far from when experiments like feeding the mentally handicapped radioactive cereal were commonplace. If we refuse to protect the most vulnerable members of a civilized society then we are not very civilized or much of a society at all.

Killed by Cops Over a Movie Ticket: How Police Hurt the Disabled
A man with Down syndrome died in a confrontation with police. Officers need better training before more people die.
October 9, 2013 |

On Jan. 12, Robert “Ethan” Saylor of Frederick County, Md., a 26-year-old man with Down syndrome and an IQ of 40, died of asphyxiation after a confrontation with three off-duty police officers. He was being restrained for attempting to see “Zero Dark Thirty” for a second time without a ticket. According to witnesses, Saylor’s last words included “it hurt” and “call my mom.”

Saylor’s ashes now sit in the family’s living room while the three officers continue their usual shifts. No charges have been filed.

Saylor’s death stands out as especially tragic, not only because he loved police officers. Despite testimony from Saylor’s aide that she told the officers to “be patient” and let her “handle it,” a local grand jury decided not to file criminal charges. In late July, the federal government finally took note and opened an investigation into whether police violated Saylor’s civil rights.

This slow-moving process reveals something disturbing: Our law enforcement system often fails to protect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and, in some cases, is complicit in their abuse.

Saylor is far from the first person with special needs to be harmed by police. In 2010, Steven Eugene Washington of Los Angeles, a 27-year-old man with autism, was shot dead after his inability to follow police’s directions made officers suspicious. He reached into his waistband, leading officers to fear he had a gun; he did not. In 2010, North Miami Beach police shot Ernest Vassell, 56, a man with mental disabilities, who was playing with a toy gun that they believed was real after he, too, had difficulty complying with officers’ commands.

Police can misinterpret the behavior of people with special needs because they do not even recognize that the person has cognitive or intellectual impairments. “We as human beings tend to approach everything through our own prism, and if someone is acting extremely peculiar, we’re immediately frightened,” said James Mulvaney, a professor at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice and an autism advocate. “If you’re a cop, you’re probably thinking this person is a danger.”

Police academies often devote only a brief amount of time to studying disabilities, and deal with physical, mental and other disabilities all together with little time specifically focused on developmental or intellectual ones, according to Leslie Morrison of Disability Rights California. “Those are very different categories.”

“Most officers have more knowledge about mental illness,” than about developmental or intellectual disabilities, said Leigh Anna Davis of the Arc, a community-based advocacy group for people with such disabilities. “In fact, they may think they are the same thing.” She added, “Without face to face contact, it’s hard to help officers realize the need to change their behavior or ways of interacting.”

People with autism may be at elevated risk because, unlike with people with Down syndrome, there are no tell-tale physical features of the disability. As a result, when they do not quickly follow police directions, they are often misconstrued as being disobedient or suspicious.

In fact, because it was so apparent that Saylor did have special needs, his case is all the more “confounding,” said David Whalen, the New York statewide project coordinator of disability awareness training. Whalen runs one of the few programs in the country that exhaustively trains law enforcement in recognizing and appropriately responding to people with a range of disabilities. “Down syndrome is not hidden. The lack of recognition of the individual having a disability is baffling to me,” he said.

Unfortunately, Frederick County officers not only apparently failed to comprehend what Saylor’s disability entailed, but also quickly made it a physically aggressive situation, allegedly refusing to listen to the aide’s plea for patience.

The rest of the article:
http://www.salon.com/2013/10/06/killed_over_a_movie_ticket_how_law_enforcement_hur ts_people_with_disabilities/

Miss Tick
10-11-2013, 09:12 AM
My comments: Leaders of 12 powerful countries will meet behind closed doors to seal an extreme Internet censorship plan called the Trans Pacific Partnership. The TPP will make the Internet more expensive, censored, and policed. Even if you have the extra money to pay I can pretty much guarantee you will not like the censorship. They will be able to monitor internet use, censor content and even remove whole websites deemed unacceptable. The possible repercussions are infinite. This is some scary shit that will negatively affect all our lives.

There's an International Plan to Censor the Internet in the Works -- Let's Stop It in Its Tracks
How the Trans Pacific Partnership making its way through Washington seriously undermine citizens’ rights to participate in a free and open Internet.

One month.

That’s the time left before the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could become a finalized agreement. For those who are drawing blank looks -- and understandably so -- the TPP is a highly secretive trade deal involving 12 nations around the Pacific Rim.

Described by experts Lori Wallach and Ben Beachy of Public Citizen as“one of the most significant international commercial agreements since the creation of WTO”, the TPP is more than a trade agreement - it’s an underhanded attempt by old industry interests to censor the Internet.

The lack of general awareness about the TPP is exactly what unelected trade officials and lobbyists hope for; the more covert the negotiations, the easier it is to usher in extreme new Internet censorship rules.

The TPP’s extreme Internet censorship plan

The changes proposed by the TPP could seriously undermine citizens’ rights to participate in a free and open Internet. We know fromleaked drafts that these draconian measures could criminalize your everyday use of the Internet, force service providers to collect and hand over your private data, and give old industry conglomerates more power to fine you for Internet use. As opposed to fostering a global forum in which citizens can engage with one another, the TPP would stifle any kind of innovation within the Internet community.

TheElectronic Frontier Foundation underlines the dangers of the TPP:

“The copyright provisions in the TPP will carve a highly restrictive copyright regime into stone and prevent countries from enacting laws that best address and promote users’ interests. In this final stage, it’s time for us to demand that our lawmakers join those who are already denouncing this agreement. We must drag this out into the light and reject international laws that uphold corporate interests at the expense of users’ rights.”

Obama fast tracks the TPP, bypasses democracy

If it isn’t bad enough that these talks have occurred behind closed doors, President Obama is now taking this secrecy even further by attempting to “fast track” the deal through Congress.

This means that elected U.S. Congress members would be forced to vote on the agreement without the possibility of sharing, discussing, or amending its contents. Under such intense pressure from the President, it seems as though the most comprehensive and covert post-WTO trade agreement could be finalized by as early as the end of October. The urgency to wrap up this controversial deal is reaffirmed by the White House’s recent announcement that they’ll go ahead with the TPP -- despite the current government shutdown.

Unsurprisingly, Congress members have not taken to Obama’s undemocratic, fast track plans without protest. Several representatives have recently spoken out against this backdoor deal, including Rep. Rosa DeLauro: “I oppose fast-track authority like what we have had in the past [...] we are not just here to rubber stamp what gets done.” Echoing this sentiment is Rep. Alan Grayson, who has described the Obama Administration’s secrecy about the TPP as “an assault on democratic government.”

Over 100,000 citizens against Internet censorship

It’s not just Congress that has spoken up. Over 100,000 citizens from all across the Trans-Pacific region have made it clear that they’re against the TPP’s dangerous Internet censorship plan. As negotiations are set to wrap up by the end of this month, this really is the last chance for global citizens to let their decision-makers know that they will pay a hefty political price for supporting a deal that censors the Internet.

It’s time to put an end to Internet censorship now. Join the over 100,000 others who have spoken up and sign the petition against Internet censorshiptoday at https://openmedia.org/censorship


10-12-2013, 11:09 AM
Privacy advocates were dealt a one-two punch this week as Google announced plans to sell some of its users’ information for use in advertisements, and Facebook said it’s removing the privacy setting for Timeline searches.

The former came yesterday, when Google revealed that, beginning Nov. 11, some of the ads it displays will include users’ names, photos and endorsements they’ve made on Google+ and other Google services like YouTube.

The change in its terms of service will not apply to users under 18, and adults will be able to opt out on Google+’s settings page.

Google did not return calls yesterday, and Facebook declined to comment. But Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said users “should not have to restore their privacy defaults when Google changes its business model.”

The company shouldn’t use people’s names, photos or posts for commercial purposes without their consent “because it’s taking something of value from somebody without their agreement,” Rotenberg said.

The center also bristled at Facebook’s announcement on Thursday that it’s finishing the removal of a setting that controls whether users’ Timelines can be found when people search for them by name.

The setting was removed last year for people who weren’t using it. The “small percentage” of those who still are will see reminders about its removal in the coming weeks, Facebook said on its Newsroom page.

“This is another unilateral change by Facebook that reduces users’ ability to control their personal information,” said David Jacobs, EPIC’s consumer protection counsel.

David Gerzof Richard, professor of social media and marketing at Emerson College, urged people to comb their Facebook and Google+ pages for anything they wouldn’t want to show up in an ad on Google or in a search on Facebook.

“These platforms are free, but we’re paying by giving up our privacy,” Gerzof Richard said. “Corporations look at their own interests first. And both Google and Facebook know that what sells products best are third-party endorsements. Any advertising campaign out there doesn’t compare to the power of the voice of consumers. It’s only when there’s extreme push-back that corporations reconsider.” -

See more at: http://bostonherald.com/business/business_markets/2013/10/privacy_advocates_slam_google_facebook_changes#sth ash.Gw4S4vVG.dpuf

Miss Tick
10-12-2013, 07:01 PM
Will Obama Abandon Tens of Millions of Seniors to Get a Budget Deal with Right-Wing Republicans?
Are cuts to Social Security and Medicare on the table?

The next few days may be the most perilous for ordinary Americans in Obama’s presidency, as the White House is looking for a deal with far-right Republicans that takes Obamacare off the budget-cutting table, reopens the federal government and raises its debt ceiling.

As the government shutdown continues, Democrats have seen their approval ratings soar, prompting pollsters to say that the GOP will be punished in the next federal election. But what’s shaping up 13 months from now is less important than what will shape up in the next 13 or so days. That’s because the White House’s openness to revive “grand bargain” talks with GOP radicals over future funding for entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, and more tax cuts for the wealthy, can only end badly for the middle- and working-class Americans.

“If we went into serious negotiations, then I think that could be taken in short order,” Rep. Tom Cole, R-OK and House Appropriations Committee member, said Friday, after negotiating Thursday night with other House GOP leaders at the White House over ending the shutdown and debt stalement.

The problem that Democrats face is that the agenda of the House’s slightly less-extreme Republicans is not new. It is still so far to the right that a deal could imperil programs that Democrats have built over decades, starting with the cornerstone of the 1930s New Deal, Social Security, and continuing in the 1960s War on Poverty, with Medicare, or health care for seniors. Fully funding retirement security programs is needed more than ever today, as near-retirees owe an average of $102,000 on home loans and $18,000 on credit cards, according to Social Security Administration statistics.

Polls continuously find that the vast majority of Americans, regardless of political party, do not want entitlements like Social Security or Medicare cut. But these big-ticket items have consistently been in right-wingers’ budget-cutting crosshairs, where they are falsely but deliberately blamed for outsized roles in creating the federal debt—instead of George W. Bush-era tax cuts and a war of choice in Iraq. The hard right, now driving the federal shutdown, has been laboring for years to end America’s social welfare programs. That attitude is part of why the right hates Obamacare, as it is seen as expanding that legacy.

It appears that the GOP’s price for reopening government and raising the debt limit is for Obama to “seriously consider,” as Cole said, an array of policy options targeting these needed and popular entitlements. This menu would include the unbalanced Simpson-Bowles plan of cutting retirement benefits while lowering federal income tax rates, especially in the top brackets. Or, as Obama has said, possibly changing the inflation formula that calculates Social Security increases, which would hurt the majority of seniors who have little lifetime savings.

These “grand bargain” proposals are nowhere near the political 50-yard-lines. They are far to the right, just as the shutdown and debt fight are driven by even more extreme right-wingers. Yet mainstream media coverage of would-be dealmakers is filled with revisionist history or worse, historical amnesia. Republicans who a year ago were seen as being out-of-touch—notably 2012 Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan—are today touted as “adults” that the White House can deal with. That’s how The New York Times portrayed Ryan this week, glossing over his slash-and-burn agenda that voters rejected in the 2012 presidential election.

There’s a real danger that the Republican extremists will move from their 5 yard line to their 15 yard line and stop there, bellowing that they have compromised while demanding lasting cuts to safety nets. Obama would then look intransigent if he keeps saying no.

The end game is dicey. In 1995, when the government was shut down by Republicans led by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, that revolt came after President Bill Clinton did what no Democrat thought that their party would do—support and pass punitive welfare reform. Then and now, some of the same dynamics are at play. Republicans, seeking to sound reasonable, have begun talk of reforming programs that they just want to kill.

“Everyone was being cute,” The Washington Post’s Elizabeth Drew wrote in her 1996 book, Showdown, about the Gingrich shutdown and welfare law. “The Republicans were pretending to be ‘reforming’ a program they were trying to destroy. The President was dodging the most important issue and dealing in word games, while his aides encouraged people to think whatever they wanted to think were his intentions.”

Then, like now, a Democratic president was willing to meet the GOP partway. Will Obama be the Democratic president who is willing to par back some of the most popular and needed federal programs ever, including Social Security and Medicare? Will he back the Keystone XL pipeline in a grand deal, despite a deepening climate change crisis?

Americans across the political spectrum should take heed. These are perilous times.


10-13-2013, 12:43 PM

In case anyone missed the change to our representative "democracy".

10-16-2013, 11:31 PM
It's over! Well, as over as it is ever going to be.


Miss Tick
10-17-2013, 01:25 AM
Support the FTT, make some noise, tell your representatives in Washington.

A Simple Reform Could Save America From Wall Street and Boost the Economy: What’s Washington Waiting For?

Financiers have been getting a free ride for too long. Let's make them pay their share instead of robbing seniors.

It’s a simple tweak that would reign in an out-of-control financial sector, stimulate jobs, generate billions of revenue, and possibly prevent another heart-wrenching crisis. Nobel Prize-winning economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman want it. Billionaires like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates want it. Polls show the majority of Americans want it. Even the Pope wants it.

We’re talking about a financial transaction tax (FTT) — a tiny tax of, say, less than half a percent: maybe 3 cents per $100 — on Wall Street trading. It’s simple, more than fair, widely supported by the public, and long overdue.

Over the last weeks, Americans have been kept from going to work, asked to go without food inspections and postpone their visits to national parks. The Centers for Disease Control couldn't help protect us from salmonella outbreaks. The families of fallen service members were unable to get death benefits. The fragile economy has been strained as members of Congress wrangle over another phony budget crisis, even as the deficit is shrinking. Meanwhile, Wall Street is raking in billions of dollars in profits from financial transactions. And theypay not a penny in taxes on most of them.

Instead of talking about nickel-and-diming seniors by cutting their Social Security and Medicare, letting our infrastructure crumble, and forcing our children to go without proper education or medicine, we could be returning sanity and balance to our financial system. The FTT would put the breaks on the sort of reckless, breakneck-speed computer gambling that helped tank the American economy five years ago. It could raise hundreds of billions annually. Did you hear that, deficit hawks? We’d have enough to close the funding gaps in states that had their budgets destroyed by Wall Street’s risky behavior and predation. We’d even have enough to invest in new jobs.

As Jeremy Scott of Forbes put it: “What is important is that the financial sector, which bears a disproportionate share of the blame for the deep recession that is still affecting employment and growth, share in the costs of insuring against future bailouts and be forced to restructure itself to better insulate the rest of the economy from excessive risk.”

Once upon a time, we had a financial transaction tax in America, and it served us well from 1914 to 1966. Wall Street leaders at the time complained bitterly that the tax would be ruinous, but if you stop and think about those years, you notice that the American economy was actually much healthier than it is today. Income inequality was much lower, and jobs were more secure. After the Wall Street crash of 1987, major politicians, including Senate Majority leader Bob Dole and President H.W. Bush, called for a return of the FTT. Since the Wall Street-driven crash of 2008, renewed support for the tax has surged from every direction — except, of course, from Wall Street and the politicians who rely on their donations.

Because of their outlandish size and undue influence, financial firms have wriggled out of just about every attempt to introduce sane rules of the road since 2008, and they’re more dangerous and concentrated today than they before the crisis. Bankers and financiers left millions of Americans to suffer, and if something is not done soon, they will almost certainly do it again. It’s merely a question of when.

One of the biggest arguments against the FTT is that it will somehow hurt the economy by discouraging Wall Street activity. Of course, what it would actually do is protect Wall Street from itself by reducing the wild volatility of the market and the speculation fever which have prompted ordinary investors to run scared and caused jitters in the overall economy. Over the last decade, speculative activity has skyrocketed 400 percent — and only a miniscule fraction of that actually does anything to build the real economy in goods and services. The vast majority of it is just arbitrage, high-speed trading, casino gambling, and siphoning more money from ordinary people to the super-rich.

Another argument you hear is that regular folks would be hurt when they do things like make transactions on their 401(k)s or use a debit card. But this is nonsense. The tax would not apply to normal consumer activities, and traders could also be legally blocked from dumping costs onto consumers. The FTT is about giant banks and investment firms — behemoth companies like Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs. Not you and me. Some huff that high-frequency traders will simply leave the country if we slow them down. Here’s an idea: can we help you pack? Seriously, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Many industrial nations already have some form of FTT, including Hong Kong and Singapore. Some members of the European Union have tried to push ahead with an FTT, but it has gotten caught in the complicated web of the European legal framework. Naturally, the big financial firms have lobbied relentlessly to block it and convince the media (much of which relies on advertising dollars from Big Finance) that it’s a bad idea. They’ve succeeded in getting the tax’s effective date pushed into the middle of 2014.

Over on this side of the Atlantic, you may have heard that bank CEOs having been meeting with the president during the shutdown. It’s not hard to imagine what they had to say: Just carve another pound of flesh from the American populace in the form of cuts to Medicare and Social Security, and leave us to make our billions at their expense. Protect Big Finance at any cost. So far, Obama has done pretty much just that. He has surrounded himself with economic advisors, like Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers who have played Santa Claus to bankers and oppose the FTT. Current Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is against the tax and gives us the official White House position: "The administration has consistently opposed a financial transaction tax on the grounds that it would be vulnerable to evasion, create incentives for financial re-engineering and burden retail investors.” Which is all a big pile of baloney.

So is there any hope? Much of Congress, attentive only to the drumbeat from Wall Street, has turned a deaf ear to the idea, despite a recent proposal from Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Peter DeFazio. The bottom line is that we need people in Washington willing to challenge banks. You could take Elizabeth Warren’s election to the Senate as a sign that we might finally be getting somewhere. She is a very popular politician, and if she were to get behind the FTT, there could actually be a chance of getting it passed.

In the meantime, we really need to mob our representatives with messages of support for the FTT. Flood them with letters, emails, and phone calls. Make noise. Tell them that if they are not willing to champion the public good, they will not get your vote.

And if the President dares to move forward with cuts to social programs, public services, Medicare, and Social Security while such a strong, sane idea as the FTT is supported by the population, well, maybe it’s time to take to the streets.


Miss Tick
10-19-2013, 10:50 AM
police officer shoots a guy 4 times in the gut after being on the scene for like 10 seconds and having the suspect make no threatening movements or gestures.


What makes this different from all the many times the police in various cities and states throughout the country have used excessive force in the past is there is a video. It's kind of amazing to watch. It looks likes the cops just get out of the squad car, walk over and shoot the guy.

I can almost imagine them pushing one of the easy buttons you get in Staples that say "THAT WAS EASY!"

Makes a good case for thinking twice before you call the police.


10-20-2013, 12:58 PM
Video is deemed private on YouTube and a few other sites but is still available here along with quite a few other questionable shootings.

The Mom claims she was not let into the hospital to see her son. Police told her she he was under arrest for trying to hurt police officers.


police officer shoots a guy 4 times in the gut after being on the scene for like 10 seconds and having the suspect make no threatening movements or gestures.

What makes this different from all the many times the police in various cities and states throughout the country have used excessive force in the past is there is a video. It's kind of amazing to watch. It looks likes the cops just get out of the squad car, walk over and shoot the guy.

I can almost imagine them pushing one of the easy buttons you get in Staples that say "THAT WAS EASY!"

Makes a good case for thinking twice before you call the police.


Miss Tick
10-20-2013, 01:36 PM
The Mom claims she was not let into the hospital to see her son. Police told her she he was under arrest for trying to hurt police officers.

Well standing motionless with your hands by your side is certainly dangerous to others. It was just dumb luck those cops weren't hurt.

10-20-2013, 01:44 PM
Dumb luck? That is called training.

Well standing motionless with your hands by your side is certainly dangerous to others. It was just dumb luck those cops weren't hurt.

10-21-2013, 09:15 PM
Same-sex Oklahoma couple marries legally under tribal law
First-of-its-kind marriage in Oklahoma

Published 8:12 PM CDT Oct 21, 2013

OKC teen finds 3.85-carat canary diamond in Arkansas state park

Text Size:AAA

Okla. gay couple legally married in Okla., which doesn’t recognize gay marriage

OKLAHOMA CITY —It is the first of its kind in Oklahoma, a legal same-sex marriage in a state that doesn’t even recognize it.

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For years, the state of Oklahoma made it clear where they stand on the issue. In 2004, 76 percent of voters defined marriage as between a man and a woman, but for one local couple, a recent Supreme Court decision opens a little known door.

It's the photo Jason Pickel still can't believe, the moment capturing a marriage -- he thought would never happen.

“That's the biggest trip I've had so far,” said Pickel. “I'm not even sure how to even react. I'm very excited about getting married. It's been eight and a half years."

For the past five years, Jason's wanted to marry boyfriend Darren Black Bear. The two even planned a trip to Iowa, a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. But when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last June, Pickel had an idea. He called the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe's courthouse and asked a simple question.

"I was really expecting a big no,” said Pickel. “I thought we're on our way to Iowa, but I called the tribe and they said, 'Yeah come on down, it's twenty bucks.'"

Twenty dollars for what no amount of money could buy in Oklahoma -- a marriage license made legal by the tribal code. Its requirements, both people be of Native American descent and live within the tribe's jurisdiction. Nowhere does it specify gender.

“I do know at the end of the day the state offices won't recognize it, but they kind of have to,” said Pickel.

That's because on sovereign Indian land, state laws don't apply, making Jason and Darren the first publicly married same-sex couple in Oklahoma, a milestone, he hopes is followed.

“When we have equality in all 50 states and all U.S. territories that is when we'll have true equality,” said Pickel. “That's when I will be truly, truly happy.”

Due to Pickel and Black Bear’s marriage, the couple is allowed to file for federal tax credits benefiting couples. They plan on holding an open wedding celebration on Halloween.

Copyright 2013 by KOCO.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags Same-Sex Marriage Oklahoma City

Read more: http://www.koco.com/news/oklahomanews/around-oklahoma/samesex-oklahoma-couple-marries-legally-under-tribal-law/-/12530084/22553184/-/101ihp0z/-/index.html#ixzz2iPuBydad

10-22-2013, 09:18 AM
Please email or phone this legislature and let him know what you think!



Miss Tick
10-22-2013, 11:18 AM
Idaho Cops Kill Dog In Front of Two-Year-Old Boy
The owners of the animal dispute the police's claims that they were threatened by the dog.

Full article here:http://www.alternet.org/idaho-cops-kill-dog-front-two-year-old-boy

Idaho police shot and killed a dog over the weekend in front of a two-year-old boy. While the cops from Boise, Idaho say they felt threatened by the dog, named Kita, the owners of the dog dispute those claims, according to a report by Idaho media outlet KTVB.

On Sunday, two officers were investigating a theft in the area where Kita and the Stropkai family lived.

Gabrielle Stropkai said the cops quickly decided to shoot Kita. “In about five seconds he pulled his weapon, asked whose dog it was, and shot her in the back of the head,” she told KTVB. This was all done in front of her two-year-old son named Hayden.

It's certainly not surprising it only took cops five seconds to shoot the dog. Here's a video of a cop shooting a guy just standing with his arms by his side within about ten seconds of the police arriving on the scene.


Here's a cartoon that just about covers it:


Miss Tick
10-23-2013, 03:10 PM
Apparently shopping while black is as dangerous as driving while black.


Here's an article about a black woman getting fired for having blond highlights.


Miss Tick
10-25-2013, 11:25 AM
Social Security, Medicare and Veteran's Benefits are facing cuts this fall. Those veterans that are so well loved that the thought of a veteran facing a gate at a monument on Veteran's Day was horrific beyond belief apparently can have their benefits slashed without issue. Ah GOP love, it's so conditional.

Now that there is an unholy alliance between the far-right Arnold Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trust it is no wonder that the Pew Foundation is spreading the lie that social security is in trouble. The only danger for SSI is coming from Obama and the GOP who want to gut it. Despite claims it will run out of money in 20 years, Social Security has a surplus of more than $2 trillion. Allowing for normal economic growth rates there is no reason that SSI money would not last indefinitely/forever. However, given the fact that the obscenely wealthy, who are really the ones who take advantage of government hand outs and constantly suck on the public tit, can't take their greedy eyes off of Federal and State Social Security money, I doubt it will last even until 2030.

A couple of interesting articles:



Miss Tick
10-26-2013, 07:19 AM
It’s not the 1% anymore.

Globally, 0.7 percent of the people control 41 percent of the world’s wealth.

The wealth of this net group approaches $99 trillion dollars.

Global Wealth Reaches All-Time High. (For the .7 anyway. It’s working out so well for the rich let’s be sure to continue with those austerity measures)

The recent explosion of U.S. wealth means the richest Americans dominate the global rich. (Yay. Let’s cut social security, medicare and Veteran’s Benefits)

Below the .7% is the 7.7% who hold around 42% of the global wealth.

The remaining 91.6 percent of humanity splits around 17 percent of the wealth.

U.S. Congress is poised to begin a historic debate on cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That debate starts with the assumption that there’s not enough money around for social safety nets.

Which is a lie. There is plenty of money for social safety nets. And Social Security is not going to run out of money. It is solvent.

But if you really believe it is not then make it solvent by lifting the cap and making all income, not just income under $86,000/year, subject to FICA taxes. Because as it has been determined those who make under $86,000 a year hold only 17% of the wealth. Shouldn't some help come from the segment of the population who owns 83% of the money?

Or cut farm subsidies to rich farmers.

Eliminate tax cuts for the rich and zero taxes for 40% of Corporations.

Or cut the pentagon budget for the $163 billion you say you need. Buy 2190 planes instead of 2457, cutting 247 planes gives you $163 billion. Don’t force millions of seniors into an insecure old age.

Why take the money from the segment of the population who splits only 17% of the wealth as it is?

The richest Americans are doing quite well, thank you, and with trillions of new wealth added to the U.S. economy since 2008’s market collapse, it’s not unreasonable for Congress to ask them to shore up safety nets for the rest of their country.

Here is an article about the new name for the millionaires club - point seveners. http://www.alternet.org/economy/point-seveners-new-name-millionaires-club?page=0%2C0

Miss Tick
10-27-2013, 03:19 PM
10 Jaw-dropping Absurdities Brought to You By the Right Wing

1. Kevin Swanson is begging you not to buy those lesbian Girl Scout cookies

2. Men’s Righter, Paul Elam: It’s okay not to care about female rape victims

3. N.C. Republican official doesn’t want those lazy blacks voting

4. N.C. (yes, again) State Rep. Larry Pittman: Obama not a traitor (to Kenya, where he was born, of course)

5. Sherman Adelson: Nuke Iran

6. Joe the former Plumber: Democrats are the lynchers

7. Coach Daubenmire: Christians are being bullied into not bullying gays

8. Bradlee Dean, President Obama is both secretly pushing Shariah law, and secretly gay

9. Group of Christians refuse to tip waiter, but are nice enough to leave a note explaining his “homosexual lifestyle is an affront to God”

10. Texas Rep. Steve Stockman: Ted Cruz is a brilliant, heroic, visionary leader

How you might ask can a cookie be a lesbian? Yes, how indeed.
For a more detailed description of each absurdity:

10-28-2013, 08:54 AM
Texas’ voter ID law that could disenfranchise women voters targets trans voters in general
By JOS |

Published: OCTOBER 22, 2013

Apparently it’s Blog About “Show Us Your Papers” Laws Day at Feministing. Get it together America.

Over the past few days, publications have jumped on the story of a Texas voter ID law, which recently went into effect after initially being blocked by the courts. Texas voters are required to provide an ID that matches their most up-to-date legal name. This may seem like a minor issue to some, but name changes can be time consuming, complicated, and expensive. Every article I’ve seen about this issue focuses on married women who’ve changed their names. The thinking is that Wendy Davis and other pro-rights, anti-bigotry politicians would be hurt most by keeping women from the polls.

A lot of my concern is about lady voters being disenfranchised, too. But I’m not just thinking about recently married women – I’m thinking about trans women (married or not), as well as trans folks in general who could be blocked from voting.

As is often the case, this law may prove more successful at keeping voters from the polls by making them think they won’t be able to vote, rather than them actually being excluded by the rule. Poll workers get to use discretion when checking people’s IDs. Unfortunately, this could end up being worse for trans folks because of widespread transphobia, whereas a majority of people think married women should change their last name, so that name change is generally viewed positively in our culture. When trans folks have been targeted this way our whole lives, it can suck to walk into a situation where we know we could be misgendered and excluded again.

The Williams Institute published a report in 2012 outlining how voter ID laws could keep trans voters from the polls:

According to the new Williams Institute report, 41 percent of transgender citizens who have transitioned reported not having an updated driver’s license and 74 percent did not have an updated U.S. passport. Moreover, 27 percent of transgender citizens who have transitioned reported that they had no identity documents or records that list their current gender. People of color, youth, students, those with low incomes, and respondents with disabilities are likely to be disproportionately impacted.

This study was covered by a couple great publications, but it didn’t blow up in nearly the way this story did when it focused on married women (who could be trans too, but who, let’s face it, most of us will assume are cis, cause that’s the culturally enforced norm).

I’ve written before about how it hurts to read feminist critique of sexism that polices the boundaries of “woman” and excludes trans women, and not see a trans critique even come up. It means that, for whatever reason, transphobia and transmisogyny aren’t issues authors and editors are thinking about when they analyze sexism. When they’re thinking about who gets targeted, they’re not thinking of me. Whereas when I see an issue that’s about name changes and legal documents, I instantly think about how it will impact trans folks, because that’s my life experience and because I know it’s a common way we get marginalized.

There’s this unfortunately too common thing that happens when a trans woman tells a cis woman about an experience of sexism and the response is, “Welcome to being a woman!” However unintentional, it’s an incredibly hurtful thing to say to a woman who’s experienced the sexism that says she’s not the right kind of woman. Cases like this almost make me want to turn that response around. Not that I’d actually treat anyone’s experience this way, especially because defining “woman” by the sexism we experience let’s the bigots define who we are. And of course, this kind of bigotry doesn’t just target women, as it can disenfranchise trans voters generally. But this sort of targeting is so central to my experience of gendered bigotry that I have a bit of a “Welcome to my bullshit” moment. So it’s notable to me when these ID rules get highlighted by feminists without acknowledgement of how they hurt trans folks.

It’s possible the Texas GOP meant to stop the votes of married women with this law. Many transphobes are so stuck on the “man in a dress” stereotype that they probably don’t know enough about our real lives to successfully, intentionally attack us like this. However, trans folks are demonized by the right with increasing frequency, and have been directly targeted with voter suppression tactics, so this could very well be aimed at us as well. Trans folks may be a marginalized minority, but there’s also a badass trans organizing community in Texas that the right certainly knows about. Regardless of intent, this law has potential to keep trans folks from exercising our right to vote, and that’s something we should be talking about as well.

Jos Truitt has been a woman who experiences sexism this whole time.


Miss Tick
10-28-2013, 09:46 AM
Macy's Also Gets Slapped With Racial Discrimination Lawsuit By Black Shopper

“It’s an epidemic. It’s unbelievable,” Nicholas Elefterakis, Brown's attorney, told The Post.


Barney's hires a civil rights pro to show them how not to harass black shoppers. Go figure it's that difficult a concept for them.


Miss Tick
10-28-2013, 10:38 AM
Meet 3 Master Manipulators of America’s Oligarchy
Financiers Stanley Druckenmiller, Pete Peterson and John Arnold form a trifecta of treachery.

Ideas are costly, especially bogus ones. And a growing class of billionaires is more than willing to pay.

Whether they’re ginning up deficit hysteria to cut Social Security or blaming teachers and firefighters for state budget crises, these 1 percenters pose as defenders of your interests while arranging things so that they can plunder America and leave hard-working people with scraps. They fully understand mechanisms of manipulating public opinion, and they can pay off pundits and politicians to subscribe to whatever ideas best justify their greed and abuse.

It’s not enough that we now have the widest divide between rich and poor in living memory. These men are determined to crack open that gulf even wider.

We bring you profiles of three financiers who never made a useful thing in their lives, including one who helped bring you the Enron disaster. They are united in their efforts to blame ordinary people for Wall Street-driven economic woes and carve out another pound of your flesh for the rich. Money is no object in their quest.

Here’s a look at how these three made their money, how they’re conning the public, and what they don’t want you to know.

1. Stanley Druckenmiller

His stash: $2.9 billion, made from hedge funds.

His con: Turn young people against seniors by scapegoating Social Security and Medicare.

Stanley Druckenmiller is the most insidious kind of capitalist charlatan—a rapacious wolf of an oligarch hiding in sheep’s clothing. “I just want what’s best for young people!” he cries. But his fangs are so long and sharp that only a fool could overlook them.

Druckenmiller, long a funder of right-wing causes and politicians, has lately been popping up on college campuses promoting economic nonsense in an effort to convince young people that greedy grandparents are to blame for America’s weak economy. Yep, that’s right. He sells the notion that instead of student debt, shitty jobs with few protections, and the hangover from a Wall Street-driven financial crisis, Social Security is what’s hurting today’s youth. Seriously.

Druckenmiller tarts himself up as a generational and class warrior who wants to save young people from their elders by slashing the social insurance programs that keep them out of poverty. Never mind that these young people will one day reach an age where they will need these programs even more than the current generation of retirees because they will likely have no pensions and will have saved into disastrous 401(k) plans—that is, when they can actually find jobs that have any kind of retirement plan at all.

Druckenmiller plays on the psychological tendencies of young people to get pissed off at older folks. He manipulates that habit in order to deflect blame from those who are actually hampering and destabilizing the economy, such as greedy financiers like himself. He cleverly tosses in enough populist-sounding tidbits, like raising taxes on capital gains, to pretend that he’s really on the side of the regular folks.

Which is bullsh*t.

The truth is that we ought to be expanding the social safety net because we’ve got a retirement train wreck coming and a political system that’s transferring wealth from working people to the rich. Taking money out of the pockets of seniors actually stalls economic growth by decreasing the demand for goods and services, as anyone who has taken Econ 101 is aware. Programs like Social Security actually save America money because they are inexpensive to run, and unlike private plans, don’t gouge citizens with high fees. By the standards of advanced countries, our programs are pretty paltry to begin with, and cuts bring us closer to the Dickensian world that is no doubt what greed-blossoms like Druckenmiller dream about at night.

Despite the destructive stupidity of his ideas, Druckenmiller knows how to get the media to carry his poison. His nonsense was recently championed by Tom Friedman in the New York Times and James Freeman in the Wall Street Journal.

As Robert Kuttner has recently explained, it takes a lot of freaking nerve for an oligarch to argue that the “income distribution problem is somehow generational and that he, as a billionaire, has anything whatever in common with most college students or most recipients of Social Security.”

Druckenmiller has that nerve, and then some. Where are the pitchforks?

2. Peter G. Peterson

His stash: $1.5 billion, made from private equity.

His con: Stoke deficit hysteria in order to shrink the government and let the wild horses of capitalism trample the masses.

Pete Peterson is the ultimate phony patriot. He has served as commerce secretary under President Richard Nixon, made billions on Wall Street buying companies in order to loot them, and has been tireless in his campaign to blame all of America's ills on a federal budget deficit — you know, the one that is actually declining. Through his Peter G. Peterson Foundation, this elder statesman of the oligarchy has spent about a billion dollars of his own stash to get us to buy the idea that America is broke, despite the fact that it is the richest country in the world. And guess who must open their wallet? You!

There is nothing Peterson will not buy to further his agenda: school curricula, think tanks across the political spectrum, seminars, TV ads, politicians—hell, he even bought his own newspaper, the Fiscal Times, where propagandists calling themselves reporters spread his deficit hysteria and promote Peterson’s fondest wish, which is to kill Social Security and Medicare.

Though the public repeatedly rejects his nonsense, Peterson is able to pay influential politicians to sing his tune, including Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who have been trotting out their discredited reports on the deficit ever since Obama appointed them to his fiscal commission in 2010.

Peterson is the oligarch behind the “Fix the Debt” campaign, a consortium of corporate honchos and wealthy individuals who have made it their mission to bring deficit scare-mongering to D.C. in order to achieve cuts to essential programs and secretly push through their main goal, which is lowering taxes on the wealthy.

Over and over, Peterson & Co. will try to gin up artificial crises so they can force Congress to do their bidding. Whenever you hear the phrase “grand bargain,” somewhere out there a Peterson crony is smacking his chops. And the tasty treat is your pocketbook.

3. John Arnold

His stash: $2.8 billion, courtesy of Enron.

His con: Enrich Wall Street by blaming state budget crises on teachers, firefighters and other public workers.

If you were writing a movie script about unbridled capitalism, you could do no better than John Arnold as your villain.

Young, clean-cut and soft-spoken, Arnold looks like he just wants what’s best for America. But that would be his America, not yours.

For starters, Arnold made his fortune at Enron, where he worked with a gang of criminal fraudsters to wreck, among other things, California’s economy. Now he is actually using a front group to loot California’s pension system.

The 39-year-old Arnold left his work as an energy trader in 2012 to style himself as a new breed of philanthropist who will change the course of history—in favor of the 1 percent.

As David Sirota and Matt Taibbi have explained, Arnold’s game is promoting a “pension reform” movement designed to channel billions of dollars in public pensions to hedge funds and Wall Street players who can charge exorbitant fees while mismanaging public money and hiding their shenanigans from the citizenry.

Arnold disguises his agenda by doing things like donating to the federal Head Start program—purportedly to help it through the government shutdown.

But don’t be fooled. He’s been very busy behind the scenes with other activities. He joined forces with Pew Charitable Trusts to create a campaign to cut pensions and he has tirelessly spewed impressive-sounding actuarial nonsense at elected officials and members of the media to get governments to transfer wealth from public workers to Wall Street. Gina Raimondo, the Rhode Island state treasurer, is an Arnold-acolyte and has allowed the state’s pensions to fall victim to a Wall Street coup that will let financiers to fatten their wallets at the expense of people whose only crime was to get up in the morning and go to work serving their communities.

The reasons state and municipal budgets are having troubles has little to do with the fact that teachers and other workers will end up with pensions that average around $25,000 a year (and many of them won’t get Social Security). They are hurting because Wall Street has been ripping them off for decades, and then socked them with a horrific financial crisis which killed revenue streams. That plus the plague of unscrupulous politicians who have been shoveling money meant for pensions into their pet projects is why states are suffering and pensions are dealing with shortfalls — though usually not the hysterical crises Arnold and his cohorts would have you believe. Robbing teachers and firefighters will not solve these problems. Reining in financial criminals and crooked politicians will.

Enron’s collapse already wiped out 401(k) plans and gutted pension benefits that many workers counted on for retirement. But somehow that blow to society did not satisfy Arnold. He’d like to bring more retirement disasters to a neighborhood near you.


Miss Tick
10-29-2013, 10:09 AM
Noam Chomsky: How the U.S.-Mexico Border Is Cruel by Design
“The US-Mexican border, like most borders, was established by violence — and its architecture is the architecture of violence.”
October 28, 2013 |

In order to understand the rationale behind the fortification of the border and the physical form it has taken in recent years, it is necessary to go back a little first. The US-Mexican border, like most borders, was established by violence – and its architecture is the architecture of violence. The US basically invaded Mexico in a pretty brutal war back in the 1840s. The war was described by President-General Ulysses S. Grant, as “the most wicked war in history”. [9*] That may be an exaggeration, but it was a pretty wicked war. It was based on deeply racist ideas. First of all, it started with the annexation of Texas, which was called the re-annexation of Texas on the grounds that it was “really ours all along” […], that they stole it from us, and now we have to re-annex it. That took Texas away from Mexico. The rest of the war, and the later historical period, basically involved additional land grabs.

In order to understand it, you should read the progressive writers like Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and others. The position was, as Whitman put it eloquently, that “backward Mexico had to be annexed as part of bringing civilization to the world”—which the US was seen as leading. [10]Emerson said it in more flowery language along the lines of, “it really doesn’t matter by what means Mexico is taken, as it contributes to the mission of ‘civilizing the world’ and, in the long run, it will be forgotten”. [11] Of course, that’s why we have names like San Francisco, San Diego, and Santa Fe all over the southwest and the west of the United States. We should really call it Occupied Mexico.

Like many borders around the world, it is artificially imposed and, like those many other borders imposed by external powers, it bears no relationship to the interests or the concerns of the people of the country—and it has a history of horrible conflict and strife. Take the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, for example. The British imposed the borderline. They partitioned the overall area nearly in half and arbitrarily divided the land. No Afghan government has ever accepted it, and nor should they. This has happened all across Africa as well, of course, and so the Mexican border is no exception.

After the war of the 1840s the US-Mexican border remained fairly open. Basically the same people lived on the same sides of it, so people would cross to visit relatives or to engage in commerce, or something else. [12] It was pretty much an open border until the early 1990’s. In 1994, the Clinton administration initiated the program of militarizing the border, and that was extended greatly under George W. Bush in the 2000s—largely under the guise of safety and defence from terrorism. [13]The two key pieces of legislation were called “The Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005” and the “Secure Fence Act of 2006″. [14] That was interesting, and revealing, because the warnings from the security services were that the dangerous border, with regard the possible incursion of terrorists into the US, was the Canadian border. If you take a look, you can see why. The Canadian border is so porous that you and I can cross it in some forested areas. If you were worried about terrorism, you would fortify the Canadian border. Instead, they fortified the Mexican border where there is no threat of terrorism; it was, clearly, for other reasons.

The rest:

10-30-2013, 05:34 PM
ALOHA! Hawaii passed marriage equality!

10-30-2013, 05:40 PM
ALOHA! Hawaii passed marriage equality!

It passed the State Legislature, and will go to the House of Representives tomorrow. It should be ready to sign next week if it passes.

Miss Tick
10-31-2013, 01:02 PM
This kid should be governor of NC.


Watch: 12-Year-Old Nails N.C. Governor on Voting Rights Restrictions
Modern day suffragette Madison Kimrey: "The match has been lit and my fire burns bright."

12-year-old Madison Madison Kimrey, founder of NC Youth Rocks, gave a rousing speech at a recent NAACP event, taking on Governor Pat McCrory, and the state's recent highly restrictive Voter I.D. laws. Being 12, her particular concern was the elimination of the state's pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds through schools and the state's DMV that enables them to automatically be added to the voting rolls when they turn 18.

She completely nails Gov. McCrory, who refused to meet with her, calling her "ridiculous" and a "liberal prop." Her response: "I am not a prop. I am part of a new generation of sufragettes."

Gov. McCrory also said, according to Kimrey: "He had not read that part of the bill."

In the words of Alicia Keyes: "This girl is on fire."


11-01-2013, 04:10 AM
Instead of freedom, Marissa Alexander gets new trial date

By MAYA | Published: OCTOBER 31, 2013

Marissa Alexander, the black Florida mother who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot against her abusive husband, will get a new trial this spring. But her supporters were calling for the charges to be dropped altogether.

As we’ve previously covered, Alexander had a restraining order against her husband when he yelled, “Bitch, I will kill you!” and charged toward her during the incident in 2010. She fired a single shot into the ceiling, and no one was hurt. The sentence Alexander received would seem absurdly harsh in general, but especially since we’re talking about Florida here, where the right to “stand your ground” apparently applies to aggressors “threatened” by a bag of Skittles, but not to abused black women.

Last month, a court overturned Alexander’s original guilty verdict, and activists have called for the charges to be dropped. Instead the state is going to prosecute her once again. Alexander, who has already been in jail for three years while this all plays out, will find out next week whether she will be released on bail. The Free Marissa Now campaign will be fundraising to cover her legal costs for the new trial in March. The goal is to raise $10,000 by the end of the year, and you can help here.

While today’s hearing is a huge disappointment, it’s inspiring to see such powerful grassroots mobilization around this case. The Free Marissa Now effort, as well as the #31forMARISSA letter writing campaign that Mychal covered recently, has worked tirelessly to not only free Alexander but also raise awareness more generally about how women–especially black women and other marginalized groups–are likely to be criminalized for fighting back against domestic violence. As Mariame Kaba of the restorative justice organization Project NIA explained at Colorlines recently:

Marissa is a black woman, and we need to be really clear about that in this case. We’re not seen as potentially violable, we’re not seen as people who can be victimized too often. We’re always seen by everybody—including sometimes even in our own communities—as not being able to feel pain or be abused, and not being real “victims.” What we’re trying to do here, with Marissa, is asserting very clearly and specifically her humanity. We want to make it clear that we do feel pain. Making it clear that the continuing criminalization of black women is completely unacceptable, immoral and despicable.

My own personal sense of heartbreak has been around the notion, in this case, that Marissa couldn’t be afraid, that she couldn’t feel fear, and that the jury couldn’t believe that she was afraid. That’s deep. And that’s why having another trial feels to me like a recipe for disaster—because I don’t think her humanity is taken into account. I don’t think people think that black women can feel scared, or that we have the ability to feel pain.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.


"[Feministing] is head and shoulders above almost any writing on women's issues in mainstream media." -Columbia Journalism Review

11-01-2013, 12:08 PM
LAX Airport shooting.

I'm watching all the news, and at least 3 people have been shot, at least one dead. The suspect is in custody, and the Airport is shutdown to all new departing flights, and all flights not already in the air from other places.

A witness described the shooter as a white male, approximately 18 years old.

***side note, my Kasey was supposed to leave today for England, but the trip was canceled due to my health. Thank you God for keeping her out of harms way.

11-01-2013, 02:44 PM
LAX Airport shooting.

I'm watching all the news, and at least 3 people have been shot, at least one dead. The suspect is in custody, and the Airport is shutdown to all new departing flights, and all flights not already in the air from other places.

A witness described the shooter as a white male, approximately 18 years old.

***side note, my Kasey was supposed to leave today for England, but the trip was canceled due to my health. Thank you God for keeping her out of harms way.

7 people shot or injured by falling down the escalator (he was shooting down the escalator), 1 dead.

Sad day for a lot of people.

11-01-2013, 06:46 PM
Los Angeles (CNN) -- A man armed with what police say was an assault rifle and carrying materials expressing anti-government sentiment opened fire Friday morning at Los Angeles International Airport, killing one person before being chased down himself, authorities said.
Eyewitnesses said the suspect asked people, "Hey, are you TSA?" -- the acronym for the Transportation Security Administration -- according to a federal law enforcement official. If they said "no," he would move on.
In the aftermath of the shooting, investigators found information on the suspect expressing not just anti-federal government sentiment but also anger at the TSA specifically, according to the federal law enforcement official.
By then, a TSA officer was dead -- the first employee of that relatively new agency to be killed in the line of duty, according to American Federation of Government Employees president J. David Cox.
Two others were also shot, FBI special agent in charge David Bowdich said. At least one of them was a TSA employee who was shot in the leg, according to a former Los Angeles Police Department ranking officer who was briefed by investigators.
The suspected gunman himself was detained after being shot in the chest multiple times, according to an intelligence source briefed by Los Angeles police.
He was identified later by the FBI as Paul Anthony Ciancia, a 23-year-old from Los Angeles. Law enforcement sources told CNN that, in addition to the southern California city, the suspect also had an address in New Jersey.
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center said that, hours after the incident, it received three male victims -- one in critical condition and two in fair condition. One of the two in fair condition suffered gunshot wounds, another suffered an unspecified injury, said Dr. Lynne McCullough, an emergency physician at the Los Angeles hospital.
Two patients were transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, said David Klurad, a trauma surgeon there.
One was what Klurad described as a "middle-aged" person with minor injuries from being shot in the shoulder. The other had no signs of life when he arrived at the hospital, the surgeon added. It wasn't known if this person was the slain TSA officer.
TSA: Number of guns discovered in airports rising
The episode caused what airport police Chief Patrick Gannon, who had said the shooter used an "assault rifle," described as a "large amount of chaos." People ran for their lives and took shelter wherever they could as authorities pursued the gunman.
Chuck Ocheret was among those in the busy airport when he heard two "loud pops."
"Then I heard this mad rush of people, and there was a stampede of people coming from this direction," Ocheret told CNN. "Nobody really knew what was going on."
Still, by Friday afternoon, authorities believes the worst was over. Gannon noted it is believed there was only one shooter.
Source: Gunman had 3 magazines for weapon
An otherwise normal day in the airport's Terminal 3 turned upside down around 9:20 a.m. (12:20 p.m. ET), as the suspect approached a checkpoint.
There, he "pulled an assault rifle out of a bag and began to open fire," Gannon said.
The suspect didn't stop there. Equipped with three magazines for his weapon, according to the intelligence source briefed by Los Angeles police, he began running down Terminal 3.
Traveler Vernon Cardenas was sitting at one end of the terminal, when he heard noise and saw a mass of people running toward him. He and others bolted through a kicked-open exit door and ran onto the tarmac -- believing then it was safer there -- even with then still-arriving and departing jetliners -- than in the concourse above.
The circular area where Cardenas had been is where the bloodshed finally ended with the gunman's shooting by law enforcement, according to the intelligence source.
Actor Tim Daly said that when he was eventually led out of the the Virgin America first-class lounge, he saw where the incident came to a head around Gates 35 and 36. After being told not to step on any blood or glass, Daly spotted a high-powered rifle on the ground along with three magazines, a pair of black shoes and several bags strewn across the floor.
The episode soon rendered one of the world's busiest airports a ghost town. Large portions were evacuated as authorities ordered a "ground stop" for arriving places, said police and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Almost every flight scheduled to leave the airport on Friday will be "significantly late," said Gina Marie Lindsay, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports.
The area around the airport was jammed with cars as police shut down access to the airport.
The airport was still accepting incoming flights, but doing so at less than half the normal rate as a few were rerouted, Lindsay said. Some flights that did arrive sat on the tarmac as the investigation continued.
Police at Los Angeles International Airport announced around 2 p.m. Pacific time over a loudspeaker that they were going to start allowing workers back into the airport so operations such as processing incoming and outbound flights could resume.

Miss Tick
11-02-2013, 04:00 AM
America's Greatest Shame: Child Poverty Rises and Food Stamps Cut While Billionaires Boom
Why do we put up with such injustices?

There are 16.4 million American children living in poverty. That's nearly one quarter (22.6%) of all of our children. More alarming is that the percentage of poor children has climbed by 4.5 percent since the start of the Great Recession in 2007. And poor means poor. For a family of three with one child under 18, the poverty line is $18,400.

Meanwhile, the stock market is booming. Banks, hedge funds and private equity firms are making tens of billions of dollars again, while the luxury housing and goods markets are skyrocketing.

Most amazing of all is the fact that 95 percent of the so-called "recovery" has gone to the top 1 percent who have seen their incomes rise by 34%. For the 99 percent there's been an undeclared wage freeze: the average wage has climbed by only 0.4 percent.

To add to the misery, Washington has decided that the best way to tackle childhood poverty is to have poor kids eat less. Both parties already have agreed to cut billions from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps). Starting this November 1, payments are scheduled to drop from $668 a month to $632 for more than 47 million lower-income people -- 1 in 7 Americans, most of them children. (Three incredible graphs that visualize the issues in this story are at the bottom of this article.)

And more cuts are coming. The Tea Party House passed a bill to cut food stamps by $4 billion a year, while the Senate calls for $400 million in cuts. How humane! And since it will be part of the omnibus Farm Bill, President Obama will sign it. (I wonder how our former community organizer will explain this to the poor children he once tried to help in Chicago.)

But that's just the start. More austerity is coming in the form of cuts to Social Security as well as a host of other social programs. When times get tough, you've got to suck it up and take more from the poor.

Rewarding Billionaires Who Increase Poverty?

It gets even more revolting when we realize that the financial billionaires who are profiting so handsomely from the recovery are the very same who took down the economy in the first place. They were the ones who created and pedaled the toxic securities that puffed up and then burst the housing bubble. Those financial plutocrats caused 8 million workers to lose their jobs in a matter of months. Those bankers, hedge fund honchos and fund managers are directly responsible for the rise in child poverty rates. Washington bailed out those billionaires and is now asking the poor and the middle class to pay for the ensuing deficits with further cuts in social programs at every level of government.

Why do we put up with such injustices?

Washington Is in Wall Street's Pocket

Before we entirely succumb to financial amnesia, let's recall how we got here. Since the late 1970s, the financial sector has been on a crusade to remove any and all financial regulations. The goal was to undo all the controls put in place during the Great Depression that so effectively curtailed financial speculation and outright gambling. Once deregulated Wall Street engineered a Ponzi-like housing bubble that netted it astronomical sums. By the time it burst in 2007, 40% of all corporate profits flowed into the financial sector. Wall Street wages grew by leaps and bounds.

As the crash hit, all the largest Wall Street firms, not just Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, were in serious trouble. Had AIG gone under, so would nearly every major bank and investment house, along with thousands of hedge funds that depended on AIG to ensure its toxic bets. So Wall Street's Washington cadre engineered a $13 trillion bailout consisting of cash, no interest loans and a program by which the Federal Reserve would buy up Wall Street's toxic waste at par value. To produce a financial recovery, the Fed also drove down bond interest rates which in turn drove money into the stock market, sending it to new heights.

Here's the best of all. After getting $480 billion in bailout cash, the top financiers in the country paid themselves more than $150 billion in bonus money for a job well done. Is this a great country or what?

What didn't happen is this: Mortgages were not written down in mass to assist underwater home owners and those who suffered from predatory loans. No lasting jobs programs were created to put the unemployed back to work. No lasting penalties were paid by the individuals who took down the economy. And there was no serious effort at all to cap financial wages and bonuses in the name of justice.

All in all, you could not have designed a more perfect program to enrich the rich and do absolutely nothing for the 99 percent -- and as a result, sink ever more children into poverty.

Waiting for the Recovery That Will Never Come

We are constantly told that the recovery is just around the corner. Liberals say we need more stimulus. Conservatives call for more austerity and cuts in regulations. But all agree that sooner or later more growth will benefit the 99 percent. Unfortunately, it's not happening and it won't happen. Here's why.

First of all, they assume that trickledown actually works, that there is something mechanical within our heavily financialized economy that will bring renewed prosperity to the 99 percent. They look back at previous recessions and recoveries and continue to believe that slumps are followed by renewed growth and income gains for all.

But as financialization has spread throughout the economy, new mechanisms are in place that siphon off wealth into financial gains for the very few. Productive enterprises are turned into financial enterprises that are loaded up with debt and then carved and slaughtered so that wealth can be extracted for hedge funds and private equity firms. In our brave new financialized economy renewed growth turns into renewed incomes primarily for the investment class. The stock market will rise but jobs and incomes won't. The traditional capitalist slump-recovery process died more than a decade ago. Adam Smith's invisible hand no longer produces shared prosperity -- instead it picks our pockets.

Waiting for the Political Pendulum to Swing

Second, we are told how America is essentially a moderate country -- how there's a kind of invisible political pendulum that swings from the extremes back to the sensible center. When the left or the Tea Party gets too wild, the center supposedly pulls them back and common sense economics prevails. But this consoling media meme obscures the fact that our politics are moving ever more rightward. Moderate Democrats and Republicans today are to the right of Eisenhower, Nixon and even Herbert Hoover. They have already agreed to cut the very entitlements that are needed to help alleviate poverty. In fact, they have agreed it's quite OK for America to have 442 billionaires and also have 22.6% of its children living in poverty. The sensible center now sees its role as forging a "compromise" on how much to cut food stamps and other supports for the poor.

Obviously, both political parties lose little sleep worrying about economic injustices. Even most Democrats no longer have a serious game plan to eradicate poverty. That's considered to be 1960s stuff that doesn't make sense in a world where politicians have to make peace with at least some players in the billionaire class in order to survive. As for the poor, alas, they will always be with us.

America Leads the World

Not a day goes by without hearing about "American exceptionalism." We are told by our leaders and pundits that we are the best, the greatest, the mightiest and the most democratic of all nations. It is our mission in life to uphold justice and freedom around the world. But as this chart shows, when it comes to child poverty, we are just about dead last.

Why is that? Because in wealthy nations, children live in poverty if and only if that nation allows it. Our nation, the richest in history, has more than enough wealth to go from the bottom of this list to the top, right next to Finland, if only we decided to act justly.

A Simple Proposal to end Child Poverty

America has 442 billionaires with an average net worth of $4.2 billion each according to Forbes. That means collectively these 442 Americans have nearly $1.9 trillion in wealth.

During the current "recovery," these 442 billions saw their wealth rise on average by over 12 percent per year. What would happened if those billionaires received only 6 percent a year and the other 6 percent were taxed away in order to pull all of our children out of poverty?

That would provide sufficient revenue so that each child now living in poverty would receive an extra $7,000 per year which would pull nearly all of their families above the poverty line. The 442 billionaires would not suffer. No one in their families would go hungry. No luxury goods or services would be out of reach. No cooks, maids, chauffeurs or pilots would have to be let go. The 442 billionaires would feel no pain at all -- not even an itch. As a result of this painless tax, America would eradicate childhood poverty overnight.

Dream on?

Of course, our simple proposal sounds insane in a world where austerity reigns supreme and where billionaires are immune from such redistributive proposals. But I wonder who is sane and who isn't. It seems utterly psychotic to live in a society that chooses to spread poverty to its young. It also seems psychotic to claim that cuts in food stamps are good for the poor while at the same time saying that it's quite OK for billionaires to pile up unearned, tax-sheltered income. The fact that we're putting up with all this should be driving us all insane.

Sooner or later, the millions of Americans who still have souls that ache for justice will take democracy into their own hands. I don't know how it will happen or when, but one day we will eradicate needless poverty and reclaim our nation from those who are robbing it blind.


Miss Tick
11-02-2013, 05:18 AM
Why should poor people think they have some kind of a right to eat?

Rand Paul would tell you this himself: Food, like healthcare, is not a right! If some Americans have to starve to death, this is what it takes to preserve our freedom!

They call the poor “useless eaters” and seriously don’t give a crap if we all starve.

This may be how the rich really feel about the working class. But they are not going to say that, at least not all of them, all of the time.

They do have more palatable ways to get those of us who are not yet hungry to agree with their austerity measures. They have skewed, suspect and just plain "old" outdated data that they can use to spin fairy tales about the really, really well off poor people who live in the US. You know the ones who live in the realm of the Welfare Queen.

For example the Washington DC based conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation has been telling us for years that there are no poor people in the US.

They say stuff like the average family with very low food security ( here is an even more innocuous term than food insecure, when did we stop saying hungry?) experienced disrupted food intakes in only seven months of the year, for one to seven days per month. They say it like it is a good thing. So if you only go without food for one week a month for more than half the year you are not really poor and your children are not really hungry. Hunger is what kids in developing countries suffer. According to the Heritage Foundation only 2.6% of American children’s growth is stunted by malnutrition compared to 42.7% in developing countries. And to these brilliant conservative minds that means we can take a lot more from the 99% than we have up to this point before we are on par with developing nations. A lofty goal indeed.

They say that “the mainstream press and activist groups frequently conflate poverty with homelessness. They insist this depiction is seriously misleading because only a small portion of persons 'living in poverty' will become homeless over the course of a year. The overwhelming majority of the poor reside throughout the year in non-crowded housing that is in good repair.” Seriously. Good repair? They have statistics that say 50% of the poor live in single family homes and not in apartments or mobile homes. WTF? Really? I’ve never lived in a single family home in my entire life. Never. And I don’t consider myself as living below the poverty line. But all around me families whose incomes do fall under the poverty line own their own homes. Who knew? Conservatives that’s who!

Not only that but “nearly all poor households have commonplace amenities such as color TVs, telephones, and kitchens equipped with an oven, stove, and refrigerator. WOW! The nerve of these people.

In 2005, more than half of poor households had at least five of the following 10 conveniences: a computer, cable or satellite TV, air conditioning, Internet service, a large-screen TV, non-portable stereo, computer printer, separate freezer or second refrigerator, microwave, and at least one color TV. One-fourth of the poor had seven or more of these 10 items in their homes.” I wonder if when gathering all this skewed and suspect data these geniuses take in to account the reality that most poor households didn’t just manifest themselves into existence fully actualized as poverty stricken. Contrary to popular belief the poor are made not born. Many poor people were not always “useless eaters”. They actually had jobs back in the day when there were jobs to be had. Maybe they bought some of that stuff then? Back in 2005 (since this is when this data was compiled) before Wall St. destroyed the economy and then got the government to bail them out by taking the food out of mouths of the working class. Maybe even back before the government gave corporations humongous tax cuts for taking jobs and businesses out of the US and bringing them to other countries. Probably the very countries where the brains at the Heritage Foundation explain the “real poor people live” countries where the government doesn’t even have to pretend to give a shit about its people, where corporations can pollute, pillage and use up people to their hearts content. But we can all cheer up because if conservatives like those highly intelligent individuals at the Heritage Foundation think tank have anything to say about it soon enough the real poor people will live here as well. More austerity measures coming soon to a town near you.

Crossing children off their laundry list for now, elderly people get ready, they're coming for you next. And our beloved veterans as well. You know all that supposed support we have for you? Well they forgot to mention that's just while you are actually troops, once you are no longer active then you are subject to being screwed like the rest of the 99%.

I'm adding this link to show where I got some of my information. It is by no means an endorsement of or encouragement to read this shit.


11-02-2013, 07:08 AM
Hey, Miss Tick. I saw that the article was written two years ago (9/2011), which they based off of 2010 census data (which no doubt that twisted into a pretty bow).

I am wondering why you are posting this now?

Miss Tick
11-02-2013, 08:16 AM
Hey, Miss Tick. I saw that the article was written two years ago (9/2011), which they based off of 2010 census data (which no doubt that twisted into a pretty bow).

I am wondering why you are posting this now?

It's an old article because I want to show how it has been a long held belief, an old meme of conservatives that the poor in the US do not exist. This belief justifies their actions against social programs at a time when only a small elite percentage of Americans are recovering and these same elite continue to get social welfare. It's not about the article it's about the mindset.

I posted the first article about the food stamp cut and thought it would be useful to examine and understand the process that goes into twisting yourself into believing its a good, adult, grown up decision (phraseology the GOP is using now in 2013)to cut food stamps at a time when more people than ever are using them to make ends meet. What I did was look at the ideas the GOP has long held to justify their belief in the non existence of poor in the US and the brilliant conservative minds who mold data and twist facts to support their beliefs. This is how they cut social programs, this is how they will cut social security and make our golden years financially insecure. It's the mind set i was trying to show. The article was just an afterthought to prove I don't pull this shit out of my ass.

I hope this makes sense. It's not like anything has changed. This is what they believe whether it's 1972 or 2013. And it's only news in that it helps justify current cuts in social programs.

I just want to add if you try to find data to prove there are no poor in the US in 2013 all that comes up are articles exploding with indignation at the cutting of social programs. Articles talking about how terrible it is and Republicans talking about how necessary it is and how grown up and adult it is. It's easy to talk about how insensitive the GOP is and how cruel etc. but it doesn't show how they think and why they believe what they are doing is perfectly fine and logical. I want to understand my enemy. I want to know what makes them tic.

Miss Tick
11-02-2013, 08:21 AM
America's Greatest Shame: Child Poverty Rises and Food Stamps Cut While Billionaires Boom
Why do we put up with such injustices?

There are 16.4 million American children living in poverty. That's nearly one quarter (22.6%) of all of our children. More alarming is that the percentage of poor children has climbed by 4.5 percent since the start of the Great Recession in 2007. And poor means poor. For a family of three with one child under 18, the poverty line is $18,400.

Meanwhile, the stock market is booming. Banks, hedge funds and private equity firms are making tens of billions of dollars again, while the luxury housing and goods markets are skyrocketing.

Most amazing of all is the fact that 95 percent of the so-called "recovery" has gone to the top 1 percent who have seen their incomes rise by 34%. For the 99 percent there's been an undeclared wage freeze: the average wage has climbed by only 0.4 percent.

To add to the misery, Washington has decided that the best way to tackle childhood poverty is to have poor kids eat less. Both parties already have agreed to cut billions from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps). Starting this November 1, payments are scheduled to drop from $668 a month to $632 for more than 47 million lower-income people -- 1 in 7 Americans, most of them children. (Three incredible graphs that visualize the issues in this story are at the bottom of this article.)

And more cuts are coming. The Tea Party House passed a bill to cut food stamps by $4 billion a year, while the Senate calls for $400 million in cuts. How humane! And since it will be part of the omnibus Farm Bill, President Obama will sign it. (I wonder how our former community organizer will explain this to the poor children he once tried to help in Chicago.)

But that's just the start. More austerity is coming in the form of cuts to Social Security as well as a host of other social programs. When times get tough, you've got to suck it up and take more from the poor.

Rewarding Billionaires Who Increase Poverty?

It gets even more revolting when we realize that the financial billionaires who are profiting so handsomely from the recovery are the very same who took down the economy in the first place. They were the ones who created and pedaled the toxic securities that puffed up and then burst the housing bubble. Those financial plutocrats caused 8 million workers to lose their jobs in a matter of months. Those bankers, hedge fund honchos and fund managers are directly responsible for the rise in child poverty rates. Washington bailed out those billionaires and is now asking the poor and the middle class to pay for the ensuing deficits with further cuts in social programs at every level of government.

Why do we put up with such injustices?

Washington Is in Wall Street's Pocket

Before we entirely succumb to financial amnesia, let's recall how we got here. Since the late 1970s, the financial sector has been on a crusade to remove any and all financial regulations. The goal was to undo all the controls put in place during the Great Depression that so effectively curtailed financial speculation and outright gambling. Once deregulated Wall Street engineered a Ponzi-like housing bubble that netted it astronomical sums. By the time it burst in 2007, 40% of all corporate profits flowed into the financial sector. Wall Street wages grew by leaps and bounds.

As the crash hit, all the largest Wall Street firms, not just Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, were in serious trouble. Had AIG gone under, so would nearly every major bank and investment house, along with thousands of hedge funds that depended on AIG to ensure its toxic bets. So Wall Street's Washington cadre engineered a $13 trillion bailout consisting of cash, no interest loans and a program by which the Federal Reserve would buy up Wall Street's toxic waste at par value. To produce a financial recovery, the Fed also drove down bond interest rates which in turn drove money into the stock market, sending it to new heights.

Here's the best of all. After getting $480 billion in bailout cash, the top financiers in the country paid themselves more than $150 billion in bonus money for a job well done. Is this a great country or what?

What didn't happen is this: Mortgages were not written down in mass to assist underwater home owners and those who suffered from predatory loans. No lasting jobs programs were created to put the unemployed back to work. No lasting penalties were paid by the individuals who took down the economy. And there was no serious effort at all to cap financial wages and bonuses in the name of justice.

All in all, you could not have designed a more perfect program to enrich the rich and do absolutely nothing for the 99 percent -- and as a result, sink ever more children into poverty.

Waiting for the Recovery That Will Never Come

We are constantly told that the recovery is just around the corner. Liberals say we need more stimulus. Conservatives call for more austerity and cuts in regulations. But all agree that sooner or later more growth will benefit the 99 percent. Unfortunately, it's not happening and it won't happen. Here's why.

First of all, they assume that trickledown actually works, that there is something mechanical within our heavily financialized economy that will bring renewed prosperity to the 99 percent. They look back at previous recessions and recoveries and continue to believe that slumps are followed by renewed growth and income gains for all.

But as financialization has spread throughout the economy, new mechanisms are in place that siphon off wealth into financial gains for the very few. Productive enterprises are turned into financial enterprises that are loaded up with debt and then carved and slaughtered so that wealth can be extracted for hedge funds and private equity firms. In our brave new financialized economy renewed growth turns into renewed incomes primarily for the investment class. The stock market will rise but jobs and incomes won't. The traditional capitalist slump-recovery process died more than a decade ago. Adam Smith's invisible hand no longer produces shared prosperity -- instead it picks our pockets.

Waiting for the Political Pendulum to Swing

Second, we are told how America is essentially a moderate country -- how there's a kind of invisible political pendulum that swings from the extremes back to the sensible center. When the left or the Tea Party gets too wild, the center supposedly pulls them back and common sense economics prevails. But this consoling media meme obscures the fact that our politics are moving ever more rightward. Moderate Democrats and Republicans today are to the right of Eisenhower, Nixon and even Herbert Hoover. They have already agreed to cut the very entitlements that are needed to help alleviate poverty. In fact, they have agreed it's quite OK for America to have 442 billionaires and also have 22.6% of its children living in poverty. The sensible center now sees its role as forging a "compromise" on how much to cut food stamps and other supports for the poor.

Obviously, both political parties lose little sleep worrying about economic injustices. Even most Democrats no longer have a serious game plan to eradicate poverty. That's considered to be 1960s stuff that doesn't make sense in a world where politicians have to make peace with at least some players in the billionaire class in order to survive. As for the poor, alas, they will always be with us.

America Leads the World

Not a day goes by without hearing about "American exceptionalism." We are told by our leaders and pundits that we are the best, the greatest, the mightiest and the most democratic of all nations. It is our mission in life to uphold justice and freedom around the world. But as this chart shows, when it comes to child poverty, we are just about dead last.

Why is that? Because in wealthy nations, children live in poverty if and only if that nation allows it. Our nation, the richest in history, has more than enough wealth to go from the bottom of this list to the top, right next to Finland, if only we decided to act justly.

A Simple Proposal to end Child Poverty

America has 442 billionaires with an average net worth of $4.2 billion each according to Forbes. That means collectively these 442 Americans have nearly $1.9 trillion in wealth.

During the current "recovery," these 442 billions saw their wealth rise on average by over 12 percent per year. What would happened if those billionaires received only 6 percent a year and the other 6 percent were taxed away in order to pull all of our children out of poverty?

That would provide sufficient revenue so that each child now living in poverty would receive an extra $7,000 per year which would pull nearly all of their families above the poverty line. The 442 billionaires would not suffer. No one in their families would go hungry. No luxury goods or services would be out of reach. No cooks, maids, chauffeurs or pilots would have to be let go. The 442 billionaires would feel no pain at all -- not even an itch. As a result of this painless tax, America would eradicate childhood poverty overnight.

Dream on?

Of course, our simple proposal sounds insane in a world where austerity reigns supreme and where billionaires are immune from such redistributive proposals. But I wonder who is sane and who isn't. It seems utterly psychotic to live in a society that chooses to spread poverty to its young. It also seems psychotic to claim that cuts in food stamps are good for the poor while at the same time saying that it's quite OK for billionaires to pile up unearned, tax-sheltered income. The fact that we're putting up with all this should be driving us all insane.

Sooner or later, the millions of Americans who still have souls that ache for justice will take democracy into their own hands. I don't know how it will happen or when, but one day we will eradicate needless poverty and reclaim our nation from those who are robbing it blind.


This is actually the "In The News" article that is important as a current immediate issue that is happening as we speak. The other post is about why the conservatives believe cutting social programs is warranted. It a look at the mindset that allows them to take the food out of the mouths of babies and still sleep at night and pray to their god on Sunday.

Miss Tick
11-02-2013, 08:59 AM
GOP rep.: Slashing food stamps by $40 billion means ‘more money’ for the hungry

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MA) in September asserted that cutting $40 billion from the food stamp program over the next 10 years would actually provide “more money” to hungry Americans.

A bill introduced by House Republicans this month almost doubled the cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) proposed earlier this year after that plan was rejected by conservative lawmakers. GOP leaders were expected to bring the bill up for a vote on Thursday.

CNN’s Carol Costello pointed out to Harris in a Thursday interview that critics had said that a $40 billion cut was “way too much” because the poverty rate in the United States has risen to more than 13 percent.

“It’s a 5 percent decrease, when we know that there is 10.5 percent of the stores that take food stamps are engaged in trafficking,” Harris replied. “So we know the fraud stands at 10 percent of the stores. We only want to cut 5 percent.”

“That ought to leave more money getting to the hands of the people who do need it,” he added. “And there are millions of Americans who need that benefit.”

“But if you change the requirement, some people will be eliminated from qualifying for food stamps,” Costello noted. “There are critics who say that those people need them too. And how do you decide who needs food stamps and who doesn’t?”

“Well, again, there’s the one study that showed — by the Dept. of Agriculture — 10.5 percent of stores are committing fraud,” Harris insisted. “And, you know what we’re doing, is we’re just saying, ‘Look, if we’re going to help you with food stamps — and we are — then we need you to either work, look for employment — if you’re able bodied, not disabled and able to work — either look for work or engage in job training.’ We think that’s a common-sense trade-off for getting help from the American taxpayer that needy people need.”

“Well, some might say it’s easy to say, ‘Get some job training, get a new job, get a better paying job,’” Costello observed. “But there aren’t that many jobs available at this particular time in our economy to accomplish that.”

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that 14 million less people would be participating in the SNAP program by 2023 if the Republican House bill was enacted.

“Critics’ attempts to justify big cuts by claiming that SNAP participants are eschewing work are unfounded,” according to the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities. “The fact that the majority of SNAP households with an adult who is not elderly or disabled work while they receive SNAP assistance, and that more than 80 percent of such households work in the year before or after SNAP receipt, makes clear the program is an important support for working families that fall on hard times.”

“As the nation slowly climbs out of the deepest recession in decades, many families continue to face a shortage of jobs or to be paid wages too low to enable them to provide adequate food, and struggle to meet basic nutritional needs. The House SNAP proposal pays little heed to these economic conditions. Instead, it would deny food assistance to millions of low-income Americans and cause substantial increases in hardship.”


How Republicans Who Took Millions In Farm Subsidies Justify Cutting Food Stamps


There are a lot of justifications used to explain why it is okay to cut food stamps and social programs from invoking the soviet constitution and Lenin to misquoting the bible but the truth is that when conservatives bother to think of the poor they don't believe in them. This is why it is so easy to do what they do. They don't believe there are really poor people or rather I should say they don't believe there are any deserving poor. And to examine that we could actually go back to the early 1800s and see how decisions were made surrounding who is deserving and who is not.

11-02-2013, 03:12 PM
Hey, Miss Tick. I had no concern you had any sort of "agenda" behind the posting of an older article. I was just curious. I suppose I was also surprised that an older article was posted, without the poster making a note of that fact. That's all.

Miss Tick
11-02-2013, 03:46 PM
Hey, Miss Tick. I had no concern you had any sort of "agenda" behind the posting of an older article. I was just curious. I suppose I was also surprised that an older article was posted, without the poster making a note of that fact. That's all.

I didn't think you did. I just get so excited when someone asks me something about a news article I tend to overkill I guess. I either disturb them with my over zealousness or I overwhelm them with way too much information that it seems like an attack of some sort. Please don't take it that way. I just thought if you were interested enough to ask a question you might enjoy a lot of answer.

Sorry I didn't make a note of the fact that it was an older article. In retrospect I probably should have. I was side tracked for the reasons I explained. It wasn't about the time frame of the article it was the thinking behind the think tank. And in my defense i did say when introducing the information that "the Washington DC based conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation has been telling us for years that there are no poor people in the US." I also mentioned the dates of the data a few times: "In 2005, more than half of poor households had at least five of the following 10 conveniences" and "Back in 2005 (since this is when this data was compiled)"

Anyway sorry if I gave too much information but I hope it at least makes sense why i would post the information. The article was not the post really, a lot of the words contained in the post were my words and not the words of an article, I Just posted the article for back up as reference for where i pulled some of the stuff i was responding too from.

My wife often tells me that for such a clarity freak I am sometimes not very clear.

Oh dear I hope I didn't do it again and say too much that it feels like well, like too much. Besides trying to explain my thought process for referencing the article my only other concern is trying to ascertain if my response makes sense to you?

And honestly I didn't take it any way at all except as a question. I wouldn't take it as anything but a question from anyone, but from you I certainly wouldn't give it a second thought except to try extra hard to explain to you my thought process.

Miss Tick
11-02-2013, 04:37 PM
Hey, Miss Tick. I had no concern you had any sort of "agenda" behind the posting of an older article. I was just curious. I suppose I was also surprised that an older article was posted, without the poster making a note of that fact. That's all.

I just want to add that when I originally posted the article "America's Greatest Shame: Child Poverty Rises and Food Stamps Cut While Billionaires Boom" I considered adding my second post to that instead of making a whole new one.

It was early and I had just woke up and was still sleepy and decided it might be too long and too confusing so I added the second post which was really an extension of the first and it ended up that the first post ended a page and the second post was the first post on a new page. So that really separated the first article from my post and the reference article. Maybe it would have made more sense if they had been together. Or maybe not. I'm just going to stop explaining now. LOL. I even tire myself out:|

11-02-2013, 05:14 PM
Wow. You are way worse than me. I love it. ha! :seeingstars:

Miss Tick
11-04-2013, 06:59 AM
Be Very Afraid: The American Economy Is Cannibalizing Itself, and We the People Are Going to Pay a Huge Price
The bottom 90 percent of Americans have disappeared from official Washington.
November 3, 2013

So how to explain this paradox?

As of November 1 more than 47 million Americans have lost some or all of their food stamp benefits. House Republicans are pushing for further cuts. If the sequester isn’t stopped everything else poor and working-class Americans depend on will be further squeezed.

We’re not talking about a small sliver of America here. Half of all children get food stamps at some point during their childhood. Half of all adults get them sometime between ages 18 and 65. Many employers – including the nation’s largest, Walmart – now pay so little that food stamps are necessary in order to keep food on the family table, and other forms of assistance are required to keep a roof overhead.

The larger reality is that most Americans are still living in the Great Recession. Median household income continues to drop. In last week’s Washington Post-ABC poll, 75 percent rated the state of the economy as “negative” or “poor.”

So why is Washington whacking safety nets and services that a large portion of Americans need, when we still very much need them?

It’s easy to blame Republicans and the rightwing billionaires that bankroll them, and their unceasing demonization of “big government” as well as deficits. But Democrats in Washington bear some of the responsibility. In last year’s fiscal cliff debate neither party pushed to extend the payroll tax holiday or find other ways to help the working middle class and poor.

Here’s a clue: A new survey of families in the top 10 percent of net worth (done by the American Affluence Research Center) shows they’re feeling better than they’ve felt since 2007, before the Great Recession.

It’s not just that the top 10 percent have jobs and their wages are rising. The top 10 percent also owns 80 percent of the stock market. And the stock market is up a whopping 24 percent this year.

The stock market is up even though most Americans are down for two big reasons.

First, businesses are busily handing their cash back to their shareholders – buying back their stock and thereby boosting share prices – rather than using the cash to expand and hire. It makes no sense to expand and hire when most Americans don’t have the money to buy.

The S&P 500 “Buyback Index,” which measures the 100 stocks with the highest buyback ratios, has surged 40 percent this year, compared with a 24% rally for the S&P 500.

IBM has just approved another $15 billion for share buybacks on top of about $5.6 billion it set aside previously, thereby boosting its share prices even though business is sluggish. In April, Apple announced a $50 billion increase in buybacks plus a 15% rise in dividends, but even this wasn’t enough for multi-billionaire Carl Icahn, who’s now demanding that Apple use more of its $170 billion cash stash to buy back its stock and make Ichan even richer.

Big corporations can also borrow at rock-bottom rates these days in order to buy back even more of their stock — courtesy of the Fed’s $85 billion a month bond-buying program. (Ichan also wants Apple to borrow $150 billion at 3 percent interest, in order to buy back more stock and further enrich himself.)

The second big reason why shares are up while most Americans are down is corporations continue to find new ways to boost profits and share prices by cutting their labor costs – substituting software for people, cutting wages and benefits, and piling more responsibilities on each of the employees that remain.

Neither of these two strategies – buying back stock and paring payrolls – can be sustained over the long run (so you have every right to worry about another Wall Street bubble). They don’t improve a company’s products or customer service.

But in an era of sluggish sales – when the vast American middle class lacks the purchasing power to keep the economy going – these two strategies at least keep shareholders happy. And that means they keep the top 10 percent happy.

Congress, meanwhile, doesn’t know much about the bottom 90 percent. The top 10 percent provide almost all campaign contributions and funding of “independent” ads.

Moreover, just about all members of Congress are drawn from the same top 10 percent – as are almost all their friends and associates, and even the media who report on them.

Get it? The bottom 90 percent of Americans — most of whom are still suffering from the Great Recession, most of whom have been on a downward escalator for decades — have disappeared from official Washington.


11-05-2013, 07:17 AM
Senate passes ENDA

With 61 votes, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of cloture on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, clearing the way for a final up-or-down vote later this week.


For the first time since it was originally introduced in 1996, the U.S. Senate took an important step toward passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, voting in favor of cloture — a procedural move intended to overcome any attempted filibuster — in a bipartisan vote of 61-30.

Several senators from both sides of the aisle rose to speak in support of the legislation, which would make it a federal offense for employers to fire, refuse to hire, or decline to promote employees on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Following Monday's vote for cloture, the Senate is expected to take a final vote on ENDA after additional testimony is filed, likely on Wednesday.

The bipartisan vote included 54 Senate Democrats (Missouri Democratic senator Claire McCaskill was absent), and seven Republicans, including some surprising "aye" votes from New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte, Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey, and Ohio's Rob Portman, who came out for marriage equality earlier this year. Among Republicans who had previously expressed support for the legislation were Utah's Orrin Hatch, Illinois's Mark Kirk, Nevada's Dean Heller, and Maine's Susan Collins. Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican who voted for the bill in committee, was absent from the chamber when roll call was taken.

The nation's first openly gay senator elected took the Senate floor first, asking her colleagues to vote in favor of ENDA and stand on the right side of history.

"I realize that for some, this is not an easy vote," said Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin on the Senate floor. "I understand that for some, they may believe that it’s not good politics. But I want to say that I have a deep respect for those who choose to stand on the side of progress for our country this week. So for those that stand up this week and answer the call for courage, I can say with confidence your courage will be respected and remembered when the history of this struggle is written."

Both senators from Illinois also rose in support of the bill, including Republican Mark Kirk, who has been largely silent and absent from congressional debate on the legislation through the past two years due to a stroke.

"This is not a major change to law," said Kirk. "It's already the law in 21 states, and I think it's particularly appropriate for an Illinois Republican to speak on behalf of this measure, in the true spirit of Everett McKinley Dirksen and Abraham Lincoln, who gave us the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution."

Kirk wasn't the only Republican to rise in support of the bill — Sen. Susan Collins of Maine also testified in support, saying ENDA provides all Americans a fair opportunity to pursue the American dream. "I'm dismayed that so many years have gone by — more than a decade — and this bill still has not become law," said Collins. "It is time for us to enact this important legislation.

Notably, no senators rose to speak in opposition to the bill, though that's unlikely to be the case in the Republican-controlled House, where the bill faces a much tougher journey to becoming law.

Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy closed his remarks with a none-too-subtle message for those lawmakers opposed to outlawing discrimination in the lower chamber of Congress.

"So I hope my fellow senators will come together and support this important bipartisan bill without delay," said Leahy in his closing remarks. "And If the other body has the courage of standing up for America, to stand up for all Americans — every single american there is — and vote for the same legislation."

Late Sunday night, President Obama published an op-ed in The Huffington Post urging the Senate to pass the legislation, and Monday morning, Nevada Republican Dean Heller announced his support for ENDA, breaching the 60-vote threshold needed for a successful cloture vote to move debate on the bill forward.


Fired For Being LGBT: ENDA gets another vote


Sixty years ago, the federal government spearheaded a massive purge of gay employees, no matter how qualified or essential they were to their department's operations. The firings were the result of an executive order by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on April 27, 1953. As told in the documentary Lavender Scare, even LGBT private sector workers who were under contract with the federal government were also fired or forced to resign.

Why? Because gay people were viewed as a godless, immoral group likely to work with communists to spill government secrets.

After decades of activism, policy changes at federal agencies, and state laws protecting LGBT citizens, 94 percent of the top 100 companies in the U.S. — the top 50 federal contractors and the top 50 Fortune 500 companies — have policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 78 percent of the companies have policies prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity.

Nine in every 10 American voters believe that there are already laws to protect employees in the workplace, just like policies for women, people with disabilities, racial minorities, or people with particular religious affiliations. But that's not the case. An employee could still be fired in 29 states for being gay, and in 34 states for being transgender or gender non-conforming.

So as we mark 60 years since the federal government's mass firings, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is finally set for a vote in the Senate on Monday (the 19th time Congress has considered it). With a Republican-dominated House of Representatives, ENDA might be tough to gain momentum even though, according to the Center for American Progress, 73 percent of voters support protections for LGBT workers (even 66 percent among Republicans voters).



Miss Tick
11-05-2013, 08:38 AM
I guess Rand Paul wants to challenge Rachel Maddow to a duel. He laments the fact that it would be illegal to shoot her in the face. I suppose it would definitely cut down on the amount of 'truth out' we would see from journalists if you could just challenge them to a duel and kill them if they caught you doing something wrong. Sheesh, wouldn't it be easier to just own it, apologize for the mistake and make sure it doesn't happen again? Politicians seeking public office need to be more careful that's all. And when caught screwing up they need to act like adults. I mean aren't the Republicans big on acting like adults or is that just when they are talking about having to starve children and steal money from old people.

Rand Paul’s Wacko Public Meltdown
The proven plagiarist trashes his “haters” and wishes he could challenge them to a duel.

Just when Sen. Ted Cruz’s self-promoting extremism seemed to create room for a far-right 2016 rival who wouldn’t scare children (and the donor class), Sen. Rand Paul is blowing his big chance.

Last week the New York Times reported that in the wake of Cruz’s implosion, Paul’s aides had taken to calling Cruz “the chief of the wacko birds,” using John McCain’s memorable epithet for the junior Texas senator. Paul himself, Jonathan Martin reported, “has quietly been reaching out to more establishment forces within the Republican Party, trying to prove to big donors and mainline Republican organizations that he is more than a Tea Party figure or a rerun of his father’s failed candidacies.” And establishment Republicans were beginning to use the word “grown” and “matured” to describe Paul.

That’s not the word they’re using today, on the heels of a crazy appearance on ABC’s “This Week” where he wished he could challenge the journalists who’ve accused him of plagiarism to a duel.

On the one hand, the revelation that he lifted material from several speeches as well as whole pages of his book from other sources, without attribution, isn’t necessarily a 2016 candidacy-ender. What’s most politically self-destructive is Paul’s bizarre reaction to the charges – which really aren’t “charges,” they’re fact. Instead of admitting he or someone on his staff made an error and promising to toughen his standards, he’s attacked Rachel Maddow, who found the first instance of plagiarism, repeatedly and personally.

“This is really about information and attacks coming from haters,” he told ABC’s Latino-focused network Fusion. “The person who’s leading this attack — she’s been spreading hate on me for about three years now.” Ew, “spreading hate on me,” that sounds kind of disgusting, Rachel – really?

And then, in a bizarre, likely candidacy-ending interview with ABC’s “This Week,” he began talking about a duel.

“Yes, there are times when [speeches] have been sloppy or not correct or we’ve made an error,” Paul said. “But the difference is, I take it as an insult and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting. I have never intentionally done so.”

He went on: “And like I say, if, you know, if dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know, it would be a duel challenge. But I can’t do that, because I can’t hold office in Kentucky then.”

“I think I’m being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters.”

Paul’s assumption that normal people will hear his reference to fighting a duel and say, “Hell yeah!” betrays his permanent residency on the American fringe. He lives in a world where it’s always the 19th century south, and troubles are best handled with guns and guts, not government. Paul acts like nobody’s ever been either smart enough, or brave enough, to tell the plain truth – and once he does, common sense voters will recognize it and reward him. Instead, they recoil and go, “Huh?”

It reminds me of his first run-in with Rachel Maddow, in May 2010, when he told her he didn’t think the Civil Rights Act should apply to private businesses. He bobbed and he weaved but when Maddow asked point blank, “Do you think that a private business has the right to say ‘we don’t serve black people?’” He answered, “Yes,” and defended their “right” to discriminate as “freedom of speech.” (He also said he thought if he’d been alive back then, he’d have marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) That’s the interview that made Maddow a “hater,” in Paul’s view.

I saw the same thing in his under-covered response to the revelation that his aide Jack Hunter was a neo-confederate racist who’d written a column headlined “John Wilkes Booth was right,” defending the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Paul, of course, came out against assassination – but then he went on to describe Lincoln the way neo-confederates do, as a tyrannical racist hypocrite who fought the Civil War not to end slavery but to consolidate Northern power. He thought he could get away with repudiating the most extreme expression of neo-confederate beliefs while validating their core. And that time, at least, he did.

There’s another problem with Paul’s over the top response to the plagiarism controversy: It suggests that he doesn’t understand the meaning of the term “plagiarism.” He has repeatedly insisted that he credited the original source of his speech material – the movie “Gattaca,” in one instance, and “Stand and Deliver” in another. But he does not seem to get that you can’t lift words directly from Wikipedia and claim them as your own – even though that’s something every sixth-grader knows.

Only a few days after Tailgunner Ted Cruz seemed to be facing a credible Tea Party rival, that rival is melting down. For his part, in the Times piece Cruz was said to be telling GOP donors that Paul can never be elected president “because he can never fully detach himself from the strident libertarianism of his father.” An even bigger problem: Rand Paul can never fully detach himself from himself.

Miss Tick
11-05-2013, 02:04 PM
'12 Years a Slave' Highlights America’s Shocking Record of Female Subjugation
The U.S. has not yet reckoned with the trauma of enslaved and oppressed women.

Did Patsey survive to have children? We’ll never know. Enslaved women sometimes used abortion and infanticide to undermine their oppressions. If she did have children who survived, it’s sobering to imagine where their descendants might be today if chance had kept them on Louisiana’s bayous.

For African Americans living in Louisiana, hunger rates are twice the national average, and the poverty rate is 45 percent. According to a study by the Center for American Progress, Louisiana is the worst place to be a woman in the nation. Women get paid 67 cents on the dollar compared to men, their jobs are more insecure, they hold fewer public offices, and they fare worse in health outcomes. Louisiana ranks ninth in the rate of women murdered by men.

Louisiana is one of the only states in the country that does not have its own minimum wage law. It is a state that relies on the service industry, and we can imagine a descendant of Patsey finding herself in a job—if she could even find a job at all— without health benefits or basic protections, like paid sick leave. Maybe she’s a domestic worker. Or perhaps she packs boxes at a Walmart factory. She would have to stay at work regardless of whether there were sick children at home. With high job insecurity, saying no to whatever her employer’s demands might be could easily lead to firing, so she works extra hours without overtime and tries to ignore it when her manager eyes her lustfully.

Patsey’s descendant would face the fact that in Louisiana, her right to control her own body is constantly under assault. She would be forced to undergo an invasive and unnecessary ultrasound procedure before a doctor could perform an abortion—if she could even find a clinic.

In the very state where her foremother was tortured, deprived and violated, Patsey’s descendant would stand a good chance of getting trapped in unrelenting poverty, health crises and humiliation. During slavery, many Americans justified oppression by claiming that black people were naturally inferior and thus deserved their condition. Today, conservative Republicans suggest that the poor are poor because of their own inferiority, and do not deserve any better than what they have. The ideology of slavery posited a false God who instated a natural order in which some human beings were made to suffer at the hands of others. The ideology of capitalism proposes the supernatural force of the "market," which can never be wrong. Those whom the invisible hand crushes deserve their fate.


It's easy to watch a movie about particular times in history and believe the past is the past and these injustices no longer exist. The truth is the same ideology that allows one human being to erase the humanity of another is alive and well in our society. Many still believe there are deserving and undeserving people and we are taught to care little for the undeserving among us. Their fates are of their own doing. Soon many more people will learn first hand how unfair and unjust that belief is.

Allison W
11-05-2013, 02:07 PM
Isn't Ted Cruz ineligible to be president? That alone makes the prospect of him ending up the GOP frontrunner extremely amusing, and would make me feel much more confident in a Democratic win in 2016. More confident than I already am, I mean.

11-05-2013, 02:13 PM
Cruz would be eligible the same as Obama was eligible. The only thing keeping Cruz from running right now is his dual citizenship. If he doesn't get that cleared up in time then he will be ineligible.

Miss Tick
11-05-2013, 02:23 PM
Ya, his mother was an American citizen at the time of his birth. A natural born citizen includes those who are entitled to US citizenship at birth. And I'm sure Canada will be more than happy to cut him lose.

Allison W
11-05-2013, 04:43 PM
Thanks for clearing that up. I'd heard he's Canadian. Apparently that's true, but not in the way that I had thought. I don't doubt he'd give up his dual citizenship for the presidency, so the prospect of him being the Republican frontrunner is now considerably less amusing. The man is batshit--Paul is at least right about that, in the same way that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

11-05-2013, 05:27 PM
Cruz would be eligible the same as Obama was eligible.

Well, not exactly the same way. President Obama was born in the U.S., (Hawaii to be exact), to an American mother and a Kenyan father. Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Canadian father. If Cruz does run it will be interesting to see the Tea Baggers and crazed Birthers tie themselves in knots about why that's OK when they never stopped nattering about Obama's supposed Kenyan birthplace.

11-05-2013, 05:39 PM
Well, not exactly the same way. President Obama was born in the U.S., (Hawaii to be exact), to an American mother and a Kenyan father. Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Canadian father. If Cruz does run it will be interesting to see the Tea Baggers and crazed Birthers tie themselves in knots about why that's OK when they never stopped nattering about Obama's supposed Kenyan birthplace.

Yep not exactly, but we shouldn't be reverse birthers either lol

Miss Tick
11-05-2013, 05:41 PM
Actually I think Cruz's father was born in Cuba. Doesn't change anything but it is interesting I think.

11-05-2013, 05:58 PM
Actually I think Cruz's father was born in Cuba. Doesn't change anything but it is interesting I think.

And John McCain was born in Panama. Well, if I were to recognise as legitimate the past colonization of the area by the U.S. I would say he was born in the americanized Panama Canal Zone, which was under U.S. control at the time.

Miss Tick
11-05-2013, 06:13 PM
And John McCain was born in Panama. Well, if I were to recognise as legitimate the past colonization of the area by the U.S. I would say he was born in the americanized Panama Canal Zone, which was under U.S. control at the time.

LOL. I don't suppose it matters since I assume he was born to US citizens which makes him a naturalized citizen. At least I think that is what they have decided to go with for the definition of naturalized citizen. But I bet that won't be the last we hear of it come 2016.

But by that definition all people born at that time in Panama are also US citizens.

It seems to me the whole South and Central America went through some Americanized rough patches (although not exactly recognized). I mean the US has long looked at all of it as our backyard to do what as we wish. They should all be considered citizens. Especially Mexico since half their country somehow ended up in the US. Well maybe not half, but a sizable chunk

Miss Tick
11-08-2013, 08:27 AM
MI Police 'Pursue Charges' Against Homeowner Who Shot 19-Year-Old Black Woman Dead After She Knocked on His Door

But in a 'stand-your-ground' state, will they stick?

Police say they are seeking charges against the Dearborn Heights, Michigan resident who shot a young African-American woman dead after she knocked on his door for help after a car accident. But since Michigan has a "Stand-your-ground" law, many wonder if charges, even if filed, will stick, since the law gives wide latitude to homeowners who claim they felt threatened.

The facts, as have been reported by several news outlets, are as startling as they are outrageous, and have the family of the victim, Renisha McBride, both asking why and demanding action.

McBride, all of 19 years old, had a car accident at roughly 2:30 am on Saturday in Dearborn Heights, a predominantly white neighborhood of Detroit. Her cellphone battery dead, she knocked on the door of a home in the 16000 block of Outer Drive. As she turned to leave the porch, she was shot in the head with a shotgun. The homeowner, whom police have refused to name, was initially arrested and released, having apparently convnced police that he thought she was an intruder trying to break in.

“He shot her in the head, [and] for what? For knocking on his door,” McBride’s aunt, Bernita Spinks said to the Detroit Free Press. “If he felt scared or threatened, he should have called 911.”

Police also reportedly mislead the family about where McBride's body was found. According to Raw Story, they were first told that her body had been dumped near Warren Avenue, some blocks away, where it was later found by authorities. Police soon, however, recanted their prior statement, saying instead that the woman died on the home’s front porch.

Race is an inescapable part of the story, McBride's family and other observers have pointed out, as is often the case when "Stand your ground" laws are applied to incidents where African Americans end up on the wrong end of the gun. McBride's murder follows the September 14 shooting of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, a Black former college football player, who was shot and killed by police in North Carolina while seeking asistance after a car crash late at night from a nearby home. In that case, an officer who responded to the homeowner’s 911 call fired 12 shots at the already injured Ferrell, hitting him 10 times, and is now charged with voluntary manslaughter.

Few details have been released about the details of McBride’s death, but police on Wednesday reportedly asked the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to issue a warrant for the resident charged with the fatal shooting. However the office sent the request back late Wednesday, asking for “further investigation by the police that must be submitted before a decision will be made.” T The halting of a potential arrest is devastating sign, perhaps, that Michigan’s upholding of the Stand-Your-Ground-Law may derail any charges.

“She didn’t break in his house; she didn’t break a window,”Spinks has said. “What, you see somebody on your porch and you just start shooting? And then you say it was accidental? That wasn’t accidental; that wasn’t accidental, no.”


Miss Tick
11-08-2013, 08:59 AM

Miss Tick
11-09-2013, 10:40 AM
How the Unholy Alliance Between the Christian Right and Wall Street Is 'Crucifying America'

A new book argues that the Atheist's battles are misplaced… Polls show a majority of Americans favor liberal policies, but our courts and legislatures are increasingly controlled and driven by the Christian Right.
November 8, 2013 |

The following is an excerpt from Crucifying America: the unholy alliance between the Christian Right and Wall Street by CJ Werleman (Dangerous Little Books, 2013).

Atheist groups, associations, and networks have literally sprung up in every town and city in America. Million dollar social awareness campaigns have rolled across small towns and big cities throughout America. In major cities, you see billboards with messages like, “Are you Good Without God? Millions Are!” “Don’t Believe in God? You Are Not Alone.” Others say, “In the Beginning, Man Created God.” These campaigns have helped coerce millions of Americans out of the theological closet. They have helped many in-private atheists step out of the shadows. The trend is very much that Americans raised in Christian households are shunning the religion of their parents for any number of reasons: the advancement of human understanding; greater access to information; the scandals of the Catholic Church; and the over zealousness of the Christian Right.

Political scientists Robert Putman and David Campbell, and authors of American Grace, argue that the Christian Right’s politicization of faith in the 1990s turned younger, socially liberal Christians away from churches, even as conservatives became more zealous. “While the Republican base has become ever more committed to mixing religion and politics, the rest of the country has been moving in the opposite direction.”

When you add all these things together, it leads you to a dramatic yet never mentioned dynamic: atheists are the fastest growing minority in the U.S. today. More significantly, we make for being one of the most powerful voting blocs in the country, at least potentially. We now have the required critical mass to shape elections, laws, and leaders. Safety in numbers is growing into power in numbers. In 10, 20, 50 years, the Christian Right will hold little to no sway over the nation’s identity. From these facts, among others, we can boast that ideological victory is within sight.

Now for the bad news:

We are winning the wrong game!

We are losing the right game. We are winning the cultural war, but the Christian Right is winning in the race to control the levers of power. They hold the keys to our democracy, while we have clever bumper stickers, funny t-shirts, and books that deride virgin births and angry sky gods. The soldiers of God are playing a game that can only be described as Jedi Knight-ish. Meanwhile, we are being made to look juvenile, bellicose, and down right moronic. The Christian Right is ripping our arms off at the shoulder and then slapping us in the face with the soggy bits. It’s embarrassing, and if this were a football game the scoreboard would read: Christian right –120 versus free thinkers – 3. Someone invoke the mercy rule! Also, I hate football metaphors.

You see, all around this great country, atheists are meeting in cafes, living rooms and Holiday Inn conference rooms to meet, share donuts and talk about how we can remove “In God We Trust” from the dollar bill; and how best we deal with removing “One nation under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, in an attempt to reverse the sneaky-handed 1954 bill pushed through congress in 1954 by Christian zealot President Eisenhower. We protest home school conventions; any display of the Ten Commandments; and there are even atheist groups who file lawsuits every winter in their respective cities to ensure nothing but the secular “meaning” of Christmas is promoted.

Look, all these actions are fine with me but, let’s be honest, they make us look like assholes. And frankly, if you’re filing legal action to prevent others from declaring, “Merry Christmas”, then you most definitely are an asshole!

What’s worse is that atheists are wasting far too much intellectual and emotional energy on battles that lack real political gain or consequence. In other words, we’re taking pot shots at an ideological enemy that’s out of range and forward marching in another direction, and where they’re dropping their ordinance is hurting us. Greatly!

While we are busy playing the role of the nation’s police force for political correctness, they are gerrymandering voting districts to ensure they regain and maintain control of the levers of congressional and gubernatorial power. While we chant, “Keep the Bible out of the classroom”, they are helping legislate voter ID laws that disenfranchise millions of black, Hispanic, and student voters. While we demand a removal of God from the Pledge of Allegiance, they are stacking the courts with their ideological judicial wingnuts. While we are correcting Christmas carolers with, “Happy Holidays”, they are mobilizing to ensure money buys them judges, congressmen and governors, which not only protects the interests of big corporations at the expense of the little guy, but will also protect the interests of the Christian Right – namely, putting an end to the gay, secular, liberal agenda, and, in turn, setting gender and racial equality back 50 years.

Poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans favor liberal policies, but our courts and legislatures are increasingly becoming controlled and driven by the Christian Right. Their victories are having a far more reaching impact on our lives and our secular democratic values than our small-minded wins to remove the 10 Commandments from some hic town’s courthouse.

The 2012 election was a rejection of the Ayn Rand, “Fuck you, I have mine” thinking that permeates the Republican base. Recall that moment during the 2012 GOP debates when the moderator asked the following hypothetical: “What should happen if a healthy 30-year-old man who can afford insurance chooses not to buy it and then becomes catastrophically ill and needs intensive care for six months?” In unison, the predominantly Tea Party (Christian Right) audience yelled, “Let him die!” Thankfully a majority of the American public spurned that callous thinking, as the national electorate went on to demonstrate that a majority of Americans see this country as a center-left country. Simply, we don’t want to be a country that says there’s legitimate rape and there’s illegitimate rape. There’s just rape! We don’t want to be a country that rejects science and facts. We want our kids to accept what 99.9 percent of the scientific community agrees to when it comes to evolution. We want our kids to accept climate change as fact, then fight to do something about it, so as to preserve their kids’ future. We don’t want our politicians to hold prayer sessions as the main means for fighting poverty. We don’t want our political leaders to believe poverty is caused by the individual’s lack of religious faith. We don’t want a country that demonizes the less fortunate. We want a country that judges a person by the content of their character, and not by the color of their skin. We want our laws to not only favor the interests of business but equally or more so favor our communities, our skies, our water, and our food. We want a representative democracy. We want “One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” – not all of one kind, but all. These are the ideals that a majority of Americans want in this great nation today.

Well, that’s what we wanted, and that’s kind of what we were getting, to some degree, until something really bad happened on January 21, 2010. A date of infamy! For that was the day the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the billionaire Koch brothers over the Federal Election Commission. In that ruling, the highest court in the land ruled that money equals free speech, and corporations equal people. That was the moment that whatever chance we had of righting the wrongs that have led to growing social inequalities in this country was lost. That was the moment that all but guarantees a continuation of the shrinking of the middle class. That was the moment that presented billionaires and the wealthiest corporations an opportunity to partner with the Christian Right, so that a new era of pro-business and anti-government policies could be enacted in this country.


Miss Tick
11-10-2013, 12:11 PM
I don't know where to put this but I thought it was cool and I guess it's news.



Miss Tick
11-10-2013, 02:11 PM
Who Is Chief Right Wing Wacko this Week? It Might Surprise You
The Wacko-in-Chief's ignorant banter — and 9 other wacky statements from right-wing nutjobs.

Rand Paul may have assumed the mantle of Wacko-in-Chief this week, but lots of lesser known right-wing nutjobs had banner weeks as well.

1. Christian historian: Abortions caused Typhoon Haiyan.

This might come as news to the grieving survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines: the cause of the powerful storm was abortion. Not necessarily their abortions, but just the fact that anyone has abortions, especially legally, even though abortion is illegal in the Philippines. God is very, very pissed about that, and that’s why he sent a typhoon that killed all those Filipinos on its way to Vietnam. He’s vindictive like that. That is why he is causing all these very destructive and scary storms.

What is not causing any of this climatological havoc is global warming—not that it even exists. Burning fossil fuels is something God actually wants us to do more of. So goes the theory of Christian denialist, oops, we mean “historian” David Barton. The blanket explanation for all this “climate stuff that we can’t explain,” he said this week in a conversation with televangelist Kenneth Copeland, as well as murder and pedophilia, is legalized abortion. America voted for politicians who support abortion rights, and in doing so “opened the door to the curse.”

Here is the historical background. In the good old days, when America was first starting out, Barton explained that if there was really bad weather, leaders would “call for a national day of repentance, humiliation, fasting and prayer … and today we’re saying, ‘Oh no, it’s global warming.’”

That’s how we lost God’s protection. We chose to lose it. What did we expect?

2. Radio host Damon Bruce: Sports are set to the dial of men.

Sports are for men, and Richie Incognito is a man, acting manly in a man’s world. And if you don’t like it, ladies, you can lump it. That is the short version of a nine-minute tirade against women in sports this week by KNBR sports radio host Damon Bruce.

Bruce is mad at women because women are to blame for the suspension of Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito after his alleged (and apparently legendary) harassment, bullying and threats against teammate Jonathan Martin drove Martin from the team.

Here’s how the tirade starts:

“A lot of sports has lost its way and I’m gonna tell you, part of the reason is because we’ve got women giving us directions. For some of you, this is going to come across as very misogynistic. I don’t care, because I’m very right. I'm willing to share my sandbox, as long as you remember you're in my box. I didn’t slip into your box....”

Allowing women to “slip into the box” of professional sports has pretty much ruined sports, Bruce thinks. It has feminized men and made it hard for men to bond the way they like to bond—by being assholes. That’s what Jonathan Martin didn’t understand. Incognito was trying to bond with him when he called him racial slurs and threatened to rape his sister.

Here’s Bruce’s sage advice to women sports journalists who can’t hack it: “If sports get too gruesome for you, go write a restaurant column. Go write a housekeeping column.”

Sweet of him to be concerned.

3. Rand Paul overtakes Ted Cruz as chief Republican wacko bird.

This is a tightly contested race—neck and neck. Lately, Texas Tea Partier Cruz has been relatively subdued since his widely ridiculed Obamacare filibuster which led to the widely reviled government shutdown.

So, Kentucky libertarian Paul was good enough to step into the breach to fulfill the role of what Senator John McCain coined as “chief of the wacko birds.” Paul has distinguished himself in the last week or so with his passionate defense, or is it ignorance, of plagiarism, challenging Rachel Maddow to a duel for repeatedly pointing out that he lifts passages from Wikipedia wholesale for speeches, articles, books, whatever. She’s impugning his honor by doing so, “spreading hate” on him. Besides libertarians don’t attribute stuff; that’s for big government suckers.

A plagiarism scandal, or multiple plagiarism scandals, need not be devastating. Hey, mistakes happen. Admit them and move on, we say. But no, Paul started talking “duel” during an interview with ABC’s “This Week.”

“If, you know, if dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know, it would be a duel challenge. But I can’t do that, because I can’t hold office in Kentucky then.”

Note to Paul: Toto, you’re not in 19th-century Kentucky anymore.

4. Antonin Scalia brings up the devil in case about prayer.

It’s almost as if there’s a little red guy with horns and a tail sitting on the shoulder of the Supreme Court’s most verbose right-winger, making him say really off-the-wall things. Justice Antonin Scalia just keeps seeing the devil and his worshippers everywhere, bringing them up during oral arguments in a case about the constitutionality of legislative prayer. This, just weeks after a somewhat embarrassing interview in New Yorkmagazine in which he gleefully affirmed his belief in the Antichrist. And what’s wrong with that?

During this week’s case, fellow conservative jurist Samuel Alito was asking questions about whether any kind of prayer would be permissible before a legislative session, one that would not offend Christians, Jews, Muslims, or Hindus.

"What about devil worshippers?" Scalia interjected. Laughter ensued. He’s such a card.

His larger point was that not letting people pray before legislative meetings deprives them of their religious freedom, and that it is impossible to design a prayer that satisfies all faiths—not to mention lack thereof.

"What is the equivalent of prayer for someone who is not religious?" Scalia asked. "There are many people who do not believe in God. ... If you had an atheist [town] board, you would not have any prayer. I guarantee you."

After all, who do you think makes people atheists? Guy with the horns, we’re talking to you.

5. Louie Gohmert: Shutdown was necessary to save people from Obamacare.

Two quick refreshers: 1) Obamacare is the “worst law known to man,” worse than slavery, Nuremberg laws, Indian removal act—you get the idea; and 2) Tea Partiers received a drubbing in this week’s election, but seem not to realize it.

Texas Tea Partier Louie Gohmert was out stumping this week, bizarrely bragging that the devastating shutdown was necessary because people would “suffer and potentially die” because of the Affordable Care Act. Yup, nothing kills people faster than health insurance. It is deadly stuff.

He made the statement at a nursing home in East Texas, where he hoped to scare the bejeezus out of seniors so they won’t sign up for the dreaded healthcare coverage. “Anybody that thinks the Affordable Care Act helps seniors doesn’t really understand what’s unaffordable to seniors,” Gohmert helpfully and misleadingly explained. “It makes most of the Medicare Advantage plans go up, but you’ve got to remember, Obamacare actually cut $716 billion from Medicare and seniors rely on Medicare.”

That, of course, is either a lie or make-believe, or both, but since when has that stopped the opponents of Obamacare?

6. Rep. Steve King knows personally—don’t ask him how—that Saddam Hussein purchased uranium from Niger.

Who can forget the fiction that fueled the invasion of Iraq in 2003? Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, was building the bomb, and was ready to use all of it against us or Israel. He got his uranium from Niger, high-level intelligence said. President George Bush even said so in a speech.

Cut to a couple months after “Shock and Awe” and not even Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney or President Bush was standing by that statement. They were misled by some bum intelligence. Sorry. Our bad.

But crazy Iowa Rep. Steve King still believes it because, as he said on Jan Mickelson’s radio show this week: “I have had hands-on evidence that what George Bush said in that State of the Union address was the truth.”

What Bush said was: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

When the claim unraveled, the Bush administration had to eat crow and admit the so-called intelligence was “bogus,” documents “forged.” Spokesman Ari Fleischer admitted the statement should never have found its way into the president’s speech. But nobody took the war back.

But King has “hands-on” knowledge. He just does.

7. Illinois Rep.: Marriage equality has nothing to do with rights; it’s about the Bible.

As the Illinois legislature began to debate whether to join the growing number of enlightened states that have legalized same-sex marriage, State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) pointed out that everyone has it bass-ackwards. Our nation was built on “the scriptures, then came the Constitution. Is that not right?”

It was, of course, a rhetorical question. “I think it is,” Kay continued. A brief course in American history could clear this up for the confused legislator, but never mind.

Kay is at a loss to understand why everyone keeps talking about human rights, and civil rights, and equal rights all the time when they talk about marriage equality. What do human rights have to do with a nation built on scripture? Who you gonna believe, that Constitution with its Bill of Rights written by men, or the word of God?

8. Larry Pratt: Trayvon Martin’s broken family is what killed him.

It’s never too late to pile more pain onto the grieving parents and loved ones of slain teenager Trayvon Martin. His killer is free, Trayvon has been blamed for his own death, and now, taking it one step further, Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America has suggested that Martin's dysfunctional family is responsible for the boy’s death.

That’s what he said in an interview with NewsMax’s Steve Malzberg this week: Trayvon Martin was killed because he had a “broken family.”

Who else can you blame? Triggerman, neighborhood-watch volunteer George Zimmerman was just lawfully “standing his ground” when he shot unarmed Martin. “Stand Your Ground” laws can’t be to blame because, as Sen. Ted Cruz explained to Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton in a Senate hearing on the controversial law, she’s just “mourning the loss of her son.” Stand-your-ground laws in fact “protect those in African-American communities,” he said.

Facts be damned, gun nuts and Tea Partiers agree. According to Right-Wing Watch, a recent “Tampa Bay Times analysis of stand-your-ground cases in Florida found substantial racial disparities in the application of the law, including that ‘people who killed a black person walked free 73 percent of the time, while those who killed a white person went free 59 percent of the time. A national studyfound a similar disparity.”

But, it’s Trayvon Martin's family’s fault he’s dead. Probably his mother’s.

9. White, anti-LGBT Texan wins office by pretending to be black.

Dave Wilson, a Houston electrician, has become pretty adept at creating literature for the causes he believes in. While not rewiring people’s homes, he long pursued his sideline of mailing homophobic fliers to thousands of Houston voters attacking the city’s lesbian mayor Annise Parker. His argument is pretty simple. Open homosexuality is bad. It leads to extinction. (Closeted homosexuality, not so much.)

Recently, Wilson expanded his literary efforts into fiction, when he got himself elected to the Houston Community College Board of Trustees by out-and-out pretending to be someone else. He pretended to be a black man, defeating longtime incumbent Bruce Austin, who actually is black, in an overwhelmingly African-American district.

According to Right-Wing Watch, “Wilson’s campaign fliers were filled with black faces that he admits to simply pulling off of websites, along with captions such as ‘Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson.’ Another flier announces that he was ‘Endorsed by Ron Wilson,’ which is the name of an African-American former state representative. Only by reading the fine print will voters discover that the ‘Ron Wilson’ who actually endorsed Dave is his cousin. The cousin lives in Iowa.”

Wilson is fine with this whole deception thing. After all, lying is what politicians do, he points out.

10. Nutjob former classmate of Obama reminisces about his cocaine-snorting, gay-hustling high school days.

Scott Lively's "Defend The Family" website got a real scoop this week with an interview that nutjob preacher James David Manning conducted with Mia Marie Pope, who says—and why would we not believe her?—that she knew President Obama back in high school in Hawaii in the 1970s, when he was a foreigner (this is a birther website, after all) and a gay druggie.

"He very much was within sort of the gay community," Pope claimed. "And we knew Barry as just common knowledge that girls were never anything that he ever was interested in ... He would get with these older white gay men, and this is how we just pretty much had the impression that that's how he was procuring his cocaine. In other words, he was having sex with these older white guys and that's how he was getting this cocaine to be able to freebase."

That clears a lot up.

11-11-2013, 04:55 PM
New downtown light system capable of more than illumination

http://www.mynews3.com/mostpopular/story/New-downtown-light-system-capable-of-more-than/226vPp0cdkyVfwul9kos9g.cspx (http://www.mynews3.com/mostpopular/story/New-downtown-light-system-capable-of-more-than/226vPp0cdkyVfwul9kos9g.cspx)

"The lights are capable of all sorts of fancy features and they may save the city money, but there's a concern. These new street lights are also capable of recording video and audio.

The system is entirely adaptable. The lights are currently being tested in Las Vegas but they could soon be positioned on public streets throughout the city."

11-11-2013, 04:57 PM
Futuristic water-recycling shower cuts bills by over $1,000

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/11/tech/innovation/futuristic-water-recycling-shower-orbsys/index.html?hpt=hp_t3 (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/11/tech/innovation/futuristic-water-recycling-shower-orbsys/index.html?hpt=hp_t3)

"...... it saves more than 90% in water usage and 80% in energy every time you shower, while also producing water that is cleaner than your average tap."

11-12-2013, 05:10 AM
Chicken In Popular Products May Soon Be Made In China

BOSTON (CBS) — As soon as next summer, nuggets and other popular chicken products could be made with chicken processed in China, all because of a recent change in regulations.

China has a long history of serving up unsafe food, including the industrial chemical melamine that was deliberately put in pet food and infant formula. There were also cases of tainted rat meat passed off as lamb.

“To me it’s a big leap of faith for us to now have to accept that foods coming from china are going to be safe,” says Elizabeth Scott, a food safety expert at Simmons College.

But despite consumer concern, the USDA has cleared the way for Chinese poultry processors to ship meat to America. The poultry must be raised and slaughtered in approved countries like the US or Canada. And it has to come back to the US fully cooked. Bill Mattos, President of the California Poultry Foundation, says ” If its cooked, it should be perfectly safe.”

But how does it make economic sense to send raw chicken thousands of miles away to China only to have it sent back to the US cooked? Some say it’s about a much bigger plan.

“We think the USDA cut corners in this instance due to trade concerns,” says Tony Corbo a senior lobbyist for the food campaign at Food and Water Watch.

Corbo is critical of the new rule. The deal puts an end to a long trade war with China over poultry. And in return it could open more doors for American grown food to be sold in China. “This is really a big deal for trade. If China likes what we’re doing they’ll buy more products and China has a lot more people,” says Mattos.

American poultry producers say only a small amount of US chicken will actually be processed in China. But critics warn it could end up as an ingredient in pot pies, chicken noodle soup, and yes, nuggets, but you won’t even know it.

“China” won’t be on the label, thanks to a loophole in the law. Shipping in food from China is not new. Last year, China sent more than 4 billion pounds of food to the US including half the apple juice we drink, 30% of the garlic we use, and 85% of the tilapia we eat. Now processed chicken may be the next thing on the menu.


11-12-2013, 05:04 PM

WoooHoooo! Aloha!

Miss Tick
11-12-2013, 07:58 PM
Why the Hate-Filled, Retrograde Politics of the Tea Party Are Here to Stay
The Tea Party is not a movement, it’s a geographical region: the Old South.

After last Tuesday’s creaming in the Virginia governor’s race, and with Tea Party negatives creeping toward 75 percent, the political punditry class has divided itself into one of two camps: those celebrating the demise of the Tea Party versus those forecasting its inevitable end. Who’s right? They're both wrong, because it’s not a movement. It’s a geographical region, and if history has taught us anything, southern folk are a pugnacious bunch.

Despite political feel-good rhetoric, there are two Americas. Not just ideologically, but geographically. That’s what still makes this country unique among other Western democracies. America is two distinct nations with a distinguishable border that runs the breadth of the country from the Mason-Dixon line across the southern border of Pennsylvania, finishing in some Baptist church somewhere in rural Texas.

The Tea Party is overwhelmingly Southern. Michael Lind, author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States, writes, “The facts show that the Tea Party in Congress is merely the familiar old neo-Confederate Southern right under a new label.” If you include Texas as a member of the Old South (banning tampons from the state house earns the Lone Star state that honor), nearly 80 percent of the Tea Party’s support comes from the former Confederate states. So, stop calling it a movement.

The Republican Party is not only the party of plutocrats and oligarchs; it’s also the party of the South. The party’s leaders are predominantly southern. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is from Kentucky. House Speaker John Boehner is from Cincinnati, Ohio, but Cincinnati is as close to the South as a northern city can be, given the city’s airport is actually in Kentucky. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is from Virginia. '

And then there are the likely 2016 presidential hopefuls. With the exception of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and the pathologically homophobic Rick Santorum, the rest of them are as southern as Colonel Sanders. Rand Paul is from Kentucky. Bobby Jindal is from Louisiana. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are from Florida.

While movements and ideas may die, a land mass does not, and while that southern land mass is occupied by a people who are willing to destroy the country in order to get their way, and while the GOP remains dependent on its "Southern strategy," the South’s fixation on everything related to controlling race, sex, religious practice, abortion laws, and dismantling the federal government will remain the revolutionary fervor of not only the Tea Party but also the GOP.

The trend lines in America are moving against the South thanks to increasing urbanization, the "browning of America," and the declining place for religion in American life. These are great challenges to the South’s way of life, and southerners don’t like it. So don’t expect one governor’s race in an off-year election to read as an obituary for the Tea Party. As much as the media and the GOP establishment would like you to believe Chris Christie, a moderate only by Tea Party standards, to be the presumptive nominee, the neo-Confederates are more likely to pick a gay atheist from San Francisco.

The GOP’s most agitated and mobilized voting bloc is its predominantly southern evangelical base. In their minds, they’ve experimented with non-Southern “moderates” in the form of John McCain and Mitt Romney, and they got trounced. The base gets its cues from Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity, all of whom are juicing the base for a “severely conservative” 2016 candidate. Thus a northern governor who supports climate change, evolution, immigration and gun control will likely be sacrificed on the altar of southern radicalism—a fate realized by one former northern mayor in 2008, Rudy Giuliani.

The South, and by association the GOP, sees America increasingly through the prism of race. It’s central to their worldview. In 2012, 92% of the Republican vote came from white people who, within the next three decades, will no longer be in the majority. Despite losing the gubernatorial race, Ken Cuccinelli received more than 70% of the white vote. White southern voters view entitlements and immigration reform as liberal programs to buy votes. They believe food stamps and healthcare are an effort to take money from hard-working white people, and in turn, redistribute it to lazy black people. When Reagan spoke about a “welfare queen,” he didn’t need to mention her race. White southern voters had already painted a picture in their own minds.

In his seminal Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession, Chuck Thompson writes:
The unified southern resistance to every initiative from any "liberal" administration has deep historic roots. The persistent defiance of every Democratic attempt to deal intelligently with national problems—be they recession, debt, or childhood obesity—has nothing to with political ideology, taxes, healthcare, or acceptable degrees of federal authority. It has everything to do with nullification, disruption, zealotry, and division. It’s part of a time-sharpened effort to debilitate nearly every northern-led government by injecting it with the Seven Deadly Sins of Southern Politics: demagogic dishonesty, religious fanaticism, willful obstructionism, disregard for own self-interest, corporate supplication, disproportionate influence, and military adventurism.

The next Republican Party presidential nominee will need to speak to these white southern fears and attitudes. Given that Civil War hostilities ended more than 150 years ago, and given the GOP is now backed by unprecedented levels of campaign finance thanks to Citizens United, don’t fool yourself into thinking the Tea Party strain of Republicanism is going away anytime soon. It's more likely they've only just arrived.


Miss Tick
11-12-2013, 08:17 PM
Bill Maher Blasts Selfish Christian Hypocrites Who Don't Tip Waiters
New Rule: It's OK if you don't want to feed the hungry, or heal the sick, or house the homeless. Just don't say you're doing it for their own good.


Miss Tick
11-13-2013, 07:28 AM
Elizabeth Warren’s Populist Insurgency Enters Next Phase: Blow up the Finance Sector, Restore the Economy

If asked, Americans of all political persuasions will say overwhelmingly that they prefer “tougher rules” for Wall Street. But what does that actually mean?

You can frame this conventionally: supporting regulators, punishing rules violators, mopping up 2008-style disasters to limit the damage and attempting to prevent such chaos from happening again. But by “tougher rules,” maybe Americans are really signaling a vague but persistent dissatisfaction with an economy that has become dominated by the financial sector. And you can see within that how transforming banking back to its traditional purpose — as a conduit for putting capital in the hands of worthwhile business ventures and driving shared prosperity — would be one antidote to an unequal society full of financial titan gatekeepers, who confiscate a giant share of the money flowing through the system.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren — in many ways the avatar of a new populist insurgency within the Democratic Party that seeks to combine financial reform and economic restoration — will speak later today in Washington at the launch of a new report that marks a key new phase in this movement. Released by Americans for Financial Reform and the Roosevelt Institute – and called “An Unfinished Mission: Making Wall Street Work for Us” — the report is a revelation, because it finally invites fundamental discussions about these issues. Its 11 chapters from some of the leading thinkers on financial reform do look back at the successes and failures of the signal financial reform law of this generation, the Dodd-Frank Act. But the report also weaves in a story about how we can reorient finance as a complement to the real economy, rather than its overriding force. Mike Konczal, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and the co-editor of the report, tells Salon, “The financial sector is still eating up a lot of GDP [gross domestic product], and it’s not clear what we’re getting out of it. We want to get the conversation at that level.”

This report fills in the details, creating definable action items and goals that could serve as a marker for legislative and regulatory action, as well as primaries in the next several election cycles.

The roots of this conversation go back decades, if not hundreds of years. One of the report’s authors, John Parsons of MIT, notes that the debate over whether to force derivative trades — the bets on top of bets that helped accelerate and magnify the financial crisis — into central and transparent clearinghouses dates back to the Minneapolis Grain Exchange of 1896. The concept of a fiduciary standard, which states that anyone offering advice on investment strategies should act in the interests of their individual clients rather than trying to enrich themselves, was initially settled in the Investment Advisors Act of 1940. Even Ben Bernanke last week drew parallels between the 2008 crisis and the Panic of 1907, which led to the creation of the Federal Reserve.

In the past few decades, Wall Street has devised financial “innovations” with the primary purpose of outpacing regulatory reach, surmounting decades-old reforms. This frees non-bank financial firms from oversight by the watchdogs, and allows them to accumulate risk in search of greater profits. For example, Marcus Stanley of Americans for Financial Reform looks at shadow banking, the lending markets that “convert illiquid, risky, long-term assets into ‘safe,’ liquid short-term securities.” This creates an illusion of safety and puts massive amounts of money outside the New Deal-era regulatory apparatus, where the firms involved don’t have requirements to carry capital to guard against inevitable losses, for example. In 2008, the breakdown of parts of the shadow banking system made it impossible for large financial actors to access short-term funding, turning a downturn into a crisis.

While shadow banking does not have access to the public safety net (things like bank deposit insurance, or access to Federal Reserve liquidity programs), in reality it is hooked into mega-banks inside the safety net. AIG was bailed out because its counterparties were corporations like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, determined to be too big to fail. So you have the worst of all possible worlds; a giant alternative banking system not subject to any of the rules that limit risk, vulnerable to old-style bank runs, but able to get government relief if their gambles turn sour. You get privatized profits and socialized losses. You also create more fragility in the system, because shadow banking involves multiple links from borrower to lender, and as Stanley told Salon, “Each link in the chain is another opportunity to lie about what’s inside the loan.”

There are two ways to look at this problem. One is seen in the way Dodd-Frank tried, with varying success, to bring New Deal-era structures to the broader financial sector, pulling systemically important activities like insurance and hedge funds under a regulatory regime. Unfortunately, the maddening complexity of financial innovations generates uncertainty over what really falls under the rules, giving Wall Street and compliant regulators the opportunity to take advantage of loopholes. Orderly liquidation authority, the new measures for regulators to wind down large financial institutions, is so full of holes, argues Stephen Lubben of Seton Hall University, that it could quickly devolve into “a bailout in all but name.” Regulators have not even begun to reckon with large elements of the system, like money market funds or the overnight “repo” markets, which made significant contributions to the financial crisis. “Many of the conditions that helped cause the 2008 crisis persist,” writes Jennifer Taub of Vermont Law School in one of the report’s chapters.

The other way to deal with financial innovations is to simply eliminate those activities that only serve to pool risk without productive social purpose. For example, Wallace Turbeville of the think tank Demos, in a section on derivatives purchased by state and local governments, concludes that these municipalities would be better off hedging their risks by building a cash reserve, instead of paying the financial sector exorbitant fees for a product they don’t understand. “Inefficiencies that transfer earnings to the financial sector are like a tax that redistributes wealth upward,” Turbeville concludes.

Similarly, we can ban mega-banks from, as Saule Omarova of the University of North Carolina School of Law puts it, becoming “financial-industrial conglomerates,” pushing into commercial business like energy, transportation and physical commodities and distorting those industries for profit. We can give shareholders a greater say in executive compensation, tying it to actual performance. We can significantly boost capital requirements so financial institutions cover their own risk rather than allow taxpayer dollars to serve that purpose. We can restrict shadow banking, and reestablish the link between borrower and lender so that the lender has a stake in the borrower’s success. We can empower regulators with easy-to-implement, clear rules that place limits on banking activities and bank size. We can demand that law enforcement creates deterrents to fraud by legitimately punishing wrongdoing on Wall Street. All of these recommendations and more are in the comprehensive report.

There’s a real-world consequence to keeping unnecessary financial innovation in place, argues Brad Miller, former congressman now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “The yawning inequality of income and wealth is not because the middle class isn’t working hard enough or because the richest fraction of a percent is making an enormous contribution,” he told Salon. “Much of the reason is what economists call ‘rent seeking,’ or extracting money without doing anything useful, mostly in the financial sector. It’s a wonder the economy has the strength to get out of bed in the morning.”

This core debate – whether to build a new regulatory regime for 21st-century financial products, or to just bar “innovations” that merely allow financial interests to capture money that should cycle through the economy – has not been part of the Obama administration’s approach to Wall Street reform, Mike Konczal says. “Paul Volcker said there wasn’t a financial innovation with a useful purpose in the last 30 years except the ATM. But the administration didn’t engage in this debate.”

The administration has seemingly taken the position that any effort to build on financial reform would reflect a tacit admission that Dodd-Frank didn’t solve the problem, and therefore nothing else can be done.

But in three years, President Obama will leave office, and these core issues will not. The age of “boring” banking, without these innovations, coincides directly with the creation of the broad middle class and a time of unparalleled economic expansion. Kleptocracies aren’t known for their economic vitality, but that’s what we have with a Wall Street-dominated economy.

The issue of Wall Street reform isn’t just about which regulations are sufficient to the task. It’s about what kind of economy we want for all our citizens.


Miss Tick
11-13-2013, 01:44 PM
15-year-old Girl Asks Apple to Remove MacBook's Offensive Dictionary Definition of ‘Gay’
Plucky teen takes a stand against the global corporation for defining gay as "stupid" and "foolish"

A Massachusetts teenager courageously took on giant conglomerate Apple in advocating for gay rights, after discovering an offensive definition of the term ‘gay’ on her Apple MacBook, Fox Boston reported.

Fifteen-year-old, Becca Gorman, was writing a history essay on gay rights when she typed the word, “gay” into her MacBook dictionary only to find two very derogatory informal definitions of the term: “foolish” and “stupid”, as well as the following offensive example - “making students wait for the light is kind of a gay rule”.

The teenager, who has lesbian parents, said that despite being accustomed to hearing the term ‘that’s so gay’ used in everyday conversation, she was highly offended that a global company like Apple which claims to be enlightened and has an openly gay CEO would legitimize such insulting definitions:

“At first, I was kind of in disbelief…I felt like they had to take care of it," she said,

After consulting with her mothers, Gorman decided to take action and wrote to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, to express her utter disgust.

Within an hour, to her surprise, an Apple representative called her back and also expressed dismay.

"They said that Apple streams its dictionary from four separate sources so they'd have to figure out how to get it removed, but they were also really surprised," the teen said to WCB-TV.

But while Gordan says the representative said Apple would look into the problem, to date, the MacBook definition remained unchanged.

Still, Gordan is not about to give up:

“I feel like we’re going to have to make a bigger deal about it before they actually act on it,” she said in the interview.


Miss Tick
11-13-2013, 01:53 PM
If Only Right-Wing Christians Knew Where Their Ideas Came From
Progressive evangelical Christianity is not merely a relic of the 19th century; it’s making a comeback.


Miss Tick
11-14-2013, 07:47 AM
Corporate America’s New Scam: Industry P.R. Firm Poses as Think Tank!
How the media fell hook, line and sinker for the propagandist, respectable-sounding "Employment Policies Institute"


Miss Tick
11-14-2013, 07:51 AM
Mom as the New Face of Anarchy? Police Terrorize Americans Who Object to Right-Wing Lunacy by Using "Anarchist" Label


11-15-2013, 07:25 AM
Gay son of slain San Francisco mayor Moscone marries at City Hall

Jonathan Moscone, son of San Francisco mayor George Moscone who was assassinated in 1978 alongside Harvey Milk, has married partner Darryl Carbonaro at the city hall where his father served and died


The openly gay son of the San Francisco mayor murdered alongside gay political pioneer Harvey Milk has been married at the City Hall where they were slain by another former mayor of the city - Willie Brown.

Brown is a family friend of Jonathan Moscone – the son of murdered San Francisco mayor George Moscone – and was married Friday to partner of one year Darryl Carbonaro.

Moscone, 49, is the artistic director of the California Shakespeare Theater in Berkeley and Carbonaro, 46, is the associate general counsel for Clean Power Finance.

Their wedding was conducted on the Mayoral Balcony of San Francisco's City Hall by Brown in front of 80 guests.

The couple reportedly met online in November last year. Two days after their first date at a bar they met again for dinner and they have been together ever since.

In 2011 Jonathan Moscone directed a play about his father’s assassination and its effect on his life called ‘Ghost Light’ which had been written by friend Tony Taccone.

He told the New York Times that directing the play had helped him reconcile some of his feelings about his father’s murder.

‘The play became about wishing him back,’ Moscone told the newspaper, ‘After living for years without even thinking about him. And I think the not thinking about someone is a way of not missing them.’

Moscone was killed by former San Francisco city supervisor Dan White on November 27, 1978, after he refused to allow him to rescind his resignation from the City Board of Supervisors.

White then went into the office of pioneering gay rights campaigner Harvey Milk and shot him too.

What appeared to be lenient treatment of the murders and White sparked San Francisco’s White Night Riots a year later. (**My note: Dan White and the "Twinkie Defense" at his trial).

- See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gay-son-slain-san-francisco-mayor-moscone-marries-city-hall121113#sthash.GHza6s3w.dpuf

Miss Tick
11-15-2013, 07:33 PM
The Gospel of Selfishness in American Christianity
How the philosophers of selfishness came to use Christianity as their cover story.


Pope Francis Is ‘Too Liberal’ for Her Holiness, Sarah Palin
The former vice presidential candidate expressed concern over the Pope’s 'liberal agenda' and of course blamed mainstream media…


Miss Tick
11-15-2013, 07:48 PM
America's Dumbest Idea: Creating a Multiple-Choice Test Generation
Standardized testing means more rote memorization and less time for creativity. Students aren't prepared for college and life.

A few years ago, I met with my former high school social studies teacher to catch up over drinks. "Miss F" was one of my favorite teachers and we hadn't seen each other in about 12 years. As we reminisced about our field trips, my other classmates, and my hilariously unfortunate fashion choices, she revealed to me that she and many of my former high school teachers refer to that time as "the golden era". I was shocked. How could it be that the school district had become worse since I graduated?

My high school, which is located in a working class Latino suburb bordering Chicago, was overpopulated, underfunded, and in my opinion, incredibly stifling. Needless to say, I resented going there. I felt we were disenfranchised and were not given the same opportunities that affluent schools provided their students.

I should have realized how lucky I really was when I was in college, however. Unlike many of my classmates, I cranked out papers with little difficulty because I knew how to synthesize information and formulate an argument. Writing a thesis statement was a freaking breeze. But at the time I had no idea that these skills were a luxury.

It wasn't until I reunited with my teacher that I realized I actually received a decent education compared to many students today. I had several talented and passionate teachers who had not been entirely bogged down by a bunch of inane educational requirements. No Child Left Behind hadn't completely ruined our already failing education system. My teachers taught me how to analyze and question texts and write thesis statements. I was taught the symbolism of the Mississippi River in Huckleberry Finn. I was taken on after school field trips to movies, poetry readings, and plays. Some of them even encouraged me to question authority. If it weren't for some of these teachers, I never would have become a writer.

But that has all changed now. According to my teacher, budget cuts have made field trips nearly impossible. Not only that, teachers are now so bogged down by administrative nonsense and standardized testing requirements, that it's very difficult to teach children anything but the rote memorization of information. I hear complaints like these all the time from my friends and family members who are teachers. While they are passionate about what they do, they are not given the agency or resources to flourish and engage their students in higher levels of discourse.

One of my family members is a teacher at our former high school and he is frequently exasperated by the efforts devoted to standardized testing. He says:

With so much riding on these exams, schools try to get kids enthused by even having test pep-rallies, assemblies, and programs to promote test-taking strategies and to underscore the tests' importance. This is how the love of learning is being cultivated? This is how we encourage intellectual curiosity?

No Child Left Behind, which was passed in 2001, mandated that states use test scores to determine whether schools were succeeding or failing. Unfortunately, this emphasis on testing had dire consequences. Even initial supporters, such as Diane Ravitch, an education historian and former assistant secretary of education in George Bush senior's administration, realized how detrimental these measures were. She wrote in a 2010 Wall Street Journal op-ed:

Accountability turned into a nightmare for American schools, producing graduates who were drilled regularly on the basic skills but were often ignorant about almost everything else … This was not my vision of good education.

And Ravitch doesn't believe that Common Core is the solution to this crisis in education either. Now all states must adopt Common Core or similar standards approved by state higher education officials if they want to receive federal waivers from No Child Left Behind. Ravitch feels that these new standards are being imposed on children with little evidence of how they will affect students, teachers, or schools.

"I only see it getting worse", says one of my friends, a fourth grade teacher in Chicago. "Common Core standards have been added to our Illinois testing now, which are much, much more challenging standards. This means learning a whole new test for the teachers and students." Not only are these requirements causing a lot of stress, she says that the materials for the tests are also very expensive. A report from Truthout has outlined Common Core's various corporate connections. Clearly the objective is profit, not a rigorous and nuanced education that will benefit students in the long run.

Why does our education system insist on these kinds of methods when they're clearly not working? Why not emulate Finland, a country with no standardized tests and whose teachers assign less homework and encourage creativity? Finnish students have been turning in some of the highest test scores in the world in the last few years.

Whether it be No Child Left Behind or Common Core, the problem lies in manufactured learning. In teaching English at the university level, I have noticed that students are often ill prepared for the demands of higher education. Students who are used to multiple choice tests lack the skills and the confidence to formulate their own complex opinions and interpretations. It is irresponsible to have these students graduate without the proper skills to succeed.

Rigid curriculums that focus on right and wrong answers teach children to see the world in binaries. These methods don't encourage creativity or innovation. I fear that our deeply flawed education system will produce generations of people who lack critical thinking skills. How can students be expected to become highly skilled or passionate about anything when they're asked to simply regurgitate information? What kind of choices will they make in their adult lives when they have never been taught how to look at the nuances and complexities of situations? Who will have the tools to question authority? Who will question the status quo? How will we compete with other countries when our younger generations have not been encouraged to develop their inquisitiveness and engage with the world?

I fear that our system is failing children by encouraging them to be mindless consumers. High tests scores do not make someone well-educated or well-rounded and memorizing facts does not equal intelligence. Public education should not be a commodity, but a foundation for children to at least have the possibility of succeeding in the world.


For anyone interested in exploring this further:
Flow Chart Exposes Common Core's Myriad Corporate Connections
Flow Chart Exposes Common Core's Myriad Corporate Connections

Miss Tick
11-15-2013, 07:54 PM
No, Obama Didn't Lie to You About Your Health Care Plans
The claim that President Obama lied in saying that people could keep their insurance looks like another Fox News special.


Yet this cartoon is amusing:

11-16-2013, 07:32 AM
standardized testing of public school children was carefully crafted by the "smaller government" crowd who wants to ultimately privatize EVERYTHING.

Their dream is public school failure in order to say "I told you so". The teachers are the bad guys now, anyone working in the public sector just feeds off the government teet. School teachers have a barely a squeak of a chance to be able to do their jobs. As was stated eloquently above, creative and critical thinking skills are being overshadowed by studying for tests.

These are challenging times for us who care deeply for progress. The religious right has snuck upon us by winning local elections decades ago and has now maneuvered themselves in positions of governmental decision-making and worse. Case in point Ted Cruz.

I urge everyone who is eligible to vote, please do so. Pay attention to your local elections and spend some time understanding their positions. They don't start out being born Senators and Governors, most started small and benign.

Miss Tick
11-16-2013, 02:15 PM
I urge everyone who is eligible to vote, please do so. Pay attention to your local elections and spend some time understanding their positions. They don't start out being born Senators and Governors, most started small and benign.

Voting is a great idea, of course it was a much greater idea before corporations bought the Supreme Court, the House, the Senate and the President. It hasn’t been the same since corporations achieved personhood and Citizens United put a price tag on freedom of speech. So money gets the last word and the rich can just buy everything.

I used to believe local politics were where you could possibly affect some change. I suppose that is still true but whether politicians start out small and benign or not there is no way in hell they will ever move up the political ladder without selling their souls to the corporate world. It was always a little bit like that, but you can thank the Supreme Court for making sure the rich have the means to control the government.

They don’t hear us anymore. It’s even more difficult to make any difference than it was when Bush stole the election from Gore and the Supreme Court backed him up. Now it isn’t necessary to steal elections. Corporations have everyone in their pocket. And because they need government for a safety net, they are somewhat at odds with tea party republicans and libertarians who want small government, therefore corporations cheerfully through money at Democrats as well, making them as deaf to our needs as the Republicans. Still what other option do we have than to vote.

And as happy_go_lucky already stated, it is important to stay informed. Information is currency and truth is for sale to the highest bidder. Sanity is just out the window. What more is there to say when the media can, with a straight face, tout the governor of New Jersey, a guy who makes Reagan look like a liberal, as a political moderate. We have to remember that the media is not objective they are owned and controlled by the rich and powerful and are busily at work twisting the facts in order to mold our opinions. Everybody has an agenda. Read a variety of news sources encompassing a variety of political and ideological opinions and then you at least have a shot at making an informed decision.

Miss Tick
11-16-2013, 03:52 PM
standardized testing of public school children was carefully crafted by the "smaller government" crowd who wants to ultimately privatize EVERYTHING.

I hope you don't mind my using parts of your post as jumping points.

Privatization removes the necessity of even giving lip service to the idea of equality of service or product. The bottom line is all that matters to private businesses. And that’s fine for most things. It’s a sad but unavoidable reality that we all can’t afford everything or the best of everything. That’s life. But in some instances privatization doesn’t work. Education for example. Privatizing education is a really bad idea. However, we are moving in that direction and along with mandatory standardized testing, there is "contracting out", school vouchers and charter schools which are parts of this same push. We already have a huge difference in what kind of education people can afford to give their children. More government control and funding is needed to even out education so that what is available to all citizens is comparable. Even now the level of knowledge and education available depends on money and geography. It will get so much worse with privatization. With money dictating how much your children can learn it’s not hard to imagine a country with an uneducated lower class stuck forever in low paying, dead end jobs (if they are lucky) where they do not earn enough money to support their families. Pretty much the direction we are heading now. Education should not be turned into a consumer product. It is a social and a public responsibility.

Privatized prisons are good business for their owners, but bad business for everyone else. It’s like putting McDonalds in charge of Weight Watchers. It’s not in McDonalds’ best interest for you to eat healthy. It’s not in the best interest of a privately owned prison for you to become rehabilitated or, if truth be told, for you not to commit a crime in the first place. So let’s keep that war on drugs going. We now have prison lobbyists to make sure crimes stay on the books and punishments are severe. It is in the best interest of private prisons for punishment to always be incarceration. The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. America makes up 5% of the world's population and 25% of its jailed prisoners. It’s only logical, it’s not personal it’s just business. I mean what can you expect, what kind of business owner works at eliminating his clients.

Prison for profit is insane and immoral for a country to do it to its adult citizens, but to do it to its children is unforgivable. Yet privately owned prisons for children exist. As does privatized foster care and a variety of other privatized child welfare services.

The privatization of water is a chilling idea, but Nestle’s believes it is the way to go. Nestle’s Chairman and former CEO, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, believes that “access to water is not a public right.” Great. I think we should hurry and put him in charge of water.

To put it simply

Privatization bad, government good.

However we need to bring back that government that is of the people, by the people, for the people. Because as it stands now it is in deep doodoo. There is a good chance it shall perish from the Earth.

Miss Tick
11-16-2013, 03:55 PM
And speaking of prisons, this is truly disturbing.

Life in Prison for Stealing Candy? Thousands of Prisoners Sentenced to Die Behind Bars for Nonviolent Crimes
The number of prisoners serving life for nonviolent crimes is truly staggering.


11-16-2013, 04:22 PM
It has been recently revealed that the private prison industry not only wishes to control more prisons, but are lobbying the states to maintain demand for their services. In 2012, CCA sent a letter to 48 states offering to buy up their prisons as a remedy to their “challenging corrections budgets,” in exchange for a 20-year contract and an assurance that the state will maintain at least a 90 percent occupancy at the prison. In the Public Interest, an advocacy group pushing for an end to prison privatization, reviewed 62 state and local private prison contracts.


For-Profit prison is immoral.

For-Profit health care is immoral.

For-Profit education is immoral.

For-Profit local governmental services is immoral.

And on and on....

When profit is not a factor, the consumer citizen receives a better shake.

Miss Tick
11-16-2013, 04:23 PM
Chomsky’s right: The New York Times’ latest big lie
More misleading half-truths from a paper too cowed by power and myth to tell the truth about U.S. foreign policy


Miss Tick
11-16-2013, 05:08 PM
Elizabeth Warren: quiet revolutionary who could challenge Hillary Clinton in Democrats' 2016 race
Senator's tough stance against Wall Street is attracting voters on the left who are disenchanted with the party establishment
Not many political "rock stars" inspire audience members to knit, but, even by Washington's sedate standards, the darling of America's new left is a quiet revolutionary.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a former Harvard professor turned Wall Street scourge, is one of a clutch of unlikely radicals giving hope to those disenchanted with mainstream Democrats.

Hours before a rare public appearance last week, one of the largest rooms in Congress begins slowly filling up with an odd mix of groupies: policy wonks, finance geeks, Occupy activists, and, yes, the type of political conference attendee who brings their knitting in.

Warren proceeds to calmly recite numbers that could inspire even librarians to storm a few barricades. The Wall Street crash has cost the US economy $14tn, she says, but its top institutions are 30% larger than before, own half the country's bank assets and are in receipt of an implicit taxpayer subsidy of $83bn a year because they are deemed too big to fail.

"We have got to get back to running this country for American families, not for its largest financial institutions," concludes Warren, before noting how little President Barack Obama has done to achieve that.

When the same message was delivered to union leaders in September, she had them standing on their chairs. But for the first time since the banking crash, the argument is connecting at the ballot box too. Mayoral elections in Boston and New York two weeks ago saw leftwing candidates with similar messages about economic inequality win by surprising landslides.

Meanwhile, Terry McAuliffe, the former Clinton fundraiser who epitomises the business-friendly Democrat mainstream, saw his substantial poll lead in Virginia all but evaporate under attack from populists on the right.

Whereas the Tea Party has worked relentlessly since the financial crash to recast the Republican party as a perceived challenger to Wall Street, Democrats such as Obama and his potential successor Hillary Clinton rely heavily on financial donors and have veered away from confrontation. But the popularity of senators such as Warren in Massachusetts and Sherrod Brown in Ohio has combined with recent mayoral election wins by Bill de Blasio in New York and Marty Walsh in Boston to raise hopes that the left could yet exert the same pull on Democrats.

"The challenges the Democratic party has faced since 2009 have largely been a result of the public's perception that the party isn't clearly enough on their side," argues Damon Silvers, policy director for union umbrella group AFL-CIO. "Republicans have exploited that very skilfully, even though Republicans are totally owned by the financial class."

"What's happening now is the emergence of politicians – De Blasio and Walsh being recent examples – that are just not interested in that type of politics," adds Silvers. "And those people are being successful. They are stepping into a political vacuum that is all about authenticity in relationship to issues of inequality and the power of financial interests."

Though the similarity only goes so far, the shared interest of America's new left and Tea Party conservatives in challenging the economic status quo also shows how figures such as Warren might attract broader support beyond traditional Democrat voters.

One self-confessed Warren groupie is David Collum, a Cornell University chemistry professor and amateur investor, whose enthusiasm for free market economics previously led him to endorse libertarian Republican candidate Ron Paul. Collum has been exchanging regular emails with Warren since before the crash and says she captured his imagination because her brand of intelligent populism transcends traditional political boundaries.

"If you look at her and Ron Paul, it's the same thing: they appear to speak from the heart," he explains. "Here you have Warren saying the banks are thugs, she supports the consumer which has a natural leftwing sound to it, but I don't think it's putty-headed liberalism, I think she is just an advocate for the small person."

The buzz around Warren reached fever pitch last week with an article in New Republic magazine predicting she could challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democrat nomination in the 2016 presidential election. Widely-read, if not endorsed, across Washington, the piece entitled "Hillary's nightmare" was followed by a similar analysis in Politico describing the prospect as "Wall Street's nightmare".

Like many eventual nominees, Warren is emphatic she does not want to run for the White House (a fact her supporters claim makes her ideal) and the notion resulted in scepticism from some Washington insiders.

But the question of whether it is Warren or one of the other emerging leftwingers who challenges the Clinton orthodoxy in 2016 may prove besides the point if even the talk of her running causes Team Hillary to reassess its rumoured dependence on Wall Street fundraising and helps pull the party away from big business.

Political pundits in the media have often been slow to capture public mood changes, ignoring the Occupy Wall Street movement for months, for example, and were also caught by surprise by de Blasio's win in New York.

The man who took America's biggest city back under Democratic party control for the first time in two decades was not even endorsed by the liberal New York Times, which opted for a more mainstream candidate, Christine Quinn.

Rupert Murdoch's New York Post was predictably blunter, calling de Blasio a pro-Cuban communist, while the Washington Post got into hot water with a column suggesting "people with conventional views" in other states would have to "repress a gag reflex" when considering him because he was married to an African-American who used to be lesbian.

In the end, de Blasio won the support of 73% of New York's voters with an unapologetically leftwing campaign: arguing for tax increases on the rich to pay for better schools and using his afro-haired son to promote a campaign against police harassment of young black men.

The skepticism among political elites that such policies will translate outside liberal bastions like New York may be warranted. Howard Dean, the last such candidate seen as a serious presidential candidate, crashed and burned when he was seen as too "shouty". Ralph Nader, who ran to the left of John Kerry as an independent candidate in 2004 arguably cost him the election that made way for George W Bush.

But what has changed is that mainstream Democrats and Republicans in Washington seem even less popular today than the perceived outsiders on the left and right.

Both Obama and the Republican party hit record lows in the polls recently after the government shutdown and botched launch of healthcare reforms exacerbated a national feeling that Washington is broken.

"I think the lesson that we have to draw from [these polls] is that the American people are not satisfied," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. "[Not satisfied] that we're, all of us, focused on the things that matter to them, and we're not getting the results that they want."

In this atmosphere, anyone who doesn't appear part of the Washington mainstream is by definition a populist.

But whereas rightwing challengers in the Tea Party can lump public dissatisfaction with Washington, Wall Street and the government into one big anti-establishment message, radicals on the left have a finer line to tread, especially after Obama's botched healthcare launch led to such mistrust of their preferred public sector solutions.

Warren does it by pointing out the need for more regulation, both to save capitalism from itself and re-engage the social mobility of the American dream.

Other rising stars such as Maryland governor Martin O'Malley – also tipped as a leftwing challenger to Hillary in 2016 – have done it by marrying liberal policies with managerial success at the state level.

The former mayor of Baltimore, said to be one of the inspirations for the Tommy Carcetti character in The Wire, has introduced gun control legislation, abolished the death penalty and legalised same-sex marriages, all while successfully increasing government spending on areas such as transport.

Nonetheless, compared with Hillary Clinton, both O'Malley and Warren remain virtual unknowns on the national stage and would face a huge challenge to win the Democratic primary let alone the White House.

Warren describes her battle with the banks as a "David and Goliath struggle". Whether David can take on the Goliaths of the Democratic party is a whole other matter.


11-18-2013, 05:10 PM

Well would you believe it? Zimmerman charged with assault. Go figure.

Miss Tick
11-19-2013, 04:42 PM
Is it me or is this just like really messed up?

State Rep. Smashes Homeless Peoples' Stuff With a Sledgehammer
The Rep. roams the streets and looks for homeless people in order to literally smash their possessions.

Much like Batkid, Hawaii has found its own superhero. Except that instead of protecting the powerless from harm, he roams the streets with a sledgehammer and looks for homeless people in order to literally smash their possessions.

Remarkably, this vigilante isn’t just some random Hawaiian, but five-term State Rep. Tom Brower (D).

Noting that he’s “disgusted” with homeless people, Brower told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser about his own personal brand of “justice”: “If I see shopping carts that I can’t identify, I will destroy them so they can’t be pushed on the streets.” Brower has waged this campaign for two weeks, estimating that he’s smashed about 30 shopping carts in the process.

“I want to do something practical that will really clean up the streets,” he explained to Hawaii News Now as he showed off his property destruction skills:

Uncontent to just destroy homeless people’s items, Brower is also on a mission to wake those he finds sleeping and tell them to sleep somewhere else. “If someone is sleeping at night on the bus stop, I don’t do anything, but if they are sleeping during the day, I’ll walk up and say, ‘Get your ass moving,’” he said.

It’s no stretch to assume that if Brower were found roaming middle-class neighborhoods and smashing items in people’s homes, he would find himself both out of office and behind bars. But segments of society view homeless people as less important and undeserving of the dignity of having their possessions kept safe.

One homeless person in Honolulu, Edward Ferreira, witnessed Brower in action. “To see someone banging on stuff like that, it was very scary for me,” he told Hawaii News Now.

Without a home, homeless people often have nowhere to store their possessions. A shopping cart can be very useful in both its storage space and mobility. Some localities, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and others have tried to address this problem by offering free storage space to homeless people.

Hawaii, on the other hand, is garnering a reputation for a less-than-compassionate approach to its homeless population, and it’s not just because of Brower. It’s got the highest rate of homelessness in the country, but rather than build more shelters or offer more services for the poor, lawmakers approved $100,000 over the next two years to offer one-way flights off the islands to any of the state’s estimated 17,000 homeless persons.

11-19-2013, 05:30 PM

Well would you believe it? Zimmerman charged with assault. Go figure.

I can't believe this guy is still walking the streets! He's going to kill again one way or the other. I think a judge ordered him to turn in his guns today but duh, he'll find more

11-20-2013, 05:03 PM
Poll: Overweight people, gays slammed most online

The Associated Press
November 20, 2013

Most teens and young adults on Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites see them at least sometimes: slurs, offensive images or mean-spirited video clips that stigmatize groups of people.

Who's targeted most often? Overweight people, according to a poll of Internet users ages 14 to 24.

When does it seem most hurtful? When aimed at transgender people.

What about potshots at blacks or women? Young people mostly take those as jokes.

In the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV, young people take stock of the discriminatory words and images they see online:


Who gets slammed online?

—Those who are overweight (54 percent of young people see them
targeted sometimes or often)

—Gay, lesbian or bisexual people (50 percent)

—African-Americans (46 percent)

—Women (44 percent)

—Men who dress or carry themselves in a feminine way (42 percent)

—Immigrants (34 percent)

—Latinos (32 percent)

—Muslims (31 percent)

—Women who dress or carry themselves in a masculine way (31 percent)

—Transgender people (31 percent)


Young people are more likely to view slurs or discriminatory images as mean-spirited rather than as a joke when they target:

—Transgender people (63 percent say it's most often meant to be hurtful)

—Muslims (60 percent)

—Gay, lesbian or bisexual people (54 percent)

—Those who are overweight (53 percent)

—Men who dress or carry themselves in a feminine way (53 percent)


Racial insults are less likely to be considered intentionally hurtful. A majority of young people say racial groups are maligned mostly in a joking way:

—African-Americans (64 percent say it's most often meant as a joke)

—Latinos (67 percent)

—Asian-Americans (73 percent)


What about sexism?

A big majority — 7 in 10 — say demeaning comments, pictures and videos about women are mostly jokes, not meant to be hurtful. Women are about as likely to feel that way as men are.

About 60 percent of those polled see the word "bitch" used against people online or in text messages at least sometimes. Fewer than 30 percent are very offended by it when it's aimed at someone else.


Christianity, the nation's dominant religion, isn't high on the list of online targets.

But when slurs and images malign Christians, they are more likely to be seen as intentionally hurtful than those aimed at racial minorities.

About half said discriminatory stuff about Christians was mostly hurtful; half thought it was joking.

Another target group that got a split decision? Immigrants.


Overall, young people say this stuff is mostly an attempt at humor.

The poll ranked four possible reasons why people text or share discriminatory language:

—They're trying to be funny (53 percent think that's a major reason)

—They think it's "cool" to use that language (45 percent)

—They don't realize the language is offensive (32 percent)

—They really hold hateful feelings about the group (30 percent)

Although "hateful feelings" aren't rated as a prime motive, a big majority of young people — 7 in 10 — say hatred is at least a minor reason for posting or texting slurs about a group.

Young people seem jaded to a lot of the offensive stuff they see on the social network sites and online gaming communities. Fewer than half, for example, say they are very offended by online use of the N-word for African-Americans.

But that doesn't mean they think tweeting slurs or posting derogatory videos is all right.

A majority say it's never OK to use discriminatory language, even if you're just kidding.


Associated Press Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.



Miss Tick
11-20-2013, 09:12 PM
Fact Check: Social Security Does Not Increase the Deficit
Bought politicians and pundits continue to spread nonsense about America's best-loved program.

The American people love Social Security, and with good reason. It protects seniors and the disabled from poverty, and it is the most important life and disability safeguard available to the nation's 75 million children. The program is a bargain: Its administrative costs are lower than privately managed retirement plans. Social Security returns in benefits more than 99 cents of every dollar collected, whereas a typical 401(k) could easily eat up 20 cents of that dollar in fees. The program is fiscally sound and prudently managed — a policy triumph.

There are basically two categories of people who want to see Social Security cut: 1) financiers who wish to move us toward privatized retirement accounts so that they can charge us fees; and 2) rich people who do not like to pay taxes. Their main champions are conservatives at the Heritage Foundation, libertarians at the Cato Institute and Wall Street financier Pete Peterson.

Just about everybody else in America is against cutting Social Security, as poll after poll demonstrates. The people have continued to speak loudly and clearly, and yet Washington can’t seem to get the message. This is obviously because a lot of media people and politicians rely on money from the two groups mentioned above. So they have to come up with arguments to try to convince the public that up is down and red is blue. It’s a war of attrition: repeat lies and distortions often enough and maybe they’ll come to be taken as facts.

The latest volley is a shameful and distorted editorial in the Washington Post which attempts to downplay the retirement crisis faced by Americans and to stoke generational tensions by suggesting that Social Security is a burden on young people instead of a vital safeguard. The editorial actually mocked a sensible bill introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) that would boost Social Security benefits by increasing taxes on the wealthy. The Washington Post's nonsense was blasted by Senator Elizabeth Warren, who spoke out strongly against cuts of any kind, including Obama's "chained CPI" cut which would prevent Social Security from keeping up with seniors' increasing costs.

A favorite tactic of Social Security's foes is to push the notion that the program somehow drives up the federal deficit, an argument that is completely without merit.

In the first place, the federal deficit is shrinking. That’s a highly inconvenient truth for people trying to stoke deficit hysteria, but they’re banking on the fact that a lot of Americans don’t know about the deficit going down. So they go on pretending that the federal deficit is a dire, pants-on-fire problem, even though most of them know that’s a bunch of hot air.

Even if the deficit were rising — which it’s not — the sensible way to deal with that would be to concentrate on putting people back to work and to invest in productive things like education and infrastructure. That gets the economy going and then, guess what? As tax revenues come back, the deficit goes down on its own, which is what’s happening right now.

Taking money out of people's pockets, which is what cutting Social Security would do, actually could have the rerverse effect of increasing the deficit because it means that people can’t buy the stuff they would normally buy with this money, like food and healthcare. When that happens, the businesses trying to sell those items have to scale back and lay off employees, which means less tax revenue for the government. And so on. Not exactly a recipe for a booming economy.

In the second place, it’s a plain economic fact that Social Security is not a driver of the deficit. Nevertheless, irresponsible people continue to confuse the public by using various tricks such as predictions of the future that have little basis in reality and accounting methods applied in devious ways.

We’re going to cut through all of that. By the end of this article, you will be able to confound all Republicans and centrist Democrats who offer up nonsense linking Social Security to the deficit and spread hyperbolic rhetoric.

1. Social Security is a self-financed program.

First, let’s talk about how Social Security works. If you are employed, you most likely pay a certain amount of your paycheck, generally 6.2 percent, to Social Security. Your employer kicks in the same amount. (The exception would be a few state and local workers who get public state pensions instead of Social Security).

The Social Security program has an independent budget that is separate from the rest of the federal government. Social Security is fundamentally a pay-as-you-go system, which means that payments collected today immediately go to pay benefits.

The finances of the Social Security program have been managed extremely well, and until the recent financial crisis and recession, more payments were collected than were needed for benefits and the surplus was placed into a trust fund. The Social Security program has loaned this extra money to the U.S. government, which used it for other things. In return, Social Security gets interest-bearing Treasury securities, or bonds.

The Wall Street-driven financial crisis and recession reduced the payroll collections, and in 2010, Social Security began to tap into its trust fund, which had been built up for just such an emergency.

You might hear some guy from the Cato Institute getting clever by pointing out that Social Security is using interest on the government bonds it holds to help pay for benefits, and therefore adding to the deficit because the government has to pay that interest. That’s a bit like saying that because I was smart and saved money and then loaned it to my profligate neighbor, I am somehow responsible for increasing his debt when I ask him to pay back what he borrowed. Would any reasonable person make such an upside-down claim?

No. Yet people calling themselves “fact checkers” are promoting this absurdity in the mainstream media.

As economist Dean Baker has explained, it’s a perfectly ordinary thing for bond holders to use interest collected on bonds. Grandmothers with pensions do it, and they aren’t generally accused of adding to the deficit. Just for fun, Baker uses the example of Pete Peterson as an illustration: “If Peter Peterson used $5 million in interest on government bonds he held to finance the startup of his Campaign to Fix the Debt, would it be accurate to say that he had contributed to the deficit? I suspect that most of the fact checkers would say that it is not.”

2. Social Security is not in danger of running out of money.

Another thing you hear is that Social Security is going to run out of money sometime in the future. Actually, by the forecasts made on the part of the Social Security Trustees, the program isn’t going to run out of money even if its trust funds — and that’s a big if — get depleted some decades down the road (2033 is the latest projected date).

The Trustees report is based on predictions that are deliberately conservative. Yet even with its worst-case scenario reasoning, the report says that the tax income would still be enough to pay about three-quarters of scheduled benefits through 2085. Does that sound like a crisis? No, because it isn’t. The real crisis is the growing number of Americans who will face retirement without traditional pensions and not enough money in their 401(k)s. Cutting Social Security would only add fuel to that fire.

3. There is no justification for tampering with Social Security’s financing right now.

Economists are not very good with crystal balls. If you don’t believe this, look at how few of them predicted the last financial crisis. Yet they are addicted to making prognostications.

Social Security’s finances are in perfectly good shape: the Social Security Trust Fund has a $2.7 trillion surplus and will continue to grow until 2021. Perhaps there will be more trouble some decades down the road, but we will be better able to make those assessments when we actually see what the reality is. To cut benefits right now because of a problem that might occur years from now is ridiculous, unless of course your real concern is to cut taxes, which is naturally the desire of America’s Ebeneezer Scrooges.

If you insist on doing something right now, there is a very simple way to generate more revenue for the program, and it doesn’t involve cutting benefits in all the myriad ways the politicians and pundits have proposed: Raise the cap on earnings taxed to pay for Social Security from its current $113,000 to something like, say, $200,000. Presto! You now have loads more revenue and you did not keep grandma from buying medicine.

You don’t hear the greedy rich jumping on board with this idea, because they don’t like to pay taxes, even when doing so might benefit the economy where they make their millions. You don’t hear the financiers cheering this approach, because they really want to see the program destroyed so they can get their mitts on your retirement money. But it would certainly suit everybody else.


Miss Tick
11-21-2013, 05:08 PM
More Heartless Advice from McDonald's to Employees: Sell Your Christmas Gifts
The fast-food conglomerate would do just about anything to avoid paying a living wage.

As the giving season approaches, fast-food giant McDonald’s has found a new way to avoid helping its low-paid workers with a living wage: this time by urging employees to sell their Christmas presents for extra money. The helpful bit of corporate advice was posted on the company’s “McResource” employee webpage in an effort to help staff manage finances and stress as the holiday season approaches. Companies like McDonald's and Walmart are really outdoing themselves with the holidays approaching: Retail giant Wal-Mart's recently requested help with the company's food drive, with proceeds going to their own employees, because Wal-MArt does not pay them enough to afford food.

Of course, McDonald's also recently advised employees break food into little pieces in an effort to feel more full on less food. In yet more helpful tips from this very caring employer, McDonald’s also recommended singing away stress and taking two vacations a year to lower the risk of heart attack. And, of course, selling your possessions is not just good for Christmas presents, they advise “selling some of your unwanted possessions on eBay or Craigslist” for “some quick cash.”

The company recommendations were publicized on Tuesday through Low Pay Is Not OK, an advocacy group for higher wages for fast food workers, arguing that the conglomerate asking its employees to make up for a lack of financial stability because of pitifully low wages was reprehensible. The organization quickly experienced blowback from McDonald’s, with the company flaming that the company-wide advice was taken out of context.

“This is an attempt by an outside organization to undermine a well-intended employee assistance resource website by taking isolated portions out of context,” the company said in a public statement.

The group was in the news earlier this month for releasing a recording of McDonald’s workers calling the company hotline asking for assistance, where the operators then urge the decade-long employee to apply for federal food stamps and Medicaid assistance. According to a recent study, 52% of families of major fast-food employees are enrolled in one or more public assistance programs, compared with the 25% of the whole workforce. The same employee in question was arrested that same month after confronting McDonald’s USA President Jeff Stratton during a speech in Chicago regarding the $8.25 hourly wage that left her unable to purchase clothing from her children, which has since been used as a major rallying cry for those asking for a major overhaul in fast food companies' obligation to their employees.


McDonald’s Eating Tip: Break Your Food Into Pieces So You’ll Be Less Hungry

The more we hear about McDonald's HR resource center, appropriately titled McResources, the more we learn about the darkness of the human soul. Almost one month to the day after learning that their help center tells its employees to sign up for food stamps, Mickey D's has struck again. This time their website suggests its hungry, underpaid employees to break their food up into smaller bites so that it "results in eating less and still feeling full." The New York Times's Steve Greenhouse, a labor reporter, tweeted this screenshot of the McResources page that has many people aghast.


Miss Tick
11-21-2013, 05:27 PM
Noam Chomsky | Media Control and Indoctrination in the United States


Miss Tick
11-23-2013, 12:38 PM
End the 1 Percent’s Free Ride: Taxing Land Would Solve America’s Biggest Problems
Want a real overhaul of the tax code? Here's an elegant way to reduce inequality and mitigate poverty — in one tax.

Appealing to the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe the tax code is so complex that it needs “major changes or a complete overhaul,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., have adorably started a joint Twitter handle: @simplertaxes. The bipartisan love fest is no doubt a heartfelt effort, but not very convincing from men who acquired the fancy titles by opening and maintaining loopholes for the ownership class. Baucus’ hot-off-the-presses tax reform proposals predictably simplify the code very little.

At present, neither party advocates the tax code so elegant it can reduce inequality, mitigate poverty, stimulate productivity, prevent asset price bubbles, stem community-shredding gentrification and drain the distended Wall Street cabal of its ill-gotten gains – in just one tax.

Land value. If we want a real overhaul/simplification of the tax code, the way to do it is to tax land value. It might be the only tax we need. No sales tax. No income tax. No payroll tax to fill a Social Security trust fund. No corporate income tax that, as we can plainly see, offshores profits. No need to tax labor and industry at all. Just tax the stuff that humans had nothing to do with creating, and therefore have no basis to claim ownership over at all. You’ll find that almost all of it is “owned” by the fabled 1 percent.

And boy are they sucking a lot of money out of it. By far the most valuable asset form in the U.S. is real estate, and the majority of that is the value of the land, as distinct from the value of the human-made buildings. Economist Michael Hudson has assessed that the land value of New York City alone exceeds that of all of the plant and equipment in the entire country, combined. No one put any enterprise or cost into producing the land’s value – they simply bought it when it was cheap, sold it when it was dear, and waited for the check. “They” are the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector, and they capture 40 percent of the United States’ profits, despite the complete passivity of their profit-accumulation method.

Not only would a land value tax (LVT) drastically shrink that Wall Street bloat, it would have prevented the housing bubble in the first place. Land, after all, was the speculative commodity at play, not the houses themselves, which, as “Arrested Development” incisively suggested, were a bunch of crap. With an LVT, the cookie-cutter McMansions in suburban housing developments would only be worth the cost of their cheap paneling, artificial marble and the rest of it. Without one, they were wrongly assessed as being worth the value of the land they stood upon, which speculators bid up and up and up.

An LVT would stimulate urban property development without incurring the socially catastrophic ethnic displacement pattern we call “gentrification.” As that noted far-left rag the Economist notes, “Property developers … would be less inclined to hoard undeveloped land if they had to pay an annual levy on it.” Despite this, the new developments wouldn’t push rents up throughout the rest of the neighborhood, because the increased land value would be taxed. The rest of the apartment buildings in the area didn’t get any nicer. So why should they cost more? Urban land, scarce by definition, is very valuable. There is no reason to let a small group of rich landlords extract its value, when what created the value are parks, subways, local restaurants and other things the landlords didn’t provide.

Nothing could simplify and demystify the taxation experience for Americans like making sure that the vast majority of us who don’t own the resources, who don’t collect rent and capital gains, who have to work to get our paychecks, wouldn’t ever have to mark April 15 on the calendar again.

In contrast to its tiny tax base, the amount of revenue that can be raised by taxing the land is huge. Enough, for example, to support truly liberatory social spending, like a universal basic income, without risking inflation. Or the money could be devoted to starting a sovereign wealth fund to collectivize ownership claims on capital (the dividends to provide a UBI). Or it could go to local public banks capable of investing in the needs of their communities and regions.

If this sounds like it’s a little too far outside the box, the solution is to collapse the box. Capitalism requires pretending that individuals’ private ownership of the land, minerals, gases and oils that nature provided is not a completely ludicrous idea. And as long as our political parties are both capitalist parties, there is little hope for a land value tax. But the day is coming, and soon, when it will no longer be so.


Miss Tick
11-26-2013, 03:59 PM
Sarah Palin is really going to be upset this time. She's had to speak out about her concern over his liberal agenda already. This is going to push her over the edge. Citizens should be guaranteed dignified work, education and healthcare. What is wrong with this guy. Must be a socialist. And clearly he doesn't understand what god is really concerned about and what religion's role is supposed to be.

Pope Francis Attacks 'Idolatry of Money,' Says Inequality 'Kills'
Pope Francis called on politicians to guarantee “dignified work, education and healthcare” to their citizens.

Pope Francis launched a broadside against inequality and out-of-control capitalism in a 84-page document released Tuesday.

In what is known as an “apostolic exhortation,” which means communication from the Pope of the Catholic Church, Francis called on politicians to guarantee “dignified work, education and healthcare” to their citizens and also criticized the “idolatry of money,” according to Reuters. Francis “beg[ged] the Lord” to deliver politicians who were more concerned with the poor and inequality.

Francis blasted the current economic system as one that is profoundly unequal.

“Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills,” the Pope wrote. “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems.”

He also repeated his calls for reform in the Catholic Church, though still said that women could not become priests. He did say that women should have more influence in the church.

Francis himself has made it a point to practice what he preaches. He lives in a guest house at the Vatican rathan the usual, lavish Apostolic Palace. Last month, Reuters notes Pope Francis suspended a bishop who spent millions on his residence.


Miss Tick
11-26-2013, 04:07 PM
How Wall Street Turned America Into Incarceration Nation
Transforming poorer neighborhoods into desirable real estate for the new elites often requires getting rid of the poor: jail becomes the new home for many.


11-28-2013, 04:56 PM
Florida woman in warning-shot case released

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/28/justice/florida-stand-your-ground-release/index.html?hpt=hp_t2 (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/28/justice/florida-stand-your-ground-release/index.html?hpt=hp_t2)

"A Florida woman who was sentenced to 20 years for firing a gun to scare off her allegedly abusive husband has been released from prison as she awaits a new trial, her attorney said.

Marissa Alexander was released Wednesday night, attorney Bruce Zimet said."

Miss Tick
11-30-2013, 02:38 AM
16-Year-Old Jailed at Rikers for 3 Years Without Trial

A teen who spent three years in a notorious New York jail without ever having been convicted or put on trial is coming forward after filing a lawsuit against New York City. In June, charges against Kalief Browder were mysteriously dropped and he was released, as first reported by WABC-TV.

Browder was a 16-year-old sophomore in high school walking home from a party in the Bronx when he was arrested on a tip that he robbed someone three weeks earlier. He was hauled off to Rikers Island, a prison known for punishing conditions and overuse of force, and was held because he couldn’t pay the $10,000 bail. Browder went to court on several occasions, but he was never scheduled for trial. After 33 months in jail, Browder said a judge offered freedom in exchange for a guilty plea, threatening that he could face 15 years in jail if convicted. He refused. Then one day, he was released with no explanation.

“They just dismissed the case and they think it’s all right. No apology, no nothing,” he told WABC-TV. Now at age 20 with his teen years behind him, Browder is first faced with finishing his GED and trying to make up for three years of his teen years lost.

Browder says he spent more than 400 days in solitary confinement, was deprived of meals, and was assaulted and beaten both by officers and fellow inmates. Browder attempted suicide at least six times. Last month he filed a lawsuit last month against the city and several agencies. The Bronx District Attorney’s office has declined to comment.

Browder’s story lays out a laundry list of some of the most prevalent problems with the criminal justice system. Browder was stopped in the Bronx, where the New York Police Department came under particular fire for its over-aggressive use of stops and unsubstantiated charges of “trespassing.” He was purportedly jailed based solely on one report to police, reinforcing race disparities in the criminal justice system. He was held in jail pursuant to bail policies that routinely punish the impoverished. And he was held in solitary confinement as a juvenile, even though the draconian punishment has particularly detrimental long-term effects on youths.

An internal review recently obtained by the Associated Press finds a spike in use of both solitary confinement and force by staff at Rikers Island.


Miss Tick
11-30-2013, 02:47 AM
Corporations Should Pay a Living Wage or Face the Death Penalty
Doing business is a privilege, not a right. Let's take our power back.

If businesses can't pay a living wage, they should get the corporate death penalty.

Doing business in America – and pretty much every other developed country in the world – is a privilege, not a right.

In order to do business, you, or you and a group of participants, must petition a Secretary of State for a business license.

If your petition is granted, you will be given to set of privileges ranging from the ability to deduct from your income taxes the costs of your meals (if you discuss business), to a whole variety of special tax breaks, incentives, and immunities from prosecution for things that, had you done them as an individual, you might otherwise go to prison for.

When we set up this country more than 200 years ago, we established some of these privileges, and associated with them some pretty heavy responsibilities.

Up until the 1890s, a corporation couldn’t last more than 40 years in any state – which prevented them from being used as a tool to accumulate massive and multigenerational wealth. A corporation had to behave in the public interest, and when they weren’t, thousands of them every year were given the corporate death penalty, their assets dissolved and their stockholders losing everything (but nothing more than) they had invested.

Over the years, as the Supreme Court has given more and more power to wealthy individuals and corporations, these responsibilities receded so far into the background that in one state, Delaware, your articles of incorporation can be a single sentence stating that you intend to “Do whatever is legal in the state of Delaware.” Which is probably why more than half of all the companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange are Delaware corporations.

The reason we originally allowed businesses to do business in this country was that some benefit would come to society from it. But since the era of New Deal economics was replaced by Reaganomics, the principal rationalization we use to give limitations of liability and privileges to corporations and their masters has changed from, “What is best for society?” to, “How can somebody best get rich quick?”

This is a perversion of the entire concept of why nations allowed people and corporations to do business, and why we facilitate that activity by providing at public expense: stable currencies and a stable banking system; predictable and fair court systems; transportation, electrical, water, septic, and communications infrastructure; a criminal justice system to enforce the rules of the game of business; and a workforce educated at the public expense and protected with a public pension called Social Security. We do all these things so the business will provide some good to the public while, in the meantime, enriching its owners.

But a new business model has emerged in the United States. Companies still get the privileges, but they no longer have to conduct themselves in ways that inure a net positive to the public.

Companies are now free to demand not just huge welfare payments, tax breaks, and subsidies, but can actually play one state off against another in a competition for which state this most willing to transfer the most dollars from the taxpaying individual people to the corporations and their billionaire CEOs. Similarly, corporations routinely use “Right To Work For Less” laws empowered by the Taft-Hartley Act to pit workers in high-wage states against workers in low-wage states, producing a national race to the bottom.

Boeing, for example, is participating in both of these practices right now, having just taken billions from Washington State and now playing their workers against desperate workers in old Confederate states. Senator Bernie Sanders has recommended that when States participate in letting corporations play states off against each other, both states should lose federal highway funds.

That, or any other remedy, is pretty unlikely as America continues to race from being one of the world’s wealthiest nations pre-Reagan, to a post-Reagan dystopia; the first modern, fully developed, industrialized nation to actually de-industrialize and move in the direction from First World status toward Third World status as a result of 32 years of Reaganomics.

Finally, a particularly pernicious form of this new business model has emerged, in part out of the radical restructuring of welfare systems in the 1990s led by Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton.

Because welfare reform in the 1990s tied the ability to receive welfare to having to work, low-wage employers discovered that as long as they kept their employees’ pay below the poverty level, you and I, through our tax dollars, would pick up the rest of their employees cost-of-living through food stamps, Medicare, etc. The result is higher taxes for us, and billions in additional money for the CEOs and stockholders of America’s largest companies.

This is not how business should be done in America. If a company refuses to pay – or, their business model is so bad, that they can’t pay – at least a living wage, they should not receive the privilege of doing business in this country.


Miss Tick
11-30-2013, 10:41 AM
Before I became a Canadian citizen, even before I received my permanent resident card, I was given medicare. I was told I was accepted for permanent residency in January of 2006 and although I could not work until I received my official acceptance and my permanent resident card, which would not happen until June of that year, I was eligible for healthcare immediately. I still remember my amazement. I pointed out the discrepancy to the woman who gave me the good news and she smiled and explained that in Canada health care was a right not a privilege and while I might have to wait for an official card to work, no one expected me to go without health care while I waited for the wheels of the bureaucracy to turn. When I saw this article I immediately thought of my first experience with my adopted country and how different the mindset is here. I don't understand why my native country still refuses to care for its citizens.

21 Ways Canada's Single-Payer System Beats Obamacare
Canadian style single-payer healthcare is simple, affordable, comprehensive and universal—dream on, America.

Dear America:

Costly complexity is baked into Obamacare. No health insurance system is without problems but Canadian style single-payer full Medicare for all is simple, affordable, comprehensive and universal.

In the early 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson enrolled 20 million elderly Americans into Medicare in six months. There were no websites. They did it with index cards!

Below please find 21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare.

Repeal Obamacare and replace it with the much more efficient single-payer, everybody in, nobody out, free choice of doctor and hospital.

Love, Canada

Number 21:
In Canada, everyone is covered automatically at birth – everybody in, nobody out.

In the United States, under Obamacare, 31 million Americans will still be uninsured by 2023 and millions more will remain underinsured.

Number 20:
In Canada, the health system is designed to put people, not profits, first.

In the United States, Obamacare will do little to curb insurance industry profits and will actually enhance insurance industry profits.

Number 19:
In Canada, coverage is not tied to a job or dependent on your income – rich and poor are in the same system, the best guaranty of quality.

In the United States, under Obamacare, much still depends on your job or income. Lose your job or lose your income, and you might lose your existing health insurance or have to settle for lesser coverage.

Number 18:
In Canada, health care coverage stays with you for your entire life.

In the United States, under Obamacare, for tens of millions of Americans, health care coverage stays with you for as long as you can afford your share.

Number 17:
In Canada, you can freely choose your doctors and hospitals and keep them. There are no lists of “in-network” vendors and no extra hidden charges for going “out of network.”

In the United States, under Obamacare, the in-network list of places where you can get treated is shrinking – thus restricting freedom of choice – and if you want to go out of network, you pay for it.

Number 16:
In Canada, the health care system is funded by income, sales and corporate taxes that, combined, are much lower than what Americans pay in premiums.

In the United States, under Obamacare, for thousands of Americans, it’s pay or die – if you can’t pay, you die. That’s why many thousands will still die every year under Obamacare from lack of health insurance to get diagnosed and treated in time.

Number 15:
In Canada, there are no complex hospital or doctor bills. In fact, usually you don’t even see a bill.

In the United States, under Obamacare, hospital and doctor bills will still be terribly complex, making it impossible to discover the many costly overcharges.

Number 14:
In Canada, costs are controlled. Canada pays 10 percent of its GDP for its health care system, covering everyone.

In the United States, under Obamacare, costs continue to skyrocket. The U.S. currently pays 18 percent of its GDP and still doesn’t cover tens of millions of people.

Number 13:
In Canada, it is unheard of for anyone to go bankrupt due to health care costs.

In the United States, under Obamacare, health care driven bankruptcy will continue to plague Americans.

Number 12:
In Canada, simplicity leads to major savings in administrative costs and overhead.

In the United States, under Obamacare, complexity will lead to ratcheting up administrative costs and overhead.

Number 11:
In Canada, when you go to a doctor or hospital the first thing they ask you is: “What’s wrong?”

In the United States, the first thing they ask you is: “What kind of insurance do you have?”

Number 10:
In Canada, the government negotiates drug prices so they are more affordable.

In the United States, under Obamacare, Congress made it specifically illegal for the government to negotiate drug prices for volume purchases, so they remain unaffordable.

Number 9:
In Canada, the government health care funds are not profitably diverted to the top one percent.

In the United States, under Obamacare, health care funds will continue to flow to the top. In 2012, CEOs at six of the largest insurance companies in the U.S. received a total of $83.3 million in pay, plus benefits.

Number 8:
In Canada, there are no necessary co-pays or deductibles.

In the United States, under Obamacare, the deductibles and co-pays will continue to be unaffordable for many millions of Americans.

Number 7:
In Canada, the health care system contributes to social solidarity and national pride.

In the United States, Obamacare is divisive, with rich and poor in different systems and tens of millions left out or with sorely limited benefits.

Number 6:
In Canada, delays in health care are not due to the cost of insurance.

In the United States, under Obamacare, patients without health insurance or who are underinsured will continue to delay or forgo care and put their lives at risk.

Number 5:
In Canada, nobody dies due to lack of health insurance.

In the United States, under Obamacare, many thousands will continue to die every year due to lack of health insurance.

Number 4:
In Canada, an increasing majority supports their health care system, which costs half as much, per person, as in the United States. And in Canada, everyone is covered.

In the United States, a majority – many for different reasons – oppose Obamacare.

Number 3:
In Canada, the tax payments to fund the health care system are progressive – the lowest 20 percent pays 6 percent of income into the system while the highest 20 percent pays 8 percent.

In the United States, under Obamacare, the poor pay a larger share of their income for health care than the affluent.

Number 2:
In Canada, the administration of the system is simple. You get a health care card when you are born. And you swipe it when you go to a doctor or hospital. End of story.

In the United States, Obamacare’s 2,500 pages plus regulations (the Canadian Medicare Bill was 13 pages) is so complex that then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said before passage “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

Number 1:
In Canada, the majority of citizens love their health care system.

In the United States, the majority of citizens, physicians, and nurses prefer the Canadian type system – single-payer, free choice of doctor and hospital , everybody in, nobody out.


Miss Tick
11-30-2013, 10:55 AM
I would love to see a woman president. I just prefer it be someone like Elizabeth Warren and not another corporate owned minion. The sex of the POTUS will make no difference if the heart beating in the chest and the brain functioning in the head has been bought and paid for by Wall Street.

The Dynastic Hillary Bandwagon – Bad for America

The Hillary Clinton for President in 2016 bandwagon has started very early and with a purpose. The idea is to get large numbers of endorsers, so that no Democratic Primary competitors dare make a move. These supporters include Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), financier George Soros and Ready for Hillary, a super PAC mobilizing with great specificity (already in Iowa).

Given this early bird launch, it is important to raise the pressing question:

Does the future of our country benefit from Hillary, another Clinton, another politician almost indistinguishable from Barack Obama’s militaristic, corporatist policies garnished by big money donors from Wall Street and other plutocratic canyons?

There is no doubt the Clintons are syrupy political charmers, beguiling many naïve Democrats who have long been vulnerable to a practiced set of comforting words or phrases camouflaging contrary deeds.

Everybody knows that Hillary is for women, children and education. She says so every day. But Democrats and others can’t get the Clintons even to support a $10.50 federal minimum wage that would almost equal the 1968 minimum wage, inflation-adjusted, and would raise the wages of 30 million workers mired in the gap between the present minimum wage of $7.25 and $10.50 an hour. It just so happens that almost two-thirds of these Americans are women, many of them single moms struggling to support their impoverished children. Nearly a million of these workers labor for Walmart, on whose Board of Directors Hillary Clinton once sat. Words hide the deeds.

As a Senator on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Hillary had to start proving that women, just like the macho men, can be belligerent and never see a weapons system and its use that they didn’t like. Never did she demonstrate any ongoing interest in debloating the massive, wasteful, duplicative military budget so as to free up big monies for domestic public works programs or other necessities.

As Senator she also admitted that she didn’t have time to read a critical National Intelligence Estimate Report, which had caveats that might have dissuaded her from voting with George W. Bush to invade Iraq in 2003. War-mongering and wars of Empire never bothered her then or now. Just a few weeks ago, she was photographed giving the recidivist war criminal, Republican Henry Kissinger, a big, smiling hug at a public event. It’s all part of the bi-partisan image she is cultivating under the opportunistic banner of “cooperation.” (For more information, read the New York Times’ Collateral Damage and Nixon and Kissinger’s Forgotten Shame, or Seymour Hersh’s The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House.)

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton accelerated the Department’s militarization, belting far more war-like, threatening assertions toward governments of developing countries than did the Secretaries of Defense. She loved to give speeches on “force projection,” the latest synonym for “the Empire,” and “the pivot” toward East Asia and against the asserted looming threat of China. Taking due note, the Chinese generals demanded larger budgets.

The Secretary of State’s highest duty is diplomacy. Not for her. Despite her heavy travelling, she made little or no effort to get the government to sign onto the numerous international treaties which already had over a hundred nations as signatories. These include stronger climate change agreements and, as Human Rights Watch reports, unratified treaties “relating to children, women, persons with disabilities, torture, enforced disappearance and the use of anti-personal landmines and cluster munitions.” These tasks bore her.

Much more exciting was military action. Against the wishes of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, she pulled Barack Obama into the Libyan war. There were consequences. Libya is now in militia chaos, having spilled over into Mali, but without Gaddafi, its overthrown dictator who had disarmed and was making peace with western nations and oil companies.

As a Yale Law School graduate, she was not in the least bothered that the attack on Libya occurred without any Congressional declaration, authorization or appropriation of funds – a classic Madisonian definition of impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors.

Like Bill Clinton, she is an unabashed cheerleader for corporate globalization under NAFTA, the World Trade Organization and the proposed sovereignty-stripping, anti-worker Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement. Secretary of State Clinton, in the words of trade expert Jamie Love, “put the hammer to India when the government took steps to grant compulsory licenses on cancer drug patents” by not requiring life-saving compulsory license of expensive drugs so that low-income people and their children could have access to more affordable medication.

Even regarding the easy clampdown on waste and fraud, Hillary Clinton fired Peter Van Buren, a 24-year-Foreign Service Officer, who exposed such waste and mismanagement by corporate contractors in Iraq. (For more information, see http://wemeantwell.com/).

Foreshadowing this season’s headlines, former Secretary of State Clinton ordered U.S. officials to spy on top UN diplomats including Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, and those from the United Kingdom. She ordered her emissaries around the world to obtain DNA data, iris scans and fingerprints along with credit card and frequent flier numbers. Not only was this a clear violation of the 1946 UN convention, but after admitting what happened she didn’t even make a public apology to the affected parties.

Under her watch, the advice and status of the Department’s foreign service officers and aid workers were marginalized in favor of the militarists – and not only in Iraq.

Many Wall Streeters like Hillary Clinton. Expecting their ample contributions, and socializing with their business barons, it is not surprising that Hillary Clinton avoids going after the crooked casino capitalism that collapsed the economy, drained investors, pensions, jobs and taxpayer bailouts. Hillary Clinton is a far cry from the stalwart Senator Elizabeth Warren on this towering pattern of unaccountable corporate abuse.

The surreal world of Hillary Clinton is giving $200,000 speeches, collecting prestigious awards she does not deserve, including one from the American Bar Association, and basking in the glory of her admirers while appropriately blasting the Republicans for their “War on Women” – the safe refrain of her forthcoming campaign.

It is true that the Republican madheads make it easy for any Democratic candidate to judge themselves by the cruel, rabid, ravaging Republicans. But, is that the kind of choice our country deserves?

A Clinton Coronation two years or more before the 2016 elections will stifle any broader choice of competitive primary candidates and more important a more progressive agenda supported by a majority of the American people.

Full Medicare for all, cracking down on corporate abuses, a fairer tax system, a broad public works program, a living wage, access to justice and citizen empowerment, clean election practices, and pulling back on the expensive, boomeranging Empire to come home to America’s necessities and legitimate hopes are some examples of what the people want.

Maybe the sugarcoating is starting to wear. Columnist Frank Bruni, writing in the New York Times (Hillary in 2016? Not so Fast), reports her polls are starting to slump. Apparently, as Bruni suggests, she’s being seen as part of the old Washington crowd that voters are souring on.

As I wrote to Hillary Clinton in early summer 2008, when calls were made by Obama partisans for her to drop out, no one should be told not to run. That’s everyone’s First Amendment right. However, not voting for her is the prudent decision.


12-01-2013, 09:30 AM

Hoping no from BFP or family and friends are on this train.

Sending positive thoughts.

12-04-2013, 05:00 PM
I couldn't agree with you more in that I would support a presidential bid by someone like Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), but I just read today that she's not going to run for president and carry out her term as an elected Senator for the DNP in Massachussetts.

I don't know about you or others, but when I read that brief news article this afternoon, the first thing that came to mind was .... 'Why is it that Senator Warren would rather finish out her term in Massachussetts vs elect to run for the seat of president in 2016?'

An idea that came to mind was one that centers on a much larger political agenda that the public does not really know about. I think it's great that Senator Warren feels compelled to carry out her term as Senator. If she were a senator in my homestate, I'd want her to be on board with making sure our state didn't lose its foothold in the ongoing struggle to represent a more progressive and liberal-minded agenda, rather than cede to seats of power that seemingly don't always cultivate an economy which allows autonomy for everyone.

I made a conscious decision recently to align myself with an independent political party; which I think is a wise decision, in light of broken economies across the country.

I'm going to strictly vote a Green Party ticket, next time around.

12-05-2013, 03:53 PM
95 Years old!

12-05-2013, 04:00 PM
Miss Tick, you have put a lot in your posts. Kudos!

12-10-2013, 04:59 PM

Nuclear plant explosion and fire in Arkansas, no media reports.

12-11-2013, 12:44 PM
NEW YORK - Time magazine selected Pope Francis as its Person of the Year on Wednesday, saying the Catholic Church's new leader has changed the perception of the 2,000-year-old institution in an extraordinary way in a short time.

The pope beat out NSA leaker Edward Snowden for the distinction, which the newsmagazine has been giving each year since 1927.

The former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected in March as the first pope from Latin America and the first Jesuit. Since taking over at the Vatican, he has urged the Catholic Church not to be obsessed with "small-minded rules" and to emphasize compassion over condemnation in dealing with touchy topics like abortion, gays and contraception.

He has denounced the world's "idolatry of money" and the "global scandal" that nearly 1 billion people today go hungry, and has
charmed the masses with his simple style and wry sense of humor. His appearances draw tens of thousands of people at a clip and his @Pontifex Twitter account recently topped 10 million followers.

"He really stood out to us as someone who has changed the tone and the perception and the focus of one of the world's largest institutions in an extraordinary way," said Nancy Gibbs, the magazine's managing editor.

The Vatican said the honor wasn't surprising given the resonance in the general public that Francis has had, but it nevertheless said the choice was a "positive" recognition of spiritual values in the international media.

"The Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors," said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi. "But if the choice of Person of Year helps spread the message of the Gospel — a message of God's love for everyone — he will certainly be happy about that."

It was the third time a Catholic pope had been Time's selection. John Paul II was selected in 1994 and John XXIII was chosen in 1962.

Besides Snowden, Time had narrowed its finalists down to gay rights activist Edith Windsor, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Time editors made the selection. The magazine polled readers for their choice, and the winner was Egyptian General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who didn't even make the top 10 of Time's final list.


The editors at Time must be seeing a different Pope than I do.

12-14-2013, 09:47 AM
On France News this AM on BBC:

The UN confirmed Syria used chemical weapons against its own people (protestors) 5 times, up through August, 2013.

During two of those attacks: they used Sarin.

Why is this not on network news in the USA?

Is it really important that people lined up for a week to buy cheap video games and it had to be shown on network news?

I guess that is what passes for "news".


12-20-2013, 09:35 AM
I cared for my estranged Ex during her final 6 months, Alzheimer's and dementia, progressing daily. Now, my beloved's Mother is drifting away. Please take a moment. It hits home.

Contact Your Representative
Budget Deal Struck and the Countdown Begins

Please reach out to your Member of Congress. Feel free to use some of the talking points shown below:

While there has been substantial progress in the fight against Alzheimer's,the soaring global costs of Alzheimer's and dementia care, the escalating number of people living with the disease, and the challenges encountered by affected families demand a meaningful, aggressive and ambitious effort to solve this crisis.

Alzheimer's is the most expensive disease in America and is set to increase like no other.
Today, the more than 5 million American's living with Alzheimer's cost our nation an estimated $203 billion, including $142 billion to Medicare and Medicaid.
If we fail to make a difference right now in the fight against Alzheimer's, the number of Americans living with Alzheimer's could soar to as many as 16 million in 2050.
Costs from Alzheimer's on its current path between now and 2050 will total $20 trillion.
Congress must continue its bipartisan support for the National Alzheimer's Plan by providing an additional $100 million in resources for research, education, care and support activities.

On December 10th, the Bipartisan Budget Conference led by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Paul Ryan reached a deal on the federal budget for the current fiscal year. The House of Representatives passed the budget on December 12th and the Senate is likely to do the same today. Now the Appropriations Committees have begun working quickly to write the funding bills for FY2014. These weeks are critical for Alzheimer’s funding.

While the House did not increase funding for Alzheimer's disease research and support services, the Senate Appropriations bill passed out of Committee earlier this year included an additional $100 million in funding for these vital programs. Now we must urge all of Congress to follow the Senate in providing a much needed increase in Alzheimer's funding!

Please contact your member of the U.S. House of Representatives now.

Are you on Facebook or Twitter? Please reach out to your Representative with the following messages:

Please help #EndAlz by securing critical Alzheimer’s Resources
Urge members of Congress to follow the Senate and provide a much needed funding increase for Alzheimer’s!
I just asked (see link below for yours) to secure vital Alzheimer’s Resources. Will you?


For easy contact info, which just takes a moment of your time..>

https://act.alz.org/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=E0917BF1D1F7C09771DB7D6D2E43CA 87.app205a?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=1171

As negotiations continue over the FY14 Budget, I urge you to ensure that Alzheimer's is a national priority by supporting an additional $100 million in resources for Alzheimer's disease research, education, care and support activities.

12-20-2013, 11:32 AM
From the NY Times:

Ugandan Parliament Approves Antigay Law
Published: December 20, 2013

LONDON — After years of argument that has drawn ferocious condemnation from outsiders like President Obama, the Ugandan Parliament approved legislation on Friday introducing harsher punishment — including life imprisonment —for what the law called “aggravated homosexuality,” news reports said.

The law was not as tough as an initial bill, first mooted in 2009 and later withdrawn, that would have imposed the death sentence in some cases and would have required citizens to report acts of homosexuality within 24 hours. Mr. Obama called that legislation “odious.” But it reflected a broader aversion to homosexuality across Africa that has brought persecution and intolerance in many countries.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda but David Bahati, a lawmaker who has promoted the antigay legislation, said existing laws needed to be strengthened to prevent Western homosexuals from promoting it among young Ugandans.

“I am officially illegal,” Agence France-Presse quoted a gay activist, Frank Mugisha, as saying when the legislation was approved on Friday. Like legislation in Russia against “gay propaganda,” the new law would criminalize the public promotion of homosexuality, including discussion of the issue by rights groups, news reports said.

Agence France-Presse quoted Mr. Bahati as saying the new law represented “victory for Uganda.”

“ I am glad the Parliament has voted against evil,” he said.

“Because we are a God-fearing nation, we value life in a holistic way,” he said. “It is because of those values that members of Parliament passed this bill regardless of what the outside world thinks.”

The legislation was promoted in part by the country’s influential evangelical pastors, some of them supported and partly financed by American churches.

When the bill was re-introduced last year, it deepened tensions in Uganda’s religious and traditional society between advocates and opponents of gay rights. At one point a government minister personally broke up a clandestine gay rights meeting in a hotel, saying homosexuals should face the firing squad.

In 2011 a newspaper published a list of gay people and urged readers and policy makers to “hang them.”

12-20-2013, 04:08 PM
Gay marriage is now legal in UTAH!! I couldnt believe it...awesome day


Lady Pamela
12-21-2013, 03:14 AM
I live in Utah and never thought I would be alive to actually see it happen.
I am freakin so excited!
I know they will apeal it and a struggle for it will happen. But atleast its happening.

I thought this would be last on the list honestly.


Gay marriage is now legal in UTAH!! I couldnt believe it...awesome day


12-21-2013, 09:43 AM

Poor young women, how much damage did this, one of many incidents, scar them for life?

If the effing economy would be more balanced, these young women would have more professional choices in their lives.

12-24-2013, 09:32 AM

Alan Turing Pardoned By UK Government, Finally

Alan Turing Pardoned
LONDON (AP) — His code breaking prowess helped the Allies outfox the Nazis, his theories laid the foundation for the computer age, and his work on artificial intelligence still informs the debate over whether machines can think.

But Alan Turing was gay, and 1950s Britain punished the mathematician's sexuality with a criminal conviction, intrusive surveillance and hormone treatment meant to extinguish his sex drive.

Now, nearly half a century after the war hero's suicide, Queen Elizabeth II has finally granted Turing a pardon.

"Turing was an exceptional man with a brilliant mind," Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said in a prepared statement released Tuesday. Describing Turing's treatment as unjust, Grayling said the code breaker "deserves to be remembered and recognized for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science."

The pardon has been a long time coming.

Turing's contributions to science spanned several disciplines, but he's perhaps best remembered as the architect of the effort to crack the Enigma code, the cypher used by Nazi Germany to secure its military communications. Turing's groundbreaking work — combined with the effort of cryptanalysts at Bletchley Park near Oxford and the capture of several Nazi code books — gave the Allies the edge across half the globe, helping them defeat the Italians in the Mediterranean, beat back the Germans in Africa and escape enemy submarines in the Atlantic.

"It could be argued and it has been argued that he shortened the war, and that possibly without him the Allies might not have won the war," said David Leavitt, the author of a book on Turing's life and work. "That's highly speculative, but I don't think his contribution can be underestimated. It was immense."

Even before the war, Turing was formulating ideas that would underpin modern computing, ideas which matured into a fascination with artificial intelligence and the notion that machines would someday challenge the minds of man. When the war ended, Turing went to work programing some of the world's first computers, drawing up — among other things — one of the earliest chess games.

Turing made no secret of his sexuality, and being gay could easily lead to prosecution in post-war Britain. In 1952, Turing was convicted of "gross indecency" over his relationship with another man, and he was stripped of his security clearance, subjected to monitoring by British authorities, and forced to take estrogen to neutralize his sex drive — a process described by some as chemical castration.

S. Barry Cooper, a University of Leeds mathematician who has written about Turing's work, said future generations would struggle to understand the code breaker's treatment.

"You take one of your greatest scientists, and you invade his body with hormones," he said in a telephone interview. "It was a national failure."

Depressed and angry, Turing committed suicide in 1954.

Turing's legacy was long obscured by secrecy — "Even his mother wasn't allowed to know what he'd done," Cooper said. But as his contribution to the war effort was gradually declassified, and personal computers began to deliver on Turing's promise of "universal machines," the injustice of his conviction became ever more glaring. Then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued an apology for Turing's treatment in 2009, but campaigners kept pressing for a formal pardon.

One of them, British lawmaker Iain Stewart, told The Associated Press he was delighted with the news that one had finally been granted.

"He helped preserve our liberty," Steward said in a telephone interview. "We owed it to him in recognition of what he did for the country — and indeed the free world — that his name should be cleared."

Lady Pamela
12-27-2013, 11:53 PM
Worth the read.


01-16-2014, 03:49 PM
http://sharing.wishtv.com/sharewdpp/photo/2014/01/16/Afghanistan%20Female%20Police%20Chief_5249794_ver1 .0_640_480.JPEG

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — She wears a black headscarf instead of a cap. But otherwise Col. Jamila Bayaz looks like any other district police chief in Afghanistan as she reviews checkpoints in the center of Kabul.

Bayaz, 50, is the first woman to be promoted to run an entire district — the highest front-line appointment for an Afghan policewoman. With just two days on the job, she said she feels up to the challenge despite the threat as policewomen are among the Taliban's top targets.

"I work day and night," she said as she walked through a money exchange bazaar that lies at the heart of Kabul's District 1. "I am ready to serve, I am not scared nor am I afraid."

Women have made much progress since the days of Taliban rule, when they were forced to cover their heads and faces with burqas and banned from going to school or outdoors without a male relative as an escort. They have greater access to education, health care and the workplace but still face widespread discrimination, domestic abuse and militant attacks in this ultraconservative Islamic society.

Being a woman in the public eye poses particular difficulties.

In the past seven months, several prominent women have been attacked, including two Afghan police officers who were killed in the south, an Indian author living in eastern Afghanistan who was killed years after her memoir about life under Taliban rule became a Bollywood film, and an Afghan senator who was wounded in an ambush. Another female parliamentarian was kidnapped by the Taliban and later released in a prisoner exchange.

The assaults have added to growing fears that what few gains Afghan women have made since the U.S. toppled the Taliban government in 2001 could be erased once American-led foreign troops finish withdrawing at the end of the year.

Bayaz's district — one of 10 in the sprawling city of about 5 million people — houses the presidential palace, numerous ministries, the central bank and the main money exchange and gold markets.

She was appointed to oversee it on Monday, more than three decades after joining the police force. In her previous position, she was a plainclothes officer and wore the traditional robe as well as a headscarf. She draws more attention now wearing pants as part of her gray uniform, though she continues to cover her hair instead of wearing a cap.

During the Taliban's harsh five-year rule, Bayaz stayed at home taking care of her children.

"I was a housewife taking care of my family," she said. "Women are part of society and since they left, more and more are getting involved and they need to join the police."

In the two days following her appointment, she has been making the rounds checking on markets and other areas in her district accompanied by a large group of police bodyguards. Although she drives, her bodyguards now take Bayaz around the city and to the police station.

"When I got out of my car, I spoke to my police officers on duty and all eyes were on me. It was interesting for the people to see a woman in uniform," she said. "Carrying out my duties in uniform is a lesson for others. I hope it inspires other women to wear the uniform and I hope more women become officers."

Afghan policewomen are frequently threatened and targeted by the insurgents after and several have been killed in the past few years. In one high-profile example, Lt. Col. Malalai Kakar, who worked in southern Kandahar province, was shot dead by the Taliban in 2008.

Bayaz acknowledges the danger.

"I am the first woman district chief in Afghanistan. There are difficulties, but I will continue," she said.

According to a report released late last year by the international aid agency Oxfam, efforts to recruit more women into Afghanistan's police force have been met with limited success. In 2005, the national police force employed just 180 women out of 53,400 personnel, the report said. By July 2013, that had risen to 1,551 policewomen out of 157,000.

Female police officers are part of teams that search the women's sections of homes during raids, but also work in criminal investigations.

Despite the challenges, recruiting more women to serve as police could have major benefits for the Afghan population, especially women and girls who feel uncomfortable or even afraid reporting crimes to male police, Oxfam said.

Bayaz previously worked in the criminal investigation and counternarcotic departments.

She enjoys great support from her family, including her two daughters and three sons.

Her youngest son Tawhid agreed. The 12-year-old was visiting his mother at the police station after complaining he had not seen her for days and wanted to see what she did at work.



This is one of those mixed emotions things for me. One the one hand, it is good to see a woman in a traditionally male role in an Islamic society. On the other hand, given the males attitudes towards women do not seem to have changed much, part of me wonders if the thought behind this was more akin to better a woman as a sacrificial lamb for the Taliban than a man.

01-19-2014, 01:15 PM
Man's sex with 11-year-old not abusive, Italian court rules

An Italian high court has overturned the conviction of a 60-year-old man for having sex with an 11-year-old girl, because the verdict failed to take into account their "amorous relationship".

Pietro Lamberti, a social services worker in Catanzaro in southern Italy, was convicted in February 2011 and sentenced to five years in prison for sexual acts with a minor.

The verdict was later upheld by an appeals court.

But the Italian supreme court ruled that the verdict did not sufficiently consider "the 'consensus', the existence of an amorous relationship, the absence of physical force, the girl's feelings of love".

The court's October 15 decision to order a retrial was made public this month by Il Quotidiano della Calabria and slowly spread to social media networks, where it sparked heated reactions against the Italian justice system.


01-27-2014, 08:56 AM
FBI warns shops on checkout thefts

Last updated Jan 24, 2014, 2:35 AM PST

Criminals using fake credit cards, made with data stolen from Target, are already being arrested.

The FBI has issued a warning to US shops telling them to beef up defences against cyber-thieves.

The agency included its warning in a confidential report to large retailers that was obtained by Reuters.

In particular, said the FBI, shops need to look for the type of malware used to steal millions of credit card details from shoppers at retailer Target.

The FBI said it had seen about 20 cases in the last year where data was stolen using the same type of malicious code.

That code has been inserted on to credit and debit card swiping-machines, cash registers and other point-of-sale (POS) equipment.

"We believe POS malware crime will continue to grow over the near term, despite law enforcement and security firms' actions to mitigate it," read the FBI report.

The low cost of the virus code, its wide availability on underground markets and the potential for profit if POS equipment was compromised made it very attractive to thieves, said the agency. One copy of the type of software used to grab data at tills was on sale for only $6,000 (£3,600), said the FBI report.

The report was sent out as more details emerge about the extent of the security breach at US retailing giant Target.

Reports suggest that the attackers who planted malware on Target tills were scooping up card data for 19 days during the busy Christmas season. The thieves are believed to have got away with complete details for 40 million cards and stolen personal data on about 70 million customers.

The attack is believed to have been one of the biggest retail cyber-attacks in history.

Recent arrests suggest the data stolen from Target is already being used to create counterfeit cards. In mid-January two people were arrested at the Texas-Mexico border with 96 fake cards later identified as being from the huge cache stolen from Target.

BBC © 2014

01-27-2014, 11:03 AM
AP Economics Writers
January 27, 2014

WASHINGTON - From the White House to the Vatican to the business elite in Davos, Switzerland, one issue keeps seizing the agenda: the growing gap between the very wealthy and everyone else.

It's "the defining challenge of our time," says President Barack Obama, who will spotlight the issue in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. A Gallup poll finds two-thirds of Americans are unhappy with the nation's distribution of wealth. Experts say it may be slowing the economy.

Why has the issue suddenly galvanized attention? Here are questions and answers about the wealth gap - what it is and why it matters.

Q. Hasn't there always been a wide gulf between the richest people and the poorest?

A. Yes. What's new is the widening gap between the wealthiest and everyone else. Three decades ago, Americans' income tended to grow at roughly similar rates, no matter how much you made. But since roughly 1980, income has grown most for the top earners. For the poorest 20 percent of families, it's dropped. Incomes for the highest-earning 1 percent of Americans soared 31 percent from 2009 through 2012, after adjusting for inflation, according to data compiled by Emmanuel Saez, an economist at University of California, Berkeley. For the rest of us, it inched up an average of 0.4 percent. In 17 of 22 developed countries, income disparity widened in the past two decades, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Q. So who are the top 1 percent in income?

A. They're bankers, lawyers, hedge fund managers, founders of successful companies, entertainers, senior managers and others. One trend: Corporate executives, doctors, and farmers made up smaller shares of the top 1 percent in 2005 than in 1979. By contrast, the proportion of the wealthiest who work in the financial and real estate industries has doubled. The top 1 percent earned at least $394,000 in 2012. Through most of the post-World War II era, the top 1 percent earned about 10 percent of all income. By 2007, that figure had jumped to 23.5 percent, the most since 1928. As of 2012, it was 22.5 percent.

Q. How has the middle class fared?

A. Not well. Median household income peaked in 1999 at $56,080, adjusted for inflation. It fell to $51,017 by 2012. The percentage of American households with income within 50 percent of the median - one way of measuring the middle class - fell from 50 percent in 1970 to 42 percent in 2010.

Q. Does it matter if some people are much richer than others?

A. Most economists say some inequality is needed to reward hard work, talent and innovation. But a wealth gap that's too wide is usually unhealthy. It can slow economic growth, in part because richer Americans save more of their income than do others. Pay concentrated at the top is less likely to be spent.

It can also trigger reckless borrowing. Before the 2008 financial crisis, middle class households struggled to keep up their spending even as their pay stagnated. To do so, they piled up debt. Swelling debt helped inflate the housing bubble and ignite the financial crisis. Experts note that the Great Depression and the Great Recession were both preceded by surging income gaps and heedless borrowing by middle class Americans.

Q. Has it become harder for someone born poor to become rich?

A. The evidence is mixed. Countries that have more equal income distributions, such as Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, tend to enjoy more social mobility. But a study released last week found that the United States isn't any less mobile than it was in the 1970s. A child born in the poorest 20 percent of families in 1986 had a 9 percent chance of reaching the top 20 percent as an adult, the study found - roughly the same odds as in 1971.

Other research has shown that the United States isn't as socially mobile as once thought. In a study of 22 countries, economist Miles Corak of the University of Ottawa found that the United States ranked 15th in social mobility. Only Italy and the Britain among wealthy countries ranked lower. By some measures, children in the United States are as likely to inherit their parents' economic status as their height.

Q. So why has income inequality worsened?

A. There's no simple answer. Globalization has created "superstars" and concentrated pay among corporate executives, Wall Street traders, popular entertainers and other financial elite. At the same time, factory workers now compete with 3 billion people in China, India, eastern Europe and elsewhere who weren't working for multinational corporations 20 years ago. Many now make products for Apple, Intel, General Motors and others at low wages. This has depressed middle-class pay. And pay has risen much faster for college graduates than for high-school graduates. These trends have contributed to a "hollowed out" labor market, with more jobs at the higher and lower ends of the pay scale and fewer in the middle.

Social factors contribute, too. Single-parent families are more likely to be poor than other families and less likely to ascend the income ladder. Finally, men and women with college degrees and high pay are more likely to marry each other and amplify income gaps.

Q. Does wealth distribution follow a similar pattern?

A. It's even more pronounced. A Pew Research Center study found that the wealthiest 7 percent of households grew 28 percent richer from 2009 through 2011. For the bottom 93 percent, collective wealth fell 4 percent. That's largely because wealthy households own far more stocks and other financial assets than others. By contrast, whatever wealth middle-class Americans have is mainly in their home equity.

Since the Great Recession ended, stock-market averages have soared, setting records in 2013. Home values, though, remain far below their peaks reached in 2006. That divergence has benefited the richest and left others struggling.

Q. Where do the 1 percent live?

A. Investor Warren Buffett famously lives in Omaha, Neb. Les Wexner, whose fashion empire includes Victoria's Secret, is an Ohioan. But the wealthy mainly cluster around the largest cities. Of the 515 U.S. billionaires, 96 live around New York City, according to the intelligence firm Wealth-X. Los Angeles is home to 22, Chicago 21, San Francisco 20, Houston 14. Millionaires are more widely dispersed. Maryland has the highest concentration. Of all its households, 7.7 percent have $1 million or more in financial assets. New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii and Alaska have the next-highest concentrations, according to a report from Phoenix Marketing International.

Q. Has the Obama administration made progress in narrowing the wealth gap?

A. No. By most measures, it's worsened in the past seven years. President Barack Obama managed last year to restore higher tax rates on incomes above $398,350. And he's pushed other steps that might narrow the gap slightly, such as a higher minimum wage. But congressional Republicans have resisted most such measures.

Q. Is everyone concerned about the wealth gap?

A. Some conservative economists question much of the data. They note, for example, that Saez's figures don't include government benefits, such as Social Security or food stamps, or employer payments for health insurance, that benefit the less-than-rich. Yet the Congressional Budget Office did include government benefits and the effect of taxes in its own study and still found a sizable gap: For the top 1 percent, income jumped 275 percent, adjusted for inflation, from 1979 to 2007. For the middle 60 percent of Americans, it grew less than 40 percent.

Q. So what do experts say is the best way to shrink the wealth gap?

A. Most ideas break down along political lines. Liberal economists tend to support a higher minimum wage, greater access to pre-school and college education and more spending on roads, bridges and other infrastructure to help generate good-paying jobs. Most favor higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for such programs.

Conservatives tend to back tax cuts, government deregulation and other steps they say will accelerate hiring and growth and raise living standards for everyone. They tend to focus on the need to advance income mobility.

In a speech this month, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio acknowledged the enormous pay disparity between a fast food company's cashier and its CEO.

"The problem we face is not simply the gap in pay between them, but rather that too many of those cashiers are stuck in the same job for years on end," Rubio said.


01-27-2014, 11:14 AM
I have been informed that Morrie Turner, creator of Wee Pals comic strip, passed from ongoing illness.

In addition to his comic strip, Morrie was as generous and loving man, as well as a member of my church. He was so well loved, there was a line every Sunday morning to greet him with hugs and kisses.

He will be missed.

01-27-2014, 06:37 PM
I have been informed that Morrie Turner, creator of Wee Pals comic strip, passed from ongoing illness.

In addition to his comic strip, Morrie was as generous and loving man, as well as a member of my church. He was so well loved, there was a line every Sunday morning to greet him with hugs and kisses.

He will be missed.

http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local-obituaries/morrie-turner-creator-wee-pals-dies/nc3sC/ (http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local-obituaries/morrie-turner-creator-wee-pals-dies/nc3sC/)

02-04-2014, 11:55 AM
Coke features first gay family to appear in a Super Bowl ad

Feb. 2, 2014 at 9:07 PM ET

Video: Coca-Cola's commercial showed different types of people that make up “America The Beautiful," including the first gay family featured in a Super Bowl ad.

In the second quarter of the Super Bowl, Coke became the first advertiser to show a gay family in an ad for America's big game.

The snippet appeared as one of many vignettes in a sweeping ad that celebrated America's collection of diverse creeds, codes and individuals. In the five-second clip, two male partners and their daughter go roller-skating while a chorus of children sing "America the beautiful."

The hashtag #AmericaIsBeautiful went trending on Twitter shortly after the spot aired.

Gay rights organization GLAAD praised the ad, calling it "a step forward for the advertising industry."

Coke has been under fire for its marketing lately. A social marketing effort that allowed customers to give each other digital coke bottles with words written on them backfired after the site wouldn't allow users to put the word "gay" on them.

The beverage maker has also been criticized for sponsoring the 2014 Olympics because the host country, Russia, in 2013 passed a law banning "the distribution of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" to minors

"Coca-Cola has demonstrated to corporate America that being LGBT-inclusive is good business, but as the world turns its attention to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics, it's time for sponsors of the Olympics like Coca-Cola to show the whole world how beautiful LGBT families are," said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement after the ad aired.

02-04-2014, 12:06 PM
Maine Supreme Court sides with transgender student in bathroom case
Maine's Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the school district of Orono violated state law by prohibiting a transgender student from using the girls' bathroom at a public elementary school in 2009. The ruling is reportedly the first time an American court has deemed it unlawful to bar transgender students from using facilities that align with their gender identity. "This is a momentous decision that marks a huge breakthrough for transgender young people," Jennifer Levi, director of GLAAD Transgender Rights Project, said


02-04-2014, 12:08 PM
Bill seeks honorable discharges for veterans expelled under DADT
A bill introduced in the Senate on Thursday would grant honorable discharges to gay and lesbian veterans who were expelled under the military’s “don't ask, don't tell" policy. About 114,000 service members were dishonorably discharged because of their sexual orientation prior to the reversal of DADT in 2011. "Many of these brave men and women that served our country are currently barred from benefits that they earned and are entitled to, and in the most egregious cases they are prevented from legally calling themselves a veteran," said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, who introduced the bill.

02-04-2014, 12:08 PM
Judge upholds constitutionality of Hawaii marriage law
A Hawaii judge on Wednesday upheld the constitutionality of a law that brought marriage equality to the state in 2013. The ruling was issued in a lawsuit brought by Republican state Rep. Bob McDermott. "This is a very good day for the people of Hawaii," state Attorney General David Louie said in a statement

02-06-2014, 05:05 PM
Link Suggested Between Experiences of Discrimination and Suicide Attempts Among Transgender People
New analysis of responses to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) shows that transgender respondents who experienced rejection by family and friends, discrimination, victimization or violence have a higher risk of attempting suicide. 78 percent of survey respondents who suffered physical or sexual violence at school reported suicide attempts, as did 65 percent of respondents who experienced violence at work. Over half of those who experienced harassment or bullying in schools reported lifetime suicide attempts, as did 57 percent of those who reported that their family chose not to speak/spend time with them. High prevalence of suicide attempts was also found among those who had ever experienced homelessness (69%) and those who reported a doctor or healthcare provider refused to treat them (60%). The study utilized data collected through the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), which was conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Click here to read the report.

02-07-2014, 03:35 PM
Obama nominates gay black man for federal bench
The Obama administration announced Wednesday its nomination of Judge Darrin Gayles for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. If confirmed by the Senate, he would be the first openly gay black male federal judge. "We commend the administration for nominating a qualified jurist who will also add diversity to the federal bench," Steven Thai, press secretary for the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute, said. Gayles' nomination comes after Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., blocked another nominee, also an openly gay black man.

02-15-2014, 08:08 AM
NEW DELHI — India, the second-largest exporter of over-the-counter and prescription drugs to the United States, is coming under increased scrutiny by American regulators for safety lapses, falsified drug test results and selling fake medicines.

Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, arrived in India this week to express her growing unease with the safety of Indian medicines because of “recent lapses in quality at a handful of pharmaceutical firms.”

India’s pharmaceutical industry supplies 40 percent of over-the-counter and generic prescription drugs consumed in the United States, so the increased scrutiny could have profound implications for American consumers.


02-17-2014, 08:19 AM
Columbus, Georgia News

Three suspects arrested for allegedly raping a woman and setting her on fire Posted: Feb 17, 2014 7:20 AM CST Updated: Feb 17, 2014 7:59 AM CST Posted by Samantha Perpignand - email

Three suspects are behind bars at the Muscogee County Jail for allegedly raping, shooting, and setting a woman on fire on New Year's Day. Ketorie Glover, Robert Johnson, and Joey Garron are the suspects. Police say the men forced a woman into a car at gunpoint and raped her. They then allegedly set the car on fire with the woman still inside. The woman was found screaming for help in a wooded area on Farr Rd. after the alleged attack. She was transported to Midtown Medical Center and has since had extensive medical treatment. The victim's cousin says the woman was attacked by the men due to a conflict that happened during a rap contest. Glover will appear in court Monday morning at 9 a.m. He is charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, aggravated sexual assault and sodomy, rape, first degree arson, hijacking a motor vehicle, kidnapping, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. The other two suspects remain in police custody. RELATED: Woman shot, left in vacant lot on Farr Rd. Copyright 2014 WTVM. All rights reserved.

02-17-2014, 08:45 AM
15 million Afghan women and girls could be legislated into slavery; 13 years of struggle for their rights abandoned...

“With this ban, the Sitara of Hirat, whose nose and lips were cut off by her husband and only her family were present, cannot seek justice.”
"Rights groups say a proposed law in Afghanistan will allow perpetrators of domestic violence to escape prosecution, and are calling for international pressure to prevent President Hamid Karzai from signing it into law.

Afghanistan's parliament, a two-chamber house dominated by conservative Muslim leaders and former warlords, passed a "criminal procedure law" last year, which experts say contains articles that deny women legal protections.

To go into force, it needs Karzai's signature.

"Afghan President Hamid Karzai should refuse to sign a new criminal procedure code that would effectively deny women protection from domestic violence and forced or child marriage," Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement published on its website on Wednesday.

The draft document contains an article that according to HRW states: "The following people can not be questioned as witnesses... relatives of the accused."

That language, according to HRW, would effectively protect women's abusers.

Most victims are abused by family members inside the home, meaning that only relatives would witness the crime in the majority of cases.

"A woman who is the victim of domestic violence won’t be able to testify against her husband, a girl who has been forced into a marriage against her will won’t be able to testify against her father," Heather Barr of Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera's Jane Ferguson.

"Laws that make domestic violence, make forced marriage, make child marriage illegal will become meaningless if this law is passed.”

Saeeq Shajjan, a lawyer with his own firm in Afghanistan, told Al Jazeera that the full bill had not been made public.

"The bill could be very problematic. The prosecution will have a difficult time to bring cases against offenders, particularly in cases of domestic abuse," he said.

"If this is passed it could ruin the good work we have been doing over the past 13 years for human rights, especially for women."

A spokesperson for Karzai said he could not comment on the president's intentions and was not aware if the draft of the new law had yet reached him.

The politics of women's rights

Debate about the new bill comes at the same time as Afghan leaders aspiring to be the nation's next president take the stage in televised presidential debates and the same year the United States withdraws from the country.

In a statement posted on the organisation's Facebook page, Parnian Nazary, Advocacy Manager for Women for Afghan Women (WAW) asked President Karzi not to sign the law.

"WAW urges the presidential candidates to take a position on the issue as an indication of their commitment to Afghan women’s rights. Above all, we ask people and governments in the developed world who value justice, and especially the US government, which has promised not to abandon the women of Afghanistan, to shout out loud and clear their refusal to accept this assault on women’s rights."

The proposed legislation would run counter to a groundbreaking law on Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) passed in 2009.

In an email to Al Jazeera, Wazhma Frogh, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Research Institute for Women Peace and Security – Afghanistan said: “This article is a blow to Evaw law as well because the Evaw law cannot be implemented if a woman doesn't have any witness.

“In Afghanistan almost all cases of violence against women is inside homes and if relatives can't testify then no woman can seek legal protection from violence.

“With this ban, the Sitara of Hirat, whose nose and lips were cut off by her husband and only her family were present, cannot seek justice.”


Al Jazeera and agencies

Lady Pamela
02-25-2014, 01:52 AM

The president of Uganda signed the bill KILL THE GAYS
today!!! This means thousands of people are going to be
they are gay/lesbian or know someone who is!!!This needs
to be seen and heard by everyone so they might get some
help before geniside happens!This needs to go viral so those
in office and those who have avenues to help will all know.
I have many friends who are in fear of being murdered this very
moment with no place to hide! They need media and people in high
places to take notice. Africans as well as U.S. citizens
alike are there in threat!
And energy of prayers that untill they recieve help, that
they will be protected and have a place to hide out.
Thank you very much!
Also please sign petition and share this link as well.
This petition claims life imprisonment only but speaking

to others I have found it to be much more than this.


02-27-2014, 05:00 PM
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) has announced an Open Enrollment Window for the DoD Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) for same sex couples.

Military Retirees who were married to a same-sex spouse on or before June 26, 2013, may now have spouse coverage in the SBP. Depending on the retiree?s circumstances, enrollment for their spouse may be automatic or the retiree may need to elect spouse coverage. Either way, retirees MUST ACT by June 25, 2014 to participate in the SBP Open Enrollment Window.

The DFAS announcement encourages Military Retirees with same-sex spouses to visit http://go.usa.gov/Ww6x<http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fgo.usa.gov%2FWw6x&h=IAQE1kxwf&s=1> as soon as possible for more information to learn what steps are to be taken by June 25, 2014 to secure or decline the SBP benefit for their spouse. (NOTE: The above link takes you to the DFAS website that discusses the general topic of SBP and making the election. (See: http://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/provide/sbp.html<http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dfas.mil%2Fretiredmilitar y%2Fprovide%2Fsbp.html&h=-AQE0Ou-E&s=1> ) There are other links to websites with information about who is eligible, costs, and the procedures.)

Although it is not discussed in the DFAS announcement, same-sex ?former spouses? would also be eligible for court awarded Former Spouse SBP coverage in the event of a divorce or dissolution of a same-sex marriage

03-13-2014, 12:37 AM
A car just plowed into a crowd at the Austin Texas South by Southwest event, killing at least two people and injuring many more. :praying: for our austin people and the others effected.

03-21-2014, 03:03 PM
Lol! More sanctions from Obama against Russia are just plain ridiculous and had to laugh when Putin was just like "k we make sanctions against you too." Does he really think he can bully Russia... :p Especially with the majority of the EU and Britain dependent on Russia for oil, Obama is pretty much alone in his ridiculous sanction crusade.

I also have to laugh at Clinton comparing Russia to Nazi Germany when the US continues to support the state that is probably the closest to it in the modern era: Israel, who has gone so far as to segregate Palestinians in pretty much every possible way, continues to murder Palestinians with impunity and remains on annexed Palestinian land. But I suppose you have to be a "friend of the west" to be able to get away with a racist state. It's just pitiful...and all this supposedly for the "freedom of the Crimean people"...who just fucking voted in a referendum that they want to join Russia. As such, Russia has not truly "annexed" anyone because the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to join Russia. But because the outcome isn't something the west likes it has to claim that Crimeans were "intimidated." Meanwhile Crimean football teams are already applying to switch from the Ukrainian to the Russian league next season. Or perhaps it frightens the nation states of the west that a region can successfully vote to determine which nation they'd prefer to be a part of, and since most Crimeans already identify as Russian it's a bit of a no-brainer.

Now some American Republicans want FIFA to bar Russia from hosting the 2018 World Cup, and for once Blatter does something smart and stood up against them.


This article made me laugh my ass off even more though: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2585902/Now-impose-sanctions-Chelsea-boss-Abramovich-Putin-critic-tells-Cameron-Obama.html

03-23-2014, 01:45 AM
Just in, landslide in Washington State has people buried in debrie calling out for help.

Pray for those poor people, and Washington folks check in when you can.

03-27-2014, 07:19 PM
Okay, this isn't exactly breaking news, but I am really angry about this (I just read it on MSN.com)....

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon woman on trial for the murder of her 4-year-old son believed the boy was gay and that was a motive behind the deadly beatings, a prosecutor said.

Jessica Dutro's son Zachary died in August 2012, days after collapsing at the homeless shelter where his family was living southwest of Portland.

Washington County Judge Don Letourneau ruled Wednesday, after jurors were released for the day, that a Facebook message from Dutro to her boyfriend was admissible evidence, The Oregonian newspaper reported (http://is.gd/rfralf ).

In the message, Dutro told her boyfriend, Brian Canady, that Zachary was "facing the wall" because he had made her angry.

Her son was going to be gay, she wrote, using a slur. "He walks and talks like it. Ugh."

Canady would have to "work on" Zachary, she wrote.

The message established Dutro's motive for inflicting a pattern of abuse, prosecutor Megan Johnson said. Dutro assaulted three of her children, but Zachary received the harshest treatment, authorities said.

The judge ruled additional web searches done by Dutro were also admissible. On Aug. 16, 2012, the day her son's life support was terminated, Dutro searched terms such as anger management and parenting classes, prosecutors said. She also searched listings for free stuff and sex with strangers, they said.

Earlier this month, Canady pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault for his role in the homicide.

The boy died of blunt-force trauma to his abdomen and a delay in medical treatment, prosecutors said.

Dutro, 25, is charged with murder, murder by abuse and second-degree assault.

Link: http://news.msn.com/crime-justice/prosecutor-mom-killed-son-she-perceived-to-be-gay

04-02-2014, 04:42 PM
Today a gunman at Ft. Hood,TX , several people injured, 1 is known to be dead as of 540pm central time. The Gunman is still loose and on the run!!. People are asked to stay indoors, Ft. Hood is on Lockdown and told to shelter in place, meaning take shelter where ever they are at the time and not go about business on post.

This is Breaking news as of 540 pm. The news has not been told anything other than what I have posted. The closest hospital with a trauma center is Scott and White Hospital I believe which is in Temple, TX about 45 mins. to an hour from Killeen, TX.

I pray none of you have family in Killeen,TX or Ft. Hood that may be injured. Prayers going up for all.

04-02-2014, 04:56 PM
Today a gunman at Ft. Hood,TX , several people injured, 1 is known to be dead as of 540pm central time. The Gunman is still loose and on the run!!. People are asked to stay indoors, Ft. Hood is on Lockdown and told to shelter in place, meaning take shelter where ever they are at the time and not go about business on post.

This is Breaking news as of 540 pm. The news has not been told anything other than what I have posted. The closest hospital with a trauma center is Scott and White Hospital I believe which is in Temple, TX about 45 mins. to an hour from Killeen, TX.

I pray none of you have family in Killeen,TX or Ft. Hood that may be injured. Prayers going up for all.

Multiple friends at Ft. Hood and one that works at the hospital in Temple... too early to tell, but not a good situation.

04-02-2014, 05:05 PM
Today a gunman at Ft. Hood,TX , several people injured, 1 is known to be dead as of 540pm central time. The Gunman is still loose and on the run!!. People are asked to stay indoors, Ft. Hood is on Lockdown and told to shelter in place, meaning take shelter where ever they are at the time and not go about business on post.

This is Breaking news as of 540 pm. The news has not been told anything other than what I have posted. The closest hospital with a trauma center is Scott and White Hospital I believe which is in Temple, TX about 45 mins. to an hour from Killeen, TX.

I pray none of you have family in Killeen,TX or Ft. Hood that may be injured. Prayers going up for all.

CORRECTION: MY local ABC News says the closest trauma hospital is in Killeen TX, named Scott and White Hospital.

I will keep posting updates as I hear them on the news. Or you can turn on ABC news or your local news stations .

Please say prayers for family members and friends to keep them safe and for others in this situation.

04-02-2014, 05:33 PM
There have been reports of at least 14 shooting victims injured now, 4 critical and 1 known deceased. Nearest trauma center is Scott and White Hospital in Killeen TX, not very far from FT. HOOD.

Please pray they catch the gunman and any associates if any. And pray for the families there and here at the planet.

04-02-2014, 05:46 PM

04-02-2014, 05:49 PM

Not again!

04-02-2014, 05:56 PM


04-02-2014, 06:40 PM
CNN now reports there are multiple injured, multipled fatalities, and 3 sent to Scott and White Memorial Hospital and the shooter is dead.

waiting on report from officials news conference from Ft. Hood.

04-02-2014, 07:47 PM
according to CNN news 4 shooting victims sent to Scott and White Hospital in TEMPLE TX not killeen, and 2 more in route of which one by land and 1 by air to hospital. The hospital spokesman said the injured vary from stable to severe critical.

Still waiting on Ft. Hood Spokesman to speak on news to give more information.

04-02-2014, 09:07 PM
16 confirmed injured, 4 confirmed fatalities including the shooter according to Ft. Hood General during press conference. It is an ongoing investigation to find out anymore information as to why it happened and how.
It is confirmed that the shooter used a .45 caliber smith and wesson handgun that was purchased in the local area of Ft. Hood. They are investigating the shooter's psychiatric background,background history, searching twitter, facebook, etc, his home, computers, etc, and anything else they can search about him and why this happened. It is confirmed that the shooter shot himself in the head and died. The soldier was married and his family was in the local area, they are awaiting to notify his family members. He was undergoing evaluation for behavioral health and mental health, he was on medication for depression, he was not wounded in war.

04-05-2014, 04:40 PM
Michigan Hate Crime
Just saw and read this news article.
Here's the CNN link:


04-05-2014, 07:06 PM
Nine-month-old charged with attempted murder in Pakistan. You read/hear this jaw-dropping stuff and words just fail you.


05-10-2014, 05:32 PM
Rams pick Michael Sam in draft, clearing way for him to become NFL's 1st openly gay player.

The NFL at last has its first openly gay player, and he'll play for the Saint Louis Rams.

The Rams drafted defensive end Michael Sam, who came out publicly in February, with the 249th pick Saturday, ending months of speculation to when – or if – Sam would hear his name called in the draft.

Sam becomes the first openly gay athlete drafted into one of America's major professional sports leagues. Veteran NBA player Jason Collins came out last summer and plays for the New Jersey Nets.

"For Michael, it's a little bit of relief that it's over, and you can finally say you're part of the NFL family. That is a dream come true for so many football players. That's a realization that all his hard work has paid off," gay former NFL player Wade Davis, the executive director of the You Can Play Project, told USA TODAY Sports. "Now he can really start to focus on his new journey."

05-10-2014, 05:47 PM
Arkansas Issues First Same-Sex Marriage License After Ban Struck Down

The couple drove up to Eureka Springs from Little Rock when they learned the Pulaski County courthouse wouldn’t be open today. The AP has more:

Seaton and Rambo slept in their Ford Focus after arriving at 2 a.m. Saturday, waking up every 30 minutes to make sure they were at the head of the line. The moment they saw another couple pull up, Seaton and Rambo bolted to the courthouse.

“I don’t think I ran that fast,” Rambo said.

The Carroll County Courthouse was the only one scheduled to open today for regular hours, and it’s due to close at 1:00 p.m. CDT. Here’s the scene when it opened:

Kristin Seaton and Jennifer Rambo Saturday, a day after a federal judge struck down the state's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage
Arkansas issued its first same-sex marriage license Saturday morning as couples lined up outside a local courthouse one day after a judge overturned the state’s gay marriage ban.

Kristin Seaton and Jennifer Rambo of Forth Smith were the first Arkansas couple to receive a marriage license Saturday after Pulaski County judge Chris Piazza ruled the ban unconstitutional Friday. The couple has been together for four years.

05-11-2014, 05:39 AM
NRA uses Nigerian girls’ abduction to promote itself and slam ‘Pajama Boy’ liberals

The National Rifle Association has seized upon the abduction of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls as a means of promoting itself and slamming liberals as soft, weak people who watch MSNBC talk show host Chris Hayes.

Media Matters reported Saturday that NRA News host Cam Edwards went out of his way to attack liberals while discussing the abduction of the girls from their preparatory school.

In a talk with his guest Katie Pavlich of Fox News, Edwards said, “I would go one step further and say that, you know, when ask the U.S. for help, we don’t send Pajama Boy to do the job, Katie.”



05-14-2014, 05:10 AM

It Continues to Get Worse in Uganda, as LGBT Couple Tried for First Time in Court

We've previously reported about the deteriorating climate for LGBT people (and women) in Uganda, and sadly, despite international outrage, that homophobic environment doesn't appear to be improving.

On Wednesday, for the first time in the East African nation's reported history, two LGBT Ugandans were brought to trial for engaging in "sex against the order of nature." That charge appears to be intentionally vague, allowing for basically any kind of "nonnormative" sexual activity to be subject to criticism, arrest, and, according to Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act, life imprisonment.

Kim Musika, a 24-year-old businessman, and Jackson Musaka, a 19-year-old transgender woman, are facing charges under Uganda's amended penal code, Section 145, which prohibits consensual sexual relationships between members of the same sex, reports blogger and activist Colin Stewart. According to numerous reports, the trial will be the first time that anyone has been brought to trial for allegedly violating Section 145, which was drafted during colonial rule and enacted in 1950.

Notably, the pair are not being charged under Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act, which President Yoweri Museveni signed into law February 24 and which prescribes lifetime prison terms for "aggravated homosexuality" as well as lengthy jail sentences for any individual and severe penalties for organization found guilty of "aiding or abetting homosexuality."

Nevertheless, the two Ugandans could face lifetime prison sentences if they're found guilty of violating the colonial-era law that was reportedly rarely enforced before the escalation of violent antigay sentiment sparked by the Anti-Homosexuality Act's passage earlier this year.

The accused, who have been held in Luzira Prison since their January arrest, are being represented by the advocacy group Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum — Uganda. The group's executive director, Adrian Jjuuko, told Stewart at his blog, Erasing 76 Crimes, that the legal team tried unsuccessfully to secure bail for the incarcerated Ugandans.

Jjuuko confirmed that Musika and Musaka are facing charges of "'carnal knowledge against the order of nature’ and ‘permitting a male person to have carnal knowledge of oneself against the order of nature,’" and explained that Musika was being beaten by a mob in late January when Human Rights Awareness officials intervened.

Despite the increasingly hostile environment, several prominent activists have elected to stay in the country, though many have been forced to continue their work underground, lest they be targeted by politically emboldened police or townspeople. Although international outrage has been loud and swift — including the removal of some foreign aid upon which the Ugandan government heavily relies — a majority of Ugandan citizens report supporting the law. More than 1,000 Ugandans gathered at a rally near Kampala last month to celebrate and "give thanks" for the law's passage.

President Yoweri Museveni, who is up for reelection in 2016, led that march through the streets of Kampala, while demonstrators carried signs with messages like "Museveni, thank you for saving the future of Uganda," "Homosexuality + AIDS = 100%," and "Obama, we want trade not homosexuality."


05-22-2014, 10:33 AM
The White House

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Watch Live: Harvey Milk Stamp Unveiling Ceremony

This Thursday, May 22, the White House Office of Public Engagement, the United States Postal Service and the Harvey Milk Foundation will host a first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony for the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp at the White House.

The event will feature remarks by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Tammy Baldwin, Representative John Lewis, Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman, and other distinguished guests including the Co-Founders of the Harvey Milk Foundation, Stuart Milk and Anne Kronenberg.

Watch live starting at 3:00 p.m. EST at www.whitehouse.gov/live.<http://click.mail.whitehouse.gov/?qs=1849eaeafaf5885478397f9d8421eea98b5256de7be9e3 6f81beb837bc9d738e170f02e1a105ce7e>

If you're following on social media, the hashtag is #HarveyMilkStamp.

[Harvey Milk Stamp]

(by United States Postal Service)

Harvey Milk was a visionary leader who became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S. when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. Milk's achievements gave hope and confidence to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in the United States and elsewhere at a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility and discrimination. Milk believed that government should represent all citizens, ensuring equality and providing needed services.

Tragically, his political career was cut short less than a year after he took office in California when he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated on November 27, 1978.

In 2009, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Harvey Milk with the Presidential Medal of Freedom<http://click.mail.whitehouse.gov/?qs=1849eaeafaf588543776aabec0c166753c7e32cc28a333 7ea0f9191f91126c29310426ac758be360>. And in 2013, the White House Office of Public Engagement honored ten openly LGBT elected and appointed officials as "Harvey Milk Champions of Change."<http://click.mail.whitehouse.gov/?qs=765f55d15e590ca4e33410f915b4237f933604e489e8b7 665bd406a6bcc5008df7adf1b91145ddc2>

See more information on the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp.<http://click.mail.whitehouse.gov/?qs=765f55d15e590ca4ce6fdd6f0dce7878a6d52ce5a3ea28 73667cb311068d56a58d78dc0c75550735>

The White House * 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW * Washington, DC 20500 * 202-456-1111

05-23-2014, 02:40 PM
LGBTI campaigners in Serbia cancelled IDAHO and Pride Week to volunteer for flood relief work

Thousands have been left homeless by the floods in the Balkans, which have spread death and destruction.
LGBTI rights campaigners have ditched Pride Week to come to the rescue of the flooding victims in Serbia and Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Europe’s Balkans region has been faced with its worst natural disaster in 120 years with floods killing people and animals and destroying homes, crops and businesses.

Now Gayten-LGBT, one of the region’s leading lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex organizations, has revealed how its members are trying to help.

On 16 May, they decided to cancel all their actions planned for Pride Week and for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) the next day.

Milan Djuric of Gayten-LGBT said: ‘Everybody here is trying to help out in the best way they can.

‘We have been volunteering in help centers, collecting food, clothes, hygiene and cosmetic products, helping out with the evacuees, providing psychological help, etc.

‘The spirit of the people and the ways they have been employing to help flood victims are remarkable – where government failed to protect its citizens before and after the flood, people themselves took actions of solidarity and mutual aid.

‘Together with our fellow partners here, we are taking action. We need any kind of help!’

Duric said ‘the best way is to send help in food, clothes, etc, directly to help centers anywhere in Serbia’ rather than to send money.

‘Gayten-LGBT calls out to their friends and allies in the world to support the people affected by the floods,’ he added.

‘Our heartfelt solidarity goes out to all the people who have lost their homes and people they love in this catastrophe. We hope that the floods ease down soon, the rivers recede and that the needed help reaches the people as soon as possible.’

Djuric made the appeal in a private letter to global LGBTI activists but asked Gay Star News to share his message to gain more international support.

But despite their efforts, church leaders in Bosnia are still using the floods to spread hate against LGBTIs.

They have claimed the floods were sent by God to punish them for Austrian drag artist Conchita’s victory in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Original article HERE (http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gays-sacrifice-pride-come-rescue-balkan-flood-victims230514)

05-23-2014, 02:45 PM
TOKYO — Thousands gathered in Tokyo’s trendy Shibuya business and shopping district for LGBT Pride on Sunday.

http://cache3.asset-cache.net/gc/487035425-akie-abe-wife-of-japanese-prime-minister-gettyimages.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=X7WJLa88Cweo9HktRLaNXqe5SmCW%2bei1ML0ropKS5P58K7 oLttPw6EY4tcgSN5kp%2bbbhilSaDS%2fjhM31XoA1DQ%3d%3d

Japan’s first lady, Akie Abe, wife of conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, joined the festivities, standing on a float (pictured, right, in white) amid a sea of 3,000 marching participants.

Akie Abe, 51, known for her liberal inclinations, wrote on her Facebook page later that she has been involved in the issue since joining a commission set up by UNAIDS and the Lancet medical journal last year, reports AFP.

“I want to help build a society where anyone can conduct happy, enriched lives without facing discrimination,” she wrote. “I had the pleasure of spending fun time filled with smiles. Thank you.”

Unlike traditional Japanese first ladies, Akie Abe has projected a cheerful confidence, freely speaking her mind and making remarks that often resonate with the modern public.

The Prime Minister did not join her at the event, and instead spent the day visiting victims of the 2011 tsunami.

Original article and Getty Images HERE (http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2014/04/japans-first-lady-joins-thousands-marching-in-tokyo-lgbt-pride-parade/)

05-24-2014, 07:24 AM
This man is amzing. Great story.



05-28-2014, 10:44 AM
Lost a truly good one ...

Maya Angelo dies at 86 in North Carolina


05-28-2014, 09:01 PM
errrr ... that would be "Angelou"

05-30-2014, 05:29 PM
41 minutes ago

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Medicare can no longer automatically deny coverage requests for sex reassignment surgeries, a federal board ruled Friday in a groundbreaking decision that recognizes the procedures are medically necessary for some people who don't identify with their biological sex.

Ruling in favor of a 74-year-old transgender Army veteran whose request to have Medicare pay for her genital reconstruction was denied two years ago, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review board said there was no justification for a three-decade-old agency rule excluding such surgeries from treatments covered by the national health program for the elderly and disabled.

"Sometimes I am asked aren't I too old to have surgery. My answer is how old is too old?" the veteran, Denee Mallon, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, said in an email interview before the board issued its decision. "When people ask if I am too old, it feels like they are implying that it's a 'waste of money' to operate at my age. But I could have an active life ahead of me for another 20 years. And I want to spend those years in congruence and not distress."

Jennifer Levi, a lawyer who directs the Transgender Rights Project of Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders in Boston, said the ruling does not mean Medicare recipients are necessarily entitled to have sex reassignment surgery paid for by the government.

Instead, the lifting of the coverage ban means they now will be able to seek authorization by submitting documentation from a doctor and mental health professionals stating that surgery is recommended in their individual case, Levi said.

No statistics exist on how many people might be affected by the decision. Gary Gates, a demographer with The Williams Institute, a think tank on LGBT issues based at the University of California, Los Angeles, has estimated that people who self-identify as transgender make up 0.3 percent of the U.S. adult population. Over 49 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare.

The cost of gender reassignment surgery varies, but typically ranges from $7,000 to $50,000, according to the Transgender Law Center in Oakland, California.

In Friday's ruling, the appeals board said that HHS lacked sufficient evidence in 1981 when it made a "national coverage determination," or NCD, holding that Medicare recipients were ineligible for what it then called "transsexual surgery" because the procedure was too controversial, experimental and medically risky.

The panel went on to say that regardless of what the record showed then, studies and experts have since shown the efficacy of surgical interventions as a treatment for gender dysphoria, the diagnosis given to people who experience extreme distress due to the disconnect between their birth sex and their gender identity.

"We have no difficulty concluding that the new evidence, which includes medical studies published in the more than 32 years since issuance of the 1981 report underlying the NCD, outweighs the NCD record and demonstrates that transsexual surgery is safe and effective and not experimental. Thus, as we discuss below, the grounds for the ...exclusion of coverage are not reasonable," the civilian panel said.

The appeals board's decisions are binding on HHS unless they are appealed in federal court. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency within HHS that manages Medicare, opted not to defend the transgender surgery exclusion before the five-member board and had initiated the process for lifting it on its own before Mallon filed her complaint.

The ruling does not apply to Medicaid, which provides health coverage for individuals and families with low-incomes and is regulated by the states. Some states have exclusions on sex reassignment surgeries and the sex hormones transgender people often take during their transitions, while others evaluate claims on a case-by-case basis.

Transgender health advocates said that because private insurance companies and Medicaid programs often take their cues from the federal government on what is considered medically necessary, elective or experimental, the decision could pave the way for sex-reassignment surgeries to be a routinely covered benefit.

Mallon was born a man and has lived as a woman on and off since she was a teenager and full time since 2009. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must eliminate its blanket exclusion on transition-related surgeries within 30 days and re-evaluate Mallon's medical claim in light of the change, the HHS board said.

"This decision means so much to me and to many other transgender people. I am relieved to know that my doctor and I can now address my medical needs, just as other patients and doctors do," Mallon said in a statement Friday.