Monday, June 30, 2014

Women Voters WILL Punish Conservative Candidates in 2014 and 2016

It's not IF.

It is WHEN.

The choices of women matter. The rights to those choices matter.

Corporations are not people, they should not have the same rights as people, and they do not take precedence over flesh and blood women.

If either Hobby Lobby or Conestoga were devout religious believers in Islam, in Sharia, the SCOTUS would never have made the same decision.

This recent ruling is promoting one religion -- one VERSION of Christianity -- over the religious beliefs of others, contrary to the Constitution establishment clause.

Conservatives are not only anti-contraception, and anti-choice for women, they are anti-autonomy and anti-equality for women.

We will not forget.

Family Values do not put guns ahead of the importance of the lives of children

Guns harm more kids than they ever protect.

#Not My Boss's Business

Conservatives hate women having autonomy over their bodies and having reproductive choice. Conservatives hate human sexuality and demand that medically false information be disseminated.

Corporations do NOT have religious beliefs.  Corporations are not people, and trying to claim they are or treat them as if they are demeans all of us who really ARE people.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Why Obama is SO much better than the NEOCONS and other varieties of GOP

Sing it Lizz Winstead! (successful Minnesota woman)

GOP - 'Rush' to Hypocrisy


Back in 2008, Rush Limbaugh encouraged his listeners, his CONSERVATIVE TEA PARTY listeners, to vote for Hillary Clinton in Texas Primary elections. (h/t to Outside the Beltway)
From CNN:
Limbaugh has been actively urging his Texas listeners to cross over and vote for Clinton in that state's open primary Tuesday, arguing it helps the Republicans if the Democratic race remains unsettled for weeks to come.

"I want Hillary to stay in this…this is too good a soap opera," Limbaugh told fellow conservative talk-show host Laura Ingraham on Fox News Friday. He reiterated the comments on his Monday show and replayed the exchange with Ingram.
And it wasn't only Rush Limp-bow who advocated this; it was being touted all over right wing media, and the right wing blogosphere, including here in Minnesota. It was advocated as well by the radical right wing nuts during the wisconsin recalls during 2011, where not only was voting as a false partisan advocated, but running false candidates as Democrats occurred.

The right likes dirty politics. The values they practice are dishonesty and misrepresentation, not the values to which they give empty lip service.

So of course, since conservatives believe things which are factually false on a regular basis, and also claim to be victims in the most annoyingly whiney manner possible, the radical right is having a complete meltdown that their Mississippis Teabagger candidate lost.

Black voters turned out for the lesser of two evils, Thad Cochrane. Mississippi apparently has a statute that requires voters to intend to vote for the candidate in the general election that you vote for in the primary; it is part of the old Jim Crow era laws.

The logical problem with this old racist voter suppression intended law is that it is unenforceable. First of all, it tries to police something that cannot be proven - intent. Since no one knows, or can know, who any individual voter casts a ballot for in a primary race, and no one knows or can know who one casts a ballot for in the general election either (the essence of a secret ballot), it would seem this law in unenforceable.

DID the Cochrane campaign and others advocate that black Democrats in Mississippi turn out for Cochrane? It appears so. But how can anyone, now or later, prove that these voters did not, on the aay they voted, NOT intend to vote for him in the general election --- or know who they did or did not vote for in that voting booth?

The simple answer is that while the losing candidate McDaniel may have a valid suspicion that Dems disliked him so much they turned out to vote him down, that is all he has -- a suspicion. He has no proof that can stand up in a court of law, even a crooked deeps south 'South'ron' court, without risking throwing out that old Jim Crow law as unconstitutional and with little chance of overturning the primary election. Those democratic voters, especially those of color, have been the ACTUAL victims of radical right wing extremist policies and laws for a LOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNGGGGG long time in the south; they are utterly entitled to throw a wrench into the Tea Party works.

Will this affect other radical right wing nut primaries? Probably so, but it is excellent evidence that the radical right is being fractured off of the GOP, and that there are strong forces, organized forces pulling the GOP back from the dangerously far right fringes, back towards the center again.
petard (bomb) and hoist, backfiring butt hurt

In the meantime, it is tremendous fun to see the right hoist with their own petard, it is tremendously amusing to watch the radical right nasty anduglies reap what they sewed.

They have it coming, Rush et al. Karma is indeed a b*tch, and she bit them where it hurts.

Howl, Rush! HOWL! You and all the rest like you.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

RepublIcan Voter Fraud in Wisconsin - 13 felony counts

Looky looky, the radical right was engaged in multiple voting incidents in an attempt to steal the election for the GOP.

No amount of voter ID laws in effect in EITHER Wisconsin or Indiana did diddly squat to prevent actual voter fraud.

However, the investigation of the dirty dealing and apparently illegal acts by the radical right, from the state operatives on up to the big money that tries to buy elections, like Rove and the Koch brothers, shows who we all REALLY need to worry about in voter fraud and election tampering. 

It shows how well existing means of investigation and prosecution works to prosecute election tampering and voter fraud, WITHOUT voter ID to suppress minority voting.

From MSNBC news:

Robert Monroe, of Shorewood, Wis.,  was indicted last Friday on 13 felony counts related to illegal voting. Information about the investigation into Monroe was revealed when documents related to a secret investigation into the Wisconsin governor’s campaign and the 2011 and 2012 recall elections, according to Wispolitics, the blog that first reported on the investigation. TPM also reported on the allegations earlier Thursday.

Monroe’s explanation? He was suffering from amnesia that wiped out his memories of the ballot box on the election days.

Monroe allegedly voted multiple times during both the 2012 recall election and the 2012 presidential election. In the presidential election, he drove from his home in Wisconsin to Indiana, where he owns a house, and voted there.

This is believed to be the most egregious case of multiple voting in the state’s history. He could face up to 45 years in prison and $130,000 in fines if convicted on all counts.
Monroe allegedly used his own name in WI, before voting again in Indiana, he also voted using his son's name on an absentee ballot, and his girl friend son's name as well.


From WisPolitics, via the Bradblog:

From WisPol:
Robert Monroe, a 50-year-old Shorewood health insurance executive, was charged Friday with 13 felonies related to his voting a dozen times in five elections between 2011 and 2012 using his own name as well as that of his son and his girlfriend's son.
"During 2011 and 2012, the defendant, Robert Monroe, became especially focused upon political issues and causes, including especially the recall elections," the complaint asserts in its introduction.
According to those records, Monroe was considered by investigators to be the most prolific multiple voter in memory. He was a supporter of Gov. Scott Walker and state Sen. Alberta Darling, both Republicans, and allegedly cast five ballots in the June 2012 election in which Walker survived a recall challenge.
Monroe claimed to have a form of temporary amnesia and did not recall the election day events when confronted by investigators.
Monroe voted in his own name, using his Shorewood address, as well as that of a home owned by his parents in Milwaukee. He also voted in the 2012 presidential election from Shorewood and then drove to Lebanon, Ind., where he voted again. He also owns a home there.
Each of the 13 counts carries a penalty of up to $10,000 in forefeitures and three-and-a-half years in prison, for a total of $130,000 and 45-and-half years. If convicted of a felony, he would lose his right to vote.

From Bradblog:
For a start, much of this alleged illegal voting by Republican Robert Monroe was done via absentee ballot, which is, far and away, how most fraud carried out by voters actually occurs. It doesn't happen by people showing up at the polling place claiming to be someone they are not, even though that's the reason that Republicans claim that polling place Photo ID restrictions are necessary.
When U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman found Wisconsin's GOP-enacted polling place Photo ID law to be unconstitutional and in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act earlier this year, he found that some 300,000 registered voters in the state lacked the type of ID that would be necessary to vote under the Republican law. "To put this number in context," Adelman wrote in his ruling, "in 2010 the race for governor in Wisconsin was decided by 124,638 votes, and the race for United States Senator was decided by 105,041 votes. Thus, the number of registered voters who lack a qualifying ID is large enough to change the outcome of Wisconsin elections."

Still, almost none of the Photo ID restrictions which Republicans have been pretending are needed --- while claiming, without evidence, that there is a Democratic "voter fraud" epidemic --- do anything about the far more prevalent problem of absentee voter fraud, as in the Monroe case in Wisconsin.

Then there's a bit more irony here. In 2008, the state of Indiana was the first in the nation to implement polling place Photo ID restrictions. The challenge against that state's law went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court which decided, in Crawford v. Marion County, that the law could go forward for the time being, at least until such time as the challengers returned to court with specific voters who were disenfranchised by the law. (The federal appellate court judge in that case has since recanted his decision to uphold that restrictive law.)

Despite the law in place in the Hoosier State at the time, it's own Republican Sec. of State Charlie White was personally charged and found guilty of three counts of felony voter fraud in 2012 related to voting in a place where he did not live and was not entitled to vote. The Republican Photo ID law in Indiana failed to prevent even the state's top election official from committing voter fraud, but did succeed in preventing octagenarian nuns and WWII vets from casting their votes.

How did investigators determine that Monroe was the one who fraudulently cast absentee ballots in the name of others? Aside from mismatched signatures on the absentee ballot envelopes, a DNA test of those envelopes found Monroe's DNA, but no DNA of the voters who supposedly sent them, such as his girlfriend and his girlfriend's son.
Ah, those anti-science Republicans -- tripped up, again, by actual functioning science and technology.  Apparently lying and fraud are GOP "values".... as is wrongfully and dishonestly accusing the other side of doing the things they actually DO.

Proving Pen's Point

Earlier this week, there was another mass shooting, no surprise - in lax gun law state Florida, haven of ammosexuals.

This quote from seems to sum up the problem with allowing weapons with large capacity magazines and which can fire a great deal of ammunition very quickly, for the purpose of wounding or killing large numbers of people.

From the Miami Herald:

...two men had pulled up in a dark SUV around 2:15 a.m. Tuesday as more than a dozen people were hanging out, talking and drinking. The men climbed out lugging high-powered automatic weapons, and took aim.

...When the shooting stopped, more than five dozen shell casings littered the parking lot, sidewalk and street. Two men were killed and seven people were wounded in one of the worst mass shootings in Miami in decades.

But sources say the two men, carrying an AK-47 and an AR-15, were firing at an intended target who might not have even been in the crowd. The shooters had not been arrested or identified by Tuesday night. Police were tagging beer bottles and other paraphernalia around the crime scene hoping to find DNA matches or other evidence that might help identify the shooters.

“The motive at this point is still unknown. We’re still investigating,” said Miami police spokeswoman Frederica Burden.

The scene was so chaotic that when reports circulated that three men had been arrested in connection with the shooting, police immediately said it wasn’t true. The reality: Three men were detained after tossing a Sponge Bob Square Pants bag that contained weapons.

As noted in supporting a ban on large capacity weapons and assault-style weapons in Washington D.C., back in 2011, from the New York Times, quoting the findings of the presiding court:

This ruling underscores a principle set forth in the 2008 Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which held that the Second Amendment allows individuals to keep handguns at home for self-defense. The Supreme Court said in that case that the right is “not unlimited” and doesn’t protect guns “not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.” And it specifically suggested that jurisdictions could ban the possession of the military’s M-16 rifle because it is “dangerous and unusual.”
The District’s firearms law defines “assault weapon” to include rifles like the AR-15, which the Supreme Court once called “the civilian version of the military’s M-16 rifle.” The appeals court suggested that the only place where assault weapons, which are designed to spray bullets at a rapid rate, are necessary for self-defense is on a battlefield or the equivalent for police. Anywhere else their presence is an invitation to mayhem and puts police officers and all around at high risk.
It also concluded that “the evidence demonstrates a ban on assault weapons is likely to promote the Government’s interest in crime control in the densely populated urban area that is the District of Columbia.” The court reached the same conclusion about banning magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Those magazines increase the dangers of semiautomatic guns: they result in more shots fired, people wounded and wounds per person. The appeals court’s ruling is careful and convincing on this heated topic.
To date the SCOTUS has not in any way disagreed with this ruling that :

1. Specifically sets limits the kind of weapon guaranteed under the 2A; and
2. Restricts that right to the home, not on the street or in/at/on any other public or private place;

Shootings like this underline why we need stricter gun control laws and enforcement, and fewer and different guns in our population.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Self-selecting thinking

A person I know recently suggested that providing food for the poor was akin to feeding animals in federal parks and leads to a cycle of dependency where the "animals" do not learn to take care of themselves.

I submit the following in reply:

First and foremost, not providing food to the starving is inhumane and unchristian. Shall we therefore terminate all such programs worldwide lest we create... entire nations of dependent "animals." I wonder how many of our fellow men, women and children will perish while we, their betters, teach these "animals" to fend for themselves?

Second and more importantly, animals have a bit lower set of interests than most humans, food being primary, procreation being another. Humans, with our wonderful opposable thumbs, learned to think a bit more deeply. Most humans desire just a wee bit more than a free meal. In truth, the vast majority of those who are poor are out of poverty within 2 years, they are not "dependent" on society. Only 12% aren't out of poverty within 5 years. This idea, that of an underclass dependent upon society and "happy" to be that way, infantilizes those who are in fact long term poor. Many of those long-term poor are mentally challenged or physically handicapped or are retired. To suggest that they prefer this state is to suggest they have no aspirations, and instead prefer to live like animals, or prefer to be handicapped or mentally ill or old. Is that what this lessen is trying to say? If so, it's an ignorant lesson and the writer should go interview a few hundred of the long-term poor to see how THEY look at life rather than comparing them to animals. Submitted with all due respect to my acquaintance, but very little to Paul Ryan or those who want to suggest "negros" prefer to be dependent (like Cliven Bundy).
To expound on this in a bit more deep way. Animals in parks are able to fend for themselves. Most of the poor work, but they face a society which offers terrible opportunities for recent émigrés, those recently graduated, and older workers.  Consequently,  those poor have little chance of securing good jobs. We've moved our society toward paying the wealthiest the most possible, while refusing to pay those who aren't owners of a major industry anything more at all despite having increased productivity by 50% over the last 30 years. The argument from my acquaintance is a false equivalency argument which unfortunately dove-tails with the racist arguments of the likes of Mr. Bundy. Most of us are happy to work and to advance our lives IF the compensation is fair and the prospects are valid. 

Perhaps those who so vehemently decry the "takers" should fight just as hard for a fairer split of profits and see how much that helps rather than advocating for condescending "tough love" and watching people suffer. It's also funny that there is little complaint from these same folks about how much corporations are drinking from the federal spigot, including companies which create transference of wealth from the wider public to private entities (like the LA Clippers).  They don't much complain when we build them sports complexes or offer tax free zones, price subsidies, or needlessly buy military hardware (like the F35) which is no longer relevant in today's low-intensity clandestine technological battlefield. One wonders at the deafening silence. 

Last and funniest if it weren't so sad, is that they are likewise CONVINCED that the root of their own problems, in fact they lay the "over-taxation: they suffer to pay for the poor, the mentally ill, and the like.  They blame the poor and the powerless and the safety-nets we've erected to help them, as being the reason these Christians aren't as rich as they'd like to be.  It is an irony of the first order, not the cheap and shallow one to which my acquaintance referred, but instead a real one, a tragic one, a shameful one.

Just sayin

Sunday, June 22, 2014

See article three, section 3 of the Constitution.....

"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort..."

If or when you take up arms against our elected government, you take up arms against 'We the People'. The essence of 'government of the people, by the people, and for the people' is that the government IS 'We the PEOPLE'. IT is US who is attacked, who war is levied against by the use of those guns.

Friday, June 20, 2014

WHen did the term "Conservative" become synonymous with "out of touch with reality" in US English?

Amanda Marcotte wrote an article that answers this question and makes some good points about that change:
The thing is, shameless lying and ignorance works surprisingly well as a debate tactic. It’s hard to argue with someone who not only has signaled that he doesn’t care what the truth is but is downright proud of how little he actually knows. Such a person is not amenable to being educated. Once the pretense of really caring one way or another about what is right and what is wrong has been abandoned, all avenue of discourse is shut down.

It gets even better:
At the end of the day, the problem is one of identity. The conservative identity is one of being opposed to everything liberal, to the point of despising anything even associated with liberalism. As liberalism has increasingly been aligned with the values of empiricism and reason, the incentives for conservatives to reject empiricism and reason multiply. To be a “conservative” increasingly means taking a contemptuous view of reality. And so the proudly ignorant grow more belligerent, day after day.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Is it just me?

Or does anyone else see the amusing irony of radical Islamists having the same name as an ancient egyptian Goddess?

The ISIS extremists are horrible, repressive, violent and hateful people, representing all that is evil and vile when religion is hijacked by the misguided and those who seek to legitimize what is not legitimate, valid or justified. 

THAT is not unique to the vicious sectarian oppression of Islam.

So, while deploring the violence and the horrors of ISIS, it seems worth noting that history repeats itself.  And it does so most horrifically when we do not learn the lessons of history, not just names occurring in history, long past and/or recent.

Via the Freethinker

Ah, those naughty Neanderthal's..........

Great news! UK bans creationist teaching.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

More info on the Straw Purchase SCOTUS decision


The 5-4 decision upheld two lower courts that had ruled against so-called straw purchasers, even though the justices acknowledged that Congress left loopholes in gun control laws passed in the 1960s and 1990s.

For gun purchasers to be allowed to buy from licensed dealers without reporting the actual final owners of the firearms, the justices said, would make little sense.

"Putting true numbskulls to one side, anyone purchasing a gun for criminal purposes would avoid leaving a paper trail by the simple expedient of hiring a straw," Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the slim majority.

"No piece of information is more important under federal firearms law than the identity of a gun's purchaser — the person who acquires a gun as a result of a transaction with a licensed dealer," Kagan said.

During oral arguments in the case in January, she had noted that without such a finding, "it does not matter whether the ultimate transferee was Al Capone or somebody else."

Gun control advocates were delighted with the decision. "This is a very big and very positive decision that will save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people," said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
It was the second ruling from the conservative court this term that went against the gun lobby. In March, the justices ruled unanimously that a federal law intended to keep guns away from domestic violence offenders can apply even if their crime was nothing more than "offensive touching."

Thank you, SCOTUS -- and hooray for you especially, Justice Kagan.

This also underlines the need for a background check on EVERY gun transaction. Period.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Betcha didn't know he was an Arab!

Danny Thomas was an Arab (Lebanese, to be precise) from Detroit.

But how many people know that Casey Kasem was as well? Another Arab from Detroit (at one time, Detroit had the largest population of Arabs in the US).

Kemal Amin "Casey" Kasem is known for his being a DJ who presented America's top 40. In addition to his radio shows, Kasem provided the voice of many commercials; had done many voices for Sesame Street; provided the character voice of Peter Cottontail in the Rankin/Bass production of Here Comes Peter Cottontail; was the voice of NBC; helped out with the annual Jerry Lewis telethon; and provided the cartoon voices of Robin in Super Friends, Mark on Battle of the Planets, and a number of characters for the Transformers cartoon series of the 1980s. In 2008, he was the voice of Out of Sight Retro Night which aired on WGN America, but was replaced by rival Rick Dees. After 40 years, Kasem retired from his role of voicing Shaggy in 2009, although he did voice Shaggy's father in the 2010 TV series, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.

Like Danny Thomas, Casey was an American icon.

It makes me sick to think that white, right wing assholes get a pass while Arabs are fingered as terrorists.

Especially when you think of the Arabs and Muslims who have contributed to US culture.

What do Ray LaHood, Tony Shalhoub, and Selma Hayek have in common? They’re each Arab American. As are Sen. George Mitchell, Diane Rehm, Doug Flutie, and Frank Zappa. And the CEO of Del Monte Produce, the founder of Farouk Systems hair products, and the inventor of the heart pump.

Arab Americans' accomplishments are as diverse as our community itself. Arab Americans have distinguished themselves in science and medicine, academia and sports, the arts and politics—in every aspect of American life.

I am sorry to hear of Casey's passing.  We really need more people like Casey and Danny these days to fight the hate and ignorance.

See also:  Famous Arab Americans

Happy Father's Day to all our readers who are dad's

And a very special happy Father's Day to my co-blogger Pen.

Conservatives, all

I finally figured out where we can seriously pin some serious blame on Barack Obama

 Kweisi Mfume
The radical right in the US.

They would have had to make him up if he didn't really exist.

And even then they still make him up.


Yeah, I doubt they would care if it had been somebody such as Kweisi Mfume or Chaka Fattah since they were Frizzell Gerald Gray and Arthur Davenport before they took up the furren sounding names.  There would probably have been some inner comfort in that.

Barack Obama has always been Barack Obama.

And what's worse, his father was from Kenya. he even has relatives back in Kenya.

And they are of the Kitchen Toto variety, not the Happy Valley crew, which means Barack is definitely NOKD.

Even if Barack was born on US territory (and a US citizen because of that fact), not only does he sound furren--he kinda looks furren.  Kweisi and Chaka might sound furren, but deep down they aren't REALLY Africans.  If they wear African clothing  (e.g. a dashiki or kente cloth), it could be taken as dressing up.

But, if Barack Obama wears Kenyan garb--expect a shit storm.

My African Heritage
And, even if there are more Christians in Kenya (demographic religious breakdown of Kenya is Protestant 47.7%, Roman Catholic 23.5%, other Christian 11.9%, Muslim 11.2%, no religion 2.4%, African Traditional Religion 1.7%, Bahá'í Faith about 1%, Buddhism 0.3%, other 2%)--he is accused of being a Mooselim.  That says more about the ignorance of the accuser than Barack Obama.

The reality is that the hatred of Barack Obama goes beyond racism and goes into xenophobia and ignorance, since there are far more Christians in Kenya than Muslims.

So, just think of the relief if the person who had become president had been Kweisi Mfume or Chaka Fattah since they may sound furren, but deep down they are as American as well, Barack Obama.

Then again, it could be the right wing loonies' alzheimers is kicking in and they keep hearing "Obama Papa Mau Mau" in their heads.

There have never been any school shootings in the US.

They have been over 100,000 gun violence incidents since Sandy Hook of which between 7 and 74 were at or near schools.

But, from what I understand, for a "school shooting" to occur:
  1. The shooter needs to be a student
  2. The shooting needs to be within the school
  3. The shooter intended to kill students in the school
  4. The shooting needs to happen during school hours
  5. The shooting cannot be related to extracurricular reasons
Wow, that knocks out a lot of shootings.

In fact, using this criteria we can not only knock off a few victims from the toll, such as Rachel Scott who was shot outside the school at Columbine. We can also get rid of a few school shootings!

For example, the 1999 Jonesboro, Arkansas shootings occured OUTSIDE the school!

Even better, Adam Lanza WASN'T A STUDENT!  Even better, we can knock out a few of the victims are not students. This criteria confirms what gun nuts have been saying all along--The Sandy Hooks shootings weren't school shootings, but it was a mass shooting.

Now, if people want to look like dicks, then they have to admit this is the case and they can knock that one off the books.

The real confusion is whether a school shooting is a mass shooting or not.

Some people only want the mass shootings which happen in schools to be considered "school shootings".  That is the fallacy which Politifact falls into in their piece:
For many people, this is the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the phrase "school shooting" -- an incident such as Sandy Hook or, before it, the 1999 Columbine shooting in Colorado that left 15 dead, including the shooters.
But, the people who want to dispute these numbers want to limit the amount of School Shootings to a number which is somehow "acceptable" rather than address the issue that gun violence is far too pervasive in US culture.

On the other hand, The Daily Beast came up with the number 68:
We keep a tally of school shootings at The Daily Beast, too, using a slightly different methodology. We include only shootings that occur on school campuses while students are present. We count shootings that result in no fatalities as well as those where the only victim was a shooter who committed suicide.

We published a report last year using our data to show just what a school shooting looks like, noting specifically: “These events aren’t necessarily the types of tragedies that come to mind when one thinks of “school shootings”—madmen in fatigues roaming school hallways, strapped with automatic-style guns, murdering indiscriminately—nor do they receive the media attention of such mass shootings. But they can be similarly traumatizing for students and staff, and they have led to at least 24 injuries and 17 deaths over the past year.”

The following day, another school shooting at Arapahoe High School added to our tally. As of today, we count 68 school shootings, with 28 dead, and 66 injured.

Oliver Burkeman gets to the point in his post at the Guardian:
(If you think this kind of absurdity is confined to the fringe, see this only slightly less mendacious CNN piece (and Politifact), which brings the figure down from 74 to 15 by excluding, among others, shootings motivated by "personal arguments, accidents [or] alleged gang activities and drug deals". Johnson says the cable channel stole his work.)

What’s especially dispiriting about this flat denial of reality is how little prospect it offers for rational discussion or compromise. Even if you're a supporter of gun control, you can still hold a reasoned discussion with somebody who believes that the benefits of widespread firearms ownership outweigh the harms. You can discuss international comparisons; and how no comparable country experiences anything like this level of gun violence; the other person can seek to establish why those comparisons aren't relevant; or that, yes, violent deaths are actually in decline in the US, and so on. But when the pro-gun side of the argument consists of simply insisting that the gun violence that people are so distraught about isn't real gun violence? Then there's no clear way forward at all.

And let’s not forget the bigger point here. A pro-gun journalist applies the most stringent imaginable criteria to the term 'school shooting'; he rejects every instance he possibly can, for reasons many might regard as spurious, and then triumphantly declares that there have only been … seven bona fide school shootings in America since December 2012!

Only seven school shootings since December 2012.

I hope I never to get to the point at which the word "only" in that sentence makes even the slightest bit of sense.
As I said we can knock the numbers down even further if we want to say there have never been any school shootings in the US.  That should appeal to the people who do nothing to stop the plague of US gun violence.

So, do we want to split hairs or try to come up with a solution to a real problem is the real issue here.What is important is that people died. What category some people choose to put a specific shooting is irrelevant to our mission. Our mission is to stop future shooting, no matter what the location or circumstance.

Not a good governor, not a good dog owner, not a good human being -- but VERY conservative

I despise Rick Scott's rotten 'conservative values'.  He cares for nothing and no one other than his own personal profit.  Every one else and every THING else is completely expendable other than serving some conservative advantage.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fflag Day is today -- here is an appropriate repeat of one of my favorite posts

U.S. Flag DayI like the history of our holidays, major and minor. So in honor of our flag and Flag Day, here is a brief description and history of our holiday. Flag Day celebrates the adoption of a national flag at the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.
Here is the beautifully brief wording:
The Flag Act of 1777 was passed by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, in response to a petition made by an American Indian nation on June 3 for "an American Flag."[1] (As a result, June 14 is now celebrated as Flag Day in the United States.) It reads, in its entirety: "Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation." (See Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774 – 1789, 8:464.)
So, you would think that settled the design of our national flag, except that the concept of a national flag as we know it now didn't really exist in the 18th century; it was a later development.
Credit should go to both Wikipedia for some of these images, and to an excellent site, Flag Timeline  of for many of the others.
the Cowpens flag
What the Flag Act resulted in were a number of designs which conformed to that brief wording, including but not only the Betsy Ross flag - although the Betsy Ross flag eventually won the greater recognition.  Here are some of those flags used at the time:

The Francis Hopkinson flag design

and the final selection, the Betsy Ross flag
another Continental Navy flag
the Brandywine flag
note the different proportions

the Forster flag

the Serapis / another
John Paul Jones flag

A New England flag

   The Second Continental Congress started out meeting in Philadephia, but then later in the year moved around Pennsylvania to other locations, including Lancaster and York. The national flag came into existence two years to the day of the official establishment of the Continental Army in 1775. 
However there WAS a flag that was flown as early as 1775 by our newly formed Navy, referred to as the Continental Colors.  It differed from the East India Flag ONLY in the proportions of the Canton.
East India Company Flag in 1775
Wikipedia has a full entry on it for those who have a greater curiosity, but here is an excerpt:
Continental Colors flow by John Paul Jones
note the difference in size and proportions of
the canton from the East India Company flag -
there is a small difference
In the first year of the American War for Independence, the Continental Congress authorized the creation of a navy. A new flag was required representing the Congress and fledgling nation, and distinguishing from the Red Ensign flying from British vessels.
The Continental Colors were first hoisted on the Alfred, in Philadelphia on December 2, 1775, by Lt. John Paul Jones. The event had been documented in letters to Congress.[2] The Continental Colors were used by the American Continental forces as both naval ensign and garrison flag through 1776 and early 1777.
It is not known for certain when, or by whom, the Continental Colors' design was created, though the flag could easily be produced by adding white stripes to the previous British Red Ensigns.[3] The Alfred flag has been credited to Margaret Manny.[4]
And here is a short bio on Margaret Manny, who is less well known than Betsy Ross.
Margaret Manny was a milliner in colonial Philadelphia who made flags for the United States during the American Revolution.
Manny began making
jacks and ensigns for ships as early as December 1774.[1] She also made the Grand Union Flag, or Continental Colors, first flown by John Paul Jones aboard the Alfred on 3 December 1775.
My thanks to our co-blogger Laci for calling my attention to rich history of the East India Company flag, which preceded our own flag by a full seventy years, as a very British and a very corporate flag, first used in Asia. The East India Company flag stripes were somewhat 'variable' in number, ranging from nine to fifteen which mirrored our own experimentation with stripe numbers. The symbol in the upper left corner, the 'Canton' also changed over time, representing changes in the UK. We didn't pioneer that pattern of alteration to reflect growth and change either.
before 1707, when the Acts of Union
combined England and Scotland
into Great Britain

After 1801 the flag
contained the Union Flag of
the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and
Ireland in the canton
East India Company flag after 1707

But the adaptation of the flag of the East India Company, while strikingly similar is not the only theory for the design adopted by the Continental Congress.
Another theory is based on the family coat of arms of Richard Amerike:
"According to the American Flag Research Center in Massachusetts the heraldic origin of the American flag is not positively known; archives in the British Library confirm that the Stars and Stripes was the coat of arms of the Ap Merike family – and that they pre-date Washington's connection with the continent by 300 years".[64]
The coat of Arms belonging to the family of George Washington has three stars in chief (at the top) on a white field, with two red horizontal stripes across the middle of the escutcheon, underneath it.  The Amerke basis for the flag is generally considered 'revisionist history'.  Clearly neither coat of arms are as similar as the East India Company flag design, but both provide some insight into the heraldic tradition that was the foundation for flag design.
From Wikipedia: In any case, both the stripes (barry) and the stars (mullets) have precedents in classical heraldry. Mullets were comparatively rare in early modern heraldry, but an example of mullets representing territorial divisions predating the US flag are those in the coat of arms of Valais of 1618, where seven mullets stood for seven districts.
The thirteen original colonies were the basis for thirteen stripes and the thirteen original stars on the first official U.S. flag, but in the Flag Act of  1794, that was temporarily expanded to fifteen stripes and stars with the admission of the first two new states.  Had that pattern continued, our flag would now have 50 stripes along with the 50 stars.  It is a fascinating insight into how the flag has changed, but also into how the nation under George Washington thought about our national expansion at the time.  It wasn't until the Flag Act of 1818 that the stripes were codified as representing the original 13 colonies, with the stars changing --  with such changeovers always mandated to occur on July 4th -- to represent the number of states at any time in our nation with only the stars.
Here is the order of the states joining, representing each of those stars, because of course there was no official membership or ratification until AFTER the sessions of the Continental Congress:
Delaware (December 7, 1787), Pennsylvania (December 12, 1787), New Jersey (December 18, 1787), Georgia (January 2, 1788), Connecticut (January 9, 1788), Massachusetts (February 6, 1788), Maryland (April 28, 1788), South Carolina (May 23, 1788), New Hampshire (June 21, 1788), Virginia (June 25, 1788), New York (July 26, 1788), North Carolina (November 21, 1789), and Rhode Island (May 29, 1790) (source - Flag Timeline)
This is a singularly striking image from th 1880s that shows some of the various permutations of our flag over the years, from an old textbook (courtesy of wikipedia):

An opposing opinion

I have to admit that it is quite nice of the people at this blog to allow a raging "gun loon" like myself the ability to give the opposite side of the issue. 

After all, we know that the good old days were quite different from what they are now.

People like this solid citizen used to open carry and had easy access to firearms.  There weren't many criminals and the ones out there didn't walk around with guns.

That point came to me when I was in my basement and heard a loud noise from upstairs.

It was at that point that I realized I didn't have a machinegun the way granny did because of those gun grabbers.  I would have had to make due with a semi-automatic pistol to deal with whatever intruder happened to be upstairs.

Unfortunately, it was my grandkid.

At least medical science has progressed and the little monster will live.

But, I have to admit I miss the good old days when solid citizens like the one I have pictured here had access to machineguns, short-barrelled shotguns, and other firearms that are hard for the average citizen to own.

It's nice to know that some people out there agree with me and want to carry weapons like these on the streets these days.

Even better, they can shoot the police in Indiana.  Hell, when grannie's friend John Dillinger did that sort of thing, the cops went and hunted him down.  These people weren't criminals, they were otherwise law abiding citizens.

But, Johnny would be proud to be a Hoosier these days!  Hell, he might even be alive thanks to the wise legislators in Indiana.

I miss the good old days and wish there were more guns out there in the hands of people that the law deems to be criminals.

But, they were good people who knew how to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Once again, documented proof -- Conservatives are wilfully ignorant and believe things that are not true

A h/t to the Daily Liar (aka the Daily Caller) for failing to inform their readers of accurate information.

I routinely lament the fact that conservatives believe things which are not true, which are factually false or factually deficient.  And that wilful conservative ignorance has now resulted in a massive upset in Virginia primary elections, where factual ignorance about immigration appears to be the deciding issue in the upset.

The PPP has done studies/polling every year which documents it, as noted here.

Study says Fox News may ‘harden conservative views’ of its audience

A Public Religion Research Institute/Brookings Institute study of Americans’ views on immigration reform finds that people’s media choices have a strong effect on their beliefs:

Only 12% of Americans who most trust Fox News for information about politics and current events correctly believe deportations have increased. In contrast, nearly one-quarter (24%) of Americans who most trust broadcast news, one-third (33%) Americans who most trust CNN, and 35% of Americans who most trust public television believe the deportation rate has increased.

In fact, the study finds, Fox News may “reinforce and perhaps harden conservative views.” 60 percent of Republicans who trust Fox News most say immigrants “Burden our country because they take our jobs, housing, and health care.” 38 percent of Republicans who trust other news sources most say the same thing.

So, in other words - Fox News viewers ARE WRONG; conservatives believe LIES, FACTUALLY FALSE INFORMATION. Conservatives TRUST that false information and are either unable or unwilling to fact check it or to trust other, more accurate sources. In other words, conservatives engage in wilful ignorance and have done so for YEARS AND YEARS.

Among conservatives, not surprisingly, Fox is huge: 48 percent trust it most. “By contrast, there is no dominant trusted news source among Democrats or liberals,” the study found. “These figures may partly reflect the ideological diversity of the Democratic Party,” E.J. Dionne Jr. and William A. Galston propose in the study’s media section.

“Whereas Republicans overwhelmingly identify as conservative (74%), the Democratic Party is more ideologically diverse, with 46% calling themselves liberal, 31% moderate, and 20% conservative.”

One more interesting finding: Republicans “make up 23% of the entire sample and 21% of those who say they use public radio as a “news source for information about politics and current events,” the study says. “Democrats make up 34% of the sample and 36% of those who say they use public radio. Independents are 40% of the broader sample and also 40% of those who report that they listen to public radio for their news.”

And now we have seen the badly misinformed and wilfully ignorant tea party throw out the House majority leader, because they were convinced of things by their propaganda arm that were not true.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Nice Numbers - for the country, and for Dems

Tea and Toast for Eric Cantor - he loses his primary in VA, no more House Majority Leader for him

Eric Cantor has lost the Virginia Republican congressional primary.

He is currently on television making his thanks and giving his concession remarks.

Speculating on what this means for the general election, with Cantor apparently OUT - so far no mention of him running as a write-in, he sounds from the comments like he is retiring - at least for this election cycle. He is talking about his term as majority leader in the past tense.

I despise the Tea Partiers, but the right wing has been the great user of wedge issues. It backfired here in Minnesota in 2012, with the demise of the attempt to amend our state constitution. There is a delicious irony in it that now the right wingers are now fracturing their own party with these same wedge factions like the Tea Party.

Virginia apparently has a 'sore loser' law (as I understand it), so once you lose the primary, no write-in vote, no other way of appearing on the ballot. You lose for the whole election cycle.

Cantor is still talking up his corrupt corporate owners, feigning concern for the vulnerable as he pushes to privatize more education with failed charter schools.

Bye bye to the slimy man who pretends to show concern for things like bringing down health care costs, and who has done so much to keep those costs high and to obstructing any real progress.

Buh-bye Eric Cantor. Don't let the screen door hit you on the rear end on your way out of the next political cycle. David Bratt, the winner -- don't get too comfortable; odds are, given the 2012 election cycle wins for Dems, you too, Bratty, won't be around for long - although Virginia CD7 has been somewhat Republican.

An interesting bit of trivia - Dave Bratt is a professor at Randolph-Macon College; his Democratic opponent, Jack Trammell, is a professor at the same college. It should be interesting to see how many of the students at that college turn out this November - and for whom.

Second shooting this week - Oregon high school shooting


We CAN end these acts of violence.

The shooter has been tentatively identified as a student, and his victim is a 15 year old student at the school.  This has occurred at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon.

SWAT teams were engaged.

Parents are currently being re-united with their parents.

Law enforcement is having press conferences every couple of hours.

More false right wing nuttery, hatred, ignorance and violence