Thursday, October 30, 2014

Quote of the Day

We're spinning in our graves at the Mikveh Israel Cemetery
Ever notice how the people who try to persuade us that the Second Amendment has nothing to do with a well-regulated militia are usually the same people who want to persuade us that the US is a Christian Nation?

The difference between US vs UK Ebola news coverage

From the show Russell Howard's Good News

BTW, that's Dele Adebola

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We do well in the comparison --- thanks to democrats!

Houston, We have PANDEMIC!!!!

Hey all you poo-flingers, you got your wish!!!!  WE HAVE PANDEMIC!!!

Blame Houssien Obama, he did a bad job of preventing it, it's his fault and his alone.  No, it's not Ebola (Dammit!!), but not to worry, it's WORSE than Ebola, so YAY!, you get to fling poo to your heart's content.  It's a pandemic of domestic violence.'s that again?

It's a pandemic of domestic violence.

..well, that's not sexy

No, but it's far more serious, far more real, and something for which we have far more effective treatments than forced quarantines, so, why hasn't the President stopped all outbreaks of domestic violence?  He's feckless.

Yep.. that he is, I mean.. wait, I don't care about domestic violence.

Yeah, I know.

Each year 11% of all murders are due to domestic violence, more than all gang related murders.  Each day 4 women and 3 children DIE to domestic violence.  35% of all emergency room visits are due to domestic violence.   Yet, this "shining city on the hill" does little and less to stop it.  State policing agencies like to pretend it doesn't matter (in many states, many southern states.. go figure).  The "good ole' boy" mentality still is all too pervasive "If you don't want him to hit ya', stop makin' him mad."  Many times I think it's simply that those prosecutors/cops/whomever don't think it's wrong.

So, fling poo, you have your epidemic and you can blame the President - of course you might want to ask yourself what YOU'VE done to stop it - kinda like you might want to ask yourself the same question about Ebola (Gov. Christie), because this pandemic pre-dates Obama, and it's self-inflicted.  We turn a blind-eye, we blame the victim, we fail to prosecute.  It's our fault, but that's no fun, it's more fun to fling poo and not take responsibility.


We could learn from this; we COULD do better

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fear Strikes Out

I grew up (and remain) a Chicago White Sox fan.  Back in the day (early 80's), the White Sox had a radio/TV tandem of (believe it or not) Harry Carey and a lesser known, flamboyant, bombastic color-man named Jimmy Piersall.

Piersall was a brilliant young player in the late 50's who had suffered from manic depression.  His mother was routinely hospitalized as he was growing up.  His troubled family life eventually manifested in Piersall, leading to his falling out and then coming back to baseball which he chronicled in a book called "Fear Strikes Out."  Piersall described his stuggles, his challenges controlling his own fears, fears of failure, of inadequacy, and the intense reactions he experienced to those fears.  The silver linings were, if there can be such linings, that Piersall found himself.  He had a 14 year career in which he was a solid player, and one of (if not the finest) defensive outfielders the game has ever seen.  But even more, by facing those fears head one, Peirsal was truly liberated, he could be who he wanted to be, he could say what he wanted to say (and did).  He frequently said things critical of White Sox players if they failed to hustle, which really irked the players and management staff of the White Sox, but provided truly entertaining and truly insightful, thought provoking commentary for their fans.  Piersal was comfortable in his own skin and never really looked back or was afraid of the larger world because he'd already slain his "demon."  That was the essence of Piersal and the meaning of the title of his book.

Scroll forward 30 years and I am amazed and struck dumb by how fearful we have become.  As a nation we sit perplexed/paralyzed with fear, fear of Ebola, of Isis, of rogue terrorists.  I sit bewildered (not) at how the party of common sense and small government advocates for forced quarantine (needlessly) - a big government solution to a nearly non-existent problem (Ebola pandemic risk), but chooses to do nothing to handle mental illness (a far more pervasive problem which kills tens of thousands per year).  I sit baffled by the fear we seem to have of ISIS, a movement which is in fact looking to establish a country, rule an area of (mostly) desert in western Iraq and eastern Syria.  We are ready to use our one and only tool (killing people with military firepower) to try to scare the rest of the people in the area (the Middle-East) into "not getting in our way."  We seem to think that fear will cause them to cease seeking their own goals/determination.  Would it stop us?  Did it? 

I sit perplexed by how MSNBC spends 6 hours covering a shooting at the Canadian War Memorial, when the same organization spent 15 minutes covering a similar shooting 16 years ago at our OWN capital.  We had the sense to keep things in perspective then, but have lost that perspective now, and not just fear mongering conservatives have lost it, liberals have too.  I sit baffled by Darrel Issa, how he can, with a straight face condemn the CDC for not having fully complete guidelines on Ebola, whe he consistently has cut the CDC's budget to the bone.  He wants perfection but doesn't want to pay for it.  He (and those like him) are utterly unable (or more correctly unwilling) to apply a modicum of common sense to the situation and grasp that the CDC doubtless provided general guidelines which, in the face of application, needed refinement, just like EVERY policy needs, every plan needs, once put into action.  Companies develop Disaster Recovery plans, then they test them, then they refine them.  A failure in one part of the plan doesn't mean the people (or the company) are incompetent, it means they aren't capable of predicting the future or of dealing with every possible variable until they get a feel for what those variables turn out to truly be.  The better question is, why would Issa choose, at this time, to desire to instill a lack of confidence in the ability of the government to handle something which he purports to feel is a serious issue?  Is he looking to cause a panic? 

The answer to all these conundrums is that they aren't really conundrums.  We're afraid because we don't chose to apply common sense, it's easier to blame to be fearful, to DEMAND action, than to accept that in a world of unpredictable things, of lone rogue, crazy gunman, some things cannot be controlled.  It's also easy to see that stoking fears of the ineptitude of government is easily done IF you know there really isn't anything you need to truly fear (as I'm sure Issa understood and understands), that you understand that so far, we've have 6 cases of Ebola treated in the US, four of whom were people who arrived/returned from Africa (one of whom died), the other 5 cases were treated successfully.  We have 100 people die EVERY DAY to suicide.  We have 30 people die EVERY DAY who are murdered.  We don't fling poo in the air (at all) about any of that. 

What's going on is nothing more than a campaign based on fear.  We saw something similar in 2004 which kept an inept George W. Bush in office for four more grueling, painful years.  Be afraid of Isis (terrorists), be afraid John Kerry can't handle terrorists (Obama can't handle Ebola), be afraid, afraid, afraid.  Don't worry that you're being cheated by banks, don't pay any attention to the vast overspend on defense toys, don't worry about our bloated Homeland Security budget going to private companies, be afraid of a single gunman - so that you don't question that budget.  Be a pawn, let the campaign of fear upon which we've struck win, or... be Jimmy Piersal, and speak your mind, question the idiocy, keep Ebola in the perspective it should be kept, which is someplace behind the local mill's economic trouble, or the local school closing - because while Ebola is scary, and has the POTENTIAL to be bad, that potential is a remote risk - I'm not saying it doesn't exist and shouldn't be dealt with seriously, in fact I'm saying exactly that, deal with it seriously - don't prevent people from fighting it in Africa or you WILL fight it here - unlike ISIS, don't lock people up needlessly, don't invite or incite panic - speak coherently, factually, practically. 

We do ourselves a great disservice (as well as doing those who actually SERVE a disservice) when we imply they are incompetent, and say it from a position of profound ignorance and fear.  We put ourselves in a position to be manipulated and to make very bad decisions.  The trouble I have with Republican attitudes about wanting less government is that they only want it until there's a calamity, then they want FAR MORE than liberals ever want or wanted, then they (the Repubs) want and enact badly thought out laws, they enact stupid quarantines, they create dumb laws like Sarbannes-Oxley (a law intended to punish the leaders of companies like Enron, but which instead created a needless beurocracy inside large companies and which really holds low level staff accountable, not high level officers).  They want voter ID laws to stop 15 people from voting fraudulently but which keep 100,000 people who are legal voters from voting at all. 

Jimmy, where are you bud (I say that metaphorically, he's 84, living in Chicago, btw)?  Where is his spirit, the American spirit of facing challenges head on, not with fear, but with resolve to do what's right?  Where is the spirit and common sense of Will Rogers?  We need someone like Piersall to tell Chris Christie he's a bloviating, headline seeking blowhard and to tell the rest of us to stop fearing our own shadow or it will consume us.  Seriously.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A tale of two quotations

Two "quotations" from Thomas Jefferson from both sides of the political spectrum.

Left side
"The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations."
Right Side 
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
Both are not really quotations from Jefferson, while the right's version is obviously false.  Let's face it, Jefferson was a slave owner: talk about taking from people who work for a living without proper compensation!

The exact quotation used by the Left also has not been found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson. It may be a mistaken amalgamation of the author's comments in the above 1994 reference with a real Jefferson quotation. Jefferson wrote in 1825 to William Branch Giles of "vast accession of strength from their younger recruits, who having nothing in them of the feelings or principles of ’76 now look to a single and splendid government of an Aristocracy, founded on banking institutions and monied in corporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry."

This gets to what exactly were the real reasons for the American War for Independence?  If it was based upon free trade and an end to monopolies (i.e. The British East India Company), then the legacy would be one which is more left leaning than the current right wing appropriation of the "Tea Party" title would have us believe.

The problem with the period of the War of Independence is that it has become part of the US National myth.  It is romanticised and not seen in its proper historical context.  Instead of creating a utopia, it created anarchy and economic ruin which was only fixed by the adoption of the Constitution.

People need to reassess that period of Early American history in a new light.  I would hope that it would help extinguish the insurrectionist nonsense that has become common which none of the founders would tolerate.

Hooray for Mark Dayton's Ebola Quarantine plan

Conservatives are running around with their hair on fire, displaying what one of our blog friends, Democommie, commonly refers to as the flaming stupid, as part of their core ideology.

In stark contrast, our good Governor Mark Dayton announced the Minnesota policy towards Ebola, one that takes into consideration our Liberian citizen population, would be 'based on science'.  From the STrib:

Restrictions would vary for other travelers returning from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — the three nations at the center of the Ebola outbreak — depending on their perceived risk levels, state officials explained. Those who simply traveled to those countries to visit relatives would be asked to submit to daily health monitoring when they return to the state. Health care providers who cared for Ebola patients but had no known exposure to the virus would not need home confinement. Health care providers with potential exposures, such as being stuck with a needle while caring for an Ebola patient, would be confined at home.
All travelers returning from the west African nations would be subject to travel restrictions. Those potentially exposed to Ebola during their travels would be banned from public transportation, while all travelers under monitoring would be asked to refrain from trips using public transportation lasting longer than three hours.
All returnees would need to be isolated in hospital care if they showed Ebola symptoms. The monitoring and restrictions generally would last 21 days, the maximum period required for an Ebola infection to produce symptoms.
While Ebola has proved a lethal virus, killing half of the people in Africa it has infected, it only spreads through contact with infected bodily fluids such as blood or saliva — and people carrying the virus aren’t contagious until they suffer fevers or symptoms. That gives health officials an early warning to remove infected patients from contact with others before the virus has a chance to spread.

But what to do while waiting for symptoms to emerge, or not, has been a topic of intense debate. Minnesota for the past week has been following federal guidelines to monitor travelers from west Africa by calling them daily to report on their physical health and body temperature.
Dayton gathered a variety of legal, medical and ethics experts over the weekend to develop a policy for Minnesota that was protective but appropriate.
“The resulting policy protects Minnesotans by ensuring that anyone coming from Ebola-affected areas is monitored according to their risk and treated according to their need,” said Dr. Steven Miles, a U bioethics expert.
Returnees in recent weeks have mostly been doctors such as Spencer and other aide workers seeking to stop the spread of Ebola in west Africa, where so far the virus has infected at least 10,000 people and caused 4,900 deaths. But Minnesota has the added concern of a robust population of 30,000 residents from Liberia who might travel back to the country or host relatives from there.
Since daily monitoring began last week, state officials said there have been 26 travelers to Minnesota from the three west African nations.
The home-confinement policy for health care providers exposed to Ebola patients is the latest in a series of changes in Minnesota’s Ebola preparedness strategy — changes influenced by the first U.S.-diagnosed case in Texas earlier this month and the infection of two nurses who cared for the man. Hospital officials in Minnesota have now designated four hospitals that will provide long-term care of Ebola patients once they are diagnosed.

Conservatives hate science, reject science, deny science, and then usually pat themselves on the back in congratulation of how smart they are to have out-thought those who have studied the science and know more than they do.

It is a combination on the part of conservatives of some of the worst of the conspiracy theory nutjobbery, and their politics of the worst of simplistic thinking and wilful ignorance.

The insanity ranges from conservative fool, ag professor Cyril Broderick, who frequents the worst of the right wing fringe propaganda sources, claiming that Ebola was created by the U.S. Defense Department as some sort of demented anti-African plot, to the Idiot Issa in Congress who can't pronounce the disease and who doesn't know the difference between Guinea in Africa and Guiana.  Issa is not an honest man - in fact he is a criminal, and he is not an honest critic of the President's administration, but rather a dishonest hack pushing manipulative and exploitive tea party propaganda on the pathetically stupid.

The contrast between good government from Democrats and bad government from Republicans, and how each plays to their respective base, couldn't be more stark.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pew Study on Political Polarisation of the American Public

APU, I haven't read the comments on the Wow, how ignorant do they think you are??? Post, but I have this feeling that they run along the lines that the Koch Brothers care more about you than Bloomberg does.  After all, the Kochs do all sorts of wonderful things that are harmful to you: they must care!

Anyway, The Pew Charitable Trust (more billionaires) came up with a study on political polarisation in the US. It's a very involved study on the topic as the video below points out, getting into many different aspects of polarisation.

The part which interests me the most is the media, even that is rather involved.  The most consistent Media source for the right is Fox News, with about 47% of those identified as conservative listing that as their trusted source of their news.  Liberals, tend to have many different news sources with CNN (15%), NPR (13%), MSNBC (12%) and the New York Times (10%) all ranking near the top of the list.

The important part of all this:
The public’s understanding of government and politics is also influenced by the extent to which they trust – or distrust – the information they hear from various news sources. In other words – how open people are to the political news and information put forth by various outlets, including those they do not actively consume.
In general, the survey finds that there is more trust than distrust of news sources. But there are substantial differences in trust and distrust across the ideological spectrum.
People who took this poll were asked if they had heard of 36 different news sources.  If they had heard of the source, they were then asked to what level they trusted the accuracy of that source. Those with consistently liberal political values had heard of more sources than any other ideological group – on average, about 26 out of the 36 – and trust about twice as many as they distrust (10.5 vs. 4.8). Respondents with mostly liberal views or with about an equal mix of conservative and liberal views have heard of fewer sources, on average, but still trust more sources than they distrust.

Interactive: Audience Profiles & Media Habits

Where I fit in here:
One example is the Economist. Only 34% of panelists have heard of the outlet, but within that group there is far more trust (12%) than distrust (2%), when it comes to news about government and politics. The BBC is recognized by a greater portion of respondents (76%), but is similarly more trusted (36%) than distrusted (7%).

Oddly, they left out the Guardian (even though it was one of the choices in the poll).  Anyway.

What really came out here was that those with consistently liberal views had more sources for information than those on the right.

See Also:

RIP Jack Bruce

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Shooting at Canadian Parliament (or Chrissy Teigen is correct)

As we share the sadness for our neighbors to the north, after their tragedy yesterday, it is worth remembering our own past experience in our capital building, as part of sharing both empathy and sympathy.

This is a kind of tragedy we share in common, along with our border.

h/t to Laci, cross posted from MikeB's blog:

Let's not forget the 1998 US Capital shooting, where two Capital Police officers were killed and three people wounded:It seems there are other shooting incidents, but unlike this one, which actually occurred inside the Capital, they are usually on Capital grounds.

Note how people act as if it is a normal event in the above clip.

There was another shooting inside the Capital in 1954.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Coburn 'out-Foxes' his idiot Conservative followers - AGAIN

Audit of BP claims facility results in $64 million in additional payments
- from the New Orleans Tribune[/

The ever-corrupt Tom Coburn, who lives his life amid the lint of the deep pockets of big oil, big pharm and other big money spent on PAID-triots. It's no secret who buys members of the House and Senate to do their bidding.

And it's no secret that Coburn, leaving this year due to ill health, has NEVER really been against waste. He's just a hatchet man for his buyers, a long term buy-to-lie guy.

On his way out the door, he's done his donor's bidding one last time, this time via the right wing propaganda machine over at Fox (not really)News. It's good to use Fox to lie to the gullible conservatives; neither Fox, nor the Conservatives who consume their drivel, will ever fact check anything. They tend to be science illiterates on both sides of the television - the sending and the receiving, and they are consistently wilfully ignorant.

Let's look at the recent Fox dishonest headline:
$10G to watch grass grow: Coburn report details worst examples of gov't waste

As American taxpayers worried about the terror threat from the Islamic State, the crisis at the border and the economy, the U.S. government spent their money to give rabbits massages, to teach sea monkeys to synchronize swim and to literally watch grass grow.

These and other examples of wasteful government spending were detailed by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn in his annual “Wastebook,” his final edition since he is retiring early next year.

...Other examples vary from the serious, to the aggravating, to just plain bizarre. One that takes the cake is the $10,000 the government spent to watch grass grow --- seriously.

That project is the brainchild of the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is paying for the growth of the smooth cordgrass to be observed on a Florida reserve. The money covers “the cost to monitor grasses, restore two acres as a demonstration and publish a guide on best practices for cultivating the cordgrass, known formally as Spartina alterniflora.”
So.......IS the government wasting money on Spartina alterniflora, just 'watching grass grow'? OR is there a connection to Coburn trying to discourage funding something useful on behalf of big oil, again?


Here is the actual study, INCLUDING the actual purpose, which is completely and totally different from the description of the research in Coburn's 'wastebook'. The biggest waste here is the wastebook itself.

Here is the link to the study and the information about this very special kind of grass, with some excerpts below of the pertinent parts:
Smooth cordgrass provides cover for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds,
and muskrats; and habitat for commercially important fish and shellfish.
Smooth cordgrass was direct-seeded successfully on damaged marshes found
on dredge spoils from Connecticut to Virginia. Lower littoral zones
were seeded in locations where heavy wave action caused by storms did
not erode away the often top-heavy plants before their root systems
developed sufficiently. Smooth cordgrass seeds and seedlings were also
planted successfully on dredge spoils produced in the maintenance of
navigational channels within sounds and estuaries

Smooth cordgrass is an important component of Gulf Coast salt marshes
which stabilize shorelines against erosion and filter heavy metals and
toxic materials from the water column [13].

The presence of smooth cordgrass indicates sites with high salinity,
which can be managed for shrimp ponds [20].

Gulf Coast marshes, because they provide soil stabilization and enhance
water quality, receive the highest priority for protection in
comprehensive oil spill response plans for coastal areas [13]. Effects
of oil spills on salt marshes vary depending on oil type, plant
coverage, season, and marsh elevation [24]. Flushing with seas water is
the most effective clean-up method for oil-contaminated salt marshes at
present. However, once oil penetrates the sediment, not even flushing
will remove it. Flushing is also ineffective at reducing damage to
cordgrass and enhancing long-term plant recovery. If natural tidal
flushing occurs, no other clean-up measures are recommended because
impacts on the community cause more harm than good. Overall, clean-up
responses have limited effectiveness; therefore, primary emphasis should
be placed on contingency planning and protection of salt marsh habitat
from oil spills.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

We’re SO lucky NOT to have a Republican majority — Elections and Voter ID

Unlike the poor citizens struggling under a Republican Governor and a Republican majority in their legislature, we have honest and well-run elections, without right wing voter suppression and racism ruining the foundational premise of a free nation -- honest and open elections by citizens.

As Ruth Bader Ginsburg blisters Voter ID in her recent dissenting opinion on the Jim Crow-like legislation of backward and benighted Texas, it is worth a review not only of her comments, which are widely reviewed elsewhere, but also a couple of studies that directly reflect on this American tragedy of racist Voter ID/ Voter Suppression.

One of the more interesting academic studies that got the WI Voter ID tossed by the courts was this one:
Employment and Training Institute banner

Research Update

Voter Photo ID Law Court Cases Utilize ETI Research
A research report by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute on The Driver License Status of the Voting Age Population in Wisconsin has received renewed attention as public officials and the courts assess disparate impacts of state and local laws requiring photo IDs as a condition for voting and the Supreme Court examines challenges to the photo ID voter law.

In May 2014 federal Judge Lynn Adelman found Wisconsin's state photo ID law unconstitutional given its adverse impact on many Wisconsin citizens. The 90-page decision is posted online. In it, in note 32 Adelman cites the ETI research that only 47% of black adults and 43% of Hispanic adults compared to 73% of white adults in Milwaukee County hold valid driver's licenses as do 85% of white adults in the rest of Wisconsin compared to 53% of black adults and 52% of Hispanic adults. In October 2014 a three-judge federal appeals court panel found the law constitutional based on the Supreme Court Indiana decision. Here, in the court's decision Judge Frank Easterbrook referenced the 2005 ETI data but suggested that it was evidence that fewer nonwhites without licenses have registered to vote (putting aside the "felon-disenfranchisement" issue). Subsequently, the full 10-member panel deadlocked 5-5 on rehearing the case. On October 9, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 to block the law's implementation for the immediate Wisconsin elections scheduled in November.

The Employment and Training Institute study was the first research available that measured driver's license disparities by race and age. The ETI was able to measure possession of driver's licenses for subpopulations in Wisconsin, having reviewed the state license files for employment-related research, and particularly for lack of licenses among working age African Americans and Latinos in Milwaukee County.
And the quite excellent and exhaustive report goes on for many more pages of similar information.

Now of course, Conservatives BRISTLE with anger whenever they are called out on right wing racism, and they bitterly protest concerns about honest elections, and at most inadvertently insist that their restrictive voter laws, not just Voter ID, but reducing voting hours and polling places, and cutting early voting, are perhaps PARTISAN, but NO! NO! NEVER EVER Racist!


Take a look at the ethnicity and racial make up of those who are disenfranchised under Wisconsin law. Wisconsin law is pretty consistent with other right wing voter legislation (thank ALEC for that 'coincidence', since the right lets ALEC special interests write the legislation they sponsor), including the Texas law addressed by Justice Ginsburg, in which she specifically and in detail calls it racist.

NOW, take a look at this study from the University of Delaware, a study published shortly before the LAST election:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Not Ebola, Not ISIL that we should be worrying about MOST

Fossil fuels are over, antiquated, obsolete. Time to MOVE ON, before doing more harm

Conservative failed ideology. Again.

It is a difference in Conservative philosophy to prefer the punitive, no matter how harsh, to the supportive or constructive.

Via facebook, the contrast was made visually.  We could easily do the social safety network solutions, but instead waste money on the unsuccessful military option, waging combat against ourselves -- but conservatives love it, whether it works or not. GUNS GUNS GUNS, and BIGGER GUNS, and GUN RELATED SHIT!  YAY!

No.  Conservative ideology is a failure, a failure we cannot afford, not philosophically, not in actual policy.  It is a misspending of our money, and our future.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Kline vs. Kids and Purple Penguins

There is nothing so ugly, so anti-family as "family values" conservatives and their bigotry, their desire to harass and abuse people they see as 'other' in us vs them thinking. The hypocrisy of claiming family values while hating on other people's children is stark.

October 8th, the National Review ran a right wing propaganda story
with a headline reminiscent of a continuing school issue here in MN:
School Told to Call Kids ‘Purple Penguins’ Because ‘Boys and Girls’ Is Not Inclusive to Transgender
Nebraska teachers are instructed to ask students what their preferred pronouns are.
By Katherine Timpf
A Nebraska school district has instructed its teachers to stop referring to students by “gendered expressions” such as “boys and girls,” and use “gender inclusive” ones such as “purple penguins” instead.
“Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention,” instructs a training document given to middle-school teachers at the Lincoln Public Schools.
“Create classroom names and then ask all of the ‘purple penguins’ to meet on the rug,” it advises.
The document also warns against asking students to “line up as boys or girls,” and suggests asking them to line up by whether they prefer “skateboards or bikes/milk or juice/dogs or cats/summer or winter/talking or listening.”
“Always ask yourself . . . ‘Will this configuration create a gendered space?’” the document says.
The instructions were part of a list called “12 steps on the way to gender inclusiveness” developed by Gender Spectrum, an organization that “provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages.”
And this is making the rounds of right wingnut email as well; it wouldn't surprise me to see it turning up in the content of the radical religious right in MN, or in the fund raising literature of our own John Kline.

Of course, this is NOT TRUE, as written in the Nat Review. Good ol' Snopes debunked it:

Gender Trolls

Claim: A school district in Lincoln, Nebraska has banned the use of gender pronouns and ordered teachers to use neutral terms such as "purple penguins" instead.

TRUE: Lincoln Public Schools have provided educators with materials to help them better understand gender identity issues.
FALSE: The Lincoln school district has banned all reference to gender in favor of calling students "purple penguins."
Examples: [Collected via e-mail, October 2014]
A Nebraska school district has instructed its teachers to stop referring to students by "gendered expressions" such as "boys and girls," and use "gender inclusive" ones such as "purple penguins" instead.
"Don't use phrases such as 'boys and girls,' 'you guys,' 'ladies and gentlemen,' and similarly gendered expressions to get kids' attention," instructs a training document given to middle-school teachers at Lincoln Public Schools.

I just read an article saying that Nebraska will now start requiring that all students be called "Purple Penguins" instead of boys and girls. Is this true? It was on, so I'm skeptical.
According to that article, educators within the school district had been ordered to refrain from using specifically gendered terms when speaking or referring to students in favor of gender neutral terms such as "purple penguins." The article made specific reference to materials provided by Gender Spectrum, an organization whose website states a goal of fostering "gender sensitive and inclusive environment for all children and teens." National Review cited paraphrased materials purportedly provided to educators that painted a picture of a full-scale ban on genders in the Lincoln school district:
"Don't use phrases such as 'boys and girls,' 'you guys,' 'ladies and gentlemen,' and similarly gendered expressions to get kids' attention," instructs a training document given to middle-school teachers at the Lincoln Public Schools.
"Create classroom names and then ask all of the 'purple penguins' to meet on the rug," it advises.
The document also warns against asking students to "line up as boys or girls," and suggests asking them to line up by whether they prefer "skateboards or bikes/milk or juice/dogs or cats/summer or winter/talking or listening."
"Always ask yourself ... 'Will this configuration create a gendered space?'" the document says."
Word of Lincoln Public Schools' gender inclusivity training quickly spread across blogs and on Twitter, morphing into a cautionary tale of political correctness run rampant:
Teachers are encouraged to hang signs on their classroom doors insisting that "all genders" are welcome while discontinuing the time-tested practice of lining boys and girls up separately before leaving class.
"Instead," the guidelines dictate, "use things like 'odd and even birth date ...'
Educators should prominently display photographs of gender-benders in the classroom, the new policy insists, and give students at least four choices when it is imperative that gender be determined.
Much of the airtime given to the matter of gender sensitivity training in Lincoln framed the materials supplied as mandates or rules imposed on all schools within the district. However, as Brenda Leggiardo, LPS coordinator of social workers and counselors clarified to the Lincoln Journal Star after the issue gained widespread attention, the materials were provided as guidelines for educators to better understand gender identity issues and were not intended to impose rules mandating how those issues should be addressed:
The handouts, provided by a staff member on a district equity team, were meant only for teachers, not for students or parents, she said.
And they were not meant as rules staff had to follow, but as suggestions for how teachers can make students feel comfortable. It also stresses the impact words can have on others, Leggiardo said.
"If there's a staff member that's uninformed and unsupportive, that can be pretty scary for a family maybe struggling to understand transgender issues themselves," she said.
LPS Superintendent Steve Joel also held a press conference to assert that the district had made no changes to their policies and imposed no mandates; the material in question consisted only of suggestions for "how teachers could reach all students in their classroom":
Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel pushed back against what he said was misinformed reaction to the district's gender identity training by national commentators and news outlets.
"It's indeed regrettable that for the last week and a half we've had to dedicate as much staff time and resources to address an issue that is not founded in fact," he said at a news conference.
"Never once has anyone inside our system mandated that a teacher take (the words) 'boys' and 'girls' or 'ladies' and 'gentlemen' out of their interactions with children or interaction with adults. There's no policy, there's no procedure, there's no changes being made to bathrooms in schools."
Fox News and other national outlets picked up on local news reports about the district's gender identity training, specifically handouts used with teachers at Irving Middle School that included one from the nonprofit organization Gender Spectrum entitled "12 easy steps to gender inclusiveness."
Joel said the handouts were suggestions and strategies, not mandates, about how teachers could reach all students in their classrooms. The training occurred at the request of an Irving teacher looking for guidance dealing with students.
"This was about adults, professional educators, who care deeply about trying to reach and establish relationships with children," Joel said. "They are looking for strategies about how to be more effective in the classroom."
During administrative leadership days prior to the beginning of the school year, LPS officials shared several recent news stories about transgender persons to help administrators better understand the issues that face some students, so they feel comfortable and welcome at school.
How does this relate to John Kline, representing Minnesotans in Congress and controlling the educational policy of the nation?
From the Dignity in Schools Campaign site, whose mission statement says:
The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) challenges the systemic problem of pushout in our nation's schools and advocates for the human right of every child to a quality education and to be treated with dignity. The DSC unites parents, youth, educators and advocates in a campaign to promote local and national alternatives to a culture of zero-tolerance, punishment and removal.
and the part about John Kline in sharp contrast to Al Franken (hooray Senator Al!):
Student Non-Discrimination Act Needed to Protect LGBT Students from Bullying
When the ESEA is brought to the floor of the Senate in either December or January, there is a push to attach the Student Non-Discrimination Act, HR 4350 (SNDA), to it.
SNDA includes comprehensive federal prohibitions against discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. It would forbid schools with public funding to discriminate against LGBT students or ignore harassing behaviors.
The bill was re-introduced, having not been added in committee in ESEA, by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.). (watch the video, grab a tissue.) Co-sponsored by 34 senators, it needs the approval of 60 senators to attach it to the ESEA before going to the House for a vote before it becomes law.
“Is it needed?” you may ask. Only 13 states have laws protecting LGBT students from harassment at school; this is not a surprising statistic when you also realize that 15 states do not even include sexual orientation and gender identity on the “hate crimes” list; in 29 states you can still be fired for being gay; and in 34 states you can be fired for being trans.
Come on, it is really necessary to pass another law? Lots of kids are bullied in school; that is “just the way it is.” Research shows highly rejected LGBT youth were at a very high risk for health and mental problems when they become young adults. Highly rejected LGBT youth were:
  • More than 8 times as likely to attempt suicide;
  • Nearly 6 times as likely to report high levels of depression;
  • More than 3 times as likely to use illegal drugs, and;
  • More than 3 times as likely to be at high risk for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.*

and from the same source, the callous and shameful comments of Congressman John Kline:
Now is the time to voice to your senators and representative that it is their duty as public servants to serve the most vulnerable of their constituents: LGBT children.
Tell them to get on record now in support of the Senate bill and the version that comes to the House. Any senator or representative that votes against the protection of vulnerable children should not hold that position of trust.
I am a Mom too, with two straight, adult children. I am a straight, Evangelical Christian compelled by my faith to stand for justice and against oppression. The argument of some conservative family groups and lobbies against this bill is the fear that this bill will “victimize people of faith by turning religiously-based, anti-gay comments into ‘thought crimes’ ” (Rep. John Kline R-Minn.). This is fear-based rhetoric. Anti-discrimination laws punish actions, not opinions or beliefs.
Kline, Bachmann, Paulsen, and Emmer if he can succeed Bachmann -- every one of these radical rightwingers adamantly oppose any action which would interfere with THEIR religious bullying, in the name of religious freedom. Religious freedom is not a free pass to terrorize and harrass and demean other people, including children. But that is exactly what the right wants, and exactly why they should all be removed from any role in government. But that is MOST true of Kline, chairing the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Kline wants to permit kids to be bullied, he wants them less safe, he wants to prevent government from protecting them -- and if that also means that they get a poorer education, he doesn't care. Those kids, those families - they don't matter to John Kline.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

So much for the Second Amendment protects the First's Freedoms.

Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist known for her critical look at how women are portrayed in popular media cancelled a talk at Utah State University, citing Utah gun laws, after an email threatening a campus shooting was sent to the school.

The e-mail threatened "the deadliest school shooting in American history" if Anita Sarkeesian was allowed to speak at the school. The email is purported to have been written by a student with access to a semiautomatic rifle, several pistols and pipe bombs.

"I'm giving you a chance to stop it," the message reads, demanding that Sarkeesian's presentation be canceled.

The writer of the threatening email called Sarkeesian "everything wrong with the feminist woman" and blames feminism for the emasculation of Western men. The message also referred  to Marc Lepine, the gunman behind a deadly attack against women at a Canadian university in 1989, as a hero and promised a similar shooting at USU, specifically referencing Sarkeesian, attendees at the presentation, and students and staff at the women's center.

Sarkeesian asked school officials whether firearms would be allowed in the auditorium where she was scheduled to speak. USU officials replied that, in accordance with Utah law, anyone with a valid concealed carry permit would be able to enter with a gun, according to a statement released by the university.

Sarkeesian said she requested pat-downs or metal detectors for those coming to the presentation but was denied based on Utah's firearms laws.

Of course, the lawful gun owners would be protecting a crazy.

Or else become yet another mass shooter thanks to crappy US gun laws.

Or as one person commented on Facebook:
But only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun! So clearly what was necessary was for pro-Sarkaasian partisans to also show up armed, and then we could have a multi-way shoot-out in a crowded auditorium. Freedom!
To be honest, guns don't guarantee freedom--they never have. What guarantees freedom are people who are willing to speak out, especially if what they say is unpopular.

Those who kill only create martyrs.

See also:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Serious ignorance

From Facebook:

I'm not sure if this is serious stupidity or rampant ignorance since pretty much everybody knows it is the US CONSTITUTION that begins "We the people.."

Well, everybody except this idiot.

The Phrase "we the people" is totally absent from the Declaration of Independence.

Which would be something this person would know if he actually read either document, which he obviously hasn't.

Neither has he understood either one for their historic and legal significance. And I am not patient enough to try to educate this person since he is a lost cause for any intellectual pursuit.

I would be pretty sure that things like ablative absolutes would seriously go well beyond this person's intellectual capacity.

Again, why I don't bother with the average gun loon. This clown is pretty typical for the intellectual level of a gunloon.

Of course, Gunloons will more than eagerly foist their ignorance upon one.

Ignorance isn't bliss: it's really fucking annoying.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Kline, and the Choice to Dumb Down Our Educational System

This week, we see the protests in Hong Kong against the Chinese government. Ironically, many of those protesting were born after the famous protests in Tieneman Square, back in 1989.

The current crowd of protesters mostly do not know about the history that took place in Tieneman Square, because of how thoroughly it is blocked by China censorship, including censorship of the internet. The government doesn’t want anyone in China to know about that episode of history; they fear it might make more people protest or be disruptive. So they censor, and they lie about it — and they think they are justified in doing so.

In that regard, the Chinese communist government is not so different from the goals of the tea partiers and other right wing nuts like John Kline.

Back in January, we saw Kline promoting National School Choice Week.

Education & the Workforce Committee
U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) today released the following statements in recognition of National School Choice Week (January 27 through February 2):

“Ensuring families can make choices about their children’s education is a key pillar of Republican efforts to improve the nation’s education system,” said Chairman Kline. “I applaud state and local leaders who are working to raise the bar on student achievement by providing parents with additional options, such as charter schools and scholarship programs. A shining example of a successful school choice initiative is D.C.’s own Opportunity Scholarship Program, which has increased high school graduation rates and the number of students pursuing a postsecondary degree. Such efforts should be encouraged, and I urge the administration to reexamine its support for D.C. OSP and other school choice programs across the country.”

That sounds, good, on the surface. But it’s not good, at least, not the way conservatives want to put it in effect.

Conservatives have been attacking public education for quite some time. Part of it is that they oppose the teachers union, part of it is that they oppose different aspects of education generally. Some of the tea partiers – and Kline is aligned with them, although more low profile about it, as noted by Public Integrity - are still back in the days of the Scopes ‘Monkey’ trial, opposing teaching evolution in schools. They are seeking to defund public schools, while creating more charter schools and private school attendance which creates more for-profit-schools receiving public education $, with lower teacher standards, and more specialized, but also more alternative curriculum, including religious institutions which want to teach creationism rather than evolution.
As the STrib noted, back in January;

Americans United for Change is trying to tie 47 swing-district Republicans around the nation, to the conservative movement with “Tea Stained,” a legislative scorecard that ranks lawmakers by votes the group sees as aligned with Tea Party values.

The analysis includes 48 U.S. House votes, including votes to defund the Affordable Care Act and those taken during the government shutdown to fund some parts but not all of the government.

The group argues that Paulsen voted with the Tea Party 83 percent of the time in 2013 while Kline’s loyalty score was slightly lower at 79 percent – and that their voting tendencies don’t differ much from U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, founder of the congressional Tea Party caucus.

“Voters deserve better. Whether they embrace the Tea Party ideology or despise it or fall anywhere in between, they have a right to know where their elected representatives fall on the Tea Party spectrum – not where they say they fall, but how they actually vote,” said Americans United for Change President Brad Woodhouse in a statement.

“What it proves, unfortunately for non-extremists who are represented by Republicans, is that there is no longer a meaningful distinction between the Tea Party and the Republican Party in American politics today.”

What Kline is after, much like Michele Bachmann has pursued in her right wingnut career in politics, and what many of the more extreme right want to do, is to get the federal government OUT of education entirely, so that the locals can impose the crazy. Their brand of crazy censorship is to sanitize education, to not teach anything that might be bad or awkward about our history, in the name of American Exceptionalism, patriotism, and teaching children respect for authority.

Because apparently conservatives believe you can’t both be patriotic, and know the truth about your own history.

From Public Integrity’s website:

Kline has called for giving states more control over education, saying “let’s back the federal government out of dictating to schools how they’re going to do their business.”He has also supported expanding the government’s school voucher program, which pays for tuition at a private school in place of the public school where a child is assigned.

What replaces the federal government requiring our schools to teach a rational, scientific, factual curriculum, are the states. Republican states replace competent and credible education with creationism or faulty history or bad economics tailored to fit the right wing ideology. Tea party education is indoctrination, not education. It leads to the dumbing down of students, it leads to making the nation less competitive, it leads to creating an ignorant theocracy.

A good rule of thumb is that to legitimize something bad, proponents will link it to something good, something that is – they hope – above criticism, in order to put what is bad beyond the reach of criticism.

We can see what happens when the tea party with whom Kline shares ideology gets to dictate what students are taught, the most recent example being Colorado, where the current argument for dumbing down the curriculum is that it is justified to teach students history that is factually inaccurate, in the bogus name of American Exceptionalism aka super-patriotism. It’s closer to pseudo-patriotism.

From the Colorado Independent via the Immoral Minority:

Colorado’s latest education official to condemn high school history course standards wonders why those who wrote the curriculum missed what seems to her an obvious point — that the United States voluntarily ended slavery.
Pam Mazanec, a Larkspur businesswoman who sits on Colorado’s Board of Education, posted on a Facebook discussion thread her concerns that questions asked on the Advanced Placement U.S. history test “portray the negative viewpoint as the correct answer.”

“As an example, I note our slavery history,” she wrote to a woman who teaches AP U.S history. “Yes, we practiced slavery. But we also ended it voluntarily, at great sacrifice, while the practice continues in many countries still today!

“Shouldn’t our students be provided that viewpoint? This is part of the argument that America is exceptional. Does our APUSH (AP U.S. History) framework support or denigrate that position?”

So, how does that square with education professionals, the ones who support the kind of standards and requirements that the federal government demands? from the same source:

“The idea that the United States voluntarily gave up slavery is an outright misrepresentation of history. The United States engaged in a civil war to end slavery. There was nothing voluntary about it,” said Stephanie Rossi an AP U.S. history teacher at Wheat Ridge High School. “I’m just flabbergasted at anyone who would make that claim. Flabbergasted.”

The tea party crazies like Michele Bachmann, and apparently more discretely Kline, have for a long time sought to distort the notion of our early history, ranging from just omitting entirely the important information that the Founding Fathers actually owned slaves (most of them), and replacing it with lies, like the famous claim that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery, or variously that slavery wasn’t really so bad, or that slave owners were good to their slaves and gave them a better life than they would have had in Africa — with the bonus of coerced conversion to Christianity. In their view, so long as you save their souls, it doesn’t matter if you sell them on the auction block like livestock, or torture them, rape them, or mutilate them (as long as you, also, are a “good Christian”).
                                Slave Restraints, 1807 from

                Iron Mask, Collar, Leg Shackles and Spurs Used to Restrain Slaves.
               Illustration in The Penitential Tyrant / Thomas Branagan, New York.     
                       Printed by Samuel Wood, no. 362, Pearl Street, 1807

Here is what Michele Bachmann said, via City Pages:
…speaking to a group of anti-taxers in Iowa, she got her history wrong.In extolling the notion that “all men are created equal,” she said of European immigrants that, “It didn’t matter the color of their skin, it didn’t matter their language, it didn’t matter their economic status. Once you got here, we were all the same. Isn’t that remarkable?”
But the white, male founders didn’t consider African slaves fully human. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and many more of the founding fathers actually owned slaves.
“We also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States,” Bachmann said.

That’s the version of history promoted by right wing pseudo-historian David Barton, and others, that Bachmann wants to put into our schools. Extreme right Republican politicians like Kline are determined to remove the federal barriers of professional standards educational requirements to facilitate that, under the guise of ‘choice’ and state control of educational standards.

Here is an example of the contrast between serious and legitimate American history, and right wing sanitizes false history.

Michele Bachmann and David Barton, her mentor, claim that the Founding Fathers wanted to end slavery, they tried, but they couldn’t. For example, Barton insists that Thomas Jefferson, the guy who wrote “all men were created equal” in the Declaration of Independence, was opposed to slavery. He has stated variously that Jefferson actually freed his slaves upon his death, or that he WANTED to free his slaves, but that Virginia law would not let him.

George Washington, a contemporary who also lived in Virginia, freed HIS slaves when he died. (Technically, they were supposed to be freed when Martha Washington died, but she carried out that part of his will a year after his death. Washington had owned 318 slaves during his lifetime, per the history site at Mt. Vernon.) ALL OF THEM WENT FREE.

In contrast, Jefferson owned more than 600 slaves in his lifetime, including some 70 members of the Hemmings family, some of whom were his children and grandchildren. Of those he freed some half dozen, so he clearly COULD have freed ALL of his slaves if he truly opposed slavery that sincerely – as sincerely as did Washington.

From the book George Washington and Slavery, via wikipedia:

Washington was the only Southern slaveholding Founding Father among the top seven to emancipate his slaves after the American Revolution. Of the seven Founding Fathers, the northerners Benjamin Franklin and John Jay both owned slaves whom they freed, and Jay founded the New York Manumission Society. He had a practice of freeing slaves as adults after a period of service. In 1798, the year before New York passed its gradual emancipation law, Jay still owned eight slaves.

The reality is that our history is a mix of good and bad, including our founding fathers. What the above leaves out for example, is that Benjamin Franklin not only owned slaves – two men, King, and George – but that he made his living publishing the auction announcements for slave sales to make his living, thereby profiting indirectly from the slave trade in addition to owning other human beings.


A list of presidents who owned slaves, both while in office or at other times during their lives, has been compiled by Robert Lopresti, a librarian at Western Washington University. Based on his well-documented research, he says 12 of our presidents owned slaves and eight of them owned slaves while serving as president.

Zachary Taylor was the last sitting president to own slaves. Taylor owned 100 slaves and a Mississippi plantation, but he also opposed the extension of slavery to new territories. In 1850 the former Army general told a group of angry Southerners that if they seceded he would personally lead the Army and hang anyone taken in rebellion against the Union. Taylor died unexpectedly later that year.

The last president who ever owned slaves was, ironically, Ulysses S. Grant, elected in 1868 after he had commanded Union forces to victory over the Confederacy in the war that led to the abolition of slavery. Grant owned a slave named William Jones, whom he freed in 1859. Between 1854 and 1859 Grant worked and lived on an 850-acre farm in Missouri, near St. Louis, that was owned by his father-in-law. Grant’s wife, Julia, also owned slaves, and during Grant’s management of the farm he worked along with one of them, a man named Dan. The farm is now the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, part of the National Park Service.

A vote for Kline might as well be a vote for Bachmann in men’s clothes. A vote for Kline is a vote against good government. A vote for Kline is a vote for bad education and for indoctrination with propaganda. A vote for Kline is a vote to attack, and even shut down federal government instead of promoting better federal government. Get Kline out of government, and off the Education and Workforce Committee; he’s harming education, and not doing anything for the workforce either. Otherwise, we will face future generations of dummies like Bachmann, where facts do not matter, and where young citizens are blocked from the truth about their country’s past:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fake quotes irritate me

I am not sure where this came from originally, so my apologies for not providing an accurate attribution.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Weekly Roundup -- the News Highlights

In no particular order, from Reuters:

Court says Kansas Democrats don't have to run Senate candidate

(Reuters) - A court ruled on Wednesday that Kansas Democrats do not have to put a candidate on the ballot for the U.S Senate, a decision that is expected to boost chances of an independent beating the Republican incumbent in an election that may swing control of the chamber.
A three-judge panel of the Shawnee County District Court ruled that no one has to replace Democrat Chad Taylor, who dropped out last month.
Having no Democrat on the ballot will likely bring more votes to independent Greg Orman in his race against Senator Pat Roberts.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican, said Taylor did not properly withdraw. Kobach filed a lawsuit, but the Kansas Supreme Court on September 18 ordered Taylor's name kept off the ballot.
David Orel, a Kansas Democrat, immediately filed a lawsuit with the Kansas Supreme Court contending that state law compels the party to replace Taylor. Orel said Democrats are entitled to have someone on the ballot.
But lawyers for the party argued that it has the option of replacing Taylor but is not required to do so, even though the statute says the party "shall" fill a vacancy on the ballot.
The court panel determined that the word "shall" was not a mandatory directive but instead is meant to say who is responsible for filling a vacancy if there is interest in doing so.
Orel did not appear on Monday at a hearing of the judicial panel, which took the case at the direction of the Kansas Supreme Court.
Orel is truly a democrat in name only; his son is the campaign manager for GOP Governor Sam Brownback's re-election committee. Orel appeared to cut and run before the legal challenge even got started.

Kobach is the right wing extremist who drafted the failed 'papers please' anti-immigrant legislation for Arizona that was copied by other states -- where it was equally a failure. Earlier, when the Kansas Supreme Court determined that the Democratic candidate could withdraw, Kobach made a lot of noise about not sending out ballots without a Democratic candidate, or sending out two and three versions of the ballots, and trying to include disclaimers on the ballot, and also at one point wanted to hold the elections in November a week or more late, which is contrary to federal law. He also claimed he had a federal waiver, which was false, and in fact never sought one.

The above massive, epic right wing failure at election tampering has resulted in Kobach as well as Brownback being behind in the polls, as well as headlines like this in the Kansas City Star:

Kris Kobach should stop trying to influence U.S. Senate race

While a three-judge panel in Shawnee County District Court made no final decision, it ruled Kobach had no grounds to intervene. Kobach has been working overtime to get a Democrat on the ballot to potentially dilute the voting strength of independent candidate Greg Orman, who is challenging incumbent GOP Sen. Pat Roberts.
Kobach, a lawyer, has a habit of intervening in controversial matters — like other states’ immigration laws. He also has a record of losing.
The citizens of Kansas would be better served if their secretary of state worked on ensuring a smooth-running election instead of trying to interfere in one of its races.

Read more here:

Tea bagger policies have been disastrous for Kansas.  Republicans have been extremely 'intrusive' when they get control of government, and not in any kind of good or honest way.

And in other news, from the Chicago Sun Times:

State rep candidate voted in Illinois and Wisconsin

Republican Kathy Myalls is urging voters to elect her to a seat in the Illinois State Legislature.
But will she vote for herself?
It’s a fair question, since records show Myalls has voted in both Illinois and Wisconsin in recent years.
In one case, she cast a vote in a primary election in Illinois. Then just three months later, records show she voted in Wisconsin to cast a ballot in the state’s recall election. The effort was aimed largely at recalling Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — someone with whom Myalls is pictured on her Facebook page. Myalls then voted in Wisconsin’s presidential general election in 2012 before returning to Illinois to vote the following spring. 

Myalls appears to have kept voter registrations in two states, and to have failed to designate one home as her primary residence for voting purposes -- aka voter fraud.  You know -- the KIND VOTER ID IS SUPPOSED TO PREVENT, BUT DOESN'T.  It also appears that with all the commuting back and forth between her TWO primary residences, that Myalls should be disqualified for failing to meet the residency requirements for candidates. 


Then we have the hankety pankety in Arkansas with Republicans and the voter fraud problem with their candidate for Attorney General.
from the Washington Examiner: 
Arkansas Republican AG candidate's voter registration canceled
Leslie Rutledge, the GOP candidate for attorney general of Arkansas, is no longer registered to vote in the state, even though she’s had a state-issued voter registration card since 2013.
Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane canceled Rutledge’s voter registration this week after he discovered she was also registered to vote in Washington, D.C., and possibly even Virginia. Rutledge had registered in Pulaski County in 2006 but canceled before registering in Washington in 2008.
Rutledge is listed as an “inactive” voter in D.C.. She complains that it was Crane’s responsibility to notify other jurisdictions of her registration so that they would be canceled.

Except it turns out that is not true.  Rutledge was registered in BOTH D.C. AND in Virginia, at the same time, and her voter registration was never canceled in Arkansas during that time either, because she did not notify the Sec State or her local office.  It appears that neither DC nor Virginia notified any other state either, although they should, and in most jurisdictions it is required they do so.  So responsibility for the multiple registrations seems to rest with Rugledge, but is also shared with the voter registration offices in both D.C. and Virginia.  The only bureaucrats who did NOT drop the ball with the information available was Arkansas.

However, when Rutledge returned to Arkansas, she did not RE-register, she did not notify or acknowledge to any voter registration official that she had moved anywhere.  She simply requested a change of address form for her old Arkansas registration, effectively affirming her vote registration in Arkansas for the entire time.

Remember, ignorance is not a defense in violating the law, and this is the last person, one running for the office of state Attorney General, who should be claiming they didn't know.

But it gets worse for Rutlege.  Because her voter registration has been found to be invalid, and canceled, her status as a candidate is in invalid as well, because a candidate must be, under the AR constitution and other legislation, a valid voter in that state.  Now she's not, and there has been a complaint filed to have her name removed from the November ballot.  She can re-register to vote, if she does so quickly; Arkansas requires voter registration 30 days before an election in order to vote.  (Minnesota of course only requires 21 days, and allows same day voter registration, something Republicans seem to be opposing these days.)

Of course, the Republicans are screaming 'foul!', calling it partisan, but the reality is that in the AG GOP primary, the whole issue of residency and voting elsewhere was raised by the other GOP candidate.  It was of course, as so often happens with tea baggers, part of a purity test of sorts:

The two Republicans have taken potshots at each other for weeks questioning each others’ conservative credentials and political experience. In addition, third party groups have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the race.

Rutledge led the ticket in the May 20 Republican primary with 47% of the vote, while Sterling finished the night with 39% support heading into a June 10 statewide run-off.

On Sunday (June 1), Sterling rolled out new charges that Rutledge had voted in Democratic primaries from 1998 through 2008, had not voted in any state elections in 2010 and 2012, and had donated to the Democratic Party of Arkansas at one time in the past.

Rutledge fired back saying Sterling represented in his legal practice a company peddling pornography, an act she says contradicts his Christian and family values platform as well as should be troubling for someone seeking office to oversee a division dedicated to Internet predators.

Rutledge says she did vote in those Democratic primaries on her record — some in Independence County, some in Pulaski County. In the earlier years, she voted for Democratic friends and colleagues running for prosecutor positions and judgeships when Arkansas had partisan elections in those offices and Republican primaries were largely limited to Northwest Arkansas. Judicial elections became non-partisan in 2002, while prosecutors just moved to non-partisan status in the 2014 cycle.

Rutledge’s voting history, obtained through public records from the Pulaski County Clerk’s office, shows she did vote in the 2008 GOP Presidential primary (she says she cast a vote for Mike Huckabee) as well as this year’s 2014 primary. She consistently voted in general elections from 1996 through 2008.

Sterling has also pointed out that Rutledge made a contribution to the Democratic Party of Arkansas in 2007. Records show that Rutledge did contribute $104.50 to the DPA early that year, which she says was her payment for a ticket to Gov. Mike Beebe’s inaugural ball.
And as noted in the most excellent Brad Blog:
Leslie Rutledge, the Republican candidate for Attorney General in Arkansas, has been discovered to have been registered to vote in multiple states in addition to Arkansas, and even voted by absentee ballot in Arkansas' general election in November of 2008 --- after she had registered to vote in Washington D.C. [PDF] in July of the same year.
I'm smelling an unusually strong stink of conservative hypocrisy along with some potential voter fraud charges, and removal from ballots this election cycle - involuntarily.  Even for Republicans, how much ignorance can you plead?