Saturday, May 31, 2014

Broadcast on economic inequality Monday evening

From MoveOn.org:

Senator Elizabeth Warren and Professor Thomas Piketty, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, are two of the leading voices on economic inequality. 

Imagine a conversation with the two of them together. On Monday, that's exactly what you're invited to see. 

This Monday, June 2, at 8:30 p.m. ET (7:30 CT/6:30 MT/5:30 PT), MoveOn is broadcasting their dialogue for the first time, courtesy of HuffPo Live and in partnership with the Patriotic Millionaires. And when they talk, they'll be answering questions submitted by MoveOn members like you.  

Will you watch the conversation with Sen. Warren and Prof. Piketty on Monday night? 

Go to moveon.org to RSVP and submit your questions.

EJ Montini asks "exactly when did mass killings become normal?"

When did mass killings become normal?  Montini has no answer other than to deplore the fact that our country reacts as if they are normal.  Here is my answer. 

These killings have no consequence for the vast majority of the country.  You only get real emotionality when someone close to you is gunned down.  And even then, there is no real consequence in the larger public, political arena.  So the gut-level response is followed by nothing.  And in psychological terms, that results in the eventual extinction of the gut level aversion to these massacres.  

Our lawmakers get away with doing nothing after the choreographed media events disappear from center stage (shock, outrage, calls for action, wait for next shooting, repeat). So what happens is another mass killing gets registered in our national psyche as just one more <fill in the blank> event.  And the next one is treated with a little less horror by our nation.  

So "exactly"?  There is no single date.  It is an ongoing process by which we as a nation accept mass killings as the price we are willing to pay for our national policy of guns, guns, and more guns.  We have gotten used to it. That is a pretty horrible indictment of our national character.

Sandy Hook principal's daughter responds to Joe the Plumber

A few days ago I posted a story about Joe the Plumber who wrote to the father of one of the California shooting victims, saying the death of your son does not trump my constitutional right [to own a gun].  Is Joe just one example of how our country has lost its soul?  The daughter of the Sandy Hook principal speaks out.  

The Daily Kos summary here.

Complete text of her response to Joe.

The 1% does not think like the rest of us

Every so often I run across some research that quantifies some aspect of the great divide between the ultra-rich and the rest of us regular folks.  Here is a report of a division of opinion on just about every topic you can think of.

Big money in politics: Who's bought and ...

Bet you thought I was going to add "and who's not."  Might be a tall order these days.  Here is an inside peek at a big money conference by a Politico investigative reporter who names some names attending a Koch bros event.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Just in: Steve Farley reports effects of eliminating child care subsidies

In one graphic, Farley shows what happens when AZ eliminates funding for child care subsidies: reports of child neglect increase - and dramatically so.  And that lack of investment costs the state even more.  

See the latest edition of the Farley report:

http://www.friendsofarley.com/farley_rpt_209

Homo Sapiens exceptionality on display: Climate change and species extinction

Our planet has serious problems.  Most are brought on by the parasitic creature Homo Sapiens (often an oxymoron) who, according to theology, God gave dominion over animals (including other men) - so goes the mantra from those who believe that our species' actions have no consequence.  Look at what we are doing to other species.

Locally, it plays out with the proposed Rosemont mine.  Economic benefits are temporary, but species extinction is forever.  But that's OK with the mining crowd.

And then check out a real scientist's take on climate change: Neil deGrasse Tyson takes on climate change denial.

Inequality watch: Tune in to a conversation between Elizabeth Warren and Thomas Piketty Monday evening

This should be good!  For details see:

http://pol.moveon.org/pac/warrenpiketty/index.html

See how they run ... away from repealing ACA

McConnell is the most visible right now, but not  the only GOP candidate to backtrack on their absolutely, firm, no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners approach to repealing the dreaded Obamacare.  Oops - well, we guess you can keep your new insurance even if we repeal Obamacare - we'll tell you how later.  GOP=Goofy Old Procrastinators.  In the words of another GOP nutcase, come on, GOP, man up and tell your constituents what you aim to do to them.

Washington Post story is here.

Reporting about guns in America

Here is a Propublica collection of news stories with summaries about guns and related issues.  Looks to be a good source of talking points.

Doctor shortage at veterans hospitals

NY Times reports that Veterans Administration hospitals suffer from a shortage of physicians.  Those that stay in that system are paid less than physicians in private practice -  my guesstimate of the difference from this article is about $75,000/year.  To be sure, the performance measure on wait times, albeit well intended, has been misused.  But it also seems that the too few underpaid doctors might have something to do with the long waits veterans experience at VA hospitals.

Pushing veterans into non-VA hospitals will be costly.  Who will pay for the cost differential?  (Remember that $75,000 salary difference?)  Of course we could hire more physicians at more VA hospitals at competitive salaries, reducing the wait times and making the jobs more attractive.  But wait:  a VA health bill died in congress earlier this year.  Once the scandal mongering subsides, and once the obligatory heads have rolled, let's see if congress has the collective will to do right by our veterans.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Another shooting? Used to it? Become less human

That's what I've been saying in other words in various forums for quite a while.  The media reports these things as routine statistics.  Well, with a modicum of hand-wringing.  But they fade from our consciousness quickly.  Each new shooting without social or political consequence becomes one more click on our psychological counter - the count that increases our emotional immunity to the horrors of the next shootings.  Imagine living in a world in which that immunity is complete.  Is there then anything too horrible to contemplate?

Check out Leonard Pitts' op-ed.

Editorials urging action on gun access and mental health

NY Times

AZcentral

McConnell is between a rock and a hard place on Obamacare

This is the rock - his promise to repeal ACA ...

... and this is the hard place: dodging questions about the highly successful Kentucky state exchange.  Welcome, Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Go for it Mitch.  Tell us how you are going to explain loss of health care to 400,000 of your constituents.  And he's not the only Republican to start tip-toeing backwards through the slough of lies about ACA and promises to repeal and replace (with nothing concrete).  

Read more here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Greenhouse gas changes since the ice age: All you need to know in a single animation

Thanks to Linda Laird for this link to an animated graphic by the NOAA.

Updates on California shooting

Washington Post: political calculations by congress prevent gun safety laws

It does not matter how many deaths are racked up with fire arms.  The NRA's hold on congress continues to prevent any meaningful intervention.  If you reduce the number of guns, you should reduce the number of murders using guns (see related link on US exceptionalism below).  So is anything or anyone that prevents reduction in gun ownership complicit in the murders?  Thinking of NRA.

NRA and its bogus view of the 2nd amendment

NY Times has a review of how badly the NRA has twisted the second amendment.  As a youngster, I learned marksmanship and rifle (not gun) safety from the NRA  at our local police range.  I don't recognize the NRA now as the NRA then.  It no longer teaches responsible rifle (as in hunting) use - it pumps out propaganda that distorts the original intent of the authors of our constitution.  

Joe the Plumber:"Your dead kids don't trump my Constitutional rights"

He means those constitutional rights invented by the NRA.  Incredible.

US exceptionalism on display: #1 in firearm mortality

Here is one way in which the USA is truly exceptional:  8,855 murders by guns vs. 30 in England.

Inequality watch: Median CEO pay now above $10M

What's the minimum wage for a CEO (at least in the top 100 CEOs)? Let's use Warren Buffett with a declared salary of $485,606 (rank = 99).  (I would use #100, Lawrence Page, CEO of Google at one dollar, but, man, his stock earnings are over the top so it's not a good comparison.)  A minimum wage worker earns $7.25 for one hour of work.  Congress refused to raise it to $10.10.

Read the Politico story here ...

... and see the full list here.

VA scandal GOP style

GOP blocked a VA funding bill, but the "scandal" gets more coverage. Seems to be another example of GOP underfunding a government entity and then blaming said entity for underperforming.  

See review of media [non]coverage here.

I was waiting for this: privatization of the VA is a not-so-hidden agenda.  My hunch? Some of the scandal mongers would love to take vets out of the system with vouchers.  

See the story here.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Father of California shooting victim blames "gutless bastards"

Every day in America, people die from gun shots.  The most recent example is the mass shooting in Isla Vista, California.  A young man with psychological problems was able to purchase three handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition which he then used to murder other young adults.  The interviews with one of the victim's fathers, Richard Martinez, are gut-wrenching.  

But, now, let's be honest.  How many of us remember the names of the parents of the much younger victims at the Sandy Hook school?  The teacher's name?  Principal?  Or even what state?  As a society we have become inured to mass shootings.  Almost as rapidly as they happen, they become old news and are lost from the collective consciousness.  And we tolerate the NRA telling us that guns don't kill people.  We are all right with automobiles being more regulated than guns.  We pay homage to the misinterpreted second ammendment.  Georgia passes a law that permits guns in airports.  Why?  Well, you want to have a gun when the next mass shooting happens in your presence.  Martinez asks if we learned nothing from previous shootings.  He calls them insanity.  

Congress is incapable of agreeing on the most mundane legislation.  We should not be surprised that our political leaders are incapable of agreeing on gun safety measures.  I am not being partisan here - there is enough blame to go around.  And Martinez nails it.  For his son's death he blames "craven irresponsible politicians and the NRA."  For inaction in the face of am epidemic of mass murder in this country he blames the "gutless bastards" we the people elect to do ... nothing.

In the end, this too will move to the fringes of public memory.  Our citizenry and our leaders will continue to defend the "God given right" of every man, woman and child to possess multiple military-grade firearms.  More mass shootings will happen.  More children will die.  And Richard Martinez's son's death will pass into history as just one more part of the price Americans are willing to pay for their guns.

The Martinez interviews are documented at the following web sites.

DailyKos May 25

DailyKos May 26

DailyMail

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl5GpfXrgIo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl5GpfXrgIo

"Could the California shooting revive gun control?"

Unfortunately the answer from the Washington Post columnist is basically "no."

The NRA says that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” but somehow bad guys keep shooting innocent people even though we have more supposedly good guys with guns than anywhere else. It’s quite the mystery. But if 20 schoolchildren getting slaughtered in Newtown, Conn., didn’t create the conditions for new gun legislation to succeed in the short term, it’s hard to imagine that any one event could.

Read more about the rationale here.

The most recent event, the California shooting, unfortunately not likely to move gun safety action, is the topic of the next post.

Push this win-win with the Arizona Corporation Commission candidates

Actually this is a feel-good story - we need one now and then!  If only we in AZ could follow up on it. 

Here is an absolutely excellent article on an innovation that could really help AZ: prevent CAP evaporation by covering canals with solar panels.  It's already being done - just not by us.  Hey, APS, TEP, CAP, ... are you listening?

In defense of the VA: "Veterans' Health Care is Still the Best Available"

You will hear a lot of scandal-mongering about the VA.  Most of it is political posturing by right-wing politicians who are out to destroy anything good that government does. (Geez - if gumint does something good, it must be bad.)  Here is a testimonial in defense of veterans health care in an article titled "Veterans’ Health Care is Still the Best Available" appearing in the Washington Monthly.  This is a powerful statement about the effectiveness of a single payer system - and, yes, your eyes have it right.  Single payer.

Phil Longman: To the specific issue at hand on whether or not there were secret waiting lists at Phoenix and possibly other hospitals, we just don’t know. There’s strong evidence that employees at those facilities engaged in some kind of gaming of their performance metrics. But we’re still waiting for the investigation to finish.
But the big question with these stories about the VA is, “compared to what?” This scandal wouldn’t exist if the VA didn’t have performance metrics on its employees. If it didn’t measure or care whether veterans get prompt appointments it could just do what the rest of the health-care system has done and not hold people responsible for these metrics. Now, certain people seem to have cheated on this metric. But that’s far better than what goes on in the rest of the health-care system where no one is accountable for this at all.
The Veteran’s health care system actually has an Inspector General. They have a degree of accountability that you won’t see in the private sector. It’s also a single-payer system that could serve as a model for the whole county.

Read the full article here.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Barber vs. McSally: Not-so-common opinions

The following item is cross-posted with the DCSRA Monday Digest for May 26, 2014.

The article in Blog for Arizona that was mentioned in the last DCSRA Monday Digest contained three lists expressed as a Venn diagram: views held by Democratic Congressman Barber, views held by Republican challenger McSally, and "Common Opinions." The purpose of our reference to that blog was to highlight important differences between the two candidates. Since last Monday, a DCSRA member provided extensive citations showing that Barber’s and McSally’s views are not common as expressed in the "Common Opinions" area of diagram in the blog entry. From the citations, responses to the “Common Opinions” in the blog entry are briefly summarized in the table below. Unless otherwise noted, the views expressed for each "Common Opinion" are Barber's. They are more good reasons to vote for Ron Barber in November.

"Common Opinions"Responses from citations
Pro-military Supports care of veterans and their families, A-10, and D-M mission.
Pro-business Supports small businesses
Anti-regulation Supports regulation that cuts red tape in new business development, and opposes Republican’s regulating Defense of Marriage, Environmental Policy and limiting Executive Branch management of larger projects. McSally favors “cutting federal regulations”.
Soft on Anti-poverty programs Intensely opposed to cuts in SNAP, food for the poor; favored AHCCCS Medicaid expansion
Soft on Job creation A top-most priority, talked more about this than anything else, favors infrastructure jobs; protects D-M mission; favors expansion of solar and other high tech industry.
Silent on immigration reform Outspoken supporter of DREAM act comprehensive reform with a path to citizenship.
Silent on minimum wage Co-sponsored bill and voted for increasing minimum wage, strongly supports increasing minimum wage.
Silent on public education Throughout 2012-present, an outspoken, robust supporter of education, K-12 education a top priority; supports investment in STEM fields.
Silent on Personhood/Citizens United 2012-present, strongly opposed Citizens United and dark money; favors public financing.
Big money best friends Persistently against tax cuts for richest Americans; opposes tax increases for middle class; favors closing corporate tax loopholes

Military understands climate change. How about House Republicans?

Drive by D-M some day and you will see evidence of some forward thinking by the military - acres of solar panels that work to lessen dependence on fossil fuels - and that work to reduce greenhouse gases.  The military gets it:

Sea level rise impacting naval bases. Climate change altering natural disaster response. Drought influenced by climate change in the Middle East and Africa leading to conflicts over food and water — as in, for instance, Syria.
The military understands the realities of climate change and the negative impacts of heavy dependence on fossil fuels.
The U.S. House does not.

Where is the support for our veterans?

Amidst the chatter about heads rolling etc., ask this: if Congress was serious about supporting our veterans, would they not provide adequate funding?  Joe Conason observes:

While Congress eagerly prepares its latest political stunt — a resolution to oust Gen. Eric Shinseki as Veterans Affairs Secretary — individual members might consider their own responsibility for the scandalous inadequacy of veterans' health care. 

See this article in Nation of Change.


It is all too easy to send troops to war.  Apparently it is harder to support them when they come home.  For an analysis of what got us here, see Rachel Maddow's book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Veterans alert: Koch brothers want you!

If you are a vet, like me, be concerned about "Concerned Veterans for America"

For the vets out there, this is a must read.  It's a guest column appearing in the Sierra Vista Herald by Tom Philpot,  "a syndicated columnist and freelance writer. He has covered the U.S. military for more than 30 years. Military Update, which reaches two million readers, covers breaking news affecting the lives of service members, retirees, Reserve and Guard members and their families."  He takes on a right-wing group Concerned Veterans for America (CVA), part of the Kochtopus.

Several press reports connect CVA to the Koch bros - for example:

From the Washington Post: "Concerned Veterans for America , which in 2012 held events spotlighting the unemployment rate among veterans and the difficulties members of the military face in casting ballots. The group was funded almost entirely by TC4 in 2012."  [TC4 Trust is one of the groups involved in the Koch Brothers network of front organizations.]

From Propublica: lots of technical tax stuff here.  CVA is part of the Koch network.

Philpot connects this to the current VA issues.

Most veterans’ groups continue to support [VA Secretary Eric] Shinseki. They say they know him well enough to believe he’ll address any abuses uncovered and will work to protect more veterans from harm. And we’ll see.
But in my 37 years covering veterans’ issues, I have never seen veteran issues used more cynically or politicized more thoroughly than during the past several years. At times the intent seems to be to shake trust in government generally rather than to address veterans’ needs.
In the thick of this is Concerned Veterans for America, posing as a vet advocacy group and being rewarded for it. CVA press releases usually are partisan attacks. Its spokesman, Pete Hegseth, an Iraq war vet and Republican who ran for a U.S. Senate in 2012, is quoted often by major news outlets without mention of press reports associating CVA with the Koch brothers, libertarian billionaires who create public interest groups to oppose big government. That’s fine. That’s protected speech. A CVA spokesman told me last year it doesn’t reveal donor information. 
What should upset vets is the use of select facts about VA and its programs to reinforce fears rather than give reliable information. Last week a CVA press release hit a new low in purporting to document “lies” Shinseki told in congressional testimony, dropping any veil of respect for a decorated, combat-disabled soldier with a long and stellar career.

The full story is worth the read.

Public conflicted about affordable care: why?

People are getting insured at affordable cost but many don't like the law that makes it possible.  Sort of like: I am happy that my auto insurance covered my accident but I don't like the insurance.  In this Daily Star article we learn about a guy that has his insurance reduced from $2400 to "several hundred" for a comparable policy but doesn't think he should be required to have the insurance.  So the Affordable Care Act is working but lots of people do not like it?  When you strip away these contradictions, does it boil down to "don't want this black guy to tell me what to do"?

Read the rest here.

Only in Arizona: AG office picks investigator of AG office

But who picks the investigator of the investigator?  After everything Tom Horne has said and done, we should have any confidence in  this?  Just need to hope he hangs on through the general election.  Full story from AZcentral here.


Comparing public and private school performance

David Safier provides an overview of research comparing public, private and charter schools.  This kind of research is tricky, I know - as a former professor of psychology and evaluator, been there, done that.  At a minimum, the educational researcher has to do something like pre-test two groups, treat one, and re-test both groups again.  Just evaluating the treatment with one group is woefully inadequate because of the myriad of possible explanations for any change from pre- to post-test.  But that aside, David reports that one kind of school consistently comes up short.  Read on.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Update: Rosemont mine now guaranteed more delay

Recent sightings of an ocelot in the Santa Ritas triggered a new, full review by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The reviews guarantee another delay for the mine after seven years of permitting efforts. The U.S. Forest Service cleared the way for the reviews to occur by agreeing Friday to request them from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It had previously written the Forest Service that the reviews are legally required.

See more here.

McConnell dodges ACA question

McConnell gets pressed on whether he would drop the Kentucky version of ACA (Kynect).  Here is what he said: "I think that’s unconnected to my comments about the overall question here.”  It appears that Repubs are scampering away from campaigning on repeal.  Kynect is reported to be a success and rates of uninsured are dropping in other states.  Understandably, albeit belatedly, the GOP is reluctant to campaign against a successful law.  Should not Dems now embrace that law as central to their talking points?

More here from Happy Hour Roundup at Wash. Post.

President Obama takes media to task about false equivalence

Ever notice that any report of GOP misdeeds or debunking of Tea Potty misinformation is quickly followed by some story about how the Democrats are equally to blame?  That's called a false equivalence.  Thursday night the President took on mainstream media for that kind of shallow journalism:

So when you hear a false equivalence that somehow, well, Congress is just broken, it’s not true.  What’s broken right now is a Republican Party that repeatedly says no to proven, time-tested strategies to grow the economy, create more jobs, ensure fairness, open up opportunity to all people.

Here is a longer quote from the Salon.com story.

School lunches? Not if you live in a city

Republicans are after school lunches again but with an interesting twist - summertime school lunches are OK for rural children but not urban children.  Here is David Safier's report.

Might it have something to do with Democratic voters in urban areas?  Here is evidence on the red-rural, blue-urban split.

It may be a uniquely USA phenomenon - Germany and France show a different pattern.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ocelot found in Santa Ritas may trigger new delay for Rosemont

Coming on the heels of delays from the Regional Forester (to take more time answering objections) and negative reactions from the Army Corps, the sighting of an Ocelot has caused Fish & Wildlife to re-evaluate its previous stance about the proposed mine's effect on endangered species.  The AZ Daily Star reports:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrote the Forest Service last Friday that it’s now legally required to start a new round of reviews on the mine’s impact on endangered species; the Forest Service can disagree but hasn’t responded yet. The wildlife service wrote a final biological opinion last fall saying the mine won’t jeopardize any of nine imperiled species known to live in and around the mine, or illegally damage critical habitat. Now, the wildlife service says things have changed.

All earlier projections for completion of permitting seem nullified by this development.

Read more ...

If you fear the answer, don't ask the question

Here is another example of the cost of Republican anti-science bias.  Center for Disease control (CDC) research on gun violence is likely to go unfunded - again - because Republicans don't want to know.  Neither does the NRA.

"The President's request to fund propaganda for his gun-grabbing initiatives though the CDC will not be included in the FY2015 appropriations bill," Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that traditionally sets CDC funding, told ProPublica last month.

See the full report from ProPublica.

Yo-ho-ho ... Florida congressman affirms what Republicans really want

It is no secret that Republicans want to suppress the vote - they admit it!  Here is the latest.  Florida Republican Rep. Ted Yoho favors voting only by landed gentry.  Message to Florida voters:  if you vote this guy in, you won't ever have to vote again - he won't let you!

Read more ...

When you do not receive the Sky Island Scriber

That will be rare, but, like today, the Scriber may be working on technical issues.  Or, if the Scriber is someplace in the world without WiFi (rare!), you may not receive a daily email.  Worry not.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sky Island Scriber blog replaces DCSRA Weekly Reader

As of May 20, the DCSRA Weekly Reader was replaced by the Sky Island Scriber, a blog published by your Weekly Reader author.  Those individuals who viewed one or more editions of the Weekly Reader during April and May will receive the new daily digest.  The format is similar to that of our Weekly Reader, but items will be updated daily.  Here are details on the blog and tips on managing your subscription[s].

The default subscription will be a daily digest arriving via email about 8:00 AM.  You need do nothing to receive these emails.  If you do not wish to receive daily emails, you can UNsubscribe using a link at the bottom of each email.

If you wish to receive the Sky Island Scriber posts, but in a WEEKLY digest form, you can go to the Sky Island Scriber web site and subscribe to the weekly version. However, be aware that the weekly version contains ALL posts for the preceding week.  To UNsubscribe from the weekly summary, use the link at the bottom of the email.

Regardless of your email subscriptions, you can always, starting immediately, go to the web site and read the posts.  The web address is
skyislandscriber.blogspot.com

As in other blogs, you can write comments on the blog posts and they will appear attached to the original post.

We hope you will give the blog a try.  Another daily email to be sure, but the posts will be current and thus more useful than the weekly format.

School dropouts: New report is reality check

In a previous post, I described how conservative politicians, like Paul Ryan, make a cognitive error - the fundamental attribution error - when they explain socioeconomic patterns.  Here is an update.  One correlate of poverty is the percentage of students who leave  high school.  This report from Salon.com provides evidence that decisions to leave school are not at all due to some character problem, but rather are made for reasons of circumstance.

... a new report from America’s Promise Alliance, using a combination of statistical analyses and old-fashioned interviews, punctures a hole in that widely accepted stereotype and shows that many so-called dropouts decide to leave school not because of laziness or petulance but rather because of instability at home and trauma from living in violent, unsafe environments. Titled “Don’t Call Them Dropouts,” the study is yet another piece of evidence showing that the Paul Ryan version of poverty has precious little to do with reality itself.

Read the full article here.

Short takes

What GOP wants for school lunches: make them unhealthy

What rise of Tea Potty is costing US science and technology

What years of GOP rule cost AZ economy

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Republican science denial threatens national security

I've been blogging for a while about U.S. attitudes toward and beliefs in science. The attitudes by conservatives are bad and they profess disbelief in important scientific facts.  The most egregious examples of denial and disregard come from social conservatives and their Republican politicians.  For example, from the May 19th Daily Kos:  "PolitiFact was only able to find 8 out of 278 Republican congressmen who will admit to believing in the science of climate change."  Here are select quotes providing more on the consequences of national leaders' anti-science and anti-education attitudes.
While tea party activists may laugh and celebrate their successful intimidation of moderate Republicans into denying science and climate change, I ask that we all pause for a moment and consider for a moment some tragic unintended side effects of propagating an anti-science and anti-education ethos in our country while most other countries are doing the opposite.
While other nations with superior scientists, and stronger economies will be finding ways to adapt and change will we end up  being a struggling in ways we are not accustomed to as a second or third rate nation with a backward work force? What will prevent this [if] substantial fractions of our population despise education and science and some states do not even allow schools to buy textbooks that mention evolution?
I've spoken with leaders of high technology based multinational firms who say one issue that causes them to hesitate to invest here is that in some places our workers are not be able to read and understand advanced manufacturing technologies and documentation based on the latest scientific concepts as well as in other countries. Scholars at Tai Da University toll me last time I was in the Republic of China that the average Asian High School student scores higher on international math tests than the average American college graduate.  
Innovation, entrepreneurs, and new businesses will increasingly come from other countries where science, education, and intelligence are admired, respected, nurtured, and promoted.  
So here's a national security threat for you. "Republican science denial - the clear and present danger to our national security."  
Read the full story

Do the 1% deniers deserve 50% air time?

Neil deGrasse Tyson talks with former CNN science reporter Miles O'Brien.
“Is it fair in a story about climate change, which is clearly what I’m talking about, to do this journalistic convention of equal time for both sides?” O’Brien asks. “This is a huge mistake for journalism.”
Tyson agreed, saying that this approach to journalism means “one person to represent that 5 percent, but then he gets 50 percent of your time.”
“Is that serving the truth?” O’Brien asked. “As a matter of fact, that is feeding obfuscation — perpetuating a myth, dare I say, a lie.”
Read more ...

Money talks: Effects of climate change concern states, insurers

What do California and Farmers Insurance have in common?  Economic consequences of failure to prepare for effects of climate change.  CA Gov Jerry Brown pushes preparatory measures on multiple fronts ...
Read more ...
... while Farmers Insurance sues municipalities that fail to upgrade infrastructure.
Read more ...

Debunking Kiehne's myth about Democratic mass shootings

Gary Kiehne, candidate for CD1 House of Representatives, claimed that 'when it comes to mass shootings, "if you look at all the fiascos that have occurred, 99 percent of them have been by Democrats pulling their guns out and shooting people," Kiehne said to an audience of about 60 people.'
It is sad that a candidate would ever make such a charge.
It is sad that not one person in the audience took issue with that statement.
And it is sad that the charge was echoed uncritically in the press.
Kiehne did later issue a public apology for basing his charge on bad information.  But that does not undo the damge from the recirculation of a myth likely to be believed by the right-wing fringe.
All the evidence to the contrary was available for over a year before Kiehne made that statement.  The myth was started by a right-wing radio show which conveniently ignored the numerous shootings committed by right-wing nuts.
Here is the link to the fact-checking article.

Madrassas Arizonas: Why Arizona is like Pakistan

Gil Shapiro, writing in the AZ Daily Star, makes scary observations about parental choice of educational opportunities.
Arizona schools are mandated to teach math and science and social studies, but any parent who does not believe, for example, in climate change, evolution, vaccinations, and/or contraception, can by law remove their child from classes in which those topics are taught.
According to ARS 15-102: “Parents who object to any learning material or activity, on the basis that it is harmful, may withdraw their children from the activity or from the class or program in which the material is used. Objection to a learning material or activity on the basis that it is harmful includes objection to a material or activity because it questions beliefs or practices in sex, morality or religion.”
Of course, the state will pay said parent to remove their child from the offending class.  And school them at home where the offending topics can be avoided.  Or send them to some other private, religious school.
If you don't like the science taught in public schools, send your child to a madrassa.  That has really worked well for Pakistan.  Why not Arizona too?
Read more ...

Monday, May 19, 2014

How cell phones and bird brains differ: one drives creationists crazy

Start with how they are the same - both use electromagnetic waves.
Over 90% of adults in US use cell phones.  Estimates are 5-6 billion subscribers world wide.  Cell phones basically are radios so, like radios, cell phone transmissions are based on electromagnetic waves.  Birds that migrate long distances are known to use the earth's electromagnetic field as a navigational aid.  And all this depends on the discovery of electricity.
My guess is that the same proportion of cell phone users, 90%, would apply to self-identified creationists and that they would have no problem with that - google creationist Ken Ham for his views on benefits of science.  However, once the assertion is made that birds' brains are evolutionarily specialized for use of electromagnetic waves, the creationists ditch the science.  And that is what happened when Neil deGrasse Tyson on Cosmos explained how Faraday's work on electricity made possible our understanding of electromagnetic waves which in turn led to our understanding of bird migration.  Check it out here.

You may not want to be rich after all - here is why

One recent study recorded the kinds of automobiles that failed to stop for a marked pedestrian walkway.  The violating vehicles tended to be expensive ones.  This is just one example of how the ultra-rich differ from the rest of us.  Here is a good summary of the evidence on how else they differ.

Why Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, and Ayn Rand have the wrong view of poverty

In the NY Times today, Charles Blow takes Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush to task for their recent comments on poverty and what to do about it.  Basically, Ryan and Bush agreed that getting out of poverty depends on such things as friendship and traditional marriage.  Blow observes that:  "the statement makes a basic and demeaning assumption about the poor: that they suffer a deficiency of friendship, accountability and loving relationships. That, sir, has not been my experience. Poverty is demonstrative not of a lack of character, but a lack of cash."  Read more ...

Blow also cites a recent survey by the Pew Research Center that asked about the perceived causes of poverty.  One question was "Which is more to blame if a person is poor?"  The alternatives were "Lack of effort" and "Circumstances beyond his/her control."  Not surprisingly Democrats favored the circumstantial explanation (63%) over the lack of effort explanation (29%) while Republicans favored lack of effort (51%) over circumstances (32%).  Declared Independents aligned more with Democrats in their responses: 51% circumstances vs. 33% lack of effort.  So the Republican response is the oddball.  Democrats and Independents agree that poverty is influenced by circumstances but only Republicans point to a character variable, lack of effort.  For more results ...

One way of looking at this outcome is in terms of social psychology, namely the fundamental attribution error:  "people's tendency to place an undue emphasis on internal characteristics to explain someone else's behavior in a given situation, rather than considering external factors."  Both Bush and Ryan are guilty of this erroneous attribution.  So was Ayn Rand, the pseudo-philosopher darling of conservatives, when infamously she characterized the poor as "moochers, looters, and unthinking brutes."  Bush and Ryan couch this view in motherhood-and-apple-pie terms, but the thinking is the same - the poor are poor because of a character defect.  The data suggest that this view is unique to Republicans and that the view is based on the fundamental attribution error.

The question for Democrats this year is how to strip away the veneer of "deficiency of friendship, accountability and loving relationships" and replace it with what the Republicans really think about the poor - lazy louts feeding at the public trough.  And then persuade the 47% that the Republican agenda is to make their plight worse.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bet you didn't know that fellow Dems did all those mass shootings

We all know, or should know, that the Tea Potty has little use for facts, and misinformation is their game.  Sadly, their masses believe this stuff.  Here is an example.
In Blog for Arizona, AZBlue Meanie writes:
"... Tea-Publican rancher running for Congress in CD 1, Gary Kiehne, ... had this to say to the Pinal County Republican Committee.
When it comes to mass shootings, “if you look at all the fiascos that have occurred, 99 percent of them have been by Democrats pulling their guns out and shooting people,” Kiehne said to an audience of about 60 people. “So I don’t think you have a problem with the Republicans.”
Sadly, the AZ Daily Star just parroted Kiehne's accusation.

This is a MUST read to get the facts that show that Kiehne's claim is BS - one of a series of lies promoted by the right-wing media.  Read more ...

Cartoon: "Benghazi" is the GOP answer, but what is the question?

Have the Monday morning blues? BENGHAZI!
Back account over drawn? BENGHAZI!
Worried about health insurance? BENGHAZI!
Don't know how to vote? BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI!

Check out the cartoon to start this week off right.

Bll Maher: Benghazi? Bring it on!

Obama won 2008.  Obama won 2012.  Now the Republicans want a rerun in 2014.  They cannot win on afforable care (see previous post on Scott Brown's nonpolicies) so they are trying Benghazi to see if it sticks.  Maher's point: fine, let them stick it to themselves. See more and a video here.

While the rich get richer the poor get more debt

That there is an income/wealth inequality is not being debated - at least not in the media I read.  But there is discussion about why it has grown so large since the Reagan years, and there is speculation about related trends.  Here is an interesting take from Salon.com concerning the relation between wealth accumulation (at the top) and consumer debt (at the bottom).
In a 2006 “Saturday Night Live” sketch, Chris Parnell sums up the conventional wisdom about credit card debt:
“Did you know millions of Americans live with debt they can not control? That’s why I’ve developed this unique new program for managing your debt. It’s called, Don’t Buy Stuff You Can’t Afford.”
The American Institute of CPAs runs an advertising campaign urging people to “Feed the Pig.” One such ad depicts a responsible couple studiously saving for a house, while another eats lobster, receives massages and then complains about “never having enough to put away.” Underlying both the real commercial and the satirical one is the idea that those who aren’t saving could do so, but are instead spending the money. But the evidence for this story is weak.
A more compelling story is that inequality has made it harder for households at the middle and bottom to save.  In fact, the decline in savings has coincide with a rise in income inequality (see chart). There is evidence that these trends are connected.
So the message is that the lack of saving and high debt in the lower income groups is not due to frivolous spending patterns.  Rather, the debt accumulates because just getting by is has become increasingly difficult.  (Contrast this view with the Ayn-Rand-ian, Paul Ryan-ian, view of the non-rich - look it up - Google moochers, looters, and unthinking brutes.)  Read the details here.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Drip, drip, drip: Another Horne aide resigns

Various media outlets, including the Arizona Republic quoted here, reported that a high-level aide to AZ AG Tom Horne resigned.
A top aide to Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne named in a complaint alleging campaign finance violations is leaving his post, a spokeswoman for Horne confirmed Friday to The Arizona Republic.
Garrett Archer, Horne's state and federal relations policy analyst, is named in the complaint alleging Horne and his executive staff worked on the attorney general's re-election campaign while on state time.
Horne's office denies that the resignation was caused by the charges against Horne and his top staff filed by ex-staffer, Sarah Beattie:
"I believe a review of his computer will demonstrate that a substantial portion of his (Archer's) time was devoted to Tom Horne's campaign, done on official State time," the complaint states ...
Beattie's charges have got Horne's people worried.
Some staffers are seeking or plan to seek advice from private attorneys in the wake of Beattie's allegations, including Grisham and Mecum.
Grisham is seeking clarity in her capacity as a spokesperson, she said Friday.
Indeed, some clarity would be welcome.  Let's start with the reasoning behind hiring gobs of people in the AG office and expecting them to also work on Horne's campaign on their own time.  Never mind clarity.  Let's start with integrity.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Best idea of the moment

This one fits my Berkeley temperament.  Turn the Benghazi hearings into a freaking joke.

Ducey wants zero income tax - does he believe that his company survived with no income?

Doug Ducey is supposedly a serious candidate for AZ Governor.  But he is running on a policy of getting rid of the state income tax.  However, there is no evidence that such a policy would help AZ grow its way to prosperity.  (Never mind evidence - this is a GOP talking/tipping point.)  Ducey touts his business background as among his qualifications for the Gov position.  However, you gotta wonder:  did he run a business with no income?  Did he give his creamery products away?  Once you start screwing public education and gutting your infrastructure funds, what is left for AZ to sell?
http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2014/05/15/ducey-releases-policy-roadmap/

Responding to questions about climate change, Rubio claims abortion is "settled science"


Remember the political tipping points that Republicans hold near and dear? (Sure you do - it was the subject of the last post.) Either by misrepresenting or ignoring relevant science?  Rubio steps in it again by making erroneous claims about abortion. Then his staff doubles down.  Read on.

Republican talking points as tipping points: climate change

The Antarctic ice sheet has passed a tipping point.  It IS going to melt and increase sea levels substantially.  And there is nothing we can do about it.  (Other actions are still possible to mitigate global warming, but that is another story.)
Paul Krugman points to the GOP's denials on climate change as one of their ideological badges - badges now required of the party faithful even though such beliefs are completely groundless.  Marco Rubio seems (to the Scriber) to be one of the leaders in touting GOP talking points that have no basis in any body of evidence.  His denials of climate change are interesting given his state of Florida is susceptible to rises in sea level. Putting one's head in the sand won't help if the sand is covered by 12 feet of water.  That about half of the American public will vote for guys who believe these talking points is scary because those talking points have become political tipping points - points of no ideological return. Read more ...


You play with these maps to find out which cities are most vulnerable to rising seas and by how much.


What would this story be without Stephen Colbert's take on it?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Kathy's Clones

So the Republican GOP candidates for Governor are of "one mind" according to the coverage of a Saddlebrook "debate" by the Star.  Not surprised?  I know.  Just thought I would put this one into the Scriber's record.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

AZ AG Tom Horne addendum

What a week for Tom Horne.  You almost want to feel sorry for the guy.  Well, maybe not so much


Tom Horne campaign finance case to move forward

MAY 15, 2014 AT 7:37 AM

from Arizona Capitol Times by Jeremy Duda

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk rejected an administrative law judge’s recommendation that campaign finance complaint against Attorney General Tom Horne be dismissed and will instead move forward with charges that he illegally coordinated with an independent expenditure committee during his 2010 campaign.

AZ AG Tom Horne's ex-staffer details use of AG office for political campaigning: Horne replies with name-calling

Read all about it here.  And spread the word to anyone who still thinks the AG office has any integrity left.

http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2014/05/12/az-ag-tom-horne-staff-accused-of-campaign-violations-by-former-staffer-sarah-beattie/


Horne himself opened the door too all this s*%t raining down on his head.  One of the allegations is that Horne has no campaign staff to speak of.  He uses his office staff for that work.  Even if we grant that all political work was done after hours (which I do not given the cited evidence), Horne invited the trouble by placing his state employees in the position of doing double duty as campaign staff.  (Consider how other officials handle that:  separate congressional and campaign offices, for example).


Here are two examples of how the major media outlets in AZ are handling Horne.  


"Tom Horne directs one of the weirdest, most polarized, gossip-hawking, cutthroat, ethically murky, dysfunctional inner circle of bureaucrats this side of the Detroit City Council or the Brazilian Olympic Committee." Hey, AZ Republic, why are you holding back?

http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/editorial/2014/05/13/tom-horne-reasonable-doubt/9059057/


After reviewing the allegations, Tim Steller of the AZ Daily Star concludes:"common sense points ... toward the conclusion that Horne is an unethical politician who abuses his position of public trust."

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/column/steller-horne-s-running-out-of-defenses-for-unethical-behavior/article_f128f6f8-2191-5581-908a-0b653bc2dc83.html


There is always a lighter side, as Montini notes:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/ejmontini/2014/05/13/tom-horne-joe-arpaio-steven-seagal-russell-pearce-reception/9040055/

Stay at home? &nbsp;You need to consider the magic numbers: 51 and 218

Vote for Barber: A contrary view

You can read the arguments for staying home in Blog for Arizona by Bob Lord.  However, before you use them as justification for not voting in the CD2 race, ask yourself this: how much damage could a Tea Potty puppet like McFolly do while you are waiting for a 'real' Democrat in 2016?  Which of them, Barber or McFolly, are likely to vote to repeal ACA?  Vote for minimum wage increase? Vote for fair pay?  Vote to impeach Obama?

http://blogforarizona.net/in-defense-of-stay-at-home-progressives/


And here is a counter message [against "staying home"], with many examples of the negative consequences of not voting, from AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona.   The take-away:

"Suck it up and vote, and start working on finding your mythical Progressive Democrat champion for 2016."

http://blogforarizona.net/sorry-progressives-but-politics-is-about-math/

Northern AZ city is poster child for western US with little water

Here is the fact.

"Officials in [Williams, AZ] about 60 miles from the Grand Canyon's South Rim have clamped down on water use and declared a crisis amid a drought that is quickly drying up nearby reservoirs and forcing the city to pump its only two wells to capacity."


And here is the unfounded optimism.

'Residents are praying they get some relief soon.

"I still have hope God will send us the rain," said [one] resident'

'"We know in due time, the lakes will fill back up, the snow will come," [the Williams mayor] said.'


Climate change?  "What, me worry?"

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Why you should vote and vote for Ron Barber

Barber has a way of voting, some of the time, that infuriates many Dems, especially progressives and liberals.  I am in that group that is offended by his recent votes on the Benghazi and IRS actions by the GOP scandal-mongers.  However, this article neatly summarizes Barber's positions vs. Martha McFolly's non-positions.  The summation nails it: better Barber's votes 50% of the time than McFolly's votes none of the time.

http://blogforarizona.net/cd2-candidates-where-do-barber-mcsally-stand-on-the-issues/

GOP candidate for AZ Gov. Ducey is dicey

Ducey spells out priorities: no revenue, no education, no health care.  We should only hope that the voters will regard Ducey as dicey.

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/gop-gov-candidate-ducey-hates-taxes-waste-obamacare-and-texas/article_32fae5a3-a781-580c-88b0-210c4614b3c1.html

Quotes of the week (courtesy of Arizona Capitol Times)

Tobin thinks the Rs deserve credit for our public school funding.

“It’s a compelling success story for the majority, how they continue to look at true education reform and how we are putting those dollars into our schools… That’s the good news that we’re not getting out or the press doesn’t want it to get out.” — House Speaker Andy Tobin on education funding in Arizona, and how the press doesn’t give Republicans credit.


Not a problem, Andy.  You can have all the credit you like.  Be careful what you ask for.

“You hear all the time that we’re 47th in spending, and that’s kind of interesting, but what does that really mean? When I ran those numbers it was kind of an ‘oh crap’ moment. We’re not just a little in the hole, we’re a lot in the hole.” — Dan Hunting, senior analyst at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy, saying the state would need $3.4 billion a year to get up to the national average for per-pupil spending on education.


And while Rome burns, Horne uses your money to blow his horn. (So says a former staffer in the AG office.  Watch this one.)

“I was put under an official position, but it was voiced to me several times that I was there for campaigning reasons.” — Sarah Beattie, former staffer for Attorney General Tom Horne, who said she and other employees on his office staff were hired specifically to do campaign work.


Read more: 

http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2014/05/09/capitol-quotes-may-9-2014/#ixzz31GXElv48

Friday, May 9, 2014

50 Shades of Truth

Want to know what science teaching will look like when standards are set state by state?  Look at Wyoming.  By rejecting national science standards, the science taught in Wyoming now will depend on whether facts are contrary to the state's coal mining.  Think about 50 different sets of "facts."  Your degree in science may not survive across state boundaries.  If you don't like Wyoming's coal-friendly standards, then in what other state would you send your child to school? 

http://azstarnet.com/news/national/wyoming-is-st-state-to-reject-science-standards/article_c03d761e-050e-560f-ae27-206560cb776b.html

Scandals, scandals everywhere

AZ has its share.  There is the ongoing saga of Tom Horne - more allegations coming from ex-staffer about campaigning on state office time.

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2014/05/tom_horne_accused_of_possible.php


Then there is the history of the Republican candidate for state treasurer, Randy Pullen, in a case involving money used to run smear ads against a candidate opposing Sheriff Joe.  Pullen's comments and actions don't quite come together on that one.

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2014/05/randy_pullen_candidate_for_tre.php


So with all this juicy stuff out there, why does congress keep inventing scandals to occupy their time?  Here is Greg Sargent on GOP scandal-mongering:

http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/c/34656/f/636690/s/3a3480d0/sc/1/l/0L0Swashingtonpost0N0Cblogs0Cplum0Eline0Cwp0C20A140C0A50C0A80Cthe0Efive0Estages0Eof0Egop0Escandal0Emongering0Ea0Ereaders0Eguide0C/story01.htm


Advice to congress - including our own representatives - finding facts is important, but equally important is separating facts from GOP fiction.  So, Dems in congress, why vote for the fiction?

http://kos.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=iR4kHVyy%2BxXrq6ptFu8cbUPd%2ByHGZmzc

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Quote of the week

"The only idea that I can ever see in the minds of the moneyed interests is that money is good for rich people and bad for poor people. That’s about the beginning and end of their idea, I think."

Lewis Lapham interviewed in Salon.com:

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/04/our_sad_mad_men_revolution_how_consumerism_co_opted_rebellion/

More money for vouchers: Hupp, Hupp, and away in your tax-funded balloon

John Huppenthal, Superintendent of Public Instruction, does value children.  Proof? He is giving them more of your money to withdraw from public schools.  The legal basis is not clear, and, as the next two links show, the press is not gung ho about what he is doing.  But since when did small matters of law and public opinion influence Arizona officials?

http://www.tucsonweekly.com/TheRange/archives/2014/05/05/huppenthal-reasserts-his-love-of-vouchers

Hupp applies for new job: voucher in chief.  Brewer says ixnay.

http://www.svherald.com/content/staff/2014/05/04/375304

Just kidding.  Doing a #startyourownrumor.

(GV News also ran this editorial.)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

If you thirst for good news in the political desert called AZ ...

... here it is!  Gabby is the hit at EMILY's List event.  Read and be inspired.

http://www.gvnews.com/news/local/public-event-shows-giffords-continues-recovery/article_b539e8dc-d257-11e3-9673-001a4bcf887a.html

GOP has a new plan for economic growth

Just kidding.  Their plan is cut taxes.  They keep trying.  Cut taxes --> slow growth, cut more taxes--> slow growth, oops, we need to do something here, so cut taxes.  Good plan.  It fits Einstein's definition of insanity.  See full story at Blog for Arizona by AZBlueMeanie.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/BlogForArizona/~3/0P7vwy5jQXw/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email

All AZ kids get a raise

Catch is, parents have to take their kids out of school to get the $$$$.  It would also help to make public nice to Superintendent of Private Education John Huppenthal so he might give your kids another raise as we get closer to the election.  Details here.

Friday, May 2, 2014

<div style="text-align: start;"><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Pollster: "</span><span style="text-align: left; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0);"><font size="5" face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">People are energized by the idea that&nbsp;the economy works for the few because few have access to politics.”</font></span></div>

Dems may have a very good issue in the 2014 election.  This poll reviewed by Greg Sargent suggests that people in competitive and even Republican districts understand the connections between big money  and political access and ultimately their own economic well-being.   The pollster observes "... this is something voters care about. We’ve tested it in a bunch of different ways. People see political inequality and money in politics as driving a lot of the fundamental economic problems we’re dealing with.”

http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/c/34656/f/636690/s/3a002c9b/sc/7/l/0L0Swashingtonpost0N0Cblogs0Cplum0Eline0Cwp0C20A140C0A50C0A20Cwhy0Edems0Eare0Erunning0Eagainst0Eplutocracy0C/story01.htm

Sky Island Scriber on vacation

The blog will be appearing infrequently, if at all, for the next couple of weeks while the Scriber is on vacation.  (The Scriber might make an exception if really, really hot news breaks.)

NRCC uses bad data to challenge Barber on pay gap

Shame on the National Republican Congressional Committee for their shoddy research.  The gender pay gap is real as documented by this AAUW report.  But the salary data released by Congressman Ron Barber's office shows that the NRCC's allegations are groundless.  At the very least, the NRCC is guilty of selective reporting of data done in order to make the facts fit their case.


Interview with Elizabeth Warren: Agrees with Piketty on failure of Trickle-down

From the interview: "Thomas Piketty assembles the facts to prove a central point about trickle-down economics: Doesn’t work. Never did. He has cold, hard data showing how the rich keep getting richer and how the playing field is rigged against working families. But he also shows that government policies to invest in the middle class and help everyone have opportunities can make a real difference. My research has led me to the same conclusions, and I agree strongly with him."

http://salon.com.feedsportal.com/c/35105/f/648624/s/39fc9a60/sc/36/l/0L0Ssalon0N0C20A140C0A50C0A20Celizabeth0Iwarren0Ithomas0Ipiketty0Ishows0Itrickle0Idown0Ieconomics0Idont0Iwork0Iand0Inever0Idid0Ipartner0C/story01.htm

As the middle class disappears ...

"The gap between rich and poor grows wider by the day. As the middle class disappears, here's what's left behind."

http://salon.com.feedsportal.com/c/35105/f/648624/s/39fdce96/sc/7/l/0L0Ssalon0N0C20A140C0A50C0A20Cwelcome0Ito0Ipikettys0Iamerica0Idispatches0Ifrom0Ian0Iempire0Iin0Idecline0Ipartner0C/story01.htm

Thursday, May 1, 2014

GOP stays on attack against Obamacare: Could be a plus for Dems

GOP candidates like Scott Brown have been touting Affordable Care horror stories, but they don't stand up to fact checking.  If the GOP cannot find credible horror stories to attack Obamacare, then what? Salon.com has the background.

http://salon.com.feedsportal.com/c/35105/f/648624/s/39f46644/sc/1/l/0L0Ssalon0N0C20A140C0A50C0A10Cgop0Icandidates0Ifreak0Iout0Imoment0Ias0Iobamacare0Ihorror0Istories0Iflop0Iwhats0Ileft0C/story01.htm

But this won't stop the GOP attacks on health care.  Greg Sargent explains:

A new report this morning confirms that Republicans intend to use upcoming confirmation hearings for Obama’s HHS nominee to breathe new life into political attacks on Obamacare in advance of the 2014 elections. Democrats should absolutely relish this development.

The total absence of any kind of GOP alternative will be on display and Dems have a chance to draw sharp contrasts between the two parties with respect to what they offer the American public.

http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/c/34656/f/636690/s/39f53a08/sc/1/l/0L0Swashingtonpost0N0Cblogs0Cplum0Eline0Cwp0C20A140C0A50C0A10Cmorning0Eplum0Erepublicans0Eplan0Eyet0Eanother0Eanti0Eobamacare0Ecircus0C/story01.htm

Even the Koch brothers, with all their cash, cannot find a credible horror story - not one.

http://www.svherald.com/content/guest-columnists/2014/04/30/374849

Remember Alfred E. Newman? &nbsp;Soul of Mad magazine dies.

"Mr. [Al] Feldstein took over a fledgling humor magazine called Mad in 1956 and made it a popular, profitable and enduring wellspring of American satire."  Feldstein is dead at 88.


"What, me worry?" was cover child Alfred E. Newman's goofy response to most things.  As a teenager, I lived for the next issue of Mad.  Cartoonist Don Martin had me ROFL (in stitches, if you do not do texting) -- I was a weird kid!  Here is a great example:

http://www.donmartinwebsite.com/big2.html

Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the cartoon to advance to big3.


Full story is here:

http://rss.nytimes.com/c/34625/f/640350/s/39f1a0cf/sc/24/l/0L0Snytimes0N0C20A140C0A50C0A10Cbusiness0Cmedia0Csoul0Eof0Emad0Emagazine0Eal0Efeldstein0Edies0Eat0E880Bhtml0Dpartner0Frss0Gemc0Frss/story01.htm

Quote of the day

Quote with profound implications: "Judges like [Adelman, ruling against Wisconsin voter ID] who play politics from the bench should be impeached and removed from office. They are a disgrace to the bench." (rsemmes' comment in Washington Post).  Excellent logic.  By extension, how about removing four US Supreme Court justices?

Republicans filibuster minimum wage - Senate votes against stopping filibuster

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the Republican whip, said Wednesday morning. “This is all about politics. This is all about trying to make this side of the aisle look bad and hardhearted.”  It's not about looking "hardhearted" - it's about BEING hardhearted.  Disclosure:  John, I used to live in Texas.  I don't think Texans are inherently hardhearted - it's just the people they vote for.

http://ow.ly/3jSkmL

Technically, the Senate voted against opening debate.  Think of it this way.  We want A to have consequence C.  But in order to get C, we have to do B: A-->B-->C.  So blocking B effectively negates C.  We should send this message to all those Senators who voted against the minimum wage (and that IS what they did):  You now own that position - you just did one more thing to keep American workers' wages at poverty levels.  

http://ow.ly/3jSyrH

Latinos need to vote

Now all we have to do is convince Latinos to vote!  They, and other groups that only vote in the presidential years, need to get the message that not voting is the same as voting for the conservative clowns that are taking us all to the cleaners.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/immigration-reform-conservatives-106213.html

Powerful combination: Warren's fervor and Piketty's data

This is a long, but very good summary of why we need Elizabeth Warren backed by the data from Piketty.  But will all this become bipartisan?  Is there a political party that ignores, or suppresses, scientific  data?  Is there a political party that works to keep oil flowing for oligarchs?  Do bears do doodoo in the woods?

http://salon.com.feedsportal.com/c/35105/f/648624/s/39f0a755/sc/7/l/0L0Ssalon0N0C20A140C0A40C30A0Cthomas0Ipiketty0Iterrifies0Ipaul0Iryan0Ibehind0Ithe0Irights0Idesperate0Ilaughable0Ineed0Ito0Idestroy0Ian0Ieconomist0C/story01.htm

Federal judge rules against Wisconsin voter ID law

By striking down the Wisconsin voter ID law, federal judge exposes Republicans' voter suppression strategy.

Judges are at last starting to see voter ID for what it is: a concerted political effort by Republicans to keep opponents from the polls. Even former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the 2008 opinion, now accepts that view as “dead right.” For those still unsure of voter ID’s true nature, Judge Adelman has paved the path.

Perhaps this ruling will chart a legal course for successful challenges to voter suppression laws in other states.

For the first time since the Supreme Court junked a core provision of the Voting Rights Act in June, a federal court has used the strongest surviving part of the act to strike down a state’s voter-identification law, and, in the process, has set out a detailed road map for upcoming challenges to similar laws around the country.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/30/opinion/voter-id-is-the-real-fraud.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

This one could have implications for other states with voter ID laws.  One can only hope.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/04/29/eight-states-have-photo-voter-id-laws-similar-to-the-one-struck-down-in-wisconsin/