Friday, February 6, 2015

Oh Sweet Irony: Walker Caught Lying About Removing "Search For Truth" from UW Mission Statement

Yesterday, Scott Walker finally jumped the shark:  He introduced a budget that removed several lines from the University of Wisconsin System's mission statement (aka a little thing known as "The Wisconsin Idea"), including the phrase, "basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth."

However, after what can only be described as a biblical, huge __ storm developed in all parts of the state, including in both Republican and Democratic quarters, Walker tried to un-jump the shark by claiming that it was all just a big misunderstanding. Neither he nor his staff ever intended to delete Wisconsin Idea-- it was just a "drafting error." In fact, Walker even went so far as to blame the University of Wisconsin's administration, when he inferred in an answer to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Bice, that the UW people "somehow overlooked" the error when his staff gave it them to look over. You know how it is... you write a budget, you get everybody to look at it, and somehow things like this just slip through. READ MORE

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie target of new criminal investigation

From David Sirota:

Federal law enforcement officials have launched a criminal investigation of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and members of his administration, pursuing allegations the governor and his staff broke the law when they quashed grand jury indictments against Christie supporters, International Business Times has learned.
Could Chris Christie join the mugshot club? The investigation relates to an already well-known escapade in which grand jury indictments against Christie-backing officials in Hunterdon County were taken over by the Christie administration, which then set about to reverse them.
[Hunterdon County prosecutor Bennett Barlyn]’s office began probing Trout in 2008, eventually convening a grand jury that returned 43 indictments against her, Undersheriff Michael Russo and investigator John Falat Jr. The Christie administration then intervened, took over the prosecution and -- in an extraordinary step -- moved to have the grand jury indictments overturned, saying they were legally and factually deficient. When Barlyn raised objections, he was fired. READ MORE

Anti-vaccine megachurch hit with measles epidemic, now offering free vaccinations

OMG! What fools these mortals be.
An outbreak of the measles at Kenneth Copeland's Texas megachurch has gotten some attention because (1) measles is something children are generally vaccinated for, these days and (2) Kenneth Copeland is, of course, an anti-vaccine crackpot. In what seems to be yet another bitterly ironic attempt by God to teach noisy religious fundamentalists what-for, the church has thus become the epicenter of a small but worrisome outbreak that has so far infected 10 and resulted in the Department of State Health Services issuing an alert spanning North Texas.
That has megachurch pastors doing a bit of fancy dancin', with Pastor Terri Pearson (Copeland's daughter) walking back their leader's anti-vaccination stance to explain to the congregation that no, God does not really want your children to contract a potentially dangerous disease that vaccinations have all but licked because duh.
"There are a lot of people that think the Bible -- we talk about walking by faith READ MORE

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Point. Set. Match. - Anti Vaxx'ers



What have we learned?

Vaccines save way more lives than are negatively effected by vaccines. As a result infant and child morbidity has fallen, life expectancy has risen, and these diseases have, for the most part, been wiped out.

That is until the dangerous and anti-science idea the vaccines cause all sort of horrible diseases got into the media then ::gasp:: holy shit the diseases started coming back. Hey, anti-vaxxers you are killing people with your bullshit conspiracy.

After story of Detroit man walking 21 miles a day goes viral, his life is about to change

Eight miles to work, thirteen miles home.
On Sunday, the Detroit Free Press ran a story on James Robertson, a 56-year-old man who walks 21 miles a day, to and from work because the buses don't cover much of his route. Thanks to the generosity of readers in Detroit and around the country, James won't be walking to work much longer:

A Downriver car dealership offered to give him a 2014 Chevrolet Cruz or Sonic. "He gets to choose," said Angela Osborne, customer service specialist at Rodgers Chevrolet in Woodhaven. "We were just impressed with his determination," Osborne said.
He's not just getting a car. Evan Leedy, a college student from Fort Wayne University was so taken with James Robertson's story that he set up a fundraising page:
Before he knew it, thousands of dollars were coming in. One day later, more 5,300 people donated a total in excess of $149,000. "We now have car dealerships and car companies saying they will donate a car," Leedy says. "We can now use this money to truly change James' life." READ MORE

SCOTUS decides vaccine debate . . . in 1905

The Fuller Court, 1888-1910

Did you know the vaccine debate we are now in the middle of was an issue decided by the Supreme Court? In 1905! From the first Justice Harlan's opinion for the Court in Jacobson v. Massachusetts:
The authority of the state to enact this statute is to be   referred to what is commonly called the police power,-a power which the state did not surrender when becoming a member of the Union under the Constitution. [...] According to settled principles, the police power of a state must be held to embrace, at least, such reasonable regulations established directly by legislative enactment as will protect the public health and the public safety. Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, 203, 6 L. ed. 23, 71 [...] We come, then, to inquire whether any right given or secured by the Constitution is invaded by the statute as interpreted by the state court. The defendant insists that his liberty is invaded when the state subjects him to fine or imprisonment for neglecting or refusing to submit to vaccination; that a compulsory vaccination law is unreasonable, arbitrary, and oppressive, and, therefore, hostile to the inherent right of every freeman to care for his own body and health in such way as to him seems best; and that the execution of such a law against one who objects to vaccination, no matter for what reason, is nothing short of an assault upon his person. But the liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States to every person within its jurisdiction does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint. There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good. On any other basis organized society could not exist with safety to its members. Society based on the rule that each one is a law unto himself would soon be confronted with disorder and anarchy. Real liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual person to use his own, whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others. This court has more than once recognized it as a fundamental principle that 'persons and property are subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens in order to secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the state; of the perfect right of the legislature to do which no question ever was, or upon acknowledged general principles ever can be, made, so far as natural persons are concerned.' Hannibal & St. J. R. Co. v. Husen, 95 U.S. 465, 471 , 24 S. L. ed. 527, 530 [...]
[... T]he answer is that it was the duty of the constituted authorities primarily to keep in view the welfare [...] and safety of the many, and not permit the interests of the many to be subordinated to the wishes or convenience of the few. [...] READ MORE

Republican senator says restaurants should be able to opt-out of mandatory handwashing

North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis is not so sure we need laws requiring food service employees to wash their hands:

Tillis made the declaration at to the Bipartisan Policy Center, at the end of a question and answer with the audience. He was relaying a 2010 anecdote about his “bias when it comes to regulatory reform.” “I was having a discussion with someone, and we were at a Starbucks in my district, and we were talking about certain regulations where I felt like ‘maybe you should allow businesses to opt out,’” he said, “as long as they indicate through proper disclosure, through advertising, through employment literature, or whatever else.”
Restaurants can just opt-out and let the free market take care of business after word spreads of unsanitary conditions. Never mind that a lack of hand washing by food service employees accounts for the vast majority of food contamination:  READ MORE

Here's a little Seinfeld episode that puts things in perspective:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The slaves that time forgot

We've all been taught the horror's of the African slave trade. It's in all the school books and in plenty of Hollywood movies.

   But for some reason the largest group of slaves in the British Colonies in the 17th Century doesn't get mentioned at all: the Irish.

Most people have heard of the Great Famine, which reduced the population of Ireland by around 25%.

   That pales in comparison to the disaster that England inflicted upon Ireland between 1641 and 1652, when the population of Ireland fell from 1,466,000 to 616,000.   Then things got worse.

What to do with the Irish?
  From the Tudor reconquest of Ireland until Irish Independence in 1921, the English puzzled over the problem of what to do with all those Irish people.

   They were the wrong religion. They spoke the wrong language. But the big problem was that there were just too many of them.

  The English had been practicing a slow genocide against the Irish since Queen Elizabeth, but the Irish bred too fast and were tough to kill. On the other side of the Atlantic, there was a chronic labor shortage (because the local natives tended to die out too quickly in slavery conditions).

  Putting two and two together, King James I started sending Irish slaves to the new world.

  The first recorded sale of Irish slaves was to a settlement in the Amazon in 1612, seven years before the first African slaves arrived in Jamestown.  


Creepiest Anti-Vax Excuse Yet: AZ Doctor Says His Children Are 'Pure'

What happens to people who move to Arizona? Does the desert sun cook their brains? Do they undergo some secret indoctrination into the Highest Order of Libertarian Whacko-Birds? Some of the weirdest and creepiest public sentiments I've seen and heard come out of that state.

Still, I was unprepared for just exactly how creepy and whacko this cardiologist is. Cardiologist. Let that sink in for a minute. A trained, accredited doctor of cardiac medicine. Dr. Jack Wolfson was interviewed by CNN over his attitude toward a fellow doctor who begged parents of unvaccinated children to stay home or vaccinate their kids, because his child has leukemia and is extremely vulnerable.

Oh, how selfish people are. Listen to Dr. Wolfson tut-tut the man whose child is gravely ill with a life-threatening disease. Via TPMREAD MORE


Christie $30,000 Luxury Hotel Weekend Paid For By King Of Jordan

The Israel Seminar CEO Asher Afriat briefs Governor
Chris Christie regarding South Lebanon and the security
of the Golan Heights in Israel on Thursday, April 5, 2012.
(Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)
TRENTON — A sumptuous family weekend Gov. Chris Christie took at the end of his 2012 trade mission to Israel was paid for in part by King Abdullah of Jordan, according to a report in the New York Times.

At the time, Christie had already flown to Israel on a private plane belonging to billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, bringing with him three of his four children, his wife, his mother-in-law, his father and stepmother, four staff members, his former law partner and a New Jersey state trooper, according to the report.

By the end of the Middle Eastern junket, the tab for the Christie family and their guest rooms at the luxurious Kempinski Hotel in Jordan totaled some $30,000, which would be covered by the King of Jordan, Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein, the report said. had previously reported that Christie's weekend in Jordan was a "personal, family visit by invitation of the king," according to a statement from the governor's office at the time. Garden State taxpayers underwrote the price for seven state troopers and contract security during the weeklong trip to Israel and Jordan, but the total cost of security has never been released by the governor's office.


Monday, February 2, 2015

All Politics Is No Longer Local

These days, party identity trumps all.

Tip O’Neill, the legendary Democratic House Speaker of the 70s and 80s, devotes a chapter of his book Man of the House to the title, “All Politics is Local.” He recalls his race for the Cambridge City Council early in his career, the only race he ever lost, after which his father noted that he had received a tremendous vote in other areas of the city but hadn’t worked hard enough in his own backyard. His dad’s advice? “All politics is local.”

O’Neill goes on to note that the lesson also applies to Congress: “You can be the most important congressman in the country, but you had better not forget the people back home.”

But, as the saying goes, “that was then and this is now.” In the evolution of American politics over the past 30 years, the “local” aspect of winning elections, though still relevant, has taken a back seat to party affiliation and ideological orientation. Members with strong local ties to their constituencies have been displaced by voters who feel that party identity and how it relates to the national leadership and national issues are more important than simply liking their local representatives.
It would be hard to find members of Congress more in tune with their constituencies than Democrat Gene Taylor from Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. Elected in a special election in 1989 after the GOP incumbent died in a plane crash, Taylor held the seat for 20 years by large electoral margins.

In 2008, while Obama received 32 percent of the vote (his lowest percentage in any state) at the top of the ticket in the 4th congressional district, Gene Taylor received 74.5 percent of the vote for his reelection. At the time, Taylor had received less than 60 percent of the vote only once, in 1996, but had recovered and had been polling over 70 percent consistently since.

Hurricane Katrina struck a devastating blow to his district and to Taylor himself. His own house, more than 100 years old, was washed away, along with his neighborhood. He personally rebuilt his home and led the fight against the insurance industry, which claimed that flooding, not wind, was responsible for the damage to thousands of homes along the coast. That experience deepened his personal connection with his constituents.

His popularity and connection to his constituency, however, just weren’t enough in 2010, in an off-year election when reaction to Obama’s health care bill was at its zenith. Taylor was washed out of his seat by a Republican tide (the final vote count was 105,613 to 95,243) even though he’d voted against Obamacare, the Dodd-Frank banking bill and other Democratic initiatives. He had long been the most conservative Democrat in the House, had voted to impeach President Bill Clinton, was endorsed by the NRA and had a solid pro-life voting record.

But after 20 years, Taylor had gotten careless. In 2007, he was a rare Democrat who voted against Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, sensing—correctly—that his constituents along the Mississippi coast would not find her San Francisco-brand leadership palatable. But in 2009, in order to preserve his subcommittee chairmanship on the Armed Services Committee, he had voted for her. In the volatile 2010 election, that was all Taylor’s opponent, a state legislator named Steve Palazzo, needed.

OMG= San Francisco public defender arrested outside courtroom for defending her client (VIDEO)

 Deputy Public Defender Jami Tillotson
on the verge of being led away in handcuffs

Deputy Public Defender Jami Tillotson on the verge of being led away in handcuffs

San Francisco Deputy Public Defender Jami Tillotson, an 18-year-veteran of the public defender's office, was in court when she was notified that one of her clients was being interviewed and photographed by police in the hallway. She rushed out to intervene and notify her client they did not have to speak to police without an attorney present. That's when things got ugly:

The video shows Deputy Public Defender Jami Tillotson refusing to step aside as a man identified as San Francisco Police Inspector Brian Stansbury tries to take a cellphone picture of him in a hallway at the Hall of Justice on Tuesday. “I just want to take some pictures, ok? Then he will be free to go,” says Stansbury on the video. Tillotson refuses and Stansbury then tells her she can either step aside or be arrested for resisting arrest, according to the subtitles on the YouTube video.
Deputy Public Defender Tillotson's client was at the Hall of Justice for an unrelated misdemeanor charge when Inspector Stansbury began questioning and photographing him. Inspector Stansbury was also there for another reason: 


Former Fox News employee from Austin affiliate shot himself in front of Fox News headquarters in NYC

News Corpse Headquarters NYC
Sad event in front of News Corp. headquarters in New York City:

A former employee of a Fox News affiliate in Texas shot and killed himself outside the front doors of the News Corporation building shortly before 9 a.m. Monday, a law-enforcement official said.

The building houses Fox News headquarters and The Wall Street Journal, both of which are owned by News Corporation.

The man, Phillip Perea, 41 years old, of Irving, Texas, shot himself once in the chest outside of 1211 Avenue of the Americas, the official said. Mr. Perea had previously worked for a Fox News affiliate in Austin, Texas.

In recent days he had been tweeting to various Fox News personalities.

Ten True Facts Guaranteed to Short-Circuit Republican Brains

As a public service to those who find themselves inextricably cornered by aggressively ill-informed Republicans at work, on the train or at family gatherings, presented here are ten indisputably true facts that will seriously challenge a Republican’s worldview and probably blow a brain cell or two. At the very least, any one of these GOP-busters should stun and confuse them long enough for you to slip quietly away from a pointless debate and allow you to get on about your business.

1. The United States is not a Christian nation, and the Bible is not the cornerstone of our law.
2. The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist.
3. The first president to propose national health insurance was a Republican.
4. Ronald Reagan once signed a bill legalizing abortion.
5. Reagan raised federal taxes eleven times.
6. Roe v. Wade was a bipartisan ruling made by a predominantly Republican-appointed Supreme Court.
7. The Federal Reserve System was a Republican invention.
8. The Environmental Protection Agency was, too.
9. Obama has increased government spending less than any president in at least a generation.
10. President Obama was not only born in the United States, his roots run deeper in American history than most people know. 



France and England Teach America How to Take Down Fox

Fair and Balanced??? Guess what he says about that!
Ever since October 7, 1996, American journalism has been slowly dragged down into the highly partisan, opinion based, no need to fact check, false equivalency, lowest common denominator, racist swamp that is Fox "News." Americans have been subjected to almost two decades of their lies, and as Leonard Pitts Jr. suggests in his blog "Why serious people discount Fox News" we have perhaps accepted numbly that they are just a normal part of the journalistic landscape.


SEE   Pitts: Why serious people discount Fox News


The House Majority Whip Spoke At a White Supremacist Conference

"I didn't know..." Yeah! Right! His staff doesn't vet!
We're having trouble with this one.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (LA) has admitted to being featured as a speaker at a conference of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO)--a white supremacist group run by former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. As Majority Whip, Scalise is the third most powerful congressman in the House of Representatives. So how does he still have his job?

Scalise has voted against making Martin Luther King Day a state holiday twice. He has also claimed that he didn't know the white supremacist conference he was attended had a hateful agenda. But experts call these claims extremely dubious.

The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies EURO as a well-known "hate group led by America's most famous white supremacist". Along with USA Today and the Chicago Tribune, they have called on Scalise to resign. We agree.

 Tell Representative Steve Scalise his actions are offensive. It's time to resign!

PETITION TO HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: Demand Representative Steve Scalise's resignation as Majority Whip today! Click Here