Saturday, May 16, 2015 Nixes Campaign for SC Police Officer Michael Slager Read more at

*Since news of South Carolina police officer Michael Slager fatal shooting of Walter Scott surfaced, social media and the general public is showing Slager anything but love.

The feelings about Slager have apparently extended to, which has rejected a campaign to raise money to support him. reports that although the effort was initially set up on GoFundMe, a statement released by the popular crowdfunding site confirmed it was not on board with supporting Slager at all.

“After review by our team, the campaign set up for Officer Slager was removed from GoFundMe due to a violation of our Terms and Conditions,” GoFundMe’s public relations manager Kelsea Little said.  READ MORE

‘Huge Penis’ Comes Between Newlyweds and Not in a Good Way

*I so wanted to write a different headline for this, but luckily, I thought against it.
But I will say this, for those folks walking around thinking bigger is better, think again.
A Nigerian woman has filed divorce papers on account of not being able to handle the size of her husbands’ huge penis, according to Nigerian media reports.

And get this, the couple had only been married a week. 

From the sound of things they must have waited. I mean, apparently it was a surprise to her.
Aisha Dannupawa is a housewife and mother of three. She went into a Sharia court and requested the dissolution of her marriage to Ali Maizinari  because she could not work with his large member. 
It is a tradition in some parts of Africa that a wife must first live with the husbands parents; before settling into a home with her husband. It was when they came together for the first time that the trauma began.  READ MORE

This City Could Become The Next Detroit

Starting this week, 25,000 households in Baltimore will suddenly lose their access to water for owing bills of $250 or more, with very little notice given and no public hearings.

Rita, a renter in Southeast Baltimore who asked to remain anonymous for this story in order to protect her two children from being taken away, told ThinkProgress she was served with a shutoff notice last week. Maryland law states that a child that is “neglected” may be taken out of his or her home and put into foster care. One characteristic of “neglect” as defined by the Maryland Department of Human Resources is a child with “consistently poor hygiene” that is “un-bathed, [having] unwashed or matted hair, noticeable body odor.”

“I love my kids, and I’d do anything for them,” Rita told ThinkProgress. “But if I turn on the shower or the sink and there’s no water, how can I give them a bath?”  READ MORE

Koch Cabal CHARTS: ALEC's Top Ten Original Corporate Donors

Who would have guessed that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation help fund this sidestep democracy organization.  Here are two charts showing who helped fund ALEC.
You can double click on each chart to see a larger view.  Also, each chart has an html link, feel free to use the charts in your reporting.
The names listed on the left are the three "founders" on top and the present executive staff.  The names on the right are donors:
And who are those 10 FORMER DONORS?  Multi-national corporations, no surprise:
ALEC - 10 Corporate Donors
But who the heck is Mondelez International Inc?  Mondelez bought Cadbury, Mondelez's CEO, Robert S Morrison, is Vice Chairman of PepsiCo, the President, Robert Eckert is a director of McDonald's corporation, and it is the parent company for the Altria Group.  Mondelez is the new International branch of Kraft Foods.
Under pressure from public exposure, some of these corporations have ended their ties to ALEC but the damage has already been done.
I will not buy their products ever.
ALEC writes laws that are not in the best interest of the majority of Americans and democracy itself.
Of particular interest to the ALEC crowd is the privatization of education.
The Walton Family has martialed its vast fortune to help destroy the US free education system.
Walmart said its membership (ALEC) does not affirm its agreement with every policy created by the group and professed a belief that “every American should exercise their right to vote,
Really WalMart Family?  Check out this chart to see how the Walton Family Foundation spends its money to fund and promote Charter Schools, vouchers, and the privatization of education: READ MORE

Super El Nino Likely as Huge Warm Water Wave Hits West Coast, Extreme Marine Die Off Developing

In early March, the strongest wave of tropical convection ever measured (known as the Madden Julian Oscillation) by modern meteorology moved into the western Pacific from Indonesian waters bringing an outbreak of 3 tropical cyclones, including deadly category 5 Pam which ravaged the south Pacific islands of Vanuatu. This extreme outburst of tropical storms and organized thunderstorms pulled strong westerly winds across the equator, unleashing a huge surge of warm water below the ocean surface. Normally, trade winds blow warm water across the Pacific from the Americas to Australia and Indonesia, pushing up sea level in the west Pacific. When the trade winds suddenly reversed to strong westerlies, it was as if a dam burst, but on the scale of the earth's largest ocean, the Pacific. The front edge of that massive equatorial wave, called a Kelvin wave, is now coming ashore on the Americas.

A huge surge of warm water from an enormous deep equatorial wave called a Kelvin wave is now hitting the west coast of the Americas. A wave of similar size struck last year bring a massive marine die off to the west coast, but this year's marine die offs will likely be worse because climate models are predicting it will trigger a super El Nino.
Detailed research in California has found that nutrient upwelling was at a minimum in the El Nino year of 1992 and the super El Nino year of 1998. A huge surge of warm water from an enormous deep equatorial wave called a Kelvin wave is now hitting the west coast of the Americas. A wave of similar size struck last year brought a massive marine die off to the west coast, but this year's die offs will likely be global because climate models are predicting a super El Nino. Credit NOAA.
Last year the largest Kelvin wave ever seen in the Pacific ocean developed in February. After it came ashore and the surge of warm water moved up the Pacific coast, the upwelling of nutrient rich cold water dramatically slowed, and marine life began starving up and down the coast of north America. As the warm water moved north from the equator it merged with an enormous mass of warm stagnant water dubbed "the blob" which had built up in the central north Pacific ocean under the mound of high barometric pressure known as the Pacific high. Because the Pacific high had expanded north of its normal position, possibly because of climate change, warm, stagnant low nutrient water covered a large percentage of the surface of the north Pacific ocean.  READ MORE

The most racist areas in the United States

There are neighborhoods in Baltimore in which the life expectancy is 19 years less than other neighborhoods in the same city. Residents of the Downtown/Seaton Hill neighborhood have a life expectancy lower than 229 other nations, exceeded only by Yemen. According to the Washington Post, 15 neighborhoods in Baltimore have a lower life expectancy than North Korea.
North Korea.

And while those figures represent some of the most dramatic disparities in the life expectancy of black Americans as opposed to whites, a recent study of the health impacts of racism in America reveals that racist attitudes may cause up to 30,000 early deaths every year.

The study, Association between an Internet-Based Measure of Area Racism and Black Mortality, has just been published in PLOS ONE and has mapped out the most racist areas in the United States. As illustrated above, they are mostly located in the rural Northeast and down along the Appalachian Mountains into the South. How they did it and what it may mean are below the fold.  READ MORE

Hate Map (from splc) interactive map, click on a state to see what hate groups are there.


'You Americans Have No Idea' - Another Open Letter, This Time From Canada & This One Hurts

Just when you think it's okay to open your eyes again - THIS.

You Americans Have No Idea Just How Good You Have It With Obama Many of us Canadians are confused by the U.S. midterm elections. Consider, right now in America, corporate profits are at record highs, the country's adding 200,000 jobs per month, unemployment is below 6%, U.S. gross national product growth is the best of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. The dollar is at its strongest levels in years, the stock market is near record highs, gasoline prices are falling, there's no inflation, interest rates are the lowest in 30 years, U.S. oil imports are declining, U.S. oil production is rapidly increasing, the deficit is rapidly declining, and the wealthy are still making astonishing amounts of money.

America is leading the world once again and respected internationally — in sharp contrast to the Bush years. Obama brought soldiers home from Iraq and killed Osama bin Laden.
So, Americans vote for the party that got you into the mess that Obama just dug you out of? This defies reason.

When you are done with Obama, could you send him our way?
Richard Brunt
Victoria, British Columbia
It's like pouring salt into a wound. READ MORE

Hallelujah! I Have Another FBI File! The Next Round Is On Me, Boys!

Well, kiddos, it appears that the FBI has been spying on “environmental extremists” in Houston, Texas. And the definition of environmental extremist is people who oppose the Keystone pipeline.
I am not kidding.
Internal agency documents show for the first time how FBI agents have been closely monitoring anti-Keystone activists, in violation of guidelines designed to prevent the agency from becoming unduly involved in sensitive political issues.The documents reveal that one FBI investigation, run from its Houston field office, amounted to “substantial non-compliance” of Department of Justice rules that govern how the agency should handle sensitive matters.One FBI memo, which set out the rationale for investigating campaigners in the Houston area, touted the economic advantages of the pipeline while labelling its opponents “environmental extremists”. READ MORE

San Francisco Police Under Fire For Racist, Homophobic Texts

This began with another shocking accusation: that six officers stole from drug dealers.

Lawyers for several implicated officers characterized the text messages as "banter" and failed attempts at humor. In one, Sgt. Yulanda Williams was called racist and sexist names by one of the texting officers when she was promoted to sergeant in 2011.

"We really have not moved as forward as we thought," she said. "I'm not prepared to say this was an isolated incident. This is just the tip of the iceberg."

At least one of the accused officers, Michael Robinson, is white and openly gay. Another, Sgt. Ian Furminger, is white. Police officials have so far declined to release the racial composition of the other implicated officers.  READ MORE

You've Got To Be Kidding Me

You can watch the full interview above. In it, both James and Judith talk about the state of the media today, and how, in the last several years, the attitude — and, more importantly, the professionalism — of the once noble Fourth Estate has declined, leaving a profession that is less interested in sniffing out the real story than it is in fortifying it's own pre-determined ideology, and feeding the vast connected network of partisan media on the left red meat to perpetuate their outrage.
Professionalism from James O'Keefe? I can think of many words to describe the scum from Breitbart, but professionalism is not one of them.  READ MORE

Friday, May 15, 2015

George Zimmerman shot by guy he once threatened to ‘fucking kill’

The man who shot at George Zimmerman Monday afternoon in Lake Mary, Florida, had previously been involved in a road rage incident with Zimmerman last September, according to police spokesperson Bianca Gillet.

You may remember Matthew Apperson as the man who Zimmerman allegedly asked “Do you know who I am?” before saying “I’ll fucking kill you.”

Police report that at around 1:00 PM E.S.T. Monday, Zimmerman flagged down a Lake Mary police officer and told him he had been involved in a shooting. At the same time, 911 received a a phone call from Apperson to report similar information.

Police are currently awaiting council to interview both parties. No arrests have been made or charges brought, and there is no word on what the cause of the incident was.

Zimmerman’s contentious relationship with Apperson dates back to last September. Apperson said he was listening to music in his car at a red light when the driver in a truck stopped next to him rolled down his window and started yelling at him.

“George Zimmerman was the driver, and they were threatening to kick my ass and to shoot me,” Apperson told police dispatch in a phone call after pulling into a nearby gas station, where he was  allegedly followed by Zimmerman and his passenger.  READ MORE

George Zimmerman fears for his life, plans to leave Florida

George Zimmerman has once again gone into hiding and tells friends he is “badly shaken” after being shot at by Matthew Apperson Monday in Lake Mary, Florida.
According to the Daily Mail, the acquitted killer has told friends close to him that “he feels lucky to be alive” and that “God was watching over him” the day he reportedly waived a gun at Apperson in the third of such encounters between the two men — which according to Apperson had previously included Zimmerman stalking him while armed and threatening to “fucking kill” him.

While Zimmerman acknowledges that he could’ve been killed when Apperson fired a shot into the driver’s side window of Zimmerman’s truck, he told friends “It just wasn’t my time to go.”
But apparently “go” he just might. Zimmerman said that the near brush with death has him considering relocating from Florida, where he has continued to live since being acquitted in the murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2013. Friends have said that the former self-appointed neighborhood watchman, who has now been accused of obsessively stalking two individuals, one of whom he killed, is “constantly looking over his shoulder fearful that someone will try to attack him.”

“George tries to stay indoors as much as possible,” a friend says. “He sweats an awful lot when he is around other people as he is so nervous.”

This paranoia, which has caused Zimmerman’s marriage to fail, kept him from finding a job, and results in panic attacks whenever he is in public, may currently be less deluded than when it drove him to follow the 17-year-old Martin through his neighborhood against police orders. There are many who no doubt have little sympathy for a man who expresses no guilt over killing a child while comparing his ideals to those of Anne Frank.  READ MORE

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pope Francis: 'Many powerful people don't want peace because they live off war'

Pope Francis strikes again.
Pope Francis, Pope of Popes, is once again making the news. This time for some incredibly powerful quotes about those who may have an agenda against peace:
Pope Francis said Monday that "many powerful people don't want peace because they live off war". The Argentine pontiff made the hard-hitting comment in response to a question from one of the 7,000 children taking part in an audience held with the Peace Factory organisation. "This is serious," Francis told the children. "Some powerful people make their living with the production of arms.
"It's the industry of death".
More on the Peace Factory:
The focus of the special audience was peace: how to build it, and how to keep it. Sponsored by the Fabbrica della pace – or, “Peace Factory” – an interdisciplinary, non-governmental organization that promotes an integration, multiethnic and cross-cultural understanding through education, starting in the years of primary school.
He ended his session with the children on a positive note: READ MORE

George Zimmerman involved in shootout in Florida

Yes, the same George Zimmerman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin and who has been arrested on multiple domestic violence charges, has been reportedly involved in a shootout in Florida today:

The shooting involved two men and happened on Lake Mary Boulevard about 12:45 p.m., police said.

Officers at the scene said it appeared Zimmerman suffered a minor gunshot wound, Bracknell said.

“He walked normally into the ambulance, so he wasn’t being helped or nothing,” said witness Ricardo Berrare.
A bullet hole was visible in the passenger window of Zimmerman's truck. Police described the shootout as part of an "ongoing dispute" and are investigating two different crime scene areas. Stay tuned for updates as more information becomes available. READ MORE

The absent black father myth—debunked by CDC

We've been told, quite frequently and repeatedly that the problems in the black community that we've seen in Ferguson and Baltimore recently are not the fault of biased, paramilitary, paranoid and violent policing (even if the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that black people are three times more likely to be subject to law enforcement uses of force). They are not the fault of racist red-lining that created these impoverished neighborhoods in the first place. They are not the fault of bigoted lending and hiring practices that create roadblocks for those attempting to escape those neighborhoods. And the fact that black students are disciplined, suspended and expelled far more easily and quickly for the same or lesser offenses, isn't the problem.

None of that is the problem. Nope.  All of that is just too bad. Life is tough all over. Lots of people have got lots of problems. No, instead we've heard that the welfare benefits in Baltimore are "too lucrative," because when you give people nothing they somehow get more, somewhere. That businesses won't invest in these neighborhoods until something is done about those darn teachers unions. That it's because of "too many gay marriages." That ISIS is using Baltimore to recruit blacks. And, of course, when all else fails, blame Obama.

But what we've heard the most, is that the real problem is the Breakdown in the Black Family™. That too many black fathers have abandoned their children, allowing them to be raised by the streets like feral cats. They don't learn morals, and they don't learn values—so naturally police have to shoot them down like rabid, foaming dogs.  Even when they're unarmed. Even when they have their backs turned and are simply running away. It's all just their own fault really.

If only black fathers would spend as much time and energy on their kids as white fathers do. If only...
Well, someone—the Centers for Disease Control—actually went to trouble of checking just how involved in their lives all fathers are, whether or not they are married to the mother of their children or live with them. What they found was that, in reality, black fathers are actually more attentive to their children than other fathers generally are.  READ MORE

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

UPDATED x4: See man hate ACA. See man refuse to get ACA. See man whine that he can't get ACA.

Yeah, that's right, I'll say it: Luis Lang is a fool and a hypocrite.

Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall has a story about a guy in South Carolina named Luis Lang who's in a nasty situation due to a combination of bad timing, Republican cold-heartedness and, to be blunt, his own stupidity.
First, the backstory:
As the Charlotte Observer explains, Lang is a self-employed handyman who works as a contractor with banks and the federal government to maintain foreclosed properties. He was making a decent living, enough to be the sole breadwinner in the family. As the Observer puts it, Lang "he has never bought insurance. Instead, he says, he prided himself on paying his own medical bills."
So far, so good, although I'm not sure I understand how paying 100% of your medical bills instead of buying health insurance is supposed to be a source of pride. Did he also pay cash up front for the $300,000, 3,300 square-foot house which the Charlotte Observer says he and his voluntarily unemployed wife live in? If not, then how is getting a mortgage for your house (or a student loan, or an auto loan, or life/homeowner's/auto insurance) any more "shameful" than signing up for health insurance?

All seemed good until this February when a series of headaches led him to the doctor. Tests revealed that Lang had suffered a series of mini-strokes tied to diabetes. (It's not clear to me from the piece whether Lang knew he had diabetes earlier or whether that was the diabetes diagnosis as well.) He also has a partially detached retina and eye bleeding tied to his diabetes. The initial medical care for the mini-strokes ran to almost $10,000 and burned through his savings. And now he can't work because of his eye issue and can't afford the surgery that would save his eyesight and also allowing him to continue working.
I don't mean to sound like an asshole, but this is exactly why people buy insurance in the first place. The whole concept is that you shell out several hundred dollars per month when you're not sick or injured so that you'll have your medical bills covered in the event that you become sick/injured. He made a gamble that he'd never become so sick/injured badly enough that he wouldn't be able to afford 100% of the cost...and it finally caught up with him. In fact, this is exactly the hypothetical scenario whichRon Paul was asked about during one of the GOP primary debates back in 2012 (the infamous "Let Him Die!!" moment):  READ MORE

Larry Wilmore Rips Apart Fox Haters' Attacks On Michelle Obama Commencement Speech

The Nightly Show's Larry Wilmore let the talking heads over on Faux "news" have it for their attacks on First Lady Michelle Obama's commencement speech at Tuskegee University this week.
First up was hater Angela McGlowan, who as we discussed here, attacked Michelle Obama for supposedly owing her success to affirmative action.
WILMORE: Hold on. Slow your roll Fox's convenient black friend. Hold on. No, no, no. You can't slam affirmative action because you say it's condescending to black people, and then at the same time accuse obviously brilliant black people of getting in because of affirmative action.

Let me tell you. You know what affirmative action is? When a coke snorting alcohol guzzling son of a CIA director DUI's his way into Yale, and ultimately into the Oval Office because his daddy was in both places. That's affirmative action.
After asking if there was any more "black on black lady crime" over at Fox, Wilmore quickly got his answer with yet another segment and one of their regulars, Deneen Borelli accusing the First Lady of race baiting during her speech and pretending that she "wasted an opportunity" to tell young people that "if I can do it, you can do it too."

As Wilmore rightfully noted, if Borelli had maybe bothered to watch what was in Michelle Obama's speech, maybe she would have heard her do just that.

Last but not least was Coultergeist and her claim that we were going to get the "black perspective" from her attacks on Michelle Obama. After showing a bit of that rancid interview where Coulter claimed that Michelle Obama somehow got into Princeton, but "can't read" Wilmore let her have it.

Rudy Giuliani Attacks Former NYC Mayor For Protests He Helped Instigate

Oops wrong picture lol
Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani claimed there would be no riots in Baltimore if he were mayor of that city. Good thing he's not running for that office, or he might be helping to instigate another one.
As we discussed here, when Giuliani was attacking NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio over the Eric Garner protests, back in the 1990's Giuliani was more than happy to do his share inciting a riot, and working up the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association who were mad at NYC Mayor David Dinkins for heaven forbid wanting some accountability on police misconduct and for not wanting to supply the police with semiautomatic weapons.

On this Monday's Your World with Neil Cavuto on Faux "news" this Monday, Giuliani actually had the nerve to attack former Mayor David Dinkins for the handling of that riot and to say this:
From Fox's blog: Giuliani: There Would Be No Riots If I Was Mayor of Baltimore:

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani appeared on "Your World" to weigh in on the recent wave of attacks on police officers and the situation in Baltimore.  READ MORE

Arresting Homeless People For Being Homeless Is Unbelievably Wasteful

Cities in Washington state overwhelmingly deal with their homeless populations by criminalizing aspects of their daily lives, but it comes at a cost, while housing the homeless would bring significant savings, according to a new report from the Seattle University School of Law.

The researchers looked at municipal codes in 72 cities across the state. Since 2000, the number of ordinances aimed at the homeless rose by 50 percent, with cities finding 288 new ways to target them. “This fourteen year span has already eclipsed the previous forty-five years’ total enactment numbers, and the numbers are continuing to rise,” the report notes. The number of ordinances rose from just 31 in the 1970s to more than 100 in the last four years. READ MORE

Morgan Freeman Destroys The Argument Against Marijuana Legalization

Since a 2008 car accident that shattered bones in his left arm, shoulder, and elbow, marijuana has served as an effective pain reliever for award-winning actor Morgan Freeman.

Freeman, an unabashed supporter of marijuana legalization, recently told the Daily Beast that there were too many medical benefits for lawmakers to ignore the issue, and public opinion, any longer.
“Marijuana has many useful uses. I have fibromyalgia pain in this arm, and the only thing that offers any relief is marijuana,” Freeman said. “They’re talking about kids who have grand mal seizures, and they’ve discovered that marijuana eases that down to where these children can have a life. That right there, to me, says, ‘Legalize it across the board!’”

Freeman counts among a growing chorus of celebrities who have expressed their support of marijuana legalization. Whoopi Goldberg, former comedian and co-host of daytime talk show The View, defended marijuana legalization before more than 3 million viewers, even inviting her co-hosts on a marijuana farm to learn more about the plant. Veteran actress Susan Sarandon, a member of the Marijuana Policy Project’s advisory board, admitted to sparking up before every award show. Even his holiness the Dalai Lama surprised Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike when he said that marijuana should be used for medical purposes. READ MORE

How The Conservative Obsession With Policing Poor People’s Shopping Carts Got Started

The first time a state government tried to bar food stamps recipients from buying certain types of food it deemed “junk,” the War on Terror hadn’t yet reached Iraq and Facebook hadn’t been invented yet. More than a dozen years later, so-called “junk food bans” remain en vogue with conservative lawmakers who have not heeded the lessons of that first failed attempt.

At the outset of 2003, then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) kicked off his first term by proposing “the next generation” of welfare reform in Minnesota. Amid a laundry list of other changes, Pawlenty wanted to ban Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits from buying junk food. States cannot take such a step unless they are granted a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and no state had ever applied for one for the purpose Pawlenty had ginned up.

Legislators and agency heads deliberated for a year on how to define “junk food” before opting to base the rule on Minnesota’s sales tax law, which taxes certain foodstuffs deemed unhealthy while exempting the rest. The delineation is messy and contradictory, as the Associated Press detailed in 2003. “The state, for example, taxes Hershey’s bars but not Kit Kat bars – because anything made with flour isn’t considered a candy. It taxes coffee drinks that are sweetened but not those that contain milk. It taxes gum but not licorice. It taxes marshmallows but not ice cream bars.”  READ MORE

Rick Perry Made Last Week’s Single Most Incisive Statement About The 2016 Election

In a week when the Pundit-Industrial Complex pondered such important questions as who has the best 2016 presidential slogan or what does Ja Rule have to say about the field of candidates, last week’s most important analysis of what is actually at stake in the 2016 election came from the man behind an infamous “oops” moment in the last presidential election. Speaking at a barbecue restaurant in South Carolina, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) explained why the winner of the 2016 election is likely to leave a legacy that will continue for decades after that future president leaves office.

“Something I want you all to think about is that the next president of the United States, whoever that individual may be, could choose up to three, maybe even four members of the Supreme Court,” Perry told the South Carolina audience. So this election “isn’t about who’s going to be the president of the United States for just the next four years. This could be about individuals who have an impact on you, your children, and even our grandchildren. That’s the weight of what this election is really about.”

Perry’s right. Assuming that no justice leaves the Court before the next inauguration, three justices will be over 80 years-old when the next president takes office. Justice Stephen Breyer will be close behind at 78 years old. If the next president replaces all four of these justices, that will give their appointees control over nearly half the Court. No president since Richard Nixon has had this kind of influence over the Court’s membership.

If Hillary Clinton, or someone with similar views, has the opportunity to replace four justices, these new jurists will be joined by the relatively youthful Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Here’s How Jeb Bush Justifies His Brother’s War In Iraq

In an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly to air Monday night, Jeb Bush says that he would have authorized the 2003 Iraq War.

Kelly asks Bush, “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?”
Bush effectively dodges that question but says that “confronted with the intelligence that [the George W. Bush administration] got” in 2003, he would have authorized the invasion. He argues that the intelligence provided to his brother’s administration left them with no choice but to invade.

Politifact On Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton And The Iraq War

Jeb Bush Disavows 'Hypothetical' Remark About Supporting Iraq Invasion

Republican Jeb Bush said on Tuesday that "mistakes were made" in the Iraq war, moving to disavow a controversial statement he made in support of the 2003 invasion ordered by his brother, then-President George W. Bush.

The former Florida governor, who is likely to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, had told Fox News in an interview broadcast on Sunday that "I would have" authorized the invasion.
The comment fed a narrative pushed by Democrats that Jeb Bush is little different from his brother, who left office in early 2009 with his popularity weakened by the Iraq war and a faltering U.S. economy.

The Science of Scarcity

Sendhil Mullainathan
Toward the end of World War II, while thousands of Europeans were dying of hunger, 36 men at the University of Minnesota volunteered for a study that would send them to the brink of starvation. Allied troops advancing into German-occupied territories with supplies and food were encountering droves of skeletal people they had no idea how to safely renourish, and researchers at the university had designed a study they hoped might reveal the best methods of doing so. But first, their volunteers had to agree to starve.

The physical toll on these men was alarming: their metabolism slowed by 40 percent; sitting on atrophied muscles became painful; though their limbs were skeletal, their fluid-filled bellies looked curiously stout. But researchers also observed disturbing mental effects they hadn’t expected: obsessions about cookbooks and recipes developed; men with no previous interest in food thought—and talked—about nothing else. Overwhelming, uncontrollable thoughts had taken over, and as one participant later recalled, “Food became the one central and only thing really in one’s life.” There was no room left for anything else.

Though these odd behaviors were just a footnote in the original Minnesota study, to professor of economics Sendhil Mullainathan, who works on contemporary issues of poverty, they were among the most intriguing findings. Nearly 70 years after publication, that “footnote” showed something remarkable: scarcity had stolen more than flesh and muscle. It had captured the starving men’s minds.

Mullainathan is not a psychologist, but he has long been fascinated by how the mind works. As a behavioral economist, he looks at how people’s mental states and social and physical environments affect their economic actions. Research like the Minnesota study raised important questions: What happens to our minds—and our decisions—when we feel we have too little of something? Why, in the face of scarcity, do people so often make seemingly irrational, even counter-productive decisions? And if this is true in large populations, why do so few policies and programs take it into account?

In 2008, Mullainathan joined Eldar Shafir, Tod professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton, to write a book exploring these questions. Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much (2013) presented years of findings from the fields of psychology and economics, as well as new empirical research of their own. Based on their analysis of the data, they sought to show that, just as food had possessed the minds of the starving volunteers in Minnesota, scarcity steals mental capacity wherever it occurs—from the hungry, to the lonely, to the time-strapped, to the poor.  READ MORE

What you need to know about the laws of space

Neil deGrasse Tyson has said he loses "sleep at night wondering whether we are intelligent enough to figure out the universe." It's a valid concern. We've put a man on the moon, landed on a comet and roved around on Mars, but it's really only the tip of the iceberg. There's so much that we haven't seen and don't know, it seems almost impossible to fully understand the universe.

It's not for lack of effort, though. People and spacecraft keep going up into space investigating the unknown, hoping to glean something new, or finding the Holy Grail -- a place that can sustain life. And as human beings become a more frequent presence in the cosmos we've had to establish rules to ensure that places like the International Space Station don't deteriorate into complete bedlam and that we're not fighting wars over uninhabitable swaths of Martian desert. The international community has actually come together and written regulatory guidelines for space exploration and laws that keep the final frontier from turning into the Wild West.

What is it? READ MORE

What happens if someone tries to pull a gun out of a cop's holster?

In the United States, where it's protocol for officers to have guns on their person (if not two), it is not uncommon for a police officers to be disarmed and killed with his or her own weapon. A felony charge is commonplace as the minimal charge for theft of a weapon, and police forces are working to instate further penalties to ensure safety of police officers. Columbus, Ohio, for example, recently wrote language into a bill that would even penalize the theft of a taser, pepper spray, a baton, and other utensils with the same felony charge of taking a weapon to further protect officers from situations that might threaten their well-being. 

Abroad, it is less common for patrol officers to carry weapons. Chinese police officers, for example, only began carrying guns in April 2014 after a decade-long ban. Iceland, despite being the 15th most armed nation per capita, recently had their first fatal police shooting in 200 years. The United Kingdom and New Zealand tend to have special armed units to avoid loose triggers.
We asked legal and law enforcement professionals what happens if someone tries to grab a police officer's gun out of their holster.  READ MORE

No One Seems to Know Who — or What — Is Poisoning North Carolina Drinking Water Supplies

What seems like a clear case of an energy company polluting people's drinking wells in North Carolina is actually much more complicated, thanks to the state's rock formations.

Last week, North Carolina's Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) sent another round of letters to residents living near the 32 ponds where Duke Energy, the largest electric power company in the country, dumps highly toxic waste known as coal ash produced at its 14 power plants. DENR found that 152 of the 163 private water wells it tested failed to meet state groundwater standards, according to the Associated Press. That's a 93 percent contamination rate.

The tests for contaminates are being conducted on all water wells within 1,000 feet of Duke's coal ash storage ponds, thanks to a 2014 state law passed after a breech at one of the storage ponds sent 39,000 tons of toxic ash into a major river basin — one of the worst coal ash spills in history. Coal ash is what's left over when coal is burned for electricity. It contains toxins such as arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and selenium, all of which can cause an array of illnesses in humans.

The most recent tests conducted by DENR found high levels of lead, vanadium, and hexavalent chromium in the contaminated wells. While Duke told AP it is providing bottled water to "about half a dozen" of the affected residents, Duke Energy spokeswoman Erin Culbert told VICE News that some of the toxic metals may be forming naturally in the groundwater.  READ MORE

Monday, May 11, 2015

Huckabee On His Sketchy Diabetes Infomercials: It's Proof 'I'm Going To Be A Heck Of A Good President'

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said on Sunday that he was proud that his company had helped to sell Bible-based cancer cures and sketchy programs to "reverse" diabetes.

As The New York Times reported earlier this year, Huckabee had raised funds pushing dubious diabetes treatments and cancer cures prior to announcing his 2016 presidential run. But "the American Diabetes Association and the Canadian Diabetes Association caution against treatments like the one peddled by the company Mr. Huckabee represents," the paper noted.

On Sunday, the Republican candidate insisted to CBS host Bob Schieffer that the diabetes treatment had been "about the healthy eating, watching the kinds of foods one takes in."

"You know, I don't have to defend everything that I've ever done," Huckabee shrugged.  READ MORE

Jeb Bush Says He Would Have Backed Iraq Invasion

Jeb Bush looks like he's ready to doom his presidential campaign before it gets started if this preview of his interview with Fox's Megyn Kelly is any indication.

Jeb Bush: I, Too, Would Have Authorized Iraq Invasion:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) would have authorized the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, putting the likely 2016 presidential contender on the same page as his brother George W. Bush, the president who actually did so.

“I would have [authorized the invasion], and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got,” Bush told Fox News' Megyn Kelly in an interview scheduled to air Monday.

But he acknowledged that the "intelligence that everybody saw, that the world saw, was faulty," adding that after the invasion, the U.S. ought to have focused on securing and stabilizing Iraq in order to shield its people from sectarian violence. 


He's gone nuts,  the office of special plans was created by Bush/Cheney
specifically for the task of cooking up evidence for the invasion.  So,
without an office of special plans,  Hillary would not have had any reason
to invade Iraq.  

Another Walker Talking Point Blown To Smithereens

When Scott Walker was running for governor in 2010, one of his campaign slogans was that he would spend our tax money like it was his own. To connive people into thinking that he was all about austerity and frugality, he would brag about driving in an old, beat up Saturn and taking bag lunches to work.

Walker is trotting out that same theme as he is running for president, such as bragging about getting a sweater at Kohl's Department store for a deeply discounted rate (Walker usually claims it was for a dollar, but that amount changes in each speech). This was evidenced by the introduction given by David Bossie of Citizens United at the Freedom Summit in South Carolina, which repeated this utter bullshit.

But the truth is, Walker is not that good with money, whether it was in the Milwaukee County budgets, the state budgets or his own personal finances:
Scott Walker owes Sears up to $50,000.  READ MORE

Fournier: Huckabee Has 'An Ethics Record That Would Make A Clinton Blush'

Ron Fournier goes after Mike Huckabee in the National Journal.

Behind former Gov. Mike Huckabee's warm smile, inclusive rhetoric, and gee-whiz populism lies an ethics record that would make a Clinton blush. His greedy, cheesy money grabs as governor in Arkansas were a preview of today's greedy, cheesy money grabs.

As part of what The New York Times called "unconventional ways to fund a campaign," the newly minted GOP presidential candidate recently pitched a dubious medical treatment via infomercial.
"Let me tell you, diabetes can be reversed," Huckabee says. "I should know, because I did it. Today you can, too."

No you can't. The American Diabetes Association and the Canadian Diabetes Association caution consumers against treatments like the one sold by the company Huckabee represents.

But that's not all! Huckabee is allowing his mailing list-the names and email addresses of his political supporters-to be used to peddle cancer cures based on Bible verses.

In Arkansas, we called him "The Huckster." As veteran Little Rock columnist Max Brantley wrote for Salon in 2007, the former Baptist preacher "revealed an enduring weakness as glaring as that other Arkansas governor's fondness for women."  READ MORE

Chris Wallace Whines About Fox Being Frozen Out Of Access To The White House

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace was very upset that the Obama administration refused their request to bring on Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, following Pamela Geller's latest stunt, which apparently has our corporate media in another tizzy about whether everyone ought to be afraid of their own shadows again and their latest boogieman, ISIS.
WALLACE: We wanted to ask Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson about the terror threat while the White House put him on another Sunday show. They declined to make him available to Fox viewers. The White House has made a number of guests available to other networks this year while excluding us and you. We did get to interview Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and DHS Secretary Johnson once this year, but only when they appeared on all five networks.
As Jason Easley at PoliticusUSA noted, cry me a freaking river: President Obama Is Getting Revenge On Fox News For Their Years Of Lies:

After years of putting up with their attacks, President Obama is getting his revenge on Fox News by freezing them out of access and denying them exclusive interviews. [...]

Fox News nuked their bridges with the Obama administration a long time ago. Before the President first took office, Fox News was pushing racism and birtherism. Fox’s behavior has only gotten worse over the years. Fox News has openly tried to get this removed from office with their constant conspiracy theories and propagandizing. READ MORE

Out of 50 largest US cities, only one has a police force that isn’t whiter than the population

This is a problem. Day in and day out, in every major city across America, police officers are driving in from out of town, into the inner city, to police men and women they don’t know and most often don’t understand in any empathetic fashion. In a sweeping study done by the Center for Public Integrity, it was determined that regardless of whether a large city had a majority African-American or Latino population, the majority of police forces in every city but Atlanta had a far greater share of white officers than the actual population.  READ MORE


I’ve often said that I do not understand people who chose to work in communities where they don’t want to live.

Fiorina Displays Magical Thinking to Believe She Could Have Educated Sarah Palin

Magical thinking is the attribution of causal relationships between actions and events which cannot be justified by reason and observation. In a statement attributed to Fiorina, it appears Fiorina may be afflicted with this type of “magical” thinking.

The Daily Mail reports that Carly Fiorina said that McCain lost the White House because Sarah Palin refused to meet with Fiorina and allow her time to teach Palin about economic issues. There are so many things wrong with this type of magical thinking, that it’s hard to know where to start.

1. Fiorina presumes that she is an expert on economic issues. That is magical thinking when the time she spent as the CEO of Hewlet Packard resulted in a decline of the stock by 50%. The only thing Fiorina seems to know about economic issues is how to lose money.  READ MORE

The Bathtub Test

Did you ever know that there is actually a test that can be given to you in a bathtub to see how sane you are?

During a recent visit to a mental asylum, I asked the director, “How do you determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized?”

“Well”, said the director, “We fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a tea cup and a bucket to the patient and ask them to empty the bathtub.”

“Oh, I see, so a normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or tea cup” I replied.

“No”, said the director, “a normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?”


Good Time Stories

WTC Destruction: Five Facts Falsify Five Theories*

This is no collapse, this is a tower turning to dust in mid-air.
Morgan Reynolds, Ph.D.
Popular theories about what destroyed the World Trade Center towers
on September 11, 2001 are:
  1. Fires from jet fuel and office materials weakened steel in the upper floors and the buildings collapsed
  2. Conventional controlled demolition blew out supports at the base and the buildings collapsed
  3. Thermite cut steel columns on virtually every floor and the buildings collapsed
  4. Conventional explosives blew the buildings up
  5. Mini-nukes blew the buildings up
Theories 1, 2 and 3 rely on gravity to bring the buildings down while the last two blow them up.  Popular theories, yes, and dead wrong.

To solve a crime, it is best to thoroughly investigate the evidence.  A rush to judgment is not the best way.  Instead, find out what happened.  Do not propose and get married to a pet theory, start with the facts.  After you find out what happened, then it is usually straightforward to eliminate the impossible, what didn’t happen.  Whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth (courtesy Sherlock Holmes).

Five facts scientifically documented in Ph.D. engineer Judy Wood’s comprehensive textbook (Where Did The Towers Go?) prove the popular theories false beyond doubt.  Yes, I know it’s amazing.  Who’d a thunk it’d be this easy?  The facts:  READ MORE

Cleveland Police Officer Charged With Two Counts of Voluntary Manslaughter

Officer Brelo (left) with his attorney
The incident, as determined by a federal investigation.involved 37 percent of the Cleveland Police Department, consisting of 62 police vehicles and more than a hundred officers. One however, now faces trial for two counts of voluntary manslaughter because he stood on the hood of an unarmed suspect’s car and fired 49 shots using his Glock 17.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted Officer Michael Brelo and found charges against five supervisors for dereliction of duty. Brelo’s trial is scheduled to begin today, April 6, 2015. He has chosen to have a bench trial.

It happened on November 29, 2012. Timothy Russell was driving his Chevy Malibu and Malissa Williams was Timothy’s passenger. Cleveland police officer John Jordan stopped Timothy Russell for a signal violation. Jordan had seen Timothy and Malissa outside the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s men’s homeless shelter, which is a spot that the cops refer to as “the wall” because it is known for drug dealing. Officer Jordan stopped Timothy for a signal violation, but suspected Timothy and Malissa of drug activity. Timothy took off.

On Feb. 5, 2013, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine gave a statement saying;  READ MORE

Sunday, May 10, 2015

American police kill one suspect every day

The problem, you see, is that America is exceptional.

The police in and around Ferguson have shot and killed twice as many people in the past two weeks (Mr Brown plus one other) as the police in Japan, a nation of 127m, have shot and killed in the past six years. Nationwide, America’s police kill roughly one person a day (see chart). This is not because they are trigger-happy but because they are nervous. The citizens they encounter have perhaps 300m guns between them, so a cop never knows whether the hand in a suspect’s pocket is gripping a Glock. READ MORE

“Looking The Other Way” (from the Blackbutterfly blog)


Is it a coverup? House of Cards level corruption in Ferguson and beyond

At that time, when the chief said the "entire scene" was just 35 feet in distance from the "car door to the shooting," every observer accepted it as a negligible fact and thought little about it, instead zeroing in on why Darren Wilson stopped Mike Brown in the first place and why a police officer would shoot a young man who was surrendering with his hands up.

It turns, out, though, that the distance Mike Brown fled was not 35 feet, as was stated in the press conference and cited in hundreds of articles since. Nor was it 45 feet, or 75 feet, or even 95 feet, but approximately 108 feet away from Darren Wilson’s SUV. Below, you will find photos from the day of the murder, maps, infographics, and more to confirm for you that the distance was nearly 300 percent farther away than originally claimed by Chief Belmar and subsequently quoted as fact in almost every narrative of the case.

While the initial reporting of this distance from the chief could have been an error, albeit an egregious one, it seems clear now, after weeks of requests to clarify this discrepancy have only produced silence, that it wasn’t an oversight, but a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts.

What reason would the chief have for so seriously understating the distance by more than 70 feet? Well, how far Mike Brown fled matters greatly, and the St. Louis County Police Department could have many reasons for purposely understating it. One doubts, though, that they expected to be caught telling this lie. READ MORE LOTS MORE AND MORE VIDEOS

Conservatives less likely to buy same lightbulbs if you tell them it will help the environment

It's nice that I'll save money, but do you have
one that clubs baby seals?
Shorter conservatism: Whatever liberals are for, we're against it:

A study out Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined attitudes about energy efficiency in liberals and conservatives, and found that promoting energy-efficient products and services on the basis of their environmental benefits actually turned conservatives off from picking them. The researchers first quizzed participants on how much they value various benefits of energy efficiency, including reducing carbon emissions, reducing foreign oil dependence, and reducing how much consumers pay for energy; cutting emissions appealed to conservatives the least.

The study then presented participants with a real-world choice: With a fixed amount of money in their wallet, respondents had to “buy” either an old-school lightbulb or an efficient compact florescent bulb (CFL), the same kind Bachmann railed against. Both bulbs were labeled with basic hard data on their energy use, but without a translation of that into climate pros and cons. When the bulbs cost the same, and even when the CFL cost more, conservatives and liberals were equally likely to buy the efficient bulb. But slap a message on the CFL’s packaging that says “Protect the Environment,” and “we saw a significant drop-off in more politically moderates and conservatives choosing that option,” said study author Dena Gromet, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.  READ MORE

Robert Reich: Fear Is Why Poor States Vote Against Their Economic Interest

Result of toxic spill
Last week, there was a massive toxic spill in West Virginia leading to undrinkable water for hundreds of thousands of West Virginans and pictures of the disgustingly polluted water like the one above (Photo credit: @ashmarkee). For years many Democrats have wondered why poor and middle class Americans vote for conservative politicians that don't share their economic interests, especially in our country's poorest states like West Virginia. Is it some twisted ideology? Something to do with race or religion? It could be all of those things, but oddly enough, jobs could also be a factor.

Or more specifically, the fear of losing those jobs. In a Facebook post today, Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich explains:  READ MORE

“The most important chart about the American economy you'll see this year”

Bard College and Levy Institute economist
Pavlina Tcherneva
I was doing my usual perusal of news and commentary throughout the blogosphere, earlier on Thursday, and I came across this quite stunning chart (see below) from Bard College and Levy Institute economist Pavlina Tcherneva. She’ll be discussing her graphics (republished throughout the blogosphere over the past 36+ hours, along with commentary by folks such as Ryan Cooper, Matt Yglesias, Kevin Drum, Justin Wolfers, and a slew of other well-known economists, bloggers and journalists) in a presentation at the 12th International Post-Keynesian Conference at the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC), Saturday. However, Tcherneva’s work is already trending on Twitter, as you read this.

Here’s Matt Yglesias with his take on the most widely-mentioned of Tcherneva’s graphics--which are based upon statistics from French economist Thomas Piketty’s bestseller, “Capital In The 21st Century”--headlined, “The most important chart about the American economy you'll see this year,” over at…
Pavlina Tcherneva's chart showing the distribution of income gains during periods of economic expansion is burning up the economics internet over the past 24 hours and for good reason. The trend it depicts is shocking:  READ MORE

If the GOP has thoroughly accomplished one thing in the past 6 years, it's this

Thus we see things like this (this particular image
 has been shared by almost 200K people, but there
are many other variants around the net):
In six years of professional "No-ing," the GOP has accomplished very little. They've shut down the government, accused the president of trying to destroy the country, cooked up every sort of conspiracy theory you can imagine, attacked women, gays and minorities...but that really seems more like "activity" than something accomplished: petulant disagreeableness, throwing a wrench in the workings of the country because they're not in charge, and tearing down their scapegoats du jour.

But looking back at all Republicans have done, they seem to have achieved one goal really well: convince Americans making just enough that if only those with not enough had less, they'd be doing much better. Put another way, they've trained a certain segment of the population to kick downwards. Instead of looking at a system that makes it difficult to survive, instead of looking at the portion of the population that keeps getting richer and richer, instead of looking at how many hundreds and even thousands of times those above them make than everyone else...they look at the people just below them, getting poorer and poorer. Republicans have instilled such a level of contempt in people for unskilled laborers and the poor, that they do the work of justifying paying them less than enough to survive for the party.

Bear in mind, we're not talking about people who don't work; we're not talking about people who earn a lousy living, but a living. We're talking about people who work hard, and do not earn enough for the basic necessities. And as far as Republicans are concerned, this is good enough: the unskilled laborer's comfort, standard-of-life, independence, self-respect, health and ultimately life are worthy of only disdain. He is a failure by virtue of being unskilled, and as such deserves contempt. A cheap Big Mac is more important than the person making it being able to afford to pay his rent and put food on the table after working 40 hours a week.  READ MORE