Monthly Archives: May 2014

Sometimes I don’t really see a lot of difference between those on the political right and those that we condemn … ift.tt/TXuRir

Now that’s clever, LeVar… using Kickstarter to give yourself a job. ift.tt/TTAL3V

RIP Maya Angelou

She died just before 8:00 am this morning at her house on Bertram Road (about 5 minutes from my house).

Everyone in town has a Maya story.  She had a lot of house parties for people in the arts and Wake Forest.  I only met her a couple of times.

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

California Shooting Rampage

A horrific mass shooting at UCSB over the weekend.  A lunatic armed with a semi-automatic handgun allegedly posted a misogynistic tirade on YouTube before hunting down and shooting women on campus. Seven dead (including the gunman) and seven more injured. Nothing to see here. Move along, right?

The deaths this weekend were disgusting, but not as disgusting as "Joe The Plumber", who writes to the father of the victims and explains why his Second Amendment rights trump the life of his son.

Anyway, what Atrios said:

Obviously they're a scary crowd to mock, because they, you know, have guns. Which is part of the point. But it is time to up the mockery of the giant external penis of death crowd. They're ridiculous cowards at best, and sociopathic wannabee serial killers, or occasionally actual serial killers, at worst. Losers.

A Response To A Bipolar Mind

You write:

  Iambipolar

Okay.  Good questions.  Here are some answers.

Why do these people who love me think I do these things on purpose?  There are people who love you who don't understand your illness, or don't even know you have an illness.  Yes, those people think you are doing it on purpose.  

But then there are people who love you who DO understand your illness.  They understand you are not doing it on purpose.  But it isn't easy to understand.

You certainly look like you do these things on purpose.  You plan.  You talk about it.  You are enthused about it.  It's really difficult for us to believe that you are under the control of your illness.  You want these things, right?  You want them and it has nothing to do with your illness, right?  Tell us. 

But you can't have it both ways.  You are making a choice to spend you life this way, or you are NOT in control and "can't help" what you are doing.

Because it looks like you are in control and know damn well what you are doing, but when it all crashes in on you, you are setting it up so you can blame the illness.

Here's an idea: don't take responsibility after the bad things happen.  Take responsibility now, before they happen, and then stop them from happening.  And if you need help, say something.  But don't write "I do everything to control my illness" if you don't even seek help from those who are willing and able to help.

How can they deny my illness after so many years of watching me battle all the extreme highs and lows?i

I'm not sure who you think is denying your illness these past few months.  If anyone has been, it has been you.

Think hard about this… who has been denying your illness?

Why do they prefer to constantly remind me that I messed up again?  Not sure who is "constantly" reminding you of anything, since you've done a good job of isolating yourself from anyone who even knows you are bipolar, much less understands it.

That said, nobody I know wants to tell you that you "messed up".  They just want to mitigate the damages.  Put quite simply, they want to help you before things get bad for you.  Is that a bad thing?

And you asked for this help.  You said, after making a decision to buy a dog, "Tell me if I'm doing something stupid like that again because of my mania."  That's what they are trying to do.  They are not trying to make you feel bad.  They don't take pleasure in seeing you "mess up" (in fact, just the opposite).  They understand you don't have control.  They are doing for you what you would do for them, if the roles were reversed: they are trying to help you until you get to a place where you don't need it.

Don't they realize I already hate myself for my irrational behavior?

No, they don't.  

Does this surprise you?

It shouldn't.  

Ask yourself this: what have you done to indicate to others that you hate yourself for your irrational behavior?  Name one thing.  Just one.  

I'll make it easier: Forget about hating yourself — what have you said or communicated to anybody to give the impression that you know this is irrational behavior?

They may not understand, I do everything I can to control my illness but sometimes it controls me.

Try this on for size… maybe "they" DO understand.  Maybe that is exactly what they think… that your illness is controlling you.  Why would you want to let go of people like that?  People who actually "get it" AND are trying to help?

This truly is a bipolar mind at work.  People with bipolar often see the people who are helping them as people who are putting them down.  That is why we caregivers are taught not to constantly ask "Are you taking your medication?" and to let the bipolar partner know that you see them as MANY things, only ONE of which is "bi-polar".  Still, it's pretty hard to do and be 100% successful.

BOTTOM LINE:  We are told that there is a lot of shame with being bipolar, and being the one who "messes up".  We are told that helping you out increases that sense of shame, which makes it difficult to help you out.  The people who love you understand all this, but they don't hold it against you.  They don't think you should feel shame.  They know you are trying.  They know it is difficult.  They know you will fail sometimes.  But guess what?  They are trying, too — trying to help.  And helping is difficult.  And they fail at it sometimes too.  Help them to help you by letting them in and by not assuming that they are trying to make you feel shame or remorse or anything worse than you already do — believe me, it's the last thing they want.

Wait, They Can’t Do That!

Can they?

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has been quietly revising its decisions years after they were issued, altering the law of the land without public notice. The revisions include “truly substantive changes in factual statements and legal reasoning,” said Richard J. Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard and the author of a new study examining the phenomenon.

The court can act quickly, as when Justice Antonin Scalia last month corrected an embarrassing error in a dissent in a case involving the Environmental Protection Agency.

But most changes are neither prompt nor publicized, and the court’s secretive editing process has led judges and law professors astray, causing them to rely on passages that were later scrubbed from the official record. The widening public access to online versions of the court’s decisions, some of which do not reflect the final wording, has made the longstanding problem more pronounced.

How Much Is The NC State Legislature In The Pocket Of Big Business?

This much:

North Carolina GOP Pushes Unprecedented Bill to Jail Anyone Who Discloses Fracking Chemicals

As hydraulic fracturing ramps up around the country, so do concerns about its health impacts. These concerns have led 20 states to require the disclosure of industrial chemicals used in the fracking process.

North Carolina isn’t on that list of states yet — and it may be hurtling in the opposite direction.

On Thursday, three Republican state senators introduced a bill that would slap a felony charge on individuals who disclosed confidential information about fracking chemicals. The bill, whose sponsors include a member of Republican party leadership, establishes procedures for fire chiefs and health care providers to obtain chemical information during emergencies. But as the trade publication Energywire noted Friday, individuals who leak information outside of emergency settings could be penalized with fines and several months in prison.

“The felony provision is far stricter than most states’ provisions in terms of the penalty for violating trade secrets,” says Hannah Wiseman, a Florida State University assistant law professor who studies fracking regulations.

The bill also allows companies that own the chemical information to require emergency responders to sign a confidentiality agreement. And it’s not clear what the penalty would be for a health care worker or fire chief who spoke about their experiences with chemical accidents to colleagues.

“I think the only penalties to fire chiefs and doctors, if they talked about it at their annual conference, would be the penalties contained in the confidentiality agreement,” says Wiseman. “But [the bill] is so poorly worded, I cannot confirm that if an emergency responder or fire chief discloses that confidential information, they too would not be subject to a felony.” In some sections, she says, “That appears to be the case.”

The disclosure of the chemicals used to break up shale formations and release natural gas is one of the most heated issues surrounding fracking. Many energy companies argue that the information should be proprietary, while public health advocates counter that they can’t monitor for environmental and health impacts without it. Under public pressure, a few companies have begun to report chemicals voluntarily.

North Carolina has banned fracking until the state can approve regulations. The bill introduced Thursday, titled the Energy Modernization Act, is meant to complement the rules currently being written by the North Carolina Mining & Energy Commission.

Wiseman adds that, other than the felony provision, the bill proposes disclosure laws similar to those in many other states: “It allows for trade secrets to remain trade secrets, it provides only limited exceptions for reasons of emergency and health problems, and provides penalties for failure to honor the trade secret.”

Draft regulations from the North Carolina commission have been praised as some of the strongest fracking rules in the country. But observers already worry that the final regulations will be significantly weaker. In early May, the commission put off approving a near-final chemical disclosure rule because Haliburton, which has huge stakes in the fracking industry, complained the proposal was too strict, the News & Observer reported.

For portions of the Republican-controlled North Carolina government to kowtow to the energy industry is not surprising. In February, the Associated Press reported that under Republican Governor Pat McCrory, North Carolina’s top environmental regulators previously thwarted three separate Clean Water Act lawsuits aimed at forcing Duke Energy, the largest electricity utility in the country, to clean up its toxic coal ash pits in the state. Had those lawsuits been allowed to progress, they may have prevented the February rupture of a coal ash storage pond, which poured some 80,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River.

“Environmental groups say they favor some of the provisions [in the Energy Modernization Act],” Energywire reported Friday. “It would put the state geologist in charge of maintaining the chemical information and would allow the state’s emergency management office to use it for planning. It also would allow the state to turn over the information immediately to medical providers and fire chiefs.”

However, environmentalists point out that the bill would also prevent local governments from passing any rules on fracking and limit water testing that precedes a new drilling operation.

I really enjoyed reading the opinion of Judge John Jones III (a Bush appointee and a rather conservative member … ift.tt/1sVdzMW

Pat Sajak Is Kind Of A Dick

That was Pat, probably after a couple of drinks.

It's kind of hard to understand how Pat links those who acknowledge climate change as fact to racism, and nowhere has Pat managed to make that link.  I guess he's trying to ruffle feathers like a 16-year-old Internet troll.

But Pat's notion that climate scientists are using global warming alarmism as a means to feather their own nests is common among climate change denialists.

This view seems to be based on the idea that there is an immense amount of grant money available to scientists who perpetuate the "hoax," that this grant money makes these scientists rich, and that this incredibly corrupt and dishonest group of people has decided that this is a more lucrative path than, say, convincing the billionaire Koch brothers, who have spent a lot of money supporting climate change denialism, to put them on their payroll to take the opposite position.

This is an unlikely scenario. It isn't clear just what the financial interest would be in supporting this supposed hoax science. Perhaps Big Solar is behind it all, but it strains credulity to imagine that Big Solar has more sway — and more financial resources — than Big Oil in this policy debate. As author Scott Westerfeld quipped, "Plot idea: 97% of the world's scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies." I suppose it could be true.

That the scientists are likely honest and as correct as they can be about the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and its likely impact on global temperatures admittedly does not lead automatically to specific policy conclusions. Perhaps any realistic policies to reverse the warming trend, especially absent global coordination, will be too costly with little chance of success. Maybe it's just too late.

But either way, Pat Sajak is kind of a dick.

Comeuppance For A Cretin

I like the snark that Slate took:

Dinesh D'Souza, the conservative author and commentator who asserts that Barack Obama is "driven by a Third World, anti-American ideology that he got from his Kenyan father," admitted today in federal court to committing campaign finance fraud. From the New York Daily News:

Busted in January for skirting a $5,000 cap by reimbursing his friends for $20,000 in donations to the 2012 U.S. Senate campaign of New York Republican Wendy Long, D'Souza, 53, was initially charged with one count of illegal contributions and one count of false statements, both felonies.

In a plea agreement with prosecutors Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to the illegal contribution count.

D'Souza, who has described Barack Obama Sr. as a "philandering, inebriated African socialist" whose worldview is essential to understanding the actions of a president who last saw him in 1971, could be sentenced to up to 16 months in prison or fined $250,000.

The author, who once wrote in all seriousness that Barack Obama thinks of Muslims who attack American soldiers as "freedom-fighters," admitted publicly that he "knew that causing a campaign contribution to be made in the name of another was wrong and something the law forbids."

“I deeply regret my conduct,” D'Souza told the court, referring not to his claim that the president of the United States is purposefully transforming the country into a metaphorical "shantytown," but to his comission of a felony.

Barack Obama was re-elected to the American presidency in 2012 by a margin of five million votes. The Kenyan radical sleeper-cell community could not be reached for comment.

What's particularly amusing about this is that D'Souza and his friends on the right (Megan Kelly, Sean Hannity, the folks at Fox & Friends) spent weeks claiming this was retribution from Obama.  Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) rushed to defend D’Souza at the time of his indictment. He slammed the charges as “an abuse of power” and asked Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, “Can you image the reaction if the Bush Administration had went, gone and prosecuted Michael Moore and Alec Baldwin and Sean Penn?”

Let's recap the headline: D'Souza PLED GUILTY.

We’re Back

Lots of things I wanted to write yesterday, but Typepad got dinged by another denial-of-service attack.  Pretty frustrating for them, but more so for me.  This is happening too often.

So now it all seems like old news — Oregon flipping on same-sex marriage, for example.

One story I was following — because it takes place in New Hampshire and I'm from New Hampshire — was this really awful racist police commissioner:

A police commissioner in a predominantly white New Hampshire town says he won't apologize for calling President Barack Obama the N-word, and he sat with his arms crossed while angry residents at a meeting called for his resignation on Thursday.

Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland, who's 82 and white, has acknowledged in an email to his fellow police commissioners he used the racial slur in describing Obama.

Town resident Jane O'Toole, who moved to Wolfeboro four months ago, said she overheard Copeland say the slur at a restaurant in March and wrote to the town manager about it. Copeland, in an email to her, acknowledged using the slur in referring to the president and said he will not apologize.

"I believe I did use the 'N' word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse," Copeland said in the email to his fellow police commissioners, part of which he forwarded to O'Toole. "For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such."

Copeland, who has declined to be interviewed, is one of three members of the police commission, which hires, fires and disciplines officers and sets their salaries. He ran unopposed for re-election and secured another three-year term on March 11.

About 20 black people live in Wolfeboro, a town of 6,300 residents in the scenic Lakes Region, in the central part of New Hampshire, a state that's 94 percent white and 1 percent black. None of the town police department's 12 full-time officers is black or a member of another minority.

He reportedly resigned yesterday, unapologetic to the end.

My, my.  It's good to know that "things have changed dramatically" since 50 years ago.

Laughed pretty hard at some of these. ift.tt/RXft4f

Go Sox!

Go Sox!

Go Sox!

Arkansas Oh So Close

The Arkansas Supreme Court has denied a request for an emergency stay of Judge Chris Piazza's order overturning the ban on same-sex marriage. The court also dismissed as premature an appeal of Piazza's ruling because it wasn't a final order.

Here's the opinion. 

Marriage equality remains the law of the land in Arkansas, but the court injected a wrinkle that will give counties cover to continue to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples. And that wrinkle has prompted Pulaski Clerk Larry Crane to say that, for the time being, his office likely will cease issuing licenses to same-sex couples.

The court noted that Piazza's ruling didn't mention a statute that prohibits clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. It remains in effect. Action will now shift to Piazza's court to pursue final orders, injunctive relief and a cleanup on the omitted statute.

Said Jack Wagoner, attorney for the plaintffs: 

We'll fix that tomorrow and be back here again…. How can you  find something unconstitutional but not affect a statute that would require the clerks to do something unconstitutional?  

Justices Donald Corbin and Paul Danielson issued a separate concurrence that said they simply would have dismissed the appeal for lack of a final order and rejected the emergency stay request because the case is still before the trial court.

And I've completely lost count how many states accept gay marriage.  It's really amazing when you think about the trend over the last 5 years.

Go Sox!

Go Sox!

And Idaho

Another domino falls

A federal judge has ruled that Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The ruling, handed down by U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale on Tuesday, followed oral arguments on May 5.

Earlier Tuesday, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (R) filed a preemptive motion asking for an immediate stay if Dale did rule against the gay marriage ban.

Go Sox!

Yes, 400 vote victory margin. That, and….. ift.tt/1nKDCG5

Not An Apology

“I’m not a racist," Sterling said. “I made a terrible, terrible mistake. And I’m here with you today to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all the people that I’ve hurt.”

Okay, that's a good start.  Except it wasn't ONE terrible mistake.  After all you were being sued for discrimination, which was mistake one, and then to make racist comments, well, that's two by my count.

"When I listen to that tape, I don't even know how I can say words like that. … I don't know why the girl had me say those things…Well yes, I was baited…I mean, that's not the way I talk. I don't talk about people for one thing, ever. I talk about ideas and other things. I don't talk about people."

Well, obviously you DO talk about people, and she didn't goad you at all into saying what you said.

That's the thing about racists these days.  They can't see their own racism.  It's like they have blinders on.

Just like he has blinders on about Magic Johnson.  Listen to this praise:

Sterling told CNN he's spoken twice with Johnson.

"Did you apologize to him?" Cooper asked.

"If I said anything wrong, I'm sorry," Sterling said. "He's a good person. I mean, what am I going to say? Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don't think so. But I'll say it, he's great. But I don't think he's a good example for the children of Los Angeles."

*facepalm*

Yeah, I don't think you were goaded.  Apparently, all you have to do is have a mcirophone in front of you and you'll say something offensive and racist.

Shorter Donald Sterling.

"I am not a racist, I just think all black men look like Magic Johnson, and I HATE Magic Johnson, and all people who look like Magic Johnson having black person sex. BUT I AM NOT A RACIST!"

Hashtag Activism and Nigerian Girls

I’m not a huge fan of hashtag activism.  I think it is cool and all, but I don’t think it is the panacea for all the world’s problems, like some others.

I mean, if there’s a shooter on campus, Twitter can be helpful.  Or, as shown in the last week, it can bring the world’s attention to a tragic, but finite, problem, like a couple of hundred Nigerian schoolgirls begin kidnapped by a terrible warlord to be sold as “brides”.

But it can’t, you know, help with bigger issues like, say, global warming.

No matter.  Credit where credit is due.  Good on Twitter and the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag for moving the mainstream media, and ultimately, the various governments of the world to bring pressure on Nigeria to, you know, not stand there idly by why its young girls get abducted and raped and so forth.

That said, Ann Coulter is a terrible human being for this: 

Fortunately, this:

 

I find this a little suspicious…. ift.tt/1l53JVD

Go Sox!

Go Sox!

Go Sox!

Go Sox!

NC Elections As Bellweather for the US?

CNN gives us five takeaways from last night's NC primary results:

1. Republican establishment passes early test: The GOP establishment — that galaxy of Washington-based political operatives, national party committees and business groups who care first and foremost about winning — promised early on that they wouldn't let controversial candidates jeopardize their chances of re-taking the Senate this year.

North Carolina was the first test in their mission to make sure that no Todd Akins, Christine O'Donnells or Richard Mourdocks would be on the Senate ballot in 2014.

The Chamber of Commerce and the Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads spent north of $2 million propping up state House Speaker Thom Tillis when the candidate himself lacked the resources to go on statewide television. A few weeks ago, most Republicans in North Carolina were predicting that Tillis would not be able to break 40% of the vote, thereby forcing a July runoff election. But with the help of outside spending, a largely error-free campaign and the inability of his underfunded grassroots challengers to land a punch, Tillis surged late and cleared the runoff hurdle easily. Republicans are breathing easier, confident they have the candidate with the best shot to beat Democrat Hagan.

2. Democrats open up the extremist playbook: The Democratic National Committee fired off a memo to reporters right after Tillis secured the GOP nomination.

"Thom Tillis: Extreme, Scandal Plagued Conservative: Bring It On," it was titled.

No surprise there: For the better part of a year, Hagan's campaign has been planning to paint Tillis as a right-wing ideologue who, as state house speaker, curtailed voting rights, slashed education budgets and fought to limit women's access to contraception and abortion. They were just hoping he'd have to slog through a nasty Republican-on-Republican runoff first.

Now the general election begins. Democrats will work overtime to render Tillis unacceptable to suburban women and middle class voters by hitting him on issues like women's health and wages. Tillis plans to tie Hagan to President Obama and his health care law at every turn. If that sounds like the dynamic of pretty much every other federal race in the country so far this year, well, that's because it is.

3. Rand Paul stumbles: Rand Paul gambled — and lost. After spending much of the last two years making nice with the GOP establishment as he lays groundwork for a 2016 presidential bid, Paul confounded Republicans by making a last minute trip to Charlotte to campaign for Brannon, a controversial tea party candidate who turned out to be Tillis' most serious primary opponent.

Paul called Brannon a "hero" and a "dragon slayer" at a rally outside the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Monday, saying he would shake up the status quo in Washington. Brannon supporters hoped it would bring a last minute burst of energy to their upstart campaign. But for Paul-watchers, the appearance was a head-scratcher.

A bloody Tillis-Brannon runoff was precisely the scenario that Washington Republicans who might help Paul in 2016 — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, his fellow Kentuckian — were hoping to avoid. And while Paul had already endorsed Brannon, he was further grafting himself onto a flawed candidate who was recently found liable by a jury for misleading investors in a failed tech firm.

The Kentucky senator said his endorsement was about principle. But Paul has also developed a reputation as a canny political operator who is taking a methodical approach to the presidential race. He didn't look very savvy in North Carolina, where he put his political muscle to the test but couldn't pull his favored candidate over the finish line.

Paul was quick to save face. He endorsed Tillis on Facebook soon after the race was called, and urged Republicans to unite behind him.

4. Immigration fight fizzles: Rep. Renee Ellmers is a rare specimen: A House Republican who backs immigration reform, including a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. She calls it "an earned legal work status." Conservatives, of course, call it "amnesty."

Ellmers, a nurse from North Carolina's 2nd District who was elected in 2010 with tea party support, has been unapologetic, tangling with her constituents over the issue in town hall meetings and calling conservative radio talker Laura Ingraham "ignorant" during a recent on-air debate about immigration.

Her immigration reform cheerleading drew the attention of a pro-immigration reform group backed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, which ran television ads on her behalf. But she also drew a conservative primary challenger: a radio talk show host and GOP perma-candidate named Frank Roche.

Roche hit Ellmers hard, framing his entire candidacy as a referendum on Ellmers' support for immigration reform and her willingness to work with the GOP establishment. Roche's poorly funded campaign gave Ellmers a scare, but in the end she skated to a primary win.

5. Anti-war Republican survives: Rep. Walter Jones, a 20-year incumbent from the state's coastal 3rd District, faced perhaps the toughest challenge of his long career from Taylor Griffin, a Republican strategist and former George W. Bush administration official from Washington who returned to New Bern to run for the seat.

Griffin's critique of Jones centered on the congressman's libertarian drift. Jones famously broke with his party over foreign policy during the Iraq War, calling it a mistake and predicting that former Vice President Dick Cheney will someday rot in hell. Jones became an ardent supporter of Ron Paul, voted to regulate Wall Street, and has been a regular thorn in the side of House Republican leaders like John Boehner, who kicked him off the House Financial Services committee in 2012.

Griffin labeled Jones the "most liberal" Republican in Congress, a questionable line of attack considering Jones' fierce social conservatism. But Griffin worked hard and had the support of hawkish outside groups who ran blistering television and radio ads against Jones, and he picked up a a late endorsement from Sarah Palin.

But it was probably too late. Jones, with his deep ties to the district, survived. Republicans in North Carolina, however, believe Griffin scuffed Jones up enough to make him vulnerable in 2016. That's if he doesn't retire first.

 

Go Sox!