Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Kansas, Sen. Pat Roberts demonstrates exactly why nothing gets done in Congress

[Republicans just can't help themselves - they can't stop being dicks for even a minute or two. - Bozo]

Rss@dailykos.com (jen Hayden)
Thursday, October 16, 2014, 8:08 pm
Screenshot of Roberts v Orman debate
In the race for U.S. Senate, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-VA) and challenger Greg Orman (I-KS) squared off in a formal debate in Kansas last night. At the end of the debate, the moderator asked them to say one nice thing about each other, a brief moment of civility. Orman was first up, praising Roberts' military service in the Marines and:
"Every time I've had an opportunity to talk privately with the senator, he's been a gentleman with a great sense of humor."
And then Sen. Pat Roberts had his opportunity for a brief moment of civility, but he apparently decided to go in a different direction. He couldn't play nice for 30 seconds:
"I would say that you are a very well-dressed opponent. I admire your accumulation of wealth. I have a little question about how you got there from here, but that's the American dream."

Tennessee: Ayn Rand's vision of paradise

Les Leopold, AlterNet
Thursday, Apr 11, 2013 08:14 AM EST

The southern state ranks dead last in per capita tax revenue, and its low-income families are paying the price

If you're worried about where America is heading, look no further than Tennessee. Its lush mountains and verdant rolling countryside belie a mean-spirited public policy that only makes sense if you believe deeply in the anti-collectivist, anti-altruist philosophy of Ayn Rand. It's what you get when you combine hatred for government with disgust for poor people.
Tennessee starves what little government it has, ranking dead last in per capita tax revenue. To fund its minimalist public sector, it makes sure that low-income residents pay as much as possible through heavily regressive sales taxes, which rank 10th highest among all states as a percent of total tax revenues.[...]
As you would expect, this translates into hard times for its public school systems, which rank 48th in school revenues per student and 45th in teacher salaries. The failure to invest in education also corresponds with poverty: the state has the 40th worst poverty rate (15%) and the 13th highest state percentage of poor children (26%).
Employment opportunities also are extremely poor for the poor. Only 25% have full-time jobs, 45% are employed part-time, and a whopping 30% have no jobs at all.
So what do you do with all those low-income folks who don't have decent jobs? You put a good number of them in jail. In fact, only Louisiana, Georgia and New Mexico have higher jail incarceration rates.
From the perspective of Tennessee legislators, it's all about providing the proper incentives to motivate the poor. For starters, you make sure that no one could possible live on welfare payments (TANF: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families). Although President Clinton's welfare reform program curtailed how long a family can receive welfare (60 months) and dramatically increased the work requirements, Tennessee set the maximum family welfare payment at only $185 per month. (That's how much a top hedge fund manager makes in under one second.) As a result, the Volunteer State ranks 49th in TANF, just above Mississippi ($170).

Rising income inequality makes us want to bomb the crap out of everyone: study

Joshua Holland, Moyers & Company
16 Oct 2014 at 15:20 ET                  
War has long been seen as an endeavor urged on by the elites who stood the most to gain from conflict - whether to protect overseas assets, create more favorable conditions for international trade or by selling materiel for the conflict - and paid for with the blood of the poor, the cannon fodder who serve their country but have little direct stake in the outcome.
That was certainly the perception of the Vietnam War when Creedence Clearwater Revival hit the charts with "Fortunate Son" in 1969. Millions of poor kids were drafted and sent overseas to fight and die in the jungle while children of the affluent got deferments to attend college. (Dick Cheney famously said of the five deferments he received during that time, "I had other priorities in the 60?s than military service.")
Much has changed since then in terms of how and when wealthy democracies like the US make war. MIT political scientist Jonathan Caverley, author of Democratic Militarism Voting, Wealth, and War, and himself a US Navy veteran, argues that increasingly high-tech militaries [sic], with all-volunteer armies that sustain fewer casualties in smaller conflicts, combine with rising economic inequality to create perverse incentives that turn the conventional view of war on its head. His research looks at public opinion and military aggressiveness, and concludes that it's the working class and poor who are more likely to favor military action today. And that bottom-up pressure makes wealthy democracies more aggressive.
BillMoyers.com spoke with Caverley about his research. The transcript below has been edited for length and clarity.
Joshua Holland: Your research leads to a somewhat counterintuitive conclusion. Can you give me your thesis in a nutshell?
Jonathan Caverley: My argument is that in a heavily industrialized democracy like the United States, we have developed a very capital intensive form of warfare. We no longer send millions of combat troops overseas - or see massive numbers of casualties coming home. Once you start going to war with lots of airplanes, satellites, communications - and a few very highly trained special operations forces - going to war becomes a check writing exercise rather than a social mobilization. And once you turn war into a check writing exercise, the incentives for and against going to war change.
You can think of it as a redistribution exercise, where people who have less income generally pay a smaller share of the cost of war. This is especially important at the federal level. In the United States, the federal government tends to be funded largely from the top 20 percent. Most of the federal government, I'd say 60 percent, maybe even 65 percent, is financed by the wealthy.
For most people, war now costs very little in terms of both blood and treasure. And it has a redistributive effect.

Eddie Izzard on the absence of God

Neil deGrasse Tyson on teaching creationism

On why people become atheists

Believers - how unimportant are you - really?

The Word of God - a history

Shooting report

It will be an interesting undertaking, some day in the future, to determine exactly WHEN insanity over gun ownership actually took root in America. Insanity that leads to daily killings.

Gun control - because too many small-minded people find their courage at the end of a gun.

On fear, ignorance and hate

Jon Stewart on understanding Republican think.

And THIS is why we should fear GMO in our food chain

[I can't speak for anyone else - I know that the word on the street is that liberals hate Monsanto because the genetically modified foods they produce are untested. But, that is the lesser of my fears. I am FAR more worried that Monsanto is patenting our food supply and demanding that homage be paid for every morsel of food you put in your mouth. Like all big industry, they want to OWN you. - Bozo] 

The devil is a dedicated Republican

A little humor about gay marriage

On a bad press

On handouts for the employers

Bill Clinton on the GOP and facts

On entitlement and Reagan

As if THIS would ever happen

On the ebola czar

Monday, October 20, 2014

On the celebration of life

On the answer to your prayers

On "God" logic

On the violence of religion

Religion - it's all about the narcissism.

Shooting report

Every one of these stories represents someone dead, or injured, and everyone might have been preventable if we could get guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have guns.

Gun control - because there does not seem to be any common sense being applied to the handling of guns

On the need for public education

On the agenda of the 1%

On tne need to protect our earth

On the definition of "conservative"

On the waste in the U.S. military

On politicians as jokes

On Republican logic and why you should vote on Nov. 4th

On improving one's health...

If we could have new rules...

On the Hobby Lobby decision...

On America's ebola panic...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Getting to know the intent of our founding fathers

Our civil rights have no dependance on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.

Thomas Jefferson, A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom

Joe Romm at Climate Progress writes The Planet Just Had Its Hottest September On Record:

Last month was the warmest September globally since records began being kept in 1880, NASA reportedSunday. January through September data have 2014 already at the third warmest on record. Projections by NOAA make clear 2014 is taking aim at hottest year on record.
Remarkably, this September record occurred even though we're still waiting for the start of El Niño, which reveals just how strong the underlying trend of human-caused warming is. It's usually the combination of the long-term manmade warming trend and the regional El Niño warming pattern that leads to new global temperature records. […]
For the second month in a row, it was so hot over West Antarctica, that NASA had to put in the color brown to cover the 4°C to 8.7°C (7°F to over 15°F!) anomalous warmth. But given how far away the South Pole is, why should we get concerned about it when D.C. is having such a pleasant fall? Sure, recent studies have found that the huge glaciers in the West Antarctic ice sheet "have begun the process of irreversible collapse," but it's not like "many of the world's coastal cities would eventually have to be abandoned" if that keeps up, is it?

Conservative Catholics Call Bishops' Gay Acceptance "Homoheresy"

[Their hate is so deeply ingrained that they can't even listen to their "infallible pope. Bozo]
Allie Jones
Monday, October 13, 2014, 5:42 pm.
The Catholic Church reached a huge milestone today when bishops declared that gay partnerships have value and that LGBT people have plenty of "gifts" to offer the church. Even though gay marriage is still off the table, conservative Catholic groups are pissed.

On the Christian Rock Band

Neil deGrasse Tyson on filling the vacuum left by ignroance

Natalie Portman on being an atheist