April 29, 2016

Overheard in DC

DCist:  Overheard of the Week

Near the Washington Monument, which sports marble from two different quarries:

A middle-aged woman sporting a visor and fanny-pack to her 8 year-old son in a t-shirt at least four sizes too big.

Boy: "Momma, why is it two different colors?"

Woman: "Because this Communist president won’t pay to clean it!"

British spying on their Green Party leaders as terrorists

Guardian - A secretive police unit tasked with spying on alleged extremists intent on committing serious crimes has been monitoring leading members of the [UK] Green party, the Guardian has learned. Newly released documents show that the intelligence unit has been tracking the political activities of the MP Caroline Lucas and Sian Berry, the party’s candidate for London mayor... The files give no indication that [targeted Green Party leaders] were involved in serious criminal activity."

If the campaign isn't weird enough for you already, check these out

The Daily Mail


Radar followup

Note: The yet unsupported charges against  Donald Trump were filed by a woman whose name does not appear among the underage sex slaves in convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's list. And the suit against Trump was not filed by a lawyer, although was a legal style document -suggesting that it might have been composed by a lawyer who didn't want to get sued byTrump.  

Morning Line: Clinton in deep poll trouble

In our moving average of polls, Hillary Clinton is doing her worse yet. She is only five points ahead of Trump, tied with Cruz and 8 points behind Kasich. Sanders would beat Trump by 14, Cruz by 8 and in a tie with Kasich.

Anti-Trump riot in California

LA Times - Hundreds of demonstrators filled the street outside the Orange County amphitheater where Donald Trump held a rally Thursday night, stomping on cars, hurling rocks at motorists and forcefully declaring their opposition to the Republican presidential candidate.

Traffic came to a halt as a boisterous crowd walked in the roadway, some waving American and Mexican flags. Protesters smashed a window on at least one police cruiser, punctured the tires of a police sport utility vehicle, and at one point tried to flip a police car.

About five police cars were damaged in total, police said, adding that some will require thousands of dollars' worth of repairs.

April 28, 2016

The bi-polar Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina earlier this year - I would say that Ted Cruz is just like any other politician. He says one thing in Manhattan. He says another thing in Iowa. He says whatever he needs to say to get elected, and then he's going to do as he pleases. I think the American people are tired of the political class that promises much and delivers much of the same.

The bi-polar Donald Trump

Donald Trump 2011 -Gaddafi, in Libya, is killing thousands of people. Nobody knows how bad it is and we’re sitting around. We have soldiers all over the Middle East and we’re not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage. And that’s what it is, it’s a carnage.

Now we should go in. We should stop this guy which would be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically, stop him from doing it and save these lives. This is absolute nuts. We don’t want to get involved and you’re going to end up with something like you’ve never seen before. Now, ultimately the people will appreciate it and they’re going to end up taking over the country eventually. But the people will appreciate it and they should pay us back. But we have to go in to save these lives. These people are being slaughtered like animals, We should, on a humanitarian basis, immediately go into Libya, knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively, and save the lives.

Donald Trump, February 2016 -  [Cruz]   said I was in favor of Libya? I never discussed that subject. I was in favor of Libya? We would be so much better off if Gaddafi were in charge right now.

America's capital colony pays more taxes than 22 states

DCist - D.C. residents paid the federal government $26.4 billion in taxes in 2014, while receiving $3.5 billion in return (not including matching funds that all states receive), without full Congressional representation.. . .The District's federal contribution amounted to more than 22 other states (as well as Puerto Rico and international tax contributions).

Although DC is still almost half black, neither the national media nor liberal and/or black groups take seriously the disenfranchisement of the capital. - Undernews

News Notes

Dutch firm says its quiet wind turbines could meet half a home's energy needs

Trump and the mob

According  to the most recent data from the Department of Agriculture, the average age of an American farmer is 58 years old, and that number has been continually increasing for some three decades..... Though the number of farmers has been falling for many years, the number of young farmers, defined as farmers under the age of 35, is actually moving, slightly, in the opposite direction. The number of young farmers in the U.S. increased 1.5 percent, according to the latest Agriculture Census in 2014. In some parts of the country, the increase is even more dramatic — the number of younger farmers is up 40 percent in Maine.

The rate that Americans own their homes fell in the first quarter to the third lowest on record, 63.9%

John Boehner on Ted Cruz - Lucifer in the flesh. I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.

House unanimously approves email protection

Intercept - The House voted unanimously, 419-0, to bring the law that protects the privacy of Americans’ emails into the 21st century. The Email Privacy Act would reform the 1986 Email Communications Privacy Act by requiring all federal agencies (with few exceptions) to get a warrant before searching old digital communications stored in the cloud by companies like Google and Facebook. “In 1986, the assumption was that if you left your email on a server it was abandoned, like trash on a street corner,” said Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., one of the bill’s authors, during a GOP press conference Wednesday morning. He said it “restores the Fourth Amendment, and treats email with the same protections as paper mail.”

Getting ready for America's worst presidential election

Sam Smith - As things now stand, we are headed towards choosing a presidency that will be, no matter which way we vote, strikingly untrustworthy, unreliable and corrupt. It is not too early to to try to figure out how to deal with this situation. Here are a few suggestions.

Choose the lesser of two evils. Opposition to this approach is often used as an argument for staying home on election day or voting for a third party. Even though I helped to start two third parties, I have opposed such ineffectual involvement at the presidential level except in states where the results are obvious. Third parties have to grow from the bottom up and can get falsely blamed for unhappy national results as when Nader was charged with Gore's loss even though Gore's popularity during the campaign had declined far more than Nader's total percentage.

Further, not choosing the lesser of two evils is more like a evangelical religious act than a political one. It parades your virtue without considering the consequences to others. If, for example, your vote were to help elect a candidate who then drastically cuts food stamps, the cost of your personal virtue to others would be quite high.

In fact, we choose the lesser of two evils all the time. We call it life. And if we didn't, suicide rates would soar.

Admittedly it can be a difficult choice. For example, Lyndon Johnson, who got more good legislation through in less time than any other president, also got us into the Vietnam War disaster, Yet his opponent was Barry Goldwater who wanted more foreign escapades and accused LBJ of "making promises to buy votes at home while the world smolders and burns." Goldwater also opposed the president on issues like labor unions, and federal involvement in civil rights. Still, voting for the lesser of two evils in 1964, in balance, was the best choice.

I don't enjoy picking the lesser evil but since I don't view my personal virtue as more important than what happens to millions of others, I will, if I have to, take a barf bag along and go vote for Hillary Clinton.

Keep what Bernie Sanders started going: The Sanders campaign was the most encouraging thing that has happened in American politics in several decades. While the corporate media dutifully picks up the Clinton line that Sanders should drop out, in fact the primaries were potentially just the start of a movement that could dramatically change the face of America for the better. The next step for this movement, for example, is to move the Democratic platform closer to what it was before the Democratic Leadership Council and Bill Clinton transformed it to GOP Lite. And if Hillary Clinton is elected, the movement Bernie started can remind her daily that it is still there. Politics is not just about politics, it can also be a technique to start or grow a movement.

Treat the election as about issues rather than personality - People used to talked far more about Republican and Democratic positions than they did treating politics as though it was just another American Idol show. In this election, the White House is just one of the choices. We are also choosing a Supreme Court and perhaps even a Senate. Bad as Hillary Clinton may be, she is still a Democrat and more likely to support the better positions of her party. Yes, there are dangers, such as her pro-war tendency  but whose hand would you like closer to the nuclear button: hers or Trump's?

Organize people, not symbols and words  - As America's liberal minority has become better educated, it has placed excessive emphasis on semiotic and symbolic matters and less on the basic job of organizing people. Thus we have attacks on various signs and symbols on college campuses or on the language people use even as effective people organizing remains weak. Removing Woodrow Wilson' name from a college building does not improve urban policing in the slightest. We need more cures than critiques.

Stop dissin' the people you need on your side - Every time I hear a liberal attacking "white privilege" I think of the fact that there are almost twice as many poor whites in this country as there are poor blacks. There was a time when activists would attempt to get these two constituencies together, but that was before liberals began attacking the very people they should be enlisting.  Go after their misleaders - like Donald Trump- but help their victms find a better way to solve the problems that led them to fall for them.

Remind people of the difference between Democrats and Republicans: The Democrats have brought us Social Security, the minimum wage, food stamps, Medicare, and scores of similar programs. The GOP work on such crucial issues has varied from pathetic to opposition. A few years ago I started collecting a list of institutions and programs that prominent GOP figures criticized or acted against. Here's the list:

9/11 responders,  AARP,  Americorps,  bicyclists and bikes, black men, Census, children with pre-existing health conditions,  college graduates,  college students,  consumers,  cops,  disabled people,  disaster victims,  earthquake warnings,  employed women,  EPA,  ethnically mixed couples,  federal courts,  Federal Reserve Board, fire fighters,  food stamp recipients,  gays,  home owners,  ill people who need medical marijuana,  immigrants and their children,
internal revenue service,  journalists,  latinos,  Medicare,  Medicaid recipients,  minimum wage workers,  minimum wage,  National Endowment For The Arts,  National Institutes Of Health, national parks,  National Science Foundation,  NPR & PBS,  postal service,  public school students,  public workers,  residents of Dc-Guam-Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands  Sandy Storm victims,  scientists,  separation of church and state,  social security recipients,  state workers,  teachers,  unemployed workers,  United Nations,  wildlife,  and women

April 27, 2016

News Notes

Trump gets outwierded by Carly Fiorina

What about those "boots on the ground" that weren't going to Syria?

The charitable plutocracy: Today’s multi-billionaires are a different species of philanthropist; they keep tight control over their foundations while also operating as major political funders.

Stevens Elementary fifth-graders in Seattle and their parents staged a “camp-in” outside their school to protest the cancellation of their much-anticipated camping field trip, which was planned for early May. But parents received a letter this week saying the trip to Camp Orkila in the San Juan Islands wouldn’t happen because of an issue with paperwork. The students, who have heard about “This is a symptom of a larger administrative failure,” said parent Heather Timm as kids chanted, “What do we want? Camp! When do we want it? Now!”

heliofloat 1 
Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have developed floating solar platforms meant for any body of water including the ocean, are lightweight and flexible enough to bob with the waves while remaining steady on the surface, even in rough weather.

High school test score stagnation

Christian Science Monitor - According to the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress, an annual multiple choice test taken by thousands of randomly selected 12th grade students across the country, average reading and math scores slightly decreased from 2013. Between 2013 and 2015, the nation’s average mathematics score decreased from 153 to 152 out of total score of 300 and the average reading score decreased from 288 to 287 out of 500.

But a breakdown of these statistics suggests that educators face more than just stagnation: while the average scores are relatively the same, they also reveal a widening gap between proficient and below-average students. The top-achieving students are scoring better and the struggling students are scoring worst. 

But if US high school graduation rates are also a barometer of success, then these statistics contradict the recent NAEP report. Whereas the NAEP says only 40 percent of high school students are ready for college, 82 percent of US seniors graduated from high school in 2014 – the highest level since the Department of Education started tracking graduation rates five years ago.

Ten states have anti-solar power policies

Ecowatch - Some of the sunniest states in the country are actively blocking rooftop-solar development through overtly lacking and destructive policy landscapes, according to a Center for Biological Diversity report. “There’s room for improvement in solar policies across all 50 states, but it’s especially shameful to see the sunniest states fail to lead the transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.”

The 10 states highlighted in Throwing Shade: 10 Sunny States Blocking Distributed Solar Development—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin—account for more than 35 percent of the total rooftop-solar technical potential in the contiguous U.S., but less than 3 percent of total installed capacity.

The report assigned a policy grade to all 50 states based on the presence and strength of key policies that have aided solar expansion in the country’s leading solar markets, as well as policy and regulatory barriers that are used to hinder the distributed-solar industries. These grades, along with the technical potential for distributed-solar expansion in each state (based on the latest findings from National Renewable Energy Laboratory), determined which states were the country’s worst offenders.

Morning Line

In four of the five states with primaries yesterday, one or both winning candidates came in percentages a double digit over that projected by an average of the last three polls. The only exception was Connecticut. Trump's totals were 12-24 percentage points higher in the other states. Clinton's total were much closer the polls. Only in Delaware was she double digits ahead of the polls. Her Maryland and Connecticut projections were right on target but in Pennsyvania she was nine points lower that projected.

Presume this means something but can't figure out what.

America moves closer to becoming Trump Abyss

Sam Smith - With the most recent primaries, America has moved closer to becoming just more personal property of realtor Donald Trump. Trump - who regards his supporters as fans rather than citizens and America as a business to be acquired rather than a nation to be governed democratically - would be potentially the most dangerous president in American history. There are several reasons for this:
  •  He clearly doesn't see the difference between a corporation and a country. He has repeatedly bragged of his business experience, a metaphor that only works if you were to do away with the Supreme Court, Congress, 50 states, innumerable localities and the constitutional rights of citizens. Unlike the confederate south, Trump does not want to secede from the union, he wants to succeed - aka replace -  it.  
  • He would be one of the most egomanical presidents we have ever had, but, worse, his megalomania would not be balanced by any understanding of how government is meant to work.
  • Other than the standard charitable  contributions of the wealthy, Trump has not done anything of significance to aid the lives of others. Thus he has no experience in government whatsoever. 
  • His hands would be inches away from the nuclear button. 
I've been struck by the media's willingness to play Trump's game. It has not - with rare exceptions - examined his less than honorable business practices. He has not been forced to come up with positions on issues other than the ones he wants to talk about. He hasn't been asked why he has done so little to help others,

As for his opponents, it would help if they were more aggressive in dealing with his absurdities - ranging from nonsense, to false statements to lies. And pointing out that making big bucks off other people is not a skill desired of our presidents.

We are citizens meant to be served, not to be conned out of our most sacred property known as America.

Jazz break