It is not clear as I’m writing this exactly what went down in Cleveland on Sunday afternoon:

The streets of Cleveland turned ugly on Sunday following the first national Black Lives Matter conference, where activists convened to discuss the use of deadly force between police and African Americans.

Witnesses told local ABC affiliate Newsnet5 that a 14-year-old who was thought to have been intoxicated was slammed to the ground after transit police confronted him about an open container by a bus stop.

Think Progress has more:

After this arrest, protesters rallied near the scene, and one video of the protest shows them linking arms in an apparent effort to prevent police from breaking up the protest. According to reporting by Jonathan Walsh, a reporter with the ABC affiliate, that’s when a white officer began to pepper spray the crowd.

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So I’m driving through an upscale neighborhood in Greenville, SC this week and pass a big house with a big yard, and a fresh, new Confederate flag flying right beside the road.

Except it’s not the familiar battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, the one they just took down in the state capitol. It’s the first flag of the Confederate States of America.

I’ve seen a lot of Confederate battle flags over the decades, but this is the first time I’ve seen this particular flag displayed by a homeowner. Ever.

I wonder how many others recognized it? The battle flag came down in Columbia just weeks ago and already neo-confederates are going “more abstract” with their white supremacist. Just as they once did with “forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff.” Somewhere, is Lee Atwater smiling?

The RNC apologized to the NAACP a decade ago for the Southern Strategy. Republicans just never abandoned it. Fueling white resentment as a get-out-the-vote tool has worked too well too long for the GOP. They just can’t quit that flag. Resentment is the conservative id. Nurtured for years. Promoted. Now in the person of Donald Trump it is coming back to bite them. Maybe:

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Jul
26

Sunday Morning Music

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Jul
24

Your daily death count

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Wonder what time Lester’s Guns and Ammo opens? ‘Cause it’s time to run down and stock up again. Again.

The gunman who opened fire inside a packed movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, Thursday night, was John Russel Houser, police said at a news conference this morning.

Houser, 59, who killed himself, is among three people who died, police said. The other two were Mayci Breaux, 21, of Franklin, Louisiana, who died at the theater, and Jillian Johnson, 33, of Lafayette, who died at the hospital.

Nine others were injured, including one who was in critical condition, police said.

Gov. Bobby Jindal praised two New Iberia teachers as heroes. One leaped over the other to shield her and pull a fire alarm:

“Her friend literally jumped over her, and in her account actually saved her life,” Jindal said during a press conference. “If she hadn’t done that … that bullet, she believed it would have hit her in the head.

“Even though she was shot in the leg, she had the presence of mind to pull the fire alarm to help save other lives.”

So there’s a bright side. Read More→

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Milton Friedman from The Hoover Institution on FORA.tvRepublican presidential hopeful Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is in San Diego this morning to address the 2015 convention of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). If politicians really did wear sponsors’ logos on their jackets like NASCAR drivers, Walker’s relationship with ALEC’s funders would win him the pole position:

It is a relationship that spans two decades. Since he first took public office in 1993 as a Wisconsin legislator, through to his current position as that state’s governor, Walker has maintained close ties to Alec, with policies to match. Many of Walker’s most contentious actions – a tough-on-crime bill that sent incarceration rates soaring, stand-your-ground gun laws, protection of corporate vested interests, attacks on union rights and many more – have borne the Alec seal of approval.

Should Walker win the Republican nomination in 2016 (a plausible outcome) and then defeat the Democratic candidate to take the presidency (a harder, though not unthinkable, challenge) he would become the first Alec alum to enter the Oval Office. In short, it is now possible to conceive of the first Alec president of the United States.

See Merriam-Webster’s definition for “shill.”

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Jul
22

Now that’s a low blow

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Donald Trump seems determined to turn the GOP presidential primary into his next reality show, and to drag other Republican aspirants with him. Check out this Trump twofer insult of Lindsey Graham and former Texas governor Rick Perry. From Politico:

On Tuesday, Trump ramped up his attacks on the South Carolina senator — who made headlines Monday for calling the Donald a “jackass” — and even gave out Graham’s private phone number.

Trump began his rambling diatribe by calling Graham a “lightweight” and an “idiot.”

“He doesn’t seem like a very bright guy. He actually probably seems to me not as bright as Rick Perry. I think Rick Perry probably is smarter than Lindsey Graham,” Trump added, riffing on prior insults he had lobbed at the former Texas governor.

Oh, my.

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Sandra Bland (via Facebook)

Sandra Bland (via Facebook)

Sandra Bland’s name featured prominently in the Black Lives Matter (#BLM) shutdown of the Netroots-Phoenix town hall on Saturday. Like the other black women mentioned, Bland died in police custody, in her case just a week earlier. Why? And how? The Los Angeles Times (emphasis mine):

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Bland failed to signal that she was changing lanes so a trooper pulled her over. The trooper was going to give her a written warning but Bland became argumentative and uncooperative, officials say.

The Chicago Tribune provides additional details:

Trooper Erik Burse, a department spokesman, said last week that Bland was going to be left off with a warning for a minor traffic violation, but was charged with assault on a public servant after she kicked the officer.

The trooper who stopped Bland has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the FBI and Texas Rangers for allegedly violating the department’s “courtesy policy.”

The stop escalated over a cigarette, according to the family’s lawyer, Cannon Lambert:

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Categories : National, News, Race
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Eliminating tenure is only one front in the effort to rationalize the academy. Writing for Al Jazeera, Mark LeVine looks beyond the Midas Cult’s effort to housetrain the academy:

For academics lucky enough to have tenure at an “R-1 research university” — one with “extensive” doctoral level graduate programs and support for faculty research as well as teaching — the erosion of traditional tenure protections is damaging because it threatens not only academic freedom but research and teaching that contribute hundreds of billions of dollars to U.S. GDP.

Undermining that investment would seem counter to the goal of turning every public resource into gold. Yet as we have seen with the astronomical amounts of money it is willing to throw at elections, the Midas Cult is willing to spend what it takes (and to sacrifice others) to stop the contagion of critical thinking that might threaten its dogma. Clearly, this is not about money. It is about ideology. Whatever the fiscal arguments for attacking the academy, it is not as if the cost of funding academics is that expensive (emphasis mine):

Indeed, upwards of a quarter of faculty with doctorates live below the poverty lineeight percentage points higher than the national average for all Americans. Think of this in the context of the American dream, where dedication and education are supposed to ensure a piece, however modest, of the American dream. If 10 years of intensive college and graduate study can’t even get a person a better salary than the average Walmart cashier, there is something profoundly wrong.

The Walmartization of higher education is of course part and parcel of the larger McDonaldization of American society, which devalues broad skill sets and critical thinking in favor of consumer-driven “choice” and a cheap and controllable workforce. As anthropologist Sarah Kendzior asks in perhaps the most viewed article in the history of Al Jazeera English, what does it mean when education has gone from being the great path out of poverty to being “a way into it”?

Cultists don’t need educated thinkers or researchers. Until education can be fully automated, all it needs is education delivery drones. And frankly, there is no reason cultists should have to pay for education in America anymore. As I wrote in 2011:

In the Atlantic’s “The Rise of the New Global Elite,” Chrystia Freeland describes the super-rich as “a nation unto themselves,” more connected to each other than to their countries or their neighbors. Freeland writes that “the business elite view themselves increasingly as a global community, distinguished by their unique talents and above such parochial concerns as national identity, or devoting ‘their’ taxes to paying down ‘our’ budget deficit.” Thomas Wilson, CEO of Allstate, explains that globalization means, “I can get [workers] anywhere in the world. It is a problem for America, but it is not necessarily a problem for American business …” Why should it be?

In a global economy driven more and more by bottom-line thinking, public education is just another community expense the elite would rather not bear, isn’t it? The rich can afford private schools for their children and have little need for educated workers in the multiple cities where they own houses. How much education do gardeners and waiters really need anyway?

Why should the global elite pay taxes to educate the children of those below their station? Why pay to educate workers when they can import them on H-1B or L-1 visas and pay them less than American workers? As Allstate’s CEO implied, their companies can easily set up shop in India, Indonesia or China. Globalization means multinational corporations can simply swoop in and exploit an educated workforce in countries that have already incurred the sunk costs of developing that resource. And multinationals get to pay those foreign workers less to boot. Whether here or abroad, why not just let somebody else pay taxes for educating other people’s children?

Besides, educated workers only get uppity, and whether they realize it or not, “permanent faculty … are in fact part of the laboring classes.” At least in the view of the Midas Cult. LeVine concludes:

The threats to academic freedom and shared governance posed by a system of largely contingent academic labor are obvious. If you’re treading water around the poverty line and have no guarantee of a job three months down the line, you are going to be very reluctant to teach any subject that might challenge students or the powers that be in your community, whether it’s science that is literally verboten to discuss — such as climate change in Wisconsin — “divisive” ethnic studies in Arizona or “anti-Semitic” Palestinian history almost anywhere.

Get some shuffle into it, Jackson. [timestamp 10:35].

Categories : Economy, National
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Jul
19

Sunday Morning Music

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One reason Donald Trump gets the attention he does is that he’s Donald Trump. He is already a household name. Becoming one as a presidential candidate takes a lot of money, shoe leather, and time. Bernie Sanders will need all three. The Washington Post explains:

A new Washington Post-ABC News national poll offers a fresh look at Clinton’s and Sanders’s standing among Democrats. The survey finds Clinton is overwhelmingly popular across the Democratic Party, but Sanders is a far-less-familiar pol and is weak among a handful of key voting blocs.

Overall, 82 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of Clinton, while 15 percent are unfavorable (a scant 3 percent have no opinion). Sanders’s favorable rating is 36 percent among Democrats, with even more offering no opinion of him. Nearly a quarter — 23 percent — give Sanders negative marks. That’s notable because, despite being better-known than Clinton, his negatives are eight percentage points higher than Clinton.

I assume the Post meant that to say “less-known than Clinton.”

While strong among liberal Democrats, Sanders is still weak with moderate and conservative Democrats, those without college degrees, and non-whites. A high percentage of those groups have no opinion of Sanders, while Hillary Clinton’s favorables are high, unfavorables are low, and virtually no Democrats have no opinion of her. She’s a household name.

That’s a tough, but not insurmountable hill to climb for a Clinton challenger like Sanders. Some little-known guy named Obama has some experience with that.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

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