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Excerpts from the April Harper's Index:

• Percentage of all criminal defendants in the United States who forgo a trial by pleading guilty: 97
• Percentage of U.S. convicts exonerated last year who had previously pleaded guilty without a trial: 17
• Portion of the global expenditure on social-welfare programs that is spent on Europeans: 1/2
•Portion of taxpayer-funded research whose findings are not available to the public for free: 1/2
• Chance an Air Force officer responsible for launching nuclear missiles has been accused of cheating on a proficiency exam: 1 in 5
• Minimum number of child-neglect and -abuse cases filed in Arizona since 2009 that have been closed without investigation: 6,551
• Percentage of divorced low-income men who say they wish they had stayed married: 53
• Of divorced low-income women who do: 19

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2006British Envoy on US in Iraq: Thirteen Words Say It All:

"No leadership, no strategy, no coordination, no structure and inaccessible to ordinary Iraqis."

That was British envoy John Sawers' assessment of the U.S. occupation forces to Tony Blair in May 2003, four days after he arrived in Iraq. Three years ago. The scathing report was loaded into a memo even more scathingly titled "What's Going Wrong," one of a series of leaked documents given to The Guardian, which described the exchanges as peppered with "unusual frankness."

The memos—written in the immediate aftermath of Mr. Bush's infamous "Mission Accomplished" photo op on the USS Lincoln—detail a devastating ineptness and indifference at every level of the occupation.


Tweet of the Day:

Comparing America’s surveillance state to Orwell isn’t quite right, says @benwizner. Instead, try Kafka: http://t.co/...
@BillMoyersHQ



On today's Kagro in the Morning show, the morning's chit-chat topic: Amazon Prime is raising its membership price, though the service has pretty much been a total bust for me, personally. Greg Dworkin poses the "Snowden Effect" question for the Pulitzers, notes the growing Malaysian airliner mystery, "Americans Stick With Obamacare as Opposition Burns Bright," new research questioning the value of a social media-driven Internet, and the new proposed overtime regs. More on how the overtime pay issue "stuns" the business sector (if you feel you should care), then Joseph Williams' "My Life as a Retail Worker: Nasty, Brutish and Poor."


High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Imagine that! We're starting to thaw... (13+ / 0-)

    ...in Chicago! Anywhere's else?

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:34:43 PM PDT

  •  another sign of the apocalypse (12+ / 0-)
    Percentage change since 2012 in the number of books U.S. schools considered banning : +53

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:35:20 PM PDT

    •  I wonder what percentage of that book banning (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, annieli, Aunt Pat, Shockwave, begone

      is coming from states that are run by right wing freedom fighters! mouth-breather's?

      I'm gonna take a wild guess and say, 100%.

      “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

      by Jeff Y on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:51:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Plenty from NY, Calif, and WA (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, Shockwave, Jeff Y, begone

        have been challenged for reasons having little to do with a right-wing worldview (except a penchant for censorship).  You can only see one of the Tin Tin books at the Brooklyn Public Library by making a special appointment, Huck Finn is a common target for banning for its language and racism. as is To Kill a Mockingbird and Brave New World (well, that book seems to have something to offend just about everyone).

        etc. etc.

        And of course rightwingers don't only live in red states.  California alone has millions of them.

        •  my favorite (7+ / 0-)
          1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 has to head this list of "ironic books banned." Why? Fahrenheit 451 is an entire novel about the future and the banning (and burning) of books. It was banned, ironically, because one of the books that eventually gets banned and burned is the Bible.

          Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

          by annieli on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 10:01:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe not apocalypse ...... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, JeffW, high uintas, Shockwave

      More like Neo Dark Age with Inquisition Revisited on the side.

      21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

      by geez53 on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:13:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, that (7+ / 0-)
    • Percentage of divorced low-income men who say they wish they had stayed married: 53
    • Of divorced low-income women who do: 19
    is a very interesting statistic.

    It sure would have applied in my parent's case.  My Dad was a wife-beater who surely missed his punching bag.  gawd, how my Mom hated him.  Actually, us kids pretty much hated him, too.

    But she always did say he needed her a hell of a lot more than she needed him.

  •  MB: If you have time and interest on this question (4+ / 0-)

    So awhile back I'm reading some Libertarian piece on Climate Change. Paraphrased: I'll never believe in human caused climate change, okay? End of discussion. BUT I do believe that pollution is bad for everyone. So why do you insist I believe in climate change, when you might get me to work with you if you focused on pollution.

    Now, I've posted this a few times in various comments, and I'm stunned to read things along the lines of 'f*@# him!"

    ??? Seems to me ideological purity is not a useful quality to have in face of the practical concerns and the time-limited nature of the problem. I don't think there's anybody left even in the rightist of right-wings who will say pollution isn't a real harm these days.

    I think that that guy indicated something practical to seriously advance the cause. Not that everyone should start talking 'fight pollution' and drop 'human-caused change' but that there should be effort to work that angle.

    What do you make of that?


    Talk sense about reality: you're not viable says Political Sophisticate Wisdoom.

    by Jim P on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:42:12 PM PDT

    •  So fine, argue that climate change is a terrible (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, high uintas, Shockwave

      immediate disaster, and even if it weren't, then pollution would still be a problem. It is a free country, so go for it and don't be surprised to hear "I agree, but it isn't that urgent" as well as "Ok, so we'll focus on NOx, O3 and SO2 (because CO2 isn't a pollutant).

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:54:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Odd that folks would be so concerned with... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Jim P

      why the guy cares about the state of the environment, as long as he cares. An ally is an ally.

      That said, I think there's a general fatigue with having to spend so much time in the fact-free zone. We haven't fully accepted the plain truth that facts often don't change minds.

      "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

      by 2020adam on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:56:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But then you have to work within the 'facts' (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        2020adam, geez53

        that people do accept. At least if you want to gain allies. The old Jesuit trick of accepting your opponent's premise as if it were your own held conviction, and then working through that maze toward where you know you want to be.


        Talk sense about reality: you're not viable says Political Sophisticate Wisdoom.

        by Jim P on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:01:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There seems to be an inability to simply say, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LinSea, Jim P

          "okay, I don't agree, but let's accept your premise for a moment and see where that takes us."

          I've found that the majority of politically engaged people enter a political discussion assuming there's a chance they'll "win". Which just doesn't happen. The plain boring fact is that you need to meet people where they are. Which requires letting go of ego and redefining the goal of such conversation.

          "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

          by 2020adam on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:06:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think the problem is what... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          geez53, high uintas, Shockwave, 714day

          ...enhydra lutris points out. If the person says s/he's against pollution and s/he believes CO2 is pollution, then sure, they could be persuaded to support moves that could lessen the impact of climate change without your ever having to mention climate change. But, chances are they will argue just as Jim Inhofe and others do that CO2 is not pollution. And even if they agree, they will often say that regulations should be "voluntary."

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:18:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But the means of production of both CO2 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shockwave

            and Pollution -- it's the same things. Side-step the debate and getting someone to have 'right thinking' on the subject... No need to go there, really.

            Whichever is important to a body, it's fossil fuels they want to restrain/replace. "Maybe I'm wrong about climate change; maybe not. But we both know that coal is doing this...."


            Talk sense about reality: you're not viable says Political Sophisticate Wisdoom.

            by Jim P on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:32:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  As I said, if you can get them to accept... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JeffW, Shockwave, annieli, 714day

              ...a "solution" that deals with what they are concerned about that also deals with what we're concerned about, fine and dandy. But my experience discussing environmental matters of any kind with most libertarians has been 90% unproductive and I do not believe it is because I am inflexible.

              Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

              by Meteor Blades on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:46:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  we need more bobbies in cars (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, Shockwave
    Number of deaths in traffic accidents for every 100,000 vehicles on the road in developed nations : 11

    In Ethiopia : 3,865

    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population
    The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in the United States is 101.05 firearms per 100 people

    Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population
    The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Ethiopia is 0.41 firearms per 100 people

    -------------------------------------------------------------
    In the United States, annual deaths resulting from firearms total  2011: 32,163
    In the United States, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is  2011: 10.3

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    In the United States, annual homicides by any means total
    2008: 17,826

    In Ethiopia, annual homicides by any means total
    2008: 20,239

    In the United States, the annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population is
    2008: 5.86

    In Ethiopia, the annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population is 2008: 25.5

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:56:30 PM PDT

  •  It's still incredible to me that prosecutors... (11+ / 0-)

    aren't in any way legally liable for the bullshit charges they bring against defendants to force a plea deal. How on Earth is it not some form of perjury or misconduct to lie to a Court about the trumped up nature of a crime, just to avoid trial?

    "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

    by 2020adam on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:00:29 PM PDT

  •  The IRS scandal started w/ the head of the IRS (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LinSea, Jeff Y, Shockwave

    saying I've done something wrong. As more information came available it became clear that it was the IRS' job to determine to what extent these activist organizations were pursuing political goals. The IRS seems to have investigated both liberal and conservative groups equally. If this is true why did the IRS boss originally say she did something wrong?

    "...on the (catch a) human network. Cisco."

    by hoplite9 on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:03:21 PM PDT

    •  An actual quote might help the conversation. (6+ / 0-)

      Not sure how to respond to your paraphrase of what the official said, except to say that people apologize for shit they didn't do all the time, in the hope it'll just end the conversation.

      "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

      by 2020adam on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:12:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  May 10, 2013 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        2020adam, Shockwave
        IRS apologizes for targeting tea party groups:

        WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was "inappropriate" targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.

        IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their exemption applications, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for lists of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.

        Lerner acknowledged it was wrong for the agency to target groups based on political affiliation.

        "That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review," Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.

        "The IRS would like to apologize for that," she added.

        http://bigstory.ap.org/...

        “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

        by Jeff Y on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:39:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Huh. I'd love to know how the IRS came to decide.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shockwave, Jeff Y

          such an apology would be appropriate. I have a hard time imagining a single division's director would feel comfortable saying the whole agency apologizes without coordination.

          Not to mention, given exactly what you state below, the IRS was indeed faithfully performing its job by trying to weed out political operations claiming to be tax exempt. It's quite a testament to the misinterpretation of IRS code that they only found a single violator.

          "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

          by 2020adam on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:50:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  That's a good question (8+ / 0-)

      I've wondered about that myself.

      I also think that more should be made of the fact that this entire farce was created by Darrell Issa.

      Issa originally asked for IRS info pertaining only to Tea Party groups being targeted for extra scrutiny, knowing full well that groups from both sides of the aisle get extra scrutiny when they apply for tax free exemptions (in fact the only group that was denied by the IRS was a liberal one).

      Issa purposely made it appear as though Tea Party groups, and only Tea Party groups, were being sought out for extra scrutiny by the IRS.

      It's too bad Issa can't be impeached, because that's what he deserves.

      “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

      by Jeff Y on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:19:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can't believe this (6+ / 0-)
    Ezra Klein Hired Contrarian Gay Without Having Read His Work:

    Brandon Ambrosino is a young gay internet person who stirs up controversy everywhere he points his spoon. He tends to take a contrarian position on things that many LGBT individuals and their allies hold self-evident. You aren't a homophobe if you are against gay marriage (we need a new word, he says). People who called out Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson for saying the same vile things about gays that people have been saying since gay become a thing are the real bigots. Sit down, Ellen Page, you aren't so brave for coming out. Being gay is a choice. Jerry Falwell, founder of Ambrosino's Liberty U alma mater, was actually a good guy.

    Klein essentially confirmed that Ambrosino's hire was about his profile and clickbait potential—rather than, you know, actual skill—in an interview with the American Prospect's Gabriel Arana. Arana reports that Klein hadn't read Ambrosino's "pieces that had kicked up so much dust before bringing Ambrosino on" (i.e. all of them), but now that he has, he's totally in the clear, no worries, gay-straight alliances 4 life.

    http://gawker.com/...

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:05:36 PM PDT

  •  We still don't know where the Malaysian (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbird

    airliner is, but this graphic explains the data signals and why the search area is quite large. Very illuminating:

    I don't love writing, but I love having written ~ Dorothy Parker // Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

    by jan4insight on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 10:04:52 PM PDT

    •  I'm going to start re-watching LOST tomorrow (0+ / 0-)

      and see if I can find any clues. I'm guessing I'll find more good hints than if I spent the next week continuing to listen to the Malaysian government, which can't seem to bring itself to tell the truth about the time of day.

      "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

      by 2020adam on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 10:14:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Divorced Poor Men, Divorced Poor Women (0+ / 0-)
    • Percentage of divorced low-income men who say they wish they had stayed married: 53
    • Of divorced low-income women who do: 19
    The divorced poor man may not have had sex for a couple years before the divorce and it might be a couple more years before he can establish himself enough to have a social life.  The divorced poor woman hits the ground running.  

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 10:14:00 PM PDT

  •  SCOTUS factoid (0+ / 0-)

    Only a very few written paragraphs, but the charts are interesting.  [Remind me again why "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid" is the reason to elect Dems...?  Because the alternative to the current corporate justices is worse?  Worse than what...?]

    SCOTUS Ruled in Favor of the Nation's Top Corporate Interest Group in 7 of 8 Cases This Term, By Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress, 13 March 2014
    [More at link.]
    So far this term, the Supreme Court handed down eight cases where the United States Chamber of Commerce filed a brief — and a majority of the justices sided with the Chamber in all but one of these decisions. The one outlier decision was a case involving anti-retaliation protections for whistleblowers where the justices votes broke down along unusual lines, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg writing the majority opinion and Justice Sonia Sotomayor in dissent.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 01:29:39 AM PDT

  •  Why did Hillary want more US troops in Africa... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2013

    ... as she recommended when she was being questioned about Benghazi?

    American Proxy Wars in Africa, By Nick Turse, TomDispatchm 13 March 2014

    I turned off my TV several months ago..., but in online news I don't see any stories about people welcoming US soldiers home from Africa (nor have I ever seen any US military or other personnel being welcomed home from Gitmo).  I do see US military soldiers being welcomed home from Afghanistan - as well as puppies they adopt from Afghanistan.

    So..., WHO are these "American troops" in Africa?

    American mercenaries?

    This is costing US taxpayers a bunch of money....

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 01:39:02 AM PDT

  •  Sunshine Week is March 16 to 22 (0+ / 0-)

    Here's a look at secret meetings and Maryland's health exchange.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 03:41:14 AM PDT

  •  No pi fight ????? (0+ / 0-)

    Boo-hoo....

    "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Paul Ryan

    by waterstreet2013 on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 04:48:09 AM PDT

  •  guardian-uk resumes its Live Update (0+ / 0-)

    re MH370 search
    link here.

    yes, the malay officials are yielding to possible hijack.

    TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes? -- Addington's Perpwalk.

    by greenbird on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 04:48:20 AM PDT

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