At The Left Hook of California, Jane Martin writes—Apple Employees are Pretty Smart, But Do They Know About This?
At KnoxViews of Tennessee, R. Neal writes—Sens. Bell and Kelsey ask AG to sue Obama:Apple, Google and other tech giants in the Silicon Valley are booming. Those companies are filled with brilliant people, many getting rich from the fruits of their labor. And they deserve it. Engineers and designers and other professionals who bring us the devices that make so many lives easier and more productive, work hard at what they do.
But there is another segment of that high tech worker population that’s missing out. The security officers who make sure the employees at the other end of the spectrum are safe and secure and that their work product is protected, are getting a raw deal. Those workers, along with supporters of rebuilding the middle class, will demonstrate outside Apple World Headquarters today. They want to educate the employees blissfully making their way to work on luxury buses, enjoying workout rooms and restaurants on the company campus, and $3000 apartment rentals in San Francisco. Do those workers know the security guards they pass everyday on the Apple and Google and other high tech campues are struggling to feed their families, pay low income level rents, and have no health insurance?
Apple and Google are two companies in the Valley who use an irresponsible security contractor, Security Industry Specialists (SIS). The irresponsible part of that description speaks to SIS, Inc.’s policies that deliberately cheat working families out of a better way of life; intimidating officers who want to organize a union, denying employees enough working hours to qualify for healthcare benefits., and the list goes on.
Below the orange gerrymander are additional excerpts from progressive state blogs.The latest round of wingnuttery comes by way of Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) and Campfield's west end doppelganger Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), who are asking the state's Attorney General to sue President Obama to stop him from giving away money to Tennessee residents for health insurance premium subsidies because FREEDOM!
Tom Humphrey has the particulars.
I really hope Tennessee Republicans keep this up until the November elections. Denying health care to hundreds of thousands of otherwise Medicaid eligible citizens and doubling down by taking money out of the pockets of hard working taxpayers trying to provide health insurance for their families will not be a winning strategy. If anyone's paying attention, that is.
At Montana Cowgirl, Cowgirl writes—Bit of a Stretch:You probably already saw this morning's Politico story, "Ex-GOP sleuth eyes House seat, Benghazi," that I highlighted in this morning's news clips and which has been getting some buzz today on the "intertubes." If not, though, there are definitely some choice quotes about Comstock worth repeating. First and foremost was Paul Begala - "chief strategist for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign," author of five books, former co-host of Crossfire, Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy, etc. - who unleashed on Comstock for her role in the persecution/prosecution of the Clintons in the late 1990s. The quote that's got the far-right wingnuts frothing at the mouth is the following."If she wins, she will no doubt practice the same politics of personal destruction she and her ilk practiced in the Clinton days," said Paul Begala, a former political adviser to Bill Clinton who has assumed the role of Comstock attack dog. The Republican, he said, has a "really almost sick, sort of stalker-like obsession with President Clinton."Of course, there's no doubt whatsoever to anyone who has followed Comstock's infamous career or knows the first thing about her that she "will no doubt practice the same politics of personal destruction she and her ilk practiced in the Clinton days." Is that even a serious question? The fact is, it's just in her nature (reminds me of the dark joke about the Middle East, in which the scorpion stings the camel to death as it hitches a ride on the camels' back across the Jordan River, condemning both of them to death. When the camel asks why the scorpion did it, the scorpion responds - depending on the version of the joke I've heard - either "it's my nature" or "what did you expect, it's the Middle East!").
Anyway, to me what's most telling is the vehement, clearly panicky reaction to Begala's quote by the far right (the guy who wrote the article I just linked to writes for, among others, Faux "News" and the utterly unhinged, far-right-wing Daily Caller - 'nuff said). Believe it or not, these folks who claim to absolutely DESPISE "political correctness" suddenly have gone all "politically correct" on us, alleging that Paul Begala's quote about Comstock's "almost sick...stalker-like obsession with President Clinton" is...wait for it...misogynistic (e.g., "Begala would never say that about a man, but apparently thinks he can get away with using such loaded terms because Comstock's a woman"). That's rich on so many levels, it's hard to know where to start, coming from the party which claims to despise "political correctness," the party which has been waging a relentless war on women's reproductive freedom and health care, and also the party which has viciously attacked Michele Obama, Hillary Clinton, in the most personal and misogynistic of ways.
At Blue Oregon, Kari Chisholm writes—Hedge fund run by Robert Mercer, who funded anti-DeFazio SuperPAC, may have dodged $6 billion in taxes:The Montana political world was upended yesterday with the revelation that that John Walsh, our U.S. Senator and candidate, wrote a college paper in which he used language verbatim that he failed to properly attribute. He cited the sources in footnotes, but he was using the exact language belonging to another author and did not so indicate with quotation marks.
Today, Walsh is saying that he realizes he made a mistake but has shrugged it off by saying that he is not an academic, and that we should look at his entire military record rather than a term paper. That’s a fair point. He’s not the first person to make such a mistake. Authors of all stripes have done it. Walsh also says that he was suffering from PTSD at the time, having just returned from Iraq, but made it very clear that he won’t blame his mistake on PTSD.
There is no question that this story will affect Walsh’s candidacy, but it should not disqualify him at all. He’s a military leader, not Samuel Johnson. It’s not good, but it’s not anything near the outrage that the GOP is making it out to be. If Walsh was a decorated General, Awarded Bronze Star For “Exceptionally Meritorious Service,” the Commander of the National Guard, the Lt. Governor and now U.S. Senator, how can someone say that he is unqualified, in retrospect, to have been all of these things and to have won all of those medals and commendations because of a college term paper? It’s a bit of a stretch.
Nevertheless, let the circus now begin.
At The Daily Kingfish of Louisiana, Lamar Parmentel writes—The Persecution of Johnny White:It's a stunning story. According to an investigative report authored by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ), a handful of Wall Street banks and hedge fund managers created an "alternative universe" of financial transactions based on "a series of fictions" designed to help them avoid massive taxes.
According to the report, one firm—Renaisssance Technologies—may have dodged over $6 billion in taxes alone. (No, that's not a typo.)
You might remember Renaissance Technologies as the Wall Street hedge fund whose CEO is Robert Mercer -- the model-train enthusiast who personally funded the SuperPAC designed to take down Congressman Peter DeFazio in 2010 and 2012.
Why does Mercer want so ardently to defeat DeFazio, of all people? Here's a detail from the Levin/McCain report that tells the story, as reported by the NY Times:
Over the same one-year period, Renaissance Technologies would execute on average 26 million to 39 million trades in stocks and bonds, many of those positions being held for just a few seconds, according to the subcommittee’s findings.
Yup, at least 26 million trades a year -- that's 500,000 a week. And that makes Peter DeFazio a serious threat to this particular hedge fund manager's way of life. After all, DeFazio's the fellow who has proposed taxing every single individual trade -- not 10%, not 1%, not even 0.1% -- but just 0.03%. Three cents on every $100 trade.
At Bleeding Heartland of Iowa, desmoinesdem writes—Five good reads on Ronald Reagan and race-based appeals:This has been a rough few months for ed reform beauty queen John White. Super White has often been the belle of the ball around these parts, winning praise over the years from widely diverse constituencies, from liberal education reformers in New Orleans, to conservative business elite the state over. He leads a cult of young, idealistic followers at the DOE, many of which are religiously devoted to data-driven education revolution. White’s ascension to Superintendent, with massive infusions of money to swing BESE races in his favor in 2011 (including hundreds of thousands of Bloomberg money to elect pro-White BESE members, as chronological at this anti-Common Core blog) has been swift. His fall might be swifter.
White’s been able to deal with criticism before, including getting an LPB reporter fired for negative reporting on education reform. Unfortunately, White has run into a rough patch from which no amount of his own bs jargon or political hatchet work can extricate him.
Since last year, Bobby Jindal has been ratcheting up his rhetoric against Communist Core, the hated red takeover of public education that threatens to teach our kids that socialism union hordes should be able to forcefully gay marry anyone they want while burning the American flag and singing the French national anthem. [...]
White’s fired back a number of times, most recently with a useless meeting last week. But Jindal hasn’t been pulling punches. He’s ripped White’s contracting authority and generally abused him in public, going so far as accusing White of corruption. An investigation at DOE over payroll fraud isn’t helping White’s case.
Now, White is crying uncle.
Johnny Golden Boy has only been the subject of praise and reverence throughout his career. Now, running into the buzzsaw of a Louisiana politician with an ax to grind, White can’t take it anymore.
At Uppity Wisconsin, Jud Lounsbury writes—Walker, The Facilitator of Unfair Trade Deals, is Responsible for WI's Huge Outsourcing Problem:Republicans have been long been masters at demanding that prominent Democrats apologize for some obscure person's offensive comment. Today the Black Hawk County Republicans used this tried and true technique to score a story by the Des Moines Register's chief politics reporter. In a now-deleted post on the Black Hawk County Democrats' Facebook page, a volunteer shared a graphic comparing Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Among other things, the graphic described Reagan as a "white supremacist."
Jennifer Jacobs' story leads with a Republican press release and includes an apology from the chair of the Black Hawk County Democrats for this "unfortunate" and "unacceptable" post. However, nowhere does Jacobs hint at why anyone would think to apply this label to Reagan in the first place. Maybe she's playing dumb, or maybe she's too young to remember.
Sad to say, the U.S. has had more than a handful of white supremacist presidents. I don't think Reagan was one of them. But I recommend the following reads on his use of racially charged language to win support for his political agenda.
Ian Haney-Lopez provides a good overview of how Reagan "used coded racial appeals to galvanize white voters." [...]
Reagan's riff about "welfare queens" is perhaps the most famous example of how he used racial code words. Josh Levin published a fascinating profile of the con artist who inspired that part of Reagan's stump speech.
At 43rd Street Blues, MeAndG writes—ID Election 2014: Idaho Statesman Affirms Risch’s “Dilettante” Rep:As any of my regular readers can attest, I've routinely aken both Governor Scott Walker and gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke to task on the issue of outsourcing jobs. Since China is the major player in Wisconsin's outsourcing woes, I've focused on our dysfunctional relationship with it.
Walker has repeatedly facilitated Wisconsin's exploding trade deficit with China, not only by actively lobbying for unfair trade deals, but even going on Chinese state television, wearing a Chinese flag and describing Wisconsin's trade with with China as "good and fair." And I've criticized Burke's Trek for outsourcing most of their manufacturing jobs to China.
There's a key difference, however, between Burke and Walker. Walker facilitates the policy (unfair trade deals) that lead companies (like Trek) to outsourcing jobs to China, while Burke actually opposes such policies and has pledged to do everything she can as Governor to oppose policies that encourage outsourcing. Indeed, if the trade deals that Walker facilitates hadn't been in place, Trek would have never had the opportunity to outsource jobs.
At Taking a Left Turn in South Dakota, M Larson writes—Politicians and Plagiarism:Well … who wouldn’t like a high-paying job that gave you lots of clout and respect and perks without making you work for them?
That’s the job U.S. Sen. Risch has back in Washington, D.C..
Hard to believe? Well, Risch is the one who said it:
“You know, I really enjoy this job. I really like this job,” Risch said last week, saying it’s a breeze compared to the seven months he served as governor in 2006. “Governor will wear you down. You can’t do that job permanently. This you can do ad infinitum.”
Home for a Senate recess that included a visit with the Statesman editorial board, Risch was remarkably passive about the failure of Congress to deal with the country’s problems, starting with a $16 trillion debt.
“I can’t explain to you how dysfunctional it is back there,” Risch said, predicting it will take a catastrophe for the national legislature to tackle its responsibilities.”
U.S. Senate candidate Nels Mitchell used the column for an ad that ran this week in the Idaho Statesman. The columnist, Dan Popkey, who wrote the piece, confirmed that it’s accurate:
Democratic Nels Mitchell is using a column I wrote in May 2013 to make the case that Republican Sen. Jim Risch “sees the U.S. Senate as a place to relax, a perch from which to watch dysfunction and gridlock.”
At Appalachian Voices of West Virginia, Amy Adams writes—What Do Duke Energy And A Messy Teenager Have In Common?:It is just a few weeks until school starts, and a news story involving Democratic Senator John Walsh pops up reporting that he plagiarized his Master Thesis from U.S. Army War College. [...]
I deal with plagiarism in my class despite severe warnings. Students always act surprised when I tell them that they will be redoing their paper and receiving a significant grade deduction. They claim that they didn't do it, despite the fact that they are using words they have never heard or I show them copies of the websites that they copied. Despite that I catch students, I know that some are able to sneak it past me.
The reason usually for plagiarism is the student put of doing the assignment until the last minute and doesn't want to do the real work. I think that Senator John Walsh should do a PSA on why plagiarism is wrong, redo the thesis paper (by himself without any staffer being able to assist him), take a 20% grade deduction and be stripped of any honors he may have received.
At Scrutiny Hooligans of North Carolina, Tom Sullivan writes—People At Risk, Water A Weapon:Nearly six months have passed since news of the Dan River coal ash spill first reached the public in North Carolina. Since that time, Duke Energy has been working slowly to vacuum up the large, readily identifiable deposits of coal ash from the approximately 39,000 tons that spilled. Most of the cleanup has been focused close to the location of the broken pipe and near Danville, Va., where sediment was trapped behind the low Schoolfield Dam.
Nearly six months of work, and a staggering six percent has been recovered – staggering for how little that is. Duke and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which was overseeing the work, seem satisfied with this recovery rate and have declared the cleanup complete, leaving behind more than 35,000 tons or slightly more than 90 percent of spilled coal ash in the Dan River.
Let’s look at it from another perspective. Say you ask your teenager to clean up his messy bedroom. He picks up a few articles of dirty clothing from the floor and puts them in the laundry, and calls it quits. “That’s it?” you ask.
The sad truth is the premature ending of the cleanup means the Dan River will forever be sullied by the toxic, dark grey ash that lurks below the surface. Coal ash does not biodegrade. It will remain in the river unless removed.
Michigan has Rick Snyder. North Carolina has Pat McCrory. Here in Detroit for Netroots Nation, it is clear that Michigan is facing some of the same issues with GOP governance as North Carolina. The Koch brothers’ influence is palpable to these people. And where North Carolina has Art Pope, Michigan has the DeVos family.
With twenty percent of the world’s fresh water in the Great Lakes and flowing past our hotel, Detroit faces water privatization. It was not lost on those in Asheville that when Michigan’s governor appointed an emergency manager for Detroit — superseding local democracy and local governance — about the first public asset that went on the auction block was its water and sewer.
Over and over again this weekend, stories being told at Netroots echo what we are experiencing in North Carolina. The same destructive agenda is being acted out across the country. Other states are worse off, having enacted budgets like Gov. Sam Brownback’s in Kansas ahead of Pat McCrory’s in North Carolina. But the results will be the same in the Old North State. We are only now seeing the leading edge.
As we sit here, a panel of local activists is discussing the privatization of Detroit’s water system and Michigan’s public schools. In actions described by activist Maureen Taylor as “beyond demonic,” thousands of poor residents are having their water cut off in Detroit. Some going without running water for over a year. Mothers with children. The United Nations
It is not encouraging to see how widespread the assault is on public institutions, but it is good to know we are not alone in the fight.