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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
Home country: USA
Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 02:53 PM
Number of posts: 9,318

About Me

Partner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

Journal Archives

Republicans' Playbook on Women Gets Even Scarier

Last week, Ted Cruz promoted the endorsement of Troy Newman, an anti-choice leader who has gone so far as to say that a perfectly biblical society would execute its abortion providers.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Ted Cruz is so thrilled that someone who wants abortion providers to be killed is supporting him that he actually sent out a press release to celebrate the endorsement. Is that what this Republican primary has come to? Presidential candidates applauding -- not denouncing -- these radically extreme positions?

Regardless of one's view on abortion rights, I would hope we can all agree that abortion providers do not deserve to be put to death for their entirely legal work. For a presidential candidate to not immediately distance himself from an endorsement from someone like Newman -- and instead to actively promote it -- is horrifying.

Sadly, though, it's indicative of just how extreme this year's Republican presidential primary has become. All of the GOP candidates have been fighting over who can be the most anti-choice, who can most restrict a woman's ability to make her own decisions.


Wherein I've long called BS on the NRA's mental health meme.

A sweeping mental health overhaul cast as a congressional response to gun violence is running afoul of ... gun control.

Which is precisely what happened the most recent time lawmakers tried to pass mental health legislation, after the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

The spate of mass killings over the past year reignited mental health reform efforts in both chambers of Congress. A bipartisan bill is gaining momentum in the Senate, with the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions likely to take it up early next year. The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health recently approved a similar bill, and Speaker Paul Ryan this month said on “60 Minutes” that he wants Congress to move ahead on mental health.

But the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, has been working behind the scenes to drum up support for his own mental health legislation, which includes language endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

Cornyn says his bill would boost the federal background check system to prevent guns from getting into the hands of those with serious mental illness. His critics say the legislation actually loosens restrictions on gun purchases, under the umbrella of mental health reform.


Know Your Right Wing Publications: The New York Post

Before you post articles to smear the opposing candidate, I thought I would give a brief primer on a newly popular source here on DU: The New York Post.

The Murdoch-owned New York Post just published a story by Peter Schweizer, author of “Clinton Cash,” the the widely debunked book from Murdoch’s HarperCollins publishing subsidiary. The Post article then became the topic of a segment on Murdoch’s Fox News program “Fox & Friends.” The article was also re-posted on the Fox News community website, Fox Nation. This is obviously an effort to flood the zone with as many Murdoch-run outlets as possible. The article features a headline that will likely score the Delusional Headline of the Week Award: “Clinton Cash Author Demolishes Hillary’s Self-Defense.” That headline is completely accurate – as long as your definition of “demolish” is “to utterly fail to rationally impair.”

Schweizer attempts to rebut some recent comments made by Clinton in response to a reporter’s inquiry. She was asked about her role in approving the sale of a uranium mining company to a Russian enterprise. She answered clearly that she had no role in the decision as it does not fall into the purview of the Secretary of State. Schweizer seems to have been incapable of understanding that response and set about to “demolish” it in three steps. Here is what Post readers and Fox viewers are supposed to think is a demolition of Clinton’s defense in Schweizer’s own words:

“First, nine investors who profited from the uranium deal collectively donated $145 million to Hillary’s family foundation … But Hillary expects Americans to believe she had no knowledge .”

The issue of donations to the Clinton Foundation is old news that has been extensively analyzed and dismissed for lack of any trace of wrongdoing. There are thousands of donors to the Foundation which, unlike similar groups, fully discloses who their donors are. And with all of that information available, there has not been a single proven allegation of the Clintons trading favors for contributions. Furthermore, Clinton has never said that she had no knowledge of these affairs, just that the decisions were made at a lower level within the State Department. Therefore, there could not have been any influence peddling.


Economic developers brought religious right to Colorado Springs in the 1980's

COLORADO SPRINGS— Stung by a real estate market that left shopping plazas and office buildings empty in the mid-80's, this city began to use its reputation for conservatism to tap a growing field of employment: evangelical Christian organizations.

In the view of economic developers, these were enterprises that could invigorate commerce without fouling the natural splendor here at the foot of Pikes Peak. And the religious groups believed they could fit comfortably in a community that prizes the conservative ethic.

But as Colorado Springs has become a center for the religious right, with more than 40 evangelical groups now based here, many residents are raising fears that the city is becoming a bastion of religious extremism and intolerance. Effect of Anti-Gay Statute

"The old conservatism of Colorado Springs was based on economics, rugged Western individualism, a leave-me-alone attitude," said Jean Matthews, 69, who has long been active in the Republican Party here. "But this is all moral issues. And if you don't agree with them, you're evil."


Hillary Clinton will hit Omaha, stump with Warren Buffett in December

Hillary Clinton is not taking Nebraska for granted.

The Democratic presidential front-runner will be stumping in Omaha on Dec. 16, with the help of famed Omaha investor Warren Buffett.

A Clinton campaign staffer said the visit is an effort to organize grassroots support before Nebraska’s Democratic caucuses.
She is also expected to talk about tax reform with Buffett, who has called for an income tax increase on the nation’s wealthier citizens.

Iowa holds the nation’s first presidential test Feb. 1, but Nebraska Democrats follow a little less than a month later on March 5.


Iron Fist Series Confirmed for Netflix

With Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War we really are in the golden age of Marvel movies. Added to that, we have Agents of SHIELD, Daredevil and Jessica Jones on the smaller screen, all of which are doing pretty well in terms of ratings. So, what else do we need?

Well, for a while now there have been discussions about an Iron Fist Netflix series, but there has been no official confirmation. This has sparked speculation about whether the series is dead before it's up and running, and whether Iron Fist will be replaced by a feature-length movie or a Punisher television series.

Interestingly, there has also been discussion about an upcoming Defenders crossover, set to include characters such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. We already have Daredevil and Jessica Jones, whereas Luke Cage is due to air in 2016, but we now officially know that Iron Fist is on his way!

In an interview with Comicbookresources, head of Marvel Television Jeph Loeb discussed the claims that Iron Fist will be replaced by a Punisher series, dismissing them outright:

"There was a lot of speculation about what was going on with "Iron Fist," because hadn't heard anything about it, but there's never been any change at all.

We knew exactly what we were doing at Marvel and at Netflix. Let's get "Jess" out there, everybody knows that "Luke Cage" is up and going. What I can say right now is, we're very excited about "Iron Fist," and the short answer is, yes there'll be news."


Public Library To Open In Polygamous Community After Sect Leaders Prevented It

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A public library is set to open next year in a polygamous town on the Utah-Arizona border that hasn't had one for decades because of controlling sect leaders who try to limit followers' exposure to the outside world.

The library is expected to open in March 2016, Washington County Library System director Joel Tucker said. The plan is to put the library in an old schoolhouse the center of town, near the public school and town hall in Hildale, Utah.

The community is dominated by a polygamous sect led by jailed leader Warren Jeffs. He and other sect leaders try to limit members' exposure to the outside world by prohibiting Internet and books.

The community used to have a library on the Arizona side of the town in Colorado City, but it was shuttered after Jeffs took over the group in the late 1990s, former member Isaac Wyler said.

"I think it's really going to be good for the community. Warren has been trying to keep knowledge out of this town for so long," he said. "In the end, look what's winning out."

The nearest library now is about 40 minutes away, and having easier access to information could help people in the remote community get information that's not influenced by sect leaders, Tucker said.


Independent: Netflix's Jessica Jones portrays the domestic violence I knew.

What I didn’t expect was that a show that centres round a comic book character with super-strength would also feature the most nuanced, realistic portrayal of partner violence that I’ve ever seen on television. In fact, the entire first season deals with the repercussions of Jones’ relationship with a violent man. I never thought I’d relate so strongly to someone who can lift a car with one hand.

The violent man in question is Kilgrave, played to sinister perfection by David Tennant. Because this is a superhero show, he has the ability to control minds and force people to bend to his will, which is how he kept the physically stronger Jessica in line during their time together. It is a constant struggle for the women he controls to assert their independence from him and, when they do, to convince the world of his crimes.

The metaphor here is obvious. Though abusive men in reality don’t possess psychic abilities, their control over their partners is real and palpable and hard to explain. The inability to escape, even though - as the characters in the show describe - you know in some part of you that this situation is damaging is familiar to countless women, myself included.

Kilgrave’s abuse of women ranges from the seemingly minor - forcing them to smile for him - to the extreme. The show doesn’t shy away from discussing rape, which is rare on any series, let alone one of this genre. Kilgrave’s desire to control Jessica by forcing her to use her immense power to benefit him is analogous to the gradual restriction of a woman’s freedom and a redirection of her energies until she is subservient to her partner. It is horrifying to watch and so, so real.

If the show merely dealt with the realities of being in an abusive relationship, it would still be worthwhile and powerful. However, it goes further, as it tracks Jessica’s subsequent PTSD and attempts to recover. She drinks, she has nightmares but, most importantly, she goes on.


Salon: Thanksgiving Do's and Don'ts for Hillary Bots and Bernie Bros

For Sanders supporters

Do acknowledge that while Clinton is more centrist than Sanders, she is still quite clearly a liberal and falls to the left of both her husband and Barack Obama.

Don’t accuse Clinton supporters of only supporting her because she has a vagina. That just suggests that’s the only reason you’re voting against her.

Do accept that Clinton’s plan for reining in the big banks is thoughtful and more detailed than Sanders’s plan, even if you think it does not go far enough.

Don’t pretend that Clinton would have invaded Iraq just as surely as George W. Bush did, just because she voted for the war authorization. No one buys that, not for a minute.

Do acknowledge that whoever wins will be facing a Republican-dominated legislature that will make sweeping change nearly impossible for any Democrat sitting in the White House.

Don’t assume that people are unaware of what the term “democratic socialism” means and that they need lengthy lectures to rectify this assumed ignorance.

Do acknowledge that Wall Street donors are actually throwing their weight behind Republicans far more than Clinton this election season, even though they supported Obama over John McCain in 2008.

Don’t swear that if Clinton wins the nomination over Sanders, you refuse to vote for her in the general election. That just confirms that you’re less interested in economic justice than fluffing your own ego or that you panic at the thought of women in power.

For Clinton supporters

Do praise Sanders for holding Clinton’s feet to the fire and making sure she keeps her focus on pleasing liberals rather than trying to win over imaginary swing voters.

Don’t try to argue that Sanders is unelectable. Factors like voter turnout and the state of the economy will likely have more impact on the election than words like “socialism.”

Do agree with Sanders that income inequality and the disappearing middle class are the biggest problems facing our country, and that far more needs to be done to address them.

Don’t dismiss Sanders as a lightweight. His tendency toward sweeping rhetoric is a sign that he’s a smart politician, not that he’s careless or wouldn’t know how to hire the right advisors and policy analysts.

Do acknowledge that Sanders is a feminist candidate who supports every line item on the feminist agenda and that his ideas about labor and economic justice are critical to helping secure women’s equality.

Don’t accuse Sanders supporters of being sexist. Most aren’t, and those who are tend to prove it quickly enough without any prompting from you.

Do admit that Clinton is cozy with Wall Street and that her horrid 9/11 comments during the debate reached Republican levels of pandering.

Don’t gloat about the fact that Clinton is almost surely going to win this. After all, both candidates are great and no one likes a sore winner.



Bernie Sanders Claims Vermont’s Hunters Need Their Guns on Amtrak. The Hunters Disagree

Lisa McCrillis of Gun Purveyors in Alburg thought the idea that anyone would take a train to go hunting was hilarious—and dangerous. “That’s silly,” she said. “I’ve never heard of anybody doing that.”

What if the train stops, McCrillis wanted to know, and somebody saw a gun case in the baggage and just took it? Nobody would notice until it was too late. And what if your train passed through somewhere, like New York, with impossibly stringent gun laws and was searched? Well, then, you’d probably become a felon.

“If somebody came in and asked me, ‘Lisa, can I take my gun on the train?’ I would say, ‘No, you can’t.’ That’s really bizarre.”

None of this was to say, McCrillis added, that someone, somewhere in Vermont wasn't doing what Sanders said. But if they were, she’d certainly never heard of it.

Rick Gorham of Rick’s Gun Shop in Burke, Vermont, also had never heard of such a thing. “Uh, I don’t know anything about that,” he said. “I’ve never heard of anybody taking a gun on an Amtrak train. You can take ‘em on a plane,” he said, but “I haven’t heard of anybody taking their gun on an Amtrak train, no.”

Gray Stevens of the Vermont Sportsman’s Club hadn’t heard of it either. “Oh, I don’t know anything about that,” he said. “Everybody that hunts takes their vehicle, goes to hunting camps. I don’t know anything about people using trains to go hunting. Once they get there, what are they gonna do, take a cab to the woods?”

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