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BeckyDem's Journal
BeckyDem's Journal
July 14, 2023

Jim Jordan Misfires in Attacks on Lina Khan

House Judiciary Committee Republicans didn’t follow Jordan in his assaults on Khan’s ethics. Some Republicans even praised her.


As Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan entered the House Judiciary Committee hearing room on Thursday, every expectation was that she would face a grilling, along the lines of what FBI director Christopher Wray experienced the day before. And it did start out that way, with committee chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and his allies hammering on two familiar subjects: whether Khan ignored an ethics official’s advice in declining to recuse in a merger case involving Meta, and whether Khan overstepped boundaries in seeking information from Twitter about releases of personal user data to journalists.

But as the hearing went on, Republican committee members either moderated their rhetoric or even expressed support for her actions at the FTC. Some started asking about specific cases of monopolistic conduct, from pharmacy benefit managers to grocery chains. The vast majority of Republicans stayed away from Jordan’s line of inquiry. And even where they disagreed with Khan, it was relatively substantive. Remarkably, it became an actually interesting hearing—at times a bipartisan inquiry into various aspects of corporate power, a faint glimmer of actual congressional work on a committee characterized often by spin and shouting.

In the end, the hearing showed that Jordan, in attempting to link his broader critique of the weaponization of government to Khan’s work at the FTC, didn’t have buy-in from his colleagues. If this was supposed to be a springing of a trap, the trap didn’t spring. Jordan’s ambush turned disastrous for him.


( Lina is hitting it out of the ballpark. )
July 13, 2023

Rep Katie Porter: Today, I invited witnesses to play JeoparDoD, to win oversight

Each year, lawmakers and defense lobbyists play the same game, pouring hundreds of billions into the Pentagon without scrutinizing every dollar—and it's taxpayers who lose.

Today, I invited witnesses to play JeoparDoD, to win oversight for the American people.



( Is she awesome or what? )

July 13, 2023

Mississippi discriminates against Black residents with appointed judges, Justice Department says

Published 6:03 PM EDT, July 12, 2023

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A new Mississippi law discriminates against residents of the majority-Black capital city of Jackson by requiring the appointment of some judges in a state where most judges are elected, the U.S. Justice Department said in court papers filed Wednesday.

The department is seeking to join a federal lawsuit the NAACP filed against the state shortly after Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed the law in April.

Kristen Clarke, the department’s assistant attorney general for civil rights, said in a statement that Mississippi lawmakers created “a crude scheme that singles out and discriminates against Black residents” in Jackson and Hinds County, where the city is located. Clarke said the law creates a “two-tiered system of justice” with judges and prosecutors chosen by state officials.

“This thinly-veiled state takeover is intended to strip power, voice and resources away from Hinds County’s predominantly-Black electorate, singling out the majority-Black Hinds County for adverse treatment imposed on no other voters in the State of Mississippi,” Clarke said.


( How shocked are you? )

July 13, 2023

Unionized Workers at Blue Bird Hit the Next Hurdle: a Contract

An assist from Biden administration electric bus subsidies helped pave the way to victory at a plant in right-to-work Georgia. But workers say tensions with management have grown.


JULY 13, 2023

Last week, the newly formed union at electric school bus maker Blue Bird’s plant in Fort Valley, Georgia, held its first bargaining session with management, two months after workers voted to unionize with the United Steelworkers. The two sides set ground rules for the upcoming negotiations, which could take several months and even years, given recent precedent with employers. Management agreed at least in principle to set up a process to redress worker complaints before reaching the first contract and also to let USW safety experts conduct a walk-through of the worksite.

The company recognized the union back in May, after an election that was hailed at the time as a victory for the Biden administration’s efforts to try to encourage union membership at companies receiving industrial-policy subsidies. Blue Bird was awarded almost a billion dollars by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2022 to expand its electric school bus fleet.

So far, Blue Bird has complied with the bargaining procedure. But inside the plant, workers say they’ve faced a more hostile environment from managers since the vote, including modifications to company policy.

Excerpt: “It’s about damn time they got a union at Blue Bird,” said Kim Jones, in her late fifties, who, like other lifelong Fort Valley residents, pronounces the name of the company with a drawl like “Blue Berry.”


( Never give up. )
July 12, 2023

Judge blocks county watchdog's investigation into deputy gangs in LA sheriff's department

Wednesday, July 12, 2023 1:47AM

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A judge this week blocked a county watchdog's investigation into deputy gangs in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department - at least for now.

The union for sheriff's deputies filed a lawsuit after the Office of Inspector General ordered 35 deputies suspected of being "Banditos" or "Executioners" to answer questions about deputy gangs and show their tattoos.

The judge in his ruling found that the county is required to bargain with the union before making significant changes to their employment, such as being forced to show their tattoos.

( The only union I have never supported. Talk about bullshit. )

July 12, 2023

Teacher Accused of Mailing Afro Wig, White Face Paint to Mixed-Race 2nd-Grader

Brooke Leigh Howard

Tue, 11 July 2023 at 4:24 pm GMT-4·2-min read

A New Jersey family has filed a racial harassment complaint against a school district after the parents said their son’s teacher sent him an unsolicited package that included an afro wig and white face paint in an “act of intimidation.”

According to the July 6 complaint, Denise and Kevin Anderson say the package was sent to their seven-year-old son—only referred to as “J.A.”—by Amazon on July 9, 2021, but there was no sender information. During the 2021-22 school year, administrators of Woodland School in Warren had access to students’ addresses for remote learning, the complaint says. Denise determined that the package was ordered by her son’s second-grade teacher, Christine Rzasa, after speaking with Amazon’s customer service, the suit says.

The complaint says J.A.’s “appearance easily identifies him as a member of the mixed-race community.” His mother is Afro-Latina, and his father is white.

Following the delivery, the Andersons contacted Woodland School Principal Jeff Heaney, the Warren Township School District, and the district board. But the family claimed in their lawsuit that nothing was done regarding the alleged violation of the state’s harassment, intimidation, and bullying laws. Instead, according to the complaint, J.A. was retaliated against in a “hostile education environment.”

“As a result, [J.A.] was so fearful, humiliated and intimidated that he suffered emotional and mental damages for which he had to receive therapy, change of schools and suffer other damages,” the complaint says. “Rzasa’s conduct can be described as nothing short of outrageous.”

( Nope, not Texas or Florida, but New Jersey. )

July 11, 2023

Texas A&M recruited a UT professor to revive its journalism program,backtracked after "DEI hysteria

The university celebrated its decision to hire Kathleen McElroy to revive its journalism program. She says she’s staying at UT after she felt judged because of her race and gender.


When Texas A&M University announced last month that it had hired a director to revive its journalism school, it included the kind of fanfare usually reserved for college coaches and athletes.

The university set up maroon, silver and white balloons around a table outside its Academic Building for an official signing ceremony. It was there that Kathleen O. McElroy, a respected journalist with a long career, officially accepted the position to run the new program and teach as a tenured professor, pending approval from the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.

McElroy, a 1981 Texas A&M graduate, was the director of the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Journalism between 2016 and 2022, where she is a tenured professor. Earlier, she spent 20 years in various editing roles at The New York Times until heading to UT-Austin to pursue her doctorate.

She has studied news media and race, with a focus on how to improve diversity and inclusion within newsrooms, and spent her career covering other areas like sports and obituaries. Her master's thesis focused on the obituaries of civil rights leaders. Now, she was excited to head back to her alma mater to build a brand new program there.

( Cesspool of hatred. )

July 10, 2023

What We Can Learn From Falling Crime

The pandemic caused a lot of crime. But police reform can play a part in reducing it as well.


Serious crime is dropping across most of the United States. Homicides are down by an estimated 12 percent in the first half of 2023; as Jeff Asher writes at The Atlantic, if the trend holds up it would put the country about where it was before the pandemic, and make for one of the largest percentage drops in American history. In New York City, shootings are down by one-quarter.

Violent crime is a complex phenomenon influenced by many factors. But none of the case studies of plummeting crime rates indicate that throwing ever more money at police departments was the key to the new trend. In fact, the evidence reinforces the need to reform corrupt departments, to address the ongoing crisis of trust in so many cities.

Four stories are illustrative. The first and likely most representative is in Philadelphia, where as Ellie Rushing reports, shootings are down by about 20 percent and homicides down about 18 percent relative to last year (though still quite a bit higher than before COVID-19). That is despite the fact that, like most American cities, little has changed with respect to Philly crime policy. The district attorney and police chief and mayor are all the same people as last year, and the police department is still plagued with problems. The homicide clearance rate is up, to be fair, but only to 61 percent.

More from Ryan Cooper

( What will Republicans run on, other than how to hate your fellow man? )

July 10, 2023

Biden's Unheralded War on Poverty

By creating a full-employment economy, Biden enabled millions of low-wage workers to raise their pay.


The Great American Quit Rate (full name: Great American Quit-Your-Stinkin’-Job-for-a-Better-One Rate) has finally subsided. While it lasted, though, it enabled the nation’s low-wage workers to make the first substantial economic gains they’ve made in 40 years. And that the GAQR existed at all was due almost entirely to President Biden’s war on poverty—a war that has gone largely unnoticed by both the public and the media.

How sizable were the gains that those low-wage workers made? According to a study by economists David Autor, Arindrajit Dube, and Annie McGrew, so many workers—predominantly young, with no more than high school educations, working overwhelmingly in low-wage service-sector jobs—quit those jobs in 2021 and 2022 for better-paying ones that this collective job switch actually reduced such indices of inequality as the gaps between college-educated and non-college workers, and that between the 90th income percentile and the 10th income percentile, by a full 25 percent. Both those gaps had been steadily widening for the past four decades. So sizable were these gains among low-wage workers that they were the only group of workers over the past two years who have seen wage increases that outpaced the rise in inflation. It was chiefly they who were doing the quitting and moving to better jobs over the past several years; better-paid workers largely stayed put.

Autor, Dube, and McGrew attribute this entirely unexpected boost to the fortunes of the working poor to the equally unexpected conditions of full employment that followed the economic collapse brought on by the COVID pandemic. It was only under those conditions that the job-quitters could feel assured that they’d find better-paying work.

At that point, the study ends, because the question of where that full employment came from is not, strictly speaking, an economic one. It’s a political question. And the answer to the whence-full-employment question is the policies that Biden and the Democratic Congress enacted soon after Biden took office. Specifically, it’s the much maligned $1.9 trillion recovery bill that Congress passed in the late winter of 2021.

( Yep. )

July 10, 2023

An Iowa meteorologist started talking about climate change on newscasts. Then came the harassment


Sat, 8 July 2023 at 1:05 am GMT-4·5-min read

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The harassment started to intensify as TV meteorologist Chris Gloninger did more reporting on climate change during local newscasts — outraged emails and even a threat to show up at his house.

Gloninger said he had been recruited, in part, to “shake things up” at the Iowa station where he worked, but backlash was building. The man who sent him a series of threatening emails was charged with third-degree harassment. The Des Moines station asked him to dial back his coverage, facing what he called an understandable pressure to maintain ratings.

“I started just connecting the dots between extreme weather and climate change, and then the volume of pushback started to increase quite dramatically,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

So, on June 21, he announced that he was leaving KCCI-TV — and his 18-year career in broadcast journalism altogether.

Gloninger's experience is all too common among meteorologists across the country who are encountering reactions from viewers as they tie climate change to extreme temperatures, blizzards, tornadoes and floods in their local weather reports. For on-air meteorologists, the anti-science trend that has emerged in recent years compounds a deepening skepticism of the news media.


( Weird I know, but I wish we could give the cons their own island mass, since they're not worried about climate change. Please, just get out and leave us to address the needs of the present and future. )

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