Tag Archives: Current Events

Set-Up Like A Bowling Pin

It’s obvious Robert McCulloch’s delayed announcement of the grand jury decision was a strategic move designed to shift the national narrative away from the decision itself and toward the reaction to the decision.

Now the national narrative is, “violent black people are rioting in the streets.” When our TV screens are filled with pictures of fires and mobs overturning cars, the media is justifying police brutality. It’s reinforcing the “angry/dangerous/scary black people” stereotype that is to blame for shootings of black teens like Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride in the first place. Protestors of all races hoping to start a national conversation about police misconduct, militarization of local police forces, the value of African American life, etc. were set up. And they walked right into it.

It’s a damn shame, too. Wouldn’t it have been lovely if instead of the fires and overturned cars and blocked interstates in places like Nashville we had positive, peaceful images of resistance? But that requires discipline, and that comes from leadership. Sadly, it’s something we don’t have — even President Obama’s message seemed lackluster and resigned.

I keep hearing the looters and violent protestors were not from Ferguson, and that may be true. But this wouldn’t be the first time outside agitators came in to discredit a legitimate protest movement. Those who want real change need to take a cue from protest leaders of past generations. None of this is new. We’ve seen it all before: how a media storyline is crafted and manipulated, how outside forces can disrupt, how a powerful television image is used to further an agenda.

Sad. Y’all were set up like bowling pins.

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Filed under racism

Welcoming Our Republican Overlords

Take heart, Democrats. Last night was actually good news. Great news, in fact.

For the next two years the Republican Party will once again remind America that they are completely incapable of governing. Any notion the punditry may hold that Republicans will somehow strike a moderate tone (yes, I’ve actually heard that!) will instantly be dashed by the foamy-mouthed Tea Party rabble-rousers proclaiming their mandate. “I’m not going to be ignored, Dan!”

Nope, there will be no controlling Ted Cruz and his ilk (the best assessment of Cruz I’ve ever read comes from Jon Stewart, who observed the Texas senator “appears to have been bitten by a Machiavellian spider. That dude is distilled ambition.” Yup, couldn’t have said it better myself.) We’ll be treated to two years of debt-ceiling-fighting, Obama-impeachment-loving, Obamacare-repeal-wanting, Benghazi-fear-stoking BS. And in 2016, when the electoral map is as favorable to Democrats as it was for the Republicans this election, we’ll be able to not only keep the White House but we’ll also take back the Senate, as a disgusted electorate remembers why they hate Republicans. This time we’ll get a filibuster-proof majority, too.

So, that’s my take on things. Bring it on, Republicans. And maybe, maybe, Democrats will finally learn how to run on their accomplishments, instead of running from them.

Meanwhile, there was a lot of good news out of election night:

• Tough gun control measures easily won in Washington State.

• In Tennessee, voters overwhelmingly approved ballot measures allowing sales of wine in grocery stores. We will need this as we ponder the cognitive dissonance that returned abortion-for-me-but-not-for-thee hypocrite Scott DesJarlais to Washington while at the same time passing the anti-choice Amendment 1 constitutional amendment.

• Minimum wage increases passed in Arkansas, Illinois, South Dakota and Nebraska.

• Personhood amendments failed in Colorado and North Dakota. This is the third time Colorado voters have said no to this crackpot idea, by the way.

So, it wasn’t all bad news. Take heart!

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Filed under Election, Republican Party

Where Your Treasure Is

… there your heart will be also.

And with a record $4 billion+ — that’s billion, with a B — spent on this midterm election, it’s safe to say that America’s heart is with power.

That’s it. Very simple and terribly sad. Slow clap, Murrica. This is why we can’t have nice things. When I think what we could do with $4 billion — free college education, healthcare, assistance to small businesses or child care for single moms or what about high speed rail or hey, let’s fix our roads and bridges, maybe? — and realize it’s all been squandered on something as dumb as trying to sway the outcome of a midterm election, I just have to despair at how shallow we are as a nation.

Remember, too, that a large chunk of that sum was spent by people (*cough*cough*KOCH BROTHERS*cough*cough) who are fighting against even the teeniest tiniest increase in their taxes. That billionaires would spend millions to sway an election and hold onto their power pretty much proves why we need to raise their taxes in the first place.

Here’s something that makes me want to guzzle bleach:

beshearTWEET

Note the date. And time.

Are you people even fucking serious? We haven’t even had this midterm election and you’re already ginning up ideas for the next Senate campaign?

Here’s another sobering thought, from the same Wall Street Journal story linked to above:

What’s even more startling is that the $4 billion figure—which also includes $315 million spent on operating costs by PACs—doesn’t include the full picture of outside spending in this year’s races. The projection only includes spending disclosed to the Federal Election Commission. The CRP estimates that another $100 million will likely be spent on the election by next month, though the exact number is impossible to know because of disclosure rules.

Well, I suppose what we don’t know won’t hurt us, right? Meanwhile, remind me about how we can’t afford this, that and the other because of freedom and free markets and whatever. Right. Keep pretending this shit doesn’t matter, everyone.

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Filed under elections, media

Thought For The Day

It is truly amazing to hear the same people who bitched and moaned about how TSA body scanners at U.S. airports violated their civil rights now attack nurse Kaci Hickox for not submitting to a 21-day house arrest on her return from Africa.

Do you people even listen to yourselves?

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Filed under conservatives, fear

Republicans, Make Up Your Damn Minds, Already

[UPDATE]:

HA HA HA HA HA:

Sen. Rand Paul’s letter to Harry Reid about blocking Surgeon General nominee Dr. Murthy over gun control:

RandPaul

Full text at the link. My trolls who keep trying to blame Democrats for the stuff Republicans are doing can go fuck themselves.

—————————————————————————-

Proving yet again that there is literally nothing President Obama can do to please Republicans, Sen. Lamar Alexander is not happy with President Obama’s pick for “Ebola Czar.” (Keep in mind, the hissy fits/impeachment threats conservatives had over Obama’s so-called “Czars” in the first place make their current call for an Ebola Czar especially hypocritical):

“I had in mind a cabinet-level official with the skills of a four-star general or admiral who had a broad public health background and would be accountable to Congress. That kind of action would give Americans confidence about our government’s response to Ebola.”

Hmm … someone like, maybe, the Surgeon General we don’t have because the Republicans are too scared of the gun lobby to approve Dr. Vivek H. Murthy?

Honestly, I truly believe that President Obama could personally develop a cure for Ebola, cancer, and stupidity all in one tasty, affordable treat — but the GOP would complain that it’s gluten-free.

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Filed under healthcare, Republican Party, Sen. Lamar Alexander

Who You Gonna Call, America?

Healthcare professionals nearly universally agree that implementing a travel ban for Ebola-affected countries in West Africa is not just a bad idea, it’s a bad idea that will backfire.

Republicans, the same people who have weird notions about the earth’s climate, have bizarre ideas about how the female body works, believe in fringe conspiracy theories like Agenda 21, and other jaw-droppingly stupid things, disagree.

So, who are you going to listen to, America? When it comes to public health and public safety, are you going to listen to the healthcare experts, or are you going to listen to the crazy people who think there are aborted fetuses in your can of Coca-Cola?

I despair for this country sometimes. I really do.

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Filed under healthcare

Flubola

Interesting piece in The New Yorker about our relatively sanguine response to the flu, which kills thousands, vs ebola, which has sickened three people:

[…] As we know, the flu can be deadly—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average annual death toll from influenza between 1976 and 2007 was more than twenty-three thousand. And unlike Ebola and EV-D68, for which there are no vaccines or real treatments, flu can almost always be prevented, or at least mitigated, if you get a flu shot. Stoking public concern about the flu could actually do some good, by encouraging people to get vaccinated. Instead, the media cover EV-D68 and Ebola as if they’re massive threats to our well-being even though they likely aren’t, and even though the average person can do little to prevent them anyway.

[…]

At work here is the curiously divergent and inconsistent way most of us think about risk. As a myriad of studies have shown, we tend to underestimate the risk of common perils and overestimate the risk of novel events. We fret about dying in a terrorist attack or a plane crash, but don’t spend much time worrying about dying in a car accident. We pay more attention to the danger of Ebola than to the far more relevant danger of flu, or of obesity or heart disease. It’s as if, in certain circumstances, the more frequently something kills, the less anxiety-producing we find it. We know that more than thirty thousand people are going to die on our roads this year, and we’ve accommodated ourselves to this number because it’s about the same every year. Control, too, matters: most of us think that whether we’re killed in a car accident or die of heart disease is under our control (as, to some degree, it is). As a result, we fear such outcomes less than those that can strike us out of the blue.

These attitudes toward risk are irrational, but they’re also understandable. The real problem is that irrational fears often shape public behavior and public policy. They lead us to over-invest in theatre (such as airport screenings for Ebola) and to neglect simple solutions (such as getting a flu shot). If Americans learned that we were facing the outbreak of a new disease that was going to do what the flu will do in the next few months, the press would be banging the drums about vaccination. Instead, it’s yesterday’s news.

Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the response spectrum, comes this disturbing news:

The Dallas hospital that treated Texas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan didn’t have appropriate protective gear and reportedly left him in a room with other patients for “several hours” before ultimately putting him in isolation, exposing at least 76 people.

Yesterday, Centers for Disease Control Director Thomas Frieden acknowledged that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital workers weren’t provided full-body biohazard suits until three days after Duncan was admitted (they now reportedly have 12).

According to National Nurses United—speaking on behalf of the Dallas nurses—the hospital had no protocols in place to handle the virus. Nurses involved in treating Duncan say he was left in a public area and a nurse supervisor “faced resistance from other hospital authorities,” when she requested he be placed in isolation.

It looks like the very last people who should be in a panic about ebola are the ones in full freak-out mode, while the front-line folks who should be the most engaged are saying, “meh, whatevs.” Seriously? You had one job, Texas. If this is how they deal with ebola, I’d hate to think how they handle something like influenza. I have to wonder why a CDC team wasn’t immediately deployed to that Dallas hospital and basically took it over the moment Duncan was admitted. I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons, including budget limitations and administrative limitations.

But you know, remember when Texas was all “we wanna secede,” and “that Tenth Amendment rawks” and “hey self-deport, you diseased illegal immigrants” and stuff? Yeah, that’s some world-class irony right there. Again: you had one job, Texas.

I was going to get my flu shot last weekend but, believe it or not, I was too sick to go. Some kind of sinus infection-y thing going around. As far as I know, I’ve already contracted the flu. But I’m better now and am getting a flu shot this weekend.

Get your flu shots, especially if you live in Texas. At the very least, it will keep you out of the hospitals that are apparently operated by incompetents who don’t know how to implement known common-sense protocols to contain a rare infectious disease.

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Filed under healthcare