Saturday, February 20, 2016

Portrait in lead

The temperature reached 58F here in Detroit this afternoon. I was able to take a pleasant walk around the neighborhood – after I pulled down tree branches that had broken off in the high wind but hadn't fallen to the ground.

Cleaning out tabs in my browser...

From last Wednesday's Cheers and Jeers on Daily Kos a bit of haiku that is pertinent to Michigan:
Snyder poisons Flint
And the rich get their tax cuts
Is that a problem?

Michael Dykehouse has painted a portrait of Mich. Gov. Rick Snyder. One particular color of artist's oil paints is called Cremnitz White which is made with a bit of lead. Add in more lead and Dykehouse had shades of gray. Perfect for the image of a governor mired in a crisis over lead in Flint's water.

Another from Daily Kos: If Obama isn't allowed to nominate a new justice to the Supremes in his last year, then Justice Kennedy is illegitimate and all his swing rulings must be voided, including...

A third from Daily Kos: Last Monday Greg Dworkin commented about the previous Saturday in which Trump publicly accused Bush II of being responsible for 9/11 and lying about Iraq. Is this implying the GOP is about to crack open?

The New York Times has created a big chart showing each time a Supreme Court seat became vacant, how long it was vacant, who was nominated, how long the confirmation took, and whether it happened in an election year. The article says:
The Senate has never taken more than 125 days to vote on a successor from the time of nomination; on average, a nominee has been confirmed, rejected or withdrawn within 25 days. When Justice Antonin Scalia died, 342 days remained in President Obama’s term.

Obama's 2017 has been released and something important is missing. That missing item is funding for sex education programs that only teach abstinence until marriage. That's a good thing because these programs tended to lead to higher rates of teen pregnancy. Better is a program that discusses sexual health, well-being, and pregnancy prevention. Even better is Dan Savage's idea that sex education should not demonize sex. Of course, what Congress does with that budget item is another thing entirely.

Every year the Heritage Foundation releases its "Index of Economic Freedom." One item is "the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property." Great! Then we get into some of the other freedoms: "fiscal freedom" means limited interference from government, "business freedom" means a minimum of regulations, "trade freedom" refers to open markets. Somewhere under those categories is "regulations concerning minimum wages." As in being allowed to pay workers as little as they like. These aren't economic freedoms for people, but for corporations.

A YouGov poll at the beginning of the month asked whether people had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of socialism and capitalism. Most categories of respondents had more people giving a favorable opinion to capitalism than to socialism, sometimes by wide margins (such as family income over $100K a year). The two who answered differently were Democrats who favored socialism and capitalism about the same and those under 30 where more had a favorable opinion of socialism than capitalism. This partly explains their enthusiasm for Bernie, who proclaims his socialism credentials.

This under 30 group is also hard hit by the Great Recession, a huge failure in capitalism. Their job prospects were delayed and their student debt became huge. Yeah, they have a reason to have an unfavorable view of capitalism.

Kerry Eleveld, writing for Daily Kos, has noticed that since our loss in Houston last fall, well, really for a couple years now, the LGBT rights movement has been in a funk. No energy. No badgering candidates. No broad national message. We haven't been all that energetic and effective at countering the nastiness coming from the Right. But the Right isn't letting up and still pushing their agenda. As an example of that the South Dakota legislature succeeded in passing an anti-trans bathroom bill. I don't think the governor has signed yet.

I've written about the hate filled Atlah Church going into foreclosure and the Ali Forney Center trying to acquire it at auction. That auction was originally scheduled for a few days from now. But the church's pastor has been awarded a delay. The next step is a hearing on April 21 to determine if the auction should go forward. The New York City Department of Finance is confident the foreclosure will go through.

In the meantime, Carl Siciliano of the Ali Fornay Center is relieved to have the delay. It will allow them to continue fundraising (topped $315K!), assemble a proper financial package for a winning bid, and to inspect the building. Even if this particular deal falls through this funding campaign means they will be able to acquire more space somewhere.

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