1. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.
    — 

    Barack Obama, State of the Union 2014

    Look, I hate Republican obstructionism as much as anybody, but I am not on board with this sort of invocation of executive privilege.

     
  2. [Credit scores as a basis for hiring is] one more way in which the system is rigged.

    If you’re rich and you get divorced, it’s not going to hurt your credit rating. If you’re rich and you have a medical problem, it’s not going to hurt your credit rating. If you’re rich and you end up quitting your job or losing your job, you walk out with a whole lot of savings, you walk out with a nice package. It’s not going to hurt your credit rating.

    But how about families who work hard every day, who live a lot closer to the economic margin? Those are the ones who get hit with a problem, with a medical problem, with a job loss. And boy, it’s not only the hit, it’s the financial fallout from that hit. And here’s the deal: it stays on their credit report for seven years, in some cases even longer.

    So what does that really mean? This is a problem that hits hardworking families who are struggling to get back on their feet. It’s not one that hits the rich, and I think that’s just wrong.

    — 

    Elizabeth Warren, commenting on credit scores being a rigged way to deny poor people employment, as reported by Common Dreams.  (via america-wakiewakie)

    It’s also important to bear in mind just how much credit scores can vary based upon a person’s race. Not only do blacks and Latinos tend to have lower credit scores than whites, they’re also more likely to be turned down for a loan or have a higher interest rate even if they have the same score.

    Using credit scores to deny someone employment is just another way that our current system prevents any sort of economic advancement for the wrong sort of person.

    It’s evil. And it needs to stop.

    (Source: america-wakiewakie)

     
  3. ryanvoid:

    good gravy, apparently paleoconservatism is a thing that exists

    and apparently they are super mad about FDR

    i’ve done it. i’ve found a group full of more shitbeards than the Libertarians

    Yep. Libertarianism at least has an internal logic to it. Paleos are just angry white dudes whose philosophy doesn’t go any deeper than, “Ugh, don’t you miss the good old days when women and minorities didn’t have all these pesky rights?

     
  4. image: Download

    Here’s a redistricting proposal I came up with for Tennessee’s congressional seats. It took me about 45 minutes and I wasn’t even really paying that much attention. They are all roughly equivalent in population (between 700,000-720,000) and follow preexisting county borders whenever possible. It’s obviously just a rough sketch, but with a little bit of effort and some minor tweaks here and there, it could actually work.
I’m not sure what this is more an indictment of… my own wonkiness or the corruption and incompetence that went into creating our current districts.

    Here’s a redistricting proposal I came up with for Tennessee’s congressional seats. It took me about 45 minutes and I wasn’t even really paying that much attention. They are all roughly equivalent in population (between 700,000-720,000) and follow preexisting county borders whenever possible. It’s obviously just a rough sketch, but with a little bit of effort and some minor tweaks here and there, it could actually work.

    I’m not sure what this is more an indictment of… my own wonkiness or the corruption and incompetence that went into creating our current districts.

     
  5. Much like Batkid, Hawaii has found its own superhero. Except that instead of protecting the powerless from harm, he roams the streets with a sledgehammer and looks for homeless people in order to literally smash their possessions.

    Remarkably, this vigilante isn’t just some random Hawaiian, but five-term State Rep. Tom Brower (D).

     
  6. 60 people died in 12 separate terrorist attacks on US diplomatic facilities during the Bush administration.

    After every attack, the general Beltway consensus was that these were unfortunate tragedies that are, sadly, all too common in the war-torn regions where the U.S. diplomatic corps often operates. There was no political grandstanding about “demanding answers” or threats of impeachment.

    So what makes Benghazi different from those previous attacks? Nothing, really. It’s just another example of the violence and bloodshed that results from the sorts of unnecessary foreign entanglements that Washington warned about in his farewell address. It’s a symptom of nearly a century of American meddling in the Middle East.

    Look, I’m not saying Obama is blameless in this situation. As much as I think his administration has done a lot of things right, it’s basically just continued America’s tradition of a myopic, self-centered Middle East policy. So there’s definitely room for legitimate criticism here… but that’s not what the Right is engaging in. They are just so desperate to pin something negative on Obama, they’ll latch on to the slightest hint of scandal. They want to turn him into some nefarious Bond villain, and they absolutely refuse to give him the basic respect due the office of the presidency.

    Why? It’s like there’s something that makes him different from the 42 men who held office before him… I just wonder what it could be…

     
  7. This really appeals to my political science + tabletop game nerddom.

     
  8. 10:41 23rd Oct 2013

    Notes: 90

    Reblogged from vicemag

    Tags: anarchismpolitics

    image: Download

    vicemag:

Is Vahid Brown an Agent of the State, or Are Portland Anarchists on a Witch Hunt?
A link was posted on my Facebook wall a few weeks back warning that a man I knew from Reed College was “an agent of the state.”


"Vahid Brown was or is an FBI instructor at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, who has recently been attempting to integrate himself into radical and activist scenes in Portland," according to the dossier posted on the website of the Committee Against Political Repression, an anarchist group in Portland, Oregon.

 As such, he is “a threat and should not be tolerated.”
Brown, however, has never worked for the FBI. He taught classes on political Islam to FBI agents at West Point while he was a scholar at the university’s Combating Terrorism Center think tank.
The post has gone viral amongst radical leftists, and has been shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook. In Portland, this amounts to a lot of people. Brown is now “anxious in public space because of this hostility,” he told me recently when I spoke to him in a series of Facebook messages, and then by phone. 


A photo of Brown appears at the top of the post. In Portland, his beard and stylish attire fit in. For the Committee, this is a warning sign: “An agent of the state who has the same subcultural interests as you is still an agent of the state.”
Brown is a scholar of Islam, the author of Cracks in the Foundation: Leadership Schisms in al-Qa’ida from 1989-2006, which argues that the Iraq War “created a market for [the group’s] message.”
"I was not training law enforcement on how to do law enforcement," Brown said. "I was trying to educate these folks about these issues and directly address misconceptions and simplistic nonsense about ‘dangerous Muslims.’"
Continue

This is why the Left is such a joke in this country. We’d rather get involved in internecine conflicts over personal purity and how we define ourselves (shades of Life of Brian’s People’s Front of Judea vs. the Judean People’s Front) than actually do anything useful.
Call me what you like, but I think it’s a good thing that the FBI brought in an actual goddamn expert on the Middle East to speak to them about the War on Terror (whether or not they actually listened to what he had to say is different matter). Besides, if we’re going to hold scholars to that standard, I guess we have to dismiss Noam Chomsky for all the work he’s done for the Pentagon, right?
The lesson here from the armchair activists in Portland: don’t ever actually use your skills and expertise to try to solve problems. Maintain political purity above all else. 

    vicemag:

    Is Vahid Brown an Agent of the State, or Are Portland Anarchists on a Witch Hunt?

    A link was posted on my Facebook wall a few weeks back warning that a man I knew from Reed College was “an agent of the state.”



    "Vahid Brown was or is an FBI instructor at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, who has recently been attempting to integrate himself into radical and activist scenes in Portland," according to the dossier posted on the website of the Committee Against Political Repression, an anarchist group in Portland, Oregon.

 As such, he is “a threat and should not be tolerated.”

    Brown, however, has never worked for the FBI. He taught classes on political Islam to FBI agents at West Point while he was a scholar at the university’s Combating Terrorism Center think tank.

    The post has gone viral amongst radical leftists, and has been shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook. In Portland, this amounts to a lot of people. Brown is now “anxious in public space because of this hostility,” he told me recently when I spoke to him in a series of Facebook messages, and then by phone. 



    A photo of Brown appears at the top of the post. In Portland, his beard and stylish attire fit in. For the Committee, this is a warning sign: “An agent of the state who has the same subcultural interests as you is still an agent of the state.”

    Brown is a scholar of Islam, the author of Cracks in the Foundation: Leadership Schisms in al-Qa’ida from 1989-2006, which argues that the Iraq War “created a market for [the group’s] message.”

    "I was not training law enforcement on how to do law enforcement," Brown said. "I was trying to educate these folks about these issues and directly address misconceptions and simplistic nonsense about ‘dangerous Muslims.’"

    Continue

    This is why the Left is such a joke in this country. We’d rather get involved in internecine conflicts over personal purity and how we define ourselves (shades of Life of Brian’s People’s Front of Judea vs. the Judean People’s Front) than actually do anything useful.

    Call me what you like, but I think it’s a good thing that the FBI brought in an actual goddamn expert on the Middle East to speak to them about the War on Terror (whether or not they actually listened to what he had to say is different matter). Besides, if we’re going to hold scholars to that standard, I guess we have to dismiss Noam Chomsky for all the work he’s done for the Pentagon, right?

    The lesson here from the armchair activists in Portland: don’t ever actually use your skills and expertise to try to solve problems. Maintain political purity above all else. 

     
  9. That said, there’s definitely something worth criticizing about ineffectual hipsters who use revolutionary imagery as a shorthand for street cred…

    But that’s a separate issue, at least in my mind.

     
  10. Kuzmanich, for example, appeared on KATU Channel 2’s Your Voice, Your Vote on Oct. 6, where he told host Steve Dunn the forced budget austerity would help Americans return to “fiscal and personal responsibility.”

    Apparently “fiscal and personal responsibility” are for other people. He hasn’t made a mortgage payment in over three years. And the process servers can’t find him:

    Washington County court records show Kuzmanich is more than three years behind in mortgage payments on a Beaverton duplex. The lender, the Federal National Mortgage Association, better known as Fannie Mae, has gone to extraordinary lengths—unsuccessfully, so far—to find Kuzmanich and serve him with court papers.