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Excerpted by Alternet from Michael Bader's More than Bread and Butter: A Psychologist Speaks to Progressives About What People Really Need in Order to Win and Change the World—Let's Get Progressives to Better Make Emotional Connections When They Organize:
As progressives, we have a huge job in front of us in the fight for economic justice. But our leaders are trying to do their work with one hand tied behind their backs. The better ones may often do quite well fighting with one hand; many cannot. The problem and solution are more obvious than they think: People become active in social-change movements because these movements speak to deep longings for meaning, recognition, relationship, and agency, as well as for economic survival and justice.

The civil rights movement demanded basic economic and political equality. But it also spoke to a hunger to be connected to something bigger than the self. The institution that provided the base of this movement, the black church, grew and thrived on its power to provide meaning and recognition in dozens of way to its members. It provided meaning, in part, through the intense spirituality of its congregations, but also because it was wedded to a vision of social justice; recognition was afforded through the extensive social life in and around church life. The four girls killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 were on their way to give a performance, one of the many public ways that the church honored and recognized people in its community. [...]

owl
The power of human needs that go beyond the material would seem obvious. But progressive organizations instinctively and implicitly operate according to a “common sense” notion—one supported by researchers like Abraham Maslow, famous for his hierarchy or pyramid of human needs—that physical survival precedes those nonmaterial needs. This logic is simple: Without satisfying the basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter, people can't effectively address and gratify “higher” emotional, social, and spiritual needs. The strategic result is that we count on economic grievances and bread-and-butter issues like wages and benefits alone to move people to action.

But the compelling noneconomic needs for recognition, meaning, relationships, and agency can be sources of motivation every bit as powerful as survival needs. We see evidence of this every day. A terrorist commits suicide for the sake of Allah. An Indian demonstrator at a salt mine walks directly into the violent batons of the British Army in nonviolent resistance for the cause of independence; an African-American marcher sits down in front of Bull Connor’s dogs. A marine risks his life for his buddy; a parent does the same for a child.

Everyone wants to earn money. But a great deal of research shows that people value meaning, connection, recognition, and agency as much as a bigger paycheck, and sometimes more. Many activists we’ve worked with in progressive organizations routinely give up higher-paying jobs in the private sector to work for social change. Even a lot of money can’t always cure the deficit of other unmet needs. Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, is currently worth $13 billion. Yet his autobiography prominently features his bitterness about being exploited by co-founder Bill Gates. Thirteen billion dollars did not make him feel good enough about the emotional conditions of his work. [...]

Blindness to these obvious needs is an important reason why the progressive movement is struggling today. So while the Left decries economic injustice and tries to organize campaigns against it, the response from the victims of injustice can be tepid. The Left helplessly watches as conservative megachurches, the evangelical movement, and the Tea Party draw people to communities that support a political and economic system that we see as inimical to their needs for material security. The reasons, though, have little to do with anyone’s economic bottom line: These organizations and movements appear to address multiple levels of suffering and multiple needs. [...]

Summary

    1.    People become active in social-change movements because these movements speak to deep longings for meaning, recognition, relationship, and agency.


    2.    The common-sense notion that we need to satisfy people’s material needs before we can speak to their psychological, social, and spiritual needs is wrong.


    3.    Both the private sector and the Right are better than progressives in speaking to people’s noneconomic needs.


    4.    Feelings matter more than facts.



Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009How Freedom Was Lost:

On Halloween night, 1948, a fog rolled in to blanket the town of Donora, Pennsylvania. What came from that cloud wasn't the ghosts of vengeful pirates, or horror movie zombies. It was worse.

This wasn't the first time the industrial town of 13,000 had been socked in by a brown, pollution tinged smog. But this time the air had a peculiar, acrid smell. Those who breathed the fog felt as if they were breathing fire. It scorched their eyes, their throat, their lungs. Still, Donora was a mill town. Workers squinted against the bitter air and went on to their jobs. That night, as people were walking back to their houses, some of them began to die.

Soon doctors' offices were overrun and the hospital was filled with the sick and the dying. The fog held on the next day. And the next. A local hotel was pressed into service as an extension to the hospital, with volunteers serving as nurses. As bodies piled up at local funeral homes, the ground floor of that hotel became a makeshift morgue. Within five days, twenty people had died. Hundreds more were seriously injured with damage that would shorten their lives or affect their ability to work. A decade later, local papers still told the story of lives cut short.

The villain in Donora was the a toxic stew spit out by a local zinc refinery. It wasn't the first time the plant's fumes had turned the air around the town toxic, but this time a temperature inversion capped the smog. In the midst of the crisis, suspicion about the cause brought town officials to the zinc works, where they asked that the plant's operations be reduced until the weather changed. The plant operators refused. After five days, the inversion layer broke and the brown fog blew away. Eleven of those who died did so on that final day. A local doctor estimated that if the weather had held another day, the death toll would have been in the hundreds, rather than the tens.

That Sunday, as the sky broke and rains came, the zinc works finally agreed to reduce operations. They went back to normal the next day.


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Of the 390K worker deaths since 1970, only 88 cases have been criminally prosecuted. #dotj15 http://t.co/...
@AFLCIO


Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at Stitcher.com), and find a live stream there, by searching for "Netroots Radio."


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Progressive State Blog Banner #1
This week in progressive state blogs is designed specifically to focus attention on the writing and analysis of people focused on their home turf. Let me know via comments or Kosmail if you have a favorite state- or city-based blog you think I should be watching. Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.

At Montana Cowgirl, Cowgirl writes—In Montana, No One is Minding the Store for Legislative Ethics:

Cowgirl of Montana logo
Unlike many states, Montana lacks an  independent commission that regulates conduct of state legislators – such as conflicts of interest, abuse of power, abuse of office, post-term employment restrictions, and financial disclosure.

The only oversight of ethics in the Montana legislature is an “ethics committee” made up of legislators themselves. But in our state, the fox isn’t even bothering to guard the henhouse.  As far as I can tell, the ethics committee never meets.

There is no one watching out for whether they pass legislation or budget appropriations which would benefit their employers, their families, or themselves.

Montana legislative candidates are required to disclose their business interests, but such disclosures are not audited.  No one knows whether they have really disclosed their investments nor not.  Many lawmakers simply put a profession, such as “real estate”  and don’t list who their employer is.

State legislators in Montana are not required to disclose the junkets they attend on lobbyists’ dime.  For example, it has been an open secret in the 2015 session that Fred Thomas, Art Wittich, Cary Smith and others were treated to a trip to Florida by the Florida “Foundation for Government Accountability” the ALEC-affiliated right-wing think tank that works with AFP to oppose Medicaid expansions.  Nor must they disclose how many steak dinners or gifts they accept on behalf of lobbying organizations. [...]

Please continue below the orange gerrymander for more excerpts from progressive state blogs.
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Three tropical cyclones churned the waters around Australia on March 11, 2015, including Pam, one of the strongest storms ever in the region.
Three tropical cyclones churned the waters around Australia on March 11, 2015,
including Pam, one of the strongest storms ever in the region. See FishOutofWater's post here
Many environmentally related posts appearing at Daily Kos each week don't attract the attention they deserve. To help get more eyeballs, Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) normally appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The most recent Wednesday Spotlight can be seen here. More than 22,400 environmentally oriented diaries have been rescued for inclusion in this weekly collection since 2006. Inclusion of a diary in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.
Super El Nino Likely as Huge Warm Water Wave Hits West Coast, Extreme Marine Die Off Developing—by FishOutofWater: "In early March, the strongest wave of tropical convection ever measured (known as the Madden Julian Oscillation) by modern meteorology moved into the western Pacific from Indonesian waters bringing an outbreak of 3 tropical cyclones, including deadly category 5 Pam which ravaged the south Pacific islands of Vanuatu. This extreme outburst of tropical storms and organized thunderstorms pulled strong westerly winds across the equator, unleashing a huge surge of warm water below the ocean surface. Normally, trade winds blow warm water across the Pacific from the Americas to Australia and Indonesia, pushing up sea level in the west Pacific. When the trade winds suddenly reversed to strong westerlies, it was as if a dam burst, but on the scale of the earth's largest ocean, the Pacific. The front edge of that massive equatorial wave, called a Kelvin wave, is now coming ashore on the Americas. [...] The forecast of a strong El Nino brings good news to California. NOAA's CFSv2 model is forecasting above well above normal precipitation for October through December, 2015. Because models are forecasting El Nino conditions to continue through January 2016 there is a good chance that heavy winter rains will break the California drought. The downside will be massive landslides and flooding in areas that have been affected by recent wild fires."
New Oil Drilling in West Scarred Land, Harmed Ecosystems, Used Water = 3 Lake Superiors—by Steven D: "A recent study published in the prestigious journal Science shows that the fragile ecosystems of the West have suffered extensive damage as a result of increased drilling for oil and gas. This damage resulted from the complete removal of all native trees, shrubs and grasses on land used used for new (not existing) drilling operations conducted during the years of 2000-2012. How large is the affected area? It's huge. From Scientific American: New research shows that an area larger than the land area of Maryland—more than 11,500 square miles—was completely stripped of trees, grasses and shrubs to make way for more than 50,000 new oil and gas wells that were developed each year between 2000 and 2012. Such broad industrialization may harm the ability of some regions to recover from drought and damage the ability of the land to store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. As this graphic from the research paper, 'Ecosystem services lost to oil and gas in North America,' published on April 24, 2015, shows, most of this new drilling occurred in the Rocky Mountain and Northern Plains region of the US and Canada."

You can find more rescued green diaries below the orange garden layout.

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At Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Jim Naureckaswrites NYT Lets Economic Pundit Disappear TPP’s Economist Critics:
The New York Times (4/24/15) handed its readers an exploding cigar this weekend–in the form of an “Economic View” piece by Greg Mankiw headlined “Economists Actually Agree on This: The Wisdom of Free Trade.” In this piece, Mankiw–an economic adviser to George W. Bush and Mitt Romney who writes regularly for the Times–put forward an argument in favor of fast-tracking the TPP and TIPP trade pacts whose logic was so tortured it might shock Dick Cheney.
owls
“The issue at hand,” wrote Mankiw, is whether Congress will give President Obama “fast track” authority to negotiate a trade deal with our trading partners in the Pacific…. Among economists, the issue is a no-brainer…. Economists are famous for disagreeing with one another…. But economists reach near unanimity on some topics, including international trade.

So all economists are for TPP because TPP is a “free trade” bill and all economists are for “free trade.” Simple, right? The only reason Congress wouldn’t pass fast track, Mankiw suggests, is if politicians listened to voters who were “worse than ignorant about the principles of good policy.”

You would never know, reading Mankiw’s piece, that many economists in factoppose TPP and fast track. Or that economists can and do reject the characterization of TPP and the like as “free trade” bills. Or that there is no consensus in the economics field that free trade necessarily benefits most people. [...]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2005Buffett: Thumbs Down on Bush's SS Piratization:

Warren Buffet doesn't think much of Bush's SS scam. This quote below is from the Omaha World-Herald (registration required):

Warren Buffett, the 74-year-old chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, and his 81-year-old partner, Charlie Munger, launched an impassioned defense of Social Security at the company's annual meeting Saturday, with Munger terming Republican efforts to overhaul the program "twaddle."

While they did not directly discuss President Bush's proposal to allow Americans to divert some of their Social Security taxes to individual investment accounts, Buffett and Munger said the country faces far more pressing problems than the projected Social Security insolvency in 40 or 50 years. [...]
Munger, who called himself a "right-wing Republican," said, "Republicans are out of their cotton-picking minds to be taking on this issue now. "Munger cited nuclear tensions with North Korea and Iran as issues the administration should be working on instead of "wasting its good will over some twaddle." [...]


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in the 60s, cons used "law + order" to get into power, but WHAT IF we on the left decided that LAW AND JUSTICE could be a change catalyst?
@owillis


On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Capitol GunFAIL! Greg Dworkin rounds up Bridgegate, Sanders, Republican demands for work requirements for Medicaid expansion, Rick Scott's continuing contortions, and Jeb's Charles Murray fandom. The invasion of TX is underway. Conservatives prepare their gay marriage freak-out. A near "perfect storm" of GunFAIL: school cop shoots himself with a derringer in his pocket while at Walmart. Armando on VT's GMO labeling law & TPP, plus Dickerson's thoughts on Sanders. More on ShotSpotter; Samsung's TV that listens to you; the surveillance we "volunteer" for, and; how Motel 6 reportedly started faxing all its guests' names to the cops!


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Oil train derailment Feb. 15 near Mount Carbon, West Virginia.
Oil train derailment Feb. 15 near Mount Carbon, West Virginia.
The Obama administration issued the final rules on oil trains Friday. The action by the Department of Transportation was spurred after several oil train derailments have caused numerous fatalities and injuries and well over a billion dollars worth of damage and clean-up costs in the United States and Canada. Moving crude oil by rail has soared from fewer than 10,000 carloads in 2008 to about 500,000 in 2014.

Here's Kate Sheppard on the matter:

The rule, from DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration, applies to “high-hazard flammable trains"—that is, those with a continuous row of 20 or more tank cars loaded with flammable liquids, or those carrying a total of 35 or more tank cars with flammable liquids.
New tank cars built after Oct. 1 to carry high-hazard flammable fluids will be required to have walls 9/16th-inch thick instead of the the half-inch thickness both the oil and railroad industries wanted. The thicker the wall, the less oil that can be carried. Electronically controlled pneumatic brakes must be used on most trains carrying high-hazard flammable fluids by 2021 and all such trains by 2023 at the latest. The rules make permanent a provisional DOT rule previously imposed that requires all trains containing one or more tank cars of the older design to travel 40 mph in urban areas. Top speed for all crude oil trains will be 50 mph. There are also routing mandates.

The railroad lobby immediately trashed the action, labeling the them a "rash rush to judgment." At the same time, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington called the rules too weak:

“The new DOT rule is just like saying let the oil trains roll. It does nothing to address explosive volatility, very little to reduce the threat of rail car punctures, and is too slow on the removal of the most dangerous cars. It’s more of a status quo rule than the real safety changes needed to protect the public and first responders.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin agreed with Cantwell and complained, as did Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, about the speed with which the replacement cars will be substituted.

Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO of the American Association of Railroads responded with a sharply worded complaint about the requirement for electronically controlled pneumatic brakes:

“First and foremost, the DOT has no substantial evidence to support a safety justification for mandating ECP brakes, which will not prevent accidents. The DOT couldn’t make a safety case for ECP but forged ahead anyhow. This is an imprudent decision made without supporting data or analysis. I have a hard time believing the determination to impose ECP brakes is anything but a rash rush to judgment.”
Acting Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg responded: “We are not an agency with a goal of making things convenient or inexpensive for industry,” she said. “Our entire goal and mission is safety.” She knows all too well that when safety collides with the bottom line, it's a rare day industry fails to object.
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On Saturday at 8 AM PT, the tech team will be moving Daily Kos from its current web host to Amazon's Web Services. We'll be taking the site down for an estimated one to three hours while we move our data over to the new servers and update the DNS (the system that tells your browser where our servers are when you ask for a page from dailykos.com). The DNS changes could take different amounts of time for people in different regions of the country (or parts of the world).

  • Today's comic by Mark Fiore is Commander-in-Drone:
    Cartoon by Mark Fiore -- Commander-in-Drone
  • What's coming up on Sunday Kos ...
    • 'Sir, are you injured anywhere?' vs. 'f*ck your breath'. Only one kind of approach provokes riots, by Ian Reifowitz
    • Reclaiming secularism is the key to protecting religious liberty, by Jon Perr
    • On "riots" and roots, by Denise Oliver Velez
    • The White House Correspondents' Dinner: America's political saturnalia, by Dante Atkins
    • The most racist areas in the United States, by Susan Grigsby
    • Happy Birthday, Customer, by Mark E Andersen
    • Do we all live in a giant hologram, by DarkSyde
    • Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy : Critical Perspectives from the Left, by koNko
    • A constitutional amendment is the only solution to our fraudulent politics, by Egberto Willies
  • Tesla announces its residential battery:
    The residential battery, called the Powerwall, is available to installers in 10 kilowatt hours (kWh) or 7kWh sized at $3,500 and $3,000, respectively, and is available online now. The business version is not yet available.

    In a Tweet on Wednesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk referred to batteries as “The Missing Piece” in order “for the future to be good.”

  • R&B legend Ben E. King dead at 76:
    King started his career in the late 1950s with The Drifters, singing hits including There Goes My Baby and Save The Last Dance For Me. After going solo, he hit the US top five with Stand By Me in 1961.

    Fellow musician Gary US Bonds wrote on Facebook that King was "one of the sweetest, gentlest and gifted souls that I have had the privilege of knowing and calling my friend for more than 50 years".

  • Photo by 26-year-old Devin Allen lands on the cover of Time:
    “For me, who’s from Baltimore city, to be on the cover of Time Magazine, I don’t even know what to say. I’m speechless,” Allen told Time. “It’s amazing. It’s life changing for me. It’s inspiring me to go further. It gives me hope and it gives a lot of people around me hope. After my daughter, who’s my pride and joy, this is the best thing that’s happened to me.”
    Here's an interview with him.
  • Satellite detects lowering of Everest and raising of Kathmandu:
    The first good view of the aftermath of Nepal's deadly earthquake from a satellite reveals that a broad swath of ground near Kathmandu lifted vertically, by about 3 feet (1 meter), which could explain why damage in the city was so severe. The data also indicate the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, got a wee bit shorter.
  • 1 in 6 species at risk from global warming:
    If global warming continues unabated, up to 1 in 6 species on Earth could face extinction, scientists report in the May 1 Science. [...]

    With current warming, about 2.8 percent of species worldwide are at risk of extinction. If global temperatures rise 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, 5.2 percent of species will face extinction. If temperatures rise 4.3 degrees C, about 16 percent of species will be threatened.

  • First Air Force One rotting in Arizona.
  • Aaron Schock disappears into the ether:
    Aaron Schock once broadcast his worldly travels on Instagram for all to see.

    But two weeks after a campaign donor filed a federal lawsuit against the former congressman, an attorney for the donor said Wednesday he can’t track the Peoria Republican down.

    Attorney Daniel Kurowski told U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood he hasn’t managed to serve Schock with the lawsuit brought April 15 by his client, Howard Foster of Chicago, who gave $500 to Schock’s campaign in 2012.

  • These Daily Kos community posts were the most shared on Facebook April 30:
    Super El Nino Likely as Huge Warm Water Wave Hits West Coast, Extreme Marine Die Off Developing, by FishOutofWater

    2014 Election results called into question by findings of electronic voting machine security experts, by windsong01

    Rumsfeld: Looting Is Transition To Freedom, by AnnieJo

  • Here's how Las Vegas protects Floyd Mayweather:
    No pictures. That’s what the biggest name in boxing, poised for one of the signature fights of his career, says over and over again when asked about the overwhelming evidence that he has a history of abusing women. Ignore the police reports, the court records, and his own plea deals, he says into the camera lens, never an ounce of doubt on his face, because there are no pictures. It’s a cliché of Internet life—pics or it didn’t happen—and one that Mayweather has leveraged into making it okay for millions of sports fans to plunk down $100 to watch him fight Manny Pacquiao without an ounce of doubt about putting money directly in the pocket of a misogynist.
  • Team Blackness discusses protests, unnecessary police presence, and curfews in Baltimore. The team also discussed what was learned speaking to native Baltimoreans about the politics of the city and their everyday involvement with the police.
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  • On today's Kagro in the Morning show: Capitol GunFAIL! Greg Dworkin on Bridgegate, Sanders, Medicaid expansion, the invasion of TX & more! Armando on VT's GMO labeling & the TPP, and Dickerson's thoughts on Sanders. More on ShotSpotter & other everyday surveillance.


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Bernie Sanders
What Bernie Sanders thinks, as compiled by Andrew Prokip at Vox. I've included paragraphs on five subjects, with only subheads for the rest:
Move to a single-payer health care system

The major issue on which Sanders embraces "full socialism" is health care, where he maintains his longtime support of a single-payer health-care system. At an Iowa event last year, Sanders called Obamacare a "modest step forward." But he said much more work needed to be done on expanding coverage and reducing the costs of care: "We are the only major nation on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people." The problem, he said, is that in the current system, "the goal is for the insurance companies and the drug companies to make as much money as possible."

Sanders was a key supporter of Vermont's plan to implement the United States' first single-payer health care system. "If we do it and do it well, other states will get in line and follow us," he said. "And we will have a national system." But the plan has since foundered over cost concerns, and implementation has been indefinitely postponed. "It's not that it hasn't worked out, it hasn't been implemented," Sanders told The Hill this February.

Overturn Citizens United, publicly fund elections [...]

Free trade's expansion has been a "disaster"

"Unfettered free trade has been a disaster for the American people," Sanders told me. "It was pushed by corporate America with many Democrats including Bill Clinton and the Republicans working to support him." He said that during his two and a half decades in Congress, "I voted against all the trade agreements." He has been harshly critical of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and will make his opposition to it a key feature of his campaign.

Combat climate change with a carbon tax [...]

Don't cut Social Security—expand it (by taxing the wealthy more) [...]

More spending on infrastructure, less on defense

Sanders has proposed spending $1 trillion on modernizing infrastructure, saying it would both put people to work and generate more economic activity. As for deficits, he wants big cuts in military spending, saying, "It is absurd that the United States continues to spend almost as much on defense as the rest of the world combined." He's frequently suggested that any increases in defending should be fully funded by tax increases on the wealthy.

Don't tax the middle class more—they're already getting squeezed [...]

Raise the minimum wage quite a lot [...]

Supports immigration reform—but not guest worker programs for unskilled labor [...]

Does not support drug legalization

"I have real concerns about implications of the war on drugs," Sanders told Time in 2014. He said it's lasted decades, to "a huge cost and the destruction of a whole lot of lives of people who were never involved in any violent activities." But he added that especially considering Vermont's heroin epidemic, "I am concerned about the overuse of dangerous drugs." Asked about marijuana legalization, Sanders said he'd "look at it," but that "to me it is not one of the major issues facing this country."

Label foods with GMO ingredients [...]

Supports more gun control—but hasn't always [...]

Much more government funding for higher education [...]

Less foreign policy interventionism

Sanders is a critic of most large-scale military interventions abroad, saying they are frequently expensive and counterproductive. He opposed the Iraq War, says Republicans are now "itching" for a war with Iran, and said he had "reservations" about Obama's intervention in Libya.

"ISIS is a brutal, awful, dangerous army and they have got to be defeated," he said last year. But, he added, "this is not just an American problem," and called on Arab nations to take the lead in the fight. "This is a war for the soul of Islam and the Muslim nations must be deeply involved."

Stop the NSA's "out-of-control" surveillance [...]

Supports abortion rights and same-sex marriage [...]

Network neutrality is essential for free speech [...]

Reform the Export-Import Bank [...]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003Dems to filibuster Owens:

Be still my beating heart, the Dems are going to filibuster another Bush judicial nominee—the odious Priscilla Owen!

I must admit being a bit taken aback at this newfound moxie in the Senate's Democratic delegation, but I like it.

The new filibuster target will be Priscilla Owen—a Texas judge and home-state favorite of the president's—who was nominated for a seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Democrats have called Owen, who sits on the Texas Supreme Court, an anti-abortion, pro-business judicial activist whose opinions and rulings are overly influenced by her personal beliefs.

"Her record is so egregious that we have no choice but to filibuster," Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota said.

It's surprising the GOP doesn't agree, considering they rant and rave against "judicial activists". And by all accounts, Owens is one of those. Indeed, none other than White House counsel Alberto Gonzales—then a justice on the Texas Supreme Court—accused Owens of "unconscionable judicial activism."

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On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin joins us, with Baltimore still dominating the headlines. Sanders is in, facing long odds as expected. A NYC cop reportedly tells protesters, "If we could arrest all of you, we might." Are we getting closer to that? They can already track or even punish protesters they can't arrest. Do we even know who's tracking us? Mike Lee says he can stop it. But can he? Can anyone? Hell, the Senate couldn't even curtail their own powers (see "secret hold"). How can they curtail executive power that claims it's unrestrainable? Should we be worried that it hasn't been that long since George Bush claimed it, and now his brother's running?


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wind, energy
The American Wind Energy Association has released its report for the first quarter of 2015, and it's quite encouraging. Indeed, for those of us who have followed renewable energy for several frustrating decades, it's fantastic. The nation's 48,000 wind turbines now provide enough electricity to power the equivalent of 16.7 million homes. And the report gives us hard statistics that make believable the Department of Energy's new Wind Vision study. That document says today’s wind-generated electricity could more than double to 10 percent by 2020, double again to 20 percent by 2030 and reach 35 percent by 2050.

That's not actually enough or soon enough. But with more aggressive government policies at the state and federal level, the 2030 and 2050 Wind Vision scenarios, which would have seemed laughable at the turn of the 21st Century, can be surpassed and their timetables beaten. The same policies, plus others, can make for similar gains in solar. Getting those policies in place, however, will require beating the fossil fuel marionettes in Congress.

Department of Energy Wind Vision Report April 2015
Across the country, new construction for some 1.2 gigawatts of new wind power has broken ground since January 1. All told there are 13.6 gigawatts under construction at 100 projects in 23 states. Total U.S. installed capacity is now 66.008 gigawatts.

That is still just 6 percent of the nation's total of nearly 1,100 gigawatts of installed capacity from all sources of power. Coal-fired power plants generated 39 percent of total U.S. electricity in 2014 while wind generated just 4.6 percent. But while coal generation is falling, wind is soaring. In fact, wind power was the leading source of of new electricity generation last year.

By the end of 2015, according to a white paper from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, there will be 18.3 additional gigawatts of installed renewables capacity—9.1 gigawatts of solar and 8.9 gigawatts of wind. The U.S. Energy Information Administration puts the wind component a bit higher and the solar component far lower, but its methodology has given it a poor record of predictions when it comes to renewables. In 2005, for instance, it predicted wind power capacity would reach only 63 gigawatts by 2030. By the end of 2012, there were already 60 gigawatts.

At the beginning of 2015, there were 50,000 construction and 23,000 manufacturing jobs in U.S. wind energy, with more than 20,000 added in 2014 alone. Michelle Froese reports:

“These latest numbers confirm that the immediate future for the wind industry is bright, as we’re seeing the second highest construction levels in U.S. history for new wind projects,” said Hannah Hunt, Research Analyst for AWEA and author of AWEA’s first quarter market report.  [...]

The top state with the most under construction is Texas, where a “wind rush” is underway with more than 7,800 [megawatts] being built, most of it connected to the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission lines in West Texas. Rounding out the top five are Oklahoma with over 890 MW under construction, Kansas with more than 870 MW, New Mexico with 680 MW, and North Dakota with over 530 MW.

wind power by state as of first Q 2015
Current U.S. wind installation capacity in megawatts by state.
There's more below the horizontal orange wind turbine.
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  • Today's comic by Ruben Bolling is Doonesbury's Charlie Hebdo problem:
    Cartoon by Ruben Bolling -- Doonesbury's Charlie Hebdo problem
  • 70 years ago today, Adolf Hitler offed himself:
  • Asshole 1%ers weigh in on Baltimore.
  • These Daily Kos community posts were the most shared on Facebook April 29:
    NYTimes: Conservative Economics and Income Inequality Are Literally Killing Us., by Dartagnan

    Iceberg B-34 frees itself from Antarctica's Getz ice sheet and proceeds to scour the sea floor., by Pakalolo

    Nigerian Army Rescues 200 Girls, 93 Women from Boko Haram - UPDATED Not Chibok Group, by ericlewis0

  • NYT, WaPo, AP, Bloomberg, FirstLook file suit to discover who sought leniency for Gen. Petraeus:
    More than 30 people filed letters of support for what comes down to your basic sweetheart deal for Petraeus—who gave his sweetheart access to [classified] material she could use to write a biography that was essentially an ode to his ego. [Those letters are under court seal, and several news outlets are suing to obtain them ... ]

    It’s ironic that Petraeus, whose actions exposed classified government information, now wants privacy for those pleading his case. But beyond irony are larger concerns about his access to friends in high places and how that subverts the principle of equal treatment under the law. Asothers have pointed out,his monetary penalty is less than what Petraeus makes for giving a speech. And, probation is a joke as punishment, up against prison sentences meted out to those who act out of conscience to expose what they believe to be government wrongdoing.

  • Starbucks sucking up dwindling California water for its Ethos brand:
    The bottling plant that Starbucks uses for its Ethos customers in the western United States is located in Merced, California, which is currently ranked in the "exceptional drought" category by the US Drought Monitor. Its residents face steep water cuts in their homes, and surface water for the region's many farms is drying up.

    On April 16, the Merced Sun-Star reported that residents were complaining about a private water bottler, owned and operated by the grocery chain Safeway, that ships the increasingly scarce groundwater out for profit. In addition to its own bottled water, the plant also produces Starbucks' Ethos water. No one knows exactly how much water the plant is using—the city of Merced considers that information confidential. (Starbucks uses a water source in Pennsylvania for the Ethos bottles sold in its locations in the eastern United States.)

  • Initial applications for unemployment compensation at 15-year low: For the week ending April 25, seasonally adjusted initial claims were 262,000, down 34,000 from the previous week's level. That is the lowest level since April 15, 2000. For the comparable week of 2014, initial claims were 337,000. The less volatile four-week running average was 283,750. The total number of people claiming compensation for the week ending April 11 was 2,440,229, up 6,021 from the previous week. For the comparable week in 2014, there were 2,822,340 persons claiming compensation.
  • Sen. Tom Cotton, who has a newborn son, gets into a Twitter battle with Iran Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif:
    Hey @JZarif, I hear you called me out today.  If you’re so confident, let’s debate the Constitution. 1/4
    @SenTomCotton
    Here’s offer: meet in DC, @JZarif, time of your choosing to debate Iran’s record of tyranny, treachery, & terror. 2/4
    @SenTomCotton
    Serious diplomacy, not macho personal smear, is what we need. Congrats on Ur new born. May U and Ur family enjoy him in peace .@SenTomCotton
    @JZarif
  • You have probably never heard of this elephant that is going extinct.
  • Team Blackness discussed Toya Graham, the woman who smacked and dragged her 16-year-old son away from the protests in Baltimore. While some have called her "mother of the year" and the police commissioner applauded her efforts, Graham said she acted instinctively: "That’s my only son, and at the end of the day, I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray." Also discussed were the Orioles game in an empty stadium, Chicago's police brutality and faith leaders who are demanding liberal Supreme Court justices sit out the marriage-equality debate.
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  • On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin joins us, with Baltimore still dominating the headlines. Sanders is in, facing long odds as expected. A cop reportedly tells NY demonstrators "If we could arrest all of you, we might." Are we getting closer to that possibility?


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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder listens to a question at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 6, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW) - RTR3ENGY
Eric Holder was conducting a review of the death penalty, but it wasn't completed
by the time he announced his resignation and now may never be.
Federal executions are rare. In nearly 90 years, there have been only 37 of them. The last—in 2003—was of Louis Jones, Jr., a 22-year Army veteran who had been convicted of kidnapping, rape and murder. There are 61 people on federal death row now, one of them having been there for 22 years. Since 2010 there has been an informal moratorium on federal executions until the matter of lethal injections is sorted out in court.

It was not the prospect of federal executions but rather a screwed-up state execution in Oklahoma a year ago that spurred President Obama to order a Department of Justice review of the death penalty nationwide. Although Obama had supported capital punishment, he said at the time:

“In the application of the death penalty in this country, we have seen significant problems—racial bias, uneven application of the death penalty, you know, situations in which there were individuals on death row who later on were discovered to have been innocent because of exculpatory evidence. And all these, I think, do raise significant questions about how the death penalty is being applied.”
Death penalty
But, while former Attorney General Eric Holder has long been personally opposed to the death penalty, and called for a moratorium nationwide until the Supreme Court rules on lethal injection, the death penalty review he promised was not completed by the time he left the A.G.'s post. Matt Apuzzo reports:
As the Justice Department sought advice from experts on both sides of the issue, opposition to the idea came from unexpected corners. Some of the most outspoken voices against the death penalty also urged the most caution, fearful that a federal announcement would actually do more harm than good.

“From my view, we’re better off with things bubbling up in the states,” said Henderson Hill, the executive director of the Eighth Amendment Project and one of several people consulted by the administration last year. “I’ve never been all that enthusiastic about the executive branch’s role.” While 32 states allow the death penalty, many have their own moratoriums on executions and the number of people put to death is declining.

There was the fear of some death penalty foes that having Obama and Holder as the faces of opposition to capital punishment could make ending it harder by chasing away libertarians and some evangelical Christians who have joined liberals in challenging the continuation of this barbaric practice. In a word, racism could undermine the efforts to challenge the death penalty. Within the administration, there was fear about optics. What would be the political impact if Obama chose to commute the sentences of all or some of those 61 death-row inmates, many of them convicted of heinous crimes?

Whatever the Supreme Court rules in the matter of lethal injections, it seems apparent that we'll see no progress on eliminating the barbaric practice of capital punishment during the current administration.

Discuss
Marco Rubio
For more than a decade, Corinthian Colleges, Inc. has been the target of lawsuits and state and federal investigations for its deceptive marketing, falsification of employment placement rates and other fraudulent behavior. Long before last summer, it had become obvious that CCi was ripping off students and lying about it.

But Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida had sought leniency for the 100-campus for-profit operation. Sahlil Kapur at Bloomberg reports that Rubio sent a letter dated June 20, 2014, to Jim Shelton, the deputy secretary of education, and Ted Mitchell, the undersecretary for post-secondary education:

"It has been brought to my attention that the U.S. Department of Education has recently placed extreme financial constraints on Corinthian Colleges, Inc. by restricting the company's timely access to federal financial aid. It is my understanding the Department of Education has requested extensive documents be provided by Corinthian Colleges for review, and Corinthian has acted in good faith to try to provide these documents as expeditiously as possible," Rubio wrote.

"While I commend the Department's desire to protect our nation's students from fraudulent and malicious activity by any institution of higher education, regardless of tax status, I believe the Department can and should demonstrate leniency as long as Corinthian Colleges, Inc. continues to expeditiously and earnestly cooperate by providing the documents requested."

CCi was always quick to provide documents in the various investigations it had faced. But there was no speed applied when it came to altering its crooked policies. Which is why the Department of Education had forced it to sell most of its campuses and, two weeks ago, fined it $30 million for fraud, including overstating job placement results to prospective students. "Instead of providing clear and accurate information to help students choose which college to attend, Corinthian violated students' and taxpayers' trust," said DOE Under Secretary Ted Mitchell in a statement. After a string of actions, the fine was the one that forced CCi to shutter its remaining 28 campuses, leaving 16,000 students in the lurch.

More on this can be read below the fold.

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martin luther king, coretta scott king, arrest
M.L. King arrested in 1958 in Montgomery, Alabama, for "loitering" outside a courtroom where there
was a hearing for his friend Ralph Abernathy, founder of the  Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Kali Holloway at Alternet collected 9 MLK Quotes the Mainstream Media Won't Cite. Here are four of them:
3. "But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear?...It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity."
—“The Other America,” 1968

[...]

5. “Again we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that Capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard word and sacrifice. The fact is that Capitalism was build on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor – both black and white, both here and abroad.”
— “The Three Evils of Society,” 1967

6. “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
—“Beyond Vietnam,” 1967

7. “The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.”
— “The Three Evils of Society,” 1967


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2007What's in Your Food?

Goldy at HorsesAss is on his way to doing to the FDA what he did to FEMA a year and a half ago when he exposed Mike Brownie the failed horse lawyer he was.

That story was important, but this one has far-reaching implications for everything from trade policy to farm subsidies to, most importantly, public health. What began as a unusual and highly suspicious rate of pet deaths, particularly in cats, now has become a major concern for the human food supply, as well as raising serious questions about the ability of the FDA to ensure our food safety.

Months after dogs and cats started dropping dead of renal failure from melamine-tainted pet food, American consumers are beginning to learn how long and how wide this contaminant has also poisoned the human food supply. Last week, as California officials revealed that at least 45 people are known to have eaten tainted pork, the USDA announced that it would pay farmers millions of dollars to destroy and dispose of thousands of hogs fed "salvaged" pet food.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Through the salvaging practice, melamine-tainted pet food has likely contaminated America’s livestock for as long as it has been killing and sickening America’s pets — as far back as August of 2006, or even earlier. And while it may seem alarmist to suggest without absolute proof that Americans have been eating melamine-tainted pork, chicken and farm-raised fish for the better part of a year, the FDA and USDA seem to be preparing to brace Americans for the worst. In an unusual, Saturday afternoon joint press release, the regulators tasked with protecting the safety of our nation’s food supply go to convoluted lengths to reassure the public that eating melamine-tainted pork is perfectly safe...


Tweet of the Day
Economic empowerment — not locking up non-violent drug users — is key to reducing poverty in places like Baltimore. http://t.co/...
@ChrisVanHollen


On today's Kagro in the Morning show: Bill Kristol invokes Hitler a lot, and he's terrible on Baltimore. Greg Dworkin notes cable news once again found wanting. Crazy wins Texas. SCOTUS hears a fascinating death penalty case. Liberia kicks out homeopaths there to experiment with Ebola "cures." Bernie Sanders is in, grousing to follow. The 2016 field & endorsements. 2016 Govs walk the tightrope. Marriage equality roundup. Joan McCarter discusses the issues of the day, plus the latest budget hang-ups, the Gop's Obamacare fix-vs.-repair conundrum, and Rick Scott's continuing Medicaid drama. Robert Bates brags about using Sheriff's Dept. as his playground.


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