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This from the Anchorage Daily News:

Ethan Berkowitz surged to a decisive win over opponent Amy Demboski in the Anchorage mayoral runoff election Tuesday night.

With 98 percent of the vote counted, Berkowitz had more than 59 percent of the vote to Demboski’s 41 percent, a margin that was insurmountable. Berkowitz had held a commanding lead over Demboski throughout the evening. As of 11 p.m., 122 of the municipality’s 124 precincts had reported.

The Republican candidate, Amy Demboski, had big Koch money backing as well as the backing of several local and state evangelical preachers.  Anchorage voters soundly rejected Demboski and her radical rightwingnutcase agenda in favor of Berkowitz and his moderate Democratic agenda.  

Thu Apr 30, 2015 at 09:22 PM PDT

"Why Men Rebel"

by Old Redneck

It's late, I've had too much to drink and this may not be very coherent.

Back in the day when I was a young Army officer about to go to Vietnam as an "advisor" on my second tour, we all were required to read and discuss Ted R. Gurr's "Why Men Rebel."  (You may have heard of the"Vietnam War" -- it was in all the newspapers back in the '60's and was the original foreign policy fuck up.)

Gurr -- then a professor of something at Northwestern -- in 1970 published the results of his field and literature research into the question of why people decide to take up arms and risk all they have to rebel against The Man.

Is it because they are poor?  After all, several authors claim that poor folks rebel.  Gurr concluded there is no correlation between poverty and rebellion.

Is it because someone came in from outside and stirred 'em up?  Gurr concluded, no, that's not it.

So -- WTF is it that causes people to throw it in, say "Fuck it!!  I've had enough, I'm gonna throw rocks at the cops!!" ?


And, WHAT, you ask, is Perceived Relative Deprivation?  Basically, it's this:  You look around, you see how other people are living, you realize they are living WAY better than you are, then -- and this is the crux of the matter -- you realize there is no way it's getting any better for you.  And if you have no hope of things getting better, then, what the hell -- just burn it all down.

When hope is lost, all is lost.

We had the answer to Baltimore and Ferguson and North Charlotte years ago.  Our mistake was we thought Gurr's research applied only to little brown people in rice paddies.

It's late.  I'm sitting on my deck overlooking the Southern Appalachians and demons from long ago are coming out of the trees.


How about this:

The city (Baltimore)  has paid about $5.7 million since 2011 over lawsuits claiming that police officers brazenly beat up alleged suspects.

. . .

On a cold January afternoon, Jerriel Lyles parked his car in front of the P&J Carry Out on East Monument Street and darted inside to buy some food. After paying for a box of chicken, he noticed a big guy in jeans, a hooded sweatshirt and a baseball cap.

“What’s up?” the man said to Lyles. Others, also dressed in jeans and hoodies, blocked the door to the street — making Lyles fear that he would be robbed. Instead, the man identified himself a police officer, frisked Lyles and demanded he sit on the greasy floor. Lyles objected.

“The officer hit me so hard it felt like his radio was in his hand,” Lyles testified about the 2009 incident, after suing Detective David Greene. “The blow was so heavy. My eyes swelled up. Blood was dripping down my nose and out my eye.”

Each of us lives in a city, town, county, or other municipality.  Maybe if each of us determined how much it has cost our hometown to support cops who beat the shit out of people just because they can -- then -- give that data to the papers, TV stations, preachers, activists, mayors, city councils, boards of supervisors . . . .  

I'll bet even the Tea Party would demand a stop to paying cops to beat up people.


Remember LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling who was concerned about people of color attending his team's games?  Remember all those photos of Sterling with a 20-something Sweet Thing hanging on his arm?  

Well, it seems as though Mrs. Sterling was not amused.  Neither was her attorney or the judge.

LOS ANGELES (AP) The billionaire wife of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling got her revenge against a woman he secretly showered with gifts and whose recording of his racially offensive rant cost him ownership of the team.

Shelly Sterling's victory Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court will force V. Stiviano to surrender a $1.8 million duplex and return $800,000 lavished on her in cash handouts and several luxury cars, including a Ferrari, during a shadowy relationship.

Shelly Sterling claimed that Stiviano seduced her 80-year-old husband and manipulated him to give up community property the couple amassed through a real estate rental empire built over six decades of marriage.

''Shelly is thrilled with the decision,'' attorney Pierce O'Donnell said.


I don't know how to embed this photo so you'll have to go to the link.

Sarah Palin posted this photo on her Facebook page.

Using the symbols of Easter to raise money for her PAC.  Sick, sick, sick.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

A Baton Rouge, La., hospital is closing the only emergency room on the city's impoverished north side, a real-world ripple effect of the ideological clash over President Barack Obama's health care law.

The shutdown on April 1 serves as an early warning for hospitals in states like Louisiana, where Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal turned down federal money to expand the Medicaid program for the poor. Charity hospitals will lose billions of federal aid beginning late next year, a cut that was supposed to be offset as more residents were covered by Medicaid.


In Louisiana, Baton Rouge General's Mid City hospital was already caught in that vise. It was flooded with the uninsured after a nearby charity hospital was closed. Louisiana provided a one-time injection of funds last year from the federal aid program that's about to be cut. With that money gone, the hospital is closing the emergency room.

Let's review the way Medicaid expansion was supposed to work.  

First, Medicaid reduced the amount of money hospitals will be reimbursed for providing health care to people whose income falls below a certain level.

At the same time, by expanding Medicaid eligibility, more people will be insured, having two effects.  (1) Insurance payments will offset the loss of payments to the hospital; and (2) because people now have medical insurance, they will establish a relationship with a physician thereby staying healthier and avoiding emergency room visits because untreated illness can be caught early.

In (Republican-controlled) states where Medicaid expansion was not enacted, hospitals are feeling a huge pinch and, very likely, this closing in Baton Rouge is only the beginning of a nationwide trend.  In fact, here in Virginia, Lee Regional Medical Center in Pennington Gap -- the only medical center serving a mountainous region with a mostly poor, elderly population -- closed a year ago for the same reason.

A study by the Colorado Hospital Association found that hospitals in states that accepted Medicaid expansion are in much better financial shape than hospitals in states that did not accept Medicaid expansion.

After gathering data from 465 hospitals in 30 states -- 15 that expanded Medicaid and 15 that did not -- the report concluded that in states that chose to participate in Medicaid expansion, the average charity care cost per hospital decreased from $2.8 million to $1.9 million.

In non-expansion states, hospitals witnessed an increase in charity care spending, from $3.8 million to $4.2 million, with the proportion of Medicaid and self-paying patients remaining unchanged.

Of course, these ARE Republicans we're talking about -- don't confuse them with facts.  When I presented the findings of this study to my Republican representative in the Virginia House of Delegates, she waved off the study as biased.

Oh, and did I mention that Piyush Jindal inherited an $800 million budget surplus from his predecessor, Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) -- and is now facing a $1.6 BILLION deficit?

Piyush Jindal -- clearly GOP Presidential material.


Not sure how to embed videos, so, here's a link to a YouTube video of Rick Santorum speaking in Janesville, WI, in 2012.  Did he say what it sounds as though he said?

Listen carefully beginning about the 00:38 mark.


The rightwing bullshit machine is in full-throated roar today because of an occurrence in Japan.

Turns out, Michelle Obama was greeted by the Japanese emperor and empress.  MO was wearing heels, she stumbled slightly, then, when she stood up, she towered over her two Japanese hosts.

How dare she be taller than the Japanese emperor and empress!!!  Maybe she should have knee-walked into the meeting with them??

Or maybe she should have waited for dinner when she could puke on them . . . you know, like GHWBush.

I'll stop here before I say something about rightwingers and my shotgun that get's me banned from Kos.


Want to piss off a rightwinger??  Buy Girl Scout cookies!!  I know -- Girl Scout Cookies are overpriced and loaded with sugar and fat but the simple act of buying a box or a dozen boxes is guaranteed to piss of a rightwinger or two.


For the past several years, conservative groups have urged their members not to touch the cookies, warning that doing so will support communism, abortion and homosexual indoctrination. The Girl Scouts’ right-wing detractors commonly cite the discredited myth that the group is funding Planned Parenthood, and the even stranger that it is turning children into lesbian, socialist activists.

. . .

Here are the three wildest claims that right-wing activists make about the girls’ empowerment organization:

1) Girl Scouts Push ‘Lesbianism’ On Children!

2) Girl Scouts Promote Abortion And ‘Promoscuity’!

3) Girl Scouts Commit ‘Child Abuse’ By Accepting Transgender Girls!

. . .

I just polished off my first box of Do-Si-Do's and am now attacking a box of Trefoils!!!

Sun Feb 22, 2015 at 04:12 PM PST

ALEC and the Texas prison uprising

by Old Redneck

By now everyone has heard of the 2-day-long uprising at a Texas prison housing "detained immigrants."  If not, here's an article describing the situation.

Here's a long quote from the article.

Prison-reform advocates say they’re not at all surprised by an uprising at a Texas prison that has forced the relocation of some 2,800 detained immigrants.

. . .

It took two days for county and federal police agencies to control the protests, with authorities even resorting to tear gas.

The inmates were reportedly protesting medical care at the facility, which is part of a little-known network of 13 prisons designated for immigrants, many of whom reentered the United States after being deported.

All are run by private companies, a fact advocates for immigration and prison reform say results in a second-class system with insufficient oversight.

“It’s a predictable consequence of the Bureau of Prisons turning a blind eye to the abuse at Criminal Alien Requirement prisons,” said Carl Takei, a staff attorney at the ACLU who visited the facility in 2013.

The Bureau of Prisons did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

“Willacy is aptly a symbol of everything that is wrong with the criminalization of immigration and BOP’s use of privatization,” Takei told Fusion.

. . .

Takei said when he visited Willacy inmates described “vermin and insects” crawling in and out of the tents, overflowing toilets, along with severe overcrowding.

Issa Arnita, a spokesperson for the company that runs the prison, Management and Training Corporation (MTC), said that they “believe offenders receive timely, quality health care,” noting that their health services have been accredited by two independent associations.

Referred to as “Tent City” by locals—most “dormitories” are Kevlar tents that house about 200 men in bunk beds that are reportedly spaced only a few feet apart—the facility is one of 13 prisons known as 13 Criminal Alien Requirement (CAR) prisons.

Oooopppsss!!!  What was that?  You say this place was run by  Management and Training Corporation (MTC) ?  And where have we heard of MTC before?

Google and Wikipedia are your friend.

The Management and Training Corporation (MTC) is the third-biggest for-profit prison corporation in the United States as of 2013.[1] It was founded in 1980, but according to the company's website, "its roots stretch back to the mid-1960s when MTC was first conceived through the Education and Training Division of Thiokol Corporation. Since 1966, it has operated centers for Job Corps -- a U.S. Department of Labor job-training program that prepares young people for meaningful careers. MTC entered the corrections industry in 1987 when it opened one of the first privately-operated corrections facilities in the United States."[2]

In July 2006, "Management & Training Corporation (MTC) . . . elected Andrew S. Natsios to its eight-member Board of Directors."[3]

Writing in 2006 for the Le Monde Diplomatique, Avery F. Gordon noted that: "Lane McCotter is an executive with Management and Training Corporation, a private prison company, which he joined after being forced to resign as director of the Utah Department of Corrections, following the death of a prisoner who had been shackled naked to a chair for 16 hours. US Attorney General John Ashcroft chose McCotter to direct the reopening of the Iraqi prisons under US rule and to train Iraqi guards; McCotter chose Abu Ghraib as the best site for the main prison and then oversaw its organisational transition."[4]

. . .

MTC attended the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in San Diego.[5]

For your further reading enjoyment:

The Influence of the Private Prison Industry in Immigrant Detention

Corporate Con Game

"Private prisons profit like a hotel," the video states. "The more occupants they can throw in, the more money comes out."

Maybe this is part of the explanation of the GOP opposition to President Obama's immigration reform executive orders.  After all, the fewer brown-skinned people we lock up, the less profit GOP donors make off human misery.


Breaking news, 9:45 PM, 11 February (EST):  Long-time 60 Minutes journalist Bob Simon killed in car wreck in NY.  He was passenger in car that rear-ended another vehicle.

No details as of now.


Very brief diary -- more info should be available later.

Three UNC students, identified as "young Muslims" were shot to death in an apartment in Chapel Hill, NC.

A family of three young Muslims have been shot dead in their home in a quiet neighbourhood of North Carolina in the US.

Police have named the victims as 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

Officers were called to reports of gunshots at 5.11pm at an apartment block largely housing academics and young professionals on Summerwalk Circle in Chapel Hill.

More on the shooter, who is in custody.
A 46-year-old man, named by police as Craig Stephen Hicks, has been arrested on suspicion of three counts of first-degree murder.

Hicks described himself as an atheist on Facebook and posted regular images and text condemning all religions. Police said he handed himself in last night.

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