Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Doo-Doo needs a miracle tonight to avoid being flushed

  Happy Hump Day.

Ann's covering Senator Bob Menendez's current criminal charges so please check her out for that.  She passed an article over on Shady Menendez, David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement:

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is losing support as more of his Senate Democratic colleagues formally call on him to resign after he was indicted again, this time on federal bribery charges that included allegations of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gold bars.

As of Tuesday morning, at least nine Democratic U.S. Senators have now called on the twice-indicted senior Democratic Senator from New Jersey to resign, as they cite the gravity of the charges against him.

U.S. Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) was the first to call on Menendez to resign, on Monday. U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Peter Welch (D-VT) followed later that day.

On Tuesday morning, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Tester (D-MT), and Bob Casey (D-PA) all called on Sen. Menendez to resign. by 11 AM, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also called for him to resign.

According to the Dept. of Justice, Sen. Menendez, along with his wife Nadine Menendez, not only are alleged to have received bribes, he is charged with doing so in a scheme “to use his official position to protect and enrich” those he allegedly accepted funds from, and “to benefit the Government of Egypt.”

Thank you to Ann who's memory is better than mine.  I read it, called her back and said "good article, I'll highlight it."  She said, "You don't remember?"  Then I did.  I called out a piece by David before but noted it was not personal and that he seemed like a good writer and I'd highlight him in the future.  I think it was a month ago.  But then life.  And I forgot, so thank you to Ann for remembering for me.

Now let's move over to Doo-Doo Ron Ron DeSantis.  You know he hates masks and you know he hates boosters.  You know he's telling everyone not to get the COVID booster shot. Guess what's now happening in Florida?  Joseph Lysikatos (MAMA SAID WHAT) reports:

Florida’s Covid-19 hospitalizations have surged to a post-pandemic record. Amid this crisis, Governor Ron DeSantis and his surgeon general’s controversial warning against COVID-19 booster shots has sparked intense debate and concern within the medical community.

Florida has emerged as the nation’s leader in COVID-related hospitalizations, and Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration is facing mounting controversy over its stance on COVID-19 booster shots.
At a time when the state grapples with a surge in hospital admissions, the decision by DeSantis’ hand-picked surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, to discourage those under 65 from receiving mRNA boosters has drawn sharp criticism from the medical community.
As of the week ending on September 9th, Florida’s hospitalization rate stood at 10.65 per 100,000 residents, surpassing Washington, D.C., and Arkansas. 

Doo-Doo is an idiot.   Tonight, they're calling it, his make-or-break moment.  The second Republican candidate debate starts shortly.  James Bickerton (NEWSWEEK) reports:

Ron DeSantis has a chance to reignite his stuttering presidential campaign when he appears in the second Republican presidential debate on Wednesday evening, with one political scientist telling Newsweek: "I don't think so many primary voters have made up their minds that the nomination is sealed."

The event is taking place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, with seven GOP hopefuls confirming they will be taking part. Notably Donald Trump, the current frontrunner, has indicated he won't be participating. He also skipped the first debate and will instead address automobile workers in Michigan.

Over the past few months Trump has built up a commanding lead over DeSantis, his closest rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, with the polling aggregate run by polling aggregate website FiveThirtyEight giving him an average of 54.7 percent support from likely GOP primary voters, against just 13.9 percent for DeSantis. Thus Wednesday's debate will give the Florida governor an opportunity to remake his pitch to Republicans, and try and claw back some of the support he has lost over the past few months.

Doo-Doo needs a miracle tonight.  Bet he's praying to Satan and pleading with Satan, knowing Doo-Doo.  His campaign has spent the last weeks insisting that a second place result in Iowa wouldn't be that bad.  Really?  Because he's made Iowa his focus:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has barnstormed Iowa in recent months, making the Hawkeye State, the first to vote in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, the focus of his campaign.

But his commitment to Iowa, where he plans to visit all 99 counties by the end of the fall, has meant spending less time in another key state, New Hampshire, which votes second and where experts and allies of the governor suggest his decreased time on the ground is hurting his chances there.

Some polling indicates DeSantis has seen a steep drop in his support among Granite Staters in recent months. He was the first choice of 10% of likely GOP primary voters in New Hampshire, a drop of 13 points since July, according to a CNN/University of New Hampshire poll released last week.

He closely trailed three primary opponents -- entrepreneur and commentator Vivek Ramaswamy (13%), former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (12%) and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (11%) -- and was 29 points behind former President Donald Trump, who remains the primary front-runner.

Other polls show DeSantis barely outpacing his non-Trump rivals in New Hampshire but still far behind the former president.

I would love it if someone on the debate stage tonight could send Doo-Doo packing.  

By the way, I hope you read "Thoughts on Woke (Ava and C.I.)" already.  Ava and C.I. are covering a huge number of topics.  I wish Jim had gone into it in his 'a note to our readers' but everyone was so tired.  But they wrote that trying to write something different since the writers and actors remain on strike (they're  not covering scripted programming during the strike).  In it they talk about the hate merchants and the way Doo-Doo is ruining Florida.  I thought of that, when I saw Dee Brenner's post at WEALTHY LIVING:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a number of controversial laws throughout his tenure, but his recent legislative actions which affected how the state teaches African-American history and treats its LGBTQ community appear to do a major disservice to the state when it comes to attracting visitors.
Florida tourism officials claim DeSantis’ recent clashes with the LGBTQ community, Disney, and, migrants are costing the state money. 

They say the governor’s rhetoric and policies are hurting the state’s tourism revenue.

Florida’s Broward County, which includes the resort town of Fort Lauderdale near Miami, reports increasing losses as Conventions turn their back on the state. 
More conventions are avoiding the area, concerned about the safety of diverse attendees in an “unfriendly political environment.” Up to this point, a total of 14 conventions that were originally planned for Florida have been relocated to other locations, as reported by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, September 27, 2023.  Over a hundred dead in Iraq from a fire at a wedding, Joe Biden takes to the picket line, Moms For Bigotry continue their attempt to destroy the country, education and democracy, and much more.

Last week, as Iraq's Prime Minister addressed the United Nations General Assembly and as he he met with various leaders, the press largely ignored him and Iraq.  This morning?  Iraq's all they seem able to talk about.

Kathyn Armstrong (BBC NEWS) notes, "Footage posted online showed the couple on the dance floor before flaming chunks begin falling onto the dance floor.  Firefighters could be seen climbing over the wreckage of the building in search of survivors on Wednesday morning."  Farid Abdul Wahed (AP) addds, "Authorities said that flammable building materials also contributed to the latest disaster to hit Iraq’s dwindling Christian minority. In the fire’s chaotic aftermath, officials offered conflicting death tolls and security officials said they had detained staff at the wedding hall as part of their investigation."  Holly Johnston, Mina Aldroubi and Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) put the death toll currently at 115 with another 150 injured and  Omar Abdulkader (CBS NEWS) notes, "Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani ordered an investigation into the blaze and asked the country's interior and health ministries to provide assistance, his office said in a statement posted online."


Turning to the United States, let's give Joe Biden some credit.  Joey Garrison and Michael Collins (USA TODAY) report:

President Joe Biden walked the picket line with the United Auto Workers outside Detroit, telling them to "stick with it," in a historic visit Tuesday 12 days into the union's strike against the nation's three largest automakers.

Biden, visiting a General Motor redistribution center, said workers deserve more of a share of the profits from Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Stellantis. It marked the first time a sitting president has joined a picket line of workers on strike in the middle of a labor dispute.

Do you get it?  Nope?  Let's again note Joni Mitchell, a song I like to retitle "The Last Time I Saw Barack."

You like roses and kisses and pretty men to tell you
All those pretty lies, pretty lies
When you gonna realize they're only pretty lies?
Only pretty lies, just pretty lies"
-- "The Last Time I Saw Richard," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album BLUE.

"All those pretty lies, pretty lies, when you gonna realize they're only pretty lies?"

From Senator Barack Obama's November 3, 2007 speech in South Carolina while he was on the campaign trail was full of lies, "just pretty lies."  For example:

One year from now, we can stop sending hundreds of millions of dollars to dictators for their oil while we melt the polar ice caps in the bargain. I will raise our fuel standards, and put a cap on carbon emissions to reduce then 80% by 2050. We'll tell polluters that they have to pay for their pollution, because they don't own the skies, the American people own the skies. And we'll use the money to invest in the clean, renewable fuels that are our future. That's the change we can offer in 2008.

No, he did not put a cap on carbon emissions to reduce them by 80% by 2050.  Didn't happen.  Change you can believe in if you're really foolish.

When I am President, I will end this war in Iraq. I will bring our troops home within sixteen months. I'll finish the fight against al Qaeda in Afghanistan. And I will lead the world against the common threats of the 21st century - nuclear weapons and terrorism; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. 

He killed more people with drones than anyone before him.  He never withdrew all troops from Iraq -- not in 16 months, not in his first term, not in his second term.  US troops remain on the ground in Iraq.  He didn't finish the fight in Afghanistan and it was Joe Biden, as president who brought US troops hom.

I don't want to see that the oceans rose another few inches and the planet has reached the point of no return because we couldn't find a way to stop ourselves from buying oil from dictators. I don't want to see that.

Well that wasn't a broken promise.  He didn't promise to make sure the oceans didn't rise "another few inches," he just said he didn't want to see it.  By the way, it's risen about three inches since Barack gave that speech. 

"I don't want to see homeless veterans on the street." Again, not a broken promise.  He just didn't want to see it.  It was 2009, after being elected president, that Barack made the promise to end homelessness.  Spoiler alert: Didn't happen.  From the editorial board of THE NEW YORK TIMES, August 5, 2016, "Broken Promises to Homeless Vets:"

Speaking to disabled veterans on Monday in Atlanta, President Obama discussed his administration’s efforts to end “the tragedy, the travesty” of veteran homelessness. He proudly declared the glass half full. “We have now reduced the number of homeless veterans by 47 percent,” he said. The number of homeless veterans is now under 40,000.

What Mr. Obama did not say, in an address that also boasted about the success of the Department of Veterans Affairs in expanding disability benefits, cutting health care backlogs and improving mental health care, was that the upbeat statistic actually reflects shrunken ambition and mission failure. Mr. Obama’s V.A. has been promising to vanquish the problem since 2009, the year Eric Shinseki, then the secretary of veterans affairs, announced a plan to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2014.

Mr. Shinseki resigned in 2014, undone by health care scandals on his watch, but the administration, undaunted, announced another campaign that year, called the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. New name, new strategic emphasis -- enlisting state and local governments and philanthropies -- but the same promise: a home for all down-and-out veterans in all 50 states by 2015.

There is no excuse for that failure.  No one twisted his arm for that promise.  Having made it, he should have ensured the issue was resolved.  Instead, he broke a promise to veterans.  To be clear, I don't think veterans are any better than the rest of the population.  And I do believe we should be addressing homelessness throughout the country -- not just veterans.  But the reason I advocate for them with regards to, for example, healthcare is because the government made a promise and then it refused to live up to it.  It's the same thing with homeless veterans.  They didn't sign up thinking, "I won't be homeless."  If they did, some were mistaken.  But in 2009, Barack promised that veterans homelessness would be ended by 2014.  That was a promise from the sitting president of the United States.  He made it and it's now a debt owed.

The VA claims that, today, there are 67,495 homeless veterans -- that's most likely an undercount.  

There is no excuse for that after Barack's 'promise.'  This could have been dealt with.  68,000 homes being built would have strengthened the economy -- due to the costs for labor and materials.  And who was going to argue against it?  Lauren Boebert or some other idiot.  Most Americans would have said, "Build the damn homes."  Because a promise was made and the government needs to keep it's promises.  

But it was always just pretty words, just pretty words for Barack which is why we called him "Mr Pretty Words" and why we repeatedly cited "The Last Time I Saw Richard" when Barack was in the White Hose.  From the November 3, 2007 speech, let's note one more part:

When I am President, I will end the tax giveaways to companies that ship our jobs overseas, and I will put the money in the pockets of working Americans, and seniors, and homeowners who deserve a break. I won't wait ten years to raise the minimum wage - I'll raise it to keep pace every single year. And if American workers are being denied their right to organize when I'm in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States.

So many lies -- minimum wage was raised only once -- July of 2009.  Hasn't been raised since.  "I'll raise it to keep pace every single year."

Just pretty lies, only pretty lies.

And he never put on his shoes and walked a picket line.

Yesterday, Joe Biden walked a picket line and, again, "It marked the first time a sitting president has joined a picket line of workers on strike in the middle of a labor dispute."

One more time from USA TODAY's report:

The visit followed a public invitation from UAW President Shawn Fain to Biden last Friday, as UAW expanded its strike to 38 sites across 20 states. Fain greeted Biden at the Detroit airport and rode with Biden in the president's limousine to greet striking auto workers.

"Our president chose to stand up with workers in our fight for economic and social justice," Fain said, thanking Biden. "It’s a historic day, a historic moment in time.”

Again, credit for that.

For THIRD,  Ava and I wrote "Thoughts on Woke (Ava and C.I.)" and it notes the increase of hate and Nazis in Florida.  William Spivey (LEVEL) points out:

It's no accident that Nazis are growing in numbers in Florida. Many Republicans here talk the same language and hate the same people. DeSantis is at war with the LGBTQ community, Black people, and immigrants, and so are they. The same can be said for the most infamous resident of Mar-a-Lago, who put like-minded people like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller in the White House.

On Nazis, in 1988, Lindsay Wagner made the TV movie EVIL IN CLEAR RIVER.  I thought she gave a praise-worthy performance.  But the movie?  Well written but I just didn't see it as realistic. Her character's son is spouting some fake 'facts' and she discovers the teacher -- a real 'coach' Tommy Tuberville type -- is lying to the students about the Holocaust.    It's realistic today.   Nazis are all over the place and we all have to be Lindsay fighting them.  For example, Katharine Fung (NEWSWEEK) reported earlier this week:

A Holocaust denier is running for a school board election in Minnesota.

Vaughn Klingenberg, who is a candidate for Roseville Area Schools board, has made several comments discussing his beliefs that the Nazis did not want the Holocaust and that they were actually trying to "save" Jewish people.

In a July appearance on VT Radio's "Uncensored Alternative Foreign Policy Talk" podcast, Klingenberg described the Holocaust being orchestrated by "big Zionist Jews" to persecute "little Jews" and claimed that "the Jewish religion is an ideology based on victimization."

The Holocaust has been recognized as the genocide of European Jews by Nazi Germany and described by the National WWII Museum as the "deliberate, organized, state-sponsored persecution and machinelike murder of approximately six million European Jews and at least five million Soviet prisoners of war, Romany, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, and other victims."

The hate merchants never give up selling the hate.  It can be very upsetting trying to make it through a day in this country lately.  UNBRANDED ENTERTAINMENT notes:

On a recent episode of Dax Shepard’s 'Armchair Expert' podcast, Jonathan Van Ness burst into tears defending the transgender community. Shepard and the hairstylist were discussing The New York Times and Van Ness called out the publication for sharing anti-trans content. The podcast’s host said, “Some people are very uncomfortable about teenagers transitioning… the person’s not gonna change their mind?” He added, “To even question it makes you an enemy. I don’t think that’s the way forward." Van Ness said that it felt like they were talking to their dad. "I’m not calling you a transphobe. You can not be transphobic and still have thoughts that espouse trans misogyny and espouse transphobic ideologies or beliefs and not be transphobic", responded Van Ness. Van Ness began to cry, as they are “emotionally exhausted” from having to constantly fight for kids who “just wanted to be included”.

It is upsetting.  The hate's made me cry many times out of frustration and out of sadness for what some people -- who have harmed no one -- have to live with and live through.  But we can push back on the hate merchants.  And some people -- basic citizens as well as politicians -- are showing us how.  AP reports:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Monday to ban school boards from rejecting textbooks based on their teachings about the contributions of people from different racial backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities.

Newsom called the measure “long overdue.”

“From Temecula to Tallahassee, fringe ideologues across the country are attempting to whitewash history and ban books from schools,” Newsom said in a statement. “With this new law, we’re cementing California’s role as the true freedom state: a place where families — not political fanatics -- have the freedom to decide what’s right for them.”

The bill takes effect immediately.

As part of the effort to spread their hate, Moms For Bigotry and other hate groups have declared war on education.  They ban books, they rewrite history, they attack education.   Katrina vanden Heuvel (THE NATION) notes:

They don’t just air grievances. Their website offers free trainings for parents to help them testify to school boards—or even get elected to them. They advocate for bathroom bills and teacher restrictions and laws requiring school staff to out queer students to their parents. And of course, they’re pushing for book bans—though the organization’s executive director would have you believe these aren’t real bans, because you can still purchase the books in question “via booksellers or the Internet.”

Citizens Defending Freedom is even less subtle—their site boasts endorsements from disgraced former Trump adviser Mike Flynn and disgraced current MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. They successfully campaigned for the Texas State Board of Education to dissociate from the American Library Association (which they call a “woke organization”), and want other states to do the same. One chapter recently challenged over 100 books as “age-inappropriate” for Fort Worth’s school libraries, including The Handmaid’s Tale—even though banning The Handmaid’s Tale sounds like something out of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Then there’s Moms for Liberty. When it launched in 2021, the organization was originally focused on fighting against Covid-19 protections—like mask and vaccine mandates—in schools. Now they spend their time electing school board members who share their concerns, and flooding board meetings with parents who are outraged that their kids are reading books about interracial relationships, hurricanes, and male seahorses carrying eggs.

When Moms for Liberty gets a book banned, not only does it deprive one district of that specific text; it can set a dangerous standard. Earlier this year, the group successfully banned a graphic-novel version of The Diary of Anne Frank from a Florida high school—which included passages about puberty that other adaptations omitted. Flash-forward to last week in Texas: a teacher was fired for assigning the same book to her eighth grade reading class.

Never mind that those eighth graders are the same age Frank was when she wrote her diary, experiencing puberty themselves and asking similar questions about their bodies—including, as Frank wrote, curiosities about “the little hole underneath.” Parents are supposed to pretend that exposure to that level of graphic detail will permanently warp the minds of their 14-year-olds.

Meanwhile, in February, a South Carolina high school teacher assigned her AP English students Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. Two students objected to the book’s discussion of Blackness in America, and reported their teacher to a school board member who was endorsed by Moms for Liberty. Because a state proviso explicitly prohibits lessons that make students “feel discomfort” about their race, the curriculum was immediately abandoned, and the books taken away.

You're supposed to want more for the next generation -- for them to do better, for them to be smarter and more educated.  Not the hate groups.  No, Moms For Bigotry want the US to fall behind every other nation in the world when it comes to education.  They've declared war on the truth and they throw lies at facts.  They'll run this nation into the ground if they aren't confronted and called out.  The sad thing is, they don't even grasp how ridiculous they look to the children they pretend they're trying to 'protect.'  The kids are starving for knowledge and grasp that this world has some serious problems to address.  

Today’s children and young adults care more about climate change than they do most issues as temperatures have reached record highs and the number of weather-related disasters continues to rise.
Yet research suggests the learning materials students are consuming in school have in some cases muted their coverage of climate change. Students told USA TODAY treatment of the issue has remained limited in schools even as their demands for such education have grown.
“Everything I learned about climate change was self-taught,” said Amara Ifeji, 21, now a senior at Northeastern University in Boston and an environmental justice advocate. Her low-income high school in Maine didn’t require climate change instruction for students in her particular science, technology, engineering and math program, let alone instruction that addressed the uneven impacts on people of color.

While a number of states have changed their standards and curricula to address climate change, she worries about all the students at schools that lack the resources or the political will to make it a formal and interdisciplinary part of the learning experience. Polls have found a majority of teachers still don’t talk about the topic in class, usually saying it's outside their wheelhouse.

The following sites updated: