I like Maya Rudolph.
She's very funny. She could have had a great variety show gig but she screwed that up. We didn't watch THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW to see THE DAILY SHOW. We just wanted to laugh and enjoy a song. But Maya finally got the variety show chance and thought we wanted political comedy --and one-sided political comedy at that.
She really blew it because she is someone that -- if she wasn't being political (and stupid) -- could have hosted a long running variety show that millions would have tuned in for.
An e-mail asks why I keep writing about DeSantis?
Okay, maybe this isn’t a universal experience, but it’s basically what happened between Rupert Murdoch and Ron DeSantis, the presidential candidate who once appeared to be the media mogul’s top pick to beat Donald Trump in 2024.
At the same time, he’s criticized “big progressive cities,” like Chicago, Philadelphia and Portland, Or. and blamed their justice reform policies for crime, while arguing that Florida’s pro-law enforcement stance is responsible for its relative safety.
The problem with these claims is that they are not only factually inaccurate, they also show just how little the presidential hopeful knows about crime in his own state—let alone the nation’s. DeSantis’ arguments deserve further investigation because they rely on inaccurate data that don’t (and can’t) paint the full picture of crime in Florida, obscures place-based variations and upticks in certain forms of crime across Florida, and contradicts the evidence on the relationship between criminal justice reform and crime.
This is because, in 2021, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) was in the process of shifting from its traditional data collection system—the Summary Reporting System, which reports monthly crime counts and documents only the most serious offense in an incident—to align with new national FBI reporting standards, the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which includes a greater number of crimes and allows for the reporting multiple offenses within one incident. While the NIBRS system will be an important transition in the long-term for more accurate crime reporting nationwide, some state agencies, including FDLE, did not meet the FBI’s 2021 reporting deadline and were excluded from national crime statistics.
In the place of accurate FBI data, DeSantis is basing his claims about Florida’s crime rates on FDLE’s 2021 annual crime report. This report is methodologically flawed since a total of 239 agencies (covering about half the state’s population) reported their crime trends using the old Summary Reporting System methodology. Others submitted with the new NIBRS methodology, others did a mix of both, and some—including Hillsborough County, where Tampa is—didn’t enter data whatsoever, meaning they were excluded from the 2021 statewide crime trends that DeSantis regularly cites.
These methodological clashes in Florida’s crime reporting create gaps in information that make it difficult to definitively claim any statewide crime trends—let alone that the state has reached “50-year-crime rate lows.”
First, it compares Florida’s state-level data with cities, while ignoring place-based patterns of crime concentration within Florida itself. Meaning, DeSantis’ claims don’t acknowledge the “neutralizing” effect that state data can have on crime trends, if some Florida cities experienced sharp upticks in crime while others saw declines.
Second, DeSantis’ claims rely on statewide “total crime” rates, which can also be misleading if certain minor crimes (like shoplifting or drug possession) went down across the state, while more serious crimes (like murder or rape) went up.
But not in Florida, which MarketWatch reports “has the highest inflation in the U.S.”
Even before then, The Miami Herald Editorial Board in February asked simply, “When is Florida’s governor actually going to govern?”
The second-ranked GOP presidential candidate has been focusing on culture war issues, including so-called “parental rights” and “education” laws that target LGBTQ children and people of color, along with banning abortion and drag shows, his fight with his state’s largest employer, Disney, and chasing – if not flying – undocumented workers out of the state.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
If money is available for investment in Iraq today, it should be first spent on oil production and expansion of the gas industry infrastructure.
Iraq’s oil production is not commensurate with the country’s potential as one of the world’s largest oil reserves. Some say that Iraq is the largest unexplored oil reservoir in the world, and that seismic surveys have only explored a small part of that reservoir.
Mohammed Hamid Nour is only 23, but he is already nostalgic for how Iraq's Mesopotamian marshes once were before drought dried them up, decimating his herd of water buffaloes.
Even at their centre in Chibayish, only a few expanses of the ancient waterways -- home to a Marsh Arab culture that goes back millennia -- survive, linked by channels that snake through the reeds.
Pull back further and the water gives way to a parched landscape of bald and cracked earth.
Palm trees need consistent care: watering, pruning and fertilizing. And when farmers had to leave, the trees suffered.
“So many people are forced to sell their land for very cheap and, oftentimes, farmers have found themselves working on land that they used to own,” Rubaii explained.
Iraq has also been getting hotter and drier. According to the UN, it is the fifth-most vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change.
“There’s a section of the southern part of Baghdad, if you drive through, you can see a lot of trees that look like they’ve been decapitated,” Rubaii added, “because sometimes when trees die, they keel over or, if they’re not surviving, sometimes they get cut from the top.”
Making matters worse is Iraq’s construction boom — especially in bigger cities like Baghdad. It means that more farmers are choosing to cut down palm trees entirely to make way for building projects.
The owner of a Michigan hair salon is refusing to serve some members of the LGBTQ+ community, flouting a state law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis.
In a recent Facebook post, Christine Geiger, the owner of Studio 8 Hair Lab in Traverse City, Michigan, wrote that “If a human identifies as anything other than a man/woman, please seek services at a local pet groomer. You are not welcome at this salon. Period.”
Geiger added that she and her staff would refer to customers who request to be addressed by a “particular pronoun” as “hey you,” regardless of what Michigan’s H.B. 4744 states. The legislation, signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in March, added the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity to Michigan’s 1976 Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) banning discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation within businesses, government buildings, and educational facilities on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, and marital status.
Geiger’s post follows the Supreme Court’s ruling in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, which said that certain business owners have the right under the First Amendment’s free speech protections to deny service on the basis of their personal beliefs. The court ruled in favor of a Christian web designer in Colorado who argued that the state’s LGBTQ+-inclusive anti-discrimination law violated her free speech rights by potentially forcing her to create wedding websites for hypothetical same-sex couples.
While some have argued that the decision narrowly applies to businesses that provide “expressive services” and does not provide carte blanche protection for any businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people, many have predicted that anti-LGBTQ+ business owners inclined to discriminate would interpret the ruling as a license to do so, despite state laws banning anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.
Marcia covered this topic last night in "Now more businesses think they refuse to serve LGBTQ+ members," while Ann covered it in "One thing Joe Biden deserves serious praise for" and we noted it in the "Roundtable" for THIRD and, yes, it's what Trina's talking about in "Some good news via the Emmy nominations:"
I feel very frightened for what this country is testing out on LGBTQ+ people. I feel very sad that a country of people who are loving and caring people are being tricked and deceived by liars who are trying to stir up hate. I feel very angry at grifters like Katie Halper who cannot address what is going on but can chat and giggle with convicted pedophile Scott Ritter or waste all of our time on yet another look-what-they're-doing-to-Roger-Waters-now!!!!!
I'm just discouraged.
Listen and note how the same group of people keep popping up -- behind the scenes -- Bri-Bri, Jimmy Dore, Jill Stein, Cornel West, serial plagiarist Chris Hedges, Medea Benjamin, etc etc. As Jared pointed out, "the same people caught up in it. You've got Chris Hedges, you've got Cornel West, you've got Jimmy Dore, you've got talented microphoned, you know, spokespeople. You got somewhat celebrity -- football players, who ever."