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      Right, with the ban on Huawei using chips made with American manufacturing equipment (one of America’s last few places of absolute advantage); the bans of TikTok, Tencent and WeChat; the attempt to convince other countries to not use Huawei 5G; the arrest of the Huawei founder’s daughter for doing business with Iran along with the […]
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Ricci don’t use that number

New Haven Fire Department

Yesterday’s 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Ricci v. DeStefano predictably resulted in lots of bloviating by gasbags who didn’t let complete ignorance of the court’s holding get in the way of releasing tons of heated air into the atmosphere.  Having actually read the 93 page decision I am happy to inform you that it is neither the end of Affirmative Action nor a repudiation of Sonia Sotomayor.

First of all a little background:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U. S. C.§2000e et seq., as amended, prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Title VII prohibits both intentional discrimination (known as “disparate treatment”) as well as, in some cases, practices that are not intended to discriminate but in fact have a disproportionately adverse effect on minorities (known as “disparate impact”).

When originally enacted Title VII only prohibited intentional discrimination in employment. A subsequent SCOTUS decision and later an amendment added employment practices that while neutral on their face had the effect of discrimination. An example of this would be a requirement that police officers be at least 5 ft 10 inches in height, because such a requirement would tend to discriminate against women and Asians because most of them could not meet that requirement.

An employer can still use “disparate impact” practices if the practice has “a manifest relationship to the employment in question” and there was no “legitimate alternative that would have resulted in less discrimination.”  Understanding Title VII is key to understanding the decision.  (The court spends a couple pages discussing what I just condensed into two paragraphs.)


The Facts:

The city of New Haven, Connecticut has been sued over racial discrimination before:

In the early 1970’s, African-Americans and Hispanics composed 30 percent of New Haven’s population, but only 3.6 per-cent of the City’s 502 firefighters. The racial disparity in the officer ranks was even more pronounced: “[O]f the 107officers in the Department only one was black, and he heldthe lowest rank above private.” Firebird Soc. of New Haven, Inc. v. New Haven Bd. of Fire Comm’rs, 66 F. R. D. 457, 460 (Conn. 1975).
Following a lawsuit and settlement agreement, see ibid., the City initiated efforts to increase minority representation in the New Haven Fire Department (Department). Those litigation-induced efforts produced some positive change. New Haven’s population includes a greater proportion of minorities today than it did in the 1970’s: Nearly 40 percent of the City’s residents are African-American and more than 20 percent are Hispanic. Among entry-level firefighters, minorities are still underrepresented, but not starkly so. As of 2003, African-Americans and Hispanics constituted 30 percent and 16 percent of the City’s firefighters, respectively. In supervisory positions, however, significant disparities remain. Overall, the senior officer ranks (captain and higher) are nine percent African-American and nine percent Hispanic. Only one of the Department’s 21 fire captains is African-American.

So New Haven tried to do the right thing:

Continue reading

It’s Official…Al Franken, “Number 60” Should be/is on His Way to the Senate

al_franken

The long-awaited decision is finally in from the Minnesota State Supreme Court:

From Talking Points Memo:

The Minnesota Supreme Court has handed down its much-expected ruling in the heavily-litigated Minnesota Senate race from 2008 — and it’s a unanimous one — deciding against Republican former Sen. Norm Coleman’s appeal of his defeat in the election trial and affirming the lower court’s verdict that Democratic comedian Al Franken is the legitimate winner of the race.

This, in conjunction with Governor Tim Pawlenty’s promise

UPDATE:  This just in…Coleman concedes.  It’s really going to happen.

It’s going to be interesting to watch.

You Don’t Have to be Stupid to be Ignorant, II

3rdMay1808It’s been said that the left hold their firing squads in an inward facing circle. If we allow the qualification that the shooters tend to be ideologues, then Plukasiak’s responses to dakinikat’s post on the Honduran situation suggest that he would be in the front row, if he wasn’t already the Generalisimo that ordered the execution.

Plukasiak comments on this post demonstrate weak reasoning skills and a lack of civility. Anecdotal experience suggests that non-elite ideologues tend to function thusly. Plukasiak’s approach has a whiff of the jackboot about it, so, given the dangers ideologues pose to civil society, especially when said societies face challenging circumstances, I think it is useful to treat his responses as a case study of ideologic pathology, as a means of identifying the symptoms so that we can better avoid its outcomes.

Methodologically-speaking, it is optimal to let Plukasiak’s own testimony serve as the rope that makes the case. I will juxtapose dakinikat’s commentary, with Plukasiak’s interpretation of her commentary, to demonstrate how his ideological bent distorts her intent. This type of distortion of reality, in conjunction with it’s claim to be true, is the basis for the creation of organically-created schizophrenia, which is why I label his act as a sociopathology.

The exchanges continue to roil and this treatment will not be exhaustive. Treatments rarely are in the blogosphere. Please note, some of my points in the analysis at the end will arise without foremention. I assume readers will travel these paths on their own, if they find the exercise of this post worthwhile.

Dakinikat begins her post by noting that US News coverage of the Honduran coup was lacking amidst the focus on Michael Jackson’s death. She says in her post that she finds this lack strange, given US involvement in Honduras. She says her search for news lead her to the Wall Street Journal, hardly a strange place for a doctoral student in Finance to tread, and she notes:

While #Michael Jackson and #IraqElection are on trending topics, Honduras appears to be the overlooked coup.

She then quotes the WSJ op-ed piece on the apparent “overlooked” coup that offers an alternate opinion. From here, she states:

I’ve noticed among some of the more leftist progressives in the United States that it’s really cool to think the Hugo Chavez is a man of the people and that life in South America will improve under his guidance. It’s also equally hep among the most right wing of the conservative movement to write off every Latin American leader who hasn’t dollarized their economy and opened their people to “jobs” provided by U.S. based corporations as communists in the Castro model. Ah, to be an ideologue clinging to the object of their desires! Life would be so simple then! As usual, the devil is in the details and the greater ethos of reality lies somewhere in the mundane but dangerous middle.

; and;

So, what we need to do now is keep reading to find the devil in the details or perhaps Mr. Chavez’ nose will find the smell of sulpher once again. But then, we’re at the mercy of Corporate press, whose bottom line has denied funding to elsewhere news desks and, after all, Billy Mays just died unexpectedly.

She also notes:

We know have an interesting little development in our own backyard which appears to be making bedfellows of SOS Hillary Clinton, Daniel Ortego, Fidel Castro, and Venezuelan macho, macho man Chavez. Some how, I think we’re on the wrong side. Secretary Clinton, what the hell is going on?

Continue reading

Monday Morning News with The Confluence

the_morning_paper_1913

Election 2008 — and related stories

Pawlenty may certify Franken if battle drags out

I Want My Money Back! (Pres. Obama!)


Health Insurance for Everyone!!

Yesterday the Washington Post published a bizarre story.  Apparently there are activists pushing Congress to enact Health Care Reforms that Congress has no intension of passing.  And those efforts are crippling the chances of getting a Health Insurance For Everyone bill passed. Hilariously one of the people interviewed by the author (Ceci Connolly), Adam Green responded at OpenLeft.

Obama wants to know what we think about health care.  But his blog doesn’t accept comments.

But must of us want to know if Jon and Kate would be getting a divorce if they had better health insurance.


Celebrity News

Famed pitchman, Billy Mays, dead at 50.  Rumors that he died of a head injury are unconfirmed.

Gale Storm, star of My Little Margie, dead at 87.

Rating the Greatest GOP Sex Scandals of the Past 20 Years.

Michael Jackson weighed 112 pounds on the day he died.

Aide’s tale of John Edwards sex tape


Breakthrough on the Authorship of Obama’s ‘Dreams’ ?

Pope Says Tests ‘Seem to Conclude’ Bones Are the Apostle Paul’s

At the End of the Day, it’s the end of the world.

Silly Video Open Thread

h/t tweet from Synchronize23

Has anyone seen Rico? I could use a seltzer with lime.

The Usual Suspects

Harold Ickes at RBC Meeting, May 31, 2008

Harold Ickes at RBC Meeting, May 31, 2008

Dan Balz has a piece in the Washington Post today about the efforts by both parties to “reform” the presidential primary system. The article is mostly about the Democrats’ problems though. Surprisingly, Balz to some extent acknowledges that the 2008 Democratic primaries were handled in a way that severely damaged Hillary Clinton’s chances. But he has it mostly wrong.

…there’s no disputing that the rules governing the nomination process can affect candidates’ fortunes. Just ask supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton. The DNC’s decision to punish Florida and Michigan for staging their contests in violation of party rules, particularly the penalty against Florida, robbed her of victories that could have changed the outcome. The Obama campaign’s mastery of the nominating rules clearly contributed to his victory over Clinton.

Um…Dan, “the Obama campaign’s mastery of the nominating rules?” Obama won by taking the small red-state caucuses, while Hillary won the big states. In the end, Clinton had more popular votes than Obama, and she would have had almost the same number of pledged delegates as Obama if it hadn’t been for the DNC’s refusal to count the votes of Florida and Michigan voters. The DNC rigged “the roolz” from day one in favor of Obama and they got plenty of help from the media in doing so. The RBC committee had to fiddle with the Michigan primary results, taking away four votes from Hillary and giving them to Obama along with “uncommitted” votes he didn’t earn in order to cement his “victory.”

Let’s get in the way-back machine and go back in time to May 31, 2008, shall we? Continue reading

Smoking Kool-aid in a crack pipe

WPE2
I was bored and I hadn’t been by Blogstalkers for a few days so I dropped in to see what they were up to. Naturally, they’ve been talking about us.  People ask me why I visit their site and the reason is that it gives me a glimpse into the minds of the Failbots.  If I went to Cheetopia I would have to wade through long comment threads, but at Blogstalkers I can get the pure essence of Failbot with all the humanity and common sense removed:

I’d love, just once, for the panty-wetting, pearl-clutching brigade of disgruntled “We Were Right and Obama Sucks” bloggers to point to the United States president they revere as the model for All Things Good and Liberal.I mean, if he’s so awful, surely they can tell us “Now X – THAT was the man!”

Abe Lincoln? FDR? Civil rights disasters, both of them, who make Obama look like Gandhi. JFK? Hawkish as they come. Clinton? Uh, yeah. DOMA. NAFTA. “Welfare reform” that somehow managed to kick a lot of poor kids off the Medicaid rolls.

I’m perfectly fine with people criticizing Obama. I do it myself (been stuffing the Whitehouse.gov email box and those of my elected reps with loads of communiques on DOMA, DADT, and not backing down on the public option on healthcare). But the snot-nosed puling childen who act as if he’s letting us down so much in comparison to all those wonderful leftie presidents in the past are just pig-shit ignorant of U.S. presidential history, despite their scoffings that anyone not ready, six months in, to declare Obama an abject failure and get behind some purer leftie soul is just a starry-eyed idiot.

And who might that Galahad-pure Leftie Idol be?Bernie Sanders? Good luck with that. The Imaginary Progressive Hillary In Their Minds, Rather Than the One Who Voted for the War Without Reading the Intelligence Estimate and also supported the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, and Wanted to Ban Flag Burning? Oh, and who ALSO has never come out in favor of single-payer healthcare?

Jesus, I hate to admit this about the side I tend to, well, side with—but sometimes the rightists are right: liberals are whiny fucking crybabies who love to lose so they can keep playing victim all their lives instead of dealing with reality as it is. Which is to say: imperfect. Mostly sucky. But politics, as with every other choice in life, comes down to “what will suck least for the greatest number of people?”

Obama is better than JFK, WJC, Lincoln and FDR?  Blogstalkers has now crossed over into Ed Wood “so bad it’s funny” territory.

Speaking of “pig-shit ignorant,” this particular blogstalker is obviously unaware that no children were kicked off of Medicaid by the Clinton era welfare reforms.  The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 only affected cash aid.

Although it was signed into law by Bill Clinton, it was part of Newt Gingrinch’s “Contract on America” and it was timed to pass Congress in August 1996 in the hopes that Clinton would veto it so the Republicans could use the issue against him in his reelection campaign.

Obama has done nothing to repeal DOMA or renegotiate NAFTA.  NCLB was a bill co-sponsored by Ted Kennedy that passed with wide bi-partisan support.  Kennedy endorsed Obama last year before Super Duper Tuesday.  While Hillary did vote for the Iraq AUMF so did 28 other Democrats in the Senate.  Failbots conveniently forget that there was strong public support for the war and also the Patriot Act.

Nobody is perfect, but we’ve have great Presidents, good Presidents, bad Presidents, worse Presidents and  George W. Bush.  Out of 43 choices, guess which one Obama decided to emulate?

Obama is Bush III


change 3


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A small evil group to which no one we know belongs

Goldman-Sachs Tower.  (Sauron lives here.)

Goldman-Sachs Tower. (Sauron lives here.)

Early in the primary season last year, my colleague from up the hall told me of a dinner she had with her Wall Street working neighbors.  Now, not all of the people in NJ who work on Wall Street are evil people.  Some of them were just rank and file finance types.  One of my colleague’s friends quit Wall Street to work part time as a professor.  So, these people were not in the corner offices.  I thought for sure she was going to tell me they were all die hard Republicans.  Not so.  She said her friends said they feared a Depression if McCain was elected and a deep recession if Obama was elected.  They actually thought that Hillary was the one who was most economically sound.

No, I’m not being a Hillary groupie here.  My mind had been made up to vote for her anyway and at that point, Obamamania was in full swing.  What I found disconcerting is that these people who typically vote Republican thought it would be a disaster and they didn’t think Obama was going to be much of an improvement.  My colleague didn’t say anymore about it but after that point, she didn’t criticize Hillary anymore.  I think they told her something that frightened her.

A couple of days ago on Conflucians Say, I mentioned that it feels like the country is being controlled by a “Small evil group to which no one we know belongs”.  It feels like feudalism, as if the Normans had reconquered and grabbed everything in sight.  There’s a new patronage system.  To the victors go the spoils.  The rest of us have become serfs without any real rights.  Go ahead, try to assert your right of assembly.  Try to get your speech widely heard outside of the blogosphere.  Try to be non-religious and apply for govenment grants for your social programs.  Try to get your case of age discrimination heard fairly before the Supreme Court.  (Guys, I am really concerned about Sonya Sotomayor considering who is appointing her)

And then, I read the piece by Matt Taibbi yesterday about Goldman-Sachs called the Great American Bubble Machine.  It’s all about how G-S has been right there in the middle of every major financial crisis sinee 1929.  Opaque investment securities?  G-S.  Credit default swaps, CDO’s, the internet bubble and collapse of NASDAQ?  G-S.  How about the $4/gallon oil crisis of last year that hurt so many families and caused food riots in other parts of the world?  G-S.

G-S are those greedy nobles who rape, pillage and take what they want without consequence.  It’s really too bad that the US got rid of bills of attainder for special cases because if there was ever a corporation that should never be allowed to get anywhere near taxpayer money ever again, it would be Goldman-Sachs.  Unfortunately, our current government is infested with former Goldman-Sachs guys who have their fingers in everything financial.

Matt’s piece is full of charming quotes but this one really stood out for me because the person in question had a huge impact on the outcome of the primaries last year but mostly flies under the radar in today’s media environment:

The market was no longer a rationally managed place to grow real, profitable businesses: It was a huge ocean of Someone Else’s Money where bankers hauled in vast sums through whatever means necessary and tried to convert that money into bonuses and payouts as quickly as possible. If you laddered and spun 50 Internet IPOs that went bust within a year, so what? By the time the Securities and Exchange Commission got around to fining your firm $110 million, the yacht you bought with your IPO bonuses was already six years old. Besides, you were probably out of Goldman by then, running the U.S. Treasury or maybe the state of New Jersey. (One of the truly comic moments in the history of America’s recent financial collapse came when Gov. Jon Corzine of New Jersey, who ran Goldman from 1994 to 1999 and left with $320 million in IPO-fattened stock, insisted in 2002 that “I’ve never even heard the term ‘laddering’ before.”)

Ahuh.

After reading this piece, it no longer surprises me that Corzine hasn’t done diddly squat for the homeowners of NJ and their outrageous property taxes.  I’m pretty deaf to the local Democrats who wail, “But if Corzine isn’t re-elected, we’ll get stuck with Christie and he’s a Republican and it will be WORSE!”  Really?  How could it be worse?  What has Corzine done for us?  He might as well have been Thomas Kean.  They were virtually indistinguishable.  Corzine, for all intents and purposes, *is* a Republican, albeit a socially liberal one.  So, what’s the diff?  Shouldn’t someone be held responsible for the gross unfairness, ineptitude and greed of the modern Democratic party?  And who better than Jon Corzine, former CEO of Goldman-Sachs who claims to not know that his own company was scamming ordinary day traders on his watch?  Where do Corzine’s loyalties lie anyway?  NJ has survived Republican governors before.  We have a Democratic assembly.  Why not just vote nothing on top?  I’m not giving my vote to Corzine until he starts to act like a Democrat.

In fact, I can’t think of a better way to kick the Democrats’ asses in gear than to defeat Jon Corzine.  He can be a cautionary tale: this is what will happen to you if you don’t start acting like a Democrat.  You won’t get another chance.  Your ass is glass.  Oh, and by the way…

WHERE IS MY VOTE. JON???

NJ and NY, where the financial groups hold sway, were the ones that put Obama over the top at the Democratic Convention last year.  Those were states where Hillary won by 10 points or more.  The votes of Hillary supporters were wiped out at the convention. Zeroed. Nullified.  Like the primaries in those two states never even happened. We were disenfranchised, not by crazy Obamaphiles, but by a small evil group to which no one we know belongs.

And the former CEO for Goldman-Sachs lead the way.


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That was us

Obama-aid[5]

Over at Hullaballoo Digby writes:

last night on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart did a nice little rundown on all the cases where the Obama administration’s promises of “transparency” and adherence to constitutional norms have turned out to be shall we say, a bit opaque.

There were those who saw the writing on the wall on these issues through the haze of hopenchange.

Yes Digby, you’re absolutely correct.

That was us who saw the writing on the wall. They call us many things, including PUMAs, “bitter knitters,” and the “last band of paranoid shrieking holdouts.”  We were supporters of Hillary Clinton and now we are Democrats in exile.

We weren’t fooled by the fancy speechifying or the slick packaging and presentation. We said Obama was a conservative wolf in a progressive’s empty suit.  We were right and you were wrong. And WE TOLD YOU SO!

So what was our reward? We were ostracized, shunned, and called traitors. We are still treated with scorn and derision.  We have been banned from the blogrolls of “serious” lefty bloggers.  Why are we still hated?  Because our continued existence causes shame and embarrassment to those who sold their souls for Kool-aid.

If you’re waiting for us to apologize for being right you better sit down and get comfortable. It’s gonna be a cold day in hell before that happens.

Obama is yours.  He belongs to you and the other progressive bloggers who abandoned their principles last year.  We’re willing to forgive, but we won’t forget.  And we’re not gonna let you forget either.


We told you so


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The Hypocrisy of Conservatives

There is a right to Privacy. There is no right to  Hypocrisy.

-Congressman Barney Frank

Everyone has a right to their own privacy. Nobody deserves to have their personal lives, personality, character, and morals judged and analyzed by people who either don’t know them, have never met them, or hardly know them.

Politicians are people. As people, they also deserve that basic right. When choosing to vote for them, most Americans have never met them, and the journalists  who cover their campaigns, policies, and careers have also either never met them or hardly know them.

A majority of Americans do want their leaders to be decent people. An American voter votes for a candidate on faith, because they believe that candidate will do everything within their power to make their lives better. American voters, for the most part, want their leaders to be in Politics as Public Servants who believe in service and social advocacy as a way to help others. It is, in fact, about “Putting People First.”   The same can perhaps be said of police officers, surgeons, and others whose professions affect people’s lives. A surgeon saves lives, and a police officer protects lives. A politician can affect lives in many different ways, depending on what policies they implement, bills they sign into law, legislation they write, or what message they send to the world.

Politicians are supposed to be Public Servants. And a person who serves people helps people. By extension, a person who helps others is generally considered to be a good person.

That being said, people, and most especially good people, can be complicated people with successes and failures. It is unfair to judge them solely on their failures and foolish to judge them only on their successes.  And sometimes, good people can make mistakes and have problems in their personal lives. In case you haven’t noticed, shit happens.

That is why a politician’s personal life should never be aired in public. That is why there should be a basic right to privacy and that right should not be violated.

The examination of Politician’s personal lives started in the late eighties, with the emergence of reactionary right wing “values voters” that picked and chose Bible Verses to advance bigotry against women, gays, racial minorities, joy, laughter, and other blasphemous ungodly characters. They found a home with Movement  Conservatives in the early 1990’s. And, as David Brock writes in his memoir, Blinded By the Right, their morally superior panty drawer snooping consisted of, “…making accusations with no proof, and of using ill-defined issues of ‘judgment’ and ‘character’ to discredit opponents based solely on alleged personal behavior. Sexual McCarthyism had been introduced into modern right-wing politics.”

These “Family Values” nutjobs and their allies in the media have an interesting way of judging elected officials personal lives. As John at LR states:

The bible literalists who spend many a happy hour bashing gays because of a few bible verses are mighty forgiving of Conservative adulterers as Joe Conason points out here. The biblical punishment for adultery is death by stoning. I have yet to see a right winger pitch at stone at Newt, Sanford, Vitter, or Ensign. But lordy, lordy, say “Lewinsky” to one of them and watch them froth. I guess I don’t have the translation of the bible that includes the phrase “Forgive the Republicans but keep on trashing the Democrats with all the invective at your command.”

And maybe I am just being immature and completely juvenile about this (okay, I am) but the Big Dawg just got a couple of bl*wj*bs (granted, the Big Dawg’s sex scandal was a lot more fun, because there were characters like Linda Tripp and Lucciane Goldberg and Kenn Starr and other weirdos involved. Like a soap opera!). Sanford has recently been caught in a five-year affair with a chick from Argentina, and after lying about it to his wife, she caught him, and he actually asked her permission to go see his mistress. Newt Gingrich, the coolest Conservative evah who will totally run for President and beat Palin in the Primaries! gave his wife divorce papers while she was on her death bed, then cheated on his second wife while he was calling Liberals “decadent” and “sick” and routinely sniffing through the Clintons’ private lives. Vitter, another Clinton Condemner, was caught with prostitutes. Larry Craig voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, and he tried to boink a guy in a bathroom stall. The list goes on. In fact, I have a list!

Since 1998 there has been an average of two sex scandals a year. There are twenty four in my list. Fourteen involve Republicans and ten involve Democrats. And, as Joe Conason says

Even after confessing to the most flagrant and colorful fornication, the worst that a conservative must anticipate is a stern scolding, followed by warm assurances of God’s forgiveness and a swift return to business as usual.

The hilarious thing is that Right Wingers don’t even notice the double standard or the blatant hypocrisy. Just spend a few minutes reading the comments at Hillbuzz, which has pretty much been taken over by Reactionary Republicans, and you would come away believing that all Democrats are the most lewd, immoral, promiscuous cretins in the Universe. But mention Vitter, Sanford, or Ewing and you will get nothing but crickets.