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Flag Porn, Flag Propaganda 9: Poutrage

by Dog Gone on August 30, 2016 · 0 comments

For those unfamiliar with the term, Poutrage, from the Urban dictionary:

The combination of emotion and behavior that results from a possibly
feigned or genuine outrage over some slight and pouting about it like a
spoiled child.

Bad behavior at sporting events is a growing problem, especially from young conservatives who presumably are learning the wrong/right wing way to behave from their parents.


Polarizing politics, resulting from the deliberate misinformation campaigns of right wing media, particularly social media and the blogosphere and conservative radio, keep people angry or feeling victimized when NEITHER are warranted by the facts.  There is no pattern of disrespect, but the right wants their fools to believe there is.  One of the most common memes involves flags in schools.



For some unfathomable reason, lying about the flag is a serious problem for the right; and it is reliably a trigger for emotional irrational responses.  We’ve seen the flag in particular used as a pretext for right wing outrage, usually when nothing wrong has occurred.  And we’ve seen the right defend flags when those flags were used to intimidate and insult as has been the case with the display, especially in-your-face display of the Confederate flag, a symbol of racism, particularly lynching to oppress people of color.



So it should come as no surprise that HOW display of the American flag, or other flags, is monitored and restricted in places like schools where one group, mostly the radical right, seeks to oppress and intimidate another group of people who should be treated fairly and equally.  There is no patriotism, no honoring of the flag and what it represents when the displaying of the flag is abused and misused.



The right wing poutrage is big, fake outrage over the flag, a form of fake but extremist patriotism.



In that larger context we have one of the latest incidents, taking place as is so often the case, in the Deep South, South Carolina.  In this case, following a problem with flags, including the American flag, being used to harass and intimidate, there was a temporary restriction on bringing them to sporting events at a high school.  The excerpt from the news, below, quotes two principles, Principle Lavey, from Traveler’s Rest High School, and Principle Noel, from Berea High School.


From WBTW News 13:


Students allowed to bring American flag to all events, Upstate principal says
Several social media posts
stated over the weekend that students were denied entry to the
Travelers Rest vs. Berea High School football game because they were
trying to bring Americans flags inside the stadium.
…The school district reports there was a larger group of students than
usual who gathered at the flag pole Monday morning at Berea High School.
Principal Mike Noel reports in a written statement that some students
wore red, white and blue and some waved flags.
…Noel says two adults attempted to join the gathering at Berea High
School, but were asked to leave because it was a student event and not
one for the community.
American flags were not allowed into the high school football game
Friday night. Lavely said in his statement on Saturday that his decision
was to “not allow the American flag to be used in an improper
‘taunting,’ unsportsmanlike manner.”

Noel released a statement in support of Lavely later Saturday about the decision.

Lavely based his decision on past incidents where Travelers Rest
students were misusing the flag
, but has since reached a different
decision after current students requested that he judge them on their
own merits and not on the actions of past students.



Educating the whole child

by Dan Burns on August 30, 2016 · 0 comments

abandonedYes, that’s something of a buzz-phrase, but it’s a worthy one. This is not utopian fantasy, though it is true that in many ways a lot of supporters of the most effective and best education currently still have little choice but to be preoccupied with holding our own vs. the despicable onslaughts of the deform movement.

Traits and skills such as critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, persistence, and self-control — which are often collectively called noncognitive skills, or social and emotional skills — are vitally important to children’s full development. They are linked to academic achievement, productivity and collegiality at work, positive health indicators, and civic participation, and are nurtured through life and school experiences. Developing these skills should thus be an explicit goal of public education.
(Economic Policy Institute)

Another development with a lot of potential is community schools. (Though, as always, fraught, if the wrong people get in charge and f*ck it all up.) They’ll require a lot of resources, though. So for that potential to really start to be realized, we’ll need big changes in who is holding public office and what their priorities are.

Using public schools as hubs, community schools bring together many partners to offer a range of supports and opportunities to children, youth, families and communities. Partners work to achieve these results: Children are ready to enter school; students attend school consistently; students are actively involved in learning and their community; families are increasingly involved with their children’s education; schools are engaged with families and communities; students succeed academically; students are healthy – physically, socially, and emotionally; students live and learn in a safe, supportive, and stable environment, and communities are desirable places to live.
(Coalition for Community Schools)


I UnVoted ~ Social Media Graphic #3

by Invenium Viam on August 30, 2016 · 0 comments

Please feel free to share.




hillaryContrary to what you might think (at least it’s what I thought, before I looked), the most one-sided popular vote margin under the two-party system is not from an election with a popular incumbent, but from an open-seat race. In 1920, a war- and postwar recession-weary populace elected Warren G. Harding by 26.17%. Is that something we can realistically shoot for, in about two months? I suppose that right now it doesn’t look like it.
Certainly to some extent it’s disturbing that any more than a fringe are planning to vote for a campaign – and candidate – so flagrantly grounded in misogyny, bigotry, and just general appeals to the most crass and ignorant stupidity as Donald Trump’s. But old, bad attitudes and habits die very hard. The reality is that probably somewhere in the range of 20-25% of adult Americans are, at least when it comes to their politics, so rigid, misinformed, authoritarian, and scared that they will vote for the “conservative” candidate no matter what. And unfortunately they are very much overrepresented among those who actually vote.
My gut says that if Hillary wins by less than 15% I will be bummed out. And it’s not unlikely that I will be.
The claim in the image is accurate.


Pentagon can’t account for $6.5 trillion

by Dan Burns on August 26, 2016 · 0 comments

DF-ST-87-06962 	The Pentagon, headquarters of the Department of Defense.  DoD photo by Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U.S. Air Force.Earlier this year I did some blogging about military spending. It was from an uncomplimentary perspective, but that doesn’t mean that I foresaw this.

A Department of Defense inspector general’s report released (in July) offered a jaw-dropping insight into just how bad the military’s auditing system is.
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the behemoth Indianapolis-based agency that provides finance and accounting services for the Pentagon’s civilian and military members, could not provide adequate documentation for $6.5 trillion worth of year-end adjustments to Army general fund transactions and data.
The DFAS has the sole responsibility for paying all DOD military and personnel, retirees and annuitants, along with Pentagon contractors and vendors. The agency is also in charge of electronic government initiatives, including within the Executive Office of the President, the Department of Energy and the Departing of Veterans Affairs.
There’s nothing in the new IG’s report to suggest that anyone has misplaced or absconded with large sums of money. Rather, the agency has done an incompetent job of providing written authorization for every one of their transactions – so-called “journal vouchers” that provide serial numbers, transaction dates and the amount of the expenditure.
(Fiscal Times)

Here’s the report. I think it also well worth noting here that more than half of the Pentagon budget goes to for-profit contractors.


In every aspect of life, we should demand evidence and think critically.


That was never more true than when assessing the political tabloid stories that sometimes recirculate in locations where the editors should know better.


The Daily Mail, one source of theMelania Trump/ high end hooker /escort story (among others, but notably the one source that has not retracted the story to date) has been threatened with legal action over their reporting of the story by the magazine Suzy that Melania Trump was a pricey prostitute / high end sex worker / escort.   Importantly, the Daily Mail made no conclusions and only reported the story and in fact used language calling the veracity of the story into question.  Even so, Trump threatened suit as is his norm.  Most other websites which carried the story and which are far smaller operations than the Daily Mail, pulled their stories down for fear of suit.  This is a pattern for Trump and a VERY chilling event as it calls into question what Trump might do to the concept of a free press but that’s a different story.


In a related story, dug up by equally sleazy and frequently fact-challenged bigot spigot ‘Red State’, they advance the claim that Donald Trump appears to have licensed his valuable Trump name to an escort service.  Except that as uncovered by the WaPo, NO, Trump never licensed his name or in any way was part of the Trump escort business, now operating under another name after they were hassled over it by the real Trump.



Citizen activism on PolyMet sulfide mining

by Dan Burns on August 25, 2016 · 0 comments

sulfideThis is a very good idea.

A group of Duluth citizens is asking for evidence-based hearings before state regulators decide whether to approve the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine.
The so-called “contested case hearing” would take place before an administrative law judge with evidence, testimony and cross-examination.
The judge would then issue a recommendation to the Department of Natural Resources, before the DNR commissioner decides whether to grant PolyMet its Permit to Mine.
“As Duluthians we have significant concerns about the PolyMet proposal and its likely impacts on our watershed,” said Duluth resident John Dobertstein, “And believe the DNR and citizens of this state should hear all evidence before making a decision.”

The article goes on to note that PolyMet has begun applying for permits. The most likely scenario at this time seems to be that they will get those and then sit on things until there is evidence of a sustained recovery in copper and nickel prices. Which are still down, down, down.


Minnesota’s former Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz has stated that 90% of the youth in the Juvenile Justice system have passed through Child Protective Services and that “The difference between that poor child and a felon is about eight years”.  


Marion Wright Edelman calls this the pipeline to prison & from this volunteer CASA guardian ad Litems perspective it is absolutely true.   No other industrialized nation treats its children and juveniles so harshly.


The simple truths below now define our communities and our nation – share them with your legislators (really – if you don’t share this with them they may never know).


Charging juveniles as adults


Privatized Detention Centers (why judges sometimes go to jail)


Ten Cents An Hour (now that’s a minimum wage)


Never Vote Again (stay away)


King Pin Laws


Women In Prison (shackled while giving birth?)


The Face of 12 Year Olds In Jail


Prozac, Children, Juveniles & the Criminal Justice System
Is This A Racial Issue (Minneapolis arrested 44% of its Adult Black Men in 2001)
Juvenile in prison rates internationally


mn_capitol(Unlike in past cycles, at times I will be writing about more than one race in a single post. Because if things keep going as they are, and they probably will, there are so very many pickup opportunities for the DFL, this time. Heck, with Trump, and the state of the national GOP in general and the MN GOP in particular, arguably no, or at least almost no, Republican seat in this state is really safe.)
– In 15A, DFLer Kent Lestrud is a middle school teacher in Princeton. He’s emphasizing education issues, but is also very good across the board.

Tough race? At R+7, you bet. But DFLer Gail Kulick won in 2008, and Joe Walsh nearly did in 2012. And more people than ever in these parts (I live in 15A) think it’s time for a change. Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) is a Reagan-era conservative, cognitively rigid to an extreme, who it is widely acknowledged has done little for our district. Lestrud has been aggressively pointing that out.

– SD 15 is an open seat. Our candidate is Chilah Brown. There’s positive precedent here, too, as Lisa Fobbe won in 2008.


desertThis article is about a month old, but certainly nothing has changed. Plenty can change, though, if the DFL controls the legislature by comfortable margins, beginning next year. If you know what I’m saying.

Officials in Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration say Minnesota should look at strengthening its renewable energy law. The state is on track to meet a requirement of 25 percent renewable electricity generation by 2025. But that has not been enough to help reach another state goal: a major reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.
Republicans and Democrats came together in 2007 to act on climate change. The Minnesota Legislature passed goals that — at the time — were among the most ambitious in the country, and then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed them into law.
The Next Generation Energy Act set goals of a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2015, 30 percent by 2025 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.
But the state missed its 2015 target and is not on track to meet the other goals. Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said that has to change.
“We not only want to be making progress on this, I think Minnesota wants to be leading on this issue again, and we have lost that leadership,” she said.

July 2016 was the hottest month on record. Here’s a lot more about all that.