Recent Posts


Steel_Fence_SonoraMX_MTamez_Delegation_012708-1-This is good.

On Tuesday, the country’s top immigration court ruled that some migrants escaping domestic violence may qualify for asylum in the United States. The decision, from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), is a landmark: It’s the first time that this court has recognized a protected group that primarily includes women. The ruling offers a glimmer of hope to asylum-seekers who have fled horrific abuse. The decision has also infuriated conservatives, who claim that the ruling is a veritable invitation to undocumented immigrants and marks a vast expansion of citizenship opportunities for foreigners.
(Mother Jones)

It’s been my experience that at least 90% of the time, anything that infuriates conservatives is in fact a good and righteous deal. And let’s face it: For example, many of us were ambivalent about Obamacare, and cheered its passage largely because it involved “sticking it” to the right wingnuts.
Getting back to what’s important, while the scope of domestic violence is bad enough here in the U.S., it’s horrific in many more overtly patriarchal – perhaps “misogynistic” is more accurate – cultures. And most victims are not realistically in a position to try to flee to America, or anywhere else. That domestic violence (physical and/or psychological) is acceptable, even necessary, is a vile mindset that needs to be attacked at its source, and without excuses for, much less enabling of, perpetrators. I don’t have simple, straightforward answers, for how to accomplish that. Nobody does, that I’ve ever seen. But a lot of people are working at some sort of improvement.
In related news, you’ve probably noticed that the so-called “border crisis,” with children from Central America heading for Texas or wherever, has vanished from the headlines. Nothing has actually changed.


What is Nienstedt Hiding NOW?

by Dog Gone on August 2, 2014 · 1 comment


KSTP did an interview with the Archbishop, who seemed a lot less involved with the most important topic for his church than he was with trying to prevent people who believe differently than he does from the free exercise of their religion in gay marriage.


There is the short version:


or the extended version:

As the KSTP news interview noted, it led to MORE questions. We’ve had enough “the dog ate my homework” excuses.

It is WELL PAST TIME for Nienstedt and the rest of the RC in Minnesota to STOP tossing out empty, lying assurances that things are better now.   We are ALWAYS being told, no, it’s all better now, and DON’T LOOK AT THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!,  in this case the curtain OF RC SILENCE.  It is ludicrous to think that there has been any lack of preferential treatment given to the ‘rights of priests’ and utter contempt occurring as regards the rights of victims.

There is no justification for believing Nienstedt on anything.  The changes the church makes are poor, slow, and resisting the compliance with law that is routine from other religious faiths and denominations.

Nienstedt needs to go, permanently not just temporarily stepping aside, as has been noted in not only local media but in the New York Times.  There has been a lack of GOOD leadership, only leadership of church self-interest.

GO!  And don’t let the church door hit you anywhere inappropriate on the way out.  We are no longer patient with excuses and lies and the inability to genuinely change.

My impression of Nienstedt is the same as my impression of Tim Scannell the recently convicted sex-offending county attorney in northern Minnesota who was just removed from office involuntarily after his conviction, after refusing for an extended period of time to leave.  There is a sense of entitlement to the job. to the authority, and to the privilege to engage in whatever inadequate or outright bad conduct occurs without accountability. …READ MORE

{ 1 comment }

Tom Emmer is Still an Angry White Guy

by Invenium Viam on August 1, 2014 · 4 comments


Tom Emmer is an Angry White Guy. He just doesn’t want you to know that he’s an Angry White Guy.


The reason he doesn’t want you to know it is because Tom Emmer wants to be the next US Congressman in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District (Rep. Michele Bachmann’s current seat). He wants to represent a district chock-full of Angry White Guys like himself, but to do that he needs more votes in the General Election than the Party of Angry White Guys can provide. To win, he’ll need the votes of some moderates.


To get them, he decided he needed to re-make himself into someone new.


Back in 2010, Emmer, then a member of the Minnesota House, wanted to be the Governor of Minnesota. Because … he did. But that campaign collapsed around him like a bad metaphor with inept and baseless declarations that restaurant workers can earn $100,000 a year in tips (which would justify minimum-wage exemptions) and that government workers make 30-40% more than their private sector counterparts (because they get expensive government giveaways like health insurance, paid time off and pensions). He lost to Mark Dayton in a close election of some 7,000 votes.


Now it’s 2014, and Tom Emmer wants to be a US Congressman. Because … he does. And in all likelihood, he’ll get his wish.


The reasons are simple.




OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, we heard multiple anecdotes from Florida’s bizarre “Stand Your Ground” law in which armed people acted aggressively towards unarmed people, killed them, and got away with it by claiming they felt threatened. If you suspected “Stand Your Ground” would mean more killings rather than fewer, if phrases like “an armed society is a polite society” sounded like nonsense, there’s no longer need to rely on anecdotes. Now we know why the gun lobby wants to prevent the collection of gun data — because there’s actual data that show “Stand Your Ground” means more killing, not less.

{ 1 comment }

The RFRA is backfiring and needs to go

by Dan Burns on July 16, 2014 · 1 comment

REPEAL RFRA2I was raised Roman Catholic, and took it fairly seriously, but not super-seriously, as a youth. At least as an altar boy (it was only boys doing that, then) I had something to do during Mass, to cut the boredom, a little. Then I got to college and got sunk in philosophy and became an atheist, as I am now. At the time I thought pretty highly of myself and my “intellectual courage,” but I recognize now that “courage” was not a factor. My temperament is scientific/skeptical, much more so than religious, and that’s that.
Certainly I continue to be critical of religious efforts to foist dogma on others, via politics, but I have long since stopped “bashing” religion in and of itself. I see said bashing as pointless and often counterproductive. Moreover, if you consider the bloodiest, most violent and destructive century in human history so far – the twentieth – the primary problem wasn’t religion. It was totalitarian socio-political doctrines like Stalinism, Nazism, and Maoism. Not that the U.S. and other somewhat more democratic nations reacted all that well, especially post-WWII.
I recognize why many continue to choose religion. I can relate to the desire for guidance, solace, and (far and away the most important, imo, even if believers don’t get all hung up in what really motivates them, and why should they?) participation in a community of shared belief and values.
Finally, I think that plenty of coverage, in the left-progressive blogosphere, of the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS decision has been apocalyptic overkill. Full-blown religious right Pentecostal/fundamentalist theocracy is here, because of this? Come on.
All that being said, it is one awful decision. And we can’t really just blame it entirely on the excesses of five reactionaries on the Court. More below the fold.

{ 1 comment }

1922312_291422187681656_881030080_n- First of all, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) has about as anti-woman a congressional record as one could have.

So, who can Republicans count on to “preach the Gospel of Bachmann” … of course, John Kline. Just look at the bills that he has sponsored :
H.R.7 : No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act
H.R. 23 Sanctity of Human Life Act
H.R.61 : Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act
H.R.217 : Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act
H.R.346 : Stop Abortion Funding in Multi-state Exchange Plans (SAFE Act)
H.R.447 : Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2013
H.R.732 : Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act
H.R.940 : Health Care Conscience Rights Act
H.R.1091 : Life at Conception Act
H.R.1797 : Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
(MN Political Roundtable)

(That’s just regarding reproductive choice; there are many, many more War on Women efforts, with Kline’s name on them, in other areas.)
- And there’s this:

But the Supreme Court isn’t the only government body limiting insurance coverage to women. A new White House report released Wednesday argues that the 24 state governments that have failed to expand their Medicaid programs to individuals and families earning 138 percent above the federal poverty line could also be undermining women’s health.
That’s because women make up nearly 70 percent of adults on Medicaid and the report finds that limiting their access to coverage significantly restricts their access to health care. Relying on past health research, the analysis concludes that “having health insurance increases the probability that individuals report receiving ‘all needed care’ over the prior year.” “If the 24 States that have not yet expanded Medicaid did so, an additional 651,000 people would receive ‘all needed care’ over a given year once expanded coverage was fully in effect,” it says.
(Think Progress)

- “A Comprehensive Guide To Right-Wing Media’s Mockery, Victim-Blaming, And Denial Of Sexual Assault.” What a bunch of sorry, craven, whimpering, worthless losers the right-wing punditry are. I don’t know how to successfully hold them accountable, though.

{ 1 comment }

(Cross-posted from
This great country’s founders feared and loathed corporations; the Boston Tea Party was a revolt against that era’s largest international corporation, the British East India Company. Of the hundreds that participated or watched tea being dumped from three British ships, only one (Francis Akeley) was arrested – and released due to lack of evidence. Clearly, our Founders had no love for the East India Company. There’s no mention of corporations in the Constitution; “We the people” is.
Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision expanding “personhood” of corporations is leading us down a path we really don’t want to go. Where might that be? “Nations are bankrupt, gone. Corporate society was an inevitable destiny.” Pay close attention to the question at the 2:00 minute mark….

(Direct link to YouTube here)

{ 1 comment }

SCOTUS and unions: Could have been worse

by Dan Burns on June 30, 2014 · 3 comments

unionsBut bad enough.

However, the decision authored by Justice Samuel Alito is limited to undercutting home care workers specifically…This means that teachers and fire fighters and the like maintain their existing union rights, but many of the most vulnerable workers have lost a tool for building power…While the Harris decision carves home care workers into a category of not-quite-public-employees to leave fully public employees untouched, the decision makes clear that the conservative majority is hostile to the precedent allowing fair share fees for public worker unions more generally, so unions are not out of danger, in addition to the blow this case deals to organizing new categories of workers who have not traditionally had union rights.
(Daily Kos)

Because of the prevalence of women among home care workers, this is, among other things, SCOTUS going two-for-two on anti-woman decisions, today.

Could have been worse, because the Court conceivably could have essentially extended “Right To Work” (I call it “Right To Be Exploited”) to all public sector workers (including public school teachers) nationwide, thereby potentially rendering their unions non-functioning.
Every reasonable progressive knows that there will be setbacks, sometimes severe, on the long path to ultimate progressive triumph. I suggest ignoring the doom and gloomers, purity martyrs, and the terminally cynical, and bearing in mind that the long game is in our hands.


SCOTUS enables sick, vicious harassment

by Dan Burns on June 26, 2014 · 1 comment

85823294I am so f*cking sick and tired of g*d-damned right-wingers, whose need to screw others over is as pathological as their ethics are base and their intellects feeble.

The Supreme Court, which has very large buffer zone to keep protesters away from the building, has just unanimously ruled that Massachusetts’ buffer zone of 35 feet at abortion clinics is unconstitutional…
(Daily Kos)

It was 9-0, and I don’t know why the moderate wing went along with anything so despicable. Apparently the decision itself is kind of mealy-mouthed and open-ended. I don’t concern myself with those intricacies, but rather with the probable practical effects. Also, SCOTUS loves to issue unanimous decisions, presumably especially now, when it’s held in the lowest public esteem since polling of that started.

If people have a problem with abortion law in this country, they should try rational persuasion to get it changed. Not screaming at women, as up-close and personal as can be, seeking to exercise their rights. But anti-choice “protesters” tend to be a narcissistic, gutless, and, most of all, exceedingly irrational bunch.

If you’re pro-choice, and your blood isn’t on high boil already: “12 Horror Stories Show Why…Big Supreme Court Abortion Case Matters.”

{ 1 comment }

How sweet, what delicious IRONY, that a study showing that conservatives trust false and inaccurate sources came out on the same day as that election!


A h/t to the Daily Liar (aka the Daily Caller) for failing to inform their readers of accurate information, leading me to find this study.
I routinely lament the fact that conservatives believe things which are not true, which are factually false or factually deficient.
And that wilful conservative ignorance has now resulted in a massive upset in Virginia primary elections, where factual ignorance about immigration appears to be the deciding issue in the upset.
The PPP has done studies/polling every year which documents it, as noted here.

Study says Fox News may ‘harden conservative views’ of its audience

A Public Religion Research Institute/Brookings Institute study of Americans’ views on immigration reform finds that people’s media choices have a strong effect on their beliefs:

Only 12% of Americans who most trust Fox News for information about politics and current events correctly believe deportations have increased. In contrast, nearly one-quarter (24%) of Americans who most trust broadcast news, one-third (33%) Americans who most trust CNN, and 35% of Americans who most trust public television believe the deportation rate has increased.

In fact, the study finds, Fox News may “reinforce and perhaps harden conservative views.” 60 percent of Republicans who trust Fox News most say immigrants “Burden our country because they take our jobs, housing, and health care.” 38 percent of Republicans who trust other news sources most say the same thing.


So, in other words – Fox News viewers ARE WRONG; conservatives believe LIES, FACTUALLY FALSE INFORMATION. Conservatives TRUST that false information and are either unable or unwilling to fact check it or to trust other, more accurate sources. In other words, conservatives engage in wilful ignorance and have done so for YEARS AND YEARS.


Among conservatives, not surprisingly, Fox is huge: 48 percent trust it most. “By contrast, there is no dominant trusted news source among Democrats or liberals,” the study found. “These figures may partly reflect the ideological diversity of the Democratic Party,” E.J. Dionne Jr. and William A. Galston propose in the study’s media section.

“Whereas Republicans overwhelmingly identify as conservative (74%), the Democratic Party is more ideologically diverse, with 46% calling themselves liberal, 31% moderate, and 20% conservative.”

One more interesting finding: Republicans “make up 23% of the entire sample and 21% of those who say they use public radio as a “news source for information about politics and current events,” the study says. “Democrats make up 34% of the sample and 36% of those who say they use public radio. Independents are 40% of the broader sample and also 40% of those who report that they listen to public radio for their news.”

And now we have seen the badly misinformed and wilfully ignorant tea party throw out the House majority leader, because they were convinced of things about immigration and immigration reform by their propaganda arm of the right that were not true.


That congressional district, FYI, is composed of 28% minority residents, many of them Hispanic. This might play out very very badly for Republicans in the general election, given that we have seen Virginia elections decided by minority voters and women – both groups opposing the GOP, especially the tea party.