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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,624

Journal Archives

Former child star now nutjob right-wing asshole

(HuffPost) Former child actor turned far-right extremist Ricky Schroder made a bizarre claim about Pride Month.

Instead of a celebration of LGBTQ communities, Schroder wrote in his Instagram story that it was something much more sinister.

PatriotTakes, which monitors right-wing social media, shared a screenshot:


Once a teen heartthrob, Schroder has in more recent years become known for his extremist views and public meltdowns, including harassing museum staff and Costco workers over mask rules. ............(more)


Whitmer: Initiative petition process 'anti-democratic' and needs to change

(Detroit Free Press) Gov. Gretchen Whitmer believes the current system that allows people to collect signatures and change the law in a manner that could circumvent both voters and the governor's veto must be adjusted.

"I think we should fix it, frankly. You know, the process is inherently anti-democratic, and it's been used to take away women's reproductive rights. It's been used to take away powers that I would hope future governors have in the event that they have to confront a global pandemic," Whitmer said, referencing a recent initiative to curb a governor's emergency powers and a 2013 initiative requiring the purchase of insurance riders for abortion coverage.

Both became law by collecting signatures and getting legislative approval but bypassed a vote of the people or the governor's signature, as is allowed by the state constitution.

"That being said, the law is the law right now. ... But is it a good system of government? No," Whitmer told the Free Press at the Mackinac Policy Conference. .............(more)


There will be no gun control: For many white Americans, the idea of the gun is all they have left

There will be no gun control: For many white Americans, the idea of the gun is all they have left
White Americans cling to the gun as a symbol of strength and independence. They see its loss as a final, fatal blow


Guns were a ubiquitous part of my childhood. My grandfather, who had been a master sergeant in the Army, had a small arsenal in his house in Mechanic Falls, Maine. He gave me a bolt-action Springfield rifle when I was 7. By the time I was 10, I had graduated to a Winchester lever-action 30-30. I moved my way up the National Rifle Association's (NRA) Marksmanship Qualification Program, helped along by a summer camp where riflery was mandatory. Like many boys in rural America, I was fascinated by guns, although I disliked hunting. Two decades as a reporter in war zones, however, resulted in a deep aversion to weapons. I saw what they did to human bodies. I inherited my grandfather's guns and gave them to my uncle.

Guns made my family, lower working-class people in Maine, feel powerful, even when they were not. Take away their guns and what was left? Decaying small towns, shuttered textile and paper mills, dead-end jobs, seedy bars where veterans — and nearly all the men in my family were veterans — drank away their trauma. Take away the guns, and the brute force of squalor, decline, and abandonment hit you in the face like a tidal wave.

Yes, the gun lobby and weapons manufacturers fuel the violence with easily available assault-style weapons, whose small caliber 5.56 mm cartridges make them largely useless for hunting. Yes, the lax gun laws and risible background checks are partially to blame. But America also fetishizes guns. This fetish has intensified among white working-class men, who have seen everything slip beyond their grasp: economic stability, a sense of place within the society, hope for the future and political empowerment. The fear of losing the gun is the final crushing blow to self-esteem and dignity, a surrender to the economic and political forces that have destroyed their lives. They cling to the gun as an idea, a belief that with it they are strong, unassailable and independent. The shifting sands of demographics, with white people projected to become a minority in the U.S. by 2045, intensifies this primal desire — they would say need — to own a weapon.

There have been more than 200 mass shootings this year. There are nearly 400 million guns in the U.S., some 120 guns for every 100 Americans. Half of the privately-owned guns are owned by 3 percent of the population, according to a 2016 study. Our neighbor in Maine had 23 guns. Restrictive gun laws, and gun laws that are inequitably enforced, block gun ownership for many Black people, especially in urban neighborhoods. Federal law, for example, prohibits gun ownership for most people with felony convictions, effectively barring legal gun ownership for a third of Black men. The outlawing of guns for Blacks is part of a long continuum. Black people were denied the right to own guns under the antebellum Slave Codes, the post-Civil War Black Codes and the Jim Crow laws.


The Second Amendment, as the historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz writes in "Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment," was designed to solidify the rights, often demanded under state law, of whites to carry weapons. Southern white men were not only required to own guns but to serve in slave patrols. These weapons were used to exterminate the indigenous population, hunt down enslaved people who escaped bondage and violently crush slave revolts, strikes and other uprisings by oppressed groups. Vigilante violence is wired into our DNA. ...........(more)


New LIRR terminal for East Side Access project to be called Grand Central Madison

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) East Side Access project is on schedule to be completed at the end of 2022. The long-awaited project will provide a direct connection for all 11 Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) lines to a new concourse below Grand Central Terminal.

This new 700,000-square-foot terminal will be known as Grand Central Madison. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, speaking at a press conference unveiling the new name for the terminal, says the space is designed to be more than a waypoint to pass through. The 35,000-square-foot concourse will feature retail, restaurants, Wi-Fi and other amenities.

"This is an exciting, historic moment for New York State, Long Island and the MTA as New Yorkers are just months away from being able to seamlessly ride a train between East Midtown and Long Island," Gov. Hochul said. "Grand Central Madison - the largest new passenger rail terminal built since the 1950s - will be a game-changer for Long Island, allowing the LIRR to dramatically expand service and operate more reliably for commuters and reducing overcrowding at Penn Station. We will continue to build back stronger from the pandemic and deliver state-of-the-art, 21st century infrastructure worthy of New Yorkers."

The new Grand Central Madison terminal is located below Grand Central Terminal and Madison Avenue from 43rd Street to 48th Street. The terminal is a key element in the $11.1 billion East Side Access that represents the largest expansion of LIRR service since the East River Tunnels opened in 1910 as part of the original Pennsylvania Station. Gov. Hochul noted when trains first ran between Long Island and Penn Station, the population of Long Island was approximately 37,000; it now sits at 2.8 million. The two new tunnels constructed as part of the project will increase train capacity to and from Manhattan by 50 percent and the Grand Central Madison terminal is expected to host approximately 45 percent of LIRR commuters, which should ease crowding at Penn Station. ................(more)


Michigan GOP petition to combat "voter fraud" plagued by actual voter fraud

(Salon) Organizers of a Republican-backed Michigan petition to enact voter restrictions to combat would-be voter fraud missed the state's filing deadline on Wednesday after discovering tens of thousands of fraudulent signatures.

Michigan Republicans are backing the citizen initiative petition known as Secure MI Vote​​​​, which would impose strict voter ID requirements, restrict absentee voting and ban private donations that help keep polling places open. The petition drive was launched after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, vetoed a slew of voting restrictions passed by the Republican-led legislature. Though the petition is ostensibly a citizen initiative, voters are not expected to see the measure appear on the ballot. Republicans have openly plotted all along to exploit a bizarre provision in the state constitution that allows the legislature to adopt a citizen initiative and pass it with a simple majority that the governor cannot veto.

Organizers had planned to submit the petition to the state by Wednesday's deadline but abruptly backed down after discovering that around 20,000 signatures were fraudulent. Organizer Jamie Roe insisted that the effort had gathered 435,000 signatures, more than the 340,047 required, but said the group did not submit the petition out of an "abundance of caution." .........(more)


Capitol Riot Apologists Go Unpunished as Memories of Horror Fade

(Bloomberg) The deadly assault on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 shocked viewers watching live around the world and, at least in the moment, infuriated Republican congressional leaders who fulminated among themselves against the role Donald Trump and his allies played in egging on the rioters.

But the short-lived horror over the worst attack on the seat of US democracy since British troops burned the building in 1814 wasn’t enough to shake the tribal political divisions that drove the insurrection.

As Congress prepares for a series of televised hearings on the assault starting Thursday, polls show the Republican party is on track to make big gains in midterm elections despite fielding candidates who embrace the false narrative of election fraud that fueled the riot and shun efforts to investigate the attack.

Much of that is driven by the highest inflation in 40 years, soaring gasoline prices and President Joe Biden’s slumping approval ratings. But in some of the early primary races, candidates who dispute the presidential election outcome are winning Republican primaries. Doug Mastriano, who won the party’s nomination for Pennsylvania governor in a landslide, attended the rally that preceded the riot and has called for decertifying the state’s 2020 election results. Representative Ted Budd of North Carolina, who voted against certifying Biden’s election, beat a well-known former governor for the Senate nomination by more than 30 percentage points. Other candidates, including in key races in Georgia, were defeated by opponents who defended the vote counting in their state.

“The fact that it wasn’t a game-changing moment is pretty remarkable,” Julian Zelizer, a Princeton University presidential historian, said. “It’s historically pretty hard to believe.” ......................(more)


Can televised hearings bring the truth about January 6 to the US public?

(Guardian UK) On Thursday the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol will open the first of eight hearings, marking the turning point when “one of the single most important congressional investigations in history”, as the Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney billed it, will finally go public.

It will be the culmination of almost a year of intensive activity that, aside from a succession of leaks, has largely been conducted in private. More than 1,000 people have been called for depositions and interviews to cast light on the events of January 6, 2021, when hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in answer to Donald Trump’s call to “fight like hell” to prevent Congress certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

The committee has collected 125,000 documents, pursued almost 500 leads through its confidential tip line. It has examined text messages between Trump’s closest advisers and family members discussing how to keep the defeated president in power; reviewed memos from conservative lawyers laying out a roadmap to an electoral coup; and listened to recorded conversations in which top Republicans revealed their true feelings about Trump’s actions “inciting people” to attack the heart of US democracy.

Now the nine-member committee, Cheney included, have a different – and arguably more difficult – job to do. They must let the American people into their deliberations, share with them key facts and exhibits, grill witnesses in front of them, and through it all begin to build a compelling narrative of how ferociously Trump attempted to subvert the 2020 election – and how close he came to succeeding.

“It’s important that we tell the American public, to the best we are able, exactly what happened,” said Zoe Lofgren, a congresswoman from California who is among the seven Democratic members of the committee. “The public need to understand the stakes for our system of government, and we need to devise potential changes in legislation or procedures to protect ourselves in future.” .............(more)


Anusha Viswanathan: A love letter to Roe and my first pregnancy

A love letter to Roe and my first pregnancy
I have always been pro-choice, but am more fiercely so now


(Salon) Roe is falling, and so am I.

I am falling into a deep ocean of memories, nearly a decade old.

My first pregnancy is both meticulously planned and easily joyous. I am in my medical training, and my husband is starting a career eight years in the making. In our dual-doctor household, expanding a family is a fine balance of timing, but voila, we are there.

There are little hiccups after 12 weeks — every test comes back slightly out of range, and we pour over journal articles to figure out their significance. It's just a one-off, we decide — surely it couldn't be that every possible thing that could go wrong in one pregnancy would?


The bad news hits us with gale force, although apprehension prickles when the ultrasound tech falls silent. Things are not looking well for our extraordinarily, profoundly growth-restricted baby. I am not going back to work that day, or the next. I need amniocentesis, genetic testing, counseling — all of it now, because there is a clock in Harrisburg that is ticking. My husband sobs as I sit motionless on the table. We squeeze each other's hands until they are white and numb.


Bad news pours forth, and my husband and I are adrift in a sea of grey, despite our combined pediatric knowledge. We anguish over this final exam we never wanted for a pregnancy we desperately did.

The obstetrician who counsels me prior to my abortion is unfailingly kind and effortlessly competent — perhaps she has spent her prior appointment talking to a woman who feels only relief after making her decision or a woman who decides not to proceed with abortion. Or maybe someone like me. Anyway, I never feel the weight of her judgment. Your decision is the right one, she says, the wisdom of her experience shining in her eyes. ..........(more)


'I will hit you:' Florida man, 77, punches friend, 84, over golf etiquette at The Villages.....

'I will hit you:' Florida man, 77, punches friend, 84, over golf etiquette at The Villages, deputies say

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. - An argument between two men on the green at The Villages over golf etiquette led to one of them facing a battery charge, according to Sumter County deputies.

Richard Randell, 77, entered a not guilty plea for his alleged crime against his 84-year-old friend, court documents filed in late May confirmed.

According to an arrest affidavit, the incident happened between the two golfers on April 29 at De La Vista Golf Course on San Marino Drive.

Deputies spoke to a man who was playing golf with both Randell and the friend. Around the fourth hole, the man said the two began arguing, which was something they reportedly did often. .........(more)


Workers have had enough: Labor's tide is rising, from Amazon to Dollar General and beyond

Workers have had enough: Labor's tide is rising, from Amazon to Dollar General and beyond
As NYC pension funds go after Amazon, Rev. William J. Barber takes on Dollar General's notorious labor practices


While the nation was reeling from the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, well-organized labor protests extended into the historically union-hostile Southern "right to work" states and at stockholder meetings, where public pension funds took aim at anti-worker corporate leadership.

On May 25, in what New York City Comptroller Brad Lander called a "stinging rebuke" of Amazon's corporate leadership, 27% of outside shares voted to reject the re-election of Amazon director Judith McGrath, chair of the company's Leadership Development and Compensation Committee, which signed off on paying its top five executives $400 million last year, including $212 million in time-vested shares to CEO Andrew Jassy.

Last month, Lander, on behalf of the five New York City retirement systems — along with New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs — called on Amazon shareholders to oppose the re-election of key Amazon directors for their lack of oversight of the company's anti-worker business model.

"A critical mass of shareholders delivered a stinging rebuke to Amazon's leadership regarding the company's high injury rates, unsustainable turnover, and blatant violations of workers' rights to freedom of association," Lander said in a statement. The "significant percentage" of no-confidence votes in McGrath, he continued, "show that Amazon must take these concerns seriously." The retirement systems he oversees, Lander said, "recognize that the company's long-term value depends on the well-being of its workforce, the second largest in the nation." Amazon's board, he concluded, "must demonstrate to investors that they are responsive to shareholders and taking action to address these risks to the company's long-term value." ..............(more)


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