HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Scuba » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Next »


Profile Information

Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 02:31 PM
Number of posts: 53,475

Journal Archives

Dancing Elephants

(courtesy of Cindy)

Gun Culture and Anti-Government Extremism


Police violence in America differs from that of other wealthy democracies in two important ways. First, police in the US kill exponentially more citizens than they do in other countries. The other salient fact is that exponentially more American police are killed in the line of duty than their colleagues abroad.

According to an analysis of FBI data by USA Today, at least 400 Americans are killed by police every year. But that’s a low-ball figure: “The killings are self-reported by law enforcement and not all police departments participate so the database undercounts the actual number of deaths. Plus, the numbers are not audited after they are submitted to the FBI and the statistics on ‘justifiable’ homicides have conflicted with independent measures of fatalities at the hands of police.”


Police in the US also face a unique challenge — and singular threat — from anti-government extremists. No other police force in a functional democracy has experienced something like the Bundy Ranch standoff in Nevada in April, where federal agents found themselves outgunned by heavily-armed militias — which included well-trained military veterans — holding the strategic high ground.

As the Southern Poverty Law Center noted last week, a new report from the Department of Homeland Security found that, “after years of sporadic violence from domestic extremists motivated by antigovernment ideologies, there has been ‘a spike within the past year in violence committed by militia extremists and lone offenders who hold violent anti-government beliefs.’” Last month, a survey of 364 officials from 175 law enforcement agencies conducted by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism (START) found that members of the Sovereign Citizens movement are now considered to be the greatest terrorist threat faced by law enforcement. Third on the list, after Islamic extremists, were members of militia and “patriot” groups.

Wisconsin shows how job incentives are handed out -- in Bizarro world


Via the Wisconsin State Journal of Madison, we learn of the zany way that political officials in that state are handing out job-creation funds. Long story short, they've voted to hand over $6 million in taxpayer cash to a company that's planning to cut its Wisconsin work force in half.

The company is Ashley Furniture, which has had its snout in the taxpayer trough before. But the new grant is more than all those others combined, the Journal says. The $6-million grant, which has been voted by the state Economic Development Corp. but not yet finalized, won't require Ashley to create any new jobs. Instead, it will allow the manufacturer to "lay off half of its current 3,848 Wisconsin-based workers," the newspaper says.

The chairman of the incentive-awarding body is Republican Gov. Scott Walker. A few weeks after the WEDC approved the grant to Ashley, its owners donated $20,000 to Walker's re-election campaign.


That's not what the terms of the deal reportedly say. According to a WEDC memo reviewed by the Journal, the company agrees to retain 70% percent of its work force this year, 60% next year, and 50% percent in 2016-18. The memo also observes that Ashley doesn't provide a lot of high-grade jobs--56% of the workers make less than $10.88 per hour.

Report: Walmart Workers Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion In Public Assistance


Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing, according to a report published to coincide with Tax Day, April 15.

Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 400 national and state-level progressive groups, made this estimate using data from a 2013 study by Democratic Staff of the U.S. Committee on Education and the Workforce. “The study estimated the cost to Wisconsin’s taxpayers of Walmart’s low wages and benefits, which often force workers to rely on various public assistance programs,” reads the report, available in full here.

“It found that a single Walmart Supercenter cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.75 million per year, or between $3,015 and $5,815 on average for each of 300 workers.” Americans for Tax Fairness then took the mid-point of that range ($4,415) and multiplied it by Walmart’s approximately 1.4 million workers to come up with an estimate of the overall taxpayers’ bill for the Bentonville, Ark.-based big box giant’s staffers.

The report provides a state-by-state breakdown of these figures, as well as some context on the other side of the coin: Walmart’s huge share of the nationwide SNAP, or food stamp, market.

And Minnesota is working on a solution to this problem ...,


TV political ads now easier to track


A Federal Communications Commission rule that took effect July 1 requires U.S. broadcast television stations to “immediately” post political ad buy data online. It expands an earlier pilot program, launched in 2012, for just the nation’s top 50 television markets. (Cable and radio stations are still exempt.) “We love it,” says Mike Buelow, a former AP reporter who now serves as research director for the Democracy Campaign. “We won’t have to go begging for volunteers to go to TV stations in northern Wisconsin.”

In the past, given the amount of work involved, Buelow’s group waited until after the election to generate spending totals that included these buys. “It was just too labor-intensive to do it weekly or even monthly,” he says. But now it’s possible to compile comprehensive, up-to-date information. The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C., is collecting the ad buy filings and posting them online, in a tool it calls Political Ad Sleuth.


Anyone can register online to do data entry, logging the cost, run dates and total number of ads for each filing, and such optional information as the media buyer. Explains Kiely, “I want to know if some of these (outside) groups are using the same media buyer as the candidates they’re not supposed to be coordinating with.”

Kiely urges people to pick a given station, to get good at reading its forms, which differ widely. They may also want to focus first on third-party buys which are not otherwise reported. The group has a " target="_blank">YouTube tutorial to help people get started.

Wisconsin: Did Walker Put $100 Million in Worker-Training Programs?

Four paragraphs aren't sufficient to cpver this analysis, but suffice to say it's only through more of his fuzzy math that Walker (and his backers at the Urinal Sentinel) manage to claim they've put $100 million in worker training. If what I've excerpted, recommend you follow the link ...


This week we’re evaluating a new campaign claim by Gov. Scott Walker that he has invested $100 million in worker-training programs. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s PolitiFact found his claim “Mostly True,” its second-highest rating. To be sure, it’s a claim intended to show that the governor is doing something about Wisconsin’s poor job growth that trails most of the nation and all of the Midwest. But is the claim “Mostly True” or does it miss the mark? Let’s take a look and then you be the judge.

Before we start looking into the worker training investments in Walker’s most recent budget—and there have been some—we must determine an accurate baseline. Instead of starting at $0 and working our way up, we are going to examine the entirety of Walker’s record on investing in technical colleges and worker-training programs. After all, if you owe your friend $50 and pay her back $100, would you be up $100? Of course not. You’d be up $50. So this examination correctly starts with the cuts in Walker’s first budget, which aren’t under dispute. Even PolitiFact themselves rated “True,” their highest rating, the claim that Walker’s first budget enacted the steepest cuts to education in our state’s history, which included a 30% reduction in funding for technical colleges—a $71.6 million cut.


If you look at the worker training monies that the governor added and subtracted during his time as governor you either come up with a net cut of $11.99 million or if you add the money for the UW program and the money for the food assistance program and call that worker training money, you have an increase of $41.51 million. Or if you ignore all of the governor’s cuts to worker training and add in the money for the UW system and the food assistance program, you can actually get the number above the $100 million mark.

Where does this leave us? Much like with the governor’s progress on his promise to create 250,000 new jobs, we’re falling short. Walker has allocated some funding to job training to cover his first budget’s steep cuts to the technical colleges, but the big picture is, with Wisconsin ranked dead last in the Midwest on job creation, it just isn’t enough.

Borowitz: Nation Debates Extremely Complex Issue of Children Firing Military Weapons


WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Across the United States on Wednesday, a heated national debate began on the extremely complex issue of children firing military weapons. “Every now and then, the nation debates an issue that is so complicated and tricky it defies easy answers,” says pollster Davis Logsdon. “Letting small children fire automatic weapons is such an issue.”

Logsdon says that the thorny controversy is reminiscent of another ongoing national debate, about whether it is a good idea to load a car with dynamite and drive it into a tree. “Many Americans think it’s a terrible idea, but others believe that with the correct supervision, it’s perfectly fine,” he says. “Who’s to say who’s right?”

Similar, he says, is the national debate about using a flamethrower indoors. “There has been a long and contentious national conversation about this,” he says. “It’s another tough one.” Much like the long-running national debates about jumping off a roof, licking electrical sockets, and gargling with thumbtacks, the vexing question of whether children should fire military weapons does not appear headed for a swift resolution.

“Like the issue of whether you should sneak up behind a bear and jab it with a hot poker, this won’t be settled any time soon,” he says.

Donations vs Deaths

Maybe we should think twice before donating to something that's basically a publicity stunt ...

Wisconsin: After Threat of Legal Action, Governor’s Office Fulfills Open Records Request


Madison, WI — After 74 days, the Department of Administration has finally turned over more than 500 pages of records detailing Governor Walker’s travel. However, the request for the Governor’s campaign travel remains unanswered. The request went unfulfilled for 50 business days, five-times past the legally advised time period. Stay tuned for more as we review Governor Walker’s records.

“Unfortunately, it took the threat of legal action for Governor Walker to take this request seriously,” said Mark Pocan. “This episode has clearly shown Governor Walker’s disregard for the law as he fights for his political survival. In the end, the Governor’s office complied with the law and now we’ll see just how much travel he has taken as he runs for President.”

Pocan raised the issue back in June as he was trying to determine how much Scott Walker has traveled in his quest for the White House, especially in comparison to the number of jobs he’s created in Wisconsin. (www.WheresScottWalker.com)

Nice of the taxpayers here in Wisconsin to fund the Governer's (sic) presidential campaign.

Military surplus weapons sent to Virginia college campuses

You juist never know when a panty raid might require an armed assault ...


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WTKR) — The same military-surplus program that has sent more than 300 M-16 battlefield rifles to local police departments has also sent the weapons to local colleges. A state-police database obtained by NewsChannel 3 shows the College of William and Mary and Old Dominion University have received fully automatic M-16s through the same surplus program at the center of scrutiny in Ferguson, Mo.


Documents from William and Mary show the college asked for the M-16s to protect dignitaries and to combat terrorism. The campus police, like other agencies, was attracted to the no-cost weapons as a way to keep spending down. “They acquired these weapons from the state, for free, then all we had to do was pay for the training and the ammunition,” said acting police chief Ed Schardein.

That acquisition happened before Schardein was appointed, he said. However once the guns arrived, Schardein said it was clear the extra training needed, and the rifles’ limited usefulness, made them more trouble than they were worth. “My concerns about deploying a fully automatic rifle are just that, it is a fully automatic rifle,” he said. “I don’t see the need for a fully automatic rifle on a campus.”

It’s a different story at Old Dominion University. The Norfolk college’s surplus shopping list included M-16s, shotguns, combat knee pads and elbow pads, ballistic goggles, shields, and metal batons. ODU officials could not find the paperwork justifying all this, but a spokeswoman said the campus police once had a SWAT-style team. It disbanded, and some of the guns were given away. The campus police chief, Rhonda Harris, said the remaining rifles were converted to semiautomatic, meaning they can’t shoot like machine guns. Officers still have access to them.
Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Next »