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SharonClark's Journal
SharonClark's Journal
April 27, 2021

Biden isn't FDR. He's the anti-Reagan.

This article made a lot of sense to me.

Soon after presidents take office, commentators tend to start drawing historical parallels, even with outliers like Barack Obama and Donald Trump. . . .

It is almost as if we cannot make sense of the present White House incumbent without identifying a phantom soul mate from the past. With Joe Biden, this analytical parlor game has gone into overdrive.. . .

There is another way, however, of thinking about the Biden presidency: not as a revival of Roosevelt, but rather as a repudiation of Reagan. Arguably, Biden has become the first Democratic president in 40 years to mount a major counteroffensive against the legacy of the country’s 40th leader. . . .

This 78-year-old is also departing from the model of the modern presidency that Reagan essentially invented, with its emphasis on the theatrical aspects of the job. For him, the presidency is neither performative nor omnipresent.. . .

April 21, 2021

Derek Chauvin verdict: How the crack in the blue wall of silence should be exploited

Excellent article, as usual, from Digby....

From Rodney King to George Floyd, what progress in policing has been made over the last 30 years in the U.S?

30 years ago last month I was watching the 11 o'clock news in LA and a grainy black and white video came on that shocked me and shocked the conscience of the entire world. It showed a group of policemen, bathed in the harsh glare of their vehicle headlights, viciously tasering and beating a Black man on a deserted street while several others stood by and watched. There had been police beatings on television before, of course. We saw many of them during the civil rights and Vietnam War protests. But this was different. This video showed what the police did when they thought no one was looking, validating their victims' accusations of police brutality, which were routinely dismissed as the complaints of combative criminals who resisted arrest.
. . .
I've been thinking about that time ever since George Floyd was murdered almost a year ago in Minneapolis. Once again we only know what happened that day because the incident was videotaped by a bystander and we were able to see and hear exactly what happened. The police report was just as dishonest as the report in the Rodney King case three decades before and even more inexplicable since the cops in Floyd's case knew their actions had been recorded. They must have believed they were immune from the law they were charged with upholding.
. . .
It shouldn't have taken 30 years to get there but considering it's a centuries-old problem, at least it's a start.

source: https://www.salon.com/2021/04/21/derek-chauvin-verdict-how-the-crack-in-the-blue-wall-of-silence-should-be-exploited/
April 20, 2021

Shut up Jason Johnson that you're not

happy with three guilty verdicts in the Chauvin trial. What would you think if the verdicts were three non-guilty?

April 19, 2021

The GQP in your state legislatures aren't unique - it's ALEC

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a nonprofit organization of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives who draft and share model legislation for distribution among state governments in the United States.

April 6, 2021

The Authoritarian Plan for a National Abortion Ban

This is an important read for those interested in reproductive choice.

The anti-abortion movement was never going to stop with overturning Roe v. Wade.

For years, Republicans have argued that their goal was to return the issue of abortion to the states. At no point was this believable; since 1984, the Republican Party platform has called for a constitutional amendment banning abortion. Having spent decades denouncing abortion as a singular moral evil, the anti-abortion movement will not be content to return to a pre-Roe status quo, where abortion was legal in some places but not others.

So it’s not that surprising that, with the possible end of Roe in sight, some opponents of abortion are thinking about how to ban it nationally. Last week my colleague Ross Douthat wrote about a debate within the anti-abortion movement sparked by a highly abstruse article by the Notre Dame professor John Finnis in the Catholic journal First Things. Finnis argues that fetuses are persons under the 14th Amendment, and that the Supreme Court should thus rule abortion unconstitutional. The political implication, wrote Douthat, is that just jettisoning Roe is “woefully insufficient.”

Finnis’s contention is radical, but apparently resonant. Damon Linker, a former editor at First Things and author of a book about the Catholic right, writes, “That is where the pro-life movement is headed — and the rest of the country better be ready for it.”

The threat isn’t immediate; it’s highly unlikely that this Supreme Court is going to adopt constitutional personhood. The justices are “not interested in reading the Constitution to protect life from the moment of conception,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a legal group. “It would make so many things so incredibly difficult to give a fertilized egg all the rights and protections of a born human being.”

But the embrace, by some, of Finnis’s proposition is the latest sign of the right’s disenchantment with democracy, and its dream of imposing on the American people a regime that a majority of them will never consent to. Even Mississippi, after all, rejected fetal personhood in a 2011 referendum.
. . .
The 14th Amendment strategy, by contrast, is a plan to ignore voters altogether. It’s not surprising that it would gain currency at a moment when the right is going all-in on minority rule.
. . .

source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/05/opinion/us-abortion-bans.html
April 2, 2021

The financial burden on NCAA sports wears wingtips, not sneakers

Important read for those interested in truth and equity in NCAA basketball.

Never again let someone from the NCAA call women’s basketball or any other sport a “cost.” Connecticut’s Paige Bueckers is not a cost. She is the entire damn point. The real cost, the real burden in this iniquitous, contemptible system is the legion of skimmers and coasters led by the devious do-nothing NCAA president Mark Emmert and his board of governors cronies. There is the dead weight.

How many AT&T cellphone plans do the Connecticut women have to sell on ESPN to subsidize Emmert’s steakhouse dinners? How many bottles of Coca-Cola must the Stanford women peddle for free before their game is treated equitably and promoted decently by the NCAA? The biggest drag on collegiate sports, the real liability, is not women’s basketball. It’s these murkily titled, excessively salaried suits, who try to paint women’s teams as a revenue fail to cover their soft-padded seats.

At the top of NCAA headquarters sit 10 executives whose collective salaries amount to $8 million annually, topped by Emmert’s $2.7 million in compensation. That’s the U-Conn. women’s operating budget for an entire year.

Let me repeat that. The salaries of just 10 NCAA administrators could sustain the most successful program in women’s basketball for a whole season.
. . .
New Washington Post reporting by Ben Strauss and Molly Hensley-Clancy suggests the NCAA has understated the value of the women’s tournament by nearly $100 million. The women are blended into a $500 million ESPN package of 24 championships. The NCAA has said the women’s event is worth just 15 percent of that deal, or about $75 million. But people in the industry, including some who worked on that pact, say the women’s tourney in actuality is worth around a third of it — or $167 million.
. . .

source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2021/04/02/ncaa-women-basketball-tournament-cost-burden/
March 27, 2021

Decorah North eagles welcome first new eaglet of the year

Good News! A livelink is embedded in the article...

It's hatching season at the famous Decorah eagles nests.

Mr. North and Decorah North Female, eagles named for the location of their nest, welcomed the year's first eaglet on Thursday.

Watchers of the Raptor Resource Project's livestream had been keeping an eye on the egg for a couple of weeks and noticed a pip — the first hole broken in the shell — Wednesday.

The eaglet, named Decorah North 13, fully hatched on Thursday. The young eagle has found eating tough, failing on a handful of early attempts, but that doesn't worry officials with the Raptor Resource Project.

"The chow might not always reach the moving target, but practice makes perfect while the hatchling strengthens neck muscles to get bites and its vision comes more into focus," they said in a Facebook post.
. . .

source: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/entertainment/2021/03/26/decorah-north-eagles-first-new-eaglet-2021-nest-egg-hatch-eagle-livestream-live-cam-raptor-resource/6986010002/
March 27, 2021

Iowa GQP legislators keep voting against public opinion

The GQP-run legislature has been on a rush to pass pro-gun, anti-public education, pro-cop, anti-city, voter suppression, and anti-free speech laws all session. Of course, they can't leave abortion alone, either, despite the public's opposition.

Iowa Poll: Less than a third of Iowans support anti-abortion constitutional amendment

Fewer than one-third of Iowans now support the Legislature’s push for an amendment that says the state constitution does not secure a right to abortion, according to a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll.

Support for the proposal has dipped slightly from 33% last spring to 31% this year, the poll found. Opposition has also risen, with 58% of Iowans now saying they’re opposed, up from 54% a year ago. The remaining 11% of respondents are not sure.

The Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature is working this year to approve the amendment. It would change what abortion opponents say is an overreach by the Iowa Supreme Court in a 2018 decision that found there is a fundamental right to abortion in the Iowa Constitution. Those who support a legal right to abortion oppose the amendment, saying it could lead to extreme abortion restrictions.
. . .

Rest of the article: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/iowa-poll/2021/03/26/iowa-poll-less-than-third-back-anti-abortion-constitutional-amendment/4655603001/?utm_source=desmoinesregister-Daily%20Briefing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_briefing&utm_term=hero

March 25, 2021

Senator Joni Ernst voted against more than half of Biden's cabinet

This is no surprise to anyone paying attention to Ernst's voting record.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst has voted against confirming 12 of President Joe Biden’s cabinet appointees. . .
. . .
Only 10 of the 50 Republican senators have voted against more of Biden’s appointees than Ernst: Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Rick Scott, Tom Cotton, Tommy Tuberville, Bill Hagerty, Rand Paul, Richard Shelby, Marsha Blackburn, and Tim Scott.

Iowa’s senior Senator Chuck Grassley has voted against 5 of the 21 cabinet members confirmed so far.

Both of Iowa’s senators have voted for nine of the Democratic president’s picks:
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (15 Rs opposed)
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (2 Rs opposed)
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (13 Rs opposed)
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (7 Rs opposed)
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo (15 Rs opposed)
Council of Economic Advisers chair Cecilia Rouse (4 Rs opposed)
Attorney General Merrick Garland (30 Rs opposed)
Small Business Administration Administator Isabel Guzman (17 Rs opposed)
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai (unanimously confirmed)

Ernst and Grassley voted against 5 nominees:
Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas (43 Republicans opposed)
U.S. representative to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield (21 Republicans opposed)
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm (35 Republicans opposed)
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (40 Republicans opposed)
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra (49 Republicans opposed)

Ernst has voted against confirming 7 cabinet members whom Grassley supported:
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines (10 Rs opposed)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken (22 Rs opposed)
Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough (7 Rs opposed)
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona (33 R opposed)
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge (34 Rs opposed)
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan (34 Rs opposed)
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh (30 Rs opposed)
. . .
Ernst’s office has released only one statement explaining a vote against a Biden appointee (EPA administrator Michael Regan). Her staff have not responded to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiries seeking insight about her general approach to evaluating prospective cabinet members or her reasons for opposing certain officials. In communication with other reporters, staff said Ernst’s no votes on Haines and Blinken were grounded in her concerns about the multilateral Iran deal.

Source: https://www.bleedingheartland.com/2021/03/23/joni-ernst-voted-against-more-than-half-of-bidens-cabinet/
March 20, 2021

Defense Sec. Austin replaces Trump appointees on panel to strip Confederate names from bases

I'm impressed by Secretary Austin. It's like he's been waiting his whole career to fix the DOD.

President Joe Biden and his top officials are once again showing that they won’t hesitate to throw out the terrible, often last-minute, appointees Donald Trump tried to seed throughout the government. This time, the effort is to de-Trumpify a panel tasked with stripping Confederate names off of military bases and other property.

Congress only overrode one Trump veto during his four years in the White House—after Trump vetoed a defense bill to protect the names of military bases honoring Confederate traitors to the United States. The veto override passed the defense bill putting into place a three-year process to strip Confederate names off of bases, buildings, streets, ships, aircraft, and more, with an eight-member panel doing the work involved. But Trump, of course, tried to stack that panel with his people at the last minute. Now, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has replaced them with more diverse members with more respect for history.
. . .

source: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/3/19/2021826/-Defense-Sec-Austin-replaces-Trump-appointees-on-panel-to-strip-Confederate-names-from-bases

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