Archive for poverty

Former GOP Sen. Bob Dole: Paul, Rubio, Cruz lack experience; Cruz "way out there."

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eating their own

Former Republican Senator Bob Dole thinks Rafael "Ted" "Green Eggs and Ham" Cruz is "an extreme right wing guy" and "way out there." That's an understatement, but okay, we can let it slide just this once. Dole is 90, by the way, so he has a vast number of comparisons to draw from. Why, in HIS day...

And he's right. Recently, Elizabeth Warren quipped that Ted Cruz would have repealed the Declaration of Independence. And even more recently, Cruz said he'd use the confirmation of President Obama's new HHS Secretary to try to overturn Obamacare.

He's all yours, GOP.

The Hill, quoting from an interview Bob Dole had with The Wichita Eagle:

"A number of the younger members, first-termers like Rand Paul, Rubio and that extreme-right-wing guy, Ted Cruz — all running for president now. I don't think they've got enough experience yet," Dole said. [...]

Dole said Cruz is "way out there" on the extremes of the party and defended his own record, calling himself one of President Reagan's top supporters.

That was after Cruz said this:

Ted Cruz:

All of us remember President Dole, and President McCain and President Romney. Now, look, those are good men, they're decent men, but when you don't stand and draw a clear distinction, when you don't stand for principle, Democrats celebrate.

As Rick Perry would say, "Oops."

For more Cruz lunacy, just scroll through our posts here. As for Rand Paul, scroll here for his own brand of WTF.

Meanwhile, as a special bonus, let's talk Paul Ryan. The Black Caucus is challenging him on poverty after he said that poverty is caused largely by a "tailspin of culture," particularly in inner cities, where "generations of men [are] not even thinking about working or learning to value the culture of work."

And don't even get me started on Marco Rubio.

Note: Edited to correct errors.

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Poverty: Ye Auld New America: Didn't We Go Down This Road Before?

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poverty

(Picture from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.)

Note: This is a cross post from Ramona's Voices. See the original here.  Thank you, Ramona !!! 

Working for someone else, fingers to the bone with no expectation of decent wages or a foothold on the ladder, is back in vogue here in America. Even your big deal congresspersons will tell you that. There are no greater patriots than the country's laborers, and the very, very finest--the finest patriots of all--are those who have no use for unions. The best patriot/workers understand that in America it's All for One and None for All.

And this, too: If God wanted you to be healthy, wealthy and wise, he would have given you better parents. It's a practice near to sin to get the taxpayers to take care of you and yours. The taxpayers have a hard enough time taking care of the rich.

The rich have earned our blind, gushing loyalty (How, you ask? By being rich, you ninny).

You? You haven't.

Yes. Well. You'll pardon me for bringing this up, O ye sensitive ones who hate having to hear about the bad old days vs. the good old days, but didn't we goddamn settle this already?

PovertyChild coal mine workers, 1900s

I bring this up because Nate Silver says there's a 60% chance the Republicans will take the senate. Nate seems to know what he's talking about but he doesn't say why the Republicans deserve to take the Senate. That's for the rest of us to chew over. So I'm chewing:

How many workers see something in the Republicans that tells them life will be better when the GOP/Tea Party takes over Congress? What is it they see?

How many women see something in the GOP that the rest of us don't? Enough to take them over the top? What is it they see?

When the Republicans win will they finally get busy and deliver on sustainable jobs? Affordable, ethical health care? Bridges? Roads? Pollution? Kids? Or will a comfortable win tell them all they need to know about the sterling virtues of capitalism and the ready acceptance of an oligarchy?

Paul Krugman:

America’s nascent oligarchy may not yet be fully formed — but one of our two main political parties already seems committed to defending the oligarchy’s interests.
Despite the frantic efforts of some Republicans to pretend otherwise, most people realize that today’s G.O.P. favors the interests of the rich over those of ordinary families. I suspect, however, that fewer people realize the extent to which the party favors returns on wealth over wages and salaries. And the dominance of income from capital, which can be inherited, over wages — the dominance of wealth over work — is what patrimonial capitalism is all about.

In Bernie Sanders' report, "Poverty is a Death Sentence", he warns:

“If people don’t have access to health care, if they don’t have access to education, if they don’t have access to jobs and affordable housing then we end up paying not only in terms of human suffering and the shortening of life expectancy but in actual dollars."

These are not revelations new to the 21st century. Krugman and Sanders are both echoing what President Roosevelt said in his 1944 State of the Union speech, in the midst of the Second World War, when he proposed a second Bill of Rights:

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • The right to a good education.

We've been here before. Millions of Americans took FDR's words to heart and worked tirelessly for decades to insure that these most obvious, common-sense American rights should come to pass. Many of them did come to pass, but now they're in jeopardy. Now the Republicans (and, yes, some bloody Democrats) are working tirelessly to undo it all.

Millions of us see clearly what's happening again and are trying to stop it, but there are millions of distinctly separate Americans who think it's high time we give up on that old FDR course and head in another direction. The direction they want to take us in is the same direction we were headed when all hell broke loose in 1929 and it all came crashing down.

It looks like the oligarchs might just get away with it. So what is it they're seeing in this new, same-old plan--the plan that caused the stock market crash in 1929 and led us into a devastating long-term depression--that makes them think it's going to work this time?

The answer is, it doesn't have to. America is the place to make money; any idiot knows you wouldn't want to keep it here. Whatever happens to us won't happen to them.

Some setup, huh? Makes you wonder if we shouldn't have stuck with that Democracy thing and at least given it a try.

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"Teachers' working conditions are children's learning conditions": Vergara v CA

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schooled schools working conditions

Here is today's installment of Public schools vs billionaires: Vergara v California, with the emphasis on teachers' working conditions this time around. Please go here for the back story and previous posts. My sources have been keeping me updated, so please feel free to share a story that deserves more attention. Also, please note that there is a new Vergara Trial website here.

Before I continue with the latest on the case, I'd like to share two things with you, both express much of what I've experienced personally. The first is an excerpt from a letter to the editor at Californian.com. Please link over to read the entire thing, it's worth it. The writer is president of the Pájaro Valley Federation of Teachers:

There is so much that moves me to tears in our profession: The student who has an “Aha!” moment; the teacher who pays hundreds of dollars out of her own pocket to feed hungry kids; the alumnus who comes back just to say “thanks.”

Improving the quality of public education should be an emotional battle. There is so much at stake. But it shouldn’t be the ideological, political battle that Kerwin, Bhakta and the other backers of the Vergara trial have made it out to be.

Francisco Rodriguez D.

Watsonville

The second is this, from an opinion piece at the Orange County Register written by Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside, who represents California’s 41st Congressional District and was a former community college trustee:

[R]ather than contemplate recruitment and retention strategies former [Florida Gov. Jeb Bush] joins a new group of conservative education partisans looking to undermine workers unions by pitting teachers against students in the public debate... [I]t is naïve to believe that stripping away teachers’ workforce protections is a panacea. The stories used by advocates for Bush’s position are largely anecdotal and are supported by neither the academic data nor those who work in the classroom. [...]

 Teachers are overworked and underpaid; the line is a bit cliché, but it is still true. For those of us who teach, it is more than a job; it’s a calling, a career and a life-long commitment. It is the classroom teacher who is on the front-line, working to address the deep and complex issues our schools and student are facing. We do it because we want to give back to our communities and see future generations succeed. [...]

A system that does not allow for development and growth, but attempts to motivate with threatening ones job is setting itself up for failure.

Now for today's trial round-up. Working conditions matter. Immensely. Testing, on the other hand, does not tell the whole story, not by a long shot:

Yesterday began with Jeff Seymour. He spent 25 years as superintendent of the El Monte School District. As a former superintendent, he said the current law allows administrators enough time to observe and evaluate teachers before they grant permanent status.

Think about that. An administrator says that it works. But the high-priced lawyers pressed on.<

The second witness of the day was Betty Olson Jones, a teacher and former president of the Oakland Education Association. And she had a lot to say.

She talked a lot about the struggles teachers have in high-poverty schools.  She pointed out that teachers want to help, but if you put them in high-poverty/high-needs schools and don't give them the tools and support they need, you can't expect the standardized test scores to go up.

"Teachers' working conditions are children's learning conditions," she said. 

This is so true. If you create a toxic environment for teachers, that affects the students. How can it not? And schools in high-poverty areas of Oakland have a higher teacher turnover rate. Again, that. Affects. Students. Continuity is so important for kids to thrive and learn. I say this as someone who worked in classrooms for nearly two decades.

The thing that is becoming abundantly clear in this trial is that the Plaintiffs' argument relies on standardized test scores.

The lawyers keep asking about "learning gains" as evident on state standardized tests. But we know that standardized tests don't accurately reflect either learning gains or a teacher's ability or effectiveness. I wrote about this in previous posts. Again, please follow my Vergara link for those posts.

When they keep asking about "learning gains," it shows that the premise of their argument is wrong. You simply cannot judge teachers based on test scores. But, sadly, that's what they want to do.

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Chris Christie compares the poor to petulant teens, but, see, he's the real victim here.

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Chris Christie red meat

Chris Hayes and David Cay Johnston should have added the now-famous quote from Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich to this discussion of Chris Christie: He "deserves an ass-kicking":

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Chris Christie speaking to the Economic Club of Chicago:

I think that the problem we have is an opportunity gap, not an income equality gap. And I think that one of the big discussions in conversations over the course of the next two years in national politics is going to be, do you want mediocrity or do you want greatness?  You want income equality? That's mediocrity. Everybody can have an equal mediocre salary. That's what we can afford. Or do you want the opportunity for greatness? ...

Greatness is going to be based on your intellect, your hard work, your creativity. And government can play a role in helping to create that opportunity. But not in being the perpetual referee of what sounds like a fight between my 13-year-old son and my 10-year-old daughter: "You did this for him, that's not fair. Well, that's not fair, I want this to be fair." I grew up in an America that said, "Life isn't fair."

Yes, you heard right: Chris Christie is confusing income equality with salary equality. He thinks Democrats want every employed person in the country to be paid exactly the same salary.

Then he had the unmitigated gall to compare struggling families, people who are hurting, with petulant children, in effect blaming them!

family values my ass

To paraphrase Keith Olbermann, "That man is an idiot."

Here's a bonus video from The Rachel Maddow Show, just in case you're not up on the latest in the Bridgegate scandal:

chris christie bridgegate fundraise msnbc

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Maddow, on how the GOP is throwing a pity party for their guy Chris:

The New Jersey State Republican Party is now trying to raise money on the Bridge scandals. Specifically, they are trying to raise money by saying that news organizations should not be covering the scandal, and that's the real problem here.

Seriously, I'm not kidding... This is from the Star Ledger... They're quoting a fundraising email that the New Jersey Republican Party has sent out asking people to pledge $25 a month to the New Jersey Republican Party because of the Bridge scandal....

"Send us money because MSNBC keeps reporting on this story"??

To the people of Fort Lee, to the people who missed the first day of school or the first day of work, to the people who were late to appointments or their jobs by hours, for not just one day but for four days, to the person having a heart attack and the four people who were injured and needed to be moved by ambulance after a car wreck, to the parents of a missing child, to all those people who found that police and first responders could not get to them those days, to the people of Fort Lee and the hundreds of thousands of other New Jersey residents and commuters who had four days of this gridlock inflicted on them-- on purpose-- thanks to still-unexplained orders that came out of Gov. Christie's office, to all of the hundreds of thousands of people who were hurt here-- on purpose-- the New Jersey Republican Party would like you to know that the real outrage here is that this TV network [MSNBC] is reporting on what happened and trying to figure out the answers, but the Christie administration still won't provide.

They want you to know that we're the real outrage, and that they're the real victim. Not you.

They want the people of New Jersey to stand up! Not against this kind of corrupt and abusive outrage by their government. They want the people of New Jersey to stand up against us covering the story.

It's amazing, but it's good to know.

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Clay Aiken For Congress? Really? Yes, Really And Hopefully

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ClayAikenw258h344

When I first heard about the possibility that Clay Aiken might run for Congress, I was a bit dubious -- nah, can that. I thought it was a joke. I let the little funny drift off until yesterday. That's when he officially announced his campaign. Later in the day on Lawrence O'Donnell's show, he had a segment on the young crooner whose previous claim to fame was runner up on American Idol and a long run on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice.

Turns out there's a bit more to this teen icon or heartthrob or whatever your preconceived notions of this man might be. According to The Daily Beast:

 [Aiken] shares a bit about his not-so-idyllic pre-Idol days (dad was an abusive drunk; young Clay and his mom slept on a neighbor’s living room floor for eight months) by way of explaining why he now feels moved to challenge Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers. (In a nutshell: She screwed struggling North Carolinians by backing sequestration and the shutdown.)

Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell showed a portion of the biographical film of the singer's background and why he wants to be a representative from his district in North Carolina. I have to say it's more than just impressive; it's moving, it's honest and genuine. He speaks clearly and precisely and spells out what he sees is wrong in Washington politics and what he'd do differently.

Celebrities have a difficult time with being taken seriously. Yet some have been able to overcome that challenge. One quickly comes to mind -- Ronnie Reagan.

Hopefully after you watch this short piece, you'll follow this contest with greater interest -- and perhaps those who are thinking of running might well be served by what Mr. Clay Aiken has to say.

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What I will not write about today: News stories, links, and snarkitude

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frustrated36

Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health.

  • House GOP Finalizes Demands to Raise Debt Ceiling- They want to trade a one-year extension for approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, or for repeal of the Affordable Care Act's risk corridors. What, no Benghazi demands? You're sli-i-ip-ping, GOP.

See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?

drunk wine bulance

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Homelessness in South Carolina

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welcome

Please welcome our newest guest contributor, "hardybear" from Free Range Talk freerangetalk.com. She was kind enough to offer to swoop in to help us out while we get our sea legs back following Paddy's passing. She's a sweetheart, a lifesaver, and a terrific journalist. Thank you from all of us, Ms. Bear!

Here's her first post, on homelessness:

Homeless in South Carolina

Photo credit Eric Campos, The State.

Original story from thestate.com

Does the GOP even bother to include the modern American homeless population in their pithy 47% calculation?

It would seem that the homeless in one of Governor Nikki Haley's more prominent South Carolina cities of distinction -- her capital, in fact --  nearly had the long term hospitable choices of being detained then bussed far out of sight (and, ideally, pocketbook) or being forcibly herded into proposed 'emergency' shelters by hosts with guns. The third option was arrest.

The Columbia City Council unanimously approved the evacuation, er, Emergency Homeless Response measure on August 13, 2013. Within hours, police officers realized that they were to be charged with the duty of regularly chauffeuring its area's approximately 1,500 homeless belles, gents and children into real or implied lockdown.

You see, they threaten the fledging shoots of an economic upturn for the fortunate. The Have Nots are standing in the way of post-recession profit and some City Council leaders decided that the most disenfranchised of all should be 'held accountable'.

Along with many American cities damaged by the Bushee economy, Columbia rightfully seeks to revitalize its core.  In this case, 181 prime acres of Capitol City land formerly occupied by the state mental hospital near their historic center. It may not have the number of zero's attached to say, a Hoboken, New Jersey development project ... but the City Council believes their Bull Street Development will lay golden eggs aplenty for the Makers if handled properly.

Which includes evicting the growing homeless population of Takers from their coveted Downtown. And keeping them out ... the Council ideally wanted armed police on guard to keep it clear of the unwashed/unwanted. There are even grandiose hopes for a multi-million sports $tadium. Revenue and dignified rebel yells.

Prudently, wiser minds and a public outcry prevailed. The Council's Draconian accommodation measures were rejected, reversed and evinced proper amounts of disgust by September 3rd. ||Free Times original story  ||  A Richland county council member was quoted as saying they had barely avoided "concentration camps".

Now how might enough of these neatening 'shelters' for Columbia, S.C. have magically appeared, given both the city and state's much-touted dedication to fiscal responsibility? Never fear, the conservative members of the City Council proposed the perfect storm of Republican solutions:  appropriate these homeless slackers' collective wealth,  in the form of food assistance monies, disability benefits or any other government handouts the recipients might be mishandling.

Presumably they'd each be handed Seinfeldean Puffy Shirts in exchange.

Columbia Councilman Cameron Runyan*, the savant co-creator and champion of the homeless relocation program called the Emergency Homeless Response" [ PDF here:  ] would know well the plight of the homeless in the historic downtown - he and his family proudly attend the First Presbyterian Church -- a stroll from the Bull Street development and re-gentrification project. Runyan said the city must maintain “a healthy tension” between caring for the homeless and holding them accountable.

According to The Free Times, Runyan has made this issue a personal crusade.       ||  Story here  ||  Not unsympathetic, he merely believes in the Lipton Brigade slash Randian boot-strap model of upward mobility, saying "We have to understand that the only cure for poverty is commerce. That is the only true response to poverty, to get people out of poverty. So if poverty is left unchecked, it will destroy commerce. So we've got to protect commerce to have a response to poverty."
Corporations may now be people, but in conservative southern climes commerce is clearly valued over y'all.

Homeless in South Carolina

Photo credit: dcexposed dot com

Original story

Photo by Sean Rayford - Free Times

Two people walk past an urban camping scene on Main Street in Columbia in August 2013. Photo by Sean Rayford - Free Times

Original story

Southern-fried irony: Columbia threw itself a splashy 50th year celebration of their importance to the Civil Rights movement.
Original story

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