Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Google works to rank sites based on ‘truthfulness’ | Fox News

Google works to rank sites based on ‘truthfulness’ | Fox News

Surprise, surprise, the purveyors of false truths are concerned that being rated on their truthfulness or lack there of may bring less traffic to their sites. 

But others who follow media bias note that even the media watchdogs –
let alone the sites used by the Google researchers like Wikipedia – are
often biased.

“They’re very good at debunking myths if they upset liberals, but if
it’s a liberal or left-wing falsehood, the fact-checkers don’t seem as
excited about debunking it,” Rich Noyes, research director at the Media
Research Center, told FoxNews.com.

He cited a 2013 study by George Mason University researchers, which
found that fact-checking site Politifact declared 52% of Republican
claims it looked at to be false, but did the same to just 24% of
Democratic claims.

I wonder if Noyes wondered, for even a nano-second, if that was because the Republican claims are that much more likely to be false? Because if you base your claims on faith and belief instead of science, well you just might be non-factual.

Probation Fees Multiply as Companies Profit - NYTimes.com

Probation Fees Multiply as Companies Profit - NYTimes.com

Charles Dickens is rolling in his grave. The blight that was known as debtors prison is alive and well in America. And growing apace as investors delight in this growing revenue stream. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Class Warfare does exist

Barbara's Blog

 Nickel & Dimed, updated

For the not-yet-homeless, there are two main paths to
criminalization, and one is debt. Anyone can fall into debt, and
although we pride ourselves on the abolition of debtors’ prison, in at
least one state, Texas, people who can’t pay fines for things like
expired inspection stickers may be made to “sit out their tickets” in

More commonly, the path to prison begins when one of your creditors
has a court summons issued for you, which you fail to honor for one
reason or another, such as that your address has changed and you never
received it. Okay, now you’re in “contempt of the court.”

Or suppose you miss a payment and your car insurance lapses, and then
you’re stopped for something like a broken headlight (about $130 for
the bulb alone). Now, depending on the state, you may have your car
impounded and/or face a steep fine -- again, exposing you to a possible
court summons. “There’s just no end to it once the cycle starts,” says
Robert Solomon of Yale Law School. “It just keeps accelerating.”

The second -- and by far the most reliable -- way to be criminalized
by poverty is to have the wrong color skin. Indignation runs high when a
celebrity professor succumbs to racial profiling, but whole
communities are effectively “profiled” for the suspicious combination
of being both dark-skinned and poor. Flick a cigarette and you’re
“littering”; wear the wrong color T-shirt and you’re displaying gang
allegiance. Just strolling around in a dodgy neighborhood can mark you
as a potential suspect. And don’t get grumpy about it or you could be
“resisting arrest.”

In what has become a familiar pattern, the government defunds services that might help the poor while ramping up law enforcement.  Shut down public housing, then make it a crime to be homeless. Generate no public-sector jobs, then penalize people for falling into debt. The experience of the poor, and especially poor people of color, comes to resemble that of a rat in a cage scrambling to avoid erratically administered electric shocks. And if you should try to escape this nightmare reality into a brief, drug-induced high, it’s “gotcha” all over again, because that of course is illegal too.

One result is our staggering level of incarceration, the
highest in the world.  Today, exactly the same number of Americans --
2.3 million -- reside in prison as in public housing. And what public
housing remains has become ever more prison-like, with random police sweeps and, in a growing number of cities, proposed drug tests for residents. The safety net, or what remains of it, has been transformed into a dragnet.

And it's the war being conducted by the "Haves" against the "Have nots".

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fiscal 50: State Trends and Analysis - Pew State and Consumer Initiatives

Fiscal 50: State Trends and Analysis - Pew State and Consumer Initiatives

Ohio's governor keeps telling anyone who will listen just what a great job he's done for Ohio.

I'll grant him, there has been some improvement since 2009. But if AlaDamBama is doing better than our state, I don't think we're doing very well on the whole. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Who Has Abortions? | The Nation

Who Has Abortions? | The Nation

Political correct speech gone way too far.

Science rules. If you are biologically capable of becoming pregnant, than you are still biologically 'female'. Still biologically 'woman', not man. However you choose to style yourself, you cannot change the intrinsic biology of your body.

And only someone who is biologically female/woman can become pregnant, and only someone who is biologically female/woman can have an abortion. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bristol Palin announces engagement to Medal of Honor winner on Facebook

Bristol Palin announces engagement to Medal of Honor winner on Facebook

from the article:

 Bristol Palin, 24, announced her engagement to former U.S. Marine Dakota Meyer, 26, writing, “Cannot wait to marry this man really the luckiest girl in the world!!” accompanied by emoji hearts.

Dakota Meyer was recently seen with Sarah Palin at a convention holding up a sign blasting filmmaker Michael Moore for his comments regarding the controversial film American Sniper.

The sign, held up by the smiling Meyer (on the left)  and Palin, read
“Fuc- you, Michael Moore” with gun-sights drawn in the o’s of Moore’s


and this 'classy' lady thought she was eligible to run for Vice-President of the USA?

Friday, March 13, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: Emergency Committee for Israel Spends Big on Rep. Cotton � LobeLog

EXCLUSIVE: Emergency Committee for Israel Spends Big on Rep. Cotton � LobeLog

So, this is the man who thinks it wise to poke a stick in the eye of the president and of those he is in negotiations with. Because it's the senate that holds the real power, and if you don't believe it, they'll just keep acting like spoiled brats until you do believe!

Cotton’s hawkishness even led him to act ahead of his own party when he tried to introduce an amendment to
the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013, which would “automatically”
levy sentences of up to 20 years on violators of US sanctions against

That punishment would have extended to “a spouse and any relative, to
the third degree” of the sanctions violator, including, Cotton
clarified, “parents, children, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces,
grandparents, great grandparents, grandkids, great grandkids.” Cotton
explained during a markup hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
that “there would be no investigation” because “if the prime malefactor
of the family is identified as on the list for sanctions, then everyone
within their family would automatically come within the sanctions
regime as well.”

“It’d be very hard to demonstrate and investigate to conclusive proof,” he said.

The amendment was withdrawn after members of the committee expressed
concern that it violated the Fifth Amendment, which protects American
citizens against unfair treatment in legal processes and
guarantees defendants due process rights. Yet Cotton has promised that he
is “committed to the policy” and is “working with allies to include the
amendment at other committees of jurisdiction in the Senate.”

And if you ignore his rules, he's going to punish everyone in your family. Way to Go!  That's truly the New American Way.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

This Alabama Judge Has Figured Out How to Dismantle Roe v. Wade - ProPublica

This Alabama Judge Has Figured Out How to Dismantle Roe v. Wade - ProPublica

If unemployed, Parker was hardly finished. He went to work at Moore’s Foundation for Moral Law, a think tank devoted “to protect[ing] the Constitution and protect[ing] the heritage of our Country.” It promoted the far-right strain of Christianity known as Reconstructionism — supporters believe that the Bible should be the governing text for all areas of civil and political life; that America’s Christian founders intended it to be a Christian land; that there is no law without God; that the law and the Constitution don’t evolve any more than humans do, but are fixed and immutable.

Read that again.
Law and constitution don't evolve.  Whatever the 'founder's of our country wrote down, is the law forever and forever [as interpreted of course, by these Christian groups, and cherry-picked to adhere to and enhance their agenda].

If this judge and his beliefs don't scare the pants off you, then you must be a right wing fundamentalist who has no problem with making god's law THE law of America, and no rights extended to those who choose not to believe.

But of course, these are the same people doing their darndest to re-write the state constitutions, to promote their agenda. So, if they push the law, it's OK. If they don't then it's bad.

Behind Supreme Court’s Obamacare Case, A Secretive Society’s Hidden Hand - ProPublica

Behind Supreme Court’s Obamacare Case, A Secretive Society’s Hidden Hand - ProPublica

ALEC, the Federalist Society. The right is winning because they have a plan.

Too bad their plan is to screw the majority of the people. 

The Demolition of Workers’ Compensation - ProPublica

The Demolition of Workers’ Compensation - ProPublica

Is there inequity in the worker's comp system?  Are there some people who work the system? Are there some out and out frauds being perpetrated? Yes. But those things should be individually weeded out.

Don't punish all for the sins of the few.

In today's rush to put ever more money into the hands of the top echelon however, all the workers must be made to bear the burden. Because workers are cheap.

And may be even cheaper if the Pro Life and Anti Contraception groups have their way. Speaking of which: guess what company pops up as "Spear[heading] an effort to rebuild the workers' comp system from scratch"? Hobby Lobby.  Remember them? The ones who fought to not have to pay for contraceptives for their employees? Could there be a really evil link here?  Have to pump out more new little babies to fill the ranks of the disposable employee!?

As the states cut workmens' comp, the federal government is being asked to take on more of the expenses:

A study by J. Paul Leigh, a health economist at the University of California, Davis, estimated that workers’ comp covered less than a third of injured workers’ medical costs and lost earnings in 2007 and that government programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid had shelled out about $30 billion to fill part of the gap.
The rest came from regular health and disability insurance or out of workers’ pockets, Leigh said.
“We’re talking about taxpayers picking up the bill of something that should have been paid for by workers’ compensation insurers,” Leigh said.

This of course is the same federal government that so many of those  working to cut WC benefits are out to gut. They hate 'the fed' almost as much as they hate having to spend a dime on anyone other than themselves or their shareholders.  Question: if the fed is picking up the difference, and the federal budget is slashed to the point that they can't, what next? Is local charity going to step in and pay the costs? Perhaps we can go back to the old days, the old ways. Work houses. Alms houses. Cripples on the street, begging for handouts. And the poor dying on the street.

An interesting bit in the article:

The next week, Coffell got the medical report. The results were mixed: The doctor agreed that he had injured his spine at work and would need further treatment, which would be covered by workers’ comp. But he was not “temporarily totally disabled,” the doctor said, meaning his disability checks would stop and — pain or no pain — he would have to go back to work.
A few weeks later, Coffell fell returning home after 12 hours on his light duty job at Goodyear and ended up in the emergency room. Soon after, he was finally approved for surgery to shave down a bulging disc.

The interesting bit being "after 12 hours on his light duty job".  12 hour shifts, light duty or not, are an abomination. No one is at their best after 12 hours of working.

So, business as usual: the rich get richer and the poor get the hook.

Meanwhile, WSI’s hard line has helped make it, and the state’s employers, very flush. The agency can invest the surplus when insurance premiums exceed the amount needed to cover injuries. After reserves are met and if investments do well, money is then returned to employers in the form of dividends.
Since 2005, WSI has paid about $900 million back to employers.
The dividends given out in 2013 alone, a ProPublica analysis of federal injury data shows, could have paid for myoelectric prostheses for every U.S. worker who has lost an arm or hand on the job since 2001.

Rates are lower then ever, and funds that should be used for injured workers are rolled back into employers pockets.

But Ramirez now feels doubly vulnerable, knowing how easily his critical support could be taken away.
Lying awake at night, Ramirez wonders what will happen when he gets older, when he and his wife have even less strength, when his kids have families of their own.
“Those moments, they make you think it’s better to die before that happens,” he said. “I don’t want to live like that.”
And that seems to be what the powers that be want: for the masses to work without  complaint for as long as they're able, and then to quietly die.