Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Last Call For Maximum Gohmert

You knew GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert wasn't going to be able to resist the awesomeness that is the US military's Jade Helm 15 exercises in Texas and the Southwest.

Tea party darling Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Tuesday demanded that the U.S. military alter a planned training exercise that some conspiracy theorists believe is cover for a possible takeover of the Lone Star state.

Gohmert said in a statement that he understands Texans' concerns that the exercise, dubbed "Jade Helm 15," may be a precursor for martial law. He directed his criticism specifically at what has been reported to be a map of the training exercise, which labels Texas, among other states, as "hostile" territory.

"Once I observed the map depicting ‘hostile,’ ‘permissive,’ and ‘uncertain’ states and locations, I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority, ‘cling to their guns and religion,’ and believe in the sanctity of the United States Constitution," Gohmert said in the statement.

"Such labeling by a government that is normally not allowed to use military force against its own citizens is an affront to the residents of that particular state considered as 'hostile,' as if the government is trying to provoke a fight with them," he later added.

The congressman urged the military to alter the tone of the training exercise and draw up a new map so as to dispel any notion that the federal government is "intentionally practicing war" against particular states.

States attacking other states?  Boy, he must have really hated the Confederacy actually doing that 150 years ago.

Seriously, Gohmert's going to be howling about this for months, might as well let him exhaust himself with a tantrum or sixteen now.

It's not a precursor for martial law, but it's not like Gohmert is, you know, sane.  PS, if this was under Bush's watch, noooobody would have cared.

Not Just Democrats Who Are Corrupt In New York

With all that Wall Street cash buying friends, it's no wonder that long-time NY State Assembly Speaker, Democrat Sheldon Silver, was charged with federal corruption counts back in January. Now in May, the other shoe falls as the GOP State Senate Majority leader, Dean Skelos, is facing federal corruption charges along with his son Adam.

Skelos, a 67-year-old Republican, and his 32-year-old son, Adam, were named in a six-count criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court that included charges of conspiracy and extortion. 
Prosecutors said Skelos pressured a real estate developer and an environmental technology company to pay his son more than $200,000 in exchange for his support on infrastructure and legislation. 
The men surrendered to the FBI on Monday morning and were expected to appear in court later in the day. Their lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.

The case marked another blow to Albany, a capital that in the last decade has seen 22 legislators charged for corruption, according to New York University Law School's Brennan Center for Justice.

Congrats, New York, you've set a new milestone in the jackass Olympics: you've managed to make New Jersey and Illinois look good.

Then-New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, was himself was charged with corruption offenses in January, making this the first time leaders of both of New York's legislative chambers were simultaneously facing charges. 
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Skelos's case showed that "public corruption is a deep-seated problem" in New York. 
Monday's complaint built upon evidence secured by authorities through cooperating witnesses, wire taps and search warrants.

We'll see where both of these cases go, but I'm betting running as a State Assembly or State Senate incumbent is going to be bad news in the Empire State come 2016.

Location, Location, Location

A major new study adds to the evidence that where you grow up plays a major role in how far you get in life, and of course it's the worst for kids growing up in poverty-stricken urban counties.

The feelings heard across Baltimore’s recent protests — of being trapped in poverty — seem to be backed up by the new data. Among the nation’s 100 largest counties, the one where children face the worst odds of escaping poverty is the city of Baltimore, the study found. 
The city is especially harsh for boys: Low-income boys who grew up there in recent decades make roughly 25 percent less as adults than similar low-income boys who were born in the city and moved as small children to an average place. 
Beyond Baltimore, economists say the study offers perhaps the most detailed portrait yet of upward mobility — and the lack of it. The findings suggest that geography does not merely separate rich from poor but also plays a large role in determining which poor children achieve the so-called American dream. 
How neighborhoods affect children “has been a quandary with which social science has been grappling for decades,” said David B. Grusky, director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Stanford University, who was not involved in the research. “This delivers the most compelling evidence yet that neighborhoods matter in a really big way.”

So yes, after decades of white flight, gated communities, exurbs, urban gentrification, and taking schools, infrastructure, and jobs with them, are we surprised that kids who grow up with multiple structural advantages do better than those who grow up with nothing?

Why, it's almost like the people who keep pointing out that there are structural barriers to the American dream for an entire class of people, and those barriers are not a product of nebulous "morality" as some would have it but a distinct feature of our broken system (if not the desired outcome of that system that's not broken at all, but working as intended.)

In America we stack the deck so high that it blots out the sun and people still wonder why the grass doesn't grow very well. The redistribution screamers are perfectly fine with the wealth remaining in the giant Scrooge McDuck money bins that exist now. The rest of us are just there to get crushed under all that loot, I guess.

P.S. The worst counties to grow up poor in according to the study? Reservation counties, particularly in South Dakota, counties along the lower Mississippi, and Forsyth County NC, home of Winston-Salem, about a hour from where I grew up.


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