Saturday, May 21, 2016

Last Call For Bernie vs. Debbie

The one thing the Sanders camp has right and that I wholeheartedly support them on? Bernie Sanders backing a primary challenge to DNC chair and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Sanders came out today for her primary opponent, Tim Canova, in the August 30th state primary.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday said he supports Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Democratic opponent in her August 30 primary, adding that if he is elected president, he would effectively terminate her chairmanship of the DNC. 
Sanders, whose campaign has engaged in an increasingly bitter feud with the DNC chairwoman during his presidential bid, said in an interview set to air on CNN's "State of the Union" that he favors Tim Canova in Florida's 23rd congressional district. Canova is supporting Sanders. 
"Well, clearly, I favor her opponent," Sanders told Tapper. "His views are much closer to mine than as to Wasserman Schultz's." 
Sanders added that if he's elected president, he wouldn't reappoint Wasserman Schultz to head the DNC. 
In a response to Sanders on Saturday afternoon, Wasserman Schultz insisted she would remain neutral in the Democratic presidential race despite the Vermont senator's endorsement of her primary opponent. 
"I am so proud to serve the people of Florida's 23rd district and I am confident that they know that I am an effective fighter and advocate on their behalf in Congress," Wasserman Schultz said. "Even though Senator Sanders has endorsed my opponent, I remain, as I have been from the beginning, neutral in the presidential Democratic primary. I look forward to working together with him for Democratic victories in the fall."

This is the one thing that Sanders unequivocally has correct: Wasserman Schultz must go, I've been calling for her resignation for months and months now, and if Sanders is backing Tim Canova, I may throw a few dollars to the race in FL-23 myself.

She has been a total disaster for the Democratic party, under her tenure the Dems have lost 14 Senate seats and more than 80 House seats, not to mention over a dozen state legislatures and governor's mansions in 2010, 2012, and 2014.  In no way should she still be head of the DNC for any conceivable reason, and I actually do believe like Bill Moyers that the Dems will not be united until she's out.

In the fight between the long-time chair of the DNC and the Senator who only became a Democrat months ago, I'm backing Bernie here without hesitation.

Getting rid of her is about the only thing all sides in the Democratic primary mess that we can almost all agree upon.

Smacking Northern Kentucky Around

If there were any doubt left as to how bad the opioid epidemic is here in the NKY, the region's top football prep school is resorting to drug testing all students.

According to USA Today affiliate Cincinnati, Covington Catholic High School officially announced on Wednesday (May 18) their plans to implement the procedure for the 2016-2017 school year. The method is connected to Northern Kentucky’s battle with drug overdoses, mostly due to heroin usage. In 2015, it was reported 1,087 residents statewide died from drug overdoses, with 30 percent of the deaths stemming from heroin use. The Office of Drug Control Policy adds Senate Bill 192 (known as the Heroin Bill) was also passed in the same year, giving harsher penalties to dealers and better treatments for addicts.

Principal Bob Rowe says he wants the all-male student body to feel the pressure of saying no to drugs. While the school hasn’t had a rampant use of opioids, they’ve faced issues with drugs in the past. “This program, with technical and financial support from St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Medicount Management, and the Drug Free Clubs of America (DFCA), is intended to provide our young men with an additional tool for deterrence, as well as tools to address usage with appropriate treatment if/when it occurs,” the letter to parents read. “We try to change the culture to where they say I can’t do that, or I have no interest in that, it’s going to take me down the wrong road,” Rowe added.

The random testing will begin when the new school year kicks off on Aug. 10. Positive tests will be kept confidential at first. If a second positive test permits, the student will be axed from extracurricular activities. A third offense will likely lead to expulsion. Counseling and assistance to students will also be provided by the school.

If parents don’t want their children to be tested, they will not be allowed to register as “CovCath” students. “Why not educate our young men so they lead and have a safe lifestyle for the rest of their lives,” Rowe said.

Now keep in mind that CovCath is the big private prep high school around here, where the money as old as the rolling bluegrass hills send their kids so that they don't have be bothered by the unwashed public school masses.  It's all about sports here, particularly football, and avoiding those people.

For them to announce they are subjecting everyone to random drug tests is something of a major earthquake.  The kids who can afford CovCath don't exactly expect to be treated like plebes they expect to have people look the other way.

I find this very, very funny.  It's not heroin they are going to catch these kids for using, trust me.

School Daze, Con't.

A generation of exurban white flight, combined with rapid gentrification of urban neighborhoods, has led to the de facto segregation of America's public schools once again, undoing much of the progress made since I went to school 20 years ago. A new report finds almost two-thirds of poor public schools are racially segregated, and the situation is rapidly getting worse.

A report released this week by the Government Accountability Office illuminated the extent to which school systems across the US are, once again, becoming more segregated. The report found that more than 60% of schools with high levels of poor students were racially segregated, which the report defined as being at least 75% black or Latino.

The study reviewed federal data from 2001 to 2014 and found 16% of all US schools were both racially segregated and poor, increasing from about 7,000 schools in 2001 to 15,089 by 2013 to 2014. Observers and advocates for school desegregation said the report should be a “huge warning sign” that needs to be addressed. 
“There are many who believe in this country that we are operating on an even playing field,” said Jadine Johnson, staff attorney at the Massachusetts-based Opportunity to Learn Campaign. 
“I think what this report revealed … is that the legacies of slavery in this country, the legacies of Jim Crow, are alive and active,” she said. “That did not go away with Brown v Board of Education.” 
Compared to other schools, the GAO report found, segregated schools offered fewer college prep, science, and math classes to take, and a disproportionate number of students were either held back in ninth grade, suspended, or expelled.

So the number of poor, segregated schools in the US has doubled in 13 years.  Certainly the Bush years (and the resulting Great Recession) has made things worse, but the Obama administration's awful Race to the Top program and its dependence on charter schools shares much of the blame for refusing to correct the problem (thanks again, Arne Duncan.)

Here's the worse news: it's going to Democrats winning Congress back in order to fix it.

Michigan congressman John Conyers was among several lawmakers who requested the report, which was released on the 62nd anniversary of Brown v Board of Education. Conyers and Virginia congressman Bobby Scott are pushing legislation that would amend Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and restore the rights of parents to file lawsuits against segregated school districts under claims of disparate impacts, which are based on ascertaining the discriminatory effect of a policy rather than ascertaining a discriminatory intent.

“This GAO report confirms what has long been feared and proves that current barriers against educational equality are eerily similar to those fought during the civil rights movement,” Conyers said in a statement. “There simply can be no excuse for allowing educational apartheid in the 21st century.” 
Johnson said the loss of parents’ ability to file disparate impact cases was a “huge blow to the civil rights community”. Johnson has assisted in filing several Title VI complaints in recent years with the federal department of education – complaints that could have been filed in federal court under Conyers’ proposal. 
“Us having that right could have potentially … slowed down the school closures crisis that’s happening today,” she said.

And yet educational apartheid is the stated political platform of the GOP at the federal level and in dozens of state GOP platforms as well.  "We can't afford it!" is all we hear from the Republican party, who has decided that those people don't need or deserve education as a right, it's something we have to earn.  States setting up us vs them education funding plans pitting rich exurban white school districts against large, poor black and Latino urban districts is a battle that the white kids win every time, and the rest of the black and Latino kids end up several grade levels behind even in the same district.

Making education a civil right again is the only way to fix this, and you will never have that happen as long as the GOP is in charge of making laws.

Paul Ryan Starring In The Replacements

It's been several months since House Republicans tried to con America with the ol' "replacement plan for Obamacare" scam, mainly because the GOP base has finally figured out that the House GOP really doesn't have an actual plan to replace Obamacare.

But hey, since this is the House GOP and the GOP base here and it's an election year, it's time to try the Obamacare replacement scam again in order to stave off the effects of Trumpism on those down ballot races.  Republicans aren't too bright after all.

Two Republican lawmakers on Thursday introduced an alternative to ObamaCare as the House develops its own healthcare plan.

The bill from Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) does not fully repeal ObamaCare, a notable departure from the GOP’s long-stated goal.

But it would eliminate many central aspects of the Affordable Care Act, including the mandates for individuals to have coverage and for employers to provide it, as well as requirements for what an insurance plan must cover.

The core of the plan is a $2,500 tax credit that any citizen would be eligible for and use to purchase health insurance. The lawmakers say this gives flexibility to people, whether they get employer-based insurance or not, to more directly control their healthcare spending, for example by using a health savings account.

Sessions and Cassidy are putting forward their plan as a task force set up by Speaker Paul Ryan(R-Wis.) is nearing the release of its own plan to fully repeal ObamaCare and replace it with an alternative.

Sessions, the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, said in an interview that his plan is not meant to compete with that effort.

“Everybody's submitting their ideas, so it's very complimentary,” he said.

The Ryan-backed task force, though, will not be releasing a bill; it will instead be a general outline of ideas.

“The thing that makes us different is we made a bill out of it, and that's the hard part,” Sessions said. “It's really easy to have ideas. It's really hard to put it in a bill that works.”

Well, unless you think a $2,500 tax credit is going to help people who don't pay a lot of federal taxes to begin with buy health insurance they will no longer be able to afford, the bill doesn't work, and millions (if not tens of millions) will lose their insurance under the plan.   The rest of us get to toss our money into spend-it-or-lose-it Health Savings Accounts (which Wall Street loves.)

So of course this is a bad idea, Republicans came up with it.  They hope it will be able to stanch the Trump rage of "throw them all out" in November.

Somehow I don't think it'll be enough.
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