Friday, June 28, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

End the filibuster and give traditional court actions a chance with more judges appointed by the Democratic Party


The good news about the horrible June 25th Supreme Court decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is that you can still use the courts to overturn voter suppression laws (here and here). The bad news is that you have to end the filibuster in order to strengthen democratic party majorities in as many circuits and appeals courts as possible. This would mean that President Barack Obama would have to fight in a masculine way and demand that Harry Reid change the filibuster rules. So, further bad news would be that the president talks a good game but doesn't fight for anything. Or at least he doesn't fight as hard as otherwise horrific GOP governor Jan Brewer when she fights to take the free medicaid money he's offering or won't fight as hard as that spunky and very fit Wendy Davis for the self determination of women's bodies. (Hint: You should start vetoing things, even defense bills, to get what you want, unless you don't have the balls of a Brewer or a Davis. It wouldn't surprise me.)

But enough about the bad news. Let's get back to the good news again. I learned of this good news right here in my home state of Pennsylvania. One of the more depressing things about the power of the justice department to pre clear problem states is that this is a power that's only available in nine problem states. Pennsylvania, founded by Quakers and where the Republicans aren't completely evil, was never a problem state to begin with or at least it didn't have that kind of obvious Jim Crow legacy that would warrant a vigilant federal eye. However, in 2010 when the Republicans won all three chambers in Pennsylvania we essentially became Alabama even though we've been a blue state for what I think has been the last four presidential cycles. We're not getting the free medicaid money either because apparently alleged Christian Values republican politicians would rather you die. But enough about my awful Gov. Tom Corbett. And yes its early but I hope this is correct.

The 2010  PA GOP trifecta meant that a voter id law was signed into law on March 14th, 2012. They could do that because there isn't a a pre clearance process. However, my old PENNPIC (early 80s) canvassing buddy Witold Walczak is now a big shot with the American Civil Liberties Union and they challenged the law on May 1, 2012. They didn't exactly end up winning before the presidential election but they delayed the decision not only for the 2012 presidential election but also the May Primary in 2013. These are victories that were established without the pre clearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act that were struck down by the Supreme Court. Two disclaimers. One: We didn't win so much on the merits but delayed the law and of course the GOP judge originally handed the ACLU a loss. But the state appeals court overruled with the help of one republican judge who didn't think it was right to steal an election, which is what voter suppression is tantamount to. Two: The Voting Rights Act pre clearance would be better but Witold has shown us a way to fight back. Bottom line: You can fight Voter ID and other voter suppression tactics without the voting rights act. But its definitely harder. The trial for a permanent injunction begins July 15th, 2013 here in Pennsylvania.

This brings us as to why we need as many judges in the federal court system as possible. The truth of the matter is that the Senate leadership has to change the filibuster -- even if its only a narrow change that just changes it for presidential appointments and judicial seats -- in order to fight for the voting rights of blacks, Latinos, seniors and pretty much every other voting demographic of the Democratic Party. It really should have been done earlier. You might even want to eliminate the filibuster for everything or at least make Charles Grassley speak for 80 hours straight in order to do things. How about getting 60 votes to stop everything? Use your discretion and common sense Harry.

But here are the stakes. All of the nine states, presumably the worst states although there were Voter ID laws introduced pretty much everywhere or read this Brennan Center report, are within circuits that not only  have vacancies for judge seats but also vacancies on the more powerful appeals courts.

 It's not just that the more judges that are appointed by Obama increases your odds of having a decent decision. You also have a chance to stack the appeals courts. Some are out of reach such as the fifth circuit where evil Texas lurks and where Republicans have a 10 to 5 appeals court majority. But there are two vacancies in that appeals court so as of now it would seem to be a good idea to fill those vacancies. Furthermore, I believe there are 8 vacancies within the ranks of the district judges. These need to be filled immediately!

Likewise even though democrats control the appeals court majorities in the ninth, eleventh, and fourth circuits there are vacancies in all those circuits except the fourth. Not to mention the other circuits where there are vacancies which is all with the exception of four appeals courts as of June 21, 2013. The more judges that are appointed by the president the better your chances of winning these kinds of suits. In some cases you can't pick your federal judge as its done by some kind of lottery system. In other cases you can. I think I picked a Unitarian appointed by Jimmy Carter in one of my federal cases. I did pretty well.

It really needs to be done now. Tell Harry Reid to change the filibuster so that we can appoint judges that respect the rights of minorities and/or democrats to vote. The president's only legacy could be his appointments. I hope he understands. Yes I know that the Penny Pritzker/Fracking/Banking lobby runs the White House but I don't understand why. Barack Obama isn't running for reelection. Perhaps, quite frankly, he needed that coalition financially to win in 2008 and 2012. But he doesn't need it now. Unless the president is on the post presidential wealth road. I suppose if you want Goldman Sachs to give you several hundred thousand in speaking fees post presidency you might want not to ever prosecute them for theft or slow down the appointment of judges that might recognize even a white collar thief. I hope that's not the reason although a net worth of $100 million does sound nice. A not bought off black president -- who really cared about the voting rights of people who got him elected twice -- would fight to remove the filibuster every single day. That president (non bought off I hope) might also want to make it easier to strike down voter suppression at the federal level at least so the Democratic Party can retake the House in 2014. That way you could leave a real legacy with legislation. I'd like to think the president has thought of this already. But I'm not sure.

So let's give the president some public encouragement. It looks like he needs it.

Sign the petition.  End the Filibuster Harry Reid. Appoint judges. Protect Voting Rights. Related: Also sign the Daily Kos petition urging Harry Reid to make the real filibuster a talking filibuster. Sort of related: Yes this would affect my case against Gidas Flowers and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). Somewhat related:  You can read a summary about my complaints against the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) here. You can read the complete statement against the somewhat shoddy work of Catherine Leete and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) here.

One of my better pics. Thought I would post it here.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Not Fox News headline: Giving money directly to poor people can help poor peoople. #classwarfare #socialism

Read about this interesting experiment about giving money away to poor folks. It seemed to have worked.

Paula Deen should settle. Just a horrible case. #pauladeen #pauladeenshouldsettle #racism

Just read some of the complaints in this race and sex discrimination lawsuit against Paula Deen. I too have faced racial discrimination but nothing this obvious or this bad. On the other hand, if you get the wrong judge you won't win. This is why judges matter. It also seems that Paula Deen was just an old fashioned racist of the worst kind. Just read that brief. I think I read that Deen considers herself a democrat...really?

More horrible news about fracking. Thank you Tom Corbett. #fracking #awfultomcorbett.

Didn't make the news locally but: Pennsylvanians demand an end to fracking. #fracking #gasland #awfultomcorbett #tomcorbett

This happened while there were showings of Gasland II all over the state. Okay, I know why news like this doesn't make the front page of the Tribune Review. It's the Post Gazette that I'm worried about. See the full story here.  Also a new site I need to add to the list.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tom Corbett's Entertaining Death Spiral #philsbandnames #badrepublicans #tomcorbett

It's still too early to count him out. But I would love to see more negative ads about him.

Oh Poor You #philsbandnames #bandnames #sopranos #jamesgandolfini

Well, the loss of James Gandolfini is definitely a loss. On the other hand: if you're rich you shouldn't be overweight. What good is it to be wealthy and powerful if you leave early like John Candy? Candy should have lost weight, ditto for Gandolfini...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Best dressed artist at Penn Avenue Arts in Motion: The Masha "Mouse Bones" Vereshchenko Table #deviantart #visualarts #arts #juxtapoz

Well if you're trying to get my attention I suppose dressing like the Devil would be the trick. She is from Russia. I guess it makes sense that an artist would be creative with makeup. Added a few filters. Don't know who the woman on the right is. These shots were taken Saturday.

And here's a picture of their desk.

And I tried to be creative again.

 And here's something from her website:
And go buy her work.

Best of Three Rivers Art Festival and Penn Avenue Arts in Motion #threeriversartsfestival #pennavenuearts

Here's just a shot of that incredibly good looking greasy food that I couldn't really afford and that wasn't good for me anyhow.

I went a little trippy with this one. Our skyscrapers aren't out of Inception.
This last one is from the Penn Avenue Arts fest on Saturday. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A blog about genetics and the law. #genetics #dna #science

It's called the "Genomics Law Report".

Have to add this science site "Sci Am" news to my crucial links. #science

Looks good but doesn't seem to be  updated very much.

Long piece on predatory privatization of public schools. #schoolchoice #privatization #dianeravitch

I put these things here so that I will read them.

An atheist blog called "The Immoral Minority" #atheism #secularism

Interesting profile on NSA leaker Edward Snowden #news #nsa #glenngreenwald

He strikes me as a very intelligent independent thinker. The Ron Paul stuff is interesting. I guess I agree with half of it...the decriminalization stuff, not the we don't need to invest public education stuff.

Wow. A Lani Guinier sighting on Melissa Haris Perry. #melissharrisperry #nerdland

Lani Guinier isn't allowed on television because one she has suggested workable affirmative action remedies based on class and two: she thinks black people should have veto power over discriminatory policies kind of like rich people do in the US Senate with the artificial supermajority that's been created.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Stop Making Me Love You Elizabeth Warren Watch: Now she fights for the courts. #elizabethwarren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), who I think is the only senator speaking out strongly against the banks or even attempting to find out what's going on with a fixed trade deal like TPP -- that's because the money men have nice seats at the table already -- is doing one more thing that makes me love her albeit somewhat conditionally. Today she made a rather obvious point: if the president doesn't fight for the courts then it will be owned by Big Business, which is actually the case now.
Here's what Salon is reporting that she said:
“Above all, we must make judicial nominations a priority. It’s time for a new generation of judges, judges whose life experience extends beyond big firms, federal prosecution, and whitecollar defense,” she said in a speech before the American Constitution Society.
“We need sustained pressure to get those judges in front of the Senate. Pressure — pressure on our President, pressure on Senators, pressure in the press,” she added.
By the way, if you're watching at home and you're wondering what the president can do given an insanely regressive house and a senate that requires a super-majority -- and if you think the dems are bought off this would be your proof or why would a majority allow the minority to control the legislative dialogue (Just try imagining John Boehner giving away the GOP majority with a handshake...) -- then you should know that his only real legacy will probably be appointments. And this is a window that may close in 2014 if the Republicans take over the U.S. Senate. Some of us are hoping that The Tea Party will nominate insane people again but how often does lightning strike twice?
Because of the slow pace of appointment confirmations the president may need two terms to appoint as many judges as the previous two presidents have done in one term. And its not just the quantity that we need to worry about. Take a look at that quote again from Sen. Warren and think about the quality of the appointments. That line about "white collar defense" rings very true. Nominate someone from labor or the civil liberties community at least once.
In other words, in order to counter the right wing influence of the courts you need to nominate someone like Vince Warren and not a guy who used to work with republicans. And if you do you shouldn't count that as a victory. When you get a fight between Hard Crazy Right and Center Right you don't get moderation. You get center right victories. On the other hand, the Penny Pritzker/Monsanto/Big Bank coalition that runs the White House will be thrilled I'm sure. Perhaps that's the point.
Related: One thing you can do is sign this petition to reform the filibuster by the Daily Kos. I would even be happy if you could just end the filibuster for court appointments and nominees. I really think this will be the most important thing the president can do unless he wants to make his big donors happy. Big donors who tend to be republican in their worldview. I'm going to put this on a t-shirt: "Big Money pays the Republicans to win and the Democrats to lose." Please just say no to the Penny Pritzker/Monsanto/Big Bank coalition. Somewhat related: Yes I have a personal stake in this. My dispute with Gidas Flowers and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) won't have a happy ending if I can't find a decent judge, or I lose if I get this judge. And she's not alone at either the state or federal level. Related to Somewhat Related: You can read the whole story here about the shoddy work of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) here.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Stop making me love you Elizabeth Warren. She speaks out on lack of TPP transparency. #stopmakingmeloveyouelizabethwarren #elizabethwarren #betterthanHilary

Stop making me love you Elizabeth Warren. She speaks out on lack of TPP transparency. Read the whole thing as they say. Or if you're interested in not going to jail because you download things, especially encryption which it looks like we need.

Very detailed well researched article written by George Dvorsky about recent aging studies. #longevity #transhumanism #science

It's not just the longevity analysis here that's impressive but the interviews. All kinds of sources. I don't know why bloggers can't do more of this. Oh wait: we're not paid to work that hard! But even in paid sites you don't see interviews with several different sources. I guess you can do real journalism on the Internets.

Around the Internets: Long interesting and well written piece about Verner Vinge. #sciencefiction #singularity #futurism

Long interesting and well written piece about Verner Vinge.  He's the man who coined the terrm "singularity" and got most of the present day internet right as well. But he is a bit of right winger and has done consulting work for Homeland Security. I try not to hold that against him though.

Around the Internets: 8 Most Un-Christian Things the Christian Right Has Done Recently

Nice list and why people find some Christian spokespeople complete and utter hyporcrites. Not to mention the Christian heaven probably wouldn't be any better than the Christian Hell.

Around the Internets: Alleged Christian Tom Corbett's Horrible Plan to Undermine Medicaid Expansion

I live in a blue state but I'm getting Alabama's healthcare. Corbett is looking to adopt something not as effective as simple Medicaid expansion.

Around the Internets: Online Alternatives To Trackable Sites

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Not much happened this season. #gameofthrones

I just thought there would be more resolution. Looking up for the dragon lady though. I like her chances. Burn Westeros first...

By the way: Arya Stark is definitely a terrorist.#gameofthrones

She's certainly a violent killer who doesn't play by the rules. She should have used prayer and non violence against the Lanisters. That always works.

Don't remember him ever picking up that knife after he killed the white walker. #gameofthrones

I watched that scene a couple of times and I'm sure he didn't pick up that knife. But good luck with all that I guess...

Way to cover your son's back Greyjoy. Like the Sister though. #gameofthrones

We all need sisters like that. Or anyone like that.

Poor Theon. Just kill me if that's the choice. #gameofthrones

Wait everything I say is being monitored. That's precisely what I want. That will throw them off.

Watching Cleanskin. A very good articulation of the terrorist argument. #cleanskin #spiemovies #terrorism #prism

It's a gritty espionage thriller where Sean Bean (beheaded in Game of Thrones and killed in Goldeneye) plays a much more realistic and cut throat Bond character. But the argument of Muslim extremists is well articulated. Usually its they're just crazy people who should be oblivious to the murder of their own kind in places all over the world. Here they spell it out. I get their anger. I'll defend myself against their retaliation but I won't pretend that the West is innocent. We need to change our policies if we want to stop terrorism.  This is a nice prelude to Game of Thrones.

Petite Transgendered Ex Navy Seal #philsbandnames #bandnames #navyseals #sealteamsix #ncisla

Also: Non Petite Transgendered Ex Navy Seal. This is in no way to insult the physically frightening ex navy seals who have changed their gender and provided an exciting alternative plotline for NCIS LA (LL Cool J's meets an old colleague with a bit of a difference...). So please don't kill me...I think you're beautiful in fact.

Air Sex Champions #philsbandnames #bandnames #sex

Sometimes the muse just strikes you.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Note to #VICEonHBO: Please do a feature on the Center for Constitutional Rights. #billmaher

Just take a look at their cases and think of the story potential. Also, if Vice ever gets into the fiction business, this would make the basis for a great international law show. It could be the anti Law and Order.

Notice that trial wasn't in the United States. #VICEonHBO

I'm almost certain that the Center for Constitutional Rights tried to do something like that lawsuit here but it got thrown out.

Nigerian problem the same as Chicaq problem: We hate the proles, especially when they're black. #VICEonHBO

Not sure if I agree with the cause segment. #VICEonHBO

The real cause for the growth of gangs is unemployment. You put 50000 Costco level or union jobs -- that people with limited education can actually get and do -- and the death count goes down. There's just a class war that's very real against the poorest members of American society. And while the Republicans are clearly happy with this state of affairs its just not clear that the Democrats are fighting this neo colonial consciousness effectively. They're either incompetent or they're in on it....

"The Youth Are Just Fucked Up" #VICEonHBO

Gangs in Chicago. #VICEonHBO Or Chiraq.

This wouldn't be as entertaining or as dangerous as writing about the gang problem in Chicago but it would be nice if VICE took a look at the privatization efforts of corporatist Rahm Emanuel in regards to the schools. Closing public schools and turning them over to unaccountable corporations probably won't make the gang problem "better".

#VICEonHBO The Black Underclass in Chicago and Nigeria.

They get screwed in both places. The differences are in how.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

It was the drugs. #madmen

Is that his wife or is it the drugs? #madmen

Do you like the hashish? #philsbandnames #bandnames #tv #madmen

An Octopus of Bongs. #madmen

I can already see Don with longer hair and a cocaine habit in the 70s....

Hippies Don't Wear Makeup #philsbandnames #bandnames #madmen

"The Democrats are dead, maybe forever...ha ha ha." Evil republican businesscrats. #madmen

Is this a Republican show? Or just an honest show.

Hippies don't wear makeup. Well a lot of them are hawt and don't need to. #madmen

So there Mr. Bidness man.

Women doing it for themselves. Good for them. #madmen

Well Ned did have a lot of many are left? #gameofthrones

You know I'm rooting for the Starks but geez...#gameofthrones

And the Lord of Light is a powerful god.

Uh oh. Doors are closing. The music is changing, really sad, the dogs are locked up #gameofthrones

I sense a red red wedding...

Nice music. Someone do "John Barleycorn Must Die" #gameofthrones

Who does this music.

That's a nice wedding vow not based on the Christian faith. #gameofthrones

Of course, end of days usually meant late 30s at most.

Well this looks like the Red Wedding. Prepare to gasp at the bad luck of the Starks. #gameofthrones

Now that's a very sarcastic "Thank You My Lord". #gameofthrones

Uh oh. Sarcastic clapping. Run now King of the North...#gameofthrones

Well. That's a lot of unattractive daughters or granddaughters. Or plain at best. #gameofthrones

#gameofthrones Will this be the time of the Red Red Wedding?

Or more nudity. I'm good either way.