this n that

I just…what? GLAAD Angry About Westboro Radio Deal. So, the haters from Westboro Baptist church have been blocked from picketing the funeral, which is good. In return, they’ve got a deal to broadcast their hate and vitriol on radio. Here’s GLAAD’s petition to stop that. Might need to try a couple times, seems to be overloaded (a good sign, I hope).

DO read this! Do violent words cause violence? Lessons from the civil rights era.

This is a chilling read of how a perfectly successful program is being dismantled — despite its successes — because of ideological resistance to the inherent fairness, equality, and reduction of racial tensions and rich/poor dichotomies: Kochs Fulfill Father’s Campaign To Segregate Public Schools, End Successful Integration Program in NC

Today in the Washington Post, reporter Stephanie McCrummen detailed how a right-wing campaign in the Wake County area of North Carolina has taken over the school board with a pledge to end a very successful socio-economic integration plan. The integration plan, which created thriving schools in poor African-American parts of the school district along with achieving diversity in schools located in wealthy white enclaves, was a model for the nation. However, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Tea Party group founded and funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, worked with local right-wing financier (and AFP board member) Art Pope to fundamentally change Wake County’s school board

It’s an excellent breakdown of how these people are going about erasing all the progressive gains we’ve made since the New Deals and Civil Rights movements of the 20th century.

The GOP’s Ongoing War to Re-Brand Poor People as “Lazy,” “Freeloading”. Yep. Since Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queens” rhetoric, this has been around a LONG while…

Low-income children. Senior citizens. People with disabilities. Who would oppose helping those demographics gain access to life-saving healthcare services?

Republicans, of course. The latest of many assaults on the program comes from thirty-three GOP governors and governors-elect from across the country whose states’ budgets are crunched in the poor economy. The state leaders have sent letters to the White House and Congress whining about how they’ll be punished under healthcare reform for dropping Medicaid enrollees, which are costing states more and more as the number of people eligible for the program grows. Under the Affordable Care Act, such states would lose the federal dollars that make up about 60% of Medicaid funding.

Read this, particularly its excerpt of Kaiser’s evaluation of the benefits Medicaid has provided over the last few decades.

Apropos of which is this Storytelling as Organizing: How to Rescue the Left From Its Crisis of Imagination. The money quote? Kevin O’Donnell wrote, “When it comes to messaging, Republicans believe in science. Democrats don’t.” To their detriment, “Democrats cling to the idea, disproved by science and electoral experience, that if you present the facts, people will reason their way to the right conclusion.” Republicans, on the other hand, know to use “simple words, short sentences and a heavy dose of repetition.”

Tucson Shooting Reshapes Explosive Immigration Debate.

The attack on Rep. Giffords, as well as her subsequent absence from Congress, raises a number of concerns about the direction of immigration policy in 2011. While some immigrant rights groups maligned her broad support of increased border enforcement, Giffords nevertheless stood out as one of few Arizona legislators who also broadly supported immigrant rights. John Rudolph at Feet in 2 Worlds points out that she represented an important border district, supported the DREAM Act, and opposed SB 1070. And as a result of the shooting, Rudolph argues, Giffords’ pivotal voice “has been sidelined at a time when moderate voices are desperately needed.”

This is not new news: the intersections between mental illnesses, forced incarceration, feeding into the industrial-prison complex. Greenwald takes it on in The reflexive call for fewer liberties

The lesson of the Arizona tragedy, he [William Galston] argues, is that it’s too difficult to force citizens into mental institutions against their will. This, he says, is the fault of “civil libertarians,” who began working in the 1970s on legal reforms to require a higher burden of proof for involuntary commitment (generally: it must be proven that the person is a danger to himself or to others). As a result, Galston wants strict new laws imposing a litany of legal obligations on the mentally ill, their friends and family, and even acquaintances, as well as dramatically expanded powers to lock away those with mental illness (with broader definitions of what that means).

Greenwald correctly recounts the historical abuses of the forcibly incarcerated as the motivations behind the de-institutionalizing of “problem” people in the 70’s and 80’s. (I have a particular interest in this, as deaf people are often committed because we are deaf (just as gay people were committed for homosexuality, etc), not because we are actually a danger to others or ourselves. )

This article puts the finger on the actual source of the problem. It’s not that we need to return to forcible incarceration of the “mentally ill”, but that we need to restore the funding and programs for their (outpatient) treatement: Jared Loughner and Mental Illness: The Devastating Effects of Budget Cuts that Slash Care to the Mentally Ill. Pay particular attention to his point that we haven’t actually “saved” money by slashing funding for these programs. They have simply reappeared elsewhere — such as ER care for patients in extremis — often in more expensive form.

The search and seizure of laptops (highlighted yesterday by Appelbaum’s tweeting) has been a problem for a while. See Glenn Greenwald’s article: Government harassing and intimidating Bradley Manning supporters from November 9th, and this lawsuit filed two months before that: Groups Sue Over Suspicionless Laptop Search Policy At The Border.

Could Tunisia Be The Next Twitter Revolution? Looks like a place to keep an eye on. The different language presents some issues but as last year’s Green Revolution twittering showed, that doesn’t have to be insurmountable.

Interesting pair of articles from Digby: More Like This, Please. Much More. (tristero) and Yin and Yang (digby).

An interesting look at how often (and by whom) women are in the media: Women in the News in 2010. An interesting, quick, read with food for thought there.

Also, this caught my attention: Why Peace Is the Business of Men (But Shouldn’t Be). I had completely forgotten about United Nations Security Council: Resolution 1325 — shame on me.

Truthout has an excellent article here The Philosophies That Put People Behind Bars. Ironically, it is collapsing state budgets and giant, crowded, oversized prison populations that are forcing a re-examination of this issue (as usual, California will be leading the way on this one — we’ve already had a series of court hearings on the humane treatment of prisoners — basic stuff such as dealing with overcrowding and necessary health care among other things). But the article goes into more background detail and is well worth the read.

For examples of how other countries handle things with better results: Few Foreclosures, No Bank Failures: Canada Offers Lessons.

On a final note, this is the billboard advertising Rush Limbaugh’s show in Tucson. It’s still up.
Image is a photo of an advertising billboard that says Rush Limbaugh, Straight Shooter -- and is riddled with images of bullet holes all over the billboard.
ETA: Looks like this has been yanked: Clear Channel Yanks ‘Straight Shooter’ Limbaugh Ad In Tucson

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