News

They're Coming For Your Weed

Just when you thought the whole thing was settled, the Trump Regime throws a monkey wrench into the gears just for the laughs.

But while Republicans generally support local control and the rights of states to pass their own laws, not all states' rights are created equal in the eyes of the new White House. Case in point: state marijuana laws.

In the White House briefing room Thursday, press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters federal law enforcement authorities would be taking a new view of state laws that have legalized recreational marijuana in recent years.

Never mind that the whole thing regarding "states rights" was settled decades ago--they're telegraphing their next move.

Do you live in a state where you can use marijuana for medical purposes or recreationally? Do you live in a state where it has been decriminalized? Good for you. The Trump people are going to undo all of that and destroy all of the progress we've made. This is because they still think marijuana is a "gateway" drug and that it's still 1983:

"When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people," Spicer said. "There is still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and drugs of that nature."

The Obama administration had fought states on the bathroom issue, but let states experiment with marijuana legalization even though federal law supersedes state law under the supremacy clause of the Constitution.

The real criminals are the people who created the opioid crisis in the first place. That would be the drug companies, their marketing people, and the doctors who get kickbacks for prescribing millions of painkillers to people who don't need them. We're not going after those criminals. We're going after the little people because it's much, much easier to fill up a for-profit prison that way. See how it's all a big scam? Cops will get to seize your property and receive military gear. The prisons will fill up with marijuana users. The drug companies will get off scot-free. Profits for them, and not for thee.

We're entering a new phase of American history: the Drug War II. And if you know someone who drives to get their medical marijuana in a vehicle with a Trump bumpersticker, give them a pat on the back.

One Thousand Russian Trolls Helped Elect Trump

Buried at the bottom of this story about FBI Director James Comey's briefing to Senators yesterday is this amazing fact:

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence committee, did not answer questions about the focus of the Comey briefing Friday. But he did talk about the extent of the investigation he is building with Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr. 

"What we are trying to do -- and I give Richard (Burr) a lot of credit -- is to not have this devolve into a partisan food fight that doesn't serve the public purpose. This is so important that we get it right," Warner said. "But the amount of manipulation, why there's not more outrage about the fact there were close to 1,000 Russian internet trolls, actual people, working trying to manipulate our news."

This is nothing new to Western leaders, by the way--it was on CNN in September of 2015:

An army of Internet trolls is using cyberspace to promote Russia and wage war against opposition groups and the West.

A former employee of the Internet Research Agency, Lyudmila Savchuk, has offered a rare glimpse inside the propaganda machine where young people were paid to praise President Vladimir Putin and his government. 

Savchuk, 34, who runs a Russian group that campaigns against propaganda, said she went undercover to "unveil the trolls and make them show themselves." 

The freelance journalist told CNN she accepted a job with the agency as a blogger, and then filed a lawsuit over its employment practices to shed light on the shadowy organization. 

The Russian government had denied all knowledge of the operation, and cast doubt on its existence. But a court last month awarded Savchuk symbolic damages of one ruble in recognition of the legal claims she made.

Why is this being briefed by the FBI Director now? Shouldn't we have known about this before the 2016 primaries even began? And since Trump was an announced candidate in the fall of 2015, why didn't anyone connect the dots on his campaign's Russian connections earlier? It would seem to me that this was a missed opportunity to provide some basic level of protection for American democracy. At the very least, it should have been the FBI's responsibility to warn people that the Russians were actively engaged in trying to throw the election while, at the same time, having multiple connections to the Trump campaign for months and months.

Russia had this massive online manipulation program up and running long before the 2016 election and no one in our government did anything to warn anyone. Amazing.

Tamron Hall

I'm going to say some rude things, and I want you to be offended:

Celebrated NBC News anchor Tamron Hall has been ousted from NBC News, reports Deadline. According to several rumors and reports, The Today Show anchor was bumped to make room for Megyn Kelly, who previously anchored at Fox News.
Last week’s announcement that Kelly would be leaving stirred up controversy and questions regarding the placement of Hall and Al Roker, who previously led the 9 a.m. hour together. With Hall’s departure, Roker will host the third hour slot until Kelly begins her tenure.

Miss Hall is very talented and acclaimed. The mere fact that she has lost her job in television broadcasting is bad enough. But there are some social and racial aspects to this that I want to highlight because what the fuckity fuck, NBC--hello?

First of all, firing a black woman in order to make room for a white woman who regularly talked about how bad black people are on her Fox News show is insulting and ridiculous. Does NBC really believe that firing Hall and replacing her with Megyn Kelly is culturally appropriate or sensitive to their audience?

Second of all, NBC just fired a black woman for being successful on television. Again, what the fuck is wrong with you, NBC? Is this how you maintain diversity and engage the public interest? By making room for another overpaid white woman to appear on television?

Third, of all of the news anchors and pundits and slimy cockroaches out there, you're telling me Tamron Hall is the one who gets fired? All of the people who got it wrong in November seem to still be working, especially all of the goddamned white women who show their legs on television and sit behind glass desks. All of the people who "normalized" the most insane president this country has ever had by reporting ABOUT HER EMAILS still have their jobs. All of the people who said that Hillary was as bad as Trump and boy, look how that turned out to be true, still have their jobs. Did David Brooks get fired? Did that jackass who goes on CNN every night called Jeffery Lord or whatever get fired? 

No.

But Tamron Hall got fired. Post racial America, right?

Seriously, NBC. What the fuck?

Show Me Your Papers

The Trump Regime's promise during the election to ban Muslims entering the United States has affected local law enforcement. This happened BEFORE the ban went into effect, but make no mistake about it--this is the country in which we live right now. 

There's no way a beat cop in Bel Air, Maryland should be accosting citizens and asking for their papers. The woman in question is just as American as you or I. The Bel Air police department should have fired that officer immediately. What an outrage. 

This shit will get out of hand fast. We are headed for panicky days ahead. If you're not ashamed of your country right now, you oughta be. This is not why I served in the Army. This is not what Americans should have to face when walking in their communities. And this is the logical extension of decades of subtle racism, courtesy of the Republican Party. White nationalism won the presidency and way too many people are cheering it on right now.

Governor Mark Dayton Has Prostate Cancer

cst 10814 Gov Dayton State of the State

This is horrible news:

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo either radiation or surgery for treatment, he announced Tuesday at the state Capitol. 
Dayton revealed the information while taking questions from journalists following the state government budget proposal. They asked if a health condition caused him to collapse Monday while delivering the annual State of the State address.
 
"I will ... in the interest of full disclosure say that I learned last week -- I had a biopsy -- that I do have prostate cancer," he said. 
 
Dayton, 69, said doctors say it appears the cancer has not extended beyond his prostate and he was optimistic he would recover. He planned to receive treatment at the Mayo Clinic.

Dayton has been a successful governor primarily because he's done everything that Scott Walker won't do in Wisconsin. Dayton has raised taxes, fought for better health care, and has created a situation in Minnesota where there is not only a budget surplus but a very successful and business friendly economy. Dayton is the opposite of Sam Brownback, he of the Kansas miracle, which turned a state in deep trouble into a stack of dumpsters on fire.

This is horrible. Some wingnut is going to step in and do what Tim Pawlenty did and bankrupt the state once again. The modern Republican believes that if you give tax breaks to the wealthy and slash spending on education, you'll make people hate their government so much, they'll stop paying attention.  

Democrats and progressives need Dayton more than ever. He is one of the few remaining successful blue state governors. Here's hoping he comes back fighting.

Me, Me, Me

The first step in establishing a dictatorship is the creation of the cult of personality. This is the actual bio for the new president of the United States of America. There is no mention of losing the popular vote by nearly 3,000.000 votes, nor is there so much as a thank you to Vladimir Putin. 

Can't wait for the banners, the mega-portraits, and the parades.

Who even uses the word "likewise" anymore?

Republican Hypocrisy is Eternal

Edwin D. Williamson, today:

President-elect Donald Trump’s attempt to put the conflicts issue behind him has failed, at least according to the mainstream media. His announcement that he would resign from all positions with companies in the Trump Organization, put the Trump Organization in a trust run by his two sons and a Trump Organization employee, and not communicate with the trustees on the business did not stifle the howl from the media and such self-appointed ethics watchdogs as Richard Painter and Norman Eisen, who continue their dire warnings about the new president's potential conflicts of interests. Even the supposedly nonpartisan director of the Office of Government Ethics has chimed in, saying that Trump's "plan does not comport with the tradition of our presidents over the last 40 years" (which is incorrect with respect to President Carter; the others did not have financial interests that came close to the extent and complexity of Trump's).

The media and the watchdogs insist on a full divestiture by Trump of all financial interests in the Trump Organization (he will be the principal beneficiary of the Trump trust). For a variety of reasons, divestiture probably cannot be done at all, but it certainly cannot be done without creating an entirely new set of conflicts. What the president-elect has done would not satisfy the requirements of the federal conflicts law if they applied to him (they do not), but he has made a good-faith effort to distance his role as president from his financial interests.

Edwin D. Williamson, November, 2008:

An MSNBC article discusses ethics issues that former President Bill Clinton's extensive charitable activities could present if Barack Obama nominates Hilary Clinton to be Secretary of State. Here's an excerpt:

[V]ast amounts of money and prestige are involved, and those factors could pose problems for lawyers at the State Department who work to prevent ethical conflicts from corrupting the nation's foreign policy.

Edwin D. Williamson, who served as the State Department's chief legal adviser under President George H.W. Bush, said he does not know how the agency would resolve the potential conflicts. "If a client came to me with this set of facts, I would describe it as nightmarish," he said.

The gall of these people. Their moral compass disappears as soon as a Republican gets near the White House. Every single legal argument used against the Clintons for over 25 years is simply flushed down the memory hole.

You may remember how both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W, Bush placed their personal assets in blind trusts in order to ensure that they could not be accused of anything unethical, but that's not enough. You may remember how Presidents Clinton and Obama did the same thing, but you'd be sneered at for bringing it up. You might remember how all other candidates have released their tax returns, but now you're just being shrill.

Trump has made a "good faith" effort. Except that he hasn't used a blind trust in any way, shape or form. That's not good faith. That's thumbing your nose at the whole idea that a president should comport himself in an ethical manner.

The Republicans have set up a dangerous precedent. In the future, be prepared to laugh in their face if they ever raise a concern for the "appearance of a conflict of interest" with regards to any Democrat.

 

96 Million Americans Are Looking For a Job

The real number is around 5.1 million, but what does that mean anymore?

Donald Trump’s first press conference as president-elect will be best-remembered for his jeering at the press and vague dismissals of financial and ethical impropriety. But buried inside the taunting and dissembling was a Trump moment that stands out as a kind of microcosmic footnote—subtle yet representative of his ability to scramble the news cycle with simple falsehoods.

“Right now, there are 96 million [people] wanting a job and they can't get [one],” he said. “You know that story. The real number. That's the real number."

No. That’s not “the real number.”

This is a perfect example of the effect Trump will have on any policy debate he seizes. He takes a fraught yet critical topic—American work, lack of the work, and the way the U.S. government addresses both—reduces it to a bizarro sound bite that bears no relationship to reality, and bends the political and policy conversation toward his dramatic warping of the truth, all without offering a substantive plan to address even the moderate version of his apocalyptic proclamations.

Trump didn’t pull this particular figure out of thin air. There are 96 million Americans over the age of 16 who are not in the labor force. But “not in the labor force” does not mean they want a job and can’t get one. In fact, it means something quite different: that they are neither working nor looking for work.

To use this number as a data point about unemployment is absurd. Most of these 96 million people are retired. Most of the rest are stay-at-home parents and students. To say that 96 million people “want a job and can’t get one” is to argue that a 90-year-old grandfather at a nursing home is struggling to find a suitable job. Is Trump hoping grandpa gets back on his feet and starts realizing his latent labor potential? If not, don’t call him unemployed! If yes, we have deeper issues.

I don’t want to give the impression that unemployment is a cut-and-dry issue just because Trump’s mistake is cut-and-dry. As CNBC's Steve Liesman wrote, the real number is closer to the 5.4 million Americans who say they want a job but aren't working. Liesman is technically right. That is the official figure. But determining the “real” unemployment rate is not like measuring the pressure of a gas in a beaker. It’s a measurement inflected with mutable values and arbitrary definitions.

The Trump Regime has a whole host of Baghdad Bobs on the payroll. Their job is to appear on television, repeat lies, and pretend they are hurt when someone points out that they are lying.

There is Nothing Masculine About Hating People

Let's not overthink things here:

Political analysts have repeatedly made the case that Trump is a mirror; that he does not create but only stokes Americans’ deep-seated fears, xenophobia, and racism that surface by way of economic instability. The bitterness and primal scorn that Trump has tapped among white Americans in struggling areas is aimed not just at those of foreign extraction, as Alec MacGillis writes in our magazinethis month, but also the even more impoverished people whom homegrown “working-class” whites see as scavengers ripping a cut of many already meager paychecks.

Economically, Americans are much better off than they were eight years ago. But it was a black man who accomplished this, so Donald Trump is the natural rally point for white supremacy in America. You cannot make the case that Trump is a smart choice in any regard. He is explicitly the candidate who sticks it to minorities. He is home base for the kind of Americanism that has been hidden for decades. He gets away with saying and doing things that would have sunken a candidate in the 1980s and 1990s because he is a master manipulator of social media.

There is nothing "masculine" about hating people.

Nobody Has a Monopoly on Truth and Morals

Paul Manafort runs the Donald Trump campaign. He is the most ethically challenged member of Trump's team, and that's saying a whole hell of a lot:

It is far from certain that Mr. Manafort’s views have directly shaped Mr. Trump’s, since Mr. Trump spoke favorably of Mr. Putin’s leadership before Mr. Manafort joined the campaign. But it is clear that the two have a shared view of Russia and neighbors like Ukraine — an affection, even — that, in Mr. Manafort’s case, has been shaped by years of business dealings as much as by any policy or ideology.

“I wouldn’t put out any moral arguments about his work,” said Yevgeny E. Kopachko, a pollster with Mr. Yanukovych’s former party who cooperated with Mr. Manafort for years and called him a pragmatic and effective strategist. “Nobody has a monopoly on truth and morals.”

Mr. Manafort did not respond to requests for an interview. In television interviews on Sunday, though, he defended Mr. Trump’s views on Russia, saying that as president, Mr. Trump would be firm with Russia but would deal with it like any other country when doing so suited American interests.

“He views Russia as a foreign power that has its own interests at stake,” Mr. Manafort said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Until he joined Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign this year, Mr. Manafort’s work in Ukraine had been his most significant political campaign in recent years. He began his career in Republican politics in the 1970s and extended it overseas to advising authoritarian leaders, including Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire, Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines and Mr. Yanukovych.

Manafort has been in bed with the Russian-aligned Ukrainians for years. He owes much of his livelihood to taking money from a foreign government. Would any government agency give him access to classified information? My guess is that they would not dream of granting him a clearance. And yet, he's running the campaign for the Republican nominee for president.

Lou Holtz and a Bottle of Crown Royal

Someone gave retired football coach Lou Holtz a bottle of Crown Royal. Or he brought it with him. Who knows?

This is really a thing that happened. In the midst of one of the greatest shit shows in all of recorded history, someone had a spare bottle to give away, and they gave it to Holtz because why not? Holtz endorsed Trump back in May because he once played golf at a resort that Trump has bankrupted yet.

Lou Holtz walking around the GOP convention with a bottle of Crown Royal is now breaking the Internet. Yay!

Your College Degree is Why America is Horrible Right Now

I am probably being ridiculous, but oh well:

Both geographically and demographically, the British referendum split the U.K. along lines familiar in America. An extensive election-day survey by Lord Michael Ashcroft, a British pollster, found that the leave campaign carried over three-fifths of those without four-year college degrees, a comparable number of seniors, and a narrow majority of all whites. Election results showed the leave campaign amassing big margins outside of major cities. The campaign to remain won over two-thirds of non-whites, about three-fifths of college graduates, and big majorities among younger and urban voters. In London, which recently elected one of the western world’s first Muslim mayors, 60 percent voted to stay.

All of this replicates American patterns. Democrats now rely on an urbanized coalition of Millennials, minorities, and socially liberal college-educated and single whites (especially women). Republicans thrive among older, non-college educated and religiously devout whites, especially outside of major cities. In 2012, President Obama carried less than one-fourth of America’s counties; he won fewer counties than any presidential winner since at least 1920. But because Obama so dominated the nation’s population centers, he triumphed by 5 million votes.

In a way, having a college degree means I can't join the racist, belching rabble and vote for Donald Trump. I have too much information--I'm a high information voter--and I can't just sit here and write stupid things all day long (since when has that ever stopped anyone, including me?).

What I think gets left out of the equation is that we are faced with choices that have not energized the populations of either Britain or America. President Obama was a once-in-a-lifetime bolt out of nowhere. He energized millions and he promised renewal. His legacy will be that of a largely successful president who could have done more with a reasonable opposition party. The fact that he accomplished anything at all was entirely in spite of the hate expressed towards him as the first black president. 

With Hillary being the first female president, we'll see some renewal of hope and we'll see more women participating in public life, I would imagine. What we'll also see is a mirror image of the racism expressed towards Obama in the misogyny that will be directed like a broadside at Hillary. 

Like Obama, she'll advance the movement towards a more equitable and fair United States of America. And she'll be denied any credit for doing her best to make people's lives better, just like Obama.

Stop Covering Trump

I already know the answer--no, large media organizations are not going to stop covering Donald Trump--but that's exactly what they should do in order to show solidarity with The Washington Post:

Donald Trump said Monday that he is pulling The Washington Post’s credentials to cover his events because he is upset with the newspaper’s coverage of his campaign. The move puts the newspaper on a long list of media outlets that the presumptive Republican nominee has banned for reporting that displeased him.

“Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post,” read a post on Trump’s Facebook page.

There's a reason why coverage of Trump is being held hostage right now--he creates massive amounts of revenue for these media organizations by giving them access. The Washington Post will see a downturn in traffic to its website and maybe a few ramifications for its print edition because of this. Fewer flashy headlines and fewer impulse buys at what counts as newstands? I don't know.

Coverage of Donald Trump is driving traffic to the web properties that are not banned; this gives Trump some power over them. By denying them access, he is demonstrating control of the narrative around his dumpster fire of a campaign. This has a chilling effect because the media outlets that have not been banned have been shown clear examples of what will get them booted from the campaign. This, in turn, changes the coverage of Trump and places everything in a more favorable light.

All of the media outlets covering him should go dark, but they won't because of the business ramifications. It's just another sad and pathetic piece of a larger puzzle--how the hell did we get here? We are all fools because he's in control.

Free Lunch

This landed in my in-box today, and I had to kind of cringe to keep from laughing when I read it. I still don't understand why we're not just feeding kids for free in school--whatever system is currently in use where many people live is probably antiquated and based on a time when making a lunch for a kid was relatively inexpensive. Now, with rising food costs and shrinking wages, this issue becomes more and more difficult for people to solve.

I like what Hillary Clinton says here:

Contrast that with this:

When it comes to public schools providing meals for low-income children, congressional Republicans have built up a discouraging record in recent years. In 2014, for example, a GOP congressman from Georgia suggested struggling children should either pay more for school meals or tackle janitorial tasks in their schools in exchange for food.

Around the same time, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) delivered a speech suggesting kids who rely on school lunches aren’t cared for as much as kids who bring their own lunch to school. The far-right lawmaker, we later learned, was relying on an anecdote that turned out to be made-up.

That was the last Congress. In this Congress, Jared Bernstein and Ben Spielberg made the case in the Washington Post yesterday that Republican lawmakers are eyeing new restrictions on the federal program.

Under current law, changed by Democrats in 2010, schools don’t have to verify which individual students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Rather, if a school serves a community in which 40% of the kids are eligible for meal assistance – called the “Identified Student Percentage” – the schools can make food available to all of its students. It streamlines the bureaucracy and verification process, cuts down on paperwork, and helps ensure children receive the benefits to which they’re entitled under the law.

If you fed kids as part of the school curriculum, and normalized the idea that school means education plus food, it would definitely increase costs for the school districts. That would have to be offset by funding from elsewhere, and, given the many wingnut state legislatures out there, you can count on expressions of massive butt hurt. But, wherever that funding comes from, it would provide several benefits that would have a huge impact on families.

One, it would ensure that kids on the threshold of receiving a free lunch wouldn't be left out and could count on getting food at school. Two, it would ensure that everyone in school had a chance to eat something and not go hungry, thereby making it hard to learn in the first place. Why not eliminate the stigma and just feed all the kids the same thing and make it free (and healthier to boot)? Is the country really that broke or do we just not want to make some hard choices? The schools are already in the business of giving kids free or reduced lunches. Why not get completely into that business, negotiate for better rates and lower costs, and make it part of what makes school important in a community?

There's a lot to be said for the stability that a good school can bring to a neighborhood. It can definitely drive property values up and it can increase participation for parents and students in what happens. Yeah, I get that there will always be apathy. It's not like you have to eat what's put in front of you--kids should be allowed to bring their own food or opt out.

Todd Starnes is a Lying Turd

I mean, not that you didn't already know it, but Todd Starnes lies like a rug:

Jerry Boykin is the kind of man you’d want teaching your sons – a good and decent man, an honorable man – a Christian man.

For the past nine years the retired lieutenant general has taught leadership and ethics at Hampden-Sydney College, a highly regarded, all-male school based in Virginia. By many accounts – he is beloved and deeply respected by students.

But Gen. Boykin will not be returning to the classroom this fall. That’s because he tells me he's been fired.

The man who was one of the original members of Delta Force and once commanded all of the U.S. Army’s Green Berets – the man who served his nation with honor and distinction for more than 36 years – was ousted because of political correctness.

Nope. Not even close:

In 2003, President Bush publicly distanced himself from Boykin when it was revealed that he had made anti-Islamic statements and cast the “War on Terror” as a religious conflict while giving speeches at churches in full dress uniform, a violation of regulations. Since his retirement from the military in 2007, Boykin has involved himself fully as a Christian far-right activist and anti-Muslim propagandist. He is currently executive vice president of the Family Research Council, which is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

And, just so you know where he stands on the issues:

“One of the most disgusting things I hear is for people to call Hitler the extreme right. The absolute opposite was true. It was the National Socialist Party. He was an extraordinarily off the scale leftist. But many Jews in America, for example, can’t identify with the Republican Party because they’re called the party of the right, and they equate that to Hitler when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.”
–April 2011 video for Rick Joyner’s Oak Initiative

“The continent of Europe is dark, it is hopelessly lost and it’s going to get worse. Every expert will tell you that by the middle of this century the continent of Europe will be an Islamic continent, and they can’t reverse it, they can’t stop it. It is because they took Jesus out of their societies and it’s been replaced by darkness.”
–Address to Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference, May 2012

“So we love the Muslim people but we have to be very careful to understand that Islam — in a pure sense and an authoritative sense — Islam is evil. Islam is an evil concept because it does call for innocent blood. It calls for the subjugation of women, it calls for brutality that is alien to us as Christians. So we do love the Muslim people, but the Bible also speaks of a time when men will call good evil and evil good, and we have to be sure that we are in fact calling Islam what it is, and in reality, it’s evil.”
–Speaking with Rick Joyner and self-proclaimed ex-terrorist Kamal Saleem, Feb. 27, 2012

“We are at war. And I think that until Americans are willing to find out what Islam is and to find out the truth about what the Muslim Brotherhood is doing in our country, we’re going to continue to live in darkness.”
– 2011, speaking to James Dobson on his radio program

“There is a cabal, a group of very nefarious people, who very much want to create a global government. In order to create a global government, you essentially have to make everybody the same, so there’s not a superpower. Inside America, the foundations of that are the billions of dollars of a guy named George Soros, who has been, really for the last four or five decades, working very hard to bring us to a point where he can make us — lead us into a Marxist government. But there is an entity within the Council of Foreign Relations that is very much focused on global governments — one world government.”
—Answering questions at the Oak Initiative Summit, 2011

“[Islam] should not be protected under the First Amendment, particularly given that those following the dictates of the Quran are under an obligation to destroy our Constitution and replace it with sharia law.”
—Video for Rick Joyner’s Oak Initiative, 2010

Sweet guy. The very idea that he's being denied something because of political correctness is a false narrative. The guy is being kicked to the curb because he is an unrepentant bigot.

UPDATE: Despite years and years of making bigoted statements in public, Boykin has been rehired.

Fort McMurray

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Scott Olson/Getty Images

If this is any indication of how devastating it is going to be for people in Fort McMurray, Alberta to return to their homes, I can only imagine how hard life is going to be in the months ahead. 

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley warns "dramatic images" emerging from Fort McMurray, Alta., may upset evacuees as she and Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake get their first look at wildfire damage during their tour today.

Fire Chief Darby Allen, as well as a limited number of media personnel, will accompany Notley and Blake on the tour.

The group will be escorted by RCMP and emergency vehicles. A news conference at the regional operations centre will come afterwards.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley became emotional Sunday when talking about the two young people who were killed in a vehicle crash while trying to leave Fort McMurray. (CBC )

Notley warned the stories that result from that tour could upset some evacuees.

"There will be some dramatic images coming from media over the next couple of days," Notley said at a news conference Sunday. "I want to reiterate mental health supports are available for anyone who needs help."

Trigger warnng!

The offer of providing mental health professionals sounds uniquely Canadian to me, and makes total sense. Here in America, we give you a blanket, a cup of water, maybe a trailer, and we move on. How many people were offered mental health counseling after Hurricane Sandy or whichever disaster? I don't remember reading about that, but here is an academic paper about the aftermath:

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate mental health outcomes among New Jersey shore residents with health impairments and disabilities after Hurricane Sandy.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Six months following Hurricane Sandy, a cross-sectional survey of 200 adults residing in beach communities directly exposed to the storm located in Monmouth County, NJ, was conducted.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, mental health service use, and medication use.

RESULTS:

The average age of residents surveyed was 59 years (SD = 13.7) and 52.5 percent (95% CI = 45.5-59.4) reported recent hospitalizations, physical limitations, fair to poor health status, multiple chronic health conditions, or physical disabilities. A total of 14.5 percent (95% CI = 10.2-20.1) of residents screened positive for PTSD and 6.0 percent (95% CI = 3.1-10.2) met criteria for depression 6 months after Sandy. In addition, 20.5 percent (95% CI = 15.4-26.7) sought some type of professional counseling after Sandy and 30.5 percent (95% CI = 24.5-37.3) experienced PTSD symptoms, depression, sought professional mental health support, or used psychotropic medications. In multivariate analyses, the best predictors of mental health and service use were having sleep problems, suicidal thoughts, moderate or severe pain, and having high exposure hurricane-related events. Analyses also suggested that noncollege graduates were more likely to receive mental health services (OR = 3.10, p = 0.009), while women were less likely to have depression (OR = 0.12, p = 0.038).

CONCLUSION:

Having physical impairments and health conditions were not directly related to adverse mental health outcomes following Sandy, but having sleep problems, pain, or suicidal thoughts were. Further research is needed to assess the health status of community residents with serious health impairments over time following disasters.

It should be more prominently featured in the coverage of these disasters that receiving mental health assistance is normal and natural. Not everyone has to project the face of resiliency and act all stoic. Many people need help and there's no shame in asking.

MSNBC Sinks to a New Low

MSNBC is no friend to liberals, the liberal agenda, or the American viewing public:

Alex Wagner, the charismatic host of the canceled NOW with Alex Wagner and formerly one of MSNBC’s rising stars, has finally said adieu to the network. It was announced on Tuesday that she had taken a position with The Atlantic. She will now serve as the magazine’s senior editor and will be heavily involved in the company’s video and live events. This will include moderating a panel on Saturday mornings.

This company is actively jettisoning people of color and everyone is mostly okay with that? If ratings counted for anything, Joe Scarborough wouldn't even be on television. Instead, he's the mouthpiece of an organization that might as well continue to have nobody watching. That's a helluva business model. Screw over your employees, screw over the people watching, eliminate diversity, and then wonder where all the money went.