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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Southwestern PA
Home country: USA
Current location: Washington, DC
Member since: Mon Nov 10, 2003, 07:36 PM
Number of posts: 43,660

About Me

If an H-1b has an American accent, they are probably not an H-1b. It's race, not citizenship. Americans are more diverse than you think. Millions of US citizens don't look the way you might expect. This fact is very important and will help us win elections.

Journal Archives

Texas secretary of state resigns after leading botched voter purge that questioned the citizenship

Texas secretary of state resigns after leading botched voter purge that questioned the citizenship of almost 100,000 people


Texas’s acting secretary of state, David Whitley (R), resigned Monday just months after leading the botched voter purge of nearly 100,000 suspected noncitizens that erroneously also targeted U.S. citizens, efforts that drew rebukes from a federal judge and numerous voter rights groups.

Whitley’s departure came as the Texas Senate failed to confirm him to the position by a two-thirds majority on the last day of the legislative session. He submitted his resignation letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) “effective immediately” just before the final gavel, as reported by the Austin American-Statesman. Abbott accepted his resignation shortly afterward, praising his “moral character and integrity.”

Neither Whitley’s resignation letter nor Abbott’s mentioned the controversy.

“Working alongside the employees in the secretary of state’s office, county election officials, and representatives of our #1 trading partner, Mexico, has been my distinct honor and privilege,” Whitley, 36, wrote in the resignation letter, reproduced by multiple local outlets.

Whitley, a gubernatorial appointee and former aide to Abbott, spent less than six months overseeing Texas elections. He will leave office best known for the disastrous elections-integrity operation that wrongly identified thousands of naturalized citizens as suspected noncitizens illegally registered to vote.

Republicans really don't want US citizens to vote. They're so "concerned" that non-citizens may be voting that they feel the need to do these ridiculous purges. They can tell who is or isn't a citizen based solely on looking at someone or their name.

Someone is worried Texas might be getting bluer.

'Botanical Sexism' Could Be Behind Your Seasonal Allergies


More diversity in city trees would probably be a good thing.

ONE DAY THIS PAST APRIL, the residents of Durham, North Carolina, saw the sky turn a peculiar but familiar shade of chartreuse. Enormous clouds of a fine, yellow-green powder engulfed the city. It looked, and felt, like the end of the world. “Your car was suddenly yellow, the sidewalk was yellow, the roof of your house was yellow,” says Kevin Lilley, assistant director of the city’s landscape services. Residents, quite fittingly, called it a “pollenpocalypse.”

Male trees are one of the most significant reasons why allergies have gotten so bad for citydwellers in recent decades. They’re indiscriminate, spewing their gametes in every direction. They can’t help it—it’s what evolution built them for. This is fine in the wild, where female trees trap pollen to fertilize their seeds. But urban forestry is dominated by male trees, so cities are coated in their pollen. Tom Ogren, horticulturalist and author of Allergy-Free Gardening: The Revolutionary Guide to Healthy Landscaping, was the first to link exacerbated allergies with urban planting policy, which he calls “botanical sexism.”

In trees, sex exists beyond the binary of female and male. Some, such as cedar, mulberry, and ash trees, are dioecious, meaning each plant is distinctly female or male. Others, such as oak, pine, and fig trees are monoecious, meaning they have male and female flowers on the same plant. It’s easy to identify female trees or parts—they’re the ones with seeds. And yet more, such as hazelnut and apple trees, produce “perfect” flowers that contain male and female parts within a single blossom. But while both monoecious and male dioecious trees produce pollen, Ogren claims the latter are primarily to blame for our sneezes and watery eyes.

Ogren has been talking about this botanical misogyny for over 30 years. After buying a house in San Luis Obispo with his wife, who suffers from allergies and asthma, Ogren wanted to get rid of anything on his property that might trigger an attack. He began examining the neighborhood, plant by plant, when he noticed something unusual: All the trees were male.

At first, he thought this pattern may just have been a strange quirk of one city. But when he studied frequently landscaped plants in other cities, he noticed the same thing: males, all the way down. “Right away I started realizing there was something weird going on,” he says. While tracking down the origin of this trend, Ogren stumbled upon perhaps the first trace of sexism in urban landscaping in a 1949 USDA Yearbook of Agriculture. The book advised: “When used for street plantings, only male trees should be selected, to avoid the nuisance from the seed.”

Male trees release more pollen when there are not enough female trees around. They absorb pollution from the air and release it into their pollen. And like most problems, climate change makes the pollen clouds worse.

I'd rather have female trees with seeds. I'll volunteer to sweep the seeds in my neighborhood if that's such a big problem.

Another article on this:

Sniffling and sneezing? Too many male trees are (partly) to blame.

Trump's tariffs could fizzle fireworks, an American tradition that's 95 percent made in China


The escalating trade clash between the United States and China has sent thousands of U.S. companies scrambling to determine whether they could source goods from other countries to escape higher tariffs. But when President Trump threatened to tag large penalties on $300 billion in Chinese imports earlier this month, a sense of panic settled over the fireworks industry. It had nowhere else to go.

“It’s virtually impossible for our product to be made anywhere else but in China,” said Bruce Zoldan, the chief executive of Phantom Fireworks in Youngstown, Ohio. “If these tariffs happen, it’ll be the greatest threat to our industry.”

Zoldan met with White House officials on Wednesday to press his case, and he is working on a formal request to be delivered next month that he hopes would exempt the fireworks industry from the penalties. A final decision by the White House could come in late June, in the midst of the fireworks industry’s busiest period.

After several months of negotiations between the White House and Beijing that left many believing a truce was within reach, a messy unraveling has left many business executives wondering how to avoid collateral damage.

Do you know anyone who aspires to become a fireworks maker? It's among the most dangerous jobs. People get burned or killed all the time. Trump would have to disband OSHA before it's allowed to be made in America, and he'd probably do it.

I'm in charge now, says Larry the Downing Street cat


Larry the Downing Street cat has reassured Britain that he is now running the country.

Just moments after Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation, Larry, 12, declared: “Don’t worry, Britain. I’m in charge now.”

As he has moved from his favourite doorstep outside Number 10 to take up office inside, he insisted he is the right cat for the job.

In a powerful address to the nation, he promised to bring a divided country back together.

He said: “This is the greatest honour that can come to any cat in a democracy. I know full well the responsibilities that await me as I enter the door of No. 10 and I’ll strive unceasingly to try to fulfil the trust and confidence that the British people have placed in me and the things in which I believe.

“And I would just like to remember some words of St. Francis of Assisi, which I think are really just particularly apt at the moment. ‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. Where there is despair, may we bring hope, and where there is an empty dish, may we bring Whiskas’.”

Humans have bungled things long enough. All hope lies with the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. It's time to promote Larry to Prime Minister.

Long may he reign

Millennials could push American politics to the left -- or totally upend them


Trend-spotters love to blame millennials for simultaneously killing everything from porn, sex and divorce to beer, mayonnaise and the home-cooked meal. But in politics, at least, party leaders think they have the rising generation of voters born between 1981 and 1996 figured out.

Democrats believe these young voters will eventually turn out to the polls at higher rates, replace the baby boomers and the Silent Generation, and give the blue team an unending string of victories. Republicans alternate between reassuring themselves that younger voters will age into conservatism once they start having kids and panicking that young voters will never age out of liberalism — or never have those grandkids the older voters who dominate GOP have been waiting for.

Both these Democratic hopes and Republican fears have a basis in reality. Democrats have won millennials and other young voters by wide margins in recent elections, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll drift right as they age. But many young voters are skeptical of the Democratic establishment, and this wouldn’t be the first prediction of a demographically guaranteed permanent Democratic majority that hasn’t come to pass.

With an extraordinarily high-stakes presidential election looming, it’s natural to wonder how millennials — or any other potentially critical demographic group — might vote. But taking the long view, it’s much less interesting to theorize about how millennials might evolve to slot into our current political alignment, and much more important to explore how they might upend that alignment altogether. Whether young Hispanic and Latino voters become more conservative; whether the shifting religious views of youthful Americans breaks up the evangelical Christian bloc of the Republican party; or a millennial boom in the South ends up shaking up the political map, this rising generation could confound all expectations.

In the short term, make no mistake: The current top-line political numbers on millennials are genuinely great for Democrats.

People of any age should probably understand that insulting an entire generation of people isn't the best way to gain their votes, even if it feels satisfying. As an elder millennial (I'm about Mayor Pete's age), I can confirm it's fun to kill stuff.

Blaming Brexit, British Steel collapses putting about 25,000 jobs at risk


London (CNN Business)Britain's second biggest steel maker collapsed on Wednesday, putting about 5,000 jobs at the company directly at risk, and threatening another 20,000 at suppliers.

The company was seeking a government bailout, but talks ended without agreement. The High Court ordered the company into compulsory liquidation, according to the government's Insolvency Service.

British Steel was reportedly seeking a government loan of £75 million ($95 million) to cover losses it said it suffered because European orders had evaporated due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

"Unable to decipher the trading relationship the UK will have with its biggest market in just five months' time, planning and decision making has become nightmarish in its complexity," UK Steel, the industry's trade association, said in a statement.

British Steel, which had already been granted a government loan of £120 million ($152 million) last year, was bought by investment firm Greybull Capital from India's Tata Steel in 2016 for just £1.

Right wingers everywhere are creating so many jobs they got tired of winning.

The 'American Taliban' will be free after 17 years. Is the U.S. ready to welcome him back?


John Walker Lindh’s eyes, dark and wild, were ubiquitous across magazine covers and cable news channels, alongside militants in Afghanistan, after he was captured in November 2001. He was a long-haired guerrilla with a California address — a traitor to some, a misguided kid sucked into Islamic jihad to others.

Dubbed the “American Taliban,” Lindh was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to supporting militants who harbored al-Qaeda as it planned the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But in a surprise move, Lindh will be released from federal prison on Thursday, three years early, federal officials said.

Lindh and other incarcerated American supporters of the Islamic State present a quandary with growing urgency: Is the United States prepared to try to rehabilitate extremists and foreign fighters, and welcome them back into society?

“There is very close to nothing in terms of de-radicalizing programs at the federal level,” said Bennett Clifford, a research fellow at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. “The current model is hoping long prison sentences for material support of terrorism will be a deterrent.”

We'll see how many DUers support revoking citizenship when it's a white male. I'm guessing not nearly as many as for the brown girl.

The nation's first majority-female legislature is currently meeting in Nevada.

The nation’s first majority-female legislature is currently meeting in Nevada. Carson City may never be the same.


CARSON CITY, Nev. — She didn’t plan to say it. Yvanna Cancela, a newly elected Democrat in the Nevada Senate, didn’t want to “sound crass.” But when a Republican colleague defended a century-old law requiring doctors to ask women seeking abortions whether they’re married, Cancela couldn’t help firing back.

“A man is not asked his marital status before he gets a vasectomy,” she countered — and the packed hearing room fell silent.

Since Nevada seated the nation’s first majority-female state legislature in January, the male old guard has been shaken up by the perspectives of female lawmakers. Bills prioritizing women’s health and safety have soared to the top of the agenda. Mounting reports of sexual harassment have led one male lawmaker to resign. And policy debates long dominated by men, including prison reform and gun safety, are yielding to female voices.

Cancela, 32, is part of the wave of women elected by both parties in November, many of them younger than 40. Today, women hold the majority with 23 seats in the Assembly and 10 in the Senate, or a combined 52 percent.

No other legislature has achieved that milestone in U.S. history. Only Colorado comes close, with women constituting 47 percent of its legislators. In Congress, just one in four lawmakers is a woman. And in Alabama, which just enacted an almost complete ban on abortion, women make up just 15 percent of lawmakers.

The female majority is having a huge effect: More than 17 pending bills deal with sexual assault, sex trafficking and sexual misconduct, with some measures aimed at making it easier to prosecute offenders. Bills to ban child marriage and examine the causes of maternal mortality are also on the docket.

“I can say with 100 percent certainty that we wouldn’t have had these conversations" a few years ago, said Assembly Majority Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D). "None of these bills would have seen the light of day.”

The laws coming out of Nevada are a bit different than what we've seen in some other states recently.

That last graph should be a motivating wake up call to those who still believe USA is so progressive on women's issues like the GOP keep telling us. There are a lot of developing countries with way more female legislators.

A GOP lawmaker used the phrase 'consensual rape' during abortion debate. He says he misspoke.


A Republican Missouri legislator apologized Friday for using the phrase “consensual rape” during a debate over a new, restrictive antiabortion bill.

“I’m not trying to make excuses,” said Rep. Barry Hovis, who represents the city of Jackson in southeastern Missouri. “Sometimes you make a mistake and you own up to it.”

The lawmaker, who was elected in 2018, made the remark while arguing on the State House floor that the measure’s eight-week window for abortions gives rape survivors “ample time” for the procedure. Critics say many women do not know they are pregnant until after eight weeks, and the bill provides no exceptions for rape or incest.

The 30-year veteran of the Cape Girardeau Police Department then touched on his experience handling rape cases.

“Let’s just say someone goes out and they’re raped or they’re sexually assaulted one night after a college party — because most of my rapes were not the gentleman jumping out of the bushes that nobody had ever met,” Hovis said. “That was one or two times out of a hundred. Most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes, which were all terrible.”


Rep. Raychel Proudie, a Democrat, quickly rebuked him.

“There is no such thing, no such thing as consensual rape,” she said to applause from the chamber.

Republicans tend to misspeak a lot. These states need to elect more women and Democrats to replace these assholes.

Before the abortion ban, Gov. Kay Ivey tested a deeply conservative agenda in Alabama


With a quick scribble of her pen Wednesday afternoon, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) essentially made abortion in her state illegal in all circumstances, with zero exceptions for rape or incest. Doctors who perform the procedure face a penalty of up to 99 years in prison.

As other Republican-controlled states are rubber-stamping abortion restrictions in a legal gambit to challenge Roe v. Wade, Alabama’s new law has left even some staunch abortion opponents tepid. On Wednesday, televangelist Pat Robertson called the bill “extreme” and said Alabama politicians had “gone too far.”

But it’s also no surprise the nation’s most stringent abortion law came out of Alabama. Since 2010, the state’s Republican Party has had a supermajority in both houses of the legislature. Republicans also control all statewide offices. Ivey’s reelection in 2018 to her first full term continued the GOP’s easy grip on the state’s levers of power.

And under Ivey’s watch, Alabama has been at the forefront of conservative legislation, passing laws that would face tougher opposition in states with a more robust Democratic presence.

From guns in schools to gay rights to the death penalty to Confederate monuments, the governor has signed laws from the conservative movement’s wish list, turning the Alabama into a test kitchen for an unopposed GOP agenda. The track record has turned Ivey, a quiet veteran of state politics who eschews the carnival barker-antics that typically land governors in the national spotlight, into a front-line figure in the culture war.

Any state that is ranked 50th in education, clearly doesn't give a shit about children.

Alabama has always been conservative but is enacting more extreme laws without any opposition.
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