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Hometown: NY
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Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 170,531

Journal Archives

The Rude Pundit: In Its Affirmative Action Decision, the Supreme Court Shits on Higher Education


The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
In Its Affirmative Action Decision, the Supreme Court Shits on Higher Education


See, in the roughly 250 or so years I've been teaching, I've led classes with little to no racial diversity and classes with extraordinary diversity. I've seen how diversity in hiring has an effect on the students and I've seen how diversity within the classroom impacts all students, white and non-white. So let me put this plainly: diversity and equity in higher education are pedagogically important in the classroom in a way that continues after graduation. Lemme put it even more plainly: this shit matters so that students of all races learn how to fucking exist in the real world.


And what about the notion put forth by some on the right that we just don't need affirmative action programs anymore? That's bullshit. "Current rates of change suggest that it would take about 70 years for all not-for-profit institutions to reflect underrepresented students fully in their incoming student population...For Black and Native American students and for faculty from all underrepresented populations, there was effectively no progress from 2013 to 2020," says a 2022 report. If anything, the actual numbers would call for more intensive emphasis on diverse recruitment. That's reality. And we know in places where affirmative action has been banned that the numbers of Black and Hispanic students dropped a whole lot in flagship universities.

Roberts goes on endlessly about the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. But if you're going to apply it to justify eliminating programs that attempt to enhance the education of all students under the idea that all races aren't being treated absolutely, totally, constantly equal all the time, then why not use it to ensure that equality of opportunity in all education is assured? Why not force states to make sure that public schools in all places are offering the same level of funding and same level of services? In other words, if you wanna eliminate the need for affirmative action, then eliminate some of the things that cause it to be necessary.

Or you just want to harm Black and brown people and don't give a fuck otherwise.

(Note: I can't leave this fucked up discussion without saying something about elite colleges, two of which were the defendants in these cases. Really, this was all about some students upset they didn't get accepted to Harvard or UNC-Chapel Hill, even though they might not have gotten in anyways. It's fucking absurd that we give so much importance to schools that are circle jerks of privilege, as if that's the only route to success in an area. US News and World Report's rankings can go suck all the dicks. You can get an amazing education in hundreds of other schools. Why would you want to got to schools that let George W. Bush or Jared Kushner in just because of their rich daddies?)
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Jul 1, 2023, 04:15 PM (5 replies)

Does DeSantis know the National Hurricane Center would be eliminated under his plan?

Does DeSantis know the National Hurricane Center would be eliminated under his plan?
Thursday, June 29, 2023 at 11:32:13a EDT

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took part on Wednesday in one of the traditional stunts of Republican presidential primary candidates desperate for attention: He casually listed off vast swaths of the federal government he wants to eliminate.

“So we would do Education, we would do Commerce, we’d do Energy, and we would do IRS,” DeSantis tossed out after Fox News’ Martha McCallum asked if he was in favor of eliminating any agencies, specifically naming the Department of Education as a possibility in what I’m sure was in no way a prearranged question.

We’d do it. Simple as that.

Here’s one example of the complications that might ensue if DeSantis got his way: The National Hurricane Center is part of the Department of Commerce. Florida, the state DeSantis currently governs, has been known to have a hurricane or two.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 29, 2023, 11:47 AM (11 replies)

Slapped Down: Trump Gets Stuck With Judge He Hates in Manhattan DA Case

Slapped Down: Trump Gets Stuck With Judge He Hates in Manhattan DA Case
Donald Trump has been trying to drag Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s indictment of him into federal court, away from a state judge who’s already ruled against him. He failed.
Jose Pagliery
Political Investigations Reporter
Updated Jun. 27, 2023 6:47PM EDT / Published Jun. 27, 2023 6:47PM EDT

A federal judge on Tuesday resoundingly rejected former President Donald Trump’s desperate attempts to pluck his porn-star-hush-payment indictment away from New York’s state courts, ensuring that the case will remain before the same local judge who sentenced the Trump Organization for tax fraud earlier this year.

Capping a three-hour hearing that included a surprise witness, U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein said he’d heard enough—and indicated he would issue a ruling against Trump in the coming days.

That means Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr. can continue his historic case—the first for a local DA against a former American president—at the very same downtown courthouse where he recently scored a victory against Trump’s family company.

And it all comes down to a point that’s been made in court again and again: Trump can’t hide behind the White House podium any longer.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Jun 27, 2023, 10:05 PM (3 replies)

New report details intelligence agency failures in lead-up to Jan. 6

New report details intelligence agency failures in lead-up to Jan. 6
Tuesday, June 27, 2023 at 11:51:24a EDT
By Laura Clawson

It’s been obvious since Jan. 6, 2021 that intelligence agencies and law enforcement failed massively at preventing and responding to the attack on the U.S. Capitol. A new report from Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security Committee details how federal agencies allowed the threat from Trump supporters to go without response, leading to the disastrous lack of preparation we all saw in action (or inaction) that day.

Our intelligence agencies completely dropped the ball,” said Sen. Gary Peters, chair of the Homeland Security Committee, to The New York Times. He added: “Despite a multitude of tips and other intelligence warnings of violence on Jan. 6, the report showed that these agencies repeatedly—repeatedly—downplayed the threat level and failed to share the intelligence they had with law enforcement partners.”

You wouldn’t say that was a quote that goes easy on the intelligence agencies, but when Peters says they “downplayed the threat level,” he’s underselling it. The report finds that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis collected vast numbers of tips and social media posts showing threats of violence and hinting at specific plans. They had information about a traffic surge to a website showing maps of the Capitol’s tunnels. The FBI got tips and referrals about threats of violence from a former acting assistant attorney general for national security, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, and even far-right social media platform Parler.

On Jan. 2, Parler sent the FBI a post reading, “[t]his is not a rally and it’s no longer a protest. This is a final stand where we are drawing the red line at Capitol Hill. … don’t be surprised if we take the #capital building.” Another said, “[p]eaceful protests have long gone … Everyone is coming with weapons. They may be concealed at first but if congress does the wrong thing expect real chaos because Trump needs us to cause chaos to enact the #insurrectionact.

The report concludes that “part of the reason FBI failed to take more action to warn its federal partners and the public was because it failed to seriously consider the possibility that threatened actions would actually be carried out, and it dismissed each individual threat as not credible in isolation but failed to fully consider the totality of threats and violent rhetoric associated with such a contentious event.” Additionally, the FBI assumed that “potential clashes between protesters (e.g., the Proud Boys) and counter-protesters (e,g., Antifa)” were the major threat, rather than “focusing more attention and reporting on the growing threat to elected officials and the Capitol itself.”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Jun 27, 2023, 11:59 AM (2 replies)

Jesse Watters Throws Abhorrent Accusations at Obama Over Titanic Sub

Dumb 'em down, that's the ticket.


Jesse Watters Throws Abhorrent Accusations at Obama Over Titanic Sub
The former president’s recent criticism of the wall-to-wall coverage of the doomed Titanic sub had the Fox host up in arms.
William Vaillancourt
Updated Jun. 27, 2023 2:52AM EDT / Published Jun. 26, 2023 10:23PM EDT


“There is a potential tragedy unfolding with the submarine that is getting, you know, minute-to-minute coverage all around the world. And it’s understandable because we all want and pray that those folks are rescued,” he said, hours before it was announced that those on board died instantly after the craft imploded. “But the fact that that’s gotten so much more attention than 700 people who sank—that’s an untenable situation.”

The former president made similar comments in an interview Thursday with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, saying he understood the “obscene inequality in coverage.”

On Monday, the subject became fodder for discussion on Fox News.

“When you are a citizen of the world, you always think about the world instead of the United States,” Watters began derisively. “Remember, this is a guy whose father has roots in Africa. This is a guy who spent a lot of his childhood in Southeast Asia… and then spent a lot of time in Hawaii.”

“He’s never really looking at things from an American perspective,” Watters griped of the 44th president of the United States. “He’s always speaking to the world. Even when he’s speaking to us, he’s appealing to the world.”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Jun 27, 2023, 06:48 AM (43 replies)

digby: Wisdom, experience and humor


Wisdom, experience and humor
Published by digby on June 25, 2023

Via WSJ:

Jeffrey Katzenberg has some Hollywood role models in mind as he urges the nation’s first octogenarian president to embrace his age.

The movie mogul has joined with other advisers in counseling President Biden to “own” his age and turn it into an asset, according to people familiar with the conversations. If Harrison Ford, 80 years old, can star in a new Indiana Jones movie and the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger, who turns 80 next month, can strut around a stadium stage, Katzenberg says, then Biden should lean into his longevity as a sign of wisdom and experience while offering a sense of humor about it.

It’s the only way. It can’t be ignored. So lean into it.

I’d say this guy is good role model too:
Should be a great pic of Paul McCartney, but alas...

Posted by babylonsister | Sun Jun 25, 2023, 10:22 PM (0 replies)

The Rude Pundit: This Pride Month, They're Trying to Drag Everyone Back Into the Closet


The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
This Pride Month, They're Trying to Drag Everyone Back Into the Closet


The problem has always been that a small, loud contingent, with politicians who want to fan the flames of fear and hate to get votes, can make life a fucking misery for a lot of people. And that dopamine jolt of getting "likes" makes people believe jump on the hate bandwagon, whether they truly give a shit or not. And you know what? Most of them fucking don't. They just think they're supposed to.

Lemme end this with an anecdote. On the NYC subway right now, you might see ads from the dating site Tinder. Leaving aside whatever you think about Tinder and swipe culture, the ads themselves are fascinating because they show various kinds of couples in romantic situations for various gender combinations: same-sex, opposite sex, even non-binary (with the line "A toothbrush at their place". I really dig their positivity and, really, sexiness. I sat on the subway on Friday thankful that I live somewhere that this kind of thing causes no issue whatsoever to almost every single one of us. No one gave a shit.

You know who else didn't give a shit, too? The people bringing their kids on the train. No one told their children not to look. No one fucking cared. And that goes for the two obviously tourist families who went on and off (I was on a long ride into Brooklyn). They had southern accents, and each was two straight parents and three kids of various ages. They glanced at the ads and then went about their business, like the rest of us did. If they had given a shit at all, they could have gotten off and gone onto another car. They didn't because it didn't matter that much if they saw two men who love each other. (Yes, I know they could have been southern liberals.)

I fully believe that most people in the United States don't believe any of this is a threat to them or their precious kids. But, like with so many issues, they give into pressure from their peers or their churches to hate where they just don't have that hate. Yeah, that makes them suck, too. But that means they might be persuadable. As we learned with same sex marriage, once it was decided, it went away as an issue (until recently when the Christian nutzoids realized this insane Supreme Court might actually overturn it).

As Pride Month winds down, we need to push the zealots and Nazis back in the closets. That's where hate belongs, not love.
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Jun 25, 2023, 08:32 PM (3 replies)

House Freedom Caucus Might Boot Out Marjorie Taylor Greene: Report


House Freedom Caucus Might Boot Out Marjorie Taylor Greene: Report
Dan Ladden-Hall
News Correspondent
Published Jun. 23, 2023 10:17AM ET

Escalating infighting among the hard-right House Freedom Caucus has pushed some members to consider kicking certain colleagues out of the group—one of whom may be Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), according to Politico. According to the outlet, at least two members have discussed “trying to boot members who no longer meet the group’s standards.” While sources who discussed the matter didn’t name names, Greene was signaled as a potential target, Politico reports, after she formed a close relationship with Speaker Kevin McCarthy and been openly disparaging of the group when it is divided over specific issues. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), a member of the Freedom Caucus, said he was not suggesting kicking her out, but said of Greene: “She’s been critical of us for a long time.” The report comes after The Daily Beast reported that Greene called her Freedom Caucus colleague Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) a “little bitch” on the House floor on Wednesday amid a feud about their competing resolutions to impeach President Joe Biden.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jun 23, 2023, 12:09 PM (16 replies)

Trump held on to the documents because he anticipated an opportunity to commit treason

Trump held on to the documents because he anticipated an opportunity to commit treason
Tuesday, June 20, 2023 at 1:21:58p EDT
By Dartagnan


But all of this still begs the question of “why?” The answer to that question hasn’t been discussed much. The media have skated around that question, because the most likely answer makes some people in this country very uncomfortable. The most logical reason Trump went to such lengths to keep these classified documents—in the face of potentially dire criminal liability—is because he expected an opportunity to share the information they contained for his own personal gain. And the fact that this would very likely implicate outright treason on his part? He had to be expecting to commit that as well.

As astutely observed by Fintan O’Toole, writing for the New York Review of Books:

Secrets are a kind of currency. They can be hoarded, but if kept for too long they lose their value. Like all currencies, they must, sooner or later, be used in a transaction—sold to the highest bidder or bartered as a favor for which another favor will be returned. To see the full scale of Donald Trump’s betrayal of his country, it is necessary to start with this reality. He kept intelligence documents because, at some point, those secrets could be used in a transaction. What he was stockpiling were the materials of treason. He may not have known how and when he would cash in this currency, but there can be little doubt that he was determined to retain the ability to do just that.

O’Toole skewers the media for focusing on the seemingly haphazard, almost comedic nature of the way the documents were discovered to be stored: in bathrooms and storerooms, amidst a near constant stream of random visitors and guests at Mar-a-Lago, occasionally brandished with a knowing alacrity, seemingly to impress a sycophant or two. As O’Toole notes, this focus misses the essential point.

It defines the scandal as, in the words of Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman in The New York Times, “Mr. Trump’s indifference toward the country’s most sensitive secrets.” But this is not a tale of indifference. Trump cared a great deal about the value of the documents. He cared enough, per the indictment, to suggest that his attorney lie to the FBI and a grand jury about what papers he did or did not have. Even Trump does not engage in a criminal conspiracy purely for its own sake. The retention of those boxes mattered to him because he understood the market value of what they contained.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 22, 2023, 11:39 AM (20 replies)

Hunter Biden was investigated by the DOJ: When will they investigate Ivanka and Jared?


Hunter Biden was investigated by the DOJ: When will they investigate Ivanka and Jared?
Tuesday, June 20, 2023 at 7:11:19p EDT

According to Citizens for Ethics, "President Trump’s hiring of his son-in-law and daughter undoubtedly violated the intended purpose of the anti-nepotism statute."

I started writing this as a comment on Walter Einenkel’s diary, Republican tears over Hunter Biden deal are delicious. But, despite spending a few hours, and only getting to the tip of the iceberg on this story, it was too long for a comment. And, the entire story is much too complex for me to research and write about. Still, I wanted to share what I learned.

1. According to American Oversight, “Jared Kushner received approval from the Office of Government Ethics (in January of 2017), which allowed him to work in the White House, and it was initially reported that Ivanka Trump would not take a formal role in the administration. After it was announced in late March 2017 that she would officially become a federal employee in the White House, American Oversight submitted FOIA requests seeking communications between Ivanka Trump and several federal agencies, eventually filing a lawsuit against the agencies for failure to respond”

2. Sometime, around July 14, 2017, Kushner updated a federal disclosure form needed to obtain a security clearance three times and added more than 100 names of foreign contacts through the updates after initially providing none at all.”

3. ”For more than a year, Kushner only had a temporary security clearance, but he was allowed to access sensitive national security information that very few people had access to. He attended classified briefings, and read Trump’s daily briefings.” Kushner evidently asked for more top secret material than anyone else.

4. “In September 2017, documents released by American Oversight as well as independent news reports confirmed that both Kushner and Ivanka Trump had been using personal, private email accounts during their time working in the White House. Reports also surfaced that they had set up a private server, ijkfamily.com, in December 2016 in preparation for Kushner to join the White House.”

4. On February 23, 2018, after the Rob Porter scandal (He was Trump’s top aide who had frequent access to him, and had to resign because he had beaten two of his ex-wives), Chief of Staff John Kelly reviewed the security clearance operation. At that time, Kelly downgraded Jared Kushner's security clearance "Interim Top Secret" to "Interim Secret," and downgraded the clearances of other White House staff members as well.

When asked by reporters about this, Trump said Kelly was given the responsibility to do this, and yet Trump kept on pushing Kelly to find out when Kushner would receive his permanent security clearance.

5. In May of 2018, “According to four officials who spoke with the NYT, then-White House counsel Don McGahn recommended to the president that his son-in-law not receive the top security clearance, after an FBI background check determined that foreign officials could possibly maintain some sort of sway over Kushner, due to his business holdings. The next day, President Trump ordered then-Chief of Staff Kelly to override concerns and grant Kushner the high-level clearance. The action was such a concern to McGahn and Kelly — who both left the White House in 2018 — that each wrote up an internal memo outlining the precedent-breaking action.”

As we all know, this is just the tip of the iceberg. First, one has to question why the Government Department of Ethics allowed Trump to hire Jared and Ivanka, which “undoubtedly violated the intended purpose of the anti-nepotism statute.”

According to Citizens for for Ethics, “Overturning decades of precedent, however, the [Jeff Sessions’] Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel released an opinion shortly after Mr. Kushner’s appointment concluding that, based on another statute, the president is exempt from the anti-nepotism statute when hiring White House employees.”

As early as September of 2017, the [Sessions’] DOJ was aware that Ivanka and Jared were using their personal email accounts to conduct government business, and there were no legal repercussions for that. DOJ set a precedent that they continued to follow under William Barr, and throughout the Trump Administration, which is that Trump and his daughter and son-in-law could do whatever the hell they wanted to. The obvious question is whether Jeff Sessions, William Barr, Don McGahn, and General John Kelly have been investigated for their roles in this and other issues. And, why the hell didn’t McGahn and Kelly say or do anything about this at the time?

And, yet, the DOJ investigation of Hunter Biden, which began under Bill Barr in 2018, and continued under Merrick Garland, never investigated (to our knowledge) Ivanka’s and Jared’s behavior when Trump was president, or since—despite Jared receiving two billion dollars from the Saudis. Why is that?
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jun 21, 2023, 06:45 AM (12 replies)
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