Leftward Shift by Conservative Cleric Leaves Saudis Perplexed

A change of perspective from Saudi Arabian cleric gives us hope for rapport.

Mr. Awda, alone among Saudi clerics, openly welcomed the Arab uprisings of 2011, and even published a book called “Questions of Revolution.” Promptly banned here but widely disseminated on the Internet, the book drew on Islamic texts and history to reach some very unorthodox conclusions: that democracy is the only legitimate form of government; that Islam does not permit theocracy; that separation of powers is required; that the worst despotism is that practiced in the name of religion.

Read the original here. Free membership required.

Posted in Fascism, Fundamentalism, Organizing, Overton Window, Paradigm Shifts, Political Compass, Political Prisoners, Religion-Related | Comments Off

Let’s opt out of Michelle Rhee

By Olivia LaRosa, April 4, 2014

Every day, I receive emails from the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Guardian UK, to mention a few. Today, Michelle Rhee popped up again like a bad penny in Washington DC via the WaPo Op-Ed page. They thought they got rid of her when she left after rumors of a high-stakes test cheating scandal that occurred during her Superintendency of the DC school district.

Michelle Rhee is just another anti-worker, anti-union, anti-child, anti-education tool. Michelle Rhee is transparently dishonest in her representation of her interests. It surely isn’t the education of our children. Rather, it’s how corporations can steal more of the public commons with impunity.

These standardized tests were developed originally to test the health of the educational system as a whole. In other words, a snapshot of the system. They were NOT meant as a tool to micromanage personnel or change teaching criteria.

See this example of typical high-stakes testing. Check out the garbage test that these children had to take. Someone is paying out our tax dollars to crooked educational contractors. See this article in NY Mag describing the disgraceful test administered to an affluent school district. Park Slope Parents and Teachers Protesting ‘Terrible Test’. I want to know who authorized this spending and I want them jailed for the same amount of time that the students and teachers had to waste on this mess.

I want to read another Michelle Rhee op-ed about as much as I want to read another Charles Koch op-ed. You can read her insincere blather here, and you can also read the comments of a lot of people who are in the know about Michelle Rhee’s dishonesty and malfeasance.

Please read the original here

Posted in Education, Waste Fraud Abuse, Worker's News, Working People's Rights | Comments Off

Tax doggerel with a nod to Nat King Cole & Weird Al Yankovich

Embrace me,
My sweet depreciable you
Embrace me,
You reimbursable you

Just one look at your
Books, my software grows dizzy in me
You and you alone bring out
The big data scientist in me

I dread all
The many forms about you
Above all,
I want CPAs around you

Don’t be a neurotic
Tax fugitive
Come to ansibletax do

My sweet behind-
-on-filing-taxes-you

(Creative Commons) 2014 Deborah Lagutaris aka Olivia LaRosa dba Ansible Tax Services

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/natkingcole/embraceableyou.html

Posted in Deb's whimsy | Comments Off

Do e-cigarettes help people quit smoking? New study raises doubts, but I doubt the doubters.

Olivia LaRosa
9:01 PM PDT
I stopped smoking last November after more than 40 years. I attribute my ability to quit this time to e-cigarettes. I tried to quit scores of times before that. How about studying former smokers? I am not claiming that e-cigs help everyone quit smoking cigarettes. But they help lots of people quit cigs, and lots of other people do not become addicted to cigs because of e-cigs. This is tobacco company astroturfing rather than citizens crying out.

Olivia LaRosa
9:04 PM PDT
Forgot to say, I don’t use -e-cigs any more either. I wanted OUT of the trap, and they helped me.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/03/24/do-e-cigarettes-help-people-quit-smoking-new-study-raises-doubts/?wpisrc=nl_wnkpm&wp_login_redirect=0

Posted in Astroturfing, Corporate-Congressional Complex | Comments Off

I dunno Jerry. How many people can be drunk and still have a great state?

Gov. Jerry Brown on legalized marijuana: ‘How many people can get stoned and still have a great state?’

Comments at the Washington Post. -ed.

Applejohn
4:49 PM PST
I don’t know… How many people can get drunk and still have a great state or a great nation? How many people die annually from sequelae related to nicotine addiction? The deleterious health effects of cigarettes and alcohol far outweigh those of pot. Why not legalize pot and ban alcohol and cigarettes? We would undoubtedly have a healthier state and nation.

Bonze Anne Rose Blayk
5:15 PM PST
“How many people can be watching morons yammering away on TV and still maintain a culture that supports genuine dialog between rational adults?”

… guess we’ve got the answer to that already.

Sincerely,
- bonzie anne

donspecht
5:55 PM PST
” … how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?

Gee I dunno, Jerry. How many people can have a drink after work before California falls into the sea?

Olivia LaRosa
8:21 PM PST
Haha donspecht, you beat me to it. “I dunno, Jerry. How many people can be drunk and still have a great state, is a better question, IMHO.” I suppose JB has to look “tough on crime” somehow, so that’s his “issue,” like Gray Davis’s was “no parole.” What lame Democrats.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/03/02/gov-jerry-brown-on-legalized-marijuana-how-many-people-can-get-stoned-and-still-have-a-great-state/?wpisrc=nl_pulse

Posted in 14 signs of fascism, Drug Thugs, Drug War, Drugs, right wing paranoia | Comments Off

Is disabled renter entitled to a co-signer?

LA TIMES

By Anky van Deursen
March 2, 2014, 5:00 a.m.

Question: I was severely injured in a car accident. As a result, I am in a lot of pain and unable to work. Social Security accepted my claim, and I now receive monthly disability payments. Unfortunately, this is my only income, and I am on a very tight budget. I recently began looking for a cheaper rental unit but have encountered a problem. Most property owners require tenants to earn at least three times the monthly rent. Because of my inability to work due to my disability, there is no way I can meet this standard. I’ve asked a few owners if my mother, who is much better off financially, could co-sign for me, but they’ve all said that they have a policy against co-signers. I’m afraid I’m not going to find a new apartment. Am I entitled to a co-signer? Is there anything I can do?

Answer: Both federal and state fair housing laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. As part of this prohibition, housing providers are required to grant prospective and in-place tenants reasonable accommodations when requested. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a reasonable accommodation is a change to a policy, practice or service that is necessary to afford persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.

Based on your situation, it appears that the only reason you do not meet the minimum income requirement is because you are disabled and limited to your Social Security disability income.

Also
Should tenant stop paying rent to protest apartment’s shabby carpets?
Is tenant entitled to interest on security deposit?
Do tenants have the right to be free of noise from laundry rooms?

Although the housing provider does not have to waive his minimum income requirement, you can ask him to waive his co-signer policy for you as a reasonable accommodation. This is because your disability is directly tied to your income level. Waiving the co-signer policy would therefore give you equal access to the apartment of your choice.

Having a co-signer provides assurance to the landlord that you will be able to pay the rent, which is the housing provider’s fundamental reason for having a minimum income requirement.

Please note that the housing provider can place the same requirements on your co-signer that he would if she were an actual prospective tenant. This means that you and your co-signer must jointly meet the owner’s income requirement and that you may both need to undergo a credit check. The property owner has no obligation to accept a financially unstable co-signer.

Van Deursen is director of Dispute Resolution Programs for Project Sentinel, a Bay Area nonprofit. Send questions to info@housing.org.

http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-rentwatch-20140302,0,7859877.story#ixzz2uqQAKyif

http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-rentwatch-20140302,0,7859877.story#axzz2uqOqeaR1

Posted in Disability, They'd Rather We Just Die | Comments Off

Redistribution gets a makeover: Communists have seized the IMF!

Washington Post, February 27, 2014

By Olivia LaRosa

My comments: Governments have always redistributed wealth … usually UPward. The constant struggle in which we are engaged is to get those who have taken unfair advantage of the system to share. That can only be legislated. If legislation fails then we have what we have now, a dangerous condition of growing disparities. Inequality is greater than it ever has been in history. Continuing concentration of wealth will see the end of humanity in the corporate-controlled and polluted world they create without thought of tomorrow. If we can’t have evolution in socioeconomic policy, we will have revolution. No one wants that! Let’s work together.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/02/26/communists-have-seized-the-imf/?wprss=rss_business&clsrd&wpisrc=nl_wonk

Posted in 1percent, 99%, Economics 101 | Comments Off

what the media doesn’t want you to know about machine politics

Everyone has heard the term “machine politics” but have maybe a vague understanding that it happened in the late 19th century in Chicago and the machine was Democratic. Actually, the truth is that machine politics is the definition of political corruption, which has always occurred on “both sides of the aisle.” More about that later, but back to the main point…

Now, you teach your friends all about machine politics in the 21st Century by following the the slow unveiling of one of the most vile machine administrations in recent history, the Chris Christie Criminal Conglomerate. The CCCC stories read less and less like democratic politics and more and more like organized crime. You have your Godfather, who can lift you up, or completely screw you over and ruin your life, depending on whether you support his plans to steal from the public purse. Nice little research project ya got goin’ there at Rutgers, perfessah. Be a shame if sumpin would happen to it.

Case in point: Christie, after making political capital by pretending to stand up for the people of New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, has managed to keep relief funds away from 75% of eligible applicants without cause. No reason needs be given; Christie was trying to figure out how to loot the public funds we provided to Sandy survivors and hadn’t quite perfected his plan, one might suppose.

That’s what the machine does: siphons off public funds into private purses of the rich. No, not 100%. Only about 50% but that’s enough to add up after a few decades, which is what you plutocrats have used to destroy everything that was great about America.

The machine goes by a different name these days. It calls itself “privatization.” Privatization represents the most obvious means of transmission of the public commonwealth to the 1%. The privateer promises the same results at a lower cost and with limited liability. The government gives away the money to the privateer. The privateer is rarely held accountable for the malfeasance, negligence, recklessless and malicious acts that follow.

As a matter of fact, privateers often sue and win to get back the “profits” lost when events of nature interrupt it’s normal profitmaking activities. Guess who pays for the double scam of privatization?

It’s you and me. And then we wonder why we are getting poorer every day. Everyone has had hard time except those at the top, who are spending like there’s no tomorrow. Which there may not be. I am nearly too old to care.

As I sit here in my little studio apartment watching everyone lying to everyone else in the hope that they can screw someone else over to make themselves look better, it is difficult to be optimistic.

A dear friend of mine, who spent her entire life as a human rights activist, escaped the clutches of HUAC and was the named plaintiff in Cutter Laboratories v. Black, told me in 2009, I have never seen it this bad.

New bridge scandal subpoenas seek records related to Chris Christie, ARC tunnel and more

Posted in 14 signs of fascism, 1percent, Corporate Crimes, Corporate-Congressional Complex, Media: Corporate and Controlled, Political Science 101, Systematic Looting and other Privatization Schemes, This is bad. | Comments Off

10 Examples of Democratic Morals in Politics

1. Look at that. I finally got a photo of a Democrat acting like a true American, standing for jobs at home and boosting local small business by opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership. The Republicans are the ones wanting to cut your pay and then ship your job overseas. So, as if that isn’t enough, when your job goes out of state or overseas, never to return, the Republicans want to limit unemployment.

Now, I would appreciate it if someone could tell me how dropping a family into dire poverty and homelessness can be considered a “family value?” That is the consequence of Republican acts undertaken specifically to leave people without the fraction of their normal pay that unemployment benefits provides.

Unemployment benefits are the among the primary targets for elimination by the tax nuts. Tax nuts may never experience the ultimate consequences of their greed; a society so bereft of support from the state that it collapses around them. But they could read about it in the history of the Roman Empire and its thousand imitators. Only a lack of foresight and empathy could cause this failure to learn from our past.

So here is Nancy Pelosi, standing up for American family values, in the Washington Post.

Would ya look at that, now?

Well, that’s not quite 10, is it now? Looks more like 1! When I find more I will add them.

Posted in 99% | Comments Off

Ms. Demeanor, Bird Whisperer: Shocking news! Birds have Empty Nest Syndrome.

The birdlover who wrote in told the Bird Vet that the aforementioned budgie had just had her four fledglings leave the nest. The next day, Mama was hanging on the side of the cage, and wouldn’t perch.

Everyone who watches their budgies knows that hanging on the side of something is a sign of depression. Mama’s babies flew away yesterday and she had a cough empty next cough.

The Bird Vet immediately assumes that the Mama budgie is depleted from laying too many eggs and her legs are broken, however. She recommends what appears to be several hundred dollars of medical tests in an attempt to diagnose Mama budgie’s illness.

There is no “reply” function on the website, so I thought I would take care of it here.

Dear Budgie Lover,

Your dear little Mama budgie is just missing her babies. Please keep an eye on her to make sure that she recovers within a day or so. If her mood does not improve within 48 hours you may want to isolate her in another room for a day until she gets lonely. She will start to call to the other birds when she feels better.

Are the babies still there with her? Then don’t separate her. They will all make it just fine.

Ms. Demeanor, Bird Whisperer

Posted in Budgie Whisperer | Comments Off