Prison bankers cash in on captive customers

Taylor doesn’t believe in going into debt. She keeps her bills in a freezer bag under her bed, next to old photo albums, and believes in paying them on time religiously. For Taylor, living within your means is part of being a good Christian.  Lately, Taylor, 64, has felt torn between that commitment and her desire to be a loving, supportive mother for her son Eddie. Eddie, 38, is serving 20-year prison sentence at Bland Correctional Center for armed robbery. He’s doing his time at a medium-security Virginia state prison located 137 miles northwest of Johnson City, across the dips and valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains here in the heart of Appalachia. The cost of supporting and visiting Eddie keeps going up, so Pat makes trade-offs."




More;----Prison bankers cash in on captive customers | Center for Public Integrity:

What People In China Are Hearing About The Protests In Hong Kong

: "According to Chinese state media, thousands have taken to the streets in Hong Kong to celebrate 65 years of communist rule. Of course, the nearly-100,000 protesters have actually taken to Hong Kong’s Central business district to demand democratic elections under an agreement that China has continually tried to sidestep. But as the protests continue, Chinese censors have doubled down on social and traditional media to keep the unrest from gaining traction in the mainland"



More;----What People In China Are Hearing About The Protests In Hong Kong | ThinkProgress


Lockheed's F-35 Stealth Fighter: A $1.5 Trillion Waste of Tax Dollars

"It’s not yet clear exactly how much the Pentagon’s fancy new F-35 combat jet will cost or when any of these stealth fighters will become operational. But the F-35 already shows great promise in the tough competition to become the most expensive weapons program ever undertaken."



More;----Lockheed's F-35 Stealth Fighter: A $1.5 Trillion Waste of Tax Dollars | FlaglerLive:

Hell hath no fury like an Ebola virus out of control

"This week the United Nations Security Council called the Ebola outbreak in West Africa “a threat to international peace and security” and passed an emergency resolution, the first regarding health since the AIDS epidemic. It asked for $1 billion in aid to be directed toward the outbreak. According to the World Health Organization, there are currently 5,843 cases and 2,803 deaths attributed to the epidemic, which appears to be accelerating rapidly. On Tuesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projected that Liberia and Sierra Leone could have 1.4 million cases by January if the epidemic is left unchecked"




By hyping ISIL threat, US is falling into group’s trap

 "On Sept. 19, just days before the U.S.-led airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) expanded into Syria, the militant group released a 55-minute documentary, “Flames of War,” warning about direct military confrontation with the United States. ISIL made similar taunts when it executed Western hostages, seized U.S. weapons sent to Syrian rebels and co-opted groups that were trained to fight against them. Why is ISIL so eager to lure the United States into battle? While ISIL has unrivaled access to multiple revenue streams, a vast array of arms and command tens of thousands of soldiers, the one thing it lacks is local popular legitimacy — a big problem for a group that aspires to form a caliphate. However, the expanded foreign intervention will likely help ISIL mitigate this challenge by galvanizing the public against the U.S.-led coalition, with ISIL portraying itself as the only force capable of repelling these malignant invaders. Meanwhile, the U.S. will be drawn ever deeper into a war of attrition in which its enemies, nonstate actors, have little to lose and everything to gain."




More;----By hyping ISIL threat, US is falling into group’s trap | Al Jazeera America:

Hong Kong: At the heart of Occupy Central

"Organised and peaceful, student protesters in Hong Kong symbolise two of the city's finest attributes. As I stroll past the throngs of twenty to thirty-somethings offering me bottled water, what's striking is the civilized nature of the demonstrators. This is the Admiralty district and the epicentre of the protests. Yet, there's not a hint of aggression, despite the sky high passions about their cause. Even the attire of the protesters is regulated, with an expanse of black t-shirts stretching as far as the two overpasses that rise up on either side. Many appear fatigued after days of protests that began on September 26, slumped on the sidewalk under umbrellas in the blistering heat even though the sea breeze is a mere sprint away. Only the Central Government complex, which houses the office of Chief Executive C.Y. Leung stands between the cooler air and the dehydrated"




"I'll fucking cut you." Behind the scenes of the 1491s' segment on "The Daily Show"

 "A couple of weeks back, the 1491s got an email from a producer at “The Daily Show” hosted by Jon Stewart. They were recruiting for a panel discussion regarding the Washington Redskins, and the mascot controversy that surrounds the team. And they wanted us—a Native American sketch comedy/video group that tackles everything from Indian Country politics to fart jokes—to weigh in. As a writer, educator, satirist and smart-ass, I was excited about the opportunity. While we love the reach that YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other Internet avenues provide, there’s something bewitching about being on national TV, and on a show we respect."



More;----"I'll fucking cut you." Behind the scenes of the 1491s' segment on "The Daily Show" | Green Room | Missoula Independent:

Meet George Zimmerman's Family

"Until his little brother, George, shot and killed an unarmed black teenager on the sidewalk of a Florida gated community more than two years ago, Robert Zimmerman Jr. was "the family fuckup." He used the phrase with me a lot, but the first time was in October 2012, at a dark back table at the Algonquin Hotel's Blue Bar in Manhattan, six months after what all the Zimmermans call "the incident." He was downing a double gin and soda, and he was wearing a Hugo Boss suit, "diamond" earrings from Kohl's, and the remnants of airbrush concealer from a quick appearance on Fox News's Geraldo at Large. He went on to name all the ways he was a lousy namesake for his father, Bob, a former Army sergeant, and a disappointing son for his mother, Gladys, a fierce, devoutly Catholic first-generation immigrant from Peru. "Unemployed. College dropout. With a DWI and a boyfriend," he said, listing his sins. (The boyfriend was a big problem for Gladys, somewhat less so for Bob.) But then, overnight, George had become "the Wreck-It Ralph of America," and Robert—articulate, sweet-natured, maybe in over his head—was thrust into the role of family savior. "You know what that means?" he said, ordering a second gin and soda. "Zimmerman in charge of rebranding.""





Why Is Denmark so Happy?

Mississippi Sued Over 'Hellish' Conditions in For-Profit Prison

"Denial of food and medical care. Cells and floors soiled with blood, urine, and feces. Excessive force by prison guards. Weeks, months, and years in solitary confinement. These are the conditions found at a "special needs" for-profit prison, the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, which is tasked by the state's department of corrections with incarcerating 1,200 people, approximately 1,000 of whom have severe psychiatric disorders, according to a legal motion filed Friday."





The Harrowing Story Of How An Undocumented Man Found Sanctuary In An Arizona Church

 "TEMPE, ARIZONA—Luis Lopez-Acabal has been living in a small, windowless, wood paneled room for nearly a month. The space, which used to be an office at University Presbyterian Church, holds a single bed with a handmade quilt, a dresser, and shelves holding his few belongings. The overhead lighting is harsh and fluorescent. In an adjoining room, a worn reclining chair faces a television and a stack of old VHS tapes, mostly children’s films. Sitting in the chair, picking at the frayed fabric, Lopez-Acabal told ThinkProgress in Spanish that he often loses track of the date and time. “The days feel long,” he said. “I feel safer here, but it’s hard to be away from my family.” Lopez-Acabal is here thanks to the new sanctuary movement, a network of churches across the country who are publicly challenging federal immigration laws by sheltering undocumented people at risk of deportation."




The Civil War never ended. The neo-Confederate tea party fights on

 "As a young person, I learned "Lincoln freed the slaves," and that the Civil War ended when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant in 1865. It boiled down to "the North won, the southern slaveholders lost." Most of the history of what happened after the end of the war was skipped over in my classes. We learned next to nothing about Reconstruction. Thankfully, my parents filled in many of the gaps, but one of the things I could never understand, even as a child, was why, when we would drive through the South, there seemed to be more monuments to Confederates than to the victors. I learned early on to associate Confederate flag-carrying and waving with KKK activities, lynching, rape, murder, repression, segregation, and hatred of black people."



More;-----The Civil War never ended. The neo-Confederate tea party fights on:


Everything You Need To Know About Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution

 "Riot police in Hong Kong are deploying tear gas and rubber bullets against at least 13,000 protesters demanding greater democratic reforms. The movement — dubbed the “Umbrella Revolution” for the demonstrators’ use of umbrellas to protect themselves from tear gas — is capturing the world’s attention and leading some analysts to wonder if the event could escalate into a broader push for greater democracy in the region."



“Straight-up propaganda”: Fox News, charlatans, conspiracy theorists and the religious fanatics endangering democracy

 "An epidemic of craziness seems to have swept over the American political landscape. This is of course a problem not just for Americans, but for people all around the world. It remains the case that most people think of the United States as the world’s leading democracy. Although they may not choose to imitate many of the specific features of American democratic institutions, the prestige of democracy around the world is very much tied up with the performance of the American system. When this political system proves demonstrably  incapable of keeping charlatans, conspiracy theorists, and religious fanatics out of political power, this is a huge blow to the prestige of democratic systems as a whole. To see the problem that this creates, consider the situation in China, where plenty of people have very reasonable concerns about the possible consequences of democratization and whether it would be, on the whole, good for their country. Defenders of the existing system, such as Zhang Weiwei, put the argument in exactly these terms: “Despite its well-known strengths, liberal democracy as an institution has been seriously eroded by such persistent problems as demagoguery, short-termism, simple-minded populism, the excessive influence of money and the role played by special interests . . . the Chinese system of meritocracy makes it inconceivable that anyone as incompetent as America’s George W. Bush or Japan’s Yoshihiko Noda could ever get to the top.” The more degraded and corrupt American democracy becomes, the more difficult it becomes to argue for democracy—even if many of the conditions in the United States are a consequence of unusual features of that particular political system, which need not be imitated elsewhere."



The big “middle class” rip-off: How a short sale taught me rich people’s ethics

"The closest I ever came to acting like a rich person was two years ago when I short-sold my primary residence.  I might have been able to keep it but strategic default made life easier.  I owed about $400,000 on a house that short-sold for $150K.  The bank lost more than a quarter of a million dollars, and I lost at least $80K in down payment and property improvements.  In a short sale the bank agrees to settle debt for the lesser amount and the seller gets nothing but is “punished” by not being able to finance another house for at least two years (rules vary).  My moment of acting rich was when I bought a second house before short-selling the first to skirt around the repercussions of my own bad luck. When the housing market tanked a few years ago, the government rescued every bank and business (even a damned insurance company), while ignoring everyone else.  I realized that the game was fatally lopsided, so I didn’t just walk away in middle-class shame, but rather I employed all my (extremely limited) cunning and deviousness to get a similar home before ditching the old one.  I was able to cash in on low housing prices from a couple of years ago, coupled with low interest rates, to come out on top.  The biggest barrier to getting a great deal was an almost overpowering need to behave like a middle-class sucker."




Seditious Republicans Spend Paid Vacation Instigating Rebellion Among Military Generals

 "The Republican Party is proving repeatedly it is not only the party of stupid and xenophobia; it is the party of the sedition that was bought and paid for by Charles and David Koch"




How Christians Reject Jesus: On Violence and ISIS -

 "Many Christians look to the Bible to justify divinely sanctioned violence against our enemies. Excuse me for stating the obvious, but Christians are not Biblians. We are Christians. As Christians, we should be putting Jesus first. Not Deuteronomy. Not Joshua. Not Judges. Not David. Not Solomon. Not Peter. Not Paul. Not the Bible. Jesus first. And Jesus calls us to nonviolence. As one of the early Christians stated, the way of Jesus, the way of nonviolent love that embraces our enemies, is the way of the cross and the world thinks that way is foolish."



More:-----How Christians Reject Jesus: On Violence and ISIS - Adam Ericksen | God's Politics Blog | Sojourners:


Inside the Koch Brothers' Toxic Empire | Rolling Stone

"The enormity of the Koch fortune is no mystery. Brothers Charles and David are each worth more than $40 billion. The electoral influence of the Koch brothers is similarly well-chronicled. The Kochs are our homegrown oligarchs; they've cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Their political network helped finance the Tea Party and powers today's GOP. Koch-affiliated organizations raised some $400 million during the 2012 election, and aim to spend another $290 million to elect Republicans in this year's midterms. So far in this cycle, Koch-backed entities have bought 44,000 political ads to boost Republican efforts to take back the Senate."





Conservative school board revolution:

"As most media attention is focused on national elections, there's been a quiet revolution rolling out on the state and local level. It has been launched by seemingly innocuous school board officials. In conservative states and districts, Republicans have been stacking school boards with radical right wingers, with an eye towards rewriting textbook and educational standards so they are more amendable to the conservative cause. While conservative attacks on science in classrooms get a lot of attention, the latest trend is, if anything, even more worrisome: Conservative school board officials are quietly trying to rewrite history and social studies curriculum, erasing parts of history they don't like and simply making up history they wish was true."



More;------Conservative school board revolution: Column:


Pic of the Moment
       Image from Democratic Underground

John McCain yukking it up with ISIS

John McCain yukking it up with ISIS

The Pitch

It has occurred to me that some of you think I'm running this hideous website because I have nothing else to do. Well some of you are just too dam smart. You've probably been hurt in a previous relationship. That's so sad,but it's really not my concern. Like mama used to say, "You'll know better next time."

So here's the skinny. You'll notice there's no stupid "Donate to this Site" button, and there's good reason, it goes back to that you're just too dam smart thing.

So what I did was plaster this site with all sorts of cheesy banners promoting every thing from pocket knives, Dickie denim jeans, healthy soy snacks, hemp seeds,creative writing software, St. Croix fishing rods and chartreus soft plastic lizards, to places where you can lose everything, betting on horse races, or where you can get a job driving a truck cross country, hauling Chinese made crap and picking up chicks. Someone said the site looked like I-75 in South Georgia.

When you click on a banner and buy something, I get a ham sandwich. That's all, just looking to eat once in a while.

Now here's a suggestion, before you lose everything betting on some dumbass horse race, or leave the wife and youngans and head on down the road in a Peterbuilt, buy yourself a pair of Matrix sunglasses and one of those R Crumb, "Keep on Truckin," T-shirts to wear to your daughter's soccer game. Your daughter will be humiliated as hell, until one of her friends walks over and says, " Your dad is the coolest dad ever."

Priceless!


Here's a catchy tune that may shed some light on what I'm trying to say.