Month: August 2018
The Evolving Brett Kavanaugh
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as you likely know, has re-thought his principled position on consideration of Supreme Court nominees. Previously, he was adamant that Senate hearings were not appropriate before the American people had spoken in an election. Now, of course, he is anxious for a speedy confirmation, before the upcoming election, of the latest nominee. That candidate, Brett Kavanaugh, has had his own evolution of a firmly-held belief. In 2009, he wrote about bringing criminal charges against a sitting president. His opinion no doubt strengthened his perceived qualifications to join the Supreme Court.
“In particular, Congress might consider a law exempting a President — while in office — from criminal prosecution and investigation, including from questioning by criminal prosecutors or defense counsel.”
Your – Not Their – Tax Dollars at Work
The state of Texas prides itself as a bastion of independence and free enterprise. Business thrives without government regulation and fiercely opposes government interference in capitalistic enterprises. Except when it does want the government to interject itself into business. In a state with abhorrence for tax money subsidizing health insurance and the highest percentage of citizens without coverage, but where the Oil Depletion tax giveaway is sacred, Texas is now seeking a new federal subsidy for its favorite industry. The state wants government funding for oil and gas installations and it wants all U.S. taxpayers, not just Texans, to pay.
After more than a century-and-a-half of contributing CO2 to the world, the fossil fuel industry wants taxpayer-funded protection for the increasingly powerful storms and higher tides, effects of the changing climate. Climate-change deniers and fiscal conservatives – except when the money flows to their state – Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are pushing a scheme for $12 billion of federal money to build sixty-miles of concrete seawalls, earthen barriers, floating gates and steel levees on the Texas Gulf Coast. Petrochemical plants, including most of Texas’s thirty refineries, want us all to pay for protecting their facilities. (And if you believe $12 billion will be enough, well, you know…)
Texas has an $11 billion dollar “rainy day” fund, but the Republican controlled legislature opposes spending its own money to protect infrastructure in its own state.
From Talking Points Memo. Read all about it here.
Can You Hear Me Now?
The Verizon guy in the TV commercials is so friendly and down to earth, we know that his and the company’s mission is to provide their customers with the best plans at the most reasonable costs. Just ask firefighters battling the blazes in California. Wireless communications are vital to provide and update information, manpower deployment and battle strategies. Imagine their surprise when service suddenly slowed to 1/200th of the normal speed. “It essentially rendered those very routine communications almost useless or completely ineffective,” said the Santa Clara County Fire Department captain whose team had been deployed to Lake and Mendocino counties in northern California.
Verizon Wireless had a simple explanation. The department had purchased an “unlimited” data plan, but when a certain usage threshold is reached, transmission speed slows precipitously. Verizon also had a simple solution: upgrade the plan at twice the cost.
Verizon said their practice is to remove data speed limits for emergency responders in emergency situations and they are “reviewing the situation” and “will fix any issues going forward.” They also said the speed restrictions had nothing to do with the Federal Communications Commission’s termination of net neutrality regulations that, among other things, had prevented Internet service providers from charging more for speeding up delivery of certain content. The three-Republican two-Democrat FCC, led by Trump appointee Ajit Pai, voted 3-2 to abolish the regulations.
Making America Great Again.
Rosie the Librarian
With all the news about #MeToo and Mr. Weinstein and a certain pussy grabber, let’s return to Depression-era Seattle. Drastic funding cuts to the Seattle Public Library in 1932 resulted in fewer hours and services and pay cuts for employees. Staff was also reduced. The Library Board of Trustees came up with an equitable way to implement employee terminations:
It shall be the policy of the Seattle Library Board not to employ a married woman whose husband is able to provide her a living. Any library employee marrying a husband able to provide a reasonable income will be required to tender her resignation.
Ten years later, World War II caused the Board to loosen its restrictions and allow the hiring of a married woman… if her husband was serving in the military.
Mark Twain #MeToo
Harry Kendall Thaw shot and killed Stanford White while the famed architect watched a play on the rooftop of Madison Square Garden. The year was 1906. The building was one designed by White, who was responsible for the Washington Square Arch, the Metropolitan Club and numerous other landmark buildings. The Astors and Vanderbilts lived in mansions designed by White. He also had a reputation as a seducer of young women.