18 April 2021

Failure is VERY Profitable

Following her 9 point drubbing by Susan Collins, Democrat Sara Gideon still has $11,000,000.00 left in her campaign accounts.

By way of context, the population of Maine is 1.35 million.

Collins raised about $30 million, and Gideon raised about $75 million.  (And the loser spent only about 85% of that, because there is only so much media in Maine)

This is addition to at least $70,000,000.00 in "independent" PAC spending.

This from a campaign that was literally sending out frantic funding requests emails the day before the election.

The reason that they spent so much money was that for every media buy, the consultants associates with the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) got a percentage.

The same thing happened in Kentucky, where Mitch McConnell destroyed the hapless Amy McGrath by almost 20 points.

In both cases, the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) chose to run a largely content free campaign and a largely content free candidate, and the only winners on the Den side were the consultants.

The same could be said from North Carolina, where 3rd party expenditures, and hence commissions, dwarfed spending be l by both campaigns.

All of these races were seen as winnable, and all of these races were not even close, despite the best efforts of the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment).

By comparison, Democrats won both (still hugely expensive) races in Georgia, largely on the get out the vote efforts of Stacy Abrams, which were a TINY fraction of total spending.  (I still don't trust her though, because of her choices in literature)

For to many in the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment), the strategies never change, because they make money from these failed strategies.  Lots and lots of money, something like 20% on media buys, and 10% on fundraising.

My advice is the same as always tell the DCCC, DSCC, and the DNC to pound sand, never respond to online or phone solicitations for funds, and chose your candidates yourself.

Act Blue is good, but going through a candidate's web site is better, and you can get links to their web sites through Act Blue.

Until the plague of consultants, who I liken to a plague of locusts, are ejected from the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment), it's all you can do.

H/t Atrios

--
Posted via mobile. 


17 April 2021

Tweet of the Day


Film librarians are very imprtant.

Headline of the Day

Political Reporters Are Hurting America, So How about Getting Rid Of Most Of Them?
Dan Froomkin

He's completely right.

The coverage of politics in isolation from actually doing stuff produces hack journalism focusing on, "The Game."

Political reporters know nothing about anything BUT politics, and hold this as a badge of honor, and because their beat gives them license to write about everything, because politics is more often than not a triviality, it touches on everything.

Support Your Local Police

It turns out that lots of cops have been making donations to racist murderer Kyle Rittenhouse.

If you are wondering how cops can donate to a racist murderer, you are not paying attention.  They are donating to a racist murderer, BECAUSE he was a racist murderer:

A data breach at a Christian crowdfunding website has revealed that serving police officers and public officials have donated money to fundraisers for accused vigilante murderers, far-right activists, and fellow officers accused of shooting black Americans.

In many of these cases, the donations were attached to their official email addresses, raising questions about the use of public resources in supporting such campaigns.

The breach, shared with journalists by transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets, revealed the details of some donors who had previously attempted to conceal their identities using GiveSendGo’s anonymity feature, but whose identifying details the website preserved.

The beneficiaries of donations from public officials include Kyle Rittenhouse, who stands accused of murdering two leftwing protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August. Rittenhouse traveled from neighboring Illinois to, by his own account, offer armed protection to businesses during protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

......

Among the donors were several associated with email addresses traceable to police and other public officials.

One donation for $25, made on 3 September last year, was made anonymously, but associated with the official email address for Sgt William Kelly, who currently serves as the executive officer of internal affairs in the Norfolk police department in Virginia.

That donation also carried a comment, reading: “God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong.”

The comment continued: “Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”

.......

Meanwhile, several Wisconsin police officers donated to a fundraiser, “Support Rusten Sheskey”, held for the Kenosha police department officer whose shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, led to the protests that drew Rittenhouse to the city.

.......

Another donation to Sheskey was associated with the official email address of officer Pat Gainer of the Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin police department. Given under the screen name “PPPD Motor 179”, the donation also carried the comment: “Stay strong brother.”

About 32 more donations, totaling more than $5,000, came to Sheskey from private email addresses associated with Kenosha officers, but under badge numbers rather than names.

It goes on, and on, and on, but you have to conclude that violent racism is supported by a significant portion of our constabulary.

This needs to be ended.

 

 

16 April 2021

Tweet of the Day (And Weird as Hell)


When Pat F%$#ing Robertson is sounding like N.W.A.,* it's clear that something is very,  very wrong.

Policing in the United States is completely broken.

*On N.W.A's album Straight Outta Compton, was the song F%$# the Police.

Back to Normal

In yet another indication that we are returning to a post-pandemic new normal, a mass shooting at an Indianapolis FedEx warehouse has killed at least 8 people

The situation was made even worse because FedEx has a policy of requiring employees to turn over their cell phones at the beginning of a shift, which means that loved ones could not contact them, and they could not call the police.

Officials with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department identified the eight victims of the mass shooting at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis on Friday night, more than 20 hours after the gunman opened fire on Thursday.

Families of people who worked at the warehouse were gathered at a hotel in the hours after the shooting, waiting for news. FedEx employees are not allowed to use their phones on the floor of the warehouse, complicating the reuniting of employees and their loved ones.

The victims were identified by the police as Matthew R. Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; Amarjeet Johal, 66; Jaswinder Kaur, 64; Jaswinder Singh, 68; Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Karli Smith, 19; and John Weisert, 74. Some family members of victims who were Sikh provided different spellings and ages: Jasvinder Kaur, 50; Amarjit Sekhon, 49; and Jaswinder Singh, 70.

Officials said the gunman, a 19-year-old, was a former employee of the company whose mother had warned law enforcement officials last year that he might try to attempt “suicide by cop.” An F.B.I. special agent confirmed that the gunman had been interviewed by federal agents in April 2020, and that he was put on an “immediate detention mental health temporary hold.”

He was not charged with a crime, and the agent said that a shotgun was not returned to him.

………

The violence in Indianapolis comes only weeks after mass shootings last month at spas in the Atlanta area and at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., renewing pressure on lawmakers in Washington to address America’s deep-seated problem with gun violence.

Officials used a common word — “another” — to define the tragedy.

………

The atmosphere was fraught at a nearby hotel on Friday as families of workers at the facility waited for word about loved ones, many of whom were not allowed to have their cellphones at work.

(emphasis mine

There are many things that I missed from the before times: Restaurants, movie theaters, bars, and theater immediately come to mind.

There are also things that I really do not miss, in person meetings, commuting, and especially mass shootings.

At the very least, I had hoped that the pace of mass shootings would not return to their pre-pandemic levels so quickly.

Karma's a Bitch, Neh?

Liberty University has just sued Jerry Falwell Jr. for ten million dollars, claiming that his behavior ran counter to his obligations as an officer of the school.

I only hope that there is a way for both of them to lose:

Liberty University filed a lawsuit this week against its former president Jerry Falwell Jr., alleging that he breached his contract and fiduciary duties to the school as he sought to cover up a personal scandal.

The evangelical Christian university in Lynchburg, Va., is seeking more than $10 million in damages from the man who led it for 13 years. The suit filed Thursday in Lynchburg Circuit Court marked another twist in the saga of Falwell’s messy departure last year from Liberty.

………

Later that month he agreed to resign after news reports emerged about a young man Falwell and his wife, Rebecca Falwell, had befriended who allegedly was sexually connected to the couple. Falwell has said that his wife, who also goes by Becki, had a brief affair with the man.

Falwell, 58, filed a defamation suit against Liberty in October, alleging the school accepted without verifying what he called false statements made by the young man. He later dropped the lawsuit.

In its lawsuit, Liberty contends that Falwell failed to return university-owned computers, devices and confidential information to Liberty and that he failed to disclose to the university alleged threats of extortion he had received in connection with potential personal scandals.

………

The 38-page complaint alleges that Falwell deliberately sought to hide the affair. “Despite his clear duties as an executive and officer at Liberty, Falwell Jr. chose personal protection,” the suit alleged.

Further, the suit alleged: “Falwell Jr.'s actions in breaching the fiduciary duty he owed to Liberty were willful and wanton and disregarded the rights of Liberty.”

………

When Falwell resigned in August, he said he was entitled to $10.5 million in severance. Liberty, in its lawsuit, disputes that claim.

His severance package is a major issue in the suit. Liberty alleges that Falwell concealed information about extortion threats from the governing board when he negotiated a new contract in 2019 that included a higher salary and a provision for two years of severance pay, under certain conditions, worth a total of $2.5 million. The suit indicates that Liberty agreed to that level of payout on Aug. 28, 2020.

It appears that everyone involves worships Benjamin Franklin. Isn't there something in the bible about worshiping false gods?

………

Falwell’s father, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr., was a prominent leader of the religious right who founded Liberty University and a nearby church.

Under Jerry Falwell Jr., who became Liberty’s president and chancellor after his father died in 2007, the school grew enormously and became a frequent stop for Republican politicians and others who wanted to connect with conservative evangelical Christian audiences.

………

Liberty recently announced that Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church and Falwell Jr.’s brother, will become the school’s campus pastor at the end of the semester.

That last bit has gotta hurt.

I hope that this case burns through decades and consumes millions of dollars from both institutions.

15 April 2021

The Rule, Not the Exception

In 2015, it was revealed that charter school Success Academy, and its CEO Eva Moskowitz had systematically pushed special needs students out of their school through a program of harassment of the children and the parents.

The parents targeted sued, and the charter school chain has to pay $2.4 million dollars

To put that in perspective, that is 3 years of taxpayer funded salary for Ms. Moskowitz:

You might have caught this story, but I don't want you to miss it.

Success Academy has long been one of the stars of the charter school world. But in 2015, Kate Taylor at the New York Times reported on a secret "got to go" list that targeted students that SA administrators wanted to push out, part of a general pattern of deliberately making life difficult for students that the schools simply didn't want. It was not a good look for Eva Moskowitz and her charter crew. Moskowitz pushed back and defended the principal who was caught (but then shortly thereafter reassigned Candido Brown to an elementary classroom teaching job). And as the smoke cleared, Moskowitz went back to business as usual.

But five families sued. Their children were on that list, and they had all been pushed out of SA.

They sued Success Academy for targeting families--particularly families of students with special needs-- to try to get them to withdraw. Said one of the lawyers handling the case, “Success Academy’s harsh, inflexible, one-size-fits-all approach to discipline is at odds with its obligation to reasonably accommodate students’ disabilities. These children and their families were forced to withdraw from the Success Academy network not only because their educational needs were not being met, but also because they were explicitly not welcome there."

She's not kidding. It was ugly.

The litigation centered on five children, then a mere 4 to 5 years old, with diagnosed or perceived disabilities. Success Academy did not provide appropriate accommodations, and frequently dismissed the students prior to the end of the school day – often for behaviors like fidgeting and pouting. Success Academy also threatened to call child welfare authorities to investigate the children’s families, and even sent one child to a hospital psychiatric unit. Each family eventually removed their child from the Success Academy network.
Last month, in a decision that didn't get nearly as much press as the original allegations, the five families won their suit.“Success Academy forced these families to withdraw their children by bullying and daily harassment, instead of providing a quality education free from discrimination,” said Laura D. Barbieri, Special Counsel to Advocates for Justice. “New York’s parents and children deserve better, and we are pleased these families achieved justice.”

Will a $2.4 million price tag motivate Moskowitz to behave better and stop pushing out families that don't fit her vision for the schools? I doubt it, though one can hope. But it's reminder that charter schools are not public schools, and too often do not feel a need to act like public schools.

Actually, at least according to Baltimore City Public Schools, charters are technically public schools, and they are required to follow IEPs.  It's just that they don't.

Have some sympathy for Eva Moskowitz.  If she had to spend money on disabled students, she might have to take a pay cut.

Good.

Both the Brooklyn Center police Chief and the cop who shot Daunte Wright have resigned. If this has happened a year ago, they would both still have their jobs.

Also, a year ago, Kimberly Potter would never have been charged with manslaughter.  Instead, at best, the DA would have commissioned a grand jury and then thrown the case as Bob McCulloch did in the case of the Michael Brown police murder in Ferguson, Missouri.

At the very least, the optics are changing.

George Floyd's murder, and the protests growing from that, have led to a positive change in this country.

Good News on Initial Jobless Claims

Initial jobless claims have finally fallen below their pre-pandemic record.

Well, that only took 13 months: 

Unemployment claims declined to the lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic struck last spring, adding to signs the U.S. economic revival is picking up speed.

Jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, fell to 576,000 last week from 769,000 a week earlier. That is the lowest weekly figure since March 2020. Claims remain higher than the pre-pandemic levels of around 220,000, but economists expect they will continue to drop as the recovery accelerates.

“We are seeing both a strong reopening and rehiring in the economy at this time,” said Kathy Bostjancic, economist at Oxford Economics. “It’s been faster than most economists expected.”

Several factors are converging to boost growth across the economy. Vaccination rates are powering consumer spending, governments are relaxing restrictions on businesses, and federal-stimulus funds are flowing through the economy.

………

The total number of people receiving unemployment assistance is declining as the labor market heals. About 16.9 million people were collecting unemployment benefits through state and federal programs in the week ended March 27, down from 18.2 million a week earlier.
More on the Economy

The labor market still has a long way to go before achieving a full recovery. As of March, U.S. payrolls remained 8.4 million below their level in February 2020.

It's unalloyed good news though the current situation remains pretty dire.

Gee, Now There's a Surprise

It turns out that the evidence that Russia put bounties on American Troops was decidedly sketchy.

The technical term for this is, "low to moderate confidence."  The layman's term for this is, "Likely bullsh%$."

Color me not surprised. This allegation has been made against the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

It's bullsh%$.  It's always been bullsh%$.

When you invade someone's country, the occupied citizenry will try to kill you for free:

It was a blockbuster story about Russia’s return to the imperial “Great Game” in Afghanistan. The Kremlin had spread money around the longtime central Asian battlefield for militants to kill remaining U.S. forces. It sparked a massive outcry from Democrats and their #resistance amplifiers about the treasonous Russian puppet in the White House whose admiration for Vladimir Putin had endangered American troops.

But on Thursday, the Biden administration announced that U.S. intelligence only had “low to moderate” confidence in the story after all. Translated from the jargon of spyworld, that means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven—and possibly untrue.

………

“We have noted our conclusion of the review that we conducted on the bounties issue and we have conveyed through diplomatic, intelligence, and military channels strong, direct messages on this issue, but we are not specifically tying the actions we are taking today to that matter,” a senior administration official told reporters in reference to the bounty claims.

According to the officials on Thursday’s call, the reporting about the alleged “bounties” came from “detainee reporting”–raising the specter that someone told their U.S.-aligned Afghan jailers what they thought was necessary to get out of a cage. Specifically, the official cited “information and evidence of connections to criminal agents in Afghanistan and elements of the Russian government” as sources for the intelligence community’s assessment.

Given the rather dubious history regarding intelligence reports from tortured prisoners, I think that it's safe to call bullshit, particularly since any halfway competent intelligence agency would be using cut-outs if they were making payments.

Also, there never was a justification for the Russians to do this.

Also, with 2,312 deaths in Afghanistan over the past 20 years, if the Russians wanted to kill Americans, they would have done a better job.

OK, This is Funny.

It's cruel, and crass, but today's joke from Least I Could Do is really damn funny.

I would argue that of the Prince Philip funereal jokes, this one is the best.

To state the blatantly obvious, it's funny to make jokes about creatng a fake Tinder profile for Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, but it is most assuredly NOT funny to actually make such a profile on Tinder.

It is even less funny to make a fake Grindr profile for Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor.

As an aside, does anyone know that the statute of limitations is for Lèse-majesté laws in the UK?