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Friday night bright spots May 12, 2017

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Ordinary Canadians had essentially adopted thousands of Syrian families, donating a year of their time and money to guide them into new lives just as many other countries shunned them. Some citizens already considered the project a humanitarian triumph; others believed the Syrians would end up isolated and adrift, stuck on welfare or worse. As 2016 turned to 2017 and the yearlong commitments began to expire, the question of how the newcomers would fare acquired a national nickname: Month 13, when the Syrians would try to stand on their own.” I wish I had the money to do this. It’s so heartwarming, and sounds so fulfilling.

A showcase of Muslims who risked their lives to help Jewish people escape the Holocaust. This is what heroism looks like.

“The same exact pattern happened in 2016, Phelps said: A wage increase by the state [of California] led to a bump in business. Now Phelps is convinced that minimum wage increases aren’t bad for the fast food business. They’re great.

Employment at Arizona restaurants, bars surges after minimum-wage increase. There’s also been a bump in the rest of the leisure and hospitality sector. (Manufacturing is still going down. Retail too, thanks to online shopping.)

A recycling initiative for hotel toiletries: “Last year Clean the World sent out 400,000 hygiene kits and made more than 7 million bars of soap, including half a million bars for Haiti and the Bahamas after Hurricane Matthew.”

“Based on an advanced copy of America’s budget for the 2017 financial year, it looks like there has been an actual increase in science funding across the board, and rather wonderfully, Trump’s requests to have it cut have been comprehensively ignored.” (Now it just has to pass.)

The GOP keeps bleating about ~law and order~ while the people cry out for Justice May 4, 2017

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People killed by police, 2017. Currently at 399.

Federal immigration officials knock on the door of a family of legal US residents, then shoot one of the unarmed homeowners.

Off-duty cop Kevin Ferguson harasses some kids, grabs a 13-year-old, ends up firing his gun at the group. It’s all on video. And yet the middle-schooler gets charged with battery, while the grown adult member of law enforcement is allowed to keep walking around armed with no charges.

“The video shows Rosen stomping on the head of Demarco Anderson while Anderson is already handcuffed and under control. Anderson is visibly restrained and does not appear to be agitated or resisting when Rosen charges from the left side of the frame and pounds his foot into the back of the suspect’s head.” Justice for Demarco Anderson.

“He was not trying to harm anybody. He was asking them for help and they shot him down.” And the whole thing was streamed on Facebook Live. Justice for Rodney Hess.

“Soon after, Wade — fully restrained and surrounded by officers — would be writhing in pain and screaming “I can’t breathe” after enduring two blasts of pepper-spray at point-blank range.” Justice for Charles Wade and Amber Swink.

The mailman suffered injuries to his neck, face, back and arm and underwent two surgeries and physical therapy.” And the cops who beat him up were completely acquitted. Justice for Karim Baker.

“Aware that the call was in response to a possible drug abuser, instead of proceeding calmly as to not alarm the person- when officer Stumler shouted: ‘raise your hands’ she automatically shot him in the stomach with no chance to respond.” Justice for Bruce Warrick.

stop this country, I want to get off April 13, 2017

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Everything this week is horrible and heartbreaking, and I hate it. Trying to make it stop feels like trying to hold back a runaway train with a rope.

This weekend is the Tax March. Find one near you.

Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first Muslim woman to serve as a US judge, found dead in a river. Whoever did this should be strung up by the thumbs.

Trump can’t remember whether he just bombed Iraq or Syria. To everyone who ~*couldn’t trust Hillary*~ to run our military responsibly, I wish I could personally slap all of you in the face.

Democrats are consistent in how much we approve of missile strikes. Republicans swing from 22% in favor of a Democrat doing it, to 86% in favor of a Republican. That comes out to 64% of Republicans who have no principles whatsoever, just slavish loyalty to anyone who puts an R after their name.

Trump’s policies are hurting poor majority-black Democratic-voting communities as hard as any poor white Trump-voting district. The only difference is that they saw it coming.

Tom Price acted to help kill a rule that would hurt drug company profits shortly after his broker bought him up to $90,000 worth of pharmaceutical stock.” And now he’s running the Department of Health and Human Services.

Chechnya is rounding up gay men in what Amnesty International calls “secret detention sites.” Reports are coming out about horrific physical abuses. Straight people of Chechnya, what is wrong with you?

(Amnesty International could use your donations, and so could RUSA LGBT, a group that supports LGBTQ Russian-speakers — including asylum-seekers.)

A bridge collapses in Atlanta, causing millions of dollars in damage. You could blame the companies that stored flammable materials there, or you could pin the whole thing on a homeless black guy who slept there. Guess which one the city is doing.

Chicago detective Reynaldo Guevara: “accused by at least 51 people of framing them for murders from the 1980s through the early 2000s in the rough-and-tumble Humboldt Park section of Chicago. His alleged misdeeds led 48 men and one woman to be sentenced to a total of more than 2,300 years in prison. Three were acquitted. Five received life sentences. Three were sentenced to death but spared when in 2003 Gov. George Ryan, disturbed by a rash of wrongful convictions, commuted all death sentences to life or less. Two men died behind bars, including Daniel Peña, an illiterate man who testified Guevara beat him into signing a confession he couldn’t read.” Lock this guy up. Also, strive to be George Ryan.

Continued adventures of the Leopards Eating Faces voters April 6, 2017

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Everyone out there who refused to vote for Hillary Clinton because she’s ~*~a warmonger~*~, do me a favor and slap yourselves across the face with a wet herring. Thank you.

Snapshots from people who voted for Trump in hopes that he would punish the Unworthy, and still don’t seem to grasp that everyone, themselves included, is somebody’s Unworthy:

“Because he was told- I was under the influence that he was going to help us.” A Trump voter is surprised about the planned cuts to Meals on Wheels.

“Trump’s budget may wipe out a program that sends doctors into medically under-served rural counties throughout the Delta region, many of them in red states.” Delta Doctors recommends foreign-born, US-trained physicians for visa waivers, in exchange for working in areas where American doctors won’t show up.

“In this town of 16,000 — located near the Texas border in Oklahoma’s Bryan County, where Trump won 76 percent of the vote — excitement about Trump’s presidency has been dulled by confusion over an agenda that seems aimed at hurting their community more than helping it.” This gives details of a whole swath of programs on the chopping block.

“A Mexican man who entered the United States illegally almost 20 years ago is set to be deported on [March 24], amid an uptick in detentions by immigration agents emboldened by President Donald Trump — whom the man’s own wife voted for.

TIL that there exists a thing called “welfare avoidance grants.” March 30, 2017

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You see, if the government gives you cash assistance and calls it welfare, that’s a Bad Thing. But if the government gives you cash assistance and calls it welfare *avoidance*, suddenly it becomes a Good Thing.

No, seriously. Here’s a page on them in MD.

Can we do this for every social program? Build a place where down-on-their-luck people can live, and call it Homeless Shelter Avoidance Housing. Let us all sign up for Medicare Avoidance Insurance. Make the pro-lifers happy by making abortion illegal — but everyone gets access to Abortion Avoidance Procedures.

Okay, that’s 2 pages of taxes down. How many to go? March 15, 2017

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Oil-exec-turned-Secretary-of-State Rex Tillerson used a secret email address to deal with climate change. And, in the process, seems to have deliberately hidden emails from a subpoena. Where are the Lock Him Up chants?

“Physicians with decades of experience studying death rates relating to changes in health coverage have concluded that repealing Obamacare is fatal. […] even under the most conservative estimates, getting rid of President Obama’s signature healthcare reform law will result in 43,956 deaths every year.

“I click Google’s first suggested link. It leads to a website called CNSnews.com and an article: “The Mainstream media are dead.” They’re dead, I learn, because they – we, I – “cannot be trusted”. How had it, an obscure site I’d never heard of, dominated Google’s search algorithm on the topic?

“In fact, laws in the U.S. did not even address the issue of separating public restrooms by sex until the end of the 19th century, when Massachusetts became the first state to enact such a statute.” (Turns out it’s part of the “more women in the workforce? we must come up with ways to protect their virtue!” ideology.)

But the NEA will also be remembered as the agency that created arts councils in every state and most cities; that spread the professionalization of arts organizations throughout America; and that generated important new fields, such as art therapy for war victims; creative place making and the rebirth of cities; research into economics, mental health, inequality and aging, among many; and whose leaders persuaded private funders of the value of artists and the arts.”

There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind. February 26, 2017

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Political miscellanea.

News hoaxes are starting to spread faster among liberals, in part because Trump’s reality is so outrageously terrible that nothing sounds fake anymore. Be careful to double-check.

From the night before the election: Anons recall their first impressions of Trump and Clinton.

Warning people “some politically motivated groups are spreading lies about this fact” makes people less susceptible to lies about the fact. (No word yet on how to make people less susceptible to the obvious counter-tactic, i.e. falsified warnings that the facts are politically motivated lies….)

Trump fires one of Ben Carson’s trusted aides for disagreeing with him. Ben Carson is stunned and bewildered that his people are not exempt from Trump’s vindictiveness. Reality check, you moron: NOBODY is exempt from Trump’s vindictiveness. He is not your friend. He is nobody’s friend.

The Onion’s Jimmy Carter: “Did you worry I might be cutting deals in back rooms with the peanut butter lobby? Or that I might be too busy at harvest time to focus on the economy or the Middle East?”

A partial list of good and worthwhile things the GOP is out to destroy. February 24, 2017

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A federal civilian hiring freeze ordered by President Donald Trump has forced at least two Army bases to indefinitely suspend some child care programs. Okay, louder for the folks in the back: Republicans do not support our troops. They pay lip service when it’s convenient and screw them over once it’s not. The party that gives a damn about the military is the Democrats.

“[The Obamacare removal of health-insurance lifetime limits] took effect September 23, 2010. Timmy was born September 29. On December 17, he surpassed $1 million worth of bills in the neonatal intensive care unit. He didn’t leave the NICU until he was 6 months old.” One of the many American children that Republicans don’t care about.

In El Paso, 11-year-old Rudy Smith lost most of the therapy services that helped him cope with cerebral palsy and a severe form of epilepsy, which plagues him with 50 to 100 seizures a day. His mother says she’s having trouble getting prescriptions filled, and the insurance company keeps sending her incorrect or faulty medical supplies.” A subset of the many children in Texas that Republicans don’t care about.

I thought I should try to stay on the NSC staff during the Trump Administration, in order to give the new president and his aides a more nuanced view of Islam, and of America’s Muslim citizens. I lasted eight days.”

One more way the Trump administration is killing jobs: he’s on track to devastate our tourism industry. “A drop of that magnitude, if continued, would reduce the value of foreign travel within the U.S. by billions of dollars. And the number of jobs supported by foreign tourists and their expenditures in the United States—and thus lost—would easily exceed hundreds of thousands of workers in hotels, restaurants, transportation, stores, tour operations, travel agencies, and the like.”

A case from 2011, with lessons for today: “Cash gets angry when people tell him that his Hispanic workforce was taking jobs away from Americans. Since the new law began two weeks ago only two American citizens have come by his farm asking for work.”

Thousands of photographs showing what America looked like before the EPA. (Hint: there’s a whole lot of smog.)

Good things. (Racists reforming, disability savings, free art, and more.) February 20, 2017

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Leaving Westboro Baptist: “When Brittany Murphy died, Phelps-Roper had seen the disparity between her reaction and that of the rest of the church as a sign that something was wrong with her. Now the contradiction of her mother’s glee and her own sadness made her wonder if something was wrong with the church.

Leaving Stormfront: “But the unstated truth was that Derek was becoming more and more confused about exactly what he believed. Sometimes he looked through posts on Stormfront, hoping to reaffirm his ideology, but now the message threads about Obama’s birth certificate or DNA tests for citizenship just seemed bizarre and conspiratorial. He stopped posting on Stormfront. He began inventing excuses to get out of his radio show, leaving his father alone on the air each morning to explain why Derek wouldn’t be calling in.”

“Justin Bainbridge is 27 and works two jobs, but he wasn’t allowed to start saving money for his future until a few months ago. Bainbridge has Down syndrome, and like other people with disabilities who receive government benefits, he can’t have more than $2,000 in savings. If he does, he would start to lose those much-needed benefits. But a new type of savings vehicle is giving Bainbridge, and others, a chance to save more cash.”

I moved my whole company to a five-hour workday where everyone works from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Over a year later, we’re sticking with it.”

“As of [February 7], all images of public-domain works in The Met collection are available under Creative Commons Zero (CC0). So whether you’re an artist or a designer, an educator or a student, a professional or a hobbyist, you now have more than 375,000 images of artworks from our collection to use, share, and remix—without restriction.”

We know the right thing to do; it’s just a matter of finding the will to do it February 13, 2017

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Good people devoted to and focused on a single good cause come to see — precisely because of that devotion — the connections and intersections of that cause and of other good and worthy causes. They recognize the truth of the holy scripture that says ‘We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.'”

“The CEO of a popular fast food chain said this week that he was “stunned” to see profits soar each time California passed minimum wage increases.” Your customers have more money, they buy more of your product! Shocking.

Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens. The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 per cent in 1998 to 5 per cent in 2016.” A lot of it would be easy to duplicate in the US (more afterschool programs!), although I don’t think “nationwide curfew on teenagers” would fly.

“My oldest sister is dead (2013), from colon cancer. No Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, no screening. My youngest sister lives despite ovarian cancer. Her Obamacare meant screening, surgery, treatment.

Leaked audio from Republicans who have no idea WTF to do after repealing the ACA. And are scared of the political consequences of the clusterf@#k.

No wonder Republicans are the only ones to complain about in-person voter fraud: they’re the only ones anybody can find committing it.

“Official FBI guidelines acknowledge that white supremacists and right-wing extremists have infiltrated U.S. law enforcement agencies.”

At least 13 Jewish Community Centers were evacuated [January 31], after the third wave of bomb threats this month was made against the religious centers. This latest spate of threats, which came in between 10 a.m. and noon, targeted JCCs in at least 11 states and is being investigated by the FBI. ”

Sharpie swastikas in the NYC subway, versus a car’s worth of people with Purell. There are lots of ways to fight Nazis besides punching.