Friday, November 14, 2014

Why do people idolize guns? Because they're afraid.

There are at least a few people who are extremely unhappy about the passage of Initiative 594 in Washington state, which closes the so-called "background check loophole" and requires all gun transfers to go through a licensed firearm dealer. According to this article:
In Washington State last week, voters gave a 60 percent majority to Initiative 594 — an initiative that closes the gun show loophole. It requires that all gun transfers — with a few exceptions — must go through a licensed firearms dealer.

It takes effect next month. And right after it does, this man plans to go to the state capitol, and defy it.

"We're going to pass guns. We're going to encourage people to freely buy and sell guns. We're going to violate I-594 in every possible way because it's void and we're declaring it publicly that I-594 will not be tolerated," says [name redacted because I don't want him finding this post on a search engine and inviting his supporters over here to hijack the comments], a professional photographer and gun owner who is organizing the "I Will Not Comply Rally."
You hear that, liberals? Will NOT be tolerated! Because…guns! And freedom! And…'murica!

The Facebook page for the group started by this guy describes gun possession as a "birthright" — as in, endowed by God himself.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Progressivism isn't dead. It just needs its groove back.

A bit more soul food for those still forlorn over last week's midterm results, from Seattle, Washington:
…Residents there voted to tax themselves to fund a $58 million pilot program providing city-subsidized high-quality childcare to low-income families. What's more, the measure won with 67 percent of the vote. And the main dispute wasn't over whether or not to invest in universal preschool — but which proposal to choose…

…The property tax, as Seattle Mayor Ed Murray puts it, will cost homeowners each month less than the cost of a latté.
As the gap between the very rich and very poor widens into a yawning chasm, this is the sort of action we need to be taking all across the United States. And it can happen. Progressive policies like these don't need to be confined to left-leaning metropolitan centers. As I've indicated already, a broad range of Americans already favor such reforms. They simply need a political party willing to fight for them without reluctance or fear of monied opponents.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Four comments about last week's disastrous election

Next year's Senate. Ugh.
Next year's Senate. Ugh.
I'm not sure it's possible to overstate how terrible the 2014 midterm elections turned out to be — and not mainly for Democrats, since there's no question they at least partially did it to themselves. The biggest losers — however cliche this sounds, I don't care — were the American people. What an unmitigated disaster. In hindsight, my "best case scenarios" post looks like a sad joke.

Here are my four biggest takeaways. They aren't pretty. (And damn, this turned out to be long, but whatever. Lots to say, unfortunately.)

Friday, October 31, 2014

The best case scenario for Tuesday

It looks like this, where Democrats hold the Senate by a single seat, plus one independent:
The best case scenario for Tuesday
Map courtesy of 270towin.com.
This is exceedingly unlikely to happen, but it's also not impossible. It relies on the following outcomes:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why politics and voting matter so much to me

Mississippi state flag
Mississippi state flag
Some people might get the sense that I care too much or get too riled up about politics. I understand that. I talk to a lot of people who say they vote regularly, but they don't give it a whole great deal of thought, and they certainly don't get angry about it. Sometimes, they might even skip it if they get too busy. (I'm never that busy.)

My best attempt to explain my political passions can be summed up by this article, which talks about how the state of Mississippi is the worst at…well, just about everything imaginable.

As the author points out, Mississippi's horrendous statistics on obesity, heart disease, diabetes, mortality rates, and poverty make it a state that desperately, desperately needs the provisions of the Affordable Care Act — just as a start. (This says nothing at all about the rest of the social safety net, which the author describes as "threadbare" in Mississippi.)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Voter suppression well underway ahead of next week's elections

Georgia Republicans will stop at nothing to  prevent their state from turning this color.
Georgia Republicans will stop at nothing to
prevent their state from turning this color.
Remember what I said a couple months ago in my post about Republican voter suppression efforts? This is what I said:
The main point [of these efforts] isn't outright voter disenfranchisement so much as it is voter dissuasion. The authors of voting restriction laws know full well that news of these provisions will discourage a lot of constituents from even bothering to try to cast a ballot — particularly those who are most likely to be hindered.
Of course, all of that is true. But what's happening in Georgia right now is even worse. According to Think Progress, an admittedly partisan, agenda-driven organization:
Earlier this year, organizers fanned out across nearly every one of Georgia's 159 counties and registered nearly 90 thousand people who have never voted in their lives, most of them people of color, many of them under 25 years old. But when the groups checked back in late August, comparing their registration database to the state's public one, they noticed about 50,000 of the registrations had vanished, nearly all of them belonging to people of color in the Democratic-leaning regions around Atlanta, Savannah and Columbus.
Either Think Progress is just making shit up in the interest of its agenda — and boy, would this ever be a hell of a story if that's what was happening — or the highest-ranking government officials of the state of Georgia really are engaging in full-on voter disenfranchisement ahead of a U.S. Senate race there that the Democrats could very possibly win.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Thoughts on the 2014 midterm elections

Thoughts on the 2014 midterm elections
Here's how November 4 could turn out for the U.S. Senate if the polls turn out to be correct — and they may not be,
since polling this year has really sucked. See below for my comments on the states numbered on the map.
Damn, it's been a long time since I last posted on this blog. That's what happens when you're in your second year of graduate school, I guess. And with the way the electoral map looks for the U.S. Senate at this point, it's quite possibly a task I've been unconsciously avoiding.

But I need to do it, if only for cathartic purposes. So here goes. These are the five states most likely to decide control of the Senate, along with my commentary on each.