Back to the Republican Dark Ages

That 2/3s of Americans oppose reactionary anti-women decisions like this … means nothing to the Trump supreme court or the backwards beancounters in the Republican Party. Today marks our fascist-minded conservatives overturning Roe v. Wade.

The time for fightback has arrived – down to the most basic grassroots level. It takes politics of the greatest extremes to poke this sleeping bear of a nation into motion. Hopefully, Democrats, unaffiliated Independent voters will move beyond trivialized norms and throw Republican bigots out of elective office, kick our meager 2-party tapdance politics into serious action.

Government Hits Reset on Student Loan Defaults

About a third of federal student loan borrowers have experienced default—typically defined as having gone at least 270 days without payment—at some point over the past two decades, according to a survey done for The Pew Charitable Trusts. And among this group of borrowers, nearly two-thirds defaulted multiple times.

The survey, conducted in 2021, focused on borrowers who took out their first federal undergraduate student loans between 1998 and 2018. But the finding on the prevalence of redefault takes on new relevance now as the Department of Education unveils plans to give borrowers a “fresh start” in repayment.

Under the initiative announced in early April, borrowers with defaulted federal loans will resume repayment at the end of the ongoing pandemic-related pause—which began in March 2020—with their loans in good standing. The new policy will provide borrowers a critical reprieve from the potentially severe penalties that can be imposed on them while in default. Still, the survey findings about the frequency of redefault indicate that a clean slate may be no guarantee that struggling borrowers will be able to keep their loans current in the long run.

Borrowers who receive a fresh start could still be vulnerable to serious repayment problems without other major changes to the current system because the challenges that borrowers cited as the cause of their initial default may persist after they get their loans back in good standing…

Same as it ever was. The reasons for original default, often repeating.

Time to get federal legalization for marijuana is long overdue

Eight in ten Americans agree: It’s time to end the federal criminalization of marijuana.

Keeping marijuana illegal nationwide creates an incredible level of unequal enforcement. So while cannabis remains fully criminalized in just three states, an American is put into handcuffs for a marijuana offense every 90 seconds anyway.

In the last two decades, 15.7 million people have been arrested for nonviolent marijuana offenses, and 40,000 prisoners are sitting behind bars right now for cannabis crimes. Many are even incarcerated in states like California and Colorado where the crime for which they were convicted is actually legal statewide.

The prohibition of marijuana disproportionately affects people of color, even though Americans of all races use marijuana at equal rates.

Black Americans are nearly four times as likely to be arrested as white people for marijuana. And when people of color are arrested, their sentences are worse.

Black men receive 13.1% longer sentences than white men, and Latinos are 6.5 times more likely to receive a federal sentence than non-Hispanic whites…

We’re wasting $47 billion each year on the war on drugs, much of which is spent on enforcing an outdated, draconian set of Federal marijuana laws. Let’s put an end to this inconsistent, widely unpopular unequal enforcement.

Robert Reich
Inequality Media Civic Action

Excerpt from mail from Inequality Media Civic Action

Will the Hearings about the January 6th Insurrection Attempt Change Anyone’s Mind?

The 1973 Watergate hearings changed popular opinion after Richard Nixon’s landslide win. Here’s what is — and isn’t — different today.
by Stephen Engelberg

…The Watergate hearings changed the nation’s perception of President Richard Nixon, laying the groundwork for his impeachment.

The hearings, and the role played by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in exposing the Nixon administration’s corruption, inspired a generation of young people to become investigative journalists. I was one of them…

Many commentators have argued that given the current fractured political and media culture, Nixon would not have left office had the crimes of 1972 and 1973 taken place today; he could have been confident that 34 senators of his own party would stand by him, regardless of the evidence.

I’m not so sure. It’s certainly true that the major television networks broadcast gavel-to-gavel coverage on what amounted to nearly all channels available in that pre-cable period of our nation’s history. It would be decades before the creation of a network that would deliver an alternate reality in which an event like the Jan. 6 hearings could go mostly uncovered.

RTFA. Draw your own conclusions. That ticking clock will catch up with history and these hearings…sooner or later. And we’ll all learn who has it right.

Texas politicians turned women’s rights back to the 19th Century

Illustration by Anna Parini

Last summer, shortly after a date to Six Flags Over Texas, a thirteen-year-old girl in Dallas was falling in love for the first time. Her father could see it in the pencil drawings she made before bed. Instead of the usual, precise studies of koi fish and wildflowers, she’d sketched herself holding the hand of a boy in a Yankees cap, and enclosed the image in a pink-and-red heart. In the fall, the girl’s father permitted her to meet the boy, a tenth grader, after school one day a week. This spring, when he learned that his daughter was pregnant, he concluded that one day a week had been too many.

Within a day, his daughter, whom I’ll call Laura, came around to the idea that getting an abortion, soon, might be the best option…

One in four girls and women in the United States will, at some point in her life, seek an abortion. Yet, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, which, in 1973, established a woman’s constitutional right to the procedure, the long journeys to oversubscribed clinics that have become a fact of life in Texas will almost certainly become the norm throughout much of the country. Post-Roe, legal authority will devolve to the states, thirteen of which have in place “trigger laws” that would ban all, or nearly all, abortions. Ultimately…twenty-six states are likely to outlaw the procedure. Some pregnant people in the U.S. who will be stripped of the right to legal abortion will go on to have illegal procedures. Others will be forced into motherhood…

And millions of families will find themselves grappling with the same calculations that Laura’s family was encountering this spring: How far are we able to go, financially and emotionally, to terminate a pregnancy? And, when it’s all done and paid for, how much farther down the socioeconomic ladder will we be?

Forcing women and families to make these choices because a shit-for-brains cluster of politicians have the power to impose their will is archaic and historically criminal. That these actions are legal is only further commentary on the backwardness of so-called States Rights. Inevitably enacting laws whose primary function is to take away rights guaranteed in states better educated, more advanced politically. Laws whose roots and reason exist again and again in attempts to drag people back into servitude based on gender and other equally stupid reasons.

The day we nuked Mississippi

Horace Burge, 2 miles from Ground Zero, came home to more damage than expected

The Salmon test on Oct. 22, 1964 and the Sterling test on Dec. 3, 1966, were conducted to help determine whether and how nuclear test yields could be disguised through “decoupling” and how well such blasts could be detected.

After nine years of negotiations, the United States, the Soviet Union, and other countries signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963…The treaty did not address underground testing, because of disagreements and uncertainty over how to verify that nations were not testing weapons underground.

In most cases, seismographs could detect underground nuclear tests. The United States wanted to know more about underground testing and how it could be detected and designed Project Dribble, which included the two Mississippi detonations, to investigate the possibility that cheating nations could hide their underground tests in some way…

The plan called for two detonations. The first, code-named Project Salmon, would be an explosion 2,700 feet down in solid salt.

The second detonation, Project Sterling, would use a smaller bomb in the cavity left behind by the first blast. Scientists hypothesized that the shockwaves of the second detonation would be muffled by the cavity, effectively concealing it from seismographic detection…

The nuclear test was scheduled for September 22, 1964, but the wind direction was not right until October 22. On that date, about 400 residents were evacuated from the area and were paid $10 per adult and $5 per child for their inconvenience…

At the test site, creeks ran black with silt-laden water, and by seven days after the blast, more than 400 nearby residents had filed damage claims with the government, reporting that their homes had been damaged or that their water wells had gone dry…

Within days, the United States government began reimbursing local residents for the damage done to their homes.

Think the silly buggers in Congress could figure out how to react this quickly, nowadays. Republicans would have to get permission from FOX Noise, first.

RTFA for more details … and results.