Conservatives Attack Starbucks Holiday Coffee Cup “Gay Agenda”

Another year, another nutball controversy over a Starbucks holiday cup.

This season, Twitter is convinced that the cup features a same-sex couple holding hands. The illustration in question is part of this year’s “Give Good” theme, which lets customers color in their coffee cups.

Starbucks did not confirm or deny “the lesbianism of The Hands.” In a statement, the coffee company said, “Each year during the holidays we aim to bring our customers an experience that inspires the spirit of the season, and we will continue to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world.”

In past years, conservatives have criticized Starbucks for the “war on Christmas” and being too secular in its holiday designs. Many also denounced the new cup for its possible “gay agenda,” with some promoting the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks.

Bigoted, backwards and useless for anything but conservative cannon fodder. Please, meatheads, start a campaign for anyone whose mind is this corrupt to enlist in the US military. Encourage them to volunteer for Trump’s warzone-of-the-week. If we’re lucky their prejudice will overcome their natural-born cowardice and they can die for their 19th-Century stupidity.

As for me, even though I think my wife makes the best coffee on the planet, next time we’re in town I’ll have to stop and have a Starbucks Holiday Coffee. Just to stick my finger in the metaphorical eye of some bigot.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

Trump kisses backwards donors’ butts — tries to stop birth control

Few people were surprised…when the Trump administration issued a rule to make it easier for some religious employers to opt out of offering no-cost prescription birth control to their female employees under the Affordable Care Act.

But a separate regulation issued at the same time raised eyebrows. It creates a new exemption from the requirement that most employers offer contraceptive coverage. This one is for “non-religious organizations with sincerely held moral convictions inconsistent with providing coverage for some or all contraceptive services.”

So what’s the difference between religious beliefs and moral convictions?

The difference is that Trump and the GOP have a couple of serious donor organizations opposing a number of women’s rights accepted for decades – but, they haven’t managed to fill in the blanks for religious exemptions our cowardly government allows.

This is the substitute.

Ain’t likely to make it past the smell test in court. Just waste more time and money. But, this will assure rightwing moneyboys that Uncle Sugar’s favorite populist pimp is doing what he’s paid to do – outside the government payroll, that is.

No One Is Taking On Pot Legalization

❝ Why don’t more politicians attempt to make marijuana legalization a national issue?

Harry Enten over at FiveThirtyEight looked at the polling last week and wondered about it. And the numbers are impressive. As he reports, almost two-thirds of Americans backed legalization in one recent poll, and while Democrats are somewhat more likely to favor it, the gap between the parties is unusually small for a policy question. Enten suspects that a big reason no politician has taken it up as a national issue is that they just haven’t caught up with the rapidly moving shift in public opinion.

❝ That’s possible. But I can think of some other reasons.

RTFA to check out what Jonathan Bernstein thinks are the reasons.

Poisonally, I think chickenshit politicians have chickenshit reasons to rationalize away most progressive action. Followed closely by cowardly reasons they use to rationalize away most action that might jeopardize re-election in the slightest.

Americans Retiring Later, Dying Sooner, Sicker In-Between

❝ The U.S. retirement age is rising, as the government pushes it higher and workers stay in careers longer.

But lifespans aren’t necessarily extending to offer equal time on the beach. Data released last week suggest Americans’ health is declining and millions of middle-age workers face the prospect of shorter, and less active, retirements than their parents enjoyed.

❝ Here are the stats: The U.S. age-adjusted mortality rate—a measure of the number of deaths per year—rose 1.2 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the Society of Actuaries. That’s the first year-over-year increase since 2005, and only the second rise greater than 1 percent since 1980.

At the same time that Americans’ life expectancy is stalling, public policy and career tracks mean millions of U.S. workers are waiting longer to call it quits. The age at which people can claim their full Social Security benefits is gradually moving up, from 65 for those retiring in 2002 to 67 in 2027.

Almost one in three Americans age 65 to 69 is still working, along with almost one in five in their early 70s.

Mail me a penny postcard when you’re confident either of the TweedleDee and TweedleDumb political parties we’re allowed is going to do a damned thing about this. To make it better, that is.

Meanwhile, read the rest of the article. Then go find some independent organization that tries from the grassroots on up to change this crap situation for the better. Hint: it probably won’t be someone with the word “Party” in the last half of their name.

Who Would Pay to Hear Mike Pence? Not Many Republicans

❝ The Colorado Republican Party has slashed prices for Pence’s keynote address by 45 percent after failing to sell enough of the $275 tickets to the October 26 speech in Denver…

❝ The Party said…that the Vice President will still draw “our expected attendance of 400 supporters,” but spun the ticket price cut as a tip of the hat to low-level campaign workers.

❝ Colorado GOP officials maintain that Trump enjoys broad support in the state, but it is unclear if that’s the case. Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton beat the president 47 percent to 42 percent in the state in 2016. And Barack Obama crushed Mitt Romney in the state in 2012 in a 51 to 47 percent vote. The demographics of the state have been changing for decades; Hispanics now comprise 21.3 percent of population, up from 17 percent in 2000…

But, then, Republican statistics have depended for a long time on [1] declining voter turnout across the board to go along with their voter suppression efforts – and [2] Democratic Party unwillingness, inability to do a damned thing about [1].

America’s economy rocks — if you live in a blue county


Click into the article for largerLazaro Gamio/Axios

❝ Economic prosperity is concentrated in America’s elite zip codes, but economic stability outside of those communities is rapidly deteriorating.

❝ U.S. geographical economic inequality is growing, meaning your economic opportunity is more tied to your location than ever before. A large portion of the country is being left behind by today’s economy, according to a county-by-county report released this morning by the Economic Innovation Group, a non-profit research and advocacy organization. This was a major election theme that helped thrust Donald Trump to the White House…

Not that he has a clue or inclination about repairing any of this.

❝ The fastest growing western cities (such as Gilbert, Ariz., and Plano, Texas) and “tech hubs” (Seattle, San Francisco, Austin) dominate the list of the most prosperous cities in the country. Cities that were once industrial powerhouses in the Midwest and Northeast are now more likely to be on the distressed end of the spectrum, like Cleveland and Newark.

“Today’s jobs are going almost exclusively to people with education beyond high school, and those jobs are going to thriving communities,” said John Lettieri, co-founder of EIG. “It’s a self-reinforcing cycle.”

RTFA. Click through to the article – use the link under the map. Conclusions are wishy-washy. The sort of political analysis that illustrates American dedication to sophistry. But, hey, that’s how the Establishment got to limit the whole political process to two Tweedledee and Tweedledumb parties.

The 12 Zeros

❝ To better understand the politics and culture of an unfamiliar country, track the promises its politicians make. We learned this week that rising Japanese political star Yuriko Koike will not represent her party in elections on October 22, but her newly minted “Party of Hope” wants to win as many as possible of the 465 seats in Japan’s lower house of parliament. What is the party offering? Here are the “12 zeros.”

❝ 1. Zero nuclear power (Fukushima lives)
2. Zero corporate coverups (a problem in nearly every country)
3. Zero corporate political donations (many Americans are nodding)
4. Zero children waiting for places in day care (sounds progressive)
5. Zero “passive smoking” (is that “second-hand smoke” or some hipster thing we don’t know about?)
6. Zero packed commuter trains (yes, we’ve seen those photos)
7. Zero putting down of unwanted pets (a humane society)
8. Zero food loss (social justice meets efficiency)
9. Zero violation of labor laws (standing up for the salary-man… and woman)
10. Zero hay fever (wait…what?)
11. Zero disabled and elderly people unable to access transportation (Amen)
12. Zero power poles (an aesthetic thing or environmentalism?)

Keep in mind that Koike is Tokyo governor.

From the semi-weekly newsletter, SIGNAL, from the EurAsia Group. Yes, they can get too cute for their own good. Something I’ve responded to directly.

The most egregious point being #12 which is meaningful and useful. Unless you live somewhere where storms are only a bit windy and never contain much rain or snow. Buried cables have worked fine for decades and save lots of money and even more down time. As long as they are installed up to spec.

Puerto Rico would probably have all their power, etc., restored by now if they had buried cables.