Illinois Made New York And New Jersey Look Like Weedless Dorks

❝ Illinois just became the unofficial 11th state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use. But more important than that, it bent legal weed hopefuls New York and New Jersey over its knee and gave them a vicious spanking that they will not soon forget. Both Eastern states have been fighting to put cannabis legalization on the books since dinosaurs walked the Earth, but everyone involved with the process keeps showing up for work in clown shoes.

❝ For whatever reason, lawmakers in that part of the country are confused about how to establish a taxed and regulated pot market while also keeping the social equity aspect in mind. And we have got to hand it to them – they almost convinced the nation that passing such a comprehensive bill through legislative channels was like pulling a shark’s teeth while it gnaws on your leg…

But then Illinois swept in last week and approved what is considered the most progressive cannabis law in the nation. And it did it just hours before lawmakers called it quits for the summer…

❝ A report from Crain’s Chicago Business indicates that the Land of Lincoln will have one of the most lucrative cannabis markets in the United States. It is a cash cow that is expected to grow in upwards of 20 times larger than its medicinal sector, creating tens of thousands of new jobs and generating revenue to the tune of $1.6 billion annually.

Much of the same could have been readily available to New York and New Jersey, but pettiness and the inability to compromise ultimately sabotaged prosperity.

❝ Nice job, dorks!

More jobs NOT coming to North Carolina because of official bigotry

Deutsche Bank AG said it is freezing expansion plans at a North Carolina location in response to a state law that invalidates protections based on sexual orientation.

The German lender in September said it planned to add 250 jobs to the 900 existing positions at a software development center in Cary, just west of Raleigh. The bank is putting that expansion on hold following the state legislature’s decision last month to overturn protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents in some cities…

“We take our commitment to building inclusive work environments seriously,” co-Chief Executive Officer John Cryan said in the statement. “We’re proud of our operations and employees in Cary and regret that as a result of this legislation we are unwilling to include North Carolina in our U.S. expansion plans for now.”

PayPal…said last week it was scrapping plans to build an operations center in Charlotte in protest of the law. Executives of more than 100 companies, including Bloomberg LP’s Peter Grauer, also sent a letter to Governor Pat McCrory expressing opposition to the measure. Bloomberg LP is the owner of Bloomberg News.

The good old boys network for bigots and scumbags may spend lots of barroom time patting each on the back while they cry into their beer over changing times. Their friends and neighbors – sooner or later – are going to walk away from political fools who miss bigotry enough to try to stop the future with new laws charted to prevent brighter, better citizens from moving ahead.

Same as it ever was.

Nutball who says Earth is 6,000 years old is new gatekeeper for AZ senate education committee

Tea party stalwart Sylvia Allen, who first became a state senator in Arizona (and a national embarrassment) in 2008, has been made chairwoman of the Senate committee handling education legislation. The Phoenix New Times calls her a “professional fruitcake.”

Allen is known for a string of bizarre and racist remarks as well as an attachment to conspiracy theories. For example, she believes the Earth is just 6,000 years old, a view held by some fundamentalist Christians but rejected by scientists and many Bible scholars. She also believes “chemtrails” are poisoning us and that “Agenda 21” is a plot to surrender U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations…

Senate President Andy Biggs on Monday named Allen to lead a committee that acts as a gatekeeper for education-related legislation, such as Common Core and spending. Allen succeeds Sen. Kelli Ward, who resigned last week to run full-time in next year’s GOP primary against Sen. John. McCain.

❝”She understands what Arizona students and parents need in our education system,” Biggs said in a prepared statement. “She is a very experienced legislator and I know she will do a wonderful job…”

Which shows how backwards Arizona Republicans are.

During her senate career, Allen has pushed for uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, backed state funding of a militia run by the neo-Nazi J.T. Ready to guard the Arizona-Mexico border, opposed Medicaid expansion, suggested only half-jokingly that mandatory church attendance be imposed, encouraged an anti-semitic Holocaust denier to testify before the state senate, rejected mandating reduced carbon emissions and denied that humans are causing climate change. In 2011, she supported eliminating health-care coverage of 280,000 Arizonans, saying that people should do more to take care of their health and thus avoid having to see a doctor. “This isn’t the only time in our history when people had to choose between food and medicine,” Allen said.

It feels like every failed John Bircher who is now a retiree has decided to move to the Mississippi of the West to stay warm without having to pay for heat. Of course, they end up paying even more for air conditioning; but, that never lit up the dim bulbs that pass for their brains.

The article’s author got it right when they said in Arizona GOP stands for “Goobers on Parade”.

Indiana communities want LGBT civil rights after state supports bigotry

Indiana passed a revised Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week, but some are saying the “fix” is not enough.

Several communities plan to pass their own anti-discrimination ordinances, while others are calling for a RFRA repeal. Lawmakers rushed the changes through after a statewide and national backlash after Gov. Mike Pence signed the original bill. The bill that the governor signed last Thursday that clarified that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not allow businesses to withhold services from LGBT people. However, that only extends to communities that have an anti-discrimination ordinance in place.

On Monday, Rep. Ed DeLaney (R-Indianapolis) said in a statement, “In the wake of the statements from both proponents of the bill and the Governor himself, it is clear what the intent of the bill was. It was intended to be used to discriminate. When asked several times on Thursday, Speaker Bosma would not agree to hold a hearing to add sexual orientation and gender identity to a ‘protected class’ in Indiana.

Throughout this whole debate, the Republicans have stated either with their words or actions that members of the LGBT community are second-class citizens who do not deserve legal protection under the law. I see only one remedy that needs to be taken. First, we need to repeal the current law-then we must reform our civil rights law to add sexual orientation and gender identity. Finally, we need to rewrite the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to actually mirror that of the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Only then will we be able to send a message to those living in the state and those watching that Indiana is open to all.”

The City Council in New Albany will consider a resolution Monday calling for the law to be repealed. The mayor has called for more changes to the RFRA. He says elected officials have a duty to create a welcoming environment for everyone.

In Lafayette, the Family Equality Council is partnering with “Citizens for Civil Rights” and “Indiana Equality Action” to host a town hall meeting. They hope to discuss the impact of the RFRA on gay, lesbian and transgender families. The meeting starts at 6 pm at the Columbia ballroom in Lafayette.

In Muncie, the City Council is expected to vote Monday night on a new human rights ordinance. Mayor Dennis Tyler says the resolution will make the city’s stance against the RFRA very clear and that the city does not want to discourage anyone from living or working in Muncie.

Look at the history of gerrymandering in the United States and once you get past racial bigotry, religious cultural bigotry stands next in line in opposition to democratic progress. The same motivation makes its unfortunate presence known in distorted laws like Indiana’s RFRA.

Hawaii coppers fail at exemption allowing sex with prostitutes

Hawaii lawmakers in both chambers agree that legal permission for police to have sex with prostitutes should end.
House and senate members are still negotiating on the version of House Bill 1926 they will send to the governor. But they concur that the crime bill should revoke a peculiar exemption that permits police in Hawaii, in the course of their duties, to have sex with prostitutes.

The bill began in the house and was amended as it passed out of that chamber’s judicial committee. At the time, Honolulu police told lawmakers that vice-officers needed the exemption in law to prevent pimps and prostitutes from knowing the limits of police methods.

The Associated Press wrote about the successful police lobbying against removing the sex exemption after the bill passed the house. When the senate judiciary committee took up the bill, lawmakers revised it again to reflect the backlash against the exemption, with many expressing strong convictions that police should not have the legal ability to bed prostitutes.

Honolulu police, while assuring the public that their internal policies prevent such abuse, dropped their opposition to removing the exemption.

Nice try, guys. You realize you’ve probably set an example for Congress to try the same stunt.

In Oklahoma’s tornado alley, some better prepared than others

shelters save lives

The mayor of Moore, Oklahoma, a municipality twice devastated by tornados in the past 15 years, is fixated on garage doors, knowing they are a key to protecting the city from even more damage during this year’s tornado season.

Moore, in the heart of “Tornado Alley,” where twisters frequently hit, will be operating this year under new building codes, arguably some of the most stringent in the nation, to protect people and structures from deadly winds…

“Garage doors are the first to come off during a tornado. Once the garage door comes off, the roof comes off,” Mayor Glenn Lewis said in an interview last week…

In May 2013, twenty-four people were killed and 240 injured when a top-rated tornado devastated Moore, a city of about 55,000 south of Oklahoma City. Some 2,400 buildings were damaged or destroyed, including Plaza Towers Elementary School, where seven children were killed.

It was even worse in 1999 when one of the strongest tornadoes ever recorded, with wind speeds of 300 mph, struck Moore, killing 44 and leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

“The new building codes are great, but I wish they were approved sooner,” said Lewis, who was mayor when both tornadoes hit.

Moore, Oklahoma City and other cities began operating this year under building codes offering more protection, but inadequate structures and a dearth of shelters persist in large parts of the state.

One hold-up appears to be in the state legislature, where lawmakers have been bickering over funding tornado protection.

One Democratic lawmaker proposed using funds from the state’s franchise tax, a levy suspended in 2011, to pay for tornado and storm shelters for the majority of schools in the state without them. Republican lawmakers, who dominate the legislature, have balked at the proposal, saying they want to eliminate the tax altogether.

There’s the point of it all. Republicans, Tea Party Brown Shirts and Blue Dog Democrats care more about tax cuts and money in their wallets than the lives of school children.

I have nothing but contempt for corrupt human beings who value greed over need. They do not advance society. They care little or nothing for those who stand beside them on this planet. Self-centered, egregious, nothing counts more in their mean little lives than money and personal power.

Colorado Senate passes strict new gun control regulations

Colorado took a major step…toward enacting some of the toughest new gun measures that have been introduced since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut touched off a national debate about gun control.

After more than 12 hours of emotional and bitterly divided debate, the Democratic-controlled State Senate gave preliminary approval to a package of gun bills. At its heart are measures that would require universal background checks for private gun sales and limit ammunition magazines to 15 rounds.

Other measures would create a fee for background checks; require those convicted of domestic abuse to surrender their firearms; and require residents applying for permits to carry concealed weapons to take in-person training classes, outlawing the handful of online-only courses now offered in the state.

If the bills win final approval…they would be Colorado’s first new firearms restrictions in more than a decade. Their passage in a state with a deep history and culture of hunting, sport shooting and gun ownership would also represent a significant victory for gun control advocates.

To Democrats, who now control both chambers of the Statehouse as well as the governor’s office, the measures are moderate solutions intended to stem a tide of gun violence and mass shootings, like the massacres at Columbine High School in 1999 and at an Aurora movie theater in July. Some Democrats spoke of being gun owners and hunters and said the new restrictions would not ban weapons or amount to the “gun grab” opponents warn of.

Unlike lawmakers in New York, Democrats here did not pursue a ban on assault-style rifles. And on Friday, they withdrew two bills that faced wavering support from fellow Democrats and unified opposition from Republicans. Those would have banned concealed weapons from college campuses and would have made some gun makers and dealers liable for deaths and injuries involving their firearms.

Colorado holds a leading position in Western politics. Local and state elections, congressional and presidential elections move to the Left and Right ahead of generalized sentiments in the region. The religious right – intolerant of most politics this side of the 19th Century – are as strong in Colorado as in Arizona but state legislators aren’t always as craven. More willing to act independently of both backwards locals and floundering national politicians in Washington.

For Texas Schools, doing without is the decision Republican politicians made for everyone

Rick Perry worries more about helping meatpackers crank out Pink Slime – than schools

In Texas, this has been the year of doing without. Texas lawmakers cut public education financing by roughly $5.4 billion to balance the state’s two-year budget during the last legislative session, with the cuts taking effect this school year and next.

The budget reductions that districts large and small have had to make have transformed school life in a host of ways — increasing class sizes, reducing services and supplies and thinning the ranks of teachers, custodians, librarians and others, school administrators said.

Like chief executives of struggling corporations, superintendents have been cutting back on everything from paper to nurses and have had to become increasingly creative about generating revenue. They are selling advertising space on the sides of buses and on district Web sites, scaling back summer school, charging parents if their children take part in athletics or cheerleading and adding periods in the school day so fewer teachers can accommodate more students…

“It’s almost like slow death,” said the superintendent, Douglas Killian, during a visit to Veterans’ Hill, where the classrooms are now used by adults as part of a higher education center run by Temple College and Texas State Technical College. “We’re being picked apart. It’s made a tremendous morale issue in the district…”

Several lawmakers in the Republican-controlled Legislature have played down the impact of the $5.4 billion in cuts on schools statewide…Gov. Rick Perry said he saw no need for a special legislative session to restore some of the education funding that was eliminated last year and said the schools were receiving an adequate amount of money…

We’re being picked apart,” said Douglas Killian, the superintendent at Hutto, which eliminated 68 positions.

But many public school advocates, parents and administrators said the reductions that districts had made — and were considering for the next school year — had reached an unprecedented level, even as enrollment and testing requirements have increased. Hundreds of districts have sued the state in four lawsuits, saying that the school finance system fails to adequately and equitably pay for public education in Texas…

At Hutto High School, Eric Soto, a world history teacher who is also the head softball coach and assistant volleyball coach, worries about the bottom line about as much as he worries about his classes and his games. He makes fewer photocopies, to save printing costs. He helped sell advertising space along the fence on the softball field, to bring in extra cash for the team. When teaching, he turns on only one of the room’s two light switches, to save on electricity.

Meanwhile, Big Oil enjoys the benefits of a Republican-controlled legislature. 30 years ago taxes from oil and gas accounted for 24% of the tax revenues for the state of Texas. Now? 6.6%. Rick Perry and his bubbas take care of the corporations that bankroll their political careers.

RTFA. Beaucoup tales, anecdotes of what struggling school systems do to get by because the state legislature figures austerity requires the maximum number of schoolkids suffer.

At a time when the United States is capping off a 30 year decline in economic position; when the real wages of America’s workers extend to the 3rd and 4th decades of less and less to live on — the response from conservative politicians continues to be the imposition of austerity upon every chance of increasing a working family’s worth. Look for a job with skills no one needs anymore. Pay for your home at the same rate determined when it was worth twice as much.

Structural unemployment looks to be rising to a 7% minimum. The politicians and paymasters inside the Beltway and Congress may or may not think folks need a better education to get a competitive job – but, they surely don’t care.

Transgender civil servant wins her workplace discrimination claim

Transgender groups are applauding a court ruling in favor of a Georgia woman who sued after claiming she was fired from her state position because of a sex change.

A federal appeals court in Atlanta concluded transgender workers are protected under the Constitution. Vandiver Elizabeth Glenn was a legislative editor in the Georgia General Assembly

“The question here is whether discriminating against someone on the basis of his or her gender non-conformity constitutes sex-based discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause,” said the three-judge panel. “We hold that it does…”

The decision is so bloody simple you have to wonder what sort of bigot is asking the question?

Glenn — who was once known as Glenn Morrision — alleged she was told she was let go because her 2005 decision to transition from male to female would be viewed as “immoral” by state lawmakers.

Her boss also objected to Glenn showing up at an office Halloween party dressed as a woman, and asked Glenn to leave.

…The judge, when ruling for Glenn, had said she could return to work, but delayed that until the appeals court ruled. Monday’s decision means she could be back on the job within days.

State attorneys had argued no discrimination laws were broken since protections extended to certain classes of individuals did not include transgender employees. The appeals panel said the reasons cited by the state in its defense were not acceptable.

“An individual cannot be punished because of his or her perceived gender non-conformity,” said the ruling. “Because these protections are afforded to everyone, they cannot be denied to a transgender individual.”

I’m confounded by the lengths politicians will go to construct rationales, excuses, lies to support whatever bigotry advances their cause. It’s popular nowadays for reactionaries to accuse insurgent politics of being the product of some devilish “agenda” – most especially when the question is simply one of civil rights, civil liberties within the definitions afforded by our constitution.

They can’t even stop lying while trying to define their hypocrisy.

Attempt to open New York State Senate Falters

A day in the life of corrupt political power struggles in the NY State Legislature. It has little to do with democracy. Nothing to do with representing the electorate.

Republicans used a mysterious set of keys to force their way into the Senate chamber for the first time since their leadership coup on Monday. Protesters chanted “Senate not for sale” and banged on the chamber’s windows while Republicans tried to convene. And the Republicans’ vow to resume the session fizzled after one of the two dissident Democrats they were depending on for a quorum, Hiram Monserrate of Queens, walked out of the chamber shortly after the proceedings began…

“The dysfunction and chaos in the Senate has wasted an entire week of the people’s business,” a clearly irritated Gov. David A. Paterson said in a statement released Thursday. He has been largely relegated to the sidelines during the dispute.

By day’s end, it was clear that the balance of power in the state’s upper house — and the very gears of state government — continued to rest in the hands of Mr. Monserrate, who was indicted in March on charges of slashing his female companion with a broken glass.

As he was leaving the Senate chamber, a Republican staff member dashed after him, pleading, “Senator, we need you back in there.” But Mr. Monserrate said he was committed to recruiting more Democrats to join the coalition and would be holding meetings all day in hopes of doing so, even as those Democrats were simultaneously trying to woo him back to their side.

“This chamber must not remain divided,” he said. “You can’t have coalition government with 2 Democrats and 30 Republicans.”

There were many other developments throughout the day.

Tales of the most reactionary trying to form a coalition with the ineffectual are nothing strange to folks out here in the Southwest. A few years back New Mexicans helped to house and hide Democrats who had to flee Texas under threat of arrest from the Republikan majority in their legislature. If you could call it that.

Meanwhile, the debacle in New York State continues. Tune in next week to see who’s appointed king.