These cotton t-shirts cost up to $5.5 million. They do come with a bonus.

” For its first residential development, the Italian clothing giant Diesel has come up with a marketing strategy that stays true to its fashionista roots.

” The company has unveiled a new series of 143 T-shirts priced from $370,000 to $5.5 million dollars. The shirts are made out of ordinary white cotton, not molten gold, and are not adorned with diamonds or jewels of any kind.

Instead, each T-shirt bears the floor plan of a unit at the Diesel Wynwood Condominium…Buy the T-shirt, get the corresponding condo.

Wonder how long the line was when they started selling these, last week?

Politics of the War on Drugs Still Targets People of Color

❝ THE HUGE FAILURE we know as the “war on drugs” is back in full force under the Trump administration, thanks in no small part to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s retrograde tough-on-crime approach to drugs. It’s not hard to understand why someone like Sessions, with a history of racism, would love the war on drugs: In reality, it was always a war on a very particular set of people — and you can probably guess who those people are. And yet despite Sessions’s best efforts, there’s been a lot of progress on legalizing marijuana; opinions are changing and, in a lot of places, so are laws.

❝ At the intersection of these pushes to legalize weed and the so-called war on drugs, there are a bevy of major scandals unfolding, all of which are ravaging communities of color. And here’s the thing about these scandals: They can’t simply be blamed on President Donald Trump and his team. Instead, they’re deeply rooted in a bipartisan type of anti-blackness…

❝ In 2016, more people were arrested for simple marijuana possession in the United States than all violent crimes combined. More than one person is arrested every minute for marijuana possession in this country. An astounding 574,641 people were arrested for simple marijuana possession in the U.S. in 2016 — that’s 89 percent of all marijuana-related arrests. These aren’t dealers, distributors, or kingpins. They are just everyday people with a little bit of weed.

The continuing arrests are part of a long pattern. From 2000 to 2010, an astounding 7,216,000 arrests were made in the U.S. for simple marijuana possession. How many lives were ruined as a result? How many people lost their jobs? Their right to vote? How many of those people lost their college financial aid? How many were jailed or sent to prison? How many of those people were moms or dads that were ripped away from their families?

Cops pick on easy targets, folks who are obviously enemies of the status quo – especially when in America, racism is the status quo. Political scumbags like Sessions and Trump know they needn’t direct coppers to follow racist standards. The practices are still guaranteed. RTFA.

That big white church on the Hill

❝ The share of U.S. adults who describe themselves as Christians has been declining for decades, but the U.S. Congress is about as Christian today as it was in the early 1960s, according to a new analysis by Pew Research Center. Indeed, among members of the new, 115th Congress, 91% describe themselves as Christians. This is nearly the same percentage as in the 87th Congress (1961 to 1962, the earliest years for which comparable data are available), when 95% of members were Christian.

❝ Among the 293 Republicans elected to serve in the new, 115th Congress, all but two identify as Christians; there are two Jewish Republicans – Lee Zeldin of New York and David Kustoff of Tennessee – who both serve in the House. Democrats in Congress also are overwhelmingly Christian (80%), but there is more religious diversity on this side of the aisle. The 242 Democrats in Congress include 28 Jews, three Buddhists, three Hindus, two Muslims and one Unitarian Universalist – as well as the only member of Congress to describe herself as religiously unaffiliated, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. In addition, all 10 members of Congress who decline to state their religious affiliation are Democrats…

❝ The group that is most notably underrepresented is the religiously unaffiliated. This group – also known as religious “nones” – now accounts for 23% of the general public but just 0.2% of Congress…

❝ As with Republicans in the general public, Republican members of Congress are overwhelmingly Christian (99%). Among U.S. adults who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, 82% are Christian…

There are fewer Christian Democrats than Republicans, both among U.S. adults overall (63% of those who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party are Christian) and in Congress, where eight-in-ten Democrats identify as Christians…

❝ Within Christianity, however, Congress has seen a major shift as the share of Protestants has declined, a trend mirrored in the overall decline of the U.S. Protestant population. Protestants made up fully three-quarters of the 87th Congress, compared with 56% of the current Congress. Meanwhile, Catholics, who made up 19% of the 87th Congress, now make up 31% of the body.

Like the people who voted for them, I imagine most members of Congress are probably driving today’s version of their father’s Oldsmobile, as well. Cultural lag really is a significant feature of American electoral politics.

Even more unfortunate, I can’t help but feel that our Congress-critters think of Americans as all belonging to “their” church.

The Republican myth about white voters

…In politics, for many Republicans the most unassailable truth is that winning the presidency is easy if only…and here everyone finishes the sentence with their pet theory of electoral politics.

That there is so much conviction that it might be easy for Republicans to win a national election is an odd one given history. Over the last six presidential elections, Democrats have won 16 states every time for a total of 242 electoral votes out of the 270 needed to win. In those same six elections, Republican presidential candidates carried 13 states for 103 electoral votes…

But still the myth survives that there are these masses of untapped white voters just waiting for the right candidate…The simple truth is that there simply aren’t enough white voters in the America of 2016 to win a national election without also getting a substantial share of the non-white vote. Romney won 17 percent of the non-white vote. Depending on white voter turnout, a Republican needs between 25 percent and 35 percent of the non-white vote to win…

The Trump campaign talks about being able to reach out to Hispanics and African Americans but it’s not an overstatement to say he would be the most unpopular candidate with either group to ever lead a national ticket. Only 12 percent of Hispanics have a favorable view of Trump with 77 percent unfavorable. Even among Hispanic Republicans, he has a 60 percent unfavorable ranking. Among African Americans, 86 percent have an unfavorable view of Trump…

We can go on. But of course none of this will dissuade the Trump believers who will point to his dismantling of the Republican field as proof that he is a new force in politics and to use that popular phrase I loathe, “There are no rules.” It’s a legitimate point and one impossible to argue as there is no alternative universe in which there was an alternative election in which the Republican candidates ran better campaigns against Trump.

It’s true that voter registration and turnout is up in the Republican primaries and I don’t see any reason not to credit Trump with those increases. We’ve seen this before with little impact on the general election but more voters and more voter enthusiasm are positive…

But let’s not kid ourselves. Even if John Kasich or Ted Cruz, the remaining two candidates, were to emerge, the advantage is still very much with the Democrats. And until the party grows its appeal with non-white voters, it’s going to take an inside straight to win the White House.

Stuart Stevens is an American travel writer and political consultant…In 2013, he became a founding partner in Strategic Partners & Media, the consulting firm with the best record in statewide races. He served as a top strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

He helped elect more governors and US Senators than any other current Republican media consultant.

Not exactly a left-wing advocate.

Supreme Court to weigh-in on “one person one vote”

The Supreme Court on has agreed to hear a case that will answer a long-contested question about a bedrock principle of the American political system: the meaning of “one person one vote.”

The court’s ruling, expected in 2016, could be immensely consequential. Should the court agree with the two Texas voters who brought the case, its ruling would shift political power from cities to rural areas, a move that would benefit Republicans.

The court has never resolved whether voting districts should have the same number of people, or the same number of eligible voters. Counting all people amplifies the voting power of places with large numbers of residents who cannot vote legally, including immigrants who are here legally but are not citizens; illegal immigrants; children; and prisoners. Those places tend to be urban and to vote Democratic.

A ruling that districts must be based on equal numbers of voters would move political power away from cities, with their many immigrants and children, and toward older and more homogeneous rural areas…

The Supreme Court over the past nearly 25 years has turned away at least three similar challenges, and many election law experts expressed surprise that the justices agreed to hear this one. But since Chief Justice John G. Roberts has led the Supreme Court, it has been active in other voting rights cases…

The case, a challenge to voting districts for the Texas Senate, was brought by two voters, Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger. They are represented by the Project on Fair Representation, the small conservative advocacy group that successfully mounted the earlier challenge to the Voting Rights Act. It is also behind a pending challenge to affirmative action in admissions at the University of Texas at Austin…

…Several judges have acknowledged that the Supreme Court’s decisions provide support for both approaches. The federal appeals court in New Orleans said the issue “presents a close question,” partly because the Supreme Court had been “somewhat evasive in regard to which population must be equalized.”

My view of the case, SCOTUS and what passes for the Republican Party nowadays is a tad more simplistic than all the arguments in the article. Today’s conservatives only want well-off, older, white men to vote.

Yes, that’s over-simplified. How about “they want the kind of results guaranteed if only well-off, older, white men can vote” but some of the rest of y’all are OK – if you can be trusted to agree?

I don’t base my analysis on anything ideological. Just look at who’s in charge of the Republican Party, the range of representation among Congressional Republicans, who they have populating political primaries.

Republicans now control the cemetery vote

image

It turns out that one of the Grand Old Party’s biggest—and least discussed—challenges going into 2016 is lying in plain sight, written right into the party’s own nickname. The Republican Party voter is old—and getting older, and as the adage goes, there are two certainties in life: Death and taxes. Right now, both are enemies of the GOP and they might want to worry more about the former than the latter.

There’s been much written about how millennials are becoming a reliable voting bloc for Democrats, but there’s been much less attention paid to one of the biggest get-out-the-vote challenges for the Republican Party heading into the next presidential election: Hundreds of thousands of their traditional core supporters won’t be able to turn out to vote at all.

The party’s core is dying off by the day.

Since the average Republican is significantly older than the average Democrat, far more Republicans than Democrats have died since the 2012 elections. To make matters worse, the GOP is attracting fewer first-time voters. Unless the party is able to make inroads with new voters, or discover a fountain of youth, the GOP’s slow demographic slide will continue election to election. Actuarial tables make that part clear, but just how much of a problem for the GOP is this?…

By combining presidential election exit polls with mortality rates per age group from the U.S. Census Bureau, I calculated that, of the 61 million who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, about 2.75 million will be dead by the 2016 election. President Barack Obama’s voters, of course, will have died too—about 2.3 million of the 66 million who voted for the president won’t make it to 2016 either. That leaves a big gap in between, a difference of roughly 453,000 in favor of the Democrats…

“I’ve never seen anyone doing any studies on how many dead people can’t vote,” laughs William Frey, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who specializes in demographic studies. “I’ve seen studies on how many dead people do vote. The old Daley Administration in Chicago was very good at that.”

RTFA for details and especially variables critical to both of the two parties if anyone is to take advantage of demographics.

One thing is certain. Dead people don’t vote, at least not as much as they did in Chicago in 1960. Core Republican voters not only oppose change, they fear progress. Core Democrats not only support change broadly, they welcome progress and equal opportunity.

Republicans hope for a narrow discussion of anything but the foolishness that actually guides their decision-making.

Thanks to my favorite recovering Republican

Asian-Americans – too smart for their own good?

keanu

At the end of this month, high school seniors will submit their college applications and begin waiting to hear where they will spend the next four years of their lives. More than they might realize, the outcome will depend on race. If you are Asian, your chances of getting into the most selective colleges and universities will almost certainly be lower than if you are white…

In a 2009 study of more than 9,000 students who applied to selective universities, the sociologists Thomas J. Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford found that white students were three times more likely to be admitted than Asians with the same academic record.

Sound familiar? In the 1920s, as high-achieving Jews began to compete with WASP prep schoolers, Ivy League schools started asking about family background and sought vague qualities like “character,” “vigor,” “manliness” and “leadership” to cap Jewish enrollment. These unofficial Jewish quotas weren’t lifted until the early 1960s, as the sociologist Jerome Karabel found in his 2005 history of admissions practices at Harvard, Yale and Princeton…

In the 1920s, people asked: will Harvard still be Harvard with so many Jews? Today we ask: will Harvard still be Harvard with so many Asians? Yale’s student population is 58 percent white and 18 percent Asian. Would it be such a calamity if those numbers were reversed..?

Some educators, parents and students worry that if admissions are based purely on academic merit, selective universities will be dominated by whites and Asians and admit few blacks and Latinos, as a result of socioeconomic factors and an enduring test-score gap. We still need affirmative action for underrepresented groups, including blacks, Latinos, American Indians and Southeast Asian Americans and low-income students of all backgrounds.

But for white and Asian middle- and upper-income kids, the playing field should be equal. It is noteworthy that many high-achieving kids at selective public magnet schools are children of working-class immigrants, not well-educated professionals. Surnames like Kim, Singh and Wong should not trigger special scrutiny…

The way we treat these children will influence the America we become. If our most renowned schools set implicit quotas for high-achieving Asian-Americans, we are sending a message to all students that hard work and good grades may be a fool’s errand.

Folks who don’t comprehend the depth and intricacy of bigotry in the whole of our society aren’t any more likely to get the sophistication of this illness in the corner of our culture best equipped to offer reasonable-sounding excuses.

I won’t even start to offer a detailed analysis of the history of justice in the West that allows for affirmative action as an attempt at compensation for past wrongs.

Carrying forward the same polite system of discrimination from yesterday – I remember the billboards advertising hotels in the Catskills when some posted the tidy word “Restricted” down in one corner – doesn’t make the practice any less criminal, anti-social or damaging to the fabric and strength of our nation.

Ralph Reed hopes a Romney victory will bring him the power his corrupt ways cost him under Bush


Reed – 2nd from left – the only creep in the front row who skipped prison

Ralph Reed is clearly relishing his revival.

Just six years ago, the man who turned the Christian Coalition into such a powerful political force that he was called “God’s right-hand man” was all but written off, tarnished by his ties to the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, then trounced in his campaign to become Georgia’s lieutenant governor.

But after several years in political purgatory, Mr. Reed has found his way back.

Courtesy of the Party-formerly-known-as-Republican.

Three years ago, Mr. Reed formed the Faith and Freedom Coalition and began assembling what he calls the largest-ever database of reliably conservative religious voters. In the coming weeks, he says, each of those 17.1 million registered voters in 15 key states will receive three phone calls and at least three pieces of mail. Seven million of them will get e-mail and text messages. Two million will be visited by one of more than 5,000 volunteers. Over 25 million voter guides will be distributed in 117,000 churches…

The rank-and-file of white conservative Christianity are treated as little obedient puppets – like a target for a corporate marketing maven out to sell his quota of laundry detergent.

With…a database with the addresses and, in many cases, e-mail addresses and cellphone numbers of the more than 17 million faith-centric registered voters — not just evangelical Protestants but also Mass-attending Catholics. The group is also reaching out to nearly two million more people who have never registered to vote…

In addition to its presidential election turnout campaign, the group plans to focus on two state ballot measures: a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Minnesota and an effort to recall an Iowa Supreme Court justice who voted to legalize same-sex marriage in the state…

The group plans to pair its social message with a broader economic one. The president’s health care overhaul will be depicted as both big government spending and an assault on religious liberty; the law mandates that employees of organizations affiliated with religions, like hospitals, universities and charities, be able to obtain free contraception through their health care plans.

Romney and his claque haven’t any problem accepting the publicly reactionary portion of Reed’s religious ideology. It matches their private conversation perfectly. They just get a little testy when pushed to admit how backwards their goals really are.

Reed fits the plastic-fantastic shiny veneer adopted by hustlers – whether religion-based or political. He’s working his way back up towards the position of power he was aiming for under the crusader’s shield of George W. Bush. Let’s hope he fails as badly, once again.

Suicide becomes the leading cause of mortal injury in U. S.

Researchers from the West Virginia University School of Public Health and Injury Control Research Center found that suicide has now passed motor vehicle traffic crashes as the leading cause of injury deaths in the United States. Additionally, the disease rate has been declining while the injury rate has been rising.

The research team, led by WVU and including scientists from nine other institutions, examined changes in injury mortality and its five leading causes from 2000 through 2009…

“Suicide is now the leading cause of unintentional and violence-related injury mortality as a whole,” Dr. Ian Rockett said. “Suicide only surpassed motor vehicle traffic crashes in the final year available for the study, 2009. The suicide mortality rate was 15 percent higher in 2009 than 2000.”

In addition, the unintentional poisoning mortality rate increased by 128 percent between 2000 and 2009.

“Unintentional poisoning has risen to third among the leading causes of injury mortality, a change that appears mainly driven by the enormous increase in the rate of fatal overdoses from prescription painkillers,” Rockett said.

While motor vehicle traffic crashes still rank second as a cause of injury death, the rate decreased by 25 percent between 2000 and 2009 and is a universal success story, according to Rockett.

“Much time, attention and resources have been devoted to traffic safety,” he said. “Similar efforts will be needed for success in other spheres of injury prevention…”

The research also reported findings related to gender, race/ethnicity and age…secondhand smoke, income, any number of interesting vectors are considered in the study. As soon as it’s available to ordinary civilians like me – I look forward to reading the other interesting tidbits about changes in the way we achieve death too soon.