…adding up [DOT 9/9/21]

or do problems multiply...

…so…once upon a time

This “great reassessment” of labor feels revolutionary. But we have been here before. In 1933, the Senate passed, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt supported, a bill to reduce the standard workweek to only 30 hours.
After Roosevelt won the election but before he took office, Sen. Hugo Black (D-Ala.) introduced a bill backed by the American Federation of Labor to temporarily shorten the workweek drastically, to only 30 hours — six hours a day, five days a week. For a while, it had Roosevelt’s support, and he began negotiating with business leaders behind closed doors; if they would shorten the workweek to 30 hours voluntarily, then he would go easy on antitrust reforms, he said, according to Hunnicutt.

As soon as Roosevelt took office on March 4, 1933, he called Congress into a special session — what would become its most productive streak in history. Over the next 100 days, Roosevelt and his Cabinet guided more than a dozen major bills through the House and Senate, stabilizing the banking system, regulating Wall Street, subsidizing farmers and getting relief checks into the hands of the unemployed.
Business leaders were up in arms. “Instead of looking at the increase in leisure as inevitable or as potentially beneficial,” Hunnicutt wrote, they feared that if workers got a taste of a 30-hour week, they would never want to go back, and the law would become permanent. Men of industry held emergency meetings in Chicago and Philadelphia, and Perkins, who also supported a federal minimum wage, was flooded with messages of opposition.

Meanwhile at the White House, as Roosevelt worked on a comprehensive recovery plan, he began to turn against the 30-hour week. What if, rather than sharing available work, there was just more work? As the plan for a massive public works program took shape, support for the 30-hour week collapsed. Instead, Roosevelt used the threat of it as leverage to get industry leaders to agree to ban child labor, set a modest minimum wage and limit the standard workweek at 40 hours, Hunnicutt wrote.
The resulting National Industrial Recovery Act was a triumph, but one that didn’t last. Two years later, in May 1935, the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in a decision that so angered Roosevelt he threatened to expand the court.
For decades, the 40-hour week has endured, but it didn’t seem like it would in the beginning. As Joe Pinsker of the Atlantic pointed out in June, many economists once assumed we would be working fewer than 40 hours by now. In 1956, even then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon predicted a 32-hour, four-day workweek in the “not too distant future.”

It hasn’t happened yet. In fact, in a 2014 Gallup poll, half of full-time employed respondents reported working 41 hours or more per week; 18 percent said they worked more than 60. Only 8 percent said they worked 39 hours or less.

That time America almost had a 30-hour workweek [WaPo]

…kinda makes you wonder…or at least it makes me wonder…if upwards of half of people are working more than 40hrs a week…& less than 10% working less than 40hrs a week…can you really say the work week is a 40hr thing…maybe I’m just bad at math but it seems like those numbers don’t add up that way…& speaking of not adding up

Despite paying minuscule wages, prison labor programs often lose money. Earlier this year, a Texas audit found that 46 percent of the prison system’s agricultural products cost more to grow than they are worth, and the state could have saved $17 million over five years by simply buying canned foods and certain crops — including cotton — instead of relying on prisoners to produce them. In past years, reports from Washington, Georgia, California and at least half a dozen other prison systems identified similar financial losses.
When state auditors reviewed Pennsylvania’s labor programs in 2005, the corrections department did not explain how 14 prison businesses — including plastic bag production and furniture-making — lost more than $7.7 million. The programs only remained profitable overall by subsidizing losses with profits from nine money-making endeavors, including meat processing and license plate production. In response to the audit, the corrections department at the time said some money-losing businesses had been restructured to perform better.
After an audit found that Georgia prison industries lost $11.5 million from 2004 to 2009, state officials said profit wasn’t really the goal.

“Our mission is to train inmates and provide job skills and make it so they don’t come back,” an official with the state’s prison labor program told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the time. “That’s our reason for being.” Last week, Georgia prison officials did not respond to a request for updated comment.

But Bertram, the Prison Policy Initiative spokesperson, said that there’s no evidence most labor programs generally decrease recidivism, and that prisoners who qualify for those jobs are often the lowest-risk prisoners who are most likely to succeed after release anyway. Prisoner-rights advocates also say many of the jobs aren’t helpful after prison.

“Those are jobs that don’t exist on the outside, or people who were incarcerated can’t have them,” said Bianca Tylek, founder of Worth Rises, a nonprofit that opposes forced prison labor.

“When you think about cotton picking in Texas, where the state does not pay, the point is to remind people that the state owns you,” she said. “They want to make it parallel to slavery, and they are willing to do it at their own cost.”


…now I dare say many people are in a better position to get their heads around this than me…not least our own mr wednesday (steel) @lemmykilmister…but from where I sit that last part sounds unpleasantly accurate…as does this

In the early days of Bitcoin, when it was less popular and worth little, anyone with a computer could easily mine at home. Not so much anymore.
Today you need highly specialized machines, a lot of money, a big space and enough cooling power to keep the constantly running hardware from overheating. That’s why mining now happens in giant data centers owned by companies or groups of people.

In fact, operations have consolidated so much that now, only seven mining groups own nearly 80 percent of all computing power on the network.
Bitcoin mining means more than just emissions. Hardware piles up, too. Everyone wants the newest, fastest machinery, which causes high turnover and a new e-waste problem. Alex de Vries, a Paris-based economist, estimates that every year and a half or so, the computational power of mining hardware doubles, making older machines obsolete. According to his calculations, at the start of 2021, Bitcoin alone was generating more e-waste than many midsize countries.

Bitcoin Uses More Electricity Than Many Countries. How Is That Possible? [NYT]

[…I was late to the NOT the other day that brought up crypto but in addition to the above it’s worth noting the NYT ran several pieces about the stuff a few days back & they’re worth a look at if you feel like trying to get a handle on the stuff]

…so…would you want that to be a principal currency of a national economy?

Salvadorans awoke to a partially bitcoinized economy Tuesday when a landmark law to adopt the cryptocurrency as legal tender took effect.

The measure, championed by El Salvador President Nayib Bukele in part to ease the flow of remittances from Salvadorans in the United States to family back home, has made this Central American nation the largest bitcoin experiment to date.
The law requires businesses to accept bitcoin payments, but convoluted government statements have caused confusion about whether its use is optional or obligatory, and the rollout on Tuesday was marred by glitches. The U.S. dollar will continue to circulate as an official currency.

Bukele has promised adopting bitcoin will cut fees for Salvadoran migrants sending money home, help the unbanked gain access to financial services and attract foreign investment. As of Tuesday morning, he had bought 550 bitcoin, worth roughly $25 million, with public funds.

Economists have warned of the potential havoc Bukele’s bitcoin gamble could wreak on the Salvadoran economy, given the currency’s volatility. The country is in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a $1 billion dollar loan; the IMF has criticized the move to bitcoin.

El Salvador is now the world’s largest bitcoin experiment. Salvadorans say they want no part in it. [WaPo]

…whatever the answer…it doesn’t strike me that an energy-intensive proto-currency is an obvious candidate for the “good idea right now” column

The vast majority of fossil fuel reserves owned today by countries and companies must remain in the ground if the climate crisis is to be ended, an analysis has found.

The research found 90% of coal and 60% of oil and gas reserves could not be extracted if there was to be even a 50% chance of keeping global heating below 1.5C, the temperature beyond which the worst climate impacts hit.
“The [analysis] implies that many operational and planned fossil fuel projects [are] unviable,” the scientists said, meaning trillions of dollars of fossil fuel assets could become worthless. New fossil fuel projects made sense only if their backers did not believe the world would act to tackle the climate emergency, the researchers said.

The conclusions of the report are “bleak” for the fossil fuel industry, implying that oil, gas and coal production must have already peaked and will decline at 3% a year from now. States that are heavily reliant on fossil fuel revenue, such as Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, are at especially high risk. A minister from one Opec state recently warned of “unrest and instability” if their economies did not diversify in time.

To keep below 1.5C, the analysis says:

– The US, Russia and the former Soviet states have half of global coal reserves but will need to keep 97% in the ground, while the figure for Australia is 95%. China and India have about a quarter of global coal reserves, and will need to keep 76% in the ground.
– Middle Eastern states have more than half the world oil reserves but will need to keep almost two-thirds in the ground, while 83% of Canada’s oil from tar sands must not be extracted.
– Virtually all unconventional oil or gas, such as from fracking, must remain in the ground and no fossil fuels at all can be extracted from the Arctic.
Christophe McGlade, a senior analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA), said: “The research underlines how the rhetoric of tackling climate change has diverged from reality. None of the net zero pledges made to date by major oil and gas producing countries include explicit targets to curtail production.”

[…] companies risk wasting more than a trillion dollars on projects incompatible with a low-carbon world, with ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell most exposed.

Vast majority of fossil fuels ‘must stay in ground’ to stem climate crisis [Guardian]

…you’d think recent events might be enough to get people on the same page about this stuff

How to summarize the summer of 2021? I might choose a statistic: Nearly one-third of Americans live in a county that was hit by a weather disaster in the past three months, up from just about one-tenth during the same period five years ago, according to The Washington Post.

Scientists long ago predicted that climate change would cause heat waves, floods and storms to grow more frequent and more intense, and the relationship has become much clearer in recent years. But “these events tell us we’re not prepared,” Alice Hill, who oversaw planning for climate risks on the National Security Council during the Obama administration, told The Times. “We have built our cities, our communities, to a climate that no longer exists.”
Fourteen years ago, a Harvard climate and energy expert, John Holdren, coined a kind of axiom for the three choices climate change posed for humanity: Mitigation — the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions — adaptation and suffering. “We’re going to do some of each,” he said. “The question is what the mix is going to be.”


[…honestly…reading the rest of that article isn’t likely to make you feel better…but it highlights some stuff there’s a strong chance nobody gets to ignore for long]

…& when it comes to that mix…I’d say this doesn’t add up either…except…well…the cynical part of me says the math on this one is pretty straightforward…some profit…many suffer…same as it ever was

Governments around the world gave 20% more in overseas aid funding to fossil fuel projects in 2019 and 2020 than to programmes to cut the air pollution they cause.

Dirty air is the world’s biggest environmental killer, responsible for at least 4m early deaths a year. But just 1% of global development aid is used to tackle this crisis, according to an analysis from the Clean Air Fund (CAF).

Air pollution kills more people than HIV/Aids, malaria, and tuberculosis combined, but such health issues receive vastly more funding, the report found. When compared in terms of years of life lost, HIV/Aids projects received 34 times more funding, while malnutrition programmes received seven times more. Increasing funding to similar levels to tackle air pollution would save many lives, experts said.
Jane Burston, at CAF described the situation as “crazy and shocking”, adding: “When you see the incredibly and chronically low levels of funding on the one hand, and the chronically high levels of public health impacts on the other, it becomes quite obvious that more funding is needed.

“Air pollution is a massive health crisis, but a lot of the projects that would reduce pollution also help limit climate change, because they’re about reducing fossil fuel burning. There can be massive wins for equity too, because the poorest communities are often the most affected by air pollution, wherever you are in the world.”
A separate report from the Unep found that one third of the world’s countries have no legal limits in air pollution and that, in those nations that do, the limits are often weaker than WHO guidelines.


…& that’s before things get out of hand

Health concerns linked to potential toxic exposure underscore the array of long-term impacts brought by the category 4 storm that struck south-east Louisiana earlier this week. As of Thursday afternoon, nearly a million homes and businesses were without power, leaving hundreds of thousands more without access to clean water. And with hundreds of chemical facilities located within the path of the hurricane, numerous air quality tracking systems were left out of commission. It’s unclear how long it will take to assess the full scope of the damage and its toll on residents.
About 50% of the US petroleum refining capacity and 51% of the US natural gas processing capacity are based along the Gulf of Mexico, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The industrial facilities have become an added hazard when hurricanes come ashore. In a matter of just a few days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in 2017, air pollution levels added up to 39% of the total unauthorized emissions of the previous year in the Houston area, said Luke Metzger, the executive director for Environment Texas.
Four days after Hurricane Ida, there was still no data posted to the state agency’s website from its mobile air monitors. A state mobile air monitoring lab was expected to deploy Thursday to Norco, about 20 miles (32 km) north-west of New Orleans, according to an EPA report. The Shell refinery there has indicated it will continue flaring until electricity is restored to its facility, said Wilma Subra, an environmental scientist with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network organization who was awarded the MacArthur grant for her work helping residents to understand the public health risks of industrial pollution.

But the refinery’s lack of electricity and inability to supply steam and nitrogen to the flares means chemicals are not being burned off properly, causing thick black smoke to pour into the sky above residents who are repairing their damaged roofs and cutting broken branches from trees.
A state air monitor in Norco stopped collecting data on the day of the storm. It’s among 17 state air monitoring sites that stopped working due to power outages, according to an EPA report. The Valero refinery in Saint Bernard Parish notified the EPA that it shutdown its community air monitoring station to protect the equipment. The company was required to notify the federal agency because of past violations of the Clean Air Act at the refinery under its previous owner, Murphy Oil. During Hurricane Katrina, the refinery’s tank farm flooded, leaking more than a million gallons of crude oil into 1,800 homes, according to the EPA.
In addition to the public health risks posed by hazardous air pollution and oil and gas spills during hurricanes, fossil fuel companies have also damaged Louisiana’s natural storm defense system. Some of the oil and gas processed in industrial facilities were pulled from the state’s marshlands. To develop wells, companies cut thousands of miles of canals through the wetlands. The canals allow saltwater to creep into the root systems of freshwater marsh plants, killing and sinking wetlands.

Louisiana has lost 2,000 sq miles (5,000 sq km) of land since the 1930s. It’s estimated that about a third of that wetland loss is from oil and gas development, said Alex Kolker, a coastal scientist who serves on the science advisory group for the state’s Climate Initiatives Task Force. Without these wetlands, coastal communities are more vulnerable to storm surge and flooding.


The oil spill that left a smear of crude approximately 11 miles long in the Gulf of Mexico is one of more than 2,000 reports of pollution and contamination in the waterways off the coast of Louisiana after Hurricane Ida.
Americans have been battered by climate-change-fueled disasters this year, including hurricanes, fires, floods and heat waves, and the Biden administration is under pressure to transition away from fossil fuels that are warming the planet. The administration had paused all new oil and gas leasing on public lands, but after a legal challenge, the administration will resume leases in coming months.


…so…the people who clean up after these things…they get paid pretty well…right?

Wage theft can include paying less than legal minimum wage, not paying overtime, barring workers from taking meal breaks or requiring off-the-clock work. And it affects the most vulnerable workers, those who are desperate for pay and willing to take temporary jobs, who may be undocumented and who may be paid by subcontractors in cash. The emergency repair and cleanup business — which has proven an attractive investment target for private-equity firms in recent years as natural disasters have intensified — combines many of the factors that can expose workers to wage theft.
Private-equity firms buy companies, often using debt to finance the purchases, and hope to sell them later at a profit. As billions of dollars have poured into disaster recovery programs in recent years, private-equity firms have bought up restoration contractors positioned to profit.

BluSky says the workers who complete its jobs — typically wearing BluSky T-shirts — are not its employees but are those of subcontractors. For example, in November, when the Cedar Rapids incident arose, the firm sent a memo to its investors saying it had “no legal responsibility” to pay the workers because it had fully paid its subcontractor
Private-equity firms are attracted by billions of dollars in public money and insurance funds spent to remediate natural disasters, said Saket Soni, executive director of Resilience Force, a nonprofit organization that advocates for restoration workers.
Galvin, the Northwestern professor, said wage theft is a persistent problem that requires changes to the country’s labor laws. Devised in the 1930s, the laws don’t cover domestic and farm workers, independent contractors and public-sector employees.

Workers are “trying to recover some sort of protections and rights in the workplace where they have virtually none,” Galvin said. “Once you realize the extent of the problem, it’s hard to look away.”


…damn if that last part don’t seem to go for a lot of things these days…once you realize the extent of the problem…that part seems to be the trick…because there’s a lot of looking away pretty much every place you look

In Silicon Valley, Criminal Prosecutors See No Evil [NYT]

According to the treasury report, the wealthiest 1% of US taxpayers are responsible for an estimated $163bn in unpaid tax each year, amounting to 28% of the “tax gap”.

[Natasha] Sarin [deputy assistant secretary for economic policy] said that tax gap – “the difference between taxes that are owed and collected” – amounted to “around $600bn annually and will mean approximately $7tn of lost tax revenue over the next decade.”
Republicans in Congress and lobbyists for business are united in opposition to the proposal to shore up tax enforcement.

“The sheer magnitude of lost revenue is striking,” Sarin wrote. “It is equal to 3% of GDP, or all the income taxes paid by the lowest earning 90% of taxpayers.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/sep/08/us-wealthiest-responsible-yearly-160bn-lost-tax-revenue [Guardian]

…I can get into the weeds about “the 1%” & how it isn’t always as useful a designation as it is a convenient one…but that one’s hard to ignore…it takes all of the income taxes paid by the bottom 90% of earners to equate to the taxes owed but not paid by just 1% at the other end of the scale…ain’t that some shit…but…I already got sidetracked once today…& that isn’t where I aimed to be going with this either…although it does sort of overlap with that pesky thing about personal data

The Taliban have openly talked about using US-made digital identity technology to hunt down Afghans who have worked with the international coalition – posing a huge threat to everyone recorded in the system. In addition, the extremists now also have access to – and control over – the digital identification systems and technologies built through international aid support.
For Afghans, and for the wider community working on digital identification for development, this means that the Taliban have sensitive personal information that they have said will be used to target those they consider enemies or threats. While some Afghans are frantically trying to erase any trace of digital activity, on official databases, user deletion is not an option.

This is yet another wake-up call illustrating the risks that new digital technologies can pose when they end up in the wrong hands, and for the development community. It reminds those working on digital identity and digital public infrastructure for development, that the benefits of ID systems – enshrined in the sustainable development goal 16.9, right to legal identity – should never be at the expense of individual safety.
But protection needs to be a bigger priority. Like all technologies, digital identity systems are neither good nor bad, but never neutral, and they amplify the power of those that control them. No technology is going to change actors such as the Taliban’s efforts to target those they wish to find. But the deployment of digital identity systems needs to be smarter about understanding the political interests and risks that shape the contexts in which those systems are used.


…but…that could only happen in far away places…right?

Since the fall of the World Trade Center, the security apparatus born from the Sept. 11 attack on the city has fundamentally changed the way the country’s largest police department operates, altering its approach to finding and foiling terrorist threats […] New Yorkers simply going about their daily lives routinely encounter post-9/11 digital surveillance tools like facial recognition software, license plate readers or mobile X-ray vans that can see through car doors. Surveillance drones hover above mass demonstrations and protesters say they have been questioned by antiterrorism officers after marches.

How the N.Y.P.D. Is Using Post-9/11 Tools on Everyday New Yorkers [NYT]

The Los Angeles police department (LAPD) has directed its officers to collect the social media information of every civilian they interview, including individuals who are not arrested or accused of a crime, according to records shared with the Guardian.

Copies of the “field interview cards” that police complete when they question civilians reveal that LAPD officers are instructed to record a civilian’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts, alongside basic biographical information. An internal memo further shows that the police chief, Michel Moore, told employees that it was critical to collect the data for use in “investigations, arrests, and prosecutions”, and warned that supervisors would review cards to ensure they were complete.

The documents, which were obtained by the not-for-profit organization the Brennan Center for Justice, have raised concerns about civil liberties and the potential for mass surveillance of civilians without justification.
Meanwhile, more than half of the civilians stopped by metro officers and documented in the cards were not arrested or cited, the Times reported. The fact that a department under scrutiny for racial profiling was also engaged in broad scale social media account collection is troubling, said Levinson-Waldman.
Hamid Khan of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition noted that the LAPD also shares data with federal law enforcement agencies through “fusion centers”, and has previously used “predictive policing” technologies that rely on data collected by officers in the field and which can criminalize communities of color.

“This is like stop and frisk,” he said, of the use of field interview cards. “And this is happening with the clear goal of surveillance.” The LAPD, he noted, has allowed officers to pose undercover to investigate groups, meaning officers can create fake social media accounts to infiltrate groups.
The copies of the cards obtained by the Brennan Center also revealed that police are instructed to ask civilians for their social security numbers and are advised to tell interviewees that “it must be provided” under federal law. Kathleen Kim, a Loyola law professor and immigrants’ rights expert, who previously served on the LA police commission, said she was not aware of any law requiring individuals to disclose social security numbers to local police.
The Brennan Center obtained LAPD documents related to Geofeedia, a private social media monitoring firm that partners with law enforcement and has previously marketed itself as a tool to monitor BLM protests.

One internal document, which is undated but appeared to be several years old, listed the “keywords” and hashtags that the LAPD appeared to be monitoring through Geofeedia – and they were almost exclusively related to Black Lives Matter and similar leftist protests. It included #BLMLA, #SayHerName, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, #fuckdonaldtrump and the names of people killed by LA police that prompted major protests.

The list did not include any hastags for rightwing demonstrations and far-right movements, which have grown increasingly violent in recent years in the region.
The Brennan Center’s records further revealed the LAPD is now seeking to use technology from a new company, Media Sonar, which also tracks social media for police. In the 2021 budget, the LAPD allotted $73,000 to purchase Media Sonar software to help the department “address a potential threat or incident before its occurrence”.

Revealed: LAPD officers told to collect social media data on every civilian they stop [Guardian]

…it’s like none of these people ever read minority report…or they did but somehow contrived to profoundly misunderstand essentially everything about it…but…again…not where I originally intended to go with this today…I had been going to witter on about this kind of thing

…it’s a long thread…with a bunch of “the usual suspects”…but a lot of it was news to me all the same

…& although it’s maybe a bit of an overstatement to say that US media is ignoring ALL of it

Jason Miller, a former senior adviser to Donald Trump, said Tuesday that he was briefly detained and questioned by Brazilian authorities on a day in which the South American country inched yet closer to a full-blown constitutional crisis.
Miller is among the speakers listed on the website for the Sept. 3-4 Conservative Political Action Conference Brasil. His detention comes on the same day that tens of thousands of people rallied in support of embattled Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, with whom Miller met during his visit.
Bolsonaro’s popularity has cratered in recent months as the coronavirus has ravaged the country, the economy has shed millions of jobs and investigations into his conduct have intensified. His discomfort at the inquiries has fueled increasingly bellicose comments, both from him and supporters, some of whom have repeatedly called for him to lead a military takeover of the country and depose those who have sought to constrain his power.

Bolsonaro said last month he only sees three possible futures for himself: imprisonment, death or victory. He has repeatedly flirted with an idea of a constitutional “rupture,” without specifying what that would be.
In an interview Monday on former chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, Miller said that after the United States, Brazil is the second-largest country of origin for Gettr users. He praised Bolsonaro’s supporters and said that “a half-million proud patriots” were expected to show up for Tuesday’s rally.

“What I see here, Steve, is so much love and so much enthusiasm for free speech, and especially the folks who are the Bolsonaro supporters. They’re being deplatformed; they’re being shadow banned; they have the long arm of the law. I mean, it’s some pretty nutty stuff,” Miller told Bannon, who served as an informal adviser to Bolsonaro’s 2018 campaign.

Former Trump adviser Jason Miller briefly detained in Brazil as political tumult grips country [WaPo]

…given how familiar a lot of that sounds…& given the MAGA faithful are apparently working themselves up to another “rally” in a little over a week…it’d be nice to think as much attention was being paid to the likes of these assholes as police departments seem inclined to pay to folks who still manage to keep the legitimate part of their protests…as opposed to the fountain of bad faith emanating from places like texas

Asked by a reporter on Tuesday why he would “force a rape or incest to carry a pregnancy to term,” Abbott denied that was the case, saying the law “doesn’t require that at all because, obviously, it provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion”.

While defending the radical new law and its lack of exemptions for victims of sexual violence, the governor also vowed to purge the state of all rape and sexual assault.

Abbott said: “Rape is a crime and Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting off the streets.”

The White House press secretary Jen Psaki mocked those comments at a briefing on Wednesday. “Well, if Governor Abbott has a means of eliminating all rapists or all rape from the United States, then there’d be bipartisan support for that,” she said.
In 2019, the Texas department of public safety reported more than 14,650 cases of rape, constituting nearly a quarter of all violent crimes across the state. Fewer than 3,900 people were arrested for rape and other sexual offenses.


…think that’s what they call a rhetorical question…but all the same

Although leaders of the religious right would have us believe that the Roe decision was the catalyst for their political mobilization in the 1970s, that claim does not withstand historical scrutiny. What prompted evangelical interest in politics, in fact, was a defense of racial segregation.
Indeed, in 1971 the Southern Baptist Convention had passed a resolution calling to legalize abortion. When the Roe decision was handed down, some evangelicals applauded the ruling as marking an appropriate distinction between personal morality and public policy. Although he later – 14 years later – claimed that opposition to abortion was the catalyst for his political activism, Jerry Falwell did not preach his first anti-abortion sermon until February 1978, more than five years after Roe.
So how did evangelicals become interested in abortion? As nearly as I can tell from my conversation with Weyrich, during a conference call with Falwell and other evangelicals strategizing about how to retain their tax exemptions, someone suggested that they might have the makings of a political movement and wondered what other issues would work for them. Several suggestions followed, and then a voice on the line said, “How about abortion?”
The beauty of the religious right’s embrace of abortion as a political issue is that it allowed leaders to camouflage the real origins of their movement: the defense of racial segregation in evangelical institutions.

There’s a straight line from US racial segregation to the anti-abortion movement



  1. I’m sure you’re all getting a little tired of my incessant CuomoWatch updates but if you’ll permit me one more:

    Just like Alphonso David, the recently booted head of the Human Rights Campaign (of all things) got into trouble for leaking a confidential personnel file on Cuomo’s first accuser, Lindsey Boylan, and showed up in the AG report that ultimately brought Cuomo down, now Facebook is getting sucked in.

    One Dani Lever worked in the Cuomo press office for years. She went over to Facebook to flack there. She’s still at Facebook. It was she who recently had to craft Facebook’s response to news that FB had tagged a video featuring Black men as “primates.”

    In her spare time she was called upon to help Cuomo fend off the eleven women (so far) who have credibly accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. While she was at FB mind you. Not a good look for a company already beleaguered on several fronts.

    Here’s one of the only links I could find that wasn’t “The New York Post,” “The Daily Mail,” or Foxnews:


    • …speaking for myself it’s at least given me one less avenue of links with which to overload these posts ATL…so don’t stop those updates on my account?

      • At this point my fascination has moved on from disgust for Cuomo, which I have harbored for many years, to the fallout. At Time’s Up Roberta Kaplan and Tina Tchen had to go, and go they did, but now the entire Board has resigned.


        Talk about drinking from a poisoned chalice. Yes, of course it was a good very useful thing to cozy up to the all-powerful Cuomo, odious as he is, but now it is 2021. 

        Attention is moving toward his book, I Did It My Way, or whatever it is called. He had lots of help with it (supposedly “volunteer”). How much did his publisher know about its creation? Certainly the editor would have seen the sausage in the making. Is PenguinRandomHouse, the country’s largest book publisher by many miles, going to get sucked into this too?

  2. Also, and germane to the post, why did the Americans leave all that intelligence information behind? Was the withdrawal that chaotic that someone couldn’t have rigged up a quick “delete all files” program before they headed off to the airport?

    I may be getting this wrong but I’m 99 44/100% sure that I read an account about either World War I or WWII where Berliners sometimes foresaw who they were next going to go to war with by seeing smoke rising near embassy buildings: it was the employees burning files in open courtyards in anticipation of departure. 

    • The press has outsourced so much of its functions to PR flacks that it’s not surprising that she could move between Cuomo and Facebook and do evil for both without being exposed by people who witness it all.
      Reporters and editors knew about Cuomo, just like they know about Facebook. Maybe not every detail, but more than enough. But because they depend so much on their PR flacks to keep the trains running that they accept the abusers’ framing without question.
      As far as the press is concerned, they’d no more turn in a flack than they would cut off their right arm. How could they function?
      Except the reality is that getting rid of PR flack access is more like dieting to lose 20 pounds. Still losing a big part of yourself, but it’s a healthy loss.

    • The pieces the Afghan employees want to delete is on Afghan government systems. The whole story for the past 20 years was that US wasn’t running the show, and we were handing over everything to the Afghans, including the software for the HR and finance departments of all of their agencies and offices.
      Part of that autonomy meant that the US didn’t have secret backdoors into the databases for a province’s agriculture or roads department. And when the government collapsed, nobody was left to clean it up.

      • …which maybe wouldn’t have been a problem if there’d been any foundation to the idea that those institutions would be part of a representative democratic state the likes of which the last 20 odd years were supposedly spent shoring up to stand on its own feet

        …but yeah…that seems to be about the size of it…kinda reminds me of a bill hicks bit about invading iraq (the first time around)

        • Back in 2003 the Neocons were busy spending millions jetting over 24 year old RNC staffers to Baghdad to try to set up a DMV and stock market when the country didn’t even have safe roads or a telephone network, let alone functional leadership.
          And today the press is running to the same Neocons to explain how the past month is the disaster, with an unspoken agreement that the previous 20 years didn’t exist

  3. today i learnt…..we arm our police with teddy bears

    part of standard equipment in any police vehicle…to help with upset kids
    the whambulances have them too

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