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April 19th, 2014
thesmithian

Mayors are now pairing with moms. Together they’ll crib directly from the playbook of the NRA. They’ll focus on statehouses if Congress won’t listen. And under a new umbrella group, “Everytown for Gun Safety” — backed by $50 million of [former NYC Mayor Michael] Bloomberg’s own money — they’re aiming to create the elusive political counterweight to the NRA.

more.

April 1st, 2014
thesmithian
March 18th, 2014
thesmithian

[the California drought is] so bad…the state’s being forced to take extreme measures…For instance, sticking millions of young salmon on trucks and driving them to the ocean.

more. and more.

[the California drought is] so bad…the state’s being forced to take extreme measures…For instance, sticking millions of young salmon on trucks and driving them to the ocean.

more. and more.

March 1st, 2014
thesmithian

'…if a restaurant decided they wanted to throw out a gay couple, that couple should…just go somewhere else. It isn't the government's role to protect the civil rights of people. If a business owner's God didn't like black people, for example, he could simply throw them out and put up a sign saying “no blacks allowed for religious reasons”…If a Muslim business owner didn't want to serve Jewish people, just go somewhere else, Jews. I presume [the writer] would appreciate some sort of app or website that kept a catalog of which businesses do business with which groups of people. That's the sort of society he wants to live in. Which was exactly how things were before the Civil Rights Act…'

Pretty shocking. But more importantly, why is it that [the writer] seems to think that it is the government’s role to protect the rights of business owners? The government shouldn’t protect a customer’s right to be treated fairly. Instead, that should left up to the market. But a business owner’s right to treat people unfairly, why that should be protected by government statute!

more.

February 23rd, 2014
thesmithian

[the study]…found that in…CA, Georgia, Oklahoma and TX—people of color are represented in private prisons at least 10 percentage points greater than in state-run facilities…

Because jailing individuals is a public cost, it is no surprise that U.S. and state governments have chosen to outsource in response to prison overcrowding. But this study brings up another point. Cutting costs and generating revenue at the expense of people of color is a tradition deeply woven in the fabric of American history.

more.

February 23rd, 2014
thesmithian

as more states…have placed a moratorium on or abolished capital punishment, Georgia has clung to the practice despite its brutality and inequities in how it’s doled out.

January 16th, 2014
thesmithian

'…Garcia had to pass up the opportunity because she was brought here by her parents from Chihuahua, Mexico, on a tourist visa and never went home. As an undocumented immigrant, she never got a Social Security number. So when a recruiter approached her a second time in her junior year, she had to turn down the internship once more.'

more.

January 9th, 2014
thesmithian

…the subject of race relations in Charlottesville came up. Some people thought the problem really didn’t exist, or if it did, that it was an unfortunate holdover from a past that we had already moved past. Other people…think the city stands at a moral crossroads.

more.

…the subject of race relations in Charlottesville came up. Some people thought the problem really didn’t exist, or if it did, that it was an unfortunate holdover from a past that we had already moved past. Other people…think the city stands at a moral crossroads.

more.

January 5th, 2014
thesmithian

…though Georgia is more “new South” than “deep South,” over the last 15 years it has started to show real signs of being a “deep South” state in terms of its racially divided voting habits. It’s not as…stratified as…Mississippi, but the gap is large, and widening.

more.

+++++

art: here.

January 4th, 2014
thesmithian

Four decades before Obama’s ACA, Hawaii enacted its own health-care mandate…the state has poured billions…into rebuilding highways and infrastructure, bringing the unemployment rate down to an enviable 4.4 percent. Gay marriage is legal, immigrants are welcomed, labor unions are strong and—if the governor gets his way this year—universal pre-kindergarten will be the law of the land…there are no tea party stars to bicker with and no Congress to stand in the way. There’s hardly a viable GOP…The Aloha State, with its liberal governor and overwhelmingly Democratic legislature, has succeeded in achieving much of the vision Obama has yet to accomplish on the mainland.

more.

+++++

art: watercolor map by Irina March

January 3rd, 2014
thesmithian
Brown skin that’s often perceived as ‘otherness’ in parts of America is not seen that way in much of the world. After traveling to more than 25 countries (and 48 of the states), I call being brown in a region of brown-skinned people ‘masking.’ I experienced it in southern India, where many people were similar shades of brown as me or darker. I was not mistaken for being a local, but I could circulate less conspicuously than fair-skinned visitors.
December 29th, 2013
thesmithian

'the effort to take advantage of growing populism among voters in both parties is being coordinated by officials from the White House, labor unions and liberal advocacy groups. In a series of strategy meetings…among them in recent weeks, they have focused on…an effort to raise the federal minimum wage, which will be pushed by President Obama and congressional leaders, and a campaign to place state-level minimum wage proposals on the ballot in states with hotly contested congressional races.'

more.

November 19th, 2013
thesmithian
The Affordable Care Act is working the way it is supposed to work in those states in which officials have decided that it should work.
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