Morning coffee: Thursday

via pricklylegs

Some good advice to take with you today.

Homophobic males: The fear that another man will treat you like you treat women

Shut up and deal with the world you’ve created.

“We were discussing homosexuality because of an allusion to it in the book we were reading, and several boys made comments such as, “That’s disgusting.” We got into the debate and eventually a boy admitted that he was terrified/disgusted when he was once sharing a taxi and the other male passenger made a pass at him. The lightbulb went off. “Oh,” I said. “I get it. See, you are afraid, because for the first time in your life you have found yourself a victim of unwanted sexual advances by someone who has the physical ability to use force against you.” The boy nodded and shuddered visibly.“But,” I continued. “As a woman, you learn to live with that from the time you are fourteen, and it never stops. We live with that fear every day of our lives. Every man walking through the parking garage the same time you are is either just a harmless stranger or a potential rapist. Every time.” The girls in the room nodded, agreeing. The boys seemed genuinely shocked. “So think about that the next time you hit on a girl. Maybe, like you in the taxi, she doesn’t actually want you to.””

— Homophobia: The fear that another man will treat you like you treat women. (Andrew Sullivan)

See all discussions of Catcalling on The Dish


The very best possible response for women:

via liberalforever

Some real-life examples:

via jodyrobots

via: popsible


Up next: American Christians who claim to be ‘oppressed’

Mental illness: more profitable than you might think

Add the mentally ill to illegal immigrants and non-violent drug offenders, and you have the magic profit formula for America’s private prison industry and its shareholders.

Mother Jones has a timeline illustrating how deinstitutionalization has moved thousands of mentally ill people out of hospitals—and into jails and prisons.

I’ve taken just the past 35 years of that timeline and pasted it below — notice Saint Raygun’s heartwarming contributions towards mental health services in 1981:

1977 There are 650 community health facilities serving 1.9 million mentally ill patients a year.
1980 President Jimmy Carter signs the Mental Health Systems Act, which aims to restructure the community mental health center program and improve services for people with chronic mental illness.
1981 Under President Ronald Reagan, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act repeals Carter’s community health legislation and establishes block grants for the states, ending the federal government’s role in providing services to the mentally ill.  Federal mental health spending decreases by 30 percent.
1984 An Ohio-based study finds that up to 30 percent of homeless people are thought to suffer from serious mental illness.
1985 Federal funding drops to 11 percent of community mental health agency budgets.
1990 Clozapine, the first “atypical” anti-psychotic drug to be developed, is approved by the FDA as a treatment for schizophrenia.
2004 Studies suggest approximately 16 percent of prison and jail inmates are seriously mentally ill, roughly 320,000 people. This year, there are about 100,000 psychiatric beds in public and private hospitals. That means there are more three times as many seriously mentally ill people in jails and prisons than in hospitals.
2009 In the aftermath of the Great Recession, states are forced to cut $4.35 billion in public mental health spending over the next three years, the largest reduction in funding since deinstitutionalization.
2010 There are 43,000 psychiatric beds in America, or about 14 beds per 100,000 people—the same ratio as in 1850.

Read the whole thing: TIMELINE: Deinstitutionalization And Its Consequences


From 2009 – 2012, these six states made the deepest cuts to their mental health budgets: South Carolina, Alabama, Alaska, Illinois, Nevada, District of Columbia, and California.

I wonder how many private prisons are in these states?

three pie charts in a row

Image: Mother Jones


Largest Prison-Owning Corporation Issues Massive Dividend of $675 Million to Shareholders

If you want to make money these days, owning stock in a prison company is the place to do it.  The confinement of human beings, while selling their cheap labor to companies seeking to save on labor costs has become a cash cow.  One company that has benefited handsomely from the profit boom is the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

CCA is the largest owner of private prisons in the nation, behind only the federal government and three states. The company just announced that it’s Board of Directors has declared a special dividend to shareholders of $675 million dollars.

…The CCA operates a total of 67 prison facilities throughout the United States, with a total capacity of 92,500 beds in 20 states and the District of Columbia.  The company was heavily criticized for offering to buy prisons in 48 states, in exchange for a guaranteed occupancy rate of at least 90%.


It’s not just the private prison industry. Something else to consider:

A jury on Wednesday awarded a total of $240 million to 32 mentally disabled turkey processing plant workers in Iowa for what an expert witness described as years of “virtual enslavement” by [Henry's Turkey Service, of Goldthwaite, Texas] that oversaw their care, work and lodging…

During the weeklong trial that ended Wednesday, officials testified about the squalid conditions they found during a 2009 inspection of the bunkhouse where the men were housed. The building, which was in a rural area several miles from the West Liberty Foods turkey processing plant where they worked, was falling apart, infested with rodents and full of fire hazards.

Social workers spoke of the physical and verbal abuse the men said they had been subjected to by the Henry’s supervisors who oversaw their work and care. They said they had been forced to work through illness and injuries, denied bathroom breaks, locked in their rooms, kicked in the groin and, in one case, handcuffed to a bed…

By 2008, Henry’s was being paid more than $500,000 per year by West Liberty Foods, but it was paying the men the same $65 per month that it always had. The company docked the men’s wages and Social Security disability benefits, telling them it was to pay for the cost of their care and lodging, and it never applied for medical care or other services for the disabled that the men would have qualified for in Iowa.

Henry’s began employing mentally disabled men in the 1960s and 1970s who had been released from Texas mental institutions. Hundreds of them were sent to labor camps in Iowa and elsewhere in the coming decades, where they were supplied on contract as workers to local employers. Company officials argued that the arrangement was a benefit to the men, and that they were once praised for giving them employment opportunities…



Don’t ever say Republicans–with their deregulation and “pay workers less so CEOs can get more” and “corporations  are people” mentality–aren’t job creators. Companies like private prisons and Henry’s Turkey Service are just selective about the wages they want to pay and the type of workforce “willing” to work for those wages. Remember, it was the glassy-eyed Teaparty Queen, Michele Bachmann, who said that the federal minimum wage should be eliminated for the benefit of job growth.

Clearly if you deinstitutionalize the mentally ill / disabled, you’ll be able to make a handsome profit on their confinement in labor camps or prisons — with the added bonus that you won’t “waste” money on having to care for them. If the Republican Party had its way, we’d all be working for $65 a month in company housing that was falling apart.

American fundamentalist Christianity combined with deregulated Capitalism in 2013 – same as it ever was:

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” — Ezekiel 16:49

Chicago fast-food and retail workers go on strike to raise minimum wage to $15.00

Chicago fast-food and retail workers begin mass walkout  — Hundreds of fast food and retail employees in Chicago began a mass walkout Wednesday morning, calling for the city’s minimum wage to be raised to $15 an hour. WLS-TV reported that the protest, organized by the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago (WOCC), included employees from national store chains ranging from McDonald’s to Sears to Victoria’s Secret, most of whom currently make $8.25 an hour, a wage that WOCC members said forces workers to use social service programs like RentAid to make ends meet. “We need wages that we can survive on and support our families,” said committee member Lorraine Sanchez. “These are poverty wages and homelessness wages, and our workers are working two or three jobs, supporting families.”

NBC Chicago — The Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago campaign says many of the 275,000 men and women working in Chicago’s fast food and retail outlets can’t afford things like food, clothing and rent on the minimum $8.25 an hour that most of them make. Some say they rely on public assistance for health care for their children while others say bills are piling up. [...] The group says their companies make more than $4 billion a year on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and in the Loop yet workers’ wages remain too low to live in the city.

Chicago Tribune — A study last year by the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group, found that most of the jobs gained since the early 2010 — 58 percent — paid $12 an hour or less. It also found that the workers earning $14 to just over $21 per hour suffered the biggest losses during the recession and that hiring at that pay grade has lagged during the recovery.

But those six- and seven-figure executive bonuses keep growing every year! 


Blake Fall-Conroy, “Minimum Wage Machine,” 2008-2010 (via andrewfishman) — This machine allows anyone to work for minimum wage for as long as they like. Turning the crank on the side releases one penny every 4.97 seconds, for a total of $7.25 per hour. This corresponds to minimum wage for a person in New York. This piece is brilliant on multiple levels, particularly as social commentary. Without a doubt, most people who started operating the machine for fun would quickly grow disheartened and stop when realizing just how little they’re earning by turning this mindless crank. A person would then conceivably realize that this is what nearly two million people in the United States do every day at much harder jobs than turning a crank. This turns the piece into a simple, yet effective argument for raising the minimum wage.

There are nice things out there and this is why we can’t have them

Romney voters vs. everyone else in the world.

Maybe Michelle Malkin *should* quit her day job

Besides the fact that you’re probably wondering “is she still around?” comes Malkin with a parody video of ‘libs’ in general and the First Lady in particular. Remind me how she makes a living again?

I get the wig (bangs) but what are the sunglasses for? I hope she didn’t put as much work into this as it appears she did.


Buzzfeed: “it’s definitely something.”
Gawker: “We can see how it would be mildly amusing to right-wingers, considering the low bar that conservative humor faces.”
TBogg: “Michelle Malkin should never attempt to do anything remotely calling for precision movements.”

But that still isn’t her most embarrassing performance:

‘Twitchy’ isn’t just the name of her website — it’s really symbolic of her life’s work. You kind of feel bad for her.

Our “liberal lamestream” media: the President is golfing!

I’m constantly amazed by how much our “liberal lamestream” media has reported on President Obama being on another vacation over the weekend, how he’s golfing, he’s on a separate vacation from Michelle and the girls, he’s not working, etc. etc. etc.

Has there been any reporting about how the Republican-led House voted itself ANOTHER week-long break? Or that because they voted themselves another vacation, when they finally return to “work” on Feb. 25 they’ll have exactly FOUR DAYS to work on the Sequester before it goes into effect on March 1? Has there been any kind of reporting by network media on the fact that NOT ONE Democratic member voted for this break? Or that Nancy Pelosi and the other Democrats were angry because they wanted to stay and work on a bill to replace the Sequester?

Your tax dollars at work, Teabaggers.

Deconstructing the 5 most ridiculous myths about Barack Obama – The Week

Morning coffee: TGIF

via alifefulloflaughterforever

It’s Friday? Party!

Morning coffee

Redditor resgestae, who always has his camera with him, captured this awesome moment while shopping at a Home Depot. He titled his photo, I know a good dad when I see one.

We couldn’t agree more.

[via Neatorama, bigmisterc, ihatepeacocks]

Sarah Palin for Speaker of the House! “Real ‘Merica’s” Hurr Durr voting block

Some examples of the type of moron who probably voted in 2010:

These are undoubtedly Fox’s most loyal viewers — and a reminder that everyone needs to vote in 2014. Don’t let another 112th Congress happen to America ever again.

‘Sarah Palin for House Speaker’ Say Conservatives Who Don’t Understand Government | BobCesca

The most important progressive victories of 2012

The most important progressive victories of 2012

  1. Historic progress to end the war on drugs.
  2. New fuel efficiency standards.
  3. Young undocumented immigrants received deportation relief.
  4. Anti-LGBT Senate candidates lost, in large numbers.
  5. Voters rejected anti-tax hysteria.
  6. President Obama endorsed marriage equality.
  7. Voters rejected anti-choice candidates.
  8. Voter suppression lost.
  9. The Supreme Court upheld Obamacare.

via think-progress

Listen to David Sedaris read from “The Santaland Diaries”

“I’ve spent the last several days sitting in a crowded, windowless Macy’s classroom undergoing the first phase of elf training. You can be an entrance elf, a water cooler elf, a bridge elf, train elf, maze elf, island elf, magic window elf, usher elf, cash register elf or exit elf.”

— David Sedaris, describing his short tenure as Crumpet the Elf in “The Santaland Diaries,” an essay that he read on Morning Edition in 1992. (via NPR)

Click “Listen” to hear Sedaris read his tale.

Safety nets and cannon fodder

Nicholas Kristoff complains:

This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire. Some young people here don’t join the military (a traditional escape route for poor, rural Americans) because it’s easier to rely on food stamps and disability payments.

To which Duncan Black summarizes excellently:

The poors are refusing to assume their God-given place as cannon fodder for our empire.

The best defense for a Monday

via theclearlydope

Dan Amira won the internet

Perfect caption.


See: White House Releases Romney Concession Photo — Daily Intel