Sunday, May 29, 2016

Home of the free

A failed American fascist
In the bad old days, in company towns and other centers of American individuality and self-expression and exceptionalism, if you voted -- or even were suspected of voting -- liberal, you were fired.

In a company town, that made you homeless, too.

Nevertheless, the labor movement persevered.

Now we're back to then.

A disturbing piece in New Republic summarizes what Citizens United really means.

Here's one of many nut grafs:
It’s difficult for many of us who are educated, white-collar workers with relatively benevolent employers to appreciate the magnitude of the constraints on freedom that are routine elsewhere in the workforce. We might imagine we would quit if our boss ordered us to campaign for a candidate, even one we supported. But many Americans don’t have that freedom—nor the freedom to refuse a drug test or a work schedule that requires them to be on call at almost all times. They face strict parameters about what they can wear, how they can style their hair, when they can use the bathroom, and whether they have access to a phone in order to be reached in a child-care emergency. Libertarians, who believe that only government can restrict freedom, are blind to these encroachments on liberty.

In summary:

 the choice in Citizens United and other debates about political money is not between freedom and regulation, but between real freedom for individuals and the sweeping power of concentrated wealth. 
The plutocrats used to be more open about their antidemocratic beliefs. H.L. Hunt wrote a book (or had it written) that said rich people should have 7 times as many votes as ordinary Americans.

He was a piker. The new Malefactors of Great Wealth are thinking much more expansively.

And while Hunt never got more than one vote, the New Plutocrats have devised a kludge to work around that.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Another very responsible gun owner

I swear, we anti-gun nuts couldn't make this stuff up if we held a convention and offered prizes for the wildest stories:

The Portland, Oregon, police chief has been suspended for plugging somebody in the back -- an accident, yeah, sure -- and telling local police (the briefly famous Harney sheriffs) that the shootee did it himself and for not telling investigators he is (or was) a cop.
On Monday, Ward told the Oregonian that O’Dea never identified himself as a police officer or the Portland police chief when questioned by a deputy. Ward also said that O’Dea and others with him suggested that the shooting was self-inflicted.

“I do know it didn’t happen the way it was originally portrayed,” Ward told the newspaper. He said that his office was able to interview the injured man for the first time last week. Ward added: “The victim made it pretty clear he didn’t shoot himself. The victim knew who shot him.”
As we in the snarky anti-gun community like to say, was alcohol involved? The story does not say, but it would be irresponsible not to speculate.

At least this one is funny, unlike the death in Illinois of a 7-year-old girl shot be a 3-year-old who was given a gun at a family target shooting party. By a felon not allowed to have guns.

Was alcohol involved? The story does not say, but it would be irresponsible not to speculate. The mug shots suggest the "adults" were wasted on something.

Why are American Second Amendment supporters not outraged and disturbed by these everyday events? They don't care.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Where were you in 1960?

A Bloomberrg in Brief story led me to the following graph. The story is irrelevant to me and, probably, most or all of my readers, but the graph was a stunner. I was unable to linkto te Bloomberg graph, but I found one very like it:

This is overall world trade. And this is population, same period:

Lots more production.

(Trade from, population from

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fun with guns!

RtO hasn't made fun of gun nuts for, oh, several days now. All the stoikes about toddlers shooting themselves or being shot were too depressing.

But lo! Texas, armed and stupid always.

Seems a Marine general cleared his weapon in former governor Rick Perry's driveway by sending the bullet through his foot.

The page that funnels this entirely unsurprising news, Juanita Jean's The World's Most Dangerous Beauty Parlor  Inc., looks like fun.

Some of the inhabitants not so much:

          Micr says:
I carry a Colt Combat Commander (semi-automatic caliber .45 ACP handgun) cocked, locked and ready to rock. One round under the hammer, thumb safety pushed up toward the rear sight. The first round from Sam Colt’s semi-automatics is single action, all rounds shot thereafter are double action.

Juanita Jean's on a roll

One day a general, another day a cop. Juanita Jean loves her a man in uniform

Saturday, May 14, 2016

An anecdote about sex

This is as much as RtO will say about North Carolina's HB2, sex changing and angry Christian bigots.

In 1977, I reported on the extensive gay bar scene in Des Moines. At a disco, I interviewed an 18-year-old. I was curious about how he had found the place, since while there were lots of gay bars of every variety in Des Moines, they all operated quietly. One was even behind an unmarked door in a warehouse.  

I was especially interested because this 18-year-old told me he'd been coming to the disco for years.

"My choir director brought me," he said.

(This story was never published. 40 years ago, even the devotedly liberal Des Moines Register was  too uncomfortable about homosexuality to print a story about gay bars.)