What do progressives believe?

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) appeared at Netroots Nation Friday and explained it all to you.

Most true Americans believe these things, not the stuff that the Tea Party terrorists stand for, and …

Wait?! Wasn’t that the Incredible Hulk at the end? If we’re gonna fight, and Hulk smash, we will win.

Don’t break the law in Louisiana

On a per capita basis, Louisiana puts more people in jail than anywhere else in the world. For every 100,000 people, the Bayou State puts 1,341 in jail. (Click chart to enlarge)

l9KIi97For that matter, 36 other U.S. states put more people in jail than anywhere else in the world. Which means America is the country with the more people behind bars at 716 per 100,000.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, the country with the next highest rate: Cuba (which we call a police state) with 510 per 100,000.

Apparently, Americans consider Americans the most lawless people in the world.

Will Republicans play nice when Obama leaves office?

Uh, no:

UPDATE: Ark. GOP official resigns after controversial comments about Hillary Clinton.

A state Republican Party official resigned Wednesday after comments he reportedly made about Hillary Clinton.

According to a U.S. News & World Report blog, 2nd Congressional District Chairman Johnny Rhoda was asked by reporters how Clinton would fare in Arkansas if she were to run for president in 2016.

His reported reply: “She’d probably get shot at the state line.”

And now that he’s resigned, is he apologizing?

Rhoda, a church pastor and insurance agent, said later that he didn’t mean the remark in a threatening way and that it had been quoted “out of context” and “blown out of proportion.”

Those church pastors in Red States and guns. A real fun group. And this is coming from a guy in a state where Hillary was first lady back when Bill was governor. And we all remember the nice things Republicans said about Bill when he was president.

Look, we know Hillary isn’t running … YET … but these guys are going to be dicks no matter what Democrat is in the White House.

Can a Democrat win the Mississippi U.S. Senate race?

Political junkies are in a frenzy today because Mississippi Republican Thad Cochran won his Republican primary race Tuesday in a close race against a Tea Party firebrand.

That, to the rest of America, neither comes as a surprise nor, in reality, generates any interest anywhere. Americans aren’t at the edge of their seats wondering who would be the Republican nominee for the Mississippi U.S. Senate race.

Cochran’s opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, is a Tea Party poster boy. Which means he’s pretty much a douche. How bad is he?

Well, this is a television ad that Cochran’s campaign didn’t broadcast against him:

That’s pretty insane. But how Cochran, a conservative Republican (Isn’t that redundant, though? Those are the only kinds of Republicans) won against a Tea Bagger is even crazier (from the Washington Post):

In an e-mail sent late last week, the black Democratic mayor of Vicksburg, Miss., urged 2,000 supporters to vote Tuesday for Sen. Thad Cochran, crediting the Republican for securing federal money for key local projects and calling him one of the city’s “best economic development tools.”

The voice of an African American state lawmaker was heard in a recorded phone call Tuesday asserting that Cochran stood between the state and a tea party conservative who would do away with government services. And full-page ads in black newspapers lauded the senator as a champion of historically black colleges.

An intensive strategy over the past three weeks to draw black voters to the polls and spare Cochran from what once seemed like a certain defeat at the hands of a tea party challenger in Tuesday’s GOP runoff appears to have worked.

Voter data shows that turnout rose sharply in Tuesday’s election in black areas of the state over the initial June 3 primary, a runoff made necessary when Chris McDaniel narrowly edged Cochran but was unable to win 50 percent of the vote.

That suggested that not only did traditionally Democratic black voters turn out on behalf of the state’s 76-year-old white Republican senator, but they may have provided his margin of victory.

What? I don’t get it. I mean, I do get it. It was a brilliant political move by the Cochran campaign. But let’s face it. The Republican party didn’t rise in the South because it was appealing to black voters.

Anyway, McDaniel is pissed. He refuses to concede. Something about “liberal Democrats” intruding on Republican elections.

But no laws were broken. And who’s to stop McDaniel from waging a write-in campaign in the general election.

Which brings us to the headline.

If McDaniel runs and splits the Tea Bagging crazies from the Republican Conservatives, it seems like the Democrat could actually win the damn thing in November. Unless African-American voters rally around Cochran again.

Mississippi Democrats wanted McDaniel to win, because … hell, look at the ad again. And there’s tons of additional McDaniel gems on women and minorities (he was a national right-wing talk radio phenom for a while). Given the way the GOP has consistently snatched defeat from certain victory by putting Tea Party crazies up for elections (Akin in Missouri, Mourdock in Indiana, Angle in Nevada, O’Donnell in Delaware), the Dems felt they had a shot in Mississippi.

But then, black people saved the incumbent Republican, and screwed that strategy up.

I think black voters, though, will probably go to the Democrat if this meme is passed around:

Impeachment is a two-step process that starts in the House. All it takes is a simple majority of that chamber to approve a single article of impeachment against the president for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Once that happens, a president is forever branded as having been impeached. President Andrew Johnson (1868) and President Bill Clinton (1998) share that distinction. President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before the full House could vote to impeach him.

To officially remove a president from office, two-thirds of the Senate must vote to convict him on those articles of impeachment. Johnson and Clinton were not convicted. Obama could share the same or worse fate. A Republican-controlled Senate could lead to Obama becoming the third president impeached and the first ever to be removed from office.

 

Obama has two years left in office. Time for the Democrats in Mississippi to step up and make sure he stays there. And if I’m the Democrat in the Mississippi race and McDaniel is still running, I’m going to make sure Cochran answers the question: Would you vote to impeach President Obama? If he answers yes, let’s see how much of the black vote he keeps.

Football vs. football: What do people really want to watch?

Every year, the Super Bowl comes around and the mavens in the sports media tell us that it’s the biggest sporting event in the world.

Then every four years, the World Cup comes around and mavens in the sports media tell us that it’s the biggest sporting event in the world.

So which one is it? (Via Beutlerink):

World-Cup-viewersBut (the NFL fans whine) you’re comparing something that happens every four years to something that happens every year.

Really, are you going to make me do the math?

Multiply the Super Bowl number by four, and you’re still short by the entire population of North America, where the only people who care about the Super Bowl live.  And when you think about it, lots of people in the world don’t have televisions. So the World Cup is a community event where villages gather in front of a lone TV to see what’s going on.

And unlike the Super Bowl, they’re not tuning in just to watch the commercials.

I was in Belgium during the 2006 World Cup, and the city put a huge monitor in the middle of the street near the Bourse (the stock exchange building) downtown and closed off the area to automobile traffic. We roamed the streets with an Italian flag and joined all the Italians after Italy beat France in the final. That year in Paris, they put a big screen on the Eiffel Tower which allowed everyone to see Zidane’s headbutt heard around the world.

In 2010, we were in a restaurant/pub in London watching Spain beat the Netherlands in the final, although the highlight of that tournament was when the U.S. tied England because goalie Robert Green let this get by him. We were watching that match with a bunch of Brits who were ragging us on how badly American asses were going to be kicked. Let’s just say, the Americans were the ones gloating at the end.

Check out this photo gallery at the Washington Post to see how people are watching the World Cup around the globe. This is not how we watch the Super Bow.

The Idaho stop: a sane bike safety law

Most people who ride bicycles regularly in busy cities would completely agree with this law in Idaho:

Yes, you don’t go zooming into cross traffic on a bicycle. Who cares about a fine. You’d end up dead. A stop sign does mean a slow rolling through the intersection. And a stop light is the equivalent of a stop sign to a bicyclist. If nothing is coming, there’s no reason to wait.

Here’s a better explanation from Vox:

For drivers, the idea of cyclists rolling through an intersection without fully stopping might sound dangerous — but because of their slower speed and wider field of vision (compared to cars), cyclists are generally able to assess whether there’s oncoming traffic and make the right decision. Even law-abiding urban bikers already do this all the time: because of the worry that cars might not see a bike, cyclists habitually scan for oncoming traffic even at intersections where they don’t have a stop sign so they can brake at the last second just in case.

There are even a few reasons why the Idaho stop might even make the roads safer than the status quo. In many cities, the low-traffic routes that are safer for bikes are the kinds of roads with many stop signs. Currently, some cyclists avoid these routes and take faster, higher-traffic streets. If the Idaho stop were legalized, it’d get cyclists off these faster streets and funnel the bikes on to safer, slower roads.

I’ve ridden regularly in New York, Washington, Louisville, Brussels, Amsterdam and the English countryside. I use the New York and Washington bike share systems regularly. The safest roads are where there are designated bike lanes, which Amsterdam and Brussels have plenty of and are growing in the states. In a lot of these places, biking is faster than mass transit.

But finding the right combination of safe streets is critical, and the Idaho stop would add more safety. Take a look at the linked Vox article for a more comprehensive look at the Idaho law.

Passenger rail in the Northeast Corridor

Here’s something for all you train junkies to ponder over for a few hours: A map of all the available commuter rail service from Boston to Washington, D.C., and not just Amtrak. (Click to enlarge, because this is one huge poster)

lRI4iCl

People use the rails far less in the U.S. than Europe, which is too bad, because when you factor in all the time it takes you to get from, let’s say, Midtown Manhattan to downtown D.C., a train will more often get you there faster than a plane will, because you have to add extra hours getting to and from airports.

But even with that, trains in Europe are faster.

Compare two cities: Brussels to Paris and New York to Baltimore. Both roughly the same distance from each other, about 185 miles.

It takes the Thalys in Europe an hour and 20 minute to get from one gare (station) to the other. But on Amtrak, it takes 2 hours and 20 minutes to cover a similar distance. I think we should do better.

New York City: It’s alive!

If you watch the pattern of Manhattanites at work and at home during a normal day, this is what it looks like in a graphic representation, where people at work turn an area red and people at home turn an area blue (via Darkhorse Analytics):

nyBreathe

Looks like an alien life form, right.

(For all you folks out in the sticks, that rectangle toward the middle is Central Park. Technically, no one lives there, but there are a lot of homeless people who would probably disagree.