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.

Brussels Express: A view from a bike

As one who’s bicycled in Brussels, I found this surprising because riding a bike was pretty convenient as far as I was concerned. I regularly rode from my commune in Boisford in the southeast part of the city by the forest to work near Park Cinquintanaire, on the side away from the European Union buildings. It was pretty much straight bike path the whole way. I never dealt with much traffic, even when I took an alternate route and went down side streets.

But to hear these guys talk, Brussels is a bicyclist’s nightmare.

Obviously, they have never been to the States.

But I do agree with them in one regard. The automobile drivers in Brussels are insane. And their insanity is encouraged by the law.

They have this amazingly stupid traffic rule called “priorité à droite.” That means that if your driving straight down a road a car approaching from the right has the right of way.

Crazy, right? But that’s not the absolutely psychopathic beauty of traffic in Brussels. Not every street has a stoplight or stop signs. In any direction.

The director of the city’s traffic management agency was once asked why that was, and his response was: “traffic signs cost a lot of money!”

So, drivers from sane parts of the world were constantly driving along and getting hit on their right side because “priorité à droits.” That’s why you see so many car accidents in this video. The law encourages them.

But I drove in Brussels for 6 years and never got into a car accident. I had to move to England for that to happen. There, I was going along straight and go hit on the left. Student driver.  My car, which I bought in Brussels, took a beating in England.

And note that the video says Brussels has 4 percent bicycle traffic. Compare that to the U.S.

us-cities-bicycle-commuting-chart.jpg.662x0_q100_crop-scale

Compared to the U.S., Brussels is overrun with bicyclists.
 

And now, the right wing’s favorite rancher, Cliven Bundy!

So, yeah, I’ve been trying to ignore this “rancher agin’ the gubment” TV orgy. But honestly, when you see a story about flag wavin’, tax hatin’, Stetson wearin’ defenders of the Amurkin’ way bearin’ arms to protect FREEDOM!!! … Do you REALLY expect their inevitable discourse on race to be all …

And as for the conservative politicians and pundits who all were featured entertainers in the Cliven Bundy Travelin’ Salvation Show only a few short days ago … well let’s just say I never saw roaches scatter as fast when the lights came on.

For some reason, this whole circus has been like watching Maximus Decimus Meridius in the Colosseum:

This is why we go through airport security

From the government TSA blog’s week in review:

Concealed Firearms– Normally when our officers discover firearms, they’re inside carry-on bags. This week, three loaded firearms were discovered on the passenger.

  • A 380. caliber firearm loaded with five rounds and one chambered was discovered strapped to a passenger’s ankle after walking through a metal detector at Cincinnati (CVG).
  • A loaded 380. caliber firearm with a round chambered was discovered in the rear pocket of a San Antonio (SAT) passenger during Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) screening.
  • A 380. caliber firearm loaded with five rounds was discovered after a passenger walked through a metal detector at Dallas – Ft. Worth (DFW).

 

51 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 51 firearms, 45 were loaded and 20 had rounds chambered.

“This week” was last week. People know when they go to catch a flight that they’re going to be scanned and their bags are going to be scanned. But we have in one week a bunch of idiots trying to carry 51 guns on planes. And a hell of a lot of them were loaded (the guns, not the idiots).

Here are just a few:

Guns+1Here’s a full list of the types of guns found as people were checking in for their flights:

Guns

Want to know what else miscreants tried to carry on planes last week?

•Two inert artillery shells were discovered in a checked bag at Chicago O’Hare (ORD). Two minors were returning from Europe and had found the shells at a French WWI era artillery range.
•Four inert/replica/novelty grenades were discovered in carry-on bags this week. Two were discovered in Atlanta (ATL), and the others were found at Baltimore (BWI), and Oklahoma City (OKC).
•Two razor blades were detected inside the shoe and wallet of a Cincinnati (CVG) passenger.
•A 6-inch saw blade was detected, concealed inside a bible at Orlando (MCO).
•Three box cutter blades were detected concealed in a shoe inside the carry-on bag of a Baton Rouge passenger.
•A cell phone stun gun was discovered at Omaha (OMA).
•A comb knife was discovered at John Wayne (SNA).
•A lipstick stun gun was discovered at Detroit (DTW).
•A shocking device was detected inside a cane at Billings (BIL).

I could almost understand the razor blades. Until I saw they were hidden in shoes. You know, you might have a razor blade in your carry on because you packed your razor there by mistake. Putting a razor blade in a shoe isn’t a mistake. And what’s with the saw in the Bible? Someone going to visit a friend in prison and planned to “spread the word” for an early release?

And fake grenades? What bothers me here is I often fly through BWI.

I do get annoyed with the check in process, mainly because I’m always behind people who apparently have never been on a plane before and have no concept of keeping the line moving. Last time I flew, I ended up behind a woman who kept going to the scanner and who kept being told … you have to take your coat off … you have to take your shoes off … you have to take the change out of your pocket … you have to remove your jewelry …

And then it turned out her boarding pass said “TSA Pre,” which means she had been already approved to go to the pre-check line, where she just could have walked through. But instead she got in the line with the rest of us and delayed the process.

But again, after seeing what people were trying to carry on planes last week, I’ll put up with the hassle and just get to the airport an hour earlier.

A bank settlement that doesn’t settle much

JPMorgan had a significant role in the major financial meltdown that resulted from its shady dealings in mortgage securities. It reached a $13 billion settlement with the U.S.

But is it a fair settlement? An explanation of the JPMorgan settlement, from Bill Moyers:

 

A massacre, within walking distance

130916-navy-yard-emergency-hmed-11a.photoblog600I bicycled to work this morning, as usual, and heard a lot of sirens on the way. As I headed along the Waterfront, I watched police cars speed by.

This is Washington. I thought it was some kind of motorcade.

Then I got to work and saw on the Web that there was an “active shooting incident” at the Navy Yard. That’s a military installation about three blocks from Nationals Park. I live four blocks from Nationals Park in the other direction.

And at the end of the day, I see that a heavily armed psychopath went on a rampage and killed 12 people before the police killed him. Seven blocks from where I live.

Crazy people with guns are getting too close to where I live. I expect to see the usual pontificating about gun legislation and the back and forth with the NRA about the right to bear arms vs. the right to live without being shot.

But why bother?

A psychopath with a small arsenal walked into an elementary school and killed 20 first graders less than 10 months ago. Congress didn’t do a thing. Why should we expect anything more when a psychopath with a small arsenal walks into a military installation and kills 12 adults?

And while all this is happening, states are passing this kind of legislation:

Iowa is granting permits to acquire or carry guns in public to people who are legally or completely blind.

No one questions the legality of the permits. State law does not allow sheriffs to deny an Iowan the right to carry a weapon based on physical ability.

The quandary centers squarely on public safety. Advocates for the disabled and Iowa law enforcement officers disagree over whether it’s a good idea for visually disabled Iowans to have weapons.

Let me make this simple.

No. It’s a stupid idea to let blind people carry guns. Just like it’s going to be stupid to let another mass murder go by without taking any kind of action.

But we seem to relish in our right to be stupid. Don’t we?

Texas regulation: Organic farms or fertilizer plants?

Sometimes, you’ve gotta wonder about Texas:

A small organic farm in Arlington, Texas, was the target of a massive police action last week that included aerial surveillance, a SWAT raid and a 10-hour search.

Members of the local police raiding party had a search warrant for marijuana plants, which they failed to find at the Garden of Eden farm. But farm owners and residents who live on the property told a Dallas-Ft. Worth NBC station that the real reason for the law enforcement exercise appears to have been code enforcement. The police seized “17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants … native grasses and sunflowers,” after holding residents inside at gunpoint for at least a half-hour, property owner Shellie Smith said in a statement. The raid lasted about 10 hours, she said.

Local authorities had cited the Garden of Eden in recent weeks for code violations, including “grass that was too tall, bushes growing too close to the street, a couch and piano in the yard, chopped wood that was not properly stacked, a piece of siding that was missing from the side of the house, and generally unclean premises,” Smith’s statement said. She said the police didn’t produce a warrant until two hours after the raid began, and officers shielded their name tags so they couldn’t be identified.

The state of Gov. Rick “Remember My Name Because I Don’t” Perry unloaded a swat team against an organic farm because its grass was too tall? Texas thinks this is worth regulating, but it won’t regulate this?

That’s the fertilizer plant that blew up in West Texas this past April. This is what Rick Perry said a few days after the explosion (from the Dallas Morning News):

Gov. Rick Perry said Monday that spending more state money on inspections would not have prevented the deadly explosion. He said that he remains comfortable with the state’s level of oversight and suggested that most Texas residents agree with him.

People “through their elected officials clearly send the message of their comfort with the amount of oversight,” he said.

Now obviously, the brain trust in Texas saw organic farm, thought “Hippies,” and came up with “They must be growing pot.” Except “17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants … native grasses and sunflowers” are not pot. But even if there was weed amid the acreage, a burning field of marijuana, at worst, gives everyone a contact high. A burning fertilizer plant explodes and kills more than a dozen people and leave a bunch more injured.

So which one does Texas feel is the bigger threat to the population. Organic farms.

Oops!