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Thinkwing Radio with Mike Honig (@ThinkwingRadio), a listener call-in show airing live every Monday night from 3-4 PM (CT) on KPFT-FM 90.1 (Houston). My engineer is Leti. Today’s show is a fundraising show, so, with apologies, we can’t take on-air phone calls,
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For the purposes of this show, I operate on two mottoes:
- You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts;
- An educated electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy.
“This too shall pass” ~ (Persian: این نیز بگذرد, translit. īn nīz bogzarad, Hebrew: גַּם זֶה יַעֲבֹר, translit. gam zeh yaʻavor, Turkish: bu da geçer ya hu) is an adage reflecting on the temporary nature, or ephemerality, of the human condition. The general sentiment is often expressed in wisdom literature throughout history and across cultures, although the specific phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets. It is known in the Western world primarily due to a 19th century retelling of Persian fable by the English poet Edward FitzGerald. It was also notably employed in a speech by Abraham Lincoln before he became the sixteenth President of the United States. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
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Make sure you are registered to vote!
- HarrisVotes.com (Election Information Line (713) 755-6965) Dr. Diane Trautman, Harris County Clerk
- In Texas, but outside Harris County? VoteTexas.gov
- You may vote early by-mail if
- you are registered to vote and meet one of the following criteria:
- Away from the county of residence on Election Day and during the early voting period;
- Sick or disabled;
- 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
- Confined in jail, but eligible to vote.
- Make sure you are registered:
- Sample Ballots are now available!
- HARRIS CTY – IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR VOTING: Do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of these IDs?
- Fill out a declaration at the polls describing a reasonable impediment to obtaining it, and show a copy or original of one of the following supporting forms of ID:
- A government document that shows your name and an address, including your voter registration certificate
- Current utility bill
- Bank statement
- Government check
- (a) A certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes your identity (which may include a foreign birth document)
- Outside Texas? Try Vote.org.
- Make it a point to listen to my April 22, 2019 Interview with Harris County Clerk Dr. Dianne Trautman
- In Texas, but outside Harris County? VoteTexas.gov
- The battle for the Lege is gonna be lit, by Charles Kuffner | Off the Kuff | Jun 24th, 2019
- Citing from the Texas Tribune by Patrick Svitek | org | June 13, 20193 AM: Some Democrats are mobilizing in hopes of taking the nine House seats they need for a majority in 2020 as Republican House Speaker Dennis Bonnen tries to prevent intra-GOP challenges in the primaries.
- … [S]ome Democrats — both in Texas and outside it — are already putting on the fight for the majority in the state House, where their party is nine seats away from control of the chamber. Views vary on just how within reach the majority is for Democrats, but few disagree that 2020 will be a frenzied cycle for House races as Democrats work to protect — and potentially build on — their recent gains. Republicans, meanwhile, are pushing to take back seats and head off the worst-case scenario: a Democratic-led House heading into the 2021 redistricting process. …
- …“Everything is focused on redistricting,” state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, said at a recent tea party meeting as he fielded questions about the demise of some controversial legislation this session. “There is nothing more important — not only to Texas, but literally the nation — than to make sure that we maintain the Texas House … going into redistricting because if you look at the nation — we lose Texas, we lose the nation. And there’s no other place to go.”
- ANALYSIS FROM CHARLES KUFF: At this point, the name of the game is one part candidate recruitment and one part raising money, which will be the job of the various PACs until the candidates get settled. In Harris County, we have two good candidates each for the [GOP] main targets: Akilah Bacy and Josh Wallenstein (who ran for HCDE [Harris County’s Trustee for its Department of Education] in 2018 …) in HD138, and Ann Johnson and Ruby Powers in HD134. In Fort Bend, Sarah DeMerchant appears to be running again in HD26, while Eliz Markowitz (candidate for SBOE7 in 2018) is aiming for HD28. We still need (or I need to do a better job searching for) candidates in HDs 29, 85, and 126, for starters. If you’re in one of those competitive Republican-held State Rep districts, find out who is or may be running for the Dems. If you’re in one of those targeted-by-the-GOP districts, be sure to help out your incumbent. Kelly Hancock is absolutely right: This is super-duper important.
- Supreme Court says law banning registration of ‘scandalous’ trademarks violates First Amendment, By Ariane de Vogue and Kate Sullivan | CNN | Updated 11:46 AM ETMon June 24, 2019
- Washington (CNN)The Supreme Court struck down Monday a provision of federal law that prohibits the registration of “immoral” or “scandalous” trademarks as a violation of the First Amendment. The justices’ ruling clears the way for a clothing designer to apply for a federal trademark for his clothing line called F**T [and isn’t “FOOT”]. The ruling, which was unanimous in part and 6-3 in part, could open the doors to more requests to register words or phrases that have been considered vulgar, a concern that the court’s minority feared. …
- In 2011, Brunetti sought to register the mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office … The office refused Brunetti’s request because [THE NAME] was the “phonetic equivalent” of the past tense of a vulgar word, and determined that federal law prohibits the registration of trademarks that consist of “scandalous” subject matter.
- … Entrepreneur Erik Brunetti said he founded a clothing brand in 1990 to question authority and the assumptions of society. He said his company’s name stands for “FRIENDS U CAN’T TRUST.” …
- Kagan wrote the statute “does not draw the line at lewd, sexually explicit, or profane marks” instead it covers “the universe of immoral or scandalous” material.
- “A law disfavoring ‘ideas that offend’ discriminates based on viewpoint, in violation of the First Amendment,” she wrote.
- Kagan was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch in full. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor concurred in part and dissented in part.
- Alito suggested that Congress could step in and act. …
- S. Supreme Court takes up insurers’ $12 billion Obamacare dispute, By Nate Raymond | REUTERS.COM | 8:46 AM / Updated 3 hours ago
- (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether the federal government must pay insurers $12 billion under an Obamacare program aimed at encouraging them to cover previously uninsured people after the healthcare law was enacted in 2010.
- The justices will hear an appeal by a group of insurers of a lower court ruling that Congress had suspended the government’s obligation to make the payments. The insurers have argued that the ruling would allow the government to pull a “bait-and-switch” and withhold money they were promised. …
- …Republicans, who have opposed Obamacare from the outset and sought numerous times to repeal it in Congress, have called the risk-corridor program a “bailout” for the insurance industry
- In December 2014, Congress passed an appropriations bill for the 2015 fiscal year that included a rider barring the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from using general funds to pay the government’s risk corridor obligations.
- As a result, the government could compensate insurers only with the money it collected from insurance companies that paid less than they took in from premiums. Congress enacted identical riders for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
- Payments from insurers, though, could not fund all of the claimed risk corridor payments. In November 2017, HHS published statistics indicating that payments from insurers for the three-year period fell short of claimed payments by $12 billion. …
- Trump lashes out at the Federal Reserve yet again, comparing it to ‘a stubborn child’, By Gina Heeb | BUSINESSINSIDER.COM | Jun. 24, 2019, 09:24 AM
- President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday morning to criticize the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate policy yet again.
- The comments come after Fed left borrowing costs unchanged at the end of a two-day policy meeting Wednesday.
- Trump has stepped up his attacks on the independent central bank as his trade wars threaten to hurt the economy in the run-up to the 2020 elections.
- The president has repeatedly pressured officials to slash interest rates and attempted to install political allies on the Federal Reserve Board. …
- …Financial markets jumped to record highs last week after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and signaled it could lower them at a July meeting. The central bank said this month it was ready to step in if trade disputes worsen.
- Trump argued the Fed should have lowered interest rates already, however. The president’s criticism on the central bank and its chairman, Jay Powell, has grown in recent weeks as sprawling tariffs threaten to hurt the economy ahead of the 2020 elections.
- Bloomberg reported last week that the administration looked into whether it could demote Powell, which the president has since denied.
- FedEx will no longer provide express shipping for Amazon in the US, by Eugene Kim (@eugenekim222) | CNBC.com | Fri, Jun 7 2019 2:02 PM EDT Updated Fri, Jun 7 2019 2:58 PM EDT
- Key Points
- FedEx announces Friday that it won’t renew its express U.S. shipping contract with Amazon.
- The move comes as Amazon is more aggressively building out its own shipping and delivery network.
- Key Points
- India’s blowout election is a lesson for US Democrats, By Annalisa Merelli | COM/ | May 24, 2019
- Narendra Modi, India’s Hindu nationalist prime minister, defied expectations when he won his second election in an even bigger landslide than the first one. He did so at the expense of India’s Congress party, which campaigned on a secular and pluralist platform.
- Turns out the nationalist message of Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hugely popular with voters. It was a massive defeat—the second in a row—for India’s more liberal Congress party. It’s a bitter loss that came with many lessons, ones that Democrats in the United States would be wise to heed. …
- … Politics in India have traditionally been about the economy. This time, however, Modi and the BJP’s support of Hindu nationalism took a more prominent position than it had in past campaigns, exploiting tension with Pakistan to redirect the debate toward national security and anti-Muslim sectarianism. As Modi’s message grew stronger, [the once-dominant Congress Party] failed to really fight for India’s long-established secular ideals. …
- … The Congress isn’t known for its ability to learn lessons, but there are some more to note. And given that a left-leaning party promoting pluralism just lost to a right-leaning party promoting nationalism, the Democratic Party in the United States should probably read a long as it prepares for its own election season.
- Don’t make it about the candidate: Modi’s leadership of the BJP is strong, and there is no separating his party or government’s success and work from his own. His party capitalized on this, turning the election into a referendum on him—rather than his government’s record. Polarizing figures like Modi tend to benefit from these kinds of politics. His party understood this. His adversaries did not.
- Turning the campaign into a vote for or against Modi prevented the opposition from asserting its own ideas. Even when the Congress proposed policies that could have appealed to a broad electorate — for instance, guaranteed minimum income … — they received little attention. As George Lakoff explained in his 2004 book, Don’t Think of an Elephant, obsessing over a candidate’s flaws only makes him or her more popular.
- Democrats in the United States made this mistake in the 2016 election, running a campaign against Donald Trump instead of for their own policies.
- Dare to be different: … For many voters, the Congress party is associated with old-school elitist politics, corruption, and a perceived inability to bring change to India. Gandhi’s candidacy didn’t do much to change anyone’s minds.
- Make friends: Congress also failed to make strong alliances with other, smaller political parties…. Progressives seem to make this mistake a lot. While conservatives often stick together (the Republican Party’s support of Trump during the campaign is a textbook example), liberals often fail to find common ground. In the last presidential campaign, the Democratic primaries went on long after Trump was the presumed nominee. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton spent more time tearing each other apart than focusing on the bigger fight. The extremely crowded field of potential democratic candidates suggests the same thing could happen again.
- Focus the narrative: Modi’s narrative of a new, strong, corruption-free India—one with international power, credibility and gravitas—appealed to many voters. It delivered a clear vision of what he was promising, and one that Indians were fast to embrace. Congress never presented a clear vision of its own.
- [The Congress Party] decried the threat to secular values [Modi’s Party] posed, and held itself up as its defender. But rather than communicating how those values could help India succeed, the party focused more on what would happen if protections further deteriorated.
- This is not unlike what happened during the 2016 election in the United States. Just look at the campaign slogans: Trump’s “Make America Great Again” had a clear if suspect mission. Clinton’s “Stronger Together” described a status, not an intention. Democrats could face the same problem they did in 2016—and the same problem India’s Congress party faced this week—unless they forget about the opposition, stop playing defense, and promote their own, clear vision.
- Opinion – The Old Scourge of Anti-Semitism Rises Anew in Europe, Jews face threats from extremists on the left and the right. A third of European Jews have considered emigrating. By The Editorial Board (The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section. |com | May 26, 2019
- For years, Europe maintained the comforting notion that it was earnestly confronting anti-Semitism after the horrors of the Holocaust. It now faces the alarming reality that anti-Semitism is sharply on the rise, often from the sadly familiar direction of the far right, but also from Islamists and the far left.
- The worrisome trend was underscored by a report issued by the German government this month showing that anti-Semitic incidents in Germany had increased by almost 20 percent in 2018 from the previous year, to 1,799, with 69 classified as acts of violence. The most common offense was the use of the swastika and other illegal symbols; the rest ranged from online incitement and insults to arson, assault and murder.
- Of the total, the report attributed 89 percent of the incidents to the far right. Germany, like many other European nations, has seen a resurgence of a neo-fascist right, but much of the recent reporting in Germany on the rise of anti-Semitism has focused on hostility to Jews among Muslim migrants. A European Union survey conducted in 2018 likewise found that among German Jews who had experienced anti-Semitic harassment over the past five years, 41 percent perceived the perpetrators of the most serious incidents to be “someone with a Muslim extremist view.” …
- … That the rise in incidents was in Germany made the government report all the more concerning. But anti-Semitism is on the rise all across Europe, as well as in the United States. France reported an increase of 74 percent in anti-Semitic acts in a single year, with 541 incidents reported in 2018, including widely viewed videotaped insults shouted at the French Jewish intellectual Alain Finkielkraut during one of the Yellow Vest protests. In Britain, nine Labour members of Parliament quit their party in part over the cloud of anti-Semitism hanging over the party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. …
- … In the United States, attacks on synagogues by white-supremacist gunmen have led the growing list of assaults on Jews. [From ADL (the Anti-Defamation League – “The U.S. Jewish community experienced near-historic levels of anti-Semitism in 2018, including a doubling of anti-Semitic assaults and the single deadliest attack against the Jewish community in American history, according to new data from ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) issued today. ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic incidents recorded a total of 1,879 attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions across the country in 2018, the third-highest year on record since ADL started tracking such data in the 1970s.”]
- A tally of incidents does not tell the full story. To a degree, the numbers reflect the way hate speech, intolerance, anger and once-taboo themes have found their way into the open on social media or via populist movements, allowing hatred of Jews to come out of the shadows. But far-right and far-left politicians have often learned to project themselves as defenders of Jews while drawing on blatantly anti-Semitic tropes, as Mr. Orban has done in Hungary. Among the Muslims of Europe, and among some leftists, a resentment of Israel often crosses into hostility to all Jews. …
- … A CNN poll last November on the state of anti-Semitism in Europe found that a third of respondents said they knew little or nothing about the Holocaust. Nearly a quarter said Jews had too much influence in conflict and wars; more than a quarter said they believed that Jews had too much influence in business and finance. A 2015 survey by the Anti-Defamation League found that 51 percent of Germans believed it was “probably true” that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.” These are the stereotypes that make anti-Semitism an especially pernicious form of bigotry, a grand conspiracy theory in which Jews spread evil in their countries through some illusory subterfuge, whether controlling capital, or the media, or whatever.
- All this is not news to European Jews, who for some time have been feeling less and less safe and welcome in their home countries. After polling more than 16,000 Jews in 12 European countries at the end of last year, the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights concluded that anti-Semitic hate speech, harassment and fear of being recognized as Jews were becoming the new normal. Eighty-five percent of the respondents thought anti-Semitism was the biggest social and political problem in their countries; almost a third said they avoided Jewish events or sites because of safety concerns. More than a third said they had considered emigrating in the five years preceding the survey.
- As appalling as these statistics should be to every European, they should also ring a loud alarm for every American leader of conscience. Speak up, now, when you glimpse evidence of anti-Semitism, particularly within your own ranks, or risk enabling the spread of this deadly virus.
- Report: Texas to lose billions if new major storm hits coast, Updated 9:00 am CDT, Sunday, May 26, 2019 (COM)
- The Urgent Quest for Slower, Better News – The current system for delivering news online is broken. Readers and journalists will need to work together to find a new one. By Michael Luo | NEWYORKER.COM | April 10, 2019
- Commentary: The 45th president of the U.S. is poisoning his nation, By Michael Orton | Special to The [SALT LAKE CITY] Tribune | APR-14-2019