Friday, October 30, 2015

Radical Centrist is Moving!

Screen shot of the new Radical Centrist!

Now when you type in, you'll find a spiffier, newly-designed site!  

The new site IS still a work in progress, so please be gentle in your critique.  =)  Don't worry about bringing formatting issues to my attention yet.  Radical Centrist is a one-person labor of love, so it's just me and email-based Wix and Google customer support trying to sort out issues.

And it's just me handling site and post page design and porting over old posts & formatting them properly (which is turning out to be a bit more laborious than I'd hoped.)

The new site will have some great new features:

More visually pleasing and easily navigated.

2) Allows incorporation of advertising while blocking ads I don't think my readers want (sorry, if you're looking for get-rich-quick schemes or a side of T&A with your news analysis and commentary, you won't find it at Radical Centrist - maybe try The Daily Caller, The Washington Times, or Politics USA instead.) 

3) Disqus commenting is now incorporated - you can log-in to comment using your Twitter or Facebook account!

4) Twitter feed integrated, too!

So pardon the dust while we remodel.  During the transition, older pieces will continue to be available here at the original blogspot address.  And as always, I hope you enjoy what you find at Radical Centrist - or at least find it thought provoking, [mostly] substantive, and occasionally entertaining.    

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Black Oregon Deputy Sues WA Restaurant That Illegally Made Him Prepay For Breakfast

I wonder how the right-wing racism-denial industry will try to spin this one ...  on second thought, not really.  Obviously they'll just claim this is some guy with a victim mentality trying to get rich off a made up story, and yet another example of the scourge of abusive litigation and the need for tort reform.

But will they change their tune when they realize that the plaintiff is actually a Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputy?  Which will win out - their desire to support law enforcement no matter what, or the desire to discredit stories of real life racist treatment no matter what?

Full story at The Oregonian.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

George W. Says "I Just Don't Like" Ted Cruz - Laura Ingraham OUTRAGED

Laura Ingraham / Source: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

Conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham was capital M-A-D - MAD - at George W. Bush on her radio show Tuesday morning.  A good part of her commentary came right from this piece she wrote, then went well beyond.  

Here are some excerpts from her piece, good chunks of which she seemed to read verbatim on her radio show:

As the hours passed after publishing this article, she apparently grew more perturbed by “the establishment GOP,” the Bush family’s place in it, and the establishment’s supposed disrespect for grassroots GOP folks like the Tea Partiers. [Note 1.] And by show time, she was tearing into her party’s last two-term President on her nationally syndicated radio show. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Professor Limbaugh Fail: Rush Don't Know Glass-Steagall

Screenshot from Limbaugh's site.

I don't want to shock anyone, but the self-declared "Mayor of Realville" apparently really doesn't know what he's talking about.

The day after the first Democratic presidential debate, Rush Limbaugh
informed his audience that “Mr. Snerdley” had spent the morning hassling him for his ignorance about the Glass-Steagall Act:

Screen shot from Limbaugh archives

Not sure how “Professor” Limbaugh missed the six or so mentions of Glass-Steagall, and moderator Anderson Cooper’s good quick-and-dirty description to bring viewers up to speed, and all of the talking head discussion about it immediately after the debate.  But whatever. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Bank of England Head Makes a Conservative, Economic Case for Action on Climate Change

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has warned that firms and regulators can no longer avoid addressing global climate change / Photo: James Oxley, CC BY-ND 2.0

A few weeks ago, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who also chairs the Financial Stability Boardgave a speech at Lloyd's of London regarding the economic impacts and challenges of global climate change.  Given his audience, he also paid particular attention to how climate change has impacted the insurance industry, and will continue to do so.

Despite plenty of disagreement on the particulars he advocates, Carney made a compelling case for corporations and financial firms to stop fighting the acknowledgement of climate change and start modifying practices NOW in order to smooth the transition, reduce the ultimate cost of combating climate change and adapting to it, and avoid not just ecological catastrophe, but economic catastrophe, as well.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Trans Lives Matter, But A Below-Average Homicide Rate Isn't A "Crisis"

Kiesha Jenkins / Source: Facebook

Kiesha Jenkins was robbed, beaten, and shot to death by a group of four men a week ago in Philadelphia.  Her death brought the year-to-date count of transgender folks murdered in the US up to 20 or 21.

But as tragic and horrible as Kiesha's death was, it wasn't indicative of a national crisis or "historic rates" of transgender murder.

As discussed here a few months ago, if transgender persons were being killed at the average U.S. homicide rate, we'd likely have seen many more than 20 transgender homicide victims nationwide so far this year.  Given the best available estimates of the trans population, and 2013 CDC homicide data, an average homicide rate would have resulted in 48 transgender victims that year.  This year, it's likely that the "expected" transgender homicide rate will be even higher, as a number of major US cities have seen a dramatic increase in homicides in 2015.

Average frequency of violent crime victimization in the U.S. in 2013.  Source: FBI

A wider array of media sources are paying closer attention to homicides involving trans people this year than has been the case in years past.  Many readers, commentators, and Twitterers seem to be assuming that every murder of a trans person was a hate crime.  This assumption is not helpful, and ignores the reality that transgender people are at least as vulnerable to the vicissitudes of American life that resulted in more than 16,000 people losing their lives to homicide in 2013.

Monday, October 12, 2015

How Small Annual Payments Made a Huge Difference for Kids' Development

Greater economic stability helps families, and children, thrive / Photo: Mike Keran, CC BY 2.0

study newly released by the National Bureau for Economic Research has HUGE implications for US social policy.  And it's all thanks to an accidental natural experiment. 

Four years into a ten-year study of 1,430 rural kids' mental health in North Carolina, the Eastern Band of Cherokees built a casino.  A quarter of the children being studied were affiliated with the tribe, which decided to distribute at least some casino profits as annual per capita payments.  The tribe paid out about $4,000 per person per year, or $16,000/yr for a family with four enrolled tribal members.  The per capitas boosted the families' incomes by just under 20% on average.

The impact on these children's mental health and their development of pro-social personality traits was substantial.  The stabilizing effect of the payments helped reduce family discord, promoted marital cohesion, and resulted in reduced alcohol abuse rates among parents receiving the boost in income, all of which made positive, lasting impacts on the kids.  And the children who'd been struggling the most benefited the most.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Happy World Mental Health Day!

Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling survived depression and became one of history's best-selling authors.

It's appreciated when high-profile people share their own experiences with mental illness.   These testimonies help counter the stigma that prevents too many from seeking help for thoroughly treatable medical conditions.  Folks like J.K. Rowling, Demi Lovato, Mary J. Blige, Wil Wheaton, Ashley Judd, Sherman Alexie, Halle Berry, Stephen Fry, Patrick Kennedy, Brandon Marshall, Richard Dreyfuss, Sheryl Crow, John Nash, Cee-Lo Green, Mike Wallace ... their stories, and those of myriad historical figures who survived and thrived despite struggles with mental illness, have meant a lot to me over the past three years of recovering from a mental health crisis.  

But I've been even more inspired and heartened by others who are regular folks, people it's a little easier to relate to, who stand up and say - despite reasonable concern about the assumptions that at least some others will make about them - I have a mental illness.  It is part of who I am.  But it does not define me.  

So in that spirit, here's a small gesture to help pass along the love, solidarity, and non-linear joy of working toward self-acceptance.  

I struggle with PTSD and chronic depression.  I'm alive and functioning today (such as I am) thanks to modern psychiatric medications.  My conditions have been with me since childhood, and will probably need to be managed with medication for the rest of my life.

I've had some accomplishments in life that I'm proud of.  But I've also some stellar failures, most of which occurred after my untreated conditions snuck up on me and pulled me into a pit.  Of course, the failures only made the pit broader and deeper.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hillary 2016 Operatives Need Better Message Control

Hillary supporters in Bethesda, MD, May 2015 / Photo: Karen Murphy, CC BY-ND 2.0 

Hillary 2016 campaign operatives have said some unfortunate things to reporters this year at the expense of their candidate.  And on yesterday's episode of With All Due Respect, Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri says a mouthful around minutes 17:40:  

HALPERIN voice-over: Clinton's Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri says her candidate is, in fact, pretty much normal.

PALMIERI: The elements are all there of campaigning like a normal person.  A lot of contact with voters, a lot of one on one time with voters, big town halls, you see her answering a lot of questions.  She loves all that.  Um, a lot of interviews, as well, a lot of local, and national. 

Most of Palmieri's response is fine.  And, granted, it was probably phrased to echo the question she was asked.  But friendly fire still wounds.

Things Hillary's Campaign Shouldn't Say

From the cheap seats out here in Oregon, it seems that Hillary's staff should avoid uttering any phrase asserting that Clinton is behaving like a normal person.  This is as painfully obvious as was the ill-advised nature of telegraphing to a New York Times reporter that the campaign was planning to become more spontaneous and more focused on Hillary's heart and humor.