Thursday, April 30, 2015

360 degrees of straight souljah (gone be a little harder to emulate than elizabeth warren)

theroc |  Peace. I stand before you today feeling very confident, steadfast and powerful; at the same time, I am surprised, that I as a young African woman, have impacted and effected the development of not only national politics, but international politics as well. It is very shocking to me that in a time of American economic recession, and inner city urban chaos, Democratic presidential contender Bill Clinton has chosen to attack not the issues, but a young African woman who is very well educated, alcohol free, drug free and a successful self employed businesswoman, and community servant.

Considerable time has been spent debating whether America should take seriously the words of a rap artist, or so called entertainers. Let me clarify for the press who I am - I am Sister Souljah; rapper, activist, organizer, and lecturer. I was born in the Bronx, New York, spent the earlier part of my life there, was raised by my mother, was on and off the welfare system for approximately 15 years, lived in government subsidized housing and was classified by sociologists as being in the under class-meaning living below the poverty line in a vicious cycle of poverty that America says one can not break out of. I supplemented my education in the White American school system by reading African history, which was intentionally left out of the curriculum of American students. By doing so, I was able to become the well-balanced, reassured woman that I am now. While in high school, I was a Legislative intern at the House of Representatives for the Republican party. I was a winner of the American Legion's Constitutional Oratory Contest, attended Cornell University's Advanced Placement Summer Session, and entered Rutgers University. I attended the University of Salamanca's Study Abroad program in Salamance, Spain, worked at a medical center in Zimbabwe, visited Mozambiquan refugee camps and traveled throughout the Southern African region. I have also visited and lectured in the former Soviet Union, England, France, Portugal, Finland and Holland.

Moreover, at Rutgers I was a well known writer and political commentator for the university newspaper. I attended church in the Bronx in New York City, where my great grandmother was the pastor. She died this year at age 92. While finishing at Rutgers University, I was offered a job by Rev. Benjamin F. Chavis of the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, which is a church sponsored civil rights firm. I developed, organized and financed, through hip-hop music, a sleep away summer camp called the African Youth Survival Camp for children of homeless families and ran it successfully for 3 years, thus leaving Rutgers one semester prior to graduation. I have spoken on the same platform with Jesse Jackson, Minister Louis Farrakkan, Rev. Ben Chavis, Rev. Calvin Butts and Nelson Mandela.

As you can see I am no newcomer to the world of politics. I am mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally, intellectually and academically developed and acutely aware of the condition of African people throughout the entire world.

My album "360 Degrees of Power" is an amalgamation of all of my thoughts, personal, and professional experiences here in America. My album was produced by Eric Sadler, one of the producers who created the music for Public Enemy, Ice-Cube and others. Any person who purchases my album will have a full understanding of what I think and believe, although it was designed specifically with the African community in mind. I was certain that Bill Clinton was unfamiliar with me, my development and work, musical and otherwise. He chose to comment without any investigation whatsoever based on an interview in an ultra conservative newspaper, The Washington Post, which is about as familiar with the experiences of Africans in America, inner city youth, and hip-hop, as Bill Clinton is. I however, did not fail to do my research and my research reveals the following indictment of Bill Clinton's integrity:

1) Bill Clinton is a draft-dodger who wrote in a letter "Thank you...for saving me from the draft" and then asserts regularly that he supports military force when necessary, especially against Communism. He, therefore, feels it's alright to send your son to fight wars when he himself would not fight for the principals he SAYS he believes in.

2) Bill Clinton talks of morality but admits that he was a reefer smoker who does not inhale. Sister Soujah has never smoked reefer or any other drug.

3) Bill Clinton says he believes in a strong family unit but could never quite get his own personal and social behavior together. His treatment and dismissal of Jennifer Flowers is indicative of how he relieves himself from his personal responsibility and created an emotionally abusive environment to Jennifer Flowers. He seems to feel comfortable attacking and alienating women for his own shortcomings.

4) Bill Clinton says that Sister Souljah is a racist like David Duke, a well known ex-Klan member and White supremist, but was a member in an all White segregated club up until this year.

5) Bill Clinton portrays himself as compassionate, yet he supports giving prisoners lobotomies, removing sections of the brain.

6) Bill Clinton takes shots at Dan Quayle's intellectual feasibility yet he has not presented America with any substantive, comprehensive agenda around economic development, foreign policy, budget containment or social policy.

7) Bill Clinton says he is not a racist but he tries to distance himself from Jesse Jackson - a candidate who has registered more voters, served the interest of poor Blacks, poor Whites, poor Latinos, unions, laborers and farmers and by experience, intellect, and charisma, is far more qualified for the job.

Therefore, we can conclude that Bill Clinton lacks integrity at painting himself as a staunch patriot, a people's servant, a compassionate liberal, a family man, a pro-woman candidate and a coherent scholar. Sister Souljah, on the other hand, was used as a vehicle, like Willie Horton, and various other Black victims. A poor excuse for an AGENDA-LESS candidate.  Fist tap Vic.

our second black POTUS the hon.sis.preznit souljah laments the missing black men bill snatched...,

NYTimes |  Hillary Rodham Clinton had not planned to make the first major policy speech of her presidential campaign an impassioned plea to mend the nation’s racial fissures and overhaul an “out-of-balance” criminal justice system.

But by Tuesday, as the nation confronted shocking scenes of Baltimore’s smoke-filled streets, Mrs. Clinton knew that the death of Freddie Gray from injuries he suffered while in police custody would lead her to make race, poverty and incarceration of men from poor, black communities central to her early campaign.

“There is something profoundly wrong when African-American men are still far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes and sentenced to longer prison terms than are meted out to their white counterparts,” Mrs. Clinton said in a forceful address Wednesday at Columbia University.

She said Mr. Gray’s death, the subsequent protests and the assault on innocent police officers in Baltimore “tear at your soul.”
The remarks marked the first time Mrs. Clinton has delivered a substantive policy address in a fledgling presidential race that had to now been defined by candidates’ upbeat announcements and vague promises.

the real sistah souljah scared confederate bill so bad he up and disappeared 1.5 million black men...,

HuffPo |  Former President Bill Clinton is urging politicians to take a stand on criminal justice reform and take concrete steps toward reducing the country's prison population.

In a foreword for a new book of essays on criminal justice reform complied by New York University School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice, Clinton says the tough-on-crime policies of the 1990s "overshot the mark" on incarceration.

"The drop in violence and crime in America has been an extraordinary national achievement," Clinton writes. "But plainly, our nation has too many people in prison and for too long -- we have overshot the mark. With just 5 percent of the world’s population, we now have 25 percent of its prison population, and an emerging bipartisan consensus now understands the need to do better."
The U.S. is estimated to have a prison population of more than 2.4 million people, and incarcerates more of its population than any other nation in the world. As The Guardian notes, the prison rate increased signifcantly during Clinton's tenure in office.

Clinton says the policies implemented during his years as president were effective in reducing violent crime, but added that many of the measures were "overly broad instead of appropriately tailored."
"Some are in prison who shouldn't be, others are in for too long, and without a plan to educate, train, and reintegrate them into our communities, we all suffer," he writes.

this is what abject and farcical fraud looks and sounds like...,

Time |  Hillary Clinton called on Wednesday for broad criminal-justice reform and renewed trust between police officers and communities, reflecting the former First Lady’s evolution from supporting the policies instituted by her husband two decades ago in a period of high crime rates.
Clinton called for body cameras in every police department in the country, as well as an end to an “era of mass incarceration.” Her speech came two days after the funeral in Baltimore of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody, and amidst ongoing civil unrest in that city.

“There is something profoundly wrong when African-American men are far more likely to be stopped by the police and charged with crimes and given longer prison terms than their white counterparts,” Clinton said. “There is something wrong when trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve breaks down … We must urgently begin to rebuild bonds of trust and respect among American between police and citizens.”

Clinton offered few specific policy plans in the speech, and didn’t explain how police forces would pay for body cameras on all officers. She spoke broadly about reducing jail sentences for low-level offenders and the effects of imprisoning millions, particular African Americans. “We don’t want to create another incarceration generation,” Clinton said.

po elijah..., more work this week than in 19 years on capital hill (still got a hot young wife cialis a game changer!)

mediaite |  Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings is in Baltimore tonight, and he started using a bullhorn at around 10 pm to tell people to clear out after the police-imposed curfew for protesters. Fox News reporter Leland Vittert was on the scene and asked some questions of Cummings about the protests and the new report tonight claiming Freddie Gray may have been trying to injure himself.

Sean Hannity, back in his studio, had some questions for Cummings too, but the second Cummings was informed Hannity wished to speak with him, he made his way off-camera.

Vittert kept following him, though, and Hannity used him to ask Cummings if President Obama jumped to conclusions too soon in Baltimore. And as Cummings spoke, Hannity chimed in with counter-commentary that he couldn’t hear, like claiming that Obama “lashed out against the police.”

Cummings kept shouting through his bullhorn for people to go home instead of answering more questions. Vittert kept following and at one point Cummings shouted at him through the bullhorn.
And towards the end of this segment, you can hear Cummings shouting to another Fox News personality: “Excuse me, Geraldo! Excuse me! We’re trying to make sure people go home!”

Mom in loco overseer....

Washington Post | It’s not surprising that a black mother in Baltimore who chased down, cursed and beat her 16-year-old son in the middle of a riot has been called a hero. In this country, when black mothers fulfill stereotypes of mammies, angry and thwarting resistance to a system designed to kill their children, they get praised.
“He gave me eye contact,” Toya Graham told CBS News. “And at that point, you know, not even thinking about cameras or anything like that — that’s my only son and at the end of the day, I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray. Is he the perfect boy? No he’s not, but he’s mine.”
In other words, Graham’s message to America is: I will teach my black son not to resist white supremacy so he can live.
The kind of violent discipline Graham unleashed on her son did not originate with her, or with my adoptive mother who publicly beat me when I was a child, or with the legions of black parents who equate pain with protection and love. The beatings originated with white supremacy, a history of cultural and physical violence that devalues black life at every turn. From slavery through Jim Crow, from the school-to-prison pipeline, the innocence and protection of black children has always been a dream deferred.
The problem is that Graham’s actions do not assure that her son, and legions like him, will survive childhood. Recall the uncle who in 2011 posted a video recording of himself beating his teenage nephew for posting gang messages on Facebook. Acting out of love and fear for his life, he whipped the teen, but months later he was found dead anyway.
Praising Graham distracts from a hard truth: It doesn’t matter how black children behave – whether they throw rocks at the police, burn a CVS, join gangs, walk home from the store with candy in their pocket, listen to rap music in a car with friends, play with a toy gun in a park, or simply make eye contact with a police officer – they risk being killed and blamed for their own deaths because black youths are rarely viewed as innocent or worthy of protection.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

hon.bro.preznit kicks the can back to its creator sistah souljah hellury....,

HuffPo |  Hillary Clinton will deliver a major speech on criminal justice reform Wednesday, calling for fundamental changes to how the United States punishes its citizens and an end to a system that disproportionately targets black men. 

Clinton is scheduled to keynote the 18th Annual David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum at Columbia University Wednesday morning. It will be her most significant policy address since she launched her 2016 presidential bid this month. 

Clinton will lay out her vision for criminal justice reform, centering around an "end to the era of mass incarceration," according to an aide who provided a preview of her remarks. Those changes include addressing probation and drug diversion programs, increasing support for mental health and drug treatment and pursuing alternative punishments for low-level offenders. 

She also will call for body cameras for every police department in order to increase transparency and accountability in a way that benefits both officers and members of the public. 

In a December speech to the Massachusetts Conference for Women, Clinton said the country needed to look at "hard truths" about racial injustice in the current system. 

Clinton will revive that theme on Wednesday, saying black men are far more likely than whites to be targeted by police and slapped with longer prison sentences

During a fundraising event in New York City Tuesday, Clinton addressed the tensions in Baltimore, which is still reeling from the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died after sustaining injuries while in police custody.

“It is heartbreaking,” Clinton said. “The tragic death of another young African-American man. The injuries to police officers. The burning of peoples’ homes and small businesses. We have to restore order and security. But then we have to take a hard look as to what we need to do to reform our system.”

Clinton will also make additional comments about Baltimore on Wednesday.

Clinton's rhetoric on criminal justice has changed significantly since the 1990s, when she was first lady and when President Bill Clinton signed a massive 1994 crime bill into law. At the time, many politicians in both parties -- including Clinton herself -- were pushing for more prisons and stricter sentencing laws.

b'more overseers murdered freddie gray and started the rioting with schoolkids...,

A video posted by BE-Z Clothing Comp (@mrbez4ever) on

motherjones |  Meg Gibson, another Baltimore teacher, described a similar scene to Gawker: "The riot police were already at the bus stop on the other side of the mall, turning buses that transport the students away, not allowing students to board. They were waiting for the kids.…Those kids were set up, they were treated like criminals before the first brick was thrown." With police unloading busses, and with the nearby metro station shut down, there were few ways for students to clear out.

Several eyewitnesses in the area that afternoon say that police seemed to arrive at Mondawmin anticipating mobs and violence—prior to any looting. At 3:01 p.m., the Baltimore Police Department posted on its Facebook page: "There is a group of juveniles in the area of Mondawmin Mall. Expect traffic delays in the area." But many of the kids, according to eyewitnesses, were stuck there because of police actions.

The Baltimore Police Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Around 3:30, the police reported that juveniles had begun to throw bottles and bricks. Fifteen minutes later, the police department noted that one of its officers had been injured. After that the violence escalated, and rioters started looting the Mondawmin Mall, and Baltimore was in for a long night of trouble and violence. But as the event is reviewed and investigated, an important question warrants attention: What might have happened had the police not prevented students from leaving the area? 

Did the department's own actions increase the chances of conflict?

As Meghann Harris put it, "if I were a Douglas student that just got trapped in the middle of a minefield BY cops without any way to get home and completely in harm's way, I'd be ready to pop off, too."

On social media, eyewitnesses chronicled the dramatic police presence before the rioting began:

On Twitter, Baltimore residents vented their frustration with the situation.

what a difference a day makes - useless perennial cbc geriatric changes his tune this week

carl stokes got tired of pretending...,

TPM |  Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes let loose on CNN's Erin Burnett on Tuesday night after the news anchor argued that "thugs" was "the right word" to describe protestors on the streets.

Burnett, who is white, began by noting that both Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlins-Blake and President Obama had referred to the "bad actors" as "thugs."

Stokes, who is black, rejected the word and told Burnett she was referring to teenagers and young people — "our children" — who clashed with police on Monday night.

"But how does that justify what they did?" Burnett said. "I mean, that’s a sense of right and wrong. They know it’s wrong to steal and burn down a CVS and an old person’s home. I mean, come on."

"Come on?" Stokes said. "So calling them thugs — just call them niggers. Just call them niggers."
"When you say 'come on,' come on what?" he added. "You wouldn't call your a child a thug if they did something which was not what you'd expect them to do."

"I would hope I would call my son a thug if he ever did such a thing," Burnett shot back.

catherine pugh tired of pretending

dailymail |  Donning a smart black jacket, she shared an emotional hug with a protester wielding a bottle. Shortly after, she angrily told a Fox News host that demonstrators were not looking for trouble.

Now, Maryland State Senator Catherine E. Pugh is under fire for 'empathizing' with the hundreds of people who were taking to the streets of Baltimore armed with rocks and bottles on Tuesday night.

The 65-year-old was accused of being 'foolish' and 'an embarrassment' by social media users for defending protesters in the city, which has been the scene of riots following Freddie Gray's death.

According to WJZ, she added: 'That is the only way the public gets to see that we care about our city, that we care about violence against our people and we can do better than what’s being done today.'

Ms Pugh's pleas on Tuesday were of a similar nature. Shortly after her hug with the demonstrator, she joined Fox News's Geraldo Rivera for an interview - but the reporter quickly ran afoul of protesters.

As a male demonstrator deliberately cut in front of the camera, Mr Rivera shouted: 'You're making a fool of yourself.' Referring to Ms Pugh, he added: 'If we can get her away from these vandals here.

In response, Ms Pugh appeared to say: 'They're not vandals.' As protesters shouted things like 'stop making money off black pain' at Rivera, Ms Pugh added: 'We want the media to move back.'

'It seems like they want trouble,' Mr Rivera replied, according to Raw Story. However, Ms Pugh insisted: 'They don't want trouble', before claiming that the media presence was 'inciting' people.

'They’ve been demonstrating very peacefully. And you know, I think that what people say there are camera lights, and when you see that, it incites people,' Ms Pugh told Mr Rivera in remarks aired live on Fox.

'But these people have been out here all day long just demonstrating very peacefully. And they’re demonstrating because they care about their neighborhoods, and they care about their communities.

During the interview, Ms Pugh led Mr Rivera and his cameraman away from the demonstrators. Also on Tuesday night, she asked the media via loudspeaker to move back and 'respect our communities'.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

why are knuckle-draggers distorting the mayor's words and outright lying?

investors |  However angry people might be, we're still a nation of laws. The legal system has to function for justice to be done. Rioting is a breakdown of public order that can ruin neighborhoods, communities and entire cities.

That's why Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's comments are truly astounding. Not only did she not tell those who were demonstrating to wait until all the facts were in, she seemed to encourage the worst elements among them to do violence.

In a press conference Sunday, Rawlings-Blake said, "I ... instructed (the police) to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech. ... We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that."

"Space" to rob, loot and commit arson? Even after 35 people were arrested and six police officers injured during the protests? It was an extraordinarily inflammatory comment.

Meanwhile, Baltimore police report "credible information" that an alliance of gangs has formed to "take out" cops — possible fallout from the mayor's remarks.

It has been claimed that this violence was all the handiwork of "outsiders." "The Baltimore Police Department believes that outside agitators continue to be the instigators behind acts of violence and destruction," Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts told the media.

It wasn't clearly worded on her part. She should have said "However by giving those peaceful protesters the space and protection to protest, we also gave those who wished to destroy the space to do so." She learned the unfortunate lesson that right-wing whackjobs will selectively cut a soundbite out of context, and use it to promote the angle they desire.

non-violence is complicity and compliance...,

theatlantic |  The people now calling for nonviolence are not prepared to answer these questions. Many of them are charged with enforcing the very policies that led to Gray's death, and yet they can offer no rational justification for Gray's death and so they appeal for calm. But there was no official appeal for calm when Gray was being arrested. There was no appeal for calm when Jerriel Lyles was assaulted. (“The blow was so heavy. My eyes swelled up. Blood was dripping down my nose and out my eye.”) There was no claim for nonviolence on behalf of Venus Green. (“Bitch, you ain’t no better than any of the other old black bitches I have locked up.”) There was no plea for peace on behalf of Starr Brown. (“They slammed me down on my face,” Brown added, her voice cracking. “The skin was gone on my face.")

When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is "correct" or "wise," any more than a forest fire can be "correct" or "wise." Wisdom isn't the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the rioters themselves.

the economics of ferguson

theatlantic |  Take a walk along West Florissant Avenue, in Ferguson, Missouri. Head south of the burned-out Quik Trip and the famous McDonalds, south of the intersection with Chambers, south almost to the city limit, to the corner of Ferguson Avenue and West Florissant. There, last August, Emerson Electric announced third-quarter sales of $6.3 billion. Just over half a mile to the northeast, four days later, Officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown. The 12 shots fired by Officer Wilson were probably audible in the company lunchroom.

Outwardly, at least, the City of Ferguson would appear to occupy an enviable position. It is home to a Fortune 500 firm. It has successfully revitalized a commercial corridor through its downtown. It hosts an office park filled with corporate tenants. Its coffers should be overflowing with tax dollars.

Instead, the cash-starved municipality relies on its cops and its courts to extract millions in fines and fees from its poorest residents, issuing thousands of citations each year. Those tickets plug a financial hole created by the ways in which the city, the county, and the state have chosen to apportion the costs of public services. A century or more of public-policy choices protect the wallets of largely white business and property owners and pass the bills along to disproportionately black renters and local residents. It's easy to see the drama of a fatal police shooting, but harder to understand the complexities of municipal finances that created many thousands of hostile encounters, one of which turned fatal.

The familiar convention of the true-crime story turns out to be utterly inadequate for describing the social, economic, and legal subjection of black people in Ferguson, or anywhere in America. Understanding this requires looking beyond the 90-second drama to the 90 years of entrenched white supremacy and black disadvantage that preceded it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

drought frames economic divide of californians

NYTimes |  Alysia Thomas, a stay-at-home mother in this working-class city, tells her children to skip a bath on days when they do not play outside; that holds down the water bill. Lillian Barrera, a housekeeper who travels 25 miles to clean homes in Beverly Hills, serves dinner to her family on paper plates for much the same reason. In the fourth year of a severe drought, conservation is a fine thing, but in this Southern California community, saving water means saving money.

The challenge of California’s drought is starkly different in Cowan Heights, a lush oasis of wealth and comfort 30 miles east of here. That is where Peter L. Himber, a pediatric neurologist, has decided to stop watering the gently sloping hillside that he spent $100,000 to turn into a green California paradise, seeding it with a carpet of rich native grass and installing a sprinkler system fit for a golf course. But that is also where homeowners like John Sears, a retired food-company executive, bristle with defiance at the prospect of mandatory cuts in water use.

“This is a high fire-risk area,” Mr. Sears said. “If we cut back 35 percent and all these homes just let everything go, what’s green will turn brown. Tell me how the fire risk will increase.”

The fierce drought that is gripping the West — and the imminent prospect of rationing and steep water price increases in California — is sharpening the deep economic divide in this state, illustrating parallel worlds in which wealthy communities guzzle water as poorer neighbors conserve by necessity. The daily water consumption rate was 572.4 gallons per person in Cowan Heights from July through September 2014, the hot and dry summer months California used to calculate community-by-community water rationing orders; it was 63.6 gallons per person in Compton during that same period.

Now, California is trying to turn that dynamic on its head, forcing the state’s biggest water users, which include some of the wealthiest communities, to bear the brunt of the statewide 25 percent cut in urban water consumption ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown. Cowan Heights is facing a 36 percent cut in its water use, compared with 8 percent for Compton.

conservatard chair of the house committee on science, space, and technology is a denialist...,

desdimonadespair |  The Wall Street Journal continues its long tradition of printing editorials that reject the findings of climate science. On Earth Day 2015, we were treated to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, rolling out some old denialist chestnuts, to criticize proposed U.S. policy changes for reducing carbon emissions and adapting to global warming (“The Climate-Change Religion”). It’s a rote exercise that lists the usual talking points. Normally, Des wouldn’t bother to rebut a boilerplate antiscience editorial in The Wall Street Journal, but because this is coming from the chairman of the House Committee on Science, something must be said. 

Canard 1: Climate science is a religion

Rep. Smith writes:
At least the United Nations’ then-top climate scientist, Rajendra Pachauri, acknowledged—however inadvertently—the faith-based nature of climate-change rhetoric when he resigned amid scandal in February. In a farewell letter, he said that “the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.”
When antiscience forces go after a scientific discipline, they frequently accuse it of being a “religion”, meaning that its adherents cling irrationally to facts that aren’t in evidence. These same critics often argue from a religious viewpoint themselves, and people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks, but they persist.
Rep. Smith’s swipe at former IPCC chair, Rajendra Pachauri, is meant to sew suspicion about the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He fails to mention that Pachauri resigned after an accusation of sexual harassment, not because of any institutional corruption.

Canard 2: Climate science is bad science

Rep. Smith concludes: “Instead of letting political ideology or climate “religion” guide government policy, we should focus on good science.”
On this, we’re in complete agreement. But the chairman of the science committee expectorates the same zombie arguments that shamble about in the blogosphere year after year, for example:

Canard 3: No warming in the last N years

“Climate alarmists have failed to explain the lack of global warming over the past 15 years.”
This claim is wrong in a couple of ways, and even though it’s repeatedly pointed out to denialists why it’s wrong, they keep trotting it out. This simple graph by Tamino puts the claim to rest.

Canard 4: The U.N. is cooking the data

Next, Rep. Smith goes after a favorite Republican target: the United Nations.
The U.N. process is designed to generate alarmist results. Many people don’t realize that the most-publicized documents of the U.N. reports are not written by scientists. In fact, the scientists who work on the underlying science are forced to step aside to allow partisan political representatives to develop the “Summary for Policy Makers.” It is scrubbed to minimize any suggestion of scientific uncertainty and is publicized before the actual science is released. The Summary for Policy Makers is designed to give newspapers and headline writers around the world only one side of the debate.
The reality is rather different. If you need evidence that the IPCC is not, in fact, a liberal conspiracy, see “Transparency of the IPCC process”, “IPCC errors: facts and spin” and “The IPCC is not infallible (shock!)”.

Meanwhile, Rep. Smith is busy deploying his committee to gather testimony from contrarians like Judith Curry, while excluding mainstream scientists. Essentially, he commits the same crimes against science that he accuses IPCC of committing.

Canard 5: Even the U.N. says it can’t prove global warming

Rep. Smith goes on to quote an IPCC report:
In its 2012 Special Report on Extreme Events, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there is “high agreement” among leading experts that long-term trends in weather disasters are not attributable to human-caused climate change.
Setting aside the question of why he would appeal to a document from the very organization he’s trying to convince us is corrupt, it’s hard to know which part of the report he’s referring to.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

evolution in four dimensions...,

evolution-institute |  One of the most mind-expanding books that you’ll ever read is Evolution in Four Dimensions by Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb. They remind us that evolution is about variation, selection, and heredity, not genes. Genes provide one mechanism of heredity but there are others, including epigenetic mechanisms, forms of social learning found in many species, and forms of symbolic thought that are distinctively human. They provide a concise history of why evolutionary theory became so gene-centric during the 20th Century and how it needs to be expanded to include the other three dimensions.

Eva Jablonka is a Professor at the Cohn Institute for the History of Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University in Israel. I talked with her by Skype on November 6 2014. Our conversation provides a panoramic tour of evolutionary theory based on heredity, not just genes.

DSW: Welcome, Eva. I’m so pleased to be talking with you.

EJ: Hello, David.

DSW: I want to talk to you about the definition of evolution and the need for it to go beyond genetic evolution. This is the topic of your great book, Evolution in Four Dimensions, which I have adopted as the first text for almost all of my courses. That’s how much I think of it. Let’s begin by discussing your background. What is your training that enables you to write such a book?

EJ: I am a geneticist. I did a PhD in genetics and molecular biology; in fact, on DNA methylation and chromatin structure. Before that, I did a Masters thesis in microbiology. At the same time, I was deeply interested in philosophy of biology. While I was doing a PhD in genetics, I was also writing papers for philosophy of biology journals. I thought that I should combine the two because theoretical biology and evolutionary biology need a very strong conceptual basis. I ended up being in some kind of twilight zone between the two things. For me it was a productive combination.

DSW: Great! Everyone knows that Darwin knew nothing about genes. For him, evolution was about variation, selection and heredity, a resemblance between parents and offspring. Nevertheless, nowadays, whenever you say the word “evolution,” most people hear “genes.” That’s true for a professional evolutionist, as much as for the lay public. How is it that the study of evolution became gene-centric?

EJ: It is related to the strong focus on heredity that is apparent already in the second 19th century, when many  theories of heredity were developed. Once evolution became an accepted theory it was clear that one has to think very seriously about heredity. In order to have cumulative evolution, heredity is necessary.  Darwin himself had a theory of heredity, which was, in fact, one of the most Lamarckian theories of heredity around at the time!  The point is, however, that he needed a theory of heredity to consolidate his theory of evolution, and he  did develop one.

The other reason heredity became focal was because  of the Industrial Revolution. The population was growing and there was an urgent need to feed people so improvements in agriculture became pertinent. It was clear that breeding and selection were of great importance, and selection must be based on heritable variation. The study of heritable variation was  therefore  important from a practical point of view.

watch this wattle-herding assclown claim epigenetic complexity that mainstream biology is only now discovering...,

whyevolutionistrue |  Here’s Discovery Institute Fellow Paul Nelson—who lives in Chicago and sometimes creeps me out by depositing Intelligent Design propaganda in my departmental mailbox—using a novel (but stupid) argument for Intelligent Design, aka God’s Handiwork. It’s based on embryology and teleology. Have a look at this 9.5-minute video on nematode development, which distorts the cool developmental biology of the worm (work that garnered a Nobel Prize) to make it seem like evidence for Design.

All the biology is accurate up to 4:58, although a bit repetitive, but that’s where Nelson begins to slip off the rails and argue that development can’t be explained by evolution because embryology looks like it has foresight—ergo Jebus. As he says, “The case for design could not be made more explicit.” But the argument for “design” isn’t even very sophisticated, and can be refuted with only an elementary knowledge of evolution.

I’ll leave it to the readers to educate each other on this one—it’s an exercise in using what you’ve learned about how evolution works to address creationist distortions . Do post below the reason why Nelson’s argument is fatally flawed. And watch the movie first. It’s a slick production, full of sophistry.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

what has atrazine done to you deuterostems?

atrazinelovers |  Atrazine is an herbicide (weed-killer) primarily used on corn. Atrazine is the most common chemical contaminant of ground and surface water in the United States. It is a potent endocrine disruptor with ill effects in wildlife, laboratory animals and humans. Atrazine chemically castrates and feminizes wildlife and reduces immune function in both wildlife and laboratory rodents. Atrazine induces breast and prostate cancer, retards mammary development, and induces abortion in laboratory rodents. Studies in human populations and cell and tissue studies suggest that atrazine poses similar threats to humans. The peer-reviewed scientific studies to support these statements are summarized and can be viewed as you navigate this website.

Atrazine has been denied regulatory approval by the European Union and is, thus, banned, in Europe, even in Switzerland, the home of the manufacturer. Despite the environmental and public health risks, atrazine continues to be used in the US, for economic reasons. Atrazine may only increase corn yield by as little as 1.2 % (and not at all according to some studies. The agri-giant Syngenta, however, has a very powerful lobby and spent $250,000 lobbying in Minnesota alone in 2005 to keep atrazine on the market there.

With as little as 1.2 % increase in corn, a crop that we consume less than 2% of, in a world where 20% of the population will die of starvation, it is incumbent upon us to become involved in the regulatory process regarding atrazine. We (the public) must play an active role in this regulatory decision.

hellified consequences of people-centric leadership...,

NewYorker |  In 2010, Hayes told the EcoRisk panel in an e-mail, “I have just initiated what will be the most extraordinary academic event in this battle!” He had another paper coming out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which described how male tadpoles exposed to atrazine grew up to be functional females with impaired fertility. He advised the company that it would want to get its P.R. campaign up to speed. “It’s nice to know that in this economy I can keep so many people employed,” he wrote. He quoted both Tupac Shakur and the South African king Shaka Zulu: “Never leave an enemy behind or it will rise again to fly at your throat.”

Syngenta’s head of global product safety wrote a letter to the editor of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and to the president of the National Academy of Sciences, expressing concern that a “publication with so many obvious weaknesses could achieve publication in such a reputable scientific journal.” A month later, Syngenta filed an ethics complaint with the chancellor of Berkeley, claiming that Hayes’s e-mails violated the university’s Standards of Ethical Conduct, particularly Respect for Others. Syngenta posted more than eighty of Hayes’s e-mails on its Web site and enclosed a few in its letter to the chancellor. In one, with the subject line “Are y’all ready for it,” Hayes wrote, “Ya fulla my j*z right now!” In another, he told the Syngenta scientists that he’d had a drink after a conference with their “republican buddies,” who wanted to know about a figure he had used in his paper. “As long as you followin me around, I know I’m da sh*t,” he wrote. “By the way, yo boy left his pre-written questions at the table!”

Berkeley declined to take disciplinary action against Hayes. The university’s lawyer reminded Syngenta in a letter that “all parties have an equal responsibility to act professionally.” David Wake said that he read many of the e-mails and found them “quite hilarious.” “He’s treating them like street punks, and they view themselves as captains of industry,” he said. “When he gets tapped, he goes right back at them.”

Michelle Boone, a professor of aquatic ecology at Miami University, who served on the E.P.A.’s scientific advisory panel, said, “We all follow the Tyrone Hayes drama, and some people will say, ‘He should just do the science.’ But the science doesn’t speak for itself. Industry has unlimited resources and bully power. Tyrone is the only one calling them out on what they’re doing.” However, she added, “I do think some people feel he has lost his objectivity.”

Keith Solomon, a professor emeritus at the University of Guelph, Ontario, who has received funding from Syngenta and served on the EcoRisk panel, noted that academics who refuse industry money are not immune from biases; they’re under pressure to produce papers, in order to get tenure and promotions. “If I do an experiment, look at the data every which way, and find nothing, it will not be easy to publish,” he said. “Journals want excitement. They want bad things to happen.”

Hayes, who had gained more than fifty pounds since becoming tenured, wore bright scarves draped over his suit and silver earrings from Tibet. At the end of his lectures, he broke into rhyme: “I see a ruse / intentionally constructed to confuse the news / well, I’ve taken it upon myself to defuse the clues / so that you can choose / and to demonstrate the objectivity of the methods I use.” At some of his lectures, Hayes warned that the consequences of atrazine use were disproportionately felt by people of color. “If you’re black or Hispanic, you’re more likely to live or work in areas where you’re exposed to crap,” he said. He explained that “on the one side I’m trying to play by the ivory-tower rules, and on the other side people are playing by a different set of rules.” Syngenta was speaking directly to the public, whereas scientists were publishing their research in “magazines that you can’t buy in Barnes and Noble.”  Fist tap Rohan.

Friday, April 24, 2015

homo sapiens crafting an exit strategy from pan-troglodytic deuterostems...,

BusinessInsider |  A group of Chinese scientists just reported that they modified the genome of human embryos, something that has never been done in the history of the world, according to a report in Nature News.

A recent biotech discovery — one that has been called the biggest biotech discovery of the century — showed how scientists might be able to modify a human genome when that genome was still just in an embryo.

This could change not only the genetic material of a person, but could also change the DNA they pass on, removing "bad" genetic codes (and potentially adding "good" ones) and taking an active hand in evolution.

Concerned scientists published an argument that no one should edit the human genome in this way until we better understood the consequences after a report uncovered rumors that Chinese scientists were already working on using this technology. 

But this new paper, published April 18 in the journal Protein and Cell by a Chinese group led by gene-function researcher Junjiu Huang of Sun Yat-sen University, shows that work has already been done, and Nature News spoke to a Chinese source that said at least four different groups are "pursuing gene editing in human embryos."

scientists discover LEM

telegraph |  A protein which ‘turbo-charges’ the immune system so that it can fight off any cancer or virus has been discovered by scientists. 

In a breakthrough described as a ‘game-changer’ for cancer treatment, researchers at Imperial College found a previously unknown molecule which boosts the body’s ability to fight off chronic illnesses.
Scientists at Imperial College London, who led the study, are now developing a gene therapy based on the protein and hope to begin human trials in three years.
“This is exciting because we have found a completely different way to use the immune system to fight cancer,” said Professor Philip Ashton-Rickardt, from the Section of Immunobiology in the Department of Medicine at Imperial, who led the study.

“It could be a game-changer for treating a number of different cancers and viruses.

“This is a completely unknown protein. Nobody had ever seen it before or was even aware that it existed. It looks and acts like no other protein.”

The protein – named lymphocyte expansion molecule, or LEM, promotes the spread of cancer killing ‘T cells’ by generating large amounts of energy.

Normally when the immune system detects cancer it goes into overdrive trying to fight the disease, flooding the body with T cells. But it quickly runs out of steam.

inflammatory bowel and ulcerative colitis caused by identified microbe-host interaction |  Objectives Dysbiosis of the intestinal microbiota is associated with Crohn's disease (CD). Functional evidence for a causal role of bacteria in the development of chronic small intestinal inflammation is lacking. Similar to human pathology, TNFdeltaARE mice develop a tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-driven CD-like transmural inflammation with predominant ileal involvement. 

Design Heterozygous TNFdeltaARE mice and wildtype (WT) littermates were housed under conventional (CONV), specific pathogen-free (SPF) and germ-free (GF) conditions. Microbial communities were analysed by high-throughput 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing. Metaproteomes were measured using LC-MS. Temporal and spatial resolution of disease development was followed after antibiotic treatment and transfer of microbial communities into GF mice. Granulocyte infiltration and Paneth cell function was assessed by immunofluorescence and gene expression analysis. 

Results GF-TNFdeltaARE mice were free of inflammation in the gut and antibiotic treatment of CONV-TNFdeltaARE mice attenuated ileitis but not colitis, demonstrating that disease severity and location are microbiota-dependent. SPF-TNFdeltaARE mice developed distinct ileitis-phenotypes associated with gradual loss of antimicrobial defence. 16S analysis and metaproteomics revealed specific compositional and functional alterations of bacterial communities in inflamed mice. Transplantation of disease-associated but not healthy microbiota transmitted CD-like ileitis to GF-TNFdeltaARE recipients and triggered loss of lysozyme and cryptdin-2 expression. Monoassociation of GF-TNFdeltaARE mice with the human CD-related Escherichia coli LF82 did not induce ileitis. 

Conclusions We provide clear experimental evidence for the causal role of gut bacterial dysbiosis in the development of chronic ileal inflammation with subsequent failure of Paneth cell function.

Butt then we told you this five years ago....,

viral proteins regulate human embryonic development |  A fertilized human egg may seem like the ultimate blank slate. But within days of fertilization, the growing mass of cells activates not only human genes but also viral DNA lingering in the human genome from ancient infections.

Now researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that the early human produce , and even become crowded with what appear to be assembled viral particles. These viral proteins could manipulate some of the earliest steps in , affecting gene expression and even possibly protecting the cells from further viral infection.

The finding raises questions as to who, or what, is really pulling the strings during human embryogenesis.

"It's both fascinating and a little creepy," said Joanna Wysocka, PhD, associate professor of developmental biology and of chemical and systems biology. "We've discovered that a specific class of viruses that invaded the human genome during recent evolution becomes reactivated in the early development of the human embryo, leading to the presence of viral-like particles and proteins in the ."

A paper describing the findings was published online April 20 in Nature. Wysocka is the senior author, and graduate student Edward Grow is the lead author.

Viral particles in the embryo
Retroviruses are a class of virus that insert their DNA into the genome of the host cell for later reactivation. In this stealth mode, the virus bides its time, taking advantage of cellular DNA replication to spread to each of an infected cell's progeny every time the cell divides. HIV is one well-known example of a retrovirus that infects humans.

When a retrovirus infects a germ cell, which makes sperm and eggs, or infects a very early-stage embryo before the germ cells have arisen, the viral DNA is passed along to future generations. Over evolutionary time, however, these viral genomes often become mutated and inactivated. About 8 percent of the is made up of left behind during past infections. One retrovirus, HERVK, however, infected humans repeatedly until relatively recently—within about 200,000 years. Much of HERVK's genome is still snuggled, intact, in each of our cells.

Most of these sequences are inactive in mature cells, but recent research has shown that they can spring to life in tumor cells or in human embryonic stem cells. A study published in February in Cell Stem Cell by researchers from Singapore's Genome Institute showed that sequences from a primate virus called HERVH are also activated in early human development.

Now the Stanford researchers have shown for the first time that viral proteins are abundantly present in the developing human embryo and assemble into what appear to be viral particles in electron microscopy images. By following up with additional studies in human embryonic cells grown in vitro, scientists showed that these viral proteins affect gene expression in the developing embryo and may protect the cells from infection by other viruses.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

open thread thursday: where every worldview is a hammer and every comment a nail...,

robin hood: why ayn rand got it wrong

lrc |  For sixty years I have been captivated by the heroic stories of Robin Hood. The Adventures of Robin Hood was my favorite movie as a kid, Errol Flynn my favorite actor. Adventures of Robin Hood, by Eleanor Graham Vance, was my favorite book as a kindergartener. I still have it in my library.

Over the past several days I have once again been reliving my corrupted youth by watching on DVD the 143 episodes of The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Richard Greene. Above is Outlaw Money, one of my favorites with many themes LRC enthusiasts will relish.

The television series was produced in England by Sapphire Films. Sapphire Films was founded by producer Hannah Weinstein allegedly with funds provided by the Hollywood branch of the Communist Party USA. The ingenious Weinstein hired many blacklisted Hollywood writers to write scripts for The Adventures of Robin Hood. She and her conspiratorial cohorts devised a sophisticated covert procedure to keep their identities secret and protected. All this elaborate ruse would seem to vindicate Ayn Rand’s crusading war against these Hollywood Reds and the destructive Robin Hood myth fostered in the series they created. The novelist/philosopher was perhaps the fiercest enemy of these Hollywood Communists and of Robin Hood. She famously testified as a “friendly witness” before the House Committee on Un-American Activities concerning Communist infiltration and propaganda in Hollywood. In one of the most memorable passages of her novel Atlas Shrugged she has one of her major characters, Ragnar Danneskjold, condemn Robin Hood in the harshest and most vindictive manner.

But Rand got it wrong. In the TV series which aired contemporaneously to the publication of her novel, Robin and his band are not the proto-Marxist proletarian plunderers of the productive rich and despoilers of private property but are actually defenders of justice in property titles, the rule of law, and the non-aggression principle. Virtually every episode is replete with imaginative tales of rebellious Saxon peasants battling against Norman tyranny and taxation by the Sheriff of Nottingham and his minions acting as the corrupt arms of the State.

I recommend all Randroids not paralyzed from the neck up “objectively” read Robin Hood: People’s Outlaw and Forest Hero: A Graphic Guide, by the scholar and masterful left-wing propagandist Paul Buhle. It is a delightful, unrepentant, and informative exploration of the Robin Hood legend and why the tales of his exploits have remained popular for centuries.

hello??!! facebook IS evil...

(speaking of: red shirt commodores → The Commodores → Lionel Richie → Hello → Facebook)

betanews | It's easily forgotten with the number of apps available, but mobile phones are primarily designed for making calls on the move -- whodda thunk it? When you receive a call you'll usually see the number of the caller, but this may not be helpful in identifying them before you decide whether to pick up. Facebook's answer to this problem is Hello.
This new app comes from the Facebook Messenger team and aims to tell you more about the person getting in touch with you even if you don’t have their number saved in your address book. Currently available for Android, the dialer app also allows for the blocking of calls from individuals.
The app integrates with Facebook, so you can use it to search for people and businesses. To allay privacy fears, Facebook points out that Hello only has access to information which has been made publicly available on the social network -- perhaps serving as a timely reminder to check your privacy settings(...)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

darpa outlines its vision for the future |  DARPA released its Breakthrough Technologies for National Security, a biennial report summarizing the Agency’s historical mission, current and evolving focus areas and recent transitions of DARPA-developed technologies to the military Services and other sectors, last month. The report’s release coincided with testimony by DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar before the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, at a hearing entitled “Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2016 Science and Technology Programs: Laying the Groundwork to Maintain Technological Superiority.” The full report is available for download online.
Breakthrough Technologies for National Security affirms that America is in a strong strategic position today, in large part because of its longstanding technological dominance. But it also notes that a number of challenges threaten that status, including the global spread of ever more powerful and less expensive technologies and the emergence of disruptive non-nation-state actors in addition to ongoing threats from peer adversaries.
“DARPA’s mission and philosophy have held steady for decades, but the world around DARPA has changed dramatically,” the report says. “Those changes include some remarkable and even astonishing scientific and technological advances that, if wisely and purposefully harnessed, have the potential not only to ensure ongoing U.S. military superiority and security but also to catalyze societal and economic advances. At the same time, the world is experiencing some deeply disturbing technical, economic and geopolitical shifts that pose potential threats to U.S. preeminence and stability.”
Those dueling trends of simmering menace and unprecedented opportunity deeply inform DARPA’s most recent determination of its strategic priorities for the next several years, the report says.

The report identifies the phenomenon of increasing pace as a central challenge and opportunity—from the need for ever-faster radio-frequency and information-processing systems that work on the scale of nanoseconds, to the need to speed up the development time of major military systems, whose timescales today extend to decades.

“In these areas and others,” the report says, “DARPA will pursue the strategic imperative of pace in part by continuing to be a bold, risk-tolerant investor in high-impact technologies, so the Nation can be the first to develop and adopt the novel capabilities made possible by such work.”
DARPA is focusing its strategic investments in four main areas:
  • Rethink Complex Military Systems: To help enable faster development and integration of breakthrough military capabilities in today’s rapidly shifting landscape, DARPA is working to make weapons systems more modular and easily upgraded and improved; assure superiority in the air, maritime, ground, space and cyber domains; improve position, navigation and timing (PNT) without depending on the satellite-based Global Positioning System; and augment defenses against terrorism.
  • Master the Information Explosion: DARPA is developing novel approaches to deriving insights from massive datasets, with powerful big-data tools. The Agency is also developing technologies to ensure that the data and systems with which critical decisions are made are trustworthy, such as automated cyber defense capabilities and methods to create fundamentally more secure systems. And DARPA is addressing the growing need to ensure privacy at various levels of need without losing the national security value that comes from appropriate access to networked data.
  • Harness Biology as Technology: To leverage recent breakthroughs in neuroscience, immunology, genetics and related fields, DARPA in 2014 created its Biological Technologies Office, which has enabled a new level of momentum for the Agency’s portfolio of innovative, bio-based programs. DARPA’s work in this area includes programs to accelerate progress in synthetic biology, outpace the spread of infectious diseases and master new neurotechnologies.
  • Expand the Technological Frontier: DARPA’s core work has always involved overcoming seemingly insurmountable physics and engineering barriers and, once showing those daunting problems to be tractable after all, applying new capabilities made possible by these breakthroughs directly to national security needs. Maintaining momentum in this essential specialty, DARPA is working to achieve new capabilities by applying deep mathematics; inventing new chemistries, processes and materials; and harnessing quantum physics.
Breakthrough Technologies for National Security includes two sections highlighting examples of DARPA technologies that have transitioned to the military or other organizations in support of national interests. One section focuses on technology transitions from recent programs to the Services. A second section, entitled “Success Stories,” looks at the long-term impacts of certain DARPA programs over a period of decades—a reminder that the benefits of DARPA research often extend for many years after initial applications get operationalized, sometimes in unexpected ways.

A theme common to all these examples is that many individuals and organizations—public and private—have been involved in each success. That reflects the importance not only of DARPA’s seminal investments but also of the Nation’s vibrant technology ecosystem, which builds on the Agency’s work and applies DARPA’s advances to the task of ensuring national security.

“DARPA focuses heavily on building collaborative communities of expertise in institutions across the country,” the report notes. “This approach helps the Nation by encouraging work at the boundaries and intersections of disciplines, while making the Agency itself an enormously supportive, interactive and satisfying place to work.”

Story and information provided by DARPA

house republicans strip protections for people living in mobile homes

thinkprogress |  The House will vote Tuesday to repeal consumer protections for low-income borrowers in rural America who have seen the promise of affordable housing turned into a financial sinkhole by a mobile home industry that makes pre-manufactured houses far more expensive to buy than they need to be.

The bill is part of the GOP majority’s campaign to chisel away at specific pieces of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul that became law in 2010 but which left many details to be filled in later by regulators. In this case, it was the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that did that filling. After long study of both publicly-available data and proprietary information from the industry itself, the CFPB began enforcing new consumer protections for people who borrow money for a manufactured home.

When Rep. Stephen Fincher’s bill to roll back those regulations passes on Tuesday, the rules will have been in force for barely 15 months.

The mobile home financing market is an esoteric landscape for a battle between consumer advocates, regulators, and politicians. Compared to the American Dream trappings that come with traditional homeownership, families in mobile homes don’t have much cultural cache.

“Lots of people deride these homes for their quality, which is unfair these days, or deride the people who live in them as white trash, which is horrifying,” said Doug Ryan, director of the Corporation for Enterprise Development’s Affordable Homeownership Initiatives. That stigma makes it easy to sell Fincher’s deregulatory package for mobile home financing, Ryan said. The public and many lawmakers “say, ‘Who cares how they get financed? They’re bad stuff anyway, and if that’s all you can afford you probably deserve this.’”

Just 6 percent of Americans who live in a house live in one of these pre-fab ones, but they are a vital low-cost housing option in rural communities, where they make up 14 percent of occupied housing. The all-in cost of living for the average manufactured home dweller is a full third below the average for traditional “site-built” homes. There are twelve states where the units make up over a tenth of the market, mostly in the South and West. In South Carolina, 17 percent of all occupied housing is manufactured.

The manufactured home population is whiter, poorer, less educated, and older than the traditional homeowner. The median income of a pre-fab household is just half that of the median family in a site-built house. Many mobile home families are still paying a larger share of their income for housing despite the significant savings in raw dollar terms. That’s a perverse outcome for what should, on paper, be one of the most affordable ways to put a dignified roof overhead. And it’s being driven by the extremely high price that the industry charges for credit.

Fincher’s bill will strip important borrower protections for thousands of families living in pre-fab homes, including prohibitions on predatory loan features and legal recourse for borrowers who get behind on very expensive loans.

I Didn't Think This Would Happen Until Tomorrow...,

Live Updates: Biden Drops Out of Presidential Race, Endorses Harris President Biden wrote on social media that he was ending his campaign f...