[The advance of gay rights] is ultimately a triumphant story, but not because politicians finally came to their senses. Instead, activists and citizens made politicians feel safe enough to do what they should have done years earlier. — Isaac Chotiner
New Jersey casinos brought in 15% more from online gambling in March over the previous month, but it wasn’t nearly enough to offset the diminishing revenue from Atlantic City’s long-struggling brick-and-mortar casinos. —
The Wall Street Journal
Andrew Cuomo thinks casinos will revitalize upstate New York tourism and jump-start local economies. Considering that the east coast mecca of gambling, Atlantic City, has a 13.1% unemployment rate and is the second “most violent city in New Jersey,” I’m going to go ahead and disagree.
Police Unit That Spied on Muslims Is Disbanded -
The New York Police Department has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped, the department said.
This is a big deal.
[E]lements of the US government blew up three New York skyscrapers in order to destroy Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah and to launch the US on the neoconservatives agenda of US world hegemony. —
Paul Craig Roberts, writing for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Roberts served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan and is a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal.
Because nothing fosters “peace and prosperity” like accusing your own government, without any evidence whatsoever, of murdering thousands of people. Also, one would hope that Ron Paul’s staff would think twice before publishing insane editorials (you know, after this whole thing) but apparently that lesson has not yet been learned.
So no liberal is going to win a debate that big government freed the slaves. In fact, it was Abraham Lincoln, the very first Republican, who took this on as a cause and a lot of it was based on a love in his heart that comes from God. —
Jim DeMint, head of the Heritage Foundation, helpfully proving that he does not understand how slavery ended in the United States. Lincoln’s love, while real, needed millions of troops and workers to enforce, for example.
Ht: Lawyers, Guns and Money
Warpaint in Washington, DC (photo by Matt Condon)
1. I love this band.
2. Their new music video is terrific (or at least the first half is).
Celebrities are being paid to attend Coachella music festival -
The Coachella music festival in California kicks off Friday, and while tickets are selling for hundreds of dollars online, Confidential has learned how much celebs are being paid to attend the event. Lea Michele will earn a cool $20,000 from Lacoste to wear its clothes while she rocks out…while Vanessa Hudgens is being paid $15,000 by McDonald’s to hit the festival.
Some stars are still looking for companies to pony up the cash in exchange for plugging their products. We hear Aaron Paul is asking for $15,000 and at least 2 VIP passes, while Kate Bosworth is demanding double that. Joe Jonas is seeking somewhere under $20,000, while British fashion blogger Louise Roe wants $5,000 and three tickets.
I understand that music festivals are designed to make money and promote musicians, record labels, and various products. But festival attendees are supposed to be there in order to expose themselves to new and different kinds of music, have fun with their friends, meet people from around the country, etc. If you’re going because stupid McDonald’s is offering you a hefty paycheck to be photographed eating their fries, then you’re just turning what should be a fun, community-based experience into a crass spectacle populated with human billboards. I realize it’s not 1969 anymore and that people need to profit financially from events like Coachella, but seriously, have we lost all of our idealism and integrity? Are music festivals now just a mad scramble for money or do they actually mean something?
[Marvel] said they wanted to make a political thriller. So we said if you want to make a political thriller, all the great political thrillers have very current issues in them that reflect the anxiety of the audience…That gives it an immediacy, it makes it relevant. So [Anthony] and I just looked at the issues that were causing anxiety for us, because we read a lot and are politically inclined. And a lot of that stuff had to do with civil liberties issues, drone strikes, the president’s kill list, preemptive technology… —
Joe Russo, director of Captain America: The Winter Soldier
So the new Captain America movie, which I saw last night, explicitly associates the U.S. security state with World War II-era fascism. I’ll refrain from explaining how so as to avoid spoilers, but it’s fairly obvious and jarring when it occurs in the film (or at least I thought it was). It’s remarkable that a movie designed to appeal to as broad an audience as possible is willing to tell its viewers that America has gone from battling authoritarians to emulating them. I suspect the message will fly right over some people’s heads, but it’s refreshing to witness a big budget movie make a bold political statement rather than simply peddle the usual “kill ‘em all” nationalistic nonsense.
Bill would require Florida craft brewers to sell beer to distributors, then buy it back for resale -
The nanny state meets crony capitalism in Florida, and it’s a match made in hell:
The law would force craft brewers to sell their bottled and canned beer directly to a distributor. If they want to sell it in their own tap rooms, they would then have to buy it back at what is typically a 30-40 percent mark-up without the bottles or cans ever leaving the brewery.
I’m soon going to be writing at greater length about this story and the bigger issue of how the government (state and federal) has historically screwed with the beer market in America, favoring big, low-quality brewers like Miller and Anheuser-Busch. For now, suffice it to say that even though the current situation is much better than it was 40-50 years ago, stories like this demonstrate that we are far from out of the woods.
With deaths from heroin and opioid prescription pills soaring, [New York] Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on Thursday is expected to announce a push to have law enforcement officers across the state carry a drug that is effectively an antidote to overdose.
The program…would help provide a kit with the drug, naloxone, and the training to use it to every state and local officer in New York…
The state’s Good Samaritan law protects those who call the police during an overdose, even if they too were using illegal drugs. Those who administer naloxone are also protected from liability. The drug, which is not habit forming and gives no high to an overdosing user, is nontoxic. —
The New York Times
UPS Fires 250 Employees For Staging A 90-Minute Protest To Defend Co-Worker -
UPS is firing 250 Queens, N.Y., drivers for walking off the job during a 90-minute protest in February.
The company dismissed 20 of the workers after their shifts Monday and issued notices of termination to another 230 employees, notifying them that they will be fired once the company has trained their replacements, UPS spokesman Steve Gaut told Business Insider.
The workers were protesting the dismissal of longtime employee and union activist Jairo Reyes, who was fired over an hours dispute, according to Gaut.
Hey so here’s UPS absolutely not effing around with even the slightest possibility of unionization among its employees.
A big part of the steady decline in wages for low-credential manual work over the last few decades has been the steady decline of private-sector unions for low-credential employers - like, UPS saves itself a ton of money by firing everyone who wants any kind of collective-bargaining rights.
Frustratingly, it looks unlikely that UPS is going to lose any of its perks from the city, largely because progressive-type politicians only care about unions when it’s well-paid high-credential workers who can reliably donate and organize and so on.
I went to a prep school where kids had money and did every drug known to man, and I never saw a cop. There are guys who work here in downtown Manhattan, guys who work on Wall Street, they’re doing blow, they’re doing pills, they’re doing everything. They don’t have to worry about getting picked up and strip-searched by the police on their way home. It just doesn’t happen.
… The problem is that after we allow the situation to go on, it starts to feel natural. “Oh, of course, that’s where crimes are committed, so that’s where we put cops.” That’s not true. If you sent cops into the community where I grew up, you would have just as many drug arrests as you do in Bed-Stuy. — Matt Taibbi
A Manhattan court stenographer with a drinking problem jeopardized the outcome of more than 30 verdicts by repeatedly typing ‘I hate my job, I hate my job,’ instead of the actual trial dialogue. —
The stenographer has decided to take a much-needed vacation with his wife and son at the Overlook Hotel, a place he felt he had been to before. “I mean, we all have moments of déjà vu, but this was ridiculous. It was almost as though I knew what was going to be around every corner,” he said.
NEW: The public appears ready for a truce in the long-running war on drugs. A national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 67% of Americans say that the government should focus more on providing treatment for those who use illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Just 26% think the government’s focus should be on prosecuting users of such hard drugs.