Saturday Night Incivility Open Thread: TRUCK FUMP

Monday Morning Open Thread: The Work Goes On

From the Washington Post, “Students begin tour to address gun violence, uniting suburban and urban survivors in Chicago”:

CHICAGO — The nation’s contentious debate about guns came here this weekend, to a small, nondescript South Side park in a city where violence is rampant and the homicide count is escalating. Survivors of a suburban school mass shooting in Florida joined with survivors of an ongoing urban shooting epidemic in an effort to unite the nation’s youth ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.

But instead of the walkouts and political speeches and boisterous rallies like one Friday night at a nearby church — which included music stars such as Chance the Rapper and Jennifer Hudson — on Saturday the students got down to work. In an understated effort in the struggling Auburn Gresham neighborhood, about 20 teenagers with the March for Our Lives movement began a 20-state summer bus tour with a drive to register young voters and encourage them to go to the polls.

The students and recent graduates of Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of a mass shooting in February that left 17 people dead and created a renewed effort to battle gun violence, said they don’t want a repeal of the Second Amendment or to banish guns. Instead, they want to galvanize the youth vote to make their peers understand how they can play an important role in getting more sensible gun reform laws on the books.

“The only horse we have in this race is living until tomorrow,” said Cameron Kasky, 17.

Volunteers maintained a registration kiosk as a DJ played music and local residents could pick up free fried chicken and ice cream. Partnering with teenagers from Chicago anti-violence groups, packs of young people canvassed surrounding blocks and rang doorbells. The Parkland and Chicago students, some of whom met during a Florida visit in March, walked leisurely as they talked and laughed with a familiarity that obscured the troubling circumstances that brought them together…

Scatter Gun

A week ago, our local paper got its mitts on the NRA survey that the gun cartel lobbying group’s mouthpiece here in Florida — Marion Hammer — sends out to candidates running in the state. Hammer was extremely, uh, triggered by the gun safety measures the wingnut super-majority Florida legislature passed earlier this year in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre. The questions include the following:

1. In our view, completion of this questionnaire and signing your name is giving your word. NRA and USF [Unified Sportsmen of Florida] members as well as other constituents in your district trust you to keep your word. Do you agree that your answers are giving your word and that we expect you to keep it?

2 (c). Do you believe elected officials commit an act of malfeasance if they violate their Oath of Office and support legislation that contains provisions that they believe are unconstitutional?

Gun Granny Hammer has ruled the Florida GOP with an iron fist for decades, so I cannot tell you how delightful it is to see her insert snippy, passive-aggressive queries into her own survey to snipe at Republicans who defied her. Democratic candidates have also made hay of this year’s survey, featuring themselves defacing it or throwing it in the trash. Ha!

Also, a short while ago, The Post reported that the NRA has yanked all of its old legislator grades from its website. Post reporters asked why and got a variety of answers, including “nope, we didn’t change anything” and “it’s just an IT glitch.” An unnamed NRA flack admitted that “our enemies were using that.”

Another NRA flack, Jennifer Baker, did go on the record:

“Our grades are a member service,” she explained. “Our members vote and one of the services that we provide them is to assess — to the best that anyone can — the candidates’ position on the Second Amendment and make a determination what candidates in a very specific election are the best candidates to protect and defend their constitutional rights.” The grades are issued as close to the election as possible in order to have the most relevance to that election.

Pressed on the rationale for the change to the website, Baker first expressed frustration at the question.

“I don’t understand– Why are you asking? What does it matter to you?” she asked. “The grades are not relevant after the election.”

Baker promised to get back to The Post about the rationale behind the change on the NRA site, but then she ghosted, ignoring follow-up emails.

I think it’s pretty obvious why they’re making these changes. The Parkland kids and their allies are shining a bright light, and the roaches are scattering. Good.

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Pride

From “mostly lurker and very occasional commenter” BlueinSLC:

This is a GREAT story about how awesome and diverse Salt Lake City is and has become. We have an incredibly vibrant LGBTQ community here, and a great Pride parade. Unfortunately, at last weekend’s pride parade some idiots harassed some participants on their way home. They sought refuge in a local ice cream shop, where one of the employees bravely confronted a crowd of 15-20 harassers. They attacked this guy, but he kept them at bay, eventually turning them away from the shop…

Here is a link to the Salt Lake Tribune article about it, and about how people have since been coming by to thank him. It’s a nice, hopeful, and sweet story, and one that (I hope) shows off where we are going.

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

On Saturday night, the 21-year-old was working behind the counter at Doki Doki dessert shop during a quiet shift. Just before closing, about 10:30 p.m., four frightened men who had just left the Utah Pride Festival burst through the door. The group of guys that had chased them in was gathering outside, making taunting gestures and yelling homophobic slurs.

[Terrance] Mannery ran to the entrance to block the mob from coming into the cafe.

One attacker shoved Mannery into the glass and metal door, breaking its hinge. Some of them started punching. It was dark and Mannery couldn’t see how many there were. He felt at least seven hits; one left a dark red scratch on his cheek. Witnesses have said he was trying to fend off some 15 to 20 muscular men.

The group, described by one bystander as some “wholesome Utah boys,” dispersed when a security guard approached. Mannery went back inside Doki Doki. Not knowing what else to do, he went back to taking orders. The four victims who ran in left in a Lyft. It was over in minutes…

“Even in hindsight, I would have still gone out,” said Mannery, who came to Utah from Wisconsin three years ago for school. During his first summer here, he went to the 2016 Pride Parade. There were a few protesters but nothing like what he saw Saturday.

“I hope this inspires more people to stand up, but hopefully they do it in a safer way. I don’t want people to try to take on entire groups by themselves, but if you hear your friends making jokes, definitely say something.”

Fuck Your Guns

This is an obscenity:

The kindergartners are apparently to learn to sing the lock-down song to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” It’s like a goddamned horror movie.

In the upcoming election, we’ll find out if there’s enough fight left in America to beat back lawless authoritarianism. We’ll also find out if we’ll continue to privilege some neck-bearded yahoo’s yearning to hump an AR-15 or similar battlefield weapon over our children’s lives and well-being.

Let’s not keep failing this test.

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Patience

California primaries today — but we may not get swift results. Per USA Today:

Crowded races, narrow margins, and millions of absentee ballots.

That’s the Election Day mix in California’s high-stakes primary on Tuesday, and it means the results in some key races could take days — or even weeks — to determine.

“We’re notorious here for being slow,” said Bill Carrick, a longtime Democratic consultant in the state.

One reason the ballot-counting could drag into Wednesday or later: many Californians vote by mail. And their ballots can arrive up to three days after Election Day and still be counted.

In the 2016 primary, more than 5 million California residents, or nearly 60 percent of the electorate, voted absentee. Adding to the possible delays: Voters can register on election day and cast provisional ballots, but it will take time to verify those…

Carrick and others said it should be clear early Wednesday morning who takes first place in some of the top-tier races, such as the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate contests. But California has an open primary system, where the top two vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation.

And in a handful of critical House races, the real competition is for second place. Democrats fear that because they have so many contenders on the ballot, voters may spread their support so thin that two Republican candidates will win both slots on the general election ballot.

“The key question for several of these races is not who the winner is, but who the number two is,” said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College. “And it all depends on the vote difference between (the) No. 2 and No. 3 (finishers). And in some cases, those margins might be small enough to mean a delayed outcome.”…

And a couple codas to SCOTUS’s Wedding Cake Decision:

Jesus, Take the Wheel

Trump marked his 500th day in office (yes, time is telescoping out to eternity) by claiming the divine right of kings:

I don’t think Giuliani’s multiple, contradictory blatherings on the issue count as the rulings of “numerous legal scholars,” but I am not a lawyer. Also:

Trump’s cabinet is stocked with corrupt lackeys, and the GOP-led congress comprises spineless bag-men and Trump sycophants, so the bodies charged with holding a lawless president accountable won’t. Looks like it’ll be up to us voters, and there’s good news on that front.

The seniors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduated this weekend (minus four in the senior class who were killed in the massacre), and they’ve announced a nationwide bus tour and voter registration drive. Via Buzzfeed:

The March for Our Lives organizers are embarking on the next phase of their anti–gun violence movement: a 60-day bus tour across the US this summer to register young people to vote and to continue highlighting the NRA’s influence over politics.

“This tour is about exposing people who take money from the NRA and registering people to vote — those are the two main things we’re trying to push with this,” Jaclyn Corin, a student who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting in February, told BuzzFeed News on Sunday.

Current and former MSDHS students will also visit every state congressional district in Florida in a separate bus tour:

“Because Florida is like a microcosm of the United States,” said Corin, “in the way that there are so many different areas, with so many different views, which is important to target all of them — because preaching to the choir essentially doesn’t do much, but going to the places that disagree with us is really where we’re going to make the change.”

She’s absolutely right about Florida mirroring the divides in the US. These kids are smart and motivated. They’re too young to have absorbed the learned helplessness and cynicism that leads people to believe they can’t make a difference.

They emphasize that they want to talk to everyone, even people opposed to gun safety measures. I don’t think they’ll change any gun nuts’ minds, but if they — and the rest of us — can pull people off the sidelines to vote, that can change everything.