Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

Browsing Posts published by Darin Gilley

Electrek brings us this video of a trip around San Francisco with no hands on the wheel in GM Releases Impressive Real-World Self-Driving Demo of Bolt EV Prototype…

Last week, Cruise Automation, GM’s startup working on self-driving technology, released a video of its Bolt EV prototype driving autonomously in San Francisco. Even though the company claimed it was driving autonomously, it was quite boring since it was from a dashcam and looked exactly like a video of someone driving around for a few minutes.Chevy Bolt

The company learned from its mistake and with a simple in-video feed from inside the vehicle, they released a much more impressive video this week showcasing their latest self-driving progress.

It might sound trivial, but the simple addition of a clear view of the driver not touching the wheel makes the same feat more interesting.

It was again filmed in San Francisco in a Bolt EV equipped with a sensor suite developed by Cruise. The startup has been operating fleets of Chevy Bolt EVs in the Bay Area, Arizona, and Michigan since last year.

In total, GM has more than 40 autonomous vehicles in its test program.

In December, they released a few shots of one of their most recent test vehicles:

George Lakoff, the linguistics professor, has the answer as to why The Donald activates such passion with his limited speech patterns. How can people support a man that lies more than any politician in modern times? Mr. Lakoff has the answer in this segment of the Tavis Smiley Show…

The cognitive science and linguistics professor joins us to discuss the scientific factors behind the suggestive media messaging used by the Trump administration.Trump lies urinal

George Lakoff is an author, linguist and cognitive scientist. He is Director of the Center for the Neural Mind and Society at UC Berkeley. He is the Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at UC Berkeley, where he’s taught since 1972. His research involves the application of cognitive and neural linguistics to politics, literature, philosophy and mathematics. Lakoff applies his work to analyzing political world views and the framing of issues in public discourse. He is working on a neural theory of thought and language that explains how meaningful ideas can arise from neural circuitry and their connections to the body. George Lakoff’s books include Don’t Think of an Elephant!, Whose Freedom?, and The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic, among others.

Blunt devos

Last weekend This Week In Missouri Politics has their usual panel and raised the unusual topic of “tort reform.” This is going to be one of the next big issues addressed by the Missouri legislature now that they have passed Right-to-Work for less. The corporate financed GOP is now ready to limit your rights to a fair shot at compensation for injuries inflicted by corporations in the name of profit. During discussion of this issue the right wing members of the panel called St. Louis a “judicial hellhole” and cited a study of dubious origins as Exhibit “A.”

This lame attempt by Missouri Republicans to justify the taking of ordinary citizens legal rights has many of the hallmarks of previous campaigns by Big Tobacco. St. Louis was tagged with the “judicial hellhole’ label due to three recent decisions against Johnson and Johnson. BABY POWDER

The particulars of this trial and the importance of maintaining the current legal environment is provided in this excellent opinion piece by attorney Roger Denton, Don’t fall for corporate lobbyists’ junk science, “Judicial Hellhole” claims..

What should we think when a corporate-funded lobbying group places our local courts at the very top of its annual “Judicial Hellholes” list? That was the message last month from the American Tort Reform Association, a group funded by large tobacco, pharmaceutical, insurance, energy and chemical corporations.

With a page straight from Big Tobacco’s playbook, the ATRA is deliberately ignoring difficult facts and is trashing our courts through a negative public relations campaign to change the rules of our courts and shield its corporate funders from responsibility. Don’t be fooled; there is no methodology behind the “Hellhole” list. St. Louis and every other court deemed a “Judicial Hellhole” are singled out for one reason only — these are courts in which citizen jurors have found big corporations liable for dangerous products and practices.

Our city drew the attention of this big-business cheerleader based on three recent verdicts against Johnson & Johnson. In each of these trials, jurors considered three weeks of testimony before concluding that Johnson & Johnson had ignored dozens of published medical and scientific studies and decades of mounting evidence highlighting links between genital application of talcum powder by women and ovarian cancer. These juries punished Johnson & Johnson for a culture that places profit over safety.

Thanks to the central location and efficiency of our courts, dying women have been given a voice. Our juries have seen documents that Johnson & Johnson would prefer to keep hidden, including a 1974 letter to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in which the corporation pledged to discontinue talc products if any scientific studies revealed questions about talc’s safety. Shamefully, those products remain available despite a raft of studies and meta-studies that have drawn lines from talc use to ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson’s own toxicologist wrote in 1994, “Anybody who denies (the published research) risks that the talc industry will be perceived by the public like it perceives the cigarette industry: denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”

St. Louis juries were no doubt alarmed to learn how Johnson & Johnson aggressively marketed its talc products to African-American and Hispanic women even after these safety concerns became apparent. They even heard from a Johnson & Johnson whistleblower who testified that supervisors instructed her to alter hundreds of Adverse Event Reports, which the FDA often relies upon to monitor product safety issues.

This week’s Democratic Radio:

Arthur Lupia
Political scientist Arthur Lupia, an expert on voter ignorance, says most people want quick and easy answers to their problems.on-air

Jeff Hauser
Jeff Hauser is executive director of the Revolving Door Project and he says what we don’t know about Trump’s massive conflicts of interest is more important than what we do know.

Tom Perez
Bill Press interviews Tom Perez, who is running to become chair of the DNC.

Jim Hightower
Why is George Orwell’s “1984” a bestseller again?

This will make a Democrat happy, The Donald and his polls are at record heights..for disapproval. TIME has the story on the Trumpsters continuing decline in favorability in President Donald Trump’s Approval Rating Historically Low.

President Donald Trump, who entered the White House with historically low approval ratings, continues to receive record high disapproval ratings compared to his predecessors.
Two weeks into Trump’s presidency, a majority of people (53%) disapprove of how he is handling the job, while just 44% approve, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Friday. Those numbers reflect the highest disapproval rating for a newly elected president since such figures were first tracked, according to CNN.
By comparison, former President Ronald Reagan’s initial approval rating of 51% was only slightly higher than Trump’s, but his disapproval rating (13%) was not nearly as high.

If that’s not enough a new PPP Poll finds forty percent of Americans support impeaching the orange tweeter…

Trump impeachment

Recently KETC Channel 9 featured a debate and discussion about Right-to-Work. Yoy can view it here...

Unfortunately, the legislature has yet to consider my Right-to-Country Club proposal which is based on exactly the same idea as Right-to-Work. Both proposals require an organization to provide their services for free to people that use a service but don’t want to pay for the service they receive. Here is my Letter to the Editor that appeared in the Washington Missourian…

To The Editor:

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently reported “Missouri Republicans Are Loading Up on Tax Break Proposals.” There sure are some interesting concepts being advanced by the party of the wrinkled trunk. I particularly enjoyed this proposal…Ignoring reality

“Rep. Lyndall Fraker, R-Marshfield, wants to offer a sales tax exemption on initiation fees or dues on private country clubs.

“ ‘It’s just really hitting some of these clubs really hard,’ Fraker said.

“Fraker acknowledges that tax credits do take a toll on the state budget.”

This is indeed the kind of proposal that comes from a “change” election. In this case, Republican Fraker is fighting to shave off some of the hardship some rich folks feel when paying their country club dues. I’m sure most Missourians are OK with this. After all, most folks can afford to buy a few more school supplies or fund-raisers to make up for the lost revenue that the country club deduction costs the state.

Of course, another way of looking at this issue comes to mind. Instead of offering tax credits for rich folks to offset the expense of those pesky private country club dues, I propose a Right-to-Country Club. This law would allow members and former members to use country club facilities, the bar, the sauna, the golf course, the caterer, and other services and then be able to invoke their Right-to-Country Club and not pay for any of these services.

Let’s be clear, all Americans should have the right to hang out at the country club of their choice – whether they pay dues or not.

If my proposal sounds familiar, it should. The very same Republican Party that is pushing tax breaks for rich folks’ country club dues have already held hearings on Right-to-Work legislation. RTW would require unions to provide representation and bargaining services to anyone who chooses to work at a unionized facility, while allowing the member or nonmember to avoid paying for any of those services.

The fact is that asking an organization to provide services without compensation is ridiculous and obviously incompatible with a market economy.

What is good for the golden goose is good for the gander. Republicans like Justin Alferman, Dave Schatz, Paul Curtman and Kirk Matthews, who support Right-to-Work, should also embrace my Right-to-Country Club. I promise when Right-to-Country Club comes to the floor of the House for a vote, I will be there. I will also give these legislators all the credit for my idea.

Instant Classic. This week’s episode of Saturday Night Live features Melissa McCarthy recreating a typical press briefing by Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Save the cup of coffee until after you watch…

In the eight-minute sketch, a nearly unrecognizable McCarthy perfectly captured the frosty, often acrimonious relationship between Spicer and the press, the secretary’s brash and confrontational manner, his odd phrasing and the circuitousness of his answers to direct questions.Melissa McCarthy as Spicer

“I know that the press and myself have gotten off to a rocky start, and when I say ‘rocky start,’ I mean it in the sense of Rocky the movie because I came out here to punch you,” “Spicer” yelled.

“I’d like to begin today by apologizing on behalf of you to me for how you have treated me these last two weeks, and that apology is not accepted!”
“Spicer” also provided an accurate recap of Trump’s Supreme Court judge announcement: “When he entered the room, the crowd greeted him with a standing ovation which lasted a full 15 minutes, and you can check the tape on that. Everyone was smiling, everyone was happy, the men all had erections, and every single one of the women were ovulating left and right. And no one was sad, those are the facts forever.”

“Spicer” then fielded questions, barely, about the Muslim ban and Steve Bannon, using props to explain the executive order to the press.

Welcome back, we are glad to have you! This site has been the target of repeated hacks over the last several weeks. This has been resolved for now so we are happy to be posting again.

Let’s go to Crooks and Liars and this story about the Trump nominee for Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch. It appears Mr. Gorsuch, a man DT feels so strongly about he has urged Mitch McConnell to go “nuclear” if needed to get him on the court has a peculiar taste in friends and politics. The details are in SCOTUS Pick Neil Gorsuch Founded “Fascism Forever” Club In High School…

But the British tabloid Dailymail reports that Gorsuch founded an anti-liberal professor club called “Fascism Forever” while at elite DC Jesuit prep school.

Look how Dailymail puts it. Adorable:Neil Gorsuch

The club was set up to rally against the ‘left-wing tendencies’ of his professors while attending a Jesuit all-boys preparatory high school near Washington D.C.

The name may be inconvenient for a Supreme Court nominee facing a tough confirmation battle. However it also shows the depth of Gorscuch’s right-wing credentials – and his penchant for mischief while attending his exclusive prep school in the 1980s.

Labeling yourself pro-Fascism gives you deep right-wing credentials AND shows you off as a mischief maker!

I liked how Jon Grayson put it on his “Overnight America” radio show:

This week’s Democratic Radio:  

Richard Conleyredradio

Professor Richard Conley has a new book about presidential relations with Congress. This time, he says, they may not work out too well. And, he says, presidents who lose the popular vote aren’t usually successful.

Bruce Springsteen

We don’t usually have entertainers on the program, but we have a special guest this week, courtesy of the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron.” Bruce Springsteen talks with Marc about the irony of the very people the Boss writes about in his songs being hoodwinked by Trump.

Get Bruce Springstein’s new autobiography, Born to Run and make sure to check out Marc Maron at

Raul Ruiz

Bill Press talks with California Democrat Raul Ruiz about prospects for the 115th Congress.

Jim Hightower

Searching for integrity in Trumplandia

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