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  1. Midday open thread: MO governor stays execution over DNA results; China's floating solar farm

    Today’s comic by Jen Sorensen is Finally seeing the (torch) light:

    Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - Finally seeing the (torch) light

    Missouri stays execution Marcellus Williams tonight until inquiry looks at DNA test showing likely innocence. Williams’ attorneys had appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for a new hearing or the commutation of his sentence to life in prison. They also asked Republican Gov. Eric Greitens for clemency. Greitens said he would appoint a board to look into the DNA testing and other factors:

    Attorney Kent Gipson contends that DNA testing conducted in December using techniques that were not available at the time of the killing showed DNA found on the knife matches an unknown man, but not Williams. He also cited previous DNA testing of hairs found from Gayle’s shirt and fingernails that also excluded Williams, and said footprints at the scene did not match Williams. [...]

    Gipson said Williams’ conviction was based on the testimony of two convicted felons who were out for a $10,000 reward. One was Williams’ former girlfriend and the other was his former cellmate.

    China puts floating solar farm above coal mine: The mine was closed and groundwater flooded it. So the city decided to use the space rather than abandon it as a source of electricity. The new solar farm generates 40 megawatts, enough to power about 15,000 homes. That is more than six times the second biggest active floating farm, which has a capacity of 6.3 megawatts. There are several advantages to floating solar farms, not the least of which is that being on the water cools down solar cells, making them more productive. 

    Liberty University graduates return their diplomas because of LU President Jerry Falwell’s support for Trump. In a letter last week, several graduates said the university’s alignment with Trump has for them been a source of “shame and anger.” This heightened after Falwell’s saying he was “so proud” of Trump and his “bold, truthful” response to white supremacist violence in Charlottesville: 

    Falwell appeared on “Fox & Friends” Monday morning to reiterate his support for the president.

    “President Donald Trump does not have a racist bone in his body. I know him well,” Falwell said. “He loves all people. He’s worked so hard to help minorities in the inner cities. … He’s doing all the right things to help the people that are in need, the minorities.”

    German police seize thousands of tablets of the party drug ecstasy in the shape of Trump’s face.

    Calling his actions “despicable,” a Catholic priest has temporarily quit his post after revealing he was in the Ku Klux Klan year ago:

    A Catholic priest in Arlington, Va., is temporarily stepping down after revealing he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and burned crosses more than 40 years ago before becoming a clergy member.

    The Rev. William Aitcheson wrote an editorial that was published Monday in the Arlington Catholic Herald describing himself as “an impressionable young man” when he became a member of the hate group. He wrote that images from the deadly white supremacist and white nationalist rally in Charlottesville “brought back memories of a bleak period in my life that I would have preferred to forget.”

    California blows apart Trump claim that environmental regulation stifles economic growth:

    The California economy is thriving, according to a new report released Monday — and that’s despite the state instituting relatively restrictive environmental rules.

    According to the assessment, after the passage of California’s trademark — and controversial  2006 cap-and-trade law, statewide per capita emissions fell by 12 percent. For every fossil fuel job in the state, California has 8.5 in solar and wind energy. (Compare that to the 2.5-to-1 ratio for the nation, overall.) Most notably, the report finds the state’s per-capita GDP grew by almost double the national average since cap-and-trade passed. In fact, the state is now the most energy-productive economy in the world — meaning it uses the least amount of energy to gain each dollar of GDP.

    On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Still more to talk about on Steve Bannon’s “exit,” and what it means, if anything. And in advance of Trump’s next rally, we dive into the archives for more theories and thinking about the “origin story” of the so-called “alt-right” and their instant “celebs.”

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  2. Two students visit Howard University wearing MAGA hats and expect us to believe it was accidental

    Since the nation is finally talking about white supremacy after the events in Charlottesville, now is a good time to talk about all the ways that white supremacy is manifested. In order to do that, there are some hard, painful truths that need to accompany this discussion—for example, the fact that it took an extreme demonstration of violence in which a white woman was killed before many in this country started to actually believe that white supremacy wasn’t something that was just a fiction or outdated concept invented by angry people of color.

    Another realization that must come with this moment of reckoning is that white supremacy is not just a man’s game. White women have long played a role in maintaining racial superiority in this country, despite protestations to the contrary. Heather Hayer’s death was tragic. She is now one of countless people who have been murdered in the fight against hate. But we need to understand that reactions to her death are complex. A lot of white progressives have been lauding Heather’s death as an example of how white allies are showing up for racial justice. While this is true, it is also true that black and brown death at the hands of white supremacy does not receive the same kind of widespread attention that Heather’s death has received. It is also true that Heather’s death doesn’t erase the history of white women’s participation in white supremacy. This conversation must be met with a both/and approach.

    As evidence of the above point, this weekend, two white teenagers visited the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC, wearing Make America Great Again hats. They were not warmly received. And they took to social media to tell their story.

    Two teenagers stirred up controversy at Howard University — a historically black college, or HBCU — on Saturday when they arrived at the campus wearing Make America Great Again paraphernalia, drawing a sharp response from the college's students and prompting a Twitter thread from the university.

    The high school students said Howard students approached them and criticized their Trump gear as they waited in line at the cafeteria — with one Howard student grabbing their hats and another saying "Fuck y'all." [...]

    The two white students, from Union City High School in Pennsylvania, told BuzzFeed News they were among a group of 30 teenagers on an organized trip to see sites in Washington, DC, where the college is based. They arrived at the campus around lunchtime, and headed for the cafeteria with their school chaperones.

  3. The only county in America without an ACA plan voted 3-to-1 for Trump

    At his CNN-broadcasted town hall Monday night, House Speaker Paul Ryan did it again. He lied. Again. "The status quo is not an option. Obamacare is not working," he said. "We've got dozens of counties around America that have zero insurers left." If by "dozens" he means the number of people who live in a county without an Obamacare insurer, he might be correct. There are dozens—334 enrollees to be exact—living in Paulding County, Ohio—the only county in America as of today without an insurer on its exchange for 2018.

    On Monday, Larry Levitt from Kaiser Family Foundations tweeted out this time-lapse map, showing the number of counties without an insurer on the exchanges shrink. Yesterday it was down to two and today, just one.


    Watch as the number of counties at risk of having no marketplace insurers grew...then shrunk...to two counties with 381 enrollees. pic.twitter.com/qsXV5iYxd1

    — Larry Levitt (@larry_levitt) August 21, 2017

    Paulding County, the last, lone county without an Obamacare plan in the United States voted for Trump 72-23. Trump voters are the only ones that matter to Paul Ryan, so I guess Paulding  County counts a few extra dozens of times in his head. Or he's just a massive liar.

  4. Abandoned by Facebook and Twitter, whining racists are sad

    As corporate giants like Facebook decide it's bad business, in 2017, to be seen as tolerant of hate speech and racism, they've been banning the most well-known hate groups from their services. This makes sad racists sad.

    Jared Taylor, head of the white nationalist publication American Renaissance, complained of the “terrible setback” imposed by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other large-scale tech companies in preventing leaders of his movement from reaching new audiences.

    “It is a reversion to the pre-internet days when in order to really have access to the public you had to own a newspaper or a magazine or a television network or radio station,” he told TPM in a recent interview. “The internet has vastly democratized this process and made it possible for people not just like us but like Donald Trump to bypass the gatekeepers. What we are going back to is a kind of snuffing out of dissident views. It reminds me of the Soviet Union.”

    If Facebook, YouTube, or a company like PayPal was a government service, he'd have a point and the sites would likely be obliged to permit Taylor's hateful rhetoric. But they ain't, and so they aren't obliged to be the spawning grounds of white supremacy and unapologetic fascism if they don't want to be. This is the "free market" nonsense that libertarians are always going on about, up until the exact moment when that market kicks them in the shins.

    Peter Brimelow, founder of the site Virginia Dare, which features articles from white nationalist contributors, told TPM in an email last week that his site, which was booted from PayPal, was “earning significant income from Google Adsense [and] Amazon before they purged us.”

    How one of the most infamous white nationalist sites on the internet managed to pull in ads from Google and Amazon to fund operations up until now is a good question.

    Of all the threats to online white supremacy, however, it's probably the refusal of domain name companies to register their sites that's the most dangerous. Without domain names, the hate sites will be relegated to the deep web, unsearchable and largely undiscoverable to anyone who doesn't already know to look for them. Our nation's Citronella Nazis can always resort to Hitler-themed bake sales and lemonade stands to scrounge for the cash needed to fund their movements. Losing the ability to get their execrable drivel included in search results when new-to-the-net racist bastards are looking for a movement to join, however, won't be as easy to recover from.

  5. 'Where is my pardon?' A victim of Joe Arpaio's reign of terror speaks out

    “There absolutely are people the president should pardon in Arizona,” writes Noemi Romero, an undocumented immigrant and leader with local immigrant rights group Puente Arizona, “but it’s not the recently convicted Sheriff in Maricopa County. It’s victims of Sheriff Arpaio’s racial profiling like me who are still paying the price.”

    In 2013, Romero was one of the countless Maricopa County immigrants to have been swept up in one of Joe Arpaio’s racist workplace raids. Despite the fact that she was not even a target, the raid nearly led to her deportation, and today Romero has a criminal record because she had been using her mother’s ID in order to be able to work and raise the nearly $500 she needed for her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application.

    Because of the conviction, Romero is no longer eligible for the DACA program she had been working so hard to apply for. Meanwhile, Donald Trump may possibly pardon Arpaio for his criminal conviction for disobeying a federal judge’s order, something he not only has shown no remorse for, but a criminal act he continues to stand by. Romero writes that it’s not Arpaio who deserves the pardon—it’s the hard-working immigrants he terrorized that deserve a second chance:

    When President Trump says Arpaio is a “great American patriot” who has “done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration,” he’s talking about what he’s done to people like me. He’s talking about what he’s done to families like Katherine Figueroa who at age 9 watched her own parents arrested in a raid on a carwash on live television. He’s talking about Marty Atencio who Arpaio’s Sheriffs beat to death in a jail cell. Just like when he says there are “very fine people on both sides” of the protests in Charlottesville, he’s talking about nazis.

    The previous Department of Justice said that Arpaio is the “most egregious case of racial profiling” investigators had ever witnessed. A judge found Arpaio guilty of continuing that profiling in contempt of court orders to stop. And he’s actually guilty of much worse.

    Pardoning Arpaio would be a presidential endorsement of his racism and his flaunting of the law in pursuit of it. Whereas pardoning Arpaio’s victims would actually mean having a heart and correcting a wrong.

    “Because of a local group, Puente Arizona, and the work of my community I’m still here,” writes Romero in her Daily Kos diary, which is a must-read here. “But because of Arpaio’s profiling and campaign against our families I have this extra mark against me now...where is my pardon?