For those of you who receive our daily emailed newsletter, I’ve moved delivery to evenings. Now you’ll receive the day’s posts in the evenings, instead of receiving the previous day’s posts the next morning.
Mike Huckabee is still whining about the SCOTUS ruling on DOMA:
If we’re determined to change the definition of marriage to accommodate how people feel and what they wish to do because of their mutual consent, then we should immediately release those incarcerated for practicing polygamy or bigamy. And, frankly, let’s make all consensual adult behaviors legal, whether prostitution, assisted suicide, or even drinking 16 ounce sodas in New York City.
Christian radio host Rick Wiles to Dr. Den Trumbull on studying the “dangers” of homosexuality:
Its unbelievable how the political correctness of this movement is literally squashing all legitimate debate. Its now almost impossible to have an intelligent discussion in public anymore about these issues.
And the next step — as they’ve already done in some countries — is they they will criminalize any opposing views. I mean, this is like Nazism coming down in this country that says we’re going to regulate what you can say. We’re going to make it criminal for you to oppose a certain agenda.
Every time I hear someone complain about “political correctness” they are actually complaining about being called-out for making offensive, racist, sexist or homophobic statements. Lush Rimjob has even complained about liberals being “intolerant” of his intolerance. If they are feeling pressure to stop being bigots, that’s a very good thing.
Texas state representative Wayne Christian and the Republican War on Women in that state:
Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything, that’s what family planning is supposed to be about.
Fox’s Dick Grenell (the self-loathing, openly gay, former Romney adviser who was forced to resign from the Romney campaign because members of his own party were outraged by his sexuality) on the media reaction to the SCOTUS ruling against the Voting Rights Act:
You had Al Sharpton and others acting like blacks could no longer vote now that the Supreme Court had ruled this way. It was really ridiculous.
Of course, the ruling was quickly followed by North Carolina writing legislation to target the black community and when they vote; closing early voting, Sunday voting hours, and same-day registration. Let’s be real – the black community in NC is poor, and poor voters don’t have the option to take time off work to stand in line for hours and vote on a Tuesday. Early voting is a must for them, which is why NC Republicans worked quickly to suppress their vote.
The GOP on Hillary Clinton running for President, attacking her age:
Bobby Jindal: “The reality is, when you look at the Democrats, they’ve got old, tired ideas being produced by old, tired candidates.”
I find this hilarious coming from Mitchell, an old man with a frozen face who speaks as if he has shit in his mouth.
In response to Mitchell’s remarks, Nancy Pelosi said:
They would go to that place at their own risk.
Lush Rimjob went to that place during Hillary’s first presidential campaign, asking his listeners if they would:
… want to vote for somebody, a woman, and actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?
What a douche!
Step 1 – Gather together a group of close-minded, bigoted male friends for a meeting.
Step 2 – In said meeting, make decisions about body parts that you don’t even have.
Step 3 – Also in said meeting, do not allow input from the public or medical professionals.
Step 4 – Quickly, quietly and surreptitiously sign those decisions into law tagged onto the end of a budget bill hoping no one will notice.
And this is precisely what crackpot Ohio governor John Kasich did last week, making Ohio the most anti-woman state in the country. Kasich vetoed 22 measures but not the abortion rider that will not only force women to have an ultrasound prior to the procedure but also forbids abortion clinics from transferring patients to public hospitals if they are in need of extra care. They must find a private hospital willing to help them, should this occur.
“The amendment also contains some concerning changes to the definitions of ‘fetus’ and ‘pregnancy.’ The bill now defines fetus as: “human offspring developing during pregnancy from the moment of conception and includes the embryonic stage of development,” and declares that pregnancy begins with fertilization. Biological science defines pregnancy as begin [sic] at implantation in the uterine lining. Changing these definitions could have many unforeseen ramifications, including implications for many commonly-used forms of birth control.”
Crooks and Liars weighs in on other provisions within the budget:
There was more, too. The Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act was stripped from the bill prior to passage and new language inserted actually banning the state from expanding it. That ensures that women now caught in intrusive TRAP laws who also live in poverty or near-poverty will not be able to get access to health care through Medicaid. While this is consistent with Republican views about life mattering before it’s born and not after, it’s going to do harm to Ohio’s budget and Ohio’s women.
But stick with me, my story gets better. The budget puts Planned Parenthood last on the family-planning dole-out list, cutting off roughly $1.4 million in federal funding and causing women to lose access to low-cost family planning. Oh, sure, you can still seek help at those “crisis pregnancy centers” who will tell you that it is God’s will that your rapist got you pregnant and therefore you should follow the path He has laid out for you. These centers are heavy on religious doctrine but a bit light on accurate health information and they will not refer you to an abortion clinic.
They then put rape crisis centers under a state-imposed gag order. These rape-crisis counselors will face new restrictions when telling impregnated rape victims that they can legally terminate their pregnancy. And if they are caught counseling sexual assault victims about abortion, they could lose their public funding, Reuters reported. Yet the Republican’s are still wearing a straight face when they say they are not waging a war on women.
“These provisions in the Ohio state budget are part of an orchestrated effort to roll back women’s rights and access to health care in Ohio. The budget is only the latest in a series of restrictive laws signed by John Kasich that have hurt the women in our state who need more access to health care, not less,” Stephanie Kight, president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, said in a statement.
Some people feel that this barrage of attacks from five states (Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, Mississippi and Virginia) upon women’s health issues is a precursor of trying to get Roe v. Wade overturned. Now, things have not been good in our government lately, but I hope against hope that the Supreme Court will never do that. I do not want to be in an America where we have gone so far backward that our ancestors had more compassion and common sense than we do currently. If that happens, what does that say about mankind? Because we sure as hell are not moving in the proper direction.
Kentucky’s only female office holder, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, announced on Monday that she would run for US Senate in 2014. She will be facing Mitch McConnell in the midterm election, one of the most unpopular Senators ever. After several Dems backed out of the race, McConnell assumed that he would get to keep the seat in 2014. But now he is in big trouble. In a short press conference, Grimes announced that she would start her campaign immediately, and outlined how important it is to essentially “Ditch Mitch”
(not her words). Grimes is largely viewed as a top democratic challenger from the Dems, but to Republicans who underestimate her she says this:
“I will tell you that I was an underdog in the Office of Secretary of State Race, and I’m no stranger to being the underdog.”
She ended up becoming State Secretary of Kentucky with 60% of the vote, and she is actually tied with McConnell in an early poll of the race. Now this poll was conducted over a month before she announced her Senate bid, which I think proves that people are tired of McConnell and his obstructionism. He will be running for his 6th term as Senator and has a strong financial backing from conservative super PAC’s. McConnell is infamous for leading ruthless campaigns, including trying to demonize Ashley Judd earlier this year before she announced she wouldn’t be running for the seat. McConnell’s team has already made a desperate attempt to paint her as a clone of that black guy in the White House, but will probably hold off on bigger lies until she is leading in the polls.
If the Republican Minority Leader of the Senate were to lose, I think Republicans may begin to get the message that a majority of Americans aren’t on their side. Gerrymandering can assure a Republican majority in the House, but if a Dem were to win the highly regarded Senate seat it could be a wake-up call for their party. But then again that’s what we said after the 2012 election. McConnell and his party continue attacking the President, blocking immigration reform, pushing anti-choice bills through Congress, and lying to the American people in general. Even though Kentucky is conservative leaning, I truly believe they will make the right decision and kick McConnell to the curb next year by electing Alison Lundergan Grimes. The only question I have now is, how do I contribute to her campaign?
This NSA/PRISM thing has a lot of people riled up, but I don’t happen to be one of them. You know what I get riled up about, 3,000 of my fellow citizens going to work on a September morning and never returning home… ever; or 15 little kids going to daycare in a federal building and being blown to kingdom come by a homegrown terrorist who referred to them as simply “collateral damage“. Grow up America, this isn’t your Grandparents’ world anymore.
Glenn Greenwald posted the first piece about the NSA’s Internet data collection titled: “NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily“. Some refer to it as a “scoop” when in reality, the story was handed to him by one Edward Snowden, the now ex-employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, a contractor for the National Security Agency (More about Snowden later). Greenwald wrote:
“Privacy advocates have long warned that allowing the government to collect and store unlimited “metadata” is a highly invasive form of surveillance of citizens’ communications activities. Those records enable the government to know the identity of every person with whom an individual communicates electronically, how long they spoke, and their location at the time of the communication.”
Then the Washington Post reported on the details of the Prism program. Guy Benson followed that up with a post over at Town Hall: “BREAKING: Massive Government Surveillance Program Exposed, All Americans Affected” where he writes:
The Washington Post has published a truly shocking story exposing the largest government domestic program in American history. If you are reading this right now, you have been affected by PRISM, a top secret operation begun in 2007 that has expanded “exponentially” during the Obama administration. This isn’t the plot of a futuristic thriller. This is the US government at work, here and now…
What a drama queen. Yes, it would be wonderful if Al-Qaeda used courier pigeons, we could intercept their communiques with a sling-shot; unfortunately, they’re a bit more advanced than that. As CNN reported in 2004, computer expert, Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, who helped Osama bin Laden communicate with his terror network, had told interrogators:
…al Qaeda uses Web sites and e-mail addresses in Turkey, Nigeria and tribal areas of Pakistan to pass messages among themselves.
Couriers were often used to deliver computer discs, and Khan would then post the messages on Web sites, but only briefly…
…after messages were sent and read, the files were deleted.
E-mail addresses were used only two or three times; if the information was really sensitive, an address might be used only once.
A senior military U.S. official said a computer seized from Khan contained hundreds of images, including photographs, drawings and layouts of various potential U.S. targets. (Full story)
Some of the photos were years old, while others had been taken as recently as the past few months, the official said. Some images showed underground garages, leading to the conclusion those areas had been under surveillance…
And as CNN reported when Osama bin Laden was found:
U.S. commandos… quickly came upon another prize: A trove of hard drives, DVDs and thumb drives that might provide evidence of other al Qaeda operations.
The NSA intercepted cell phone calls by the couriers and family members for months…
The hysterics over the NSA’s intelligence gathering are almost humorous considering Americans are tracked with more detail by the sites they visit every day on the Internet. As reported in one of a series of articles in 2010, the Wall Street Journal:
… conducted a comprehensive study that assesses and analyzes the broad array of cookies and other surveillance technology that companies are deploying on Internet users. It reveals that the tracking of consumers has grown both far more pervasive and far more intrusive than is realized by all but a handful of people in the vanguard of the industry.
• The study found that the nation’s 50 top websites on average installed 64 pieces of tracking technology onto the computers of visitors, usually with no warning. A dozen sites each installed more than a hundred…
• Tracking technology is getting smarter and more intrusive. Monitoring used to be limited mainly to “cookie” files that record websites people visit. But the Journal found new tools that scan in real time what people are doing on a Web page, then instantly assess location, income, shopping interests and even medical conditions. Some tools surreptitiously re-spawn themselves even after users try to delete them.[...]
Beacons, also known as “Web bugs” and “pixels,” are small pieces of software that run on a Web page. They can track what a user is doing on the page, including what is being typed or where the mouse is moving.
We live in a country where people post every minute detail of their lives on Facebook, go sunup to sundown yakking on cell phones in public (and accosting me with the details of their lives everywhere I go), tweet every thought that comes into their head (lame or otherwise), and send pictures of themselves sans clothes to total strangers while their unsupervised children are in chat rooms conversing with sex offenders and pedophiles. But by all means, cry about your privacy rights.
“…every day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data (1 followed by 18 zeros) are created, with 90% of the world’s data created in the last two years alone. As a society, we’re producing and capturing more data each day than was seen by everyone since the beginning of the earth.”
(If you really want your eyes to glass over, you can check out this page that gives you equivalents for bits, bytes, etc.)
As far as the NSA’s “massive surveillance”, take a moment and wrap your head around these numbers:
But hey, I’m sure the NSA zeroed right in on that hummus recipe you emailed your sister.
As Sebastion Anthony at Extreme Tech put it:
“…it would appear that Prism gives the US government access to just about any data you might have residing on servers based in US data centers. This might sound scary, but ask yourself this: Has anything happened in the past six years that has made you think “damn, I feel so oppressed by the US government’s data collection measures”?
As far as the NSA and FBI are concerned, Prism, the Verizon wiretap, and probably hundreds of other sources of data, all serve just one purpose: Bolstering the security of the United States of America. The US intelligence community doesn’t actually care if you’re searching for porn, or how to grow your own weed; but it does care if you start searching for bomb recipes, and then posting photos of My First Nail Bomb on Facebook.
It’s also important to remember the difference between data logging and data mining. Yes, there’s a possibility that the US government is logging a lot of your data, but in the vast majority of cases that’s it — your data is logged, and then after a certain amount of time it’s deleted. If it turns out that you’re a terrorist, or some other threat to national security, all of your logged data suddenly becomes very valuable indeed — all of those innocuous phone calls and cryptic status updates could be used to track down you and your co-conspirators. It’s no good if the US government only starts logging data after a terrorist commits an atrocity.
(You can also find Anthony’s tips and tools to “stay out of the ireful, omnipresent eye of the US and other governments” here.)
As for Snowden, I was disappointed to see The Progressive put up a post thanking both him and Greenwald. Aside from being excruciatingly sappy, it attempts to turn these guys into heroes:
Courage and principle are, for once, in the news.
I’m referring, of course, to Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, and Edward Snowden, the whistleblower.
They both, at considerable risk to their own freedom, have done everything in their power to defend our freedoms as Americans.
By exposing the vast NSA spying operation that the Obama Administration has been running, both Greenwald and especially Snowden may face prosecution.
And Snowden, rather than remain anonymous, has chosen to come forward as the source of Greenwald’s expose, saying with great fortitude: “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know have done nothing wrong.”…
… Glenn Greenwald deserves a Pulitzer Prize for this scoop, and Edward Snowden deserves all of our thanks.
He is an American hero.
I beg to disagree. Snowden is no hero, he’s a criminal who has jeopardized the intelligence gathering capabilities of this country, as well as those in and of other countries; one who is in fact currently hiding like the chicken-shit little punk he is. (While I’m on that subject, where the hell is Dog the Bounty Hunter when you need him?)
This was not a case of Snowden “discovering” the NSA program in the course of doing his job; the Fifth Column recently reported he took the job with the intent of releasing classified information which, in my humble opinion, is espionage not “whistle blowing”:
For the first time, Snowden has admitted he sought a position at Booz Allen Hamilton so he could collect proof about the US National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programmes[sic] ahead of planned leaks to the media.
“My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked,” he told the Post on June 12. “That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”
“If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country to make their own assessment, independent of my bias, as to whether or not the knowledge of US network operations against their people should be published.”
Hiring screeners at Booz Allen Hamilton, a contractor for the National Security Agency, found possible discrepancies in a resume submitted by Edward Snowden, but the company still employed him, a source with detailed knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.
It is unclear precisely which element of Snowden’s resume caused personnel officials at Booz Allen Hamilton to raise questions about his background. Also unclear is how he satisfied their concerns.
Before he was hired by Booz Allen Hamilton, Snowden also was screened by USIS, a Virginia-based investigations firm hired separately by the U.S. government to conduct background checks on prospective employees and contractors. Based on reports from firms such as USIS, the NSA decides whether a potential contract worker gets a security clearance.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Snowden… stated on his resume earlier this year he attended computer-related classes at Johns Hopkins University, a Tokyo campus of the University of Maryland and the University of Liverpool in Britain.
(Yeah, that didn’t bear a bit of scrutiny.)
Some of the educational information listed on the resume did not check out precisely, said the sources, who are not authorized to comment publicly.
Despite that, Booz Allen Hamilton hired him at an annual salary of $122,000 to work as a contractor for the NSA… Snowden had been on the job there for about four weeks when he traveled to Hong Kong last month and leaked the U.S. government secrets…
Since then, Snowden has run to Hong Kong, Moscow, and Ecuador. Now the Chicago Tribune reports Snowden’s daddy is attempting to negotiate his son’s return to the U.S., providing “certain conditions are met”. Mr. Snowden’s attorney sent a letter on his behalf to the Justice Department stating that Edward Snowden:
“…should not be detained or imprisoned before trial, should not be subject to a gag order, and should be tried in a venue of his choosing…”
Is he serious? Hell, why have a trial at all, how about if the U.S. just grounds him for a month, or makes him do a little community service… I know, house arrest at the spa of his choice… sheesh!
Of course Daddy Snowden insists his son isn’t a traitor:
“He has betrayed his government, but I don’t believe that he’s betrayed the people of the United States.”
I’m missing the distinction there. Anyway, even if he did betray his country, it’s not really his fault:
… Snowden said he was concerned that his son was being manipulated by others, including people from the anti-government secrecy group WikiLeaks…
“I am concerned about those who surround him,” he told NBC. “Wikileaks – if you look at past history – their focus isn’t necessarily the Constitution of the United States. It’s simply to release as much information as possible. So that alone is a concern for me.”
Speaking only for myself, Edward Snowden has betrayed his country, its citizens, the thousands of victims of terrorism, and those who’ve fought and died to protect us.
We can’t complain that the U.S. didn’t connect the dots that led up to 9/11, then moan and cry about privacy when they find a way to do it. We can’t demand to be safe on an airplane then bitch about the TSA’s screening processes. Most of all, we can’t take instant access to everyone and everything via technology for granted, while foolishly believing terrorists aren’t doing the same thing. There are reasons the greater good must occasionally outweigh privacy concerns; if preventing another 9/11 isn’t one of those reasons, I don’t know what is.
It seems the radical right has a new strategy to cloud the debate with ridiculous assertions, like these …
Jim DeMint replying to Rachel Maddow on forced transvaginal ultrasounds:
So to hell with the women who feel violated by being forced to have this wand shoved up their crotch. Instead, let’s focus on these fictional women who, according to DeMint, actually want that done to their body. Where does DeMint meet these women who want something shoved up their crotch? In a D.C. brothel? And btw, as Rachel pointed out, they are not free. Women are forced to have them shoved up their crotch and forced to pay for it. But regardless, I can’t help but laugh at this concept – the GOP, the party that complains about free programs like food stamps, is promoting free ultrasounds.
And then there’s this from Trey Gowdy on immigration:
So who are these fictional immigrants Ted has spoken to, or which study is he referring to that names these immigrants who left their home country in search of a better life in the U.S. but don’t want U.S. citizenship? The answer is, they don’t exist. He’s lying.
Now for something dangerous – There’s no shortage of radicals in the right-wing calling for revolution, but here’s one calling for an American crusade. David Lane, Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign adviser (there’s a scary thought), calls for killing all the non-Christians in the United States. Some excerpts from C&L:
Lane called in his essay for Christians to “Wage war to restore a Christian America.” The depth and ferocity of Lane’s vision is so remarkable that it cannot be explained away by the pundits of pooh pooh.
Lane goes on, still quoting Leithart, to denounce American Christianity for failing to produce martyrs and for substituting a “heretical Americanism for Christian orthodoxy.” He insists that to put things right “Christians must risk martyrdom” to force people to either “acknowledge Jesus [as] an imperator and the church as God’s imperium or to begin drinking holy blood.”
Lane expresses frustration with what he regards as the superficial politics of press releases of “inside the Beltway” Christian Rightists. He calls for “champions of Christ to save the nation from the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage, homosexual scouts, 60 million babies done to death by abortion and red ink as far as the eye can see.” The champions for Christ of his vision will “wage war for the Soul of America and trust the living God to deliver the pagan gods into our hands and restore America to her Judeo-Christian heritage and re-establish a Christian culture.”
This is a perfect example of why I recommend that all Democrats and lefties arm themselves, NOW. Someday soon, the crazies on the right are going to carry-out their insane vision in the name of religion and we will be their targets.
Before writing this post I was sorely tempted to drive a rusty fork into my leg, understanding that the resulting trip to the hospital and enhanced scrutiny from the local mental health experts would stop me from writing a post this early about the 2016 presidential election. Alas, I have no rusty fork available, so I guess we must blame fate for this premature electoral blatherfest.
Nate Silver has pronounced Hillary Clinton to be the strongest non incumbent in American electoral history going into the primary for the 2016 election. It is hard to argue Silver’s point, and if you do argue with Silver that usually means 2 things. You are probably a conservative kool aid drinker, and you are going to lose.
Another sign of Clinton’s strength is the growing sound of baying from the right, trying to pick at her popularity. From Rand Paul pronouncing that Benghazi should disqualify Clinton from higher office to not so subtle shots at her age, Republicans see the Hillary juggernaut coming and are desperate to slow her down.
While the right attacks her, Clinton is also finding plenty of early support from the left. Senator Claire McCaskill, an early supporter of Obama in the 08 primary, has endorsed Hillary, by signing with a superpac (Ready for Hillary) set up to draft her into the 2016 election. Nancy Pelosi thinks Democrats are coalescing behind a Clinton candidacy and believes Clinton is the best hope for a Democratic victory in 2016.
With the right snapping at her, and the left cheering her on, I for one hope Clinton declares shortly following the 2014 midterm elections. Presuming that she does decide to run I will enthusiastically support her during the Democratic primary, and the general election in 2016.
I understand that this early endorsement by some pipsqueak blogger (myself) means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but it is not a decision I came to lightly.
For one, I really think Joe Biden is fantastic. If not for the Clinton super nova outshining all others, Biden would be an easy choice for me. His demeanor, get it done approach, the way he destroyed Paul Ryan in last years debate (which was desperately needed immediately following the first Romney/Obama debate disaster)… I mean Biden must feel like he is cursed to have reached this level in his public life just as Clinton captures the party.
I fervently hope Clinton gives strong consideration for Biden to be her running mate. He is proven in the job and I would like to have him around another 8 years.
To be perfectly honest however, one of the chief reasons I feel comfortable in endorsing Hillary Clinton at this very early stage of the game is because her presidency will drive the right wing freaks completely bonkers. Imagine that crowd even more demented than they already are by Obama derangement syndrome, if that is even possible. The “take our country back” crowd will have to endure 8 years of a black man leading America, followed by 8 years of a woman at the helm… both Democrats. Delicious!
That will be 2 historic presidential precedents thanks to the Democratic party. Maybe 2 terms of a black president could be chalked up to an anomaly, but to have that followed by 2 terms of a woman president? The historic model of white male entitlement to the office is already under assault and will be completely overturned by a Clinton presidency.
Also, imagine the conservative freak out with Bill Clinton puttering about the White House. Maybe Hillary can keep Bill occupied by getting him the chairmanship of the UN or something hilarious like that. Bill Clinton leading the UN would just be another cause for rapid fire head explosions from the clowns on the right.
Of course I also think Hillary Clinton will be strong on policy. She may even have a more realistic view of how to deal with Republican opposition than Obama has demonstrated. While I was an early admirer of Obama’s goal of post partisanship, the way Republicans treated him should have ended that experiment early on. In fact Obama’s early determination to look forward, not backward in relation to the Bush torture program, in an effort to foster improved relations with D.C. Republicans is one of his greatest policy mistakes IMHO. Maybe he didn’t ruffle Republican feathers by looking forward, but did Obama get anything for that from the other side? Only scorn and calumny, and unyeilding opposition to everything he supported, even if it was a Republican proposal in the 1st place.
With that off my chest, I’ll do my level best to cool it on posts about the 2016 election until after the midterms*.
* With the exception of right wing freakazoid attacks on Clinton, MSM items that unfairly characterize her, and or any other Clinton related material that may cross my path that I feel needs to be urgently addressed!
Tossing and turning in bed last night, something just didn’t add up in the Zimmerman case. Why was Martin’s body found in the position it was?
His body fell face down, with his hands under his body, with his head away from the concrete dog path and toward the duplex. The testimony of John Good included a drawing which showed the location of the bodies during the “tussle”. First he placed them in the grass on the far side of the concrete path from his townhome. At that point the two men were on top of each other. He than testified they were in a slightly different position, with Zimmerman’s head on the concrete. Good testified the man on the bottom had on the red/orange jacket.
That ‘s when Mr. Good announced he was calling 9-1-1, he went inside, and heard a shot. Up until yesterday, I hadn’t believed Zimmerman’s testimony regarding the fight he had with Martin. Part of the reason for my disbelief was the account of how Zimmerman was pinned on the ground fighting with Martin, and yet he was able to pull his gun out of the holster to shoot Martin. I hadn’t considered the possibility that Martin might have been on top, and it might have been Zimmerman calling for help, but that the actual shooting might have occurred in a different way than Zimmerman had reported. The problem that caused me to lose sleep last night was the position of Martin’s body as he laid in the grass. I now have a new conclusion about what happened that night that is supported by every eye witness statement, and would be consistent with the physical evidence. The only inconsistent evidence with this scenario would be the testimony of George Zimmerman. (more…)
Wendy Davis became a household name this week by leading a filibuster against the extremist legislation that would have drastically curtailed the reproductive rights of the women of Texas.
One notable outcome of the Davis filibuster was to demonstrate the depths to which Republicans will sink in pursuit of their political agenda against women’s rights. However, the meaning for women in what Davis did reflected upon much more than the issue of women’s reproductive rights. The battle she fought and won was also in how women are treated by the political system. Particularly by the leaders of the Republican party when they disagree with women.
The Davis filibuster is just the latest battle in the Republican war on women, and Republicans pulled out all the stops in trying to shut Davis up. Women, and the party that supports them, won this round going away, while Republicans just managed to make themselves look even more thuggish in the process.
It started with the legislative shenanigans that allowed Republicans to argue that Davis was not on topic when she talked about Planned Parenthood, and the law requiring women in Texas to get a medically unnecessary sonogram if they want an abortion.
Republicans also claimed that Davis broke the “no lean rule” when a colleague assisted her in putting on a back brace. How chivalrous of them. Having a Democrat give Davis the courtesy of helping her with the brace which asssistance Republicans used to attack her is completely symbolic of the current state of political affairs when it comes to women.
Those specious (actually specious is a generous word here, because the Davis infractions do not even have the superficial appearance of being off topic) objections were upheld by the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, himself a Republican. What sort of system lets someone with an agenda be the final arbiter of what is or is not an infraction, which ruling has a direct bearing upon the success or failure of the arbiter’s agenda? Well the answer to that rhetorical question is the Texas State Senate.
Republicans were so desperate to undermine Davis that they tried to ask her questions that would have taken her off topic if she answered. Davis was sharp enough to stay on topic (ironically enough including the 2 times she was ruled off topic).
Imagine the chagrin of Republicans when Davis did not fall for that supremely simplistic scheme. Evidently Republicans think women can be bamboozled with smooth talk, sort of like using the force to get desired results. Here is my best imitation of Republican Yoda, having been turned to the dark side, trying to use the force to end the Davis filibuster: “Yield the floor you will? Fine looking in that skirt you are… off work when do you get?” But I digress!
There can be no more sympathetic a figure than a strong woman literally standing firm, alone and fighting to fend off what was once presumed to be the inevitable outcome. To evade the underhanded stratagems and traps meant to stop her quest, and to do so for hours on end with no physical relief including bathroom breaks or even a sip of water.
The Davis filibuster was a political masterpiece, and the reaction of Texas Governor Rick Perry only adds to the widespread perception that Republicans are led by Neanderthals. Perry said:
“Even the woman who filibustered in the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances,” Perry said. “It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.”
Thank you captain Macho for educating the whole world on how wrong headed Wendy Davis is about the grand lesson of her own life. Perry’s later protestations that he was praising Davis are just transparently silly.
It is the governor of Texas who needs an education on what it means to be pro choice. Being pro choice does not mean wanting to see every pregnancy of a single mother, teenager, or any other disadvantaged demographic, end with an abortion. Pro choice is not pro abortion, full stop. Pro choice is pro choice. The women of Texas and the nation should be allowed to choose. If they are poor, single young, wealthy, comfortably married and/or middle aged and wish to carry to full term, or do not wish to do so, that should be their choice not the states.
Is there any greater irony than Governor Rick Perry standing before a gathering of the faithful and pronouncing that “every life matters”? Perry said that the day before the state of Texas executed the 500th inmate since re-instituting the death penalty in 1982.
Perry can not seem to keep his pro death/pro life predilections in order. One day he’s trumpeting how many people Texas kills to the bloodthirsty cheers of the Republican base, then another day he’s all misty eyed about the importance of each life in front of a pro life meeting, then the next day he’s calling for a special session to stop abortion just before signing another death warrant. I mean pick a side man… We’re at war!
Many Democrats have really warmed up to Chris Christie as Governor of New Jersey recently. This could be partly due to the fact that he has hung out with the President on more than one occasion, and the media has actually portrayed them as “buddies”. But what is really getting Dems on his side is Christie’s recent dissent from the GOP’s public views. One big example of this was when he got “furious” at Republicans in Congress for refusing to bring aid to his state after Hurricane Sandy. I admit, even I considered him as someone who had real guts with what appeared to be his opposition to Republican hypocrisy. But what really woke me up were his hateful comments on the DOMA and Prop 8 rulings. This made me realize that he is truly no different from other Republican Governors such as Rick Perry and Scott Walker, only trying to advance the GOP’s warped agenda. So I decided to investigate who his Democratic opponent was, and as it turns out Barbara Buono seems like an excellent alternative to Christie, after all.
Buono is the perfect example of someone who started with nothing and worked her way up to the top. That is the American Dream in my opinion, and Buono can definitely inspire millions of disadvantaged or poverty-stricken children with her own success story. She made it through both college and law school using her own hard-earned money, so she knows what it’s like being in a financially tough situation. When a devastating fire burned down her apartment, she was forced to live off of food stamps like many Americans unfortunately do today. She eventually became a State Senator and was the first woman to become Chair of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Buono can relate to struggling New Jerseyans with her life story, and can even inspire those who are not less fortunate with her lessons of hard work paying off.
As a strong Progressive, Buono believes in bringing down student loan rates, creating jobs with solar and wind projects to help the environment, fighting gun violence with many of the same proposals that the Obama Administration has outlined, and ending the ban on marriage equality in New Jersey. I think that Dems should really weigh their options here, and compare her to Chris Christie over the last 4 years. During his governorship he signed into law an unpopular budget, New Jersey property taxes have increased almost 20%, their unemployment rate is above the national one at 9.8%, and Christie even blocked a bill that would make gay marriage legal. New Jerseyans must decide if they are going to vote for someone just because they’re a celebrity, or someone who wants to make real progress in the state and turn the economy around.
Buono is at a disadvantage in winning the election based on two major factors:
Only 12% of New Jerseyans actually agree with Christie’s decision to keep the elections separate, which will ultimately cost the state $24 million. This may be something Buono’s campaign can use, but it will still be an uphill battle for her with the media mostly on Christie’s side. I hope that the people of New Jersey, with 700,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, realize that there is a great progressive alternative to Christie in November. In the meantime, I will be posting about Buono on a regular basis to get the word out on a candidate who frankly deserves more attention.
Chris Christie’s complaint of Justice Kennedy’s opinion on the SCOTUS DOMA ruling:
He basically said that the only reason to pass that bill was to demean people. That’s heck of a thing to say about Bill Clinton and about the Republican Congress back in the ‘90s. And it’s just another example of judicial supremacy, rather than having the government run by the people we actually vote for.
But the GOP is happy with “judicial supremacy” after the SCOTUS ruling against the Voting Rights Act. You can’t have it both ways, although they try. Incidentally, Christie vetoed legislation passed by NJ state legislators that would have allowed marriage equality in New Jersey. Those state legislators would be “the government run by the people we actually vote for”, would they not?
PA state representative Daryl Metcalfe on why he prevented openly gay representative Brian Sims from speaking on the PA House floor:
I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God’s law.
I never thought I’d see the day that the religious right prevented someone from speaking based on their own religious beliefs. And they wonder why we fight to maintain the separation of church and state.
Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina on what the House should do with the immigration compromise bill passed by the Senate yesterday:
The House should “fold it up into a paper airplane and throw it out the window“.
And let’s throw-in Mike Bloomberg, who was once a Republican and now says he’s an Independent. Bloomberg had this to say about the bills designed to stop the NYPD from using racial profiling with their controversial “stop-and-frisk” program that primarily targeted blacks (87% stopped in 2012 were blacks):
That may be, but it’s not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the murder. In that case, incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.
So he tried to ban the sale of beverages containing sugar, plus defending racial profiling – Bloomberg seems intent on burning all his bridges on the way out of office.
The Senate actually accomplished something! Mark it on the calendar. And now its on to the House where the lunatic fringe will say the kind of crazy shit that makes Democratic campaign ads stand-out.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who supported the immigration compromise, heard an earful from Glenn the Beckster. Again, to hell with dialing-back the crazy in the Republican Party (my emphasis added):
“What are we, in the short bus?” he asked. “A ‘special’ country? What a piece of garbage this guy is.”
“MARCO! You are dealing with radicals, revolutionaries, and communists — have you seen what they’ve done to the rest of the country?” Beck said. “How can you possibly sit in the same room with those people?”
He continued: “You are becoming a progressive Republican. Get away! Get away! Otherwise we’re going to have to send you away.”
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