The news broke last night, Michael Hastings was killed in a car crash.
BuzzFeed is saddened to report that Michael Hastings died in a car accident early this morning in Los Angeles. He was 33.
Ben Smith, BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief, said in a statement:
We are shocked and devastated by the news that Michael Hastings is gone. Michael was a great, fearless journalist with an incredible instinct for the story, and a gift for finding ways to make his readers care about anything he covered from wars to politicians. He wrote stories that would otherwise have gone unwritten, and without him there are great stories that will go untold. Michael was also a wonderful, generous colleague, a joy to work with and a lover of corgis — especially his Bobby Sneakers. Our thoughts are with Elise and and the rest of his family and we are going to miss him.
Michael Hastings, the fearless journalist whose reporting brought down the career of General Stanley McChrystal, has died in a car accident in Los Angeles, Rolling Stone has learned. He was 33.
Hastings’ unvarnished 2010 profile of McChrystal in the pages of Rolling Stone, “The Runaway General,” captured the then-supreme commander of the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan openly mocking his civilian commanders in the White House. The maelstrom sparked by its publication concluded with President Obama recalling McChrystal to Washington and the general resigning his post. “The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be met by – set by a commanding general,” Obama said, announcing McChrystal’s departure. “It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system.”
Hastings’ hallmark as reporter was his refusal to cozy up to power. While other embedded reporters were charmed by McChrystal’s bad-boy bravado and might have excused his insubordination as a joke, Hastings was determined to expose the recklessness of a man leading what Hastings believed to be a reckless war. “Runaway General” was a finalist for a National Magazine Award, won the 2010 Polk award for magazine reporting, and was the basis for Hastings’ book, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan.
For Hastings, there was no romance to America’s misbegotten wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had felt the horror of war first-hand: While covering the Iraq war for Newsweek in early 2007, his then-fianceé, an aide worker, was killed in a Baghdad car bombing. Hastings memorialized that relationship in his first book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story.
A contributing editor to Rolling Stone, Hastings leaves behind a remarkable legacy of reporting, including an exposé of America’s drone war, an exclusive interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at his hideout in the English countryside, an investigation into the Army’s illicit use of “psychological operations” to influence sitting Senators and a profile of Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl, “America’s Last Prisoner of War.”
“Great reporters exude a certain kind of electricity,” says Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana, “the sense that there are stories burning inside them, and that there’s no higher calling or greater way to live life than to be always relentlessly trying to find and tell those stories. I’m sad that I’ll never get to publish all the great stories that he was going to write, and sad that he won’t be stopping by my office for any more short visits which would stretch for two or three completely engrossing hours. He will be missed.”
Boston Boomer posted in the comments last night that there is speculation that perhaps this was a suicide?
More on this from the LA Times: Michael Hastings’ death remains under investigation
Authorities are continuing to sort out the details of an auto accident that apparently claimed the life of award-winning journalist Michael Hastings.
The death of the 33-year-old Hastings was announced by his employer, BuzzFeed, which said he died in a Los Angeles car accident.
But the Los Angeles county coroner’s office had yet to determine Tuesday night whether a body recovered from a fiery car crash was that of Hastings.
The body was badly charred and identified only as “John Doe 117,” law enforcement authorities told the Los Angeles Times.
Coroner’s officials were attempting to match dental records to help make a positive identification, according to authorities.
The crash occurred early Tuesday on Highland Avenue near Melrose Avenue.
Journalist Michael Hastings was living in Los Angeles and reporting on national security issues and the entertainment industry when he died early Tuesday in a car crash in the city, according to his employer.
The 33-year-old Hastings was writing for BuzzFeed and joined the organization’s Los Angeles bureau after it opened in October.
“Michael Hastings will bring his hard-hitting reporting on national security and politics to the BuzzFeed Los Angeles Bureau while contributing to entertainment coverage as a Correspondent at Large,” BuzzFeed said at the time.
BuzzFeed did not provide an address of the car crash, saying only that it occurred in Los Angeles early Tuesday.
There was only one fatal car crash reported in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning involving a vehicle that smashed into a tree and burst into flames in the 600 block of North Highland Avenue in Hancock Park, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Authorities with the LAPD and Los Angeles County coroner’s office told The Times Tuesday evening that they had not identified the victim in that crash because the body was burned beyond recognition.
One report says that Buzzfeed learned of Hastings death from a family member.
In other news:
Four US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, hours after the US announced direct talks with the Taliban.
The soldiers were killed by “indirect fire” from insurgents at Bagram air base, US officials said.
Bagram, near the Afghan capital Kabul, is the largest military base for US troops in Afghanistan.
A condition for the talks, due to begin on Thursday in Qatar, was for the Taliban to renounce violence.
In comments made before the news of the attack emerged, US President Barack Obama said the announcement of talks was an “important first step toward reconciliation”.
The talks are set to take place in Doha, Qatar, where the Taliban have just opened their first official overseas office.
US officials said prisoner exchanges would be one topic for discussion with the Taliban, but the first weeks would mainly be used to explore each other’s agendas.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his government was also sending delegates to Qatar to talk to the Taliban.
Also on Tuesday, Nato handed over responsibility for security for the whole of the country to Afghan security forces.
International troops are to remain in Afghanistan until the end of 2014, providing military back-up when needed.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved the most restrictive ban on abortion considered by Congress in a decade, a largely symbolic vote that laid bare the deep ideological differences between Democrats and Republicans.
The measure, which would ban abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy based on the medically disputed theory that fetuses at that stage of development are capable of feeling pain, passed in a 228-to-196 vote that broke down mostly along party lines. Reflecting how little common ground the two parties share these days, just six Republicans voted against the bill; six Democrats voted for it.
“I’m not waging a war on anyone,” said Kristi Noem, Republican of South Dakota, offering a rejoinder to the Democratic assertion that Republicans have waged a war on women, a line of attack that harmed conservative candidates in 2012. “Regardless of your personal beliefs, I would hope that stopping atrocities against little babies is something we can all agree to put an end to.”
The bill has no chance in the Democrat-controlled Senate and was put forward by the House Republican leadership in response to demands from anti-abortion lawmakers.
It is a good thing it doesn’t have a chance in hell on making it past the Senate, but this is fucking ridiculous. Check this out: Maddow Tears Apart GOP Fringe Views, Fetal Masturbation Theory: They Keep Finding New Ways To Shock Us | Mediaite
Rachel Maddow opened her show tonight taking the Republican party to task again for their continuing insistence on fighting for stricter and stricter anti-abortion laws, culminating in the GOP-led House today passing a huge federal ban. Maddow found time to break down everything from reminding viewers about the Todd Akins of the party to her explicit shock at today’s newest claim that fetuses masturbate. Yes, that’s where this debate has gone to now.
Maddow then reminded viewers how the Republicans in Congress have a penchant of questionable decisions in appointing certain members of Congress to certain committees, including Jeff Duncan, Homeland Security Oversight Committee chair and apparent birther, Paul Broun, House science committee member and evolution denier, and Michael Burgess, vice chairman of the House Subcommittee on Health and believer in the idea that fetuses masturbate.
Maddow slammed Broun for trying to remove his name from the Republican anti-abortion bill due to alterations permitting exceptions in cases of rape and incest, but had nothing but shock for Burgess’ bizarre comments. She remarked that with all the anti-abortion rhetoric going around in the last few years, “I felt like I had lost the capacity to be surprised before I heard the fetal masturbation theory.”
Maddow said the GOP attempted to try and put out a more articulate voice by letting Marsha Blackburn push for the abortion bill. However, on MSNBC, Blackburn said that when women report rapes, it gives police people to track down and bring to justice. Maddow described this as “House Republicans effectively forcing you to use your uterus and access to it as a means of helping the police with their investigations.”
Maddow remarked that the GOP’s latest attempt to ban abortion is farther than they’ve ever gone before, even as House Speaker John Boehner insists that jobs are their number one concern.
That Mediate article calls this group of nutcases the GOP Fringe, but this is not the fringe, just take a look at that House vote up top…it ain’t fringe baby…that is the Grand Old Party for ya.
Also, last night John Oliver was kicking ass on the Daily Show, so if you have some time please watch this video clip: John Oliver Tears Into GOP Over Immigration Reform: A ‘Border Fence Built Out Of Ignorance And Spite’
John Oliver opened tonight’s Daily Show tearing into the Republican party for their stubbornness in holding back immigration reform from becoming law. Congress, which Oliver said is in a “nail-biting three-way tie for least popular branch of government,” is set to take up a bill, but there’s been a lot of resistance in the GOP, which Oliver described as a “1000-foot high border fence built out of ignorance and spite.”
Oliver first applauded Republicans for recognizing the most important reason they need to get immigration reform done: they need the Hispanic vote. Of course, the Democrats are acting just as pandering, with one senator making a floor speech in Spanish. Oliver mockingly suggested, “Perhaps you would like to wash down your Latino pandering with a margarita.”
Of course, the GOP may take more convincing, because as Oliver put it, they’ll resist immigration reform like “a frat boy with a condom.” He also mocked Jeb Bush saying immigrants are more fertile, telling him he shouldn’t make his argument “They’re baby machines who love to fuck!”
Oliver also slammed Republicans for their demand that immigrants need to learn English, and for an amendment that would require 90 percent border security. In other words, as Oliver said, “Bring nine friends with you and get in free!”
Then the second part of the segment included a bit with former WWE wrestler Mick Foley that knocked the redneck WWE immigration propaganda showdown on it’s ass. (I will post a link to the video clip when it gets posted online.)
Here is the link to the video clip:http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-june-18-2013/immigration—the-wwe
Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of the stricken nuclear power plant at Fukushima, said Wednesday that it had detected high levels of radioactive strontium in groundwater at the plant, raising concerns that its storage tanks are leaking contaminated water, possibly into the ocean. The operator said it had found strontium-90 at 30 times Japan’s safety limit in groundwater near its No. 2 reactor, which suffered a fuel meltdown in 2011. The company has struggled to store growing amounts of contaminated runoff at the plant, but had previously denied that the site’s groundwater was highly toxic. If ingested, strontium-90 can linger in bones, emitting radiation inside the body that can lead, in time, to cancer.
Honestly, does anyone really believe the reports TEPCO gives regarding the radioactive levels around Fukushima? /snark.
So that is all I can bring you this morning, it is enough to get you started. What are you reading about today?
Howdy y’all, this first link is something I found last night…and had planned on using it for this evening’s post. I put it in the comments but it needs to be front paged, and now that it is getting notice on other blogs…I didn’t want you to miss it.
As the House of Representatives gears up for Tuesday’s debate on HR 1797, a bill that would outlaw virtually all abortions 20 weeks post fertilization, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) argued in favor of banning abortions even earlier in pregnancy because, he said, male fetuses that age were already, shall we say, spanking the monkey.
“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful,” said Burgess, a former OB/GYN. “They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?”The hands of the male fetus may sometimes appear to be gripping its genitals. And that, says Rep. Michael Burgess (above), is why abortion should be banned even earlier in pregnancy than the GOP is seeking in a bill on its way to the floor. (Michael C. Burgess, M.D.)
Video of this “dillweed” saying this shit at the link. What is also disturbing about the bill is this “exception” as explained by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY):
Nadler also took issue with the tepid exception to the ban for women who were pregnant through rape or incest—a measure added last minute after Rep. Trent Franks, the bill’s sponsor, said at last week’s Judiciary Committee hearing that the incidence of pregnancy from rape is low. With the 2014 midterm elections looming, GOP leaders scrambled to avoid the kind of fallout encountered in 2012 when Republican senatorial candidates Todd Akin (MO) and Richard Mourdock (IN) saw their campaigns tank after making comments about rape, pregnancy, and abortion.
The exception applies only to women who “first reported the rape or the incest to the authorities,” Nadler said, and, in the case of incest, the exception applied only to minors, even if an adult woman had been abused by the relative who had impregnated her since she was a child.
“It would be great if every rape or assault would be reported,” Nadler said, but the Republicans’ last-minute amendment—made after Republicans in the Judiciary Committee rejected a rape-and-incest exception offered by the Democrats—made no allowance for the toll often taken on rape victims in the judicial system, he said, including sometimes facing death threats from the friends and neighbors of the perpetrator.
“So, the authors of this bill apparently believe that women are too dishonest to be believed when they say they were raped or the victims of incest,” Nadler said. “It is Congress siding with her abuser…”.
There is also no protection for the health of the woman in the bill, nor an exception allowing for saving the life of the woman, except in terms defined so narrowly, Nadler continued, as to be virtually useless.
Democrats have been quick to note, as Slaughter did in the Rules Committee hearing, that the Republicans who voted the bill to the floor in the House Judiciary Committee were all men, due to the fact that the GOP hasn’t appointed a single woman to one of Congress’ most important committees.
Here is another article on the Trent Franks abortion bill, or as Scott Lemieux of LG&W calls it “Right to Fetal Jerk-Off Act”: Nobody Cares About Federalism, Yet Another Abortion Edition
And one more from Salon: GOP lawmaker: Extreme abortion ban justified because of masturbating fetuses
I’ve got only two other links for you, Venezuela Considers Bottle-Feeding Ban :
The truth is, formula may not be quite as healthy as breast milk, but not all mothers are able to breastfeed. Some mothers may have infectious diseases or be taking medications that prevent them from breastfeeding. Some babies may have trouble latching on. Some women may simply find breastfeeding painful or uncomfortable — or they may not have the time while juggling a home and a career. As millions of adults raised on formula can attest, it is by no means a death sentence.
While the politicians behind the law say that bottles would be allowed in special cases — like the death of the mother, or for women with inadequate milk supply — families would have to individually petition the health ministry to receive an exemption. If a child isn’t able to breastfeed, is it really a good idea to spend hours, days, or weeks waiting for a government exemption? It seems babies would be much healthier if a struggling family could simply go to the grocery store and pick up food for their child as needed.
There’s also another downside to this proposal — it penalizes working moms who want to pump breast milk for their children. Very few workplaces would allow a woman to bring her child to the office for the first six months or year of life to breastfeed every few hours. (And employers are already likely to look down on breastfeeding employees anyway.) Without bottles, how is a woman supposed to store pumped milk for her child?
In the end, laws like this end up hurting the very women and children they claim to protect. Hopefully, Venezuela will do the right thing and shoot this proposal down this week.
Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with that…I experienced this with my son…my milk never came down and he also had problems latching on. Hopefully they don’t pass this crazy law.
I swear, all over the world men are trying to bring women back to the stone age.
Lastly, this is something interesting: Boston Children’s Hospital starts world’s first pediatric hand transplant program
Boston Children’s Hospital is announcing Monday that it has started the world’s first hand transplant program for youngsters, with the goal of restoring limbs to victims of devastating infections, fires, or accidents.
A hospital ethics committee approved the program following a two-year review, and doctors said they will begin evaluating children immediately.
Initially, they will consider only children who are missing both hands and who are at least age 10, believed to be old enough to understand the operation. Doctors said they don’t know how many children would qualify, but believe the number is small.
This is a promising new surgery, can you imagine what it would mean for kids who have lost limbs?
Finding donors also will be challenging, because so few children die, said Richard Luskin, executive director of the New England Organ Bank. There also is a narrower range of matches for children in terms of age and size of the hands than there is for adults, he said. Attaching an adult-size hand to a child would look strange, he said.
The hospital will provide the surgery and first three months of care free, and seek payment from insurers for follow-up care and medications, but the consent and assent forms point out that families do face some financial risk for future care.
Harmon said he expects that transplanted hands would grow with the child, as is the case for transplanted kidneys, hearts, livers, lungs, and intestines, but it is unclear how long the hands would last. Sometimes children require a second organ transplant as adults.
Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, director of plastic surgery transplantation at the Brigham, a leader in face and hand transplant surgery, said children’s nerves regenerate more quickly than those in adults. So their transplanted hands could work better.
“The chances are these patients will do really well,’’ he said
Hope this works as the doctors think it will. This is an open thread.
I’m going to begin with an article I came across yesterday while reading the Guardian. It’s about a story from 2006 that I remembered and sometimes think about–a woman whose skeletonized body was found in her apartment three years after she died.
On 25 January 2006, officials from a north London housing association repossessing a bedsit in Wood Green owing to rent arrears made a grim discovery. Lying on the sofa was the skeleton of a 38-year-old woman who had been dead for almost three years. In a corner of the room the television set was still on, tuned to BBC1, and a small pile of unopened Christmas presents lay on the floor. Washing up was heaped in the kitchen sink and a mountain of post lay behind the front door. Food in the refrigerator was marked with 2003 expiry dates. The dead woman’s body was so badly decomposed it could only be identified by comparing dental records with an old holiday photograph of her smiling. Her name was revealed to be Joyce Carol Vincent.
How could such a thing happen? So often we hear sad stories like this and never get any answers to our questions. In this case, filmmaker Carol Morley decided to find out who Joyce Carol Vincent was, and she has made a documentary about her quest called Dreams of a Life. She writes:
In a city such as London, home to 8 million people, how could someone’s absence go unnoticed for so long? Who was Joyce Vincent? What was she like? How could she have been forgotten?
News of Joyce’s death quickly made it into the global media, which registered shock at the lack of community spirit in the UK. The story ran on in the British press, but still no photograph of Joyce appeared and little personal information.
Soon Joyce dropped out of the news. I watched as people discussed her in internet chatrooms, wondering if she was an urban myth, or talking about her as though she never mattered, calling her a couch potato, and posting comments such as: “What’s really sad is no one noticed she was missing – must have been one miserable bitch.” And then even that kind of commentary vanished.
But I couldn’t let go. I didn’t want her to be forgotten. I decided I must make a film about her.
She began by placing advertisements in newspapers asking anyone who knew Joyce to come forward. It turned out that Joyce had lots of friends over the years. She had been engaged to be married before she died, and she had also spent some time in a battered women’s shelter. Eventually, Morley was able to talk to many people who had known Joyce. She describes her journey in the Guardian article. It’s an amazing story, and I hope you’ll go read the whole thing.
Follow me below the fold for some news and opinion…
Well…Hell may not be for children, but there is a new app that is perfect for those of us who are the anti-social types. Hell is Other People: Anti-Social App Helps You Avoid Running Into Your Friends
Ever had a day where you just don’t want to have to deal with other people? Ever taken a different path than usual because there’s someone you really don’t want to run into on the way? Good news, an app developer has leveraged social media to direct you along routes where your friends aren’t. The app, called Hell Is Other People, is an experiment in anti-social media. It monitors your friends’ check-ins on Foursquare to figure out where they might be and then creates a map with “optimally distanced safe zones” to decrease the chances that you might cross their paths.
Its developer, Scott Garner, navigated around New York City for hours without having to worry about getting drawn into an awkward encounter with someone he knew on the way. Garner sees the project as a satire of social media and a commentary on his own disdain for it. “I actually really hate social media,” said Garner. “I had to sign up for a social media site and talk to people to get them to be my friends on that site so that I could avoid them.”
Hell is Other People does not work perfect, because it depends on the Foursquare service and if your friends use that service, but I do love the idea of the Hell is Other People app. It seems like something that would really take off in the big cities…or on college campuses.
In another interesting non-hard news story, a new world record was made recently. Paris Review – No Books Were Harmed, Sadie Stein
Herewith: the Seattle Public Library sets a 2,131-book domino-chain world record.
And finally, there is one last link for you tonight, but this one is very cool. NASA Astronaut Class 50% Women
Great news for gender and race equality! The new class of NASA astronauts is 50% female for the first time in history. The class of eight astronauts are an equal mix of men and women, but is also made up of a variety of racial backgrounds making it the most diverse astronaut class in history. Let’s take a look at the new astronauts.
NASA tweeted about the new class this morning:
The new class of astronauts will begin training in August at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The class is comprised of Josh A. Cassada, Ph. D., 39, Victor J. Glover, 37, Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy, Tyler N. Hague (Nick), 37, Lt. Colonel, U.S. Air Force, Christina M. Hammock, 34, Nicole Aunapu Mann, 35, Major, U.S. Marine Corps, Anne C. McClain, 34, Major, U.S. Army, Jessica U. Meir, Ph.D., 35, and Andrew R. Morgan, M.D., 37, Major, U.S. Army.
This is an open thread…
I thought I’d take a few looks at what should be done differently in this country if we indeed we’re interested in progressing as an entire nation. It seems these days the only folks that progress are the politicians and their owners. So, hold on here, we go.
Booz Allen reacted with anger in a press statement released hours later:
“News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm.”
Core values? Let’s examine Booz Allen Hamilton’s track record.
In February 2012, the US air force suspended Booz Allen from seeking government contracts after it discovered that Joselito Meneses, a former deputy chief of information technology for the air force, had given Booz Allen a hard drive with confidential information about a competitor’s contracting on the first day that he went to work for the company in San Antonio, Texas. US air force legal counsel concluded (pdf):
“Booz Allen did not uncover indications and signals of broader systemic ethical issues within the firm. These events caused the air force to have serious concerns regarding the responsibility of Booz Allen, specifically, its San Antonio office, including its business integrity and honesty, compliance with government contracting requirements, and the adequacy of its ethics program.”
It should be noted that Booz Allen reacted swiftly to the government investigation of the conflict of interest. In April that year, the air force lifted the suspension – but only after Booz Allen had accepted responsibility for the incident and fired Meneses, as well as agreeing to pay the air force $65,000 and reinforce the firm’s ethics policy.
Not everybody was convinced about the new regime. “Unethical behavior brought on by the revolving door created problems for Booz Allen, but now the revolving door may have come to the rescue,” wrote Scott Amey of the Project on Government Oversight, noting that Meneses was not the only former air force officer who had subsequently become an executive in Booz Allen’s San Antonio office.
So, corruption is rampant in these organizations that only exist to expand government destruction of civil liberties. But, let’s not forget that a lot of these organizations also are responsible for our economic bad health. Rampant corruption is part and parcel of the financial industry. As our ability and desire to produce real stuff has fallen, so our national experience shows we have gambling houses for financial institutions eager for extraordinary returns. And, it’s all for profits of a few.
My chart shows this. It shows that firms were loath to invest long before the crisis. Capital spending fell relative to retained profits in the early 00s and stayed very low by historical standards. This reflects the “dearth of domestic investment opportunities” in western economies of which Ben Bernanke spoke in 2005. This is, of course, a cause of the weak income growth of which the IFS speaks; firms’ reluctance to spend held down wage and employment growth. The “Great Moderation” might have led to irrational exuberance in financial markets, but it certainly did not unleash a boom in corporate animal spirits and real investment.
In fact, one could argue – as Ravi Jagannathan has (pdf) – that the financial crisis is not the cause of our woes but rather a symptom of this underlying problem. The story goes something like this.
After 1997, Asian economies wanted to run big current account surpluses, either as a policy of export-led growth or in order to rebuild reserves depleted by the 97 crisis. By definition, this meant they were net savers, which put incipient downward pressure upon global interest rates. In a parallel universe, these high savings might have financed a boom in real capital spending in the west. But because firms couldn’t see good investment opportunities, this didn’t happen.Instead, the lower interest rates fuelled a housing boom and the hunt for yield led to strong demand for mortgage derivatives. These bubbles in housing and derivatives then burst, giving us the crisis.
In this way, we’ve seen what Marx saw in the 19th century – that a lack of profitable opportunities in the real economy pushes people down “the adventurous road of speculation, credit frauds, stock swindles, and crises.”
Our state is a pretty good example of what happens to people and the natural environment if the only driving force in a decision is profit of the owners. Here’s some information on the chemical plant explosions we recently experienced near the place I taught for a few years during grad school.
On Thursday, an explosion at a chemical plant in Geismar, La., owned by Williams Cos. Inc. led to two deaths and injuries – some serious – to dozens of others. Then late Friday, another explosion at a chemical plant just a few miles away in Donaldsonville claimed one life and injured eight people after a nitrogen tank exploded during an offload.
“The incident involved the rupture of an inert nitrogen vessel during the off-loading of nitrogen,” a news release from the company, CF Industries, said. “There was no fire or chemical release nor is there any threat or hazard posed to the community.”
Hundreds of industrial plants, many that either produce or consume poisonous and explosive chemicals, line rivers and bayous throughout the South, but in few places as heavily as around New Orleans and the Mississippi River.
Some 311 chemical manufacturers employing 15,727 people currently exist in the parishes that line the Mississippi from Baton Rouge to its mouth. That number excludes the large numbers of oil refineries and plastics manufacturers in the area.
To be sure, locals welcome jobs that pay an average of more than $40,000 a year. But explosions like the ones that roiled the river this week remind many of the dangers, both to human life and the environment, such jobs bring.
I’d like you to read a story about the Tulane Environmental Law Center and how the first Republican Governor since Reconstruction–a mentor of Bobby Jindal–tried to destroy it in an effort to let a Japanese chemical company locate here. It gives you an idea of what we’re up against when trying to protect the people, the wild life, and the natural beauty of the nation’s Mississippi delta and Gulf area.
In late 1996, the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic (the Clinic) took on representation of a community group called St. James Citizens for Jobs and the Environment in a controversial challenge to Shintech Inc.’s proposed construction of a polyvinyl chloride plant in Convent, Louisiana. After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted a petition to veto the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality’s issuance of an air permit to Shintech,1 Shintech changed its plans and located a downsized facility elsewhere in Louisiana.2
The Shintech dispute sparked a national controversy, featured on national television news shows and, ultimately, in a cable-television movie called “Taking Back Our Town.”3 A common postscript to retellings of the Shintech story is a statement that the Clinic essentially paid for its contribution to St. James Citizens’ success with its life—suffering retaliatory restrictions that supposedly would prevent it from ever representing a group like St. James Citizens again.4 In fact, the Clinic has continued to represent St. James Citizens and similar clients and continues to enjoy its fair share of successes and to weather its share of defeats.5
We continue to have efforts to suppress protection of people, animals and environments from the abuse of the petro-chemical industry. They create huge costs to taxpayers, people and the environment, yet many governments refuse to ensure these costs are recoverable and the loss of life and natural gifts prevented.
No where has the suppression of so many by so few been felt than in the area of women’s health. No less than 300 bills have been introduced this year that restrict women’s access to birth control, abortion, and basic family planning and health care.
State legislatures across the country have enacted an avalanche of restrictions that deny women of their reproductive rights. Just this year alone, more than 300 anti-abortion measures have been introduced in the states — in direct violation of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.
The anti-abortion legislation is an unprecedented assault on a woman’s right to make decisions about her body and health. At least 185 anti-abortion laws have been enacted since 2011, and the likelihood that more will be passed this year are very real.
“Half of pregnancies are unintended,” Elizabeth Nash told Lawyers.com. She is the state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute. “Instead of trying to figure out why and preventing women from being put in the situation to need an abortion, we’re doing nothing but putting all these restrictions in place to make it harder to access services when they are needed.”
The laws are the result of the 2010 elections, when droves of conservative and tea party candidates were voted into the state legislatures. The result has been a surge of radical and unconstitutional laws that choke off reproductive rights.
- Eleven states have passed abortion bans, making it illegal to get an abortion at 20 weeks after fertilization, or as early as 12 weeks in Arkansas and six weeks in North Dakota. Women are often unaware they are pregnant within this time. Roe v. Wade provides a right to abortion up to 24-26 weeks, when the fetus is viable.
- Eight states have passed “personhood” laws, giving the zygote legal rights. These laws could make an abortion a crime — regardless of rape, incest or the life of the mother.
- Eight states require the doctor to give the woman false information, such as requiring doctors to tell women that having an abortion increases their risk of suicide. Scientific research refutes this claim.
- In 26 states, women are required to receive anti-abortion “counseling” followed by a waiting period before they’re allowed to undergo an abortion.
There is a pattern of increased control of individual rights and of usurping national assets in the name of corporate profits. It’s been systemically enshrined in law at all levels of government. It is hard to be complacent in the face of these assaults. We await this week the decision of the Supreme court on issues central to GLBT rights in this country. It seems there are few government institutions that aren’t corrupted by religious nuts, anti-science nuts, and profit-addicted corporations. Whatever happened to our rights?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Well, I guess you can tell from the title of the post, we will start this morning by talking about the big ol’ state of Texas.
This is the first link from Addicting Info, I have a few links from the AI blog today…anyway, here is the latest strike down in Governor GoodHair’s War on Women, Rick Perry Vetoes Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay – Senfronia Thompson Reacts
On Friday, June 14, Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed House Bill 950 (HB 950). HB 950 would have brought Texas into compliance with the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 signed by President Barack Obama. The bill makes it easier for women to sue employers over wage discrimination between their male counterparts.
You can find a video interview at the link with,
Texas District 141 Representative, and Chair of the Local and Consent Calendars, Senfronia Thompson, the author of HB 950. She states that she was shocked and disappointed that Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed the bill. She said she meticulously worked with Republicans to formulate a bill that could garner support in from both parties in both chambers of the legislature.
The bill was passed in the Texas House on April 25, 2013. It passed the Texas Senate on May 22, 2013. The bill was passed by a bipartisan legislature that is dominated by Republicans.
So, Perry even vetoed a bill that was passed by a bunch of Republicans. Sigh. But don’t you worry, at least one thing is safe in Texas, thanks to Perry…because on the same day he vetoed the Fair Pay bill, he signed the “Merry Christmas” bill. Texas Gov. Perry signs ‘Merry Christmas’ bill into law
Surrounded by sleigh bell-ringing Santa Claus impersonators, Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday signed a law protecting Christmas and other holiday celebrations in Texas public schools from legal challenges – but also stressed that freedom of religion is not the same thing as freedom from religion.
It was a serious tone for an otherwise fun bill-signing and should bolster the governor’s Christian conservative credentials before he travels to Washington for the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference with the likes of tea party darlings and U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and fellow Texan Ted Cruz.
Dubbed the “Merry Christmas” bill, the bipartisan measure sailed through the state House and Senate to reach Perry’s desk.
It removes legal risks of saying “Merry Christmas” in schools while also protecting traditional holiday symbols, such as a menorah or nativity scene, so long as more than one religion and a secular symbol are also reflected.
Oh, may the Gawds be praised! At least they have the token secular symbol and “other” religious holiday symbol as a requirement. Believe me, this Merry Christmas bill is still going to piss off some people, cough…. Gretchen Carlson. Anyway, the sponsor of the bill Republican Rep. Dwayne Bohac of Houston said:
…of Perry: “This is not a governor that shirks away from the tough issues. And this should not be a tough issue, which is what’s even amazing about all this. But this is just political correctness that’s run a-muck and our brains have been completely fallen out as a result.”
Funny, it seems like he sure as hell shirked that big “tough” issue of fair pay.
I am going to move on to another “tough” issue, this link is also from Addicting Info, it is a very good post, Navy Judge Rules Rapists Shouldn’t Be Discharged (VIDEO)
Is the military just completely tone-deaf on the issue of sexual assault and rape in its ranks? Are those who’ve deigned themselves mouthpieces of the military just as clueless in their defense of this heinous situation? It would certainly seem so. Not only are the numbers staggering and inexplicable, but we’ve got idiotic conservatives blaming military rape on pornography, hyper-sensitive feminists, and “hormone level created by nature,” illustrating not only their profound cluelessness about the pathology of rapists, but the reasons why so many rapes and assaults go unreported. In fact, in a recent high-profile case where a victim did speak up and go to trial, the commander overturned the jury verdict to allow a rapist the freedom to advance in the ranks while his victim was stigmatized out of the service.
It’s entrenched, systemic corruption within what has been a very macho, male-dominated culture and it doesn’t appear the powers-that-be intend to take appropriate responsibility for the disturbed, entitled, misogynist criminals under its jurisdiction who are acting out with impunity and, in too many circumstances, to few consequences.
Okay, now get ready for it…
Latest case in point: Navy Judge Commander Marcus Fulton has just ruled that comments made by the President regarding military rape “would unduly influence” any potential sentencing in the cases of two defendants in military sexual assault cases, U.S. vs. Johnson and U.S. vs. Fuentes. Stars and Stripes reports that, per the judge’s ruling, should the two men be found guilty, they cannot be punitively discharged because of “unlawful command influence,” meaning, because of what President Obama, as the Commander in Chief, said. Would you like to know what incendiary, unduly prejudicial, trial-influencing comments the president made, so inflammatory that if two servicemen are actually found guilty of violently raping they should not be punished?
“The bottom line is: I have no tolerance for this,” Obama said, according to an NBC News story submitted as evidence by defense attorneys in the sexual assault cases.
‘I expect consequences,” Obama added. “So I don’t just want more speeches or awareness programs or training, but ultimately folks look the other way. If we find out somebody’s engaging in this, they’ve got to be held accountable — prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period.”
Do I hear the deafening roar of incredulity at the notion that these comments could possibly be framed as cause to excuse two rapists from punishment? Maybe that roar is just in my head, but damn, it is loud.
No, it the roar is in my head too. I will continue to post more of this article written by Lorraine Devon Wilke because I have to…
As a woman, a human being; an American, I’m writing this with a knot of rage in my stomach, rage at the notion that a Navy judge could take these firm but generic comments of appropriate anger, comments that are not only justified but, if anything, not strong enough, and use them as justification for NOT PUNISHING RAPISTS. It is unconscionable, amoral, certainly indefensible. But the judge not only stands by his ruling, he seems to think “members of the public” would be incapable of reading Obama’s anger at the horrific, systemic rape of both male and female service members as anything other than a direct command from him… a hypnotic order that would supercede any ability on their part to make judicious decisions about each individual case at hand. Sheep, listening and following the cult leader. Dear God. But here are his own words:
“A member of the public would not hear the President’s statement to be a simple admonition to hold members accountable,” Fulton stated. “A member of the public would draw the connection between the ‘dishonorable discharge’ required by the President and a punitive discharge approved by the convening authority.
“The strain on the system created by asking a convening authority to disregard [Obama’s] statement in this environment would be too much to sustain public confidence.”
And guess what follows this logic? Defense attorneys gleefully grabbing the ruling to use as a “way out” for their rapist (alleged…. I know) clients.
“I think that as a defense attorney, I would raise this argument in virtually any [sexual assault] case I had,” said Victor Hansen, vice president of the National Institute of Military Justice and former instructor at the Army’s JAG school.
However, in recent months there has been a lot more said — and in overly specific terms — about sexual assault by military and political leaders, Hansen noted. Obama’s call for dishonorable discharges is an example of such specificity, which begins to sound to military juries like a direct order from the commander in chief.
“This is bad lawyering on [Obama’s] advisor’s part,” Hansen said. “It’s certainly not a problem to say that sexual assault is a bad thing and we need to weed it out … that’s innocuous. It’s when they get very pointed that it’s problematic.”
So there you go; Obama’s verbiage was parsed as “too pointed” – daring to suggest consequences – and those who would go to any lengths to get military rapists off, excluded from commensurate punishment and consequence, are now licking their chops at the convenience of the judge’s ruling and how it will positively affect their own cases.
So far no one in the Navy judicial branch, JAG, is willing to address the ruling or its subsequent impact, though they did confirm its authenticity. Nor has the White House yet addressed the issue. But the 26,000 military rape and sexual assault victims of the past year, both male and female, are surely feeling, once again, victimized by a system that seems hellbent on doing everything to protect criminals within its ranks and little or nothing to defend, support and find justice for those who’ve been assaulted, raped, hurt, traumatized and, in many cases, pressured out of the military.
WHEN WILL THIS CHANGE?
You know, when the Newtown Shooting happened, my dad said that was the turning point…he said that was so horrible that people would demand tighter gun laws…he said the outrage would bring about change. At the time I told him no, there would be no changes made, sure we would have people talking about it, and laws would get proposed but nothing would change.
I know that there is plenty of attention, well let’s just say temporary attention lately on the military’s “culture” toward sexual assault. And honestly, like the gun control laws…and the equal pay bills, I just feel that there are some things which will never change. At least in my lifetime. Because it seems that they didn’t changed in my grandmother’s lifetime…they are definitely not going to in my mom’s lifetime…and I highly doubt they will in mine.
Boy, I seem to sound like a Cassandra don’t I?
Okay, like I said in the beginning of this post, there is one more link from Addicting Info, this one goes hand in hand with a link I saw on Susie Madrak’s blog. Y’all know the horrible time my family had with Bank of America, and the many times we sent our modification papers in, only to get another letter saying we have to send the same documents once again.
Well, check this shit out. As Susie puts it: BoA gave cash bonuses for HAMP foreclosures
No, it wasn’t just bad luck when that Bank of America rep kept telling you they “never got the paperwork.” We’ve been hearing these disgusting stories for a long time. Glad to hear they’re making their way into court, where there’s at least a chance that Bank of America might actually pay for some of their sins:
Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the second-biggest U.S. lender, rewarded staff with cash bonuses and gift cards for meeting quotas tied to sending distressed homeowners into foreclosure, former employees said in court documents.
Mortgage workers falsified records and were told to delay U.S. loan-assistance applications by requesting paperwork that the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank had already received, according to statements from ex-employees filed last week in federal court in Boston. The lender improperly disqualified applicants to the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, according to a May 23 statement from Simone Gordon, a loss-mitigation specialist who left the company in 2012.
Bank of America Corp. is being sued by homeowners who didn’t receive permanent loan modifications after making payments under trial programs, according to court papers.
“We were regularly drilled that it was our job to maximize fees for the bank by fostering and extending delay of the HAMP modification process by any means we could,” Gordon said. Managers instructed staff to “delay modifications by telling homeowners who called in that their documents were ‘under review,’ when in fact, there had been no review,” she said.
Bank of America, which has spent more than $45 billion to settle claims tied to its 2008 takeover of Countrywide Financial Corp., is being sued by homeowners who didn’t receive permanent loan modifications after making payments under trial programs, according to court papers. Statements from seven former loan employees were included in a filing last week as part of plaintiffs’ attempt to gain class-action status. The lender has denied the allegations.
Bank of America has managed to make the news yet again, but not for the right reasons. According to several ex-employees, Bank of America systematically declined homeowners the ability to modify their loans under the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP. Bank of America rewarded staff with various perks, including cash bonuses and gift cards, for meeting quotas by sending homeowners seeking loan modifications into foreclosure. With these new explosive allegations, a new lawsuit is being brought against Bank of America. The former employees’ testimonies and revelations will strengthen the lawsuit, which is a consolidation of 29 separate suits against the bank from across the United States and is seeking class action certification. According to court documents, the lawsuit is being brought by homeowners who didn’t receive permanent loan modifications after meeting their obligations under the trail programs.
I knew those BoA basturds were doing this kind of crap. I wonder what kind of slap on the wrist they will get for this shit.
This post is getting rather long so here are the rest of the morning’s links, real quick like.
There is a lot of news out of the Middle East this weekend, so I have some articles for you to look at:
For two years, President Obama has resisted being drawn deeper into the civil war in Syria. It was a miserable problem, he told aides, and not one he thought he could solve. At most, it could be managed. And besides, he wanted to be remembered for getting out of Middle East wars, not embarking on new ones.
So when Mr. Obama agreed this week for the first time to send small arms and ammunition to Syrian rebel forces, he had to be almost dragged into the decision at a time when critics, some advisers and even Bill Clinton were pressing for more action. Coming so late into the conflict, Mr. Obama expressed no confidence it would change the outcome, but privately expressed hope it might buy time to bring about a negotiated settlement.
You can read the rest of the article and speculation about the meaning behind how the aid to Syrian rebels was announced at the link.
Update: Centrist Hassan Rouhani is Iran’s new president, having won a massive victory in a field of 6 candidates. 13:19 ET, 6/15/13
Early election returns in Iran suggest that former National Security adviser and nuclear negotiator Hassan Rouhani may have won over 50% of the vote, in which case he will have won without needing to go to a second round. Too early to tell if that is so. While it is true that the president in Iran is more like the typical US vice president and is relatively powerless, he can nevertheless set a tone and initiate policies slightly different from those of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Iran is not yet a totalitarian dictatorship, and Khamenei himself has sometimes been forced to tack with the wind. Any change will be slow and at the margins, but it could nevertheless be significant in a very polarized world.
In the US….and stuff:
Exclusive – Wal-Mart’s everyday hiring strategy: Add more temps | Reuters -No surprises there.
One more link for you, it is really just a picture, I realize this is one of the first Sunday reads I have written without a history link…so in lieu of a long historic read, I will give you this…a medieval knight…guinea pig style, talk about “your mother being a hamster…”Anyway, enjoy:
If your guinea pig routinely dashes off into armed combat (or just likes the look of scale mail), you might want to outfit him or her in this handsome suit of armor, perfect for rolly-polly rodents.
After Lucky, the original owner of the armor and model for these photos, passed away, eBay seller mightys0x decided to auction off Lucky’s armor. All of the proceeds from the auction will go to Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue in Virginia, the organization that rescued and adopted out Lucky. Lucky’s owner made the scale mail and purchased the tiny helmet. The auction ends on June 21st.
Anyone with a friend who has a guinea pig, and is fond of Monty Python?
And finally, I know that today is Father’s Day, so for all those Daddy’s out there:
Have a wonderful day, and if you are around, let us know what you are thinking and reading about today.
Good afternoon, newsjunkies! Sorry for the delay with this morning’s reads. Had some technical issues (kept getting that spinny circle/hourglass thing–haven’t seen that in ages!)
Anyhow, let’s start off with a little HERstory, shall we?
From a neat little stanford.edu student website called “Mortal Women of the Trojan War”:
Hecuba, in Seneca’s play Troades, also compares herself to Cassandra:
Whatever misfortune occurs, and whatever harms the priestess of Apollo (Cassandra), raving, prophesied, the god (Apollo) prohibiting her to be believed, Hecuba, weighed with child (Paris), previously saw, nor did I keep my fear silent and before Cassandra I was the empty prophetess. Neither the cautious Ithacan (Odysseus) nor the nocturnal companion of the Ithacan (Diomedes) has scattered fire among you, nor the false Sinon. That fire is mine, by my torches you are burning.
Today, June 15th, in 1895, Elinore Morehouse Herrick–the first woman (and seemingly only; still researching) appointed as a regional director of the NLRB–was born (emphasis in bold, mine):
As a divorced, 26-year-old mother, Herrick found herself supporting two boys on low wages. She accepted employment at DuPont’s rayon plant in Buffalo, New York, where she rose rapidly from pieceworker to training supervisor. In 1923, she moved south with the company, becoming production manager of its new factory in Tennessee. Under her direction the plant’s output equaled or exceeded those elsewhere, but knowing that she would not be promoted beyond her current level, Herrick moved her family to Ohio. There she attended Antioch College, financing studies in economics by running a boarding house with her mother’s help and taking part-time jobs. After her graduation in 1929, Herrick became executive secretary of the New York Consumers’ League, which monitored labor conditions for women in that state. While with the League, Herrick produced perceptive reports on female workers in canneries, laundries, and candy factories. When the Wagner Act of 1935 created the National Labor Relations Board, she was appointed regional director of the northeast district; the nation’s busiest, it handled twenty percent of all cases to come before the Board. Herrick’s negotiating skills led to the settlement of most disputes without litigation. During World War II, she became personnel director for Todd Shipyards and was responsible for integrating women and minorities into the wartime work force. Recognizing that the arrival of peace would force many women out of industrial jobs, she argued that society should maintain employment opportunities “for all who want to work or for all who must work irrespective of sex.” Her appeals went unheeded, however, as female workers were dismissed from wartime industries when veterans returned home. Herrick left Todd Shipyards to become personnel director for the New York Herald Tribune and continued writing on labor issues during the postwar era.
Here is a kickass image of her at Corbis, entitled “Portrait of Career Women at Tribute Dinner,” dated March 22, 1935. Please check it out. She’s the first person to the left on the front row. (It’s copyrighted or else I’d have included it here.)
And, here’s a PDF of “Why People Strike,” a piece penned by Herrick. Teaser:
Too much reliance has been placed on the ability of industry to govern itself, with the result that codes have been selfishly drawn with an eye toward pleasing selfish and dominant employer interests.
Well, would you look at the prescience on her!
THIS is what the insularity and hegemony of patriarchy does. It shuts out voices like Herrick’s from the center stage of the debate during their times and altogether whitewashes them from the history books pored through by any one other than an archery-goddess-witchy-woman feminist like myself.
This gives me a perfect excuse to tell you that I find Henriette Mielke’s photography absolutely mesmerizing. I stumbled upon her work through the graces of facebook, and I haven’t been able to stop looking since! It’s erotic, evocative, and just somehow distinctly feels…feminist. I may be wrong in attributing that to her. I don’t know. But, something about these images of women…seems to be about women, from a women’s point of view. I urge you to click on over and check her work out and view and determine for yourself. I’m merely including that blockquoted image to pique your interest….there’s so much more double x energy from whence it came!
Alright, I’m just going to do the rest of this post in a link-a-palooza fashion:
- An update in the call for Justice for Marco McMillian, slain Clarksdale, MS mayoral candidate…as police there continue to bury their ostrich heads in the sand, Community demands answers from Department of Justice (emphasis in bold, mine):
Wearing Justice for Marco T-shirts, family and friends of the late Marc McMillian are demanding answers and justice.
The family’s attorney, Daryl Parks, said, “Somebody will explain the burn marks on his body; somebody has to explain the torture he went through.”
In late March, the openly gay former Clarksdale mayoral candidate was brutally murdered. The National Black Justice Coalition isn’t convinced the murder wasn’t a hate crime.
Sharon Luttman with the National Black Justice Coalition said, “Society allows it to be some sexual violence or miscommunication when he’s the one that was burned, that was dragged, that was stabbed. The autopsy report shows that.”
- Personally I think the following ad in question needs “MOAR ZEST,” what do y’all say?… Kraft Zesty Dressing Ad Offends ‘One Million Moms,’ Sparks Debate:
A new ad for Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing is a little too spicy for one group of “concerned” women.
A “let’s get zesty” ad showing a naked man with a strategically placed picnic blanket protecting his modesty allegedly ran as a print ad in a recent issue of People, causing conservative group “One Million Moms” to write a press release calling the ad “disgusting” and saying that the company has “gone too far.”
- Caturday pick of the week (well technically the past month, but I just stumbled upon it now): There is now a font made entirely of cats!
Are you a writer? Or maybe just an active Facebook and Twitter-er who misses the good old days of handwritten letters, before digital media destroyed our capacity to express human emotion with words? Either way, are you tired of waiting for all communication to move past the clunky words of generations past and finally metamorphose into the dancing cat GIFs that we all know and love?
Then boy, does the Internet have the thing for you. Meet Neko Font, a web app that will transform text into a new font made entirely out of cats. Well, pictures of cats, to be precise. All you have to do is insert the copy of your choice into the text box and Neko Font (Japanese for “cat font”) instantly hands it back in cat form.
- My goddess pick on spirituality/religion food for thought… a youtube making the circles right now thanks to Upworthy’s recent spotlight of it under the title, “Best Explanation Of Religion I Have Ever Heard, And I’m Practically An Atheist”:
Patty Murray arrived 20 years ago to a U.S. Senate whose “gentlemen” members had a convenient restroom just off the Senate floor, but not the six “gentle ladies.”
“We had to go upstairs and down a long hall,” Murray recalled on Wednesday.
As the old cigarette ad put it, you’ve come a long way, baby.
The Senate now has 20 women. “Gentle ladies” chair the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. Murray is in the Democratic leadership.
And the “gentle ladies” of Congress’ upper chamber are getting a new, expanded bathroom. While it doesn’t have a glass ceiling, the new restroom will come complete with a window looking out from the U.S. Capitol.
A restroom was carved out of the off-the-floor men’s room, but it was small and cramped.
“It’s no longer convenient: There’s a line,” joked Murray.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, excitedly tweeted on Wednesday that the commodious restroom is a “sign of change” in the U.S. Capitol. “It says we are at work and we require equal treatment,” Murray said.
Okay, I’m going to stop there because my computer just isn’t cooperating this weekend. But, I will say I’m reminded here of Rand Paul’s infamous toilet rant… *wink*
Anyhow, what’s on your reading list this weekend Sky Dancers? Please help me fill in the blanks of these abridged Saturday reads!