Sunday Reads: Accents of the Bleats and Earth Sized Tornadoes

Good Morning!

It’s a long President’s Day weekend…and there is so much to talk about, let’s start by reviewing a couple of court cases and recent legislation pass at the state level.

Two justices suggest Citizens United ruling should be reconsidered in Montana case – The Washington Post

Two Supreme Court justices suggested Friday that the court reconsider its controversial 2010 decision that allowed unlimited corporate and union spending in elections.The suggestion came as the court blocked a Montana Supreme Court decisionupholding a century-old ban on corporate campaign spending in the state.The Montana ruling seems squarely at odds with the court’s 5 to 4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allowed unlimited corporate spending. The U.S. Supreme Court majority had said such independent spending did not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.In Friday’s order, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer said the upheaval in the world of campaign finance since the Citizens United decision does not bear out the majority opinion.“Montana’s experience, and experience elsewhere since this court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations ‘do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,’ ” Ginsburg wrote.

Catching Up On The Current State Marriage Equality Efforts | ThinkProgress

Legislation

WASHINGTON: With Gov. Chris Gregoire’s (D) signature on Monday, marriage equality became the law of the land in Washington state, though that law does not take effect until June 7. Unfortunately, conservatives had already raised over $1 million to start collecting signatures for a referendum — a “people’s veto” — which will likely delay the law from taking effect until after the November election. To maintain the newly passed law, voters will have to approve Referendum 74.

NEW JERSEY: Both chambers of New Jersey’s legislature approved a marriage equality bill this week, but Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed it late Friday afternoon. Aside from a proposal by one Republican senator, there is currently no effort to take the matter to a ballot initiative. The legislature has until January 2014 to override Christie’s veto, but it does not currently have the votes to do so.

MARYLAND: After contentious debate and numerous amendments Friday, the Maryland House narrowly passed a marriage equality bill. Though the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has held hearings on the measure, it has not yet advanced it to the full chamber, but advocates are optimistic about its passage there. As currently written, the law will not take effect until January 2013, but as in Washington, the law will likely be challenged by a referendum in November.

ILLINOIS: A marriage equality bill was recently introduced in the Illinois House, but it’s unclear that it will have much success. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said he would support the measure, but Gov. Pat Quinn (D) is not so sure.

RHODE ISLAND: Advocates are calling for marriage equality to be reintroduced in Rhode Island after last year’s effort led only to the creation of civil unions.  Given residents can marry in all neighboring states, it is unsurprising that in the first four months they were available, only 39 couples obtained civil unions.

COLORADO: Colorado is again reconsidering legalizing same-sex civil unions. Just this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the legislation, but like last year, it is in the Republican-controlled House where the bill’s fate will be decided.

WEST VIRGINIA: A lawmaker in West Virginia introduced a bill this week that would create same-sex civil unions. It’s unclear if it has any chance of advancing.

Ballot Initiatives

NORTH CAROLINA: On May 8, North Carolinians will vote on a discriminatory constitutional amendment banning all legal recognition of same-sex couples, including marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. Pam Spaulding, an LGBT blogger who resides in the state, has a thoughtful take on how detrimental this amendment would be to the state.

MINNESOTA: Minnesota’s marriage inequality amendment isn’t on the ballot until November, but over $2 million have already been raised between both sides of the fight. This week, the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee defeated a legislative effort to rescind the ballot question, allowing the plebiscite to proceed.

MAINE: LGBT activists in Maine have succeeded in advancing a ballot initiative that would legalize same-sex marriage, the first time such a vote has been taken affirming the right instead of denying it. Though referenda on gay rights are frowned upon for the way they can polarize communities and amplify anti-gay stigma, activists point out that a legislative approach was already attempted in 2009, but it was overturned.

CALIFORNIA: Obviously, the Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling against Proposition 8 is an important victory, but California marriage equality will not return until after the Supreme Court decides whether to hear the case later this year. This week, the group Love Honor Cherish announced it has abandoned its attempt to repeal Proposition 8 through a new ballot initiative.

NEW MEXICO: A proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage was defeated in committee this week.

You may recall the anti-abortion legislation in Illinois that was slipped into a proposed bill from the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee: Abortion again shares agenda with livestock in Illinois committee

Well, these personhood and state sanctioned rape bills in Virginia are being described by the bill author as a traffic safety measure.   Republicans With Power: Virginia Personhood Laws a Preview of GOP Presidency?

Voters wishing to see Republican personhood in the process need look no further than Virginia, where the GOP-controlled House just passed HB1, (Marshall-R).

Part of a matched set of two astonishingly cruel legislations, (the other bill literally requires a forced vaginal invasion — a “transvaginal ultrasound” — into any woman considering a legal abortion) of which the personhood bill may actually be more destructive.

The transvaginal ultrasound is humiliating, painful, medically unnecessary, and imposed on a woman against her will, like rape with a foreign object –but the personhood law is forever.

Do Virginians really want to criminalize the birth control pill, stem cell research, perhaps even the In Vitro Fertility (IVF) assistance for childless couples — as well as a woman’s right to choose?

Amazingly, this anti-women’s rights bill is being offered as — a traffic safety improvement!

Ready for the explanation:

Listen to bill author Bob Marshall (R-Manassas): “The legal effect here is (if) a pregnant woman is driving in an intersection and someone runs into her, she can sue for loss of a child,” Marshall said. “…(the bill) has no direct legal effect on abortion or birth control.”

[…]

Even Fox News, normally an apologist for all things Republican, did not buy the “no impact on abortion rights” nonsense, saying:”…Bob Marshall’s House Bill 1 would effectively outlaw all Virginia abortions by declaring that the rights of a person apply from the moment sperm and egg unite.”

If personhood laws are put into effect, government would literally have the authority to control the reproductive life of every citizen.

Were not Republicans supposed to be in favor of individual liberty?

Haven’t we been asking that question about the GOP’s twisted version of liberty for a year now? (By the way, if you missed Dakinikat‘s, Boston Boomer’s and Peggy Sue‘s posts from yesterday, be sure to check them out.)

Since I have brought up the GOP…the next few links will focus on the 2012 Primaries…

First up, Mit Romney. Billionaire Romney donor uses threats to silence critics – Glenn Greewald had an interesting article posted on Friday.

Frank VanderSloot is an Idaho billionaire and the CEO of Melaleuca, Inc., a controversial billion-dollar-a-year company which peddles dietary supplements and cleaning products; back in 2004, Forbes, echoing complaints to government agencies, described the company as “a pyramid selling organization, built along the lines of Herbalife and Amway.” VanderSloot has long used his wealth to advance numerous right-wing political causes. Currently, he is the national finance co-chair of the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, and his company has become one of the largest donors ($1 million) to the ostensibly “independent” pro-Romney SuperPAC, Restore Our Future. Melaleuca’s get-rich pitches have in the past caused Michigan regulators to take action, resulting in the company’s entering into a voluntary agreement to “not engage in the marketing and promotion of an illegal pyramid”‘; it entered into a separate voluntary agreement with the Idaho attorney general’s office, which found that “certain independent marketing executives of Melaleuca” had violated Idaho law; and the Food and Drug Administration previously accused Melaleuca of deceiving consumers about some of its supplements.

But it is VanderSloot’s chronic bullying threats to bring patently frivolous lawsuits against his political critics — magazines, journalists, and bloggers — that makes him particularly pernicious and worthy of more attention. In the last month alone, VanderSloot, using threats of expensive defamation actions, has successfully forced Forbes, Mother Jones and at least one local gay blogger in Idaho to remove articles that critically focused on his political and business practices (Mother Jones subsequently re-posted the article with revisions a week after first removing it). He has been using this abusive tactic in Idaho for years: suppressing legitimate political speech by threatening or even commencing lawsuits against even the most obscure critics (he has even sued local bloggers for “copyright infringement” after they published a threatening letter sent by his lawyers). This tactic almost always succeeds in silencing its targets, because even journalists and their employers who have done nothing wrong are afraid of the potentially ruinous costs they will incur when sued by a litigious billionaire.

Read the rest…it is a long article, and I just gave you the first two paragraphs.

Another link on Mitt Romney.

Word is going around that a “Bushie” may somehow find his way on the GOP ticket this November…‘Top GOP Senator’ To ABC News: If Romney Loses Michigan, ‘He Will Publicly Call’ For Jeb Bush | Mediaite

The report begins with an unsurprising statement: that Republicans cannot see Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich winning the general election (of course, since this is GOP establishment, Rep. Ron Paul isn’t even mentioned) and would have wanted a stronger candidate. “If Romney can’t win in Michigan, the Republican Party needs to go back to the drawing board and convince somebody new to get into the race,” the top senator told Karl.

What is news in this dispatch, however, is that the Senator does not think it is too late to throw the entire GOP field out and just call for Jeb Bush to run:

“If Romney cannot win Michigan, we need a new candidate,” said the senator, who has not endorsed anyone and requested anonymity.
The senator believes Romney will ultimately win in Michigan but says he will publicly call for the party to find a new candidate if he does not.

“We’d get killed,” the senator said if Romney manages to win the nomination after he failed to win the state in which he grew up.
“He’d be too damaged,” he said. “If he can’t even win in Michigan, where his family is from, where he grew up.”

It would have to be somebody else, the senator said. Who? “Jeb Bush,” the former Florida governor.

This report is important for two reasons, the first being obvious: that an establishment where “top Senators” (Saxby Chambliss? Orrin Hatch?) feel comfortable enough to gab to the media about how much they dislike the current field is one that will likely not do all the much to help whoever comes out of this race win. Someone with the experience of a top Senator knows how much damage these reports can do to a party, creating the image of a fragmented, Democrats-circa-1968 mess that RNC chair Reince Priebus seems to have absolutely no control over provides.

Jeb Bush? Someone please bring me a cleaning lady and a bucket.

Saxby Chambliss is my Senate Representative in Washington. So lets look at an issue which is getting very little press…oh, and many of the incidents I am talking about happen to be in Chambliss district. (I will give you a hint, it involves former fetuses…)

As Gingrich and Santorum campaign in my state of Georgia this weekend, I seriously doubt any reporter will get the GOP candidates thoughts on this said figure of Child deaths up in families watched by Georgia agency

Thirty-five children have died between Dec. 1 and Feb. 12. That’s compared to 92 child deaths for all of 2011 in families that have been investigated or monitored by the Division of Family and Children Services.

Kathy Herren, the agency’s deputy director, says the recent toll is higher but doesn’t mean all deaths resulted from abuse or neglect. Officials say 10 deaths resulted from medical problems and four were attributed to abuse.

Attorney Don Keenan, a critic of Georgia’s child welfare system, called the toll “outrageous.”

For more on this we have to look to a local TV station: State won’t answer questions about caseloads after 35 child…

A Channel 2 Action News investigation has discovered the deaths of 35 Georgia children, all of whom had cases with the Division of Family and Children Services, have died in the past 75 days — meaning one death occured nearly every other day since Dec. 1.

Channel 2 political reporter Lori Geary started looking into the cases after receiving a series of emails from sources within the state agency charged with protecting children. Geary confirmed the staggering number of deaths after an open records request.

The agency is not speaking…and when they are, it is a pathetic waste of time…you can see what I mean, keep reading:

“We are all very concerned about the numbers. We share your concern,” said Kathy Herren, acting deputy director.

Geary asked three officials with DFCS to look at, and comment on the data, but none of them could put the deaths in perspective.

“I guess that’s where the frustration is. We see numbers like this and you say you don’t know if this is a high number or not. We’re seeing 35 in two-and-a-half months when we had 92 all of last year. Is that an acceptable number?” Geary asked.

“No. Thirty five is not acceptable. One is not acceptable,” Herren responded.

The Channel 2 report continues…

If the current rate holds the number of deaths could reach 170 this year. The reasons given for the child deaths include abuse and neglect, homicide, medical issues and accidental.

Sources in the agency told Geary there just aren’t enough people to handle increased caseloads. When Geary tried to question Herren about caseloads the deputy director refused to answer.

“Do you have enough caseworkers?” Geary asked.

Herren started to answer then stopped abruptly. “When we look at how we utilize our resources as we currently have them,” she said before pausing. Geary asked the question again several times before a DFCS spokeswoman interrupted the interview.

“She didn’t answer my question. If we have enough. She didn’t answer. No she didn’t. I never heard a yes or a no,” Geary said when the spokeswoman tried to brush off the question.

After being pressed repeatedly, Herren still would not admit that there is enough caseworkers to handle the situation.  DFCS confirms recent upswing in kids’ deaths  

Asked if the agency had enough caseworkers, Herren, an agency veteran elevated to her post late last year, would not answer with a direct yes or no.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s office has been briefed on the 35 deaths, a spokesman said.

State Child Advocate Tonya Boga, responding to an AJC inquiry, said she is looking into the recent deaths, as is standard practice. She noted that a “significant number of the deaths involve issues with safe sleep practices.” DFCS said six of the 35 deaths related to people sleeping in the same bed with children and rolling on top of them.

Similar concerns about sleep-related deaths were raised by former state Child Advocate Tom Rawlings, who said, “Was there a DFCS history of drug or alcohol abuse among those families such that drugs or alcohol may have contributed to the caretakers rolling over on the child and smothering him or her?”

Sorry to spend more time on the Child Services problems in Georgia. I just think that with all the anti-women legislation and bills being passed, it may be good to also point out that women are not the only ones in the GOP targets. Children often get neglected in a GOP run state. And it is not just a safety issue, the GOP will let kids go hungry as well… Sick PLUB bastards.

I guess I should rephrase that…conservative “religious conscience” obsessed sick PLUB bastards: Catholic Food Shelf Rejects Food From Planned Parenthood

A Green Bay, Wisconsin Catholic food pantry would rather see people go hungry than accept 50 lbs of donated food from Planned Parenthood.

As part of its Martin Luther Kind food drive, Planned Parenthood collected the food to donate to Paul’s Pantry, a Catholic food shelf whose entire mission is to feed the hungry. Lisa Boyce, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin said, What was told to me was that they simply said we do not want any food donations from you period.”

Planned Parenthood donated the food to the Salvation Army instead and will do so in the future. “We provide non judgmental care to everyone regardless of our patients, regardless of their personal, political or personal viewpoints and would hope that is the same for our other community partners including Paul’s food Pantry,” said Boyce.

[…]

So we can add feeding the poor to providing emergency care and finding orphan children homes to the list of services the Catholic church will no longer provide without political concession.

I have some real good articles on Iran for you to look at…I will just list their links below.

US officials believe Iran sanctions will fail, making military action likely | World news | The Guardian

Ring of Iranian Bases Threatens US | Informed Comment

In Arizona, a bit of a scandal is hounding one of Romney’s supporters, and not just any regular supporter, but his Arizona Campaign Co-Chair.  Arizona Sheriff Rocked By Accusations Of Alleged Immigrant Ex-Boyfriend

Arizona Sheriff Rocked By Accusations Of Alleged Immigrant Ex-Boyfriend

Rising Republican star and well-known border hawk Sheriff Paul Babeu, who’s now running for Congress in Arizona, was hit Friday night with bombshell accusations from a Mexican immigrant who said he dated the sheriff for years and was threatened with deportation if he ever told anyone about their romance.

The Phoenix New Times newspaper broke the story on its website in a piece written by veteran journalist Monica Alonzo. The accusations came complete with text messages said to be between the two men as well as compromising photos purportedly of Babeu that are reminiscent of recent sex scandals that ended the careers of Congressmen Anthony Weiner and Chris Lee.

In one photo, Babeu is seen posing in front of a mirror in nothing but his underwear. In another, he has his hand inside the man’s partially unbuttoned shirt.

What is it with men taking half-naked pictures of themselves in bathroom mirrors. Are they trying to show what manly sexy stud-like physic they have?

Oh, and since I mention studs…In other big beefy bull news this weekend,  Limousin bull sells for record £126,000 at Carlisle market

That is some large coin to pay for a bovine of such magnificent distinction.

Hmmm…now I have imbedded photographs of half-naked people, do you think anyone will be upset and want to censor those images?  Breastfeeding Photos On Facebook Removed From ‘Respect the Breast’ Page. Sorry, but I don’t understand the reasoning behind this move…Facebook allows photos of women without pants, but they are offended by a woman feeding her child.

From Minx’s Missing Link File:  Some people develop deep thick accents depending on where they grow up. Around my little town here in the  backwoods mountains of Banjoland, the redneckese can be difficult to comprehend. Which makes me wonder about Banjoville goats…check it out:  Goat kids can develop ‘accents’

Pygmy goats can develop “accents” as they grow older, according to scientists.

The young animals, known as “kids”, are raised in groups or “creches” with goats of a similar age.

Researchers found that when young goats mixed in these social groups their calls became more similar.

The animals join an elite group of mammals known to adapt a vocal sound in response to the environment that includes humans, bats and whales.

Do you think the goats around here have that Deliverance country twang in their bleats? Upbleat Finding: Kids Start to Sound Alike over Time

The sounds many animals make are determined by their genes—they don’t have to learn them. Humans, on the other hand, have all sorts of languages and accents, stuff we pick up from those around us. We’re not alone. Whales, elephants, songbirds and bats also listen and learn.

Now there’s literally a new kid on the block: goats. Because baby goats learn to bleat just like the kids they hang out with. So finds a study in the journal Animal Behaviour. [Elodie Briefer and Alan G. McElligott, Social effects on vocal ontogeny in an ungulate, the goat, Capra hircus]

Researchers studied four groups of pygmy goat kids on an English farm—all with the same father, to minimize genetic differences. They recorded the kids’ bleats at one week old and at five weeks, then analyzed those calls. And they found that kids raised within the same group started to sound similar over time.

You can find an audio clip of the goat bleats here.

Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week: Now, this is just amazing…Earth Sized Tornado Rages Across Sun

In early February, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured footage of whirling tornado-like storm on the surface of the sun. This enormous mass of plasma raged for over a day and was estimated to be larger than the Earth. Of course, it’s not a tornado in the same way that we understand them here on Earth. It’s obviously way bigger, way more terrifying, and way weirder.

[…]

The particles of plasma in the storm are relatively cooler, a mere 15,000 degrees Fahrenheit compared to the 2 million degree sun. This makes the solar prominence, which is what the “tornado” is classified as, appear darker than the bright background. The pull between those competing magnetic forces whip the cooler plasma into a whirlwind, apparently moving at some 300,000 miles per hour.

What’s perhaps more shocking is when you consider that the core of the “tornado” is about the size of the Earth, then the ribbons flowing from it back to the sun’s surface are dozens of times larger than our home planet. Kind of puts the whole thing into perspective doesn’t it?

I will end this post with a look at Whitney Houston remembered by fellow stars at her funeral -

In a fitting tribute to a musical life, Whitney Houston was remembered Saturday at the Baptist church where she once sang in the choir, on the gritty streets of Newark where fans belted out her hits, and from the preacher’s podium where a constellation of stars offered memories in words and song as they bid farewell to one of their own.

Although New Hope Baptist Church was filled to capacity with many celebrities — Kevin Costner, Alicia Keys, Steve Wonder — the invitation-only funeral service resonated with gospel hymns and preaching that one pastor said “brought the world to church.”

Wonk had a wonderful post about Whitney Houston yesterday. I love how she relates Whitney’s songs to her youth and reminds us of what a wonderful part of each of our lives the vocal artist Whitney Houston touched.


65 Comments on “Sunday Reads: Accents of the Bleats and Earth Sized Tornadoes”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Forget that the Right wishes to take us back to the 1950s, they are intent on reintroducing the “good old days” when the Puritans ruled.

    The Puritans fled England because of persecution. Theirs was a sect that bleached color out of their existence and when they attempted to impose that on their fellow countrymen they found themselves in a very unpopular position. This brought them to the New Land where they set up a colony in Massachusetts and established their own rule of law.

    Much of that law was based on religous beliefs. Transgressors were held in stocks for whatever perceived “sin” they were accused of and superstition ruled the day. “The Scarlet Letter” and the Salem Witch Trials were based on this very same superstition that found the devil as a resident dwelling among them.

    The Religious Right is focused on the same tyrannical measures to instill their beliefs which are modeled on the Puritan ethic that all men are sinners. Through the Catholic Church, in concert with the Evangelicals, a reintroduction to the Puritan way of life is creeping across the nation where anti gay and anti feminist rhetoric has taken on a new life.

    Rick Santorum has become the “new Cotton Mather” in this movement. It is only recently that Massachusetts set aside the “Blue Laws” that prohibited commerce on Sunday and adopted a more secular approach.

    Puritanism in the New England states has never quite gone away. The irony is that it is making a comeback 400 years later in a nation that was once considered a “melting pot” brimming with ideas, diversity, and a vision that enriched us with the ability to move forward.

    Ironic as well that Massachusetts, considered as one of the most liberal states in the nation, that cast aside the yoke of Puritanism, is watching an uptick in the same brand of authoritarianism it once threw off as inhibiting.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Pat, I am reading the book. Nuns Behaving Badly, and you should see just how much the GOP sounds like these inquisition examiners and Cardinals/Bishops when it comes to women…It is sickening.

      • Katie says:

        I need to get that book.

        We should have a “book sharing” section. You pointed me in the direction of Charles Pierce’s book and I know that Boston Boomer reads as much as I do.

        Having the Kindle I am thrilled to be able to have it seconds after ordering.

        • Minkoff Minx says:

          The one problem I have with this book on Kindle, is that it is difficult to go back and forth between the Notes. But I have the basic kindle not the touch, so it may be easier on those versions.

          Yeah, I think a book sharing section is a good idea too!

      • Pat Johnson says:

        You should have a section on “book sharing”.

        So many of us here read – I know BostonBoomer and I used to discuss and recommend books to one another back in the day.

        You pointed out Charles Pierce and the beauty of Kindle – though I often feel like a “traitor” to librarians – is that you get the book seconds after ordering.

        ralphb and I discovered we were reading the same book at the same time.

        I’m about to order “Nuns” now on your recommendation.

      • I agree with book sharing idea, even though I don’t have a Kindle, nor the time to read much. However, it might spur me to get a library card and start checking out books.

      • alibe50 says:

        Did you know that you can borrow Kindle books from the Library. You go to your library web page and log in with your library number and browse the Kindle and E-books and check one out if available and you have it instantly. You only have it for a week but you can check it out again if not read. You can also put a hold on a book if unavailable and they notify when it is available and you can check it out then. Not a great selection yet but I have read maybe 10 books from the public library via my Kindle App on my PC. and iPad.

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    Morning here are a few updates for you:

    azcentral.com blogs – AZ/DC Blog – azdc – Babeu steps down as Romney Arizona co-chairman We knew this was only a matter of time…

    News Desk: On Contraception and Liberty : The New Yorker

    It comes down to this: if the issue is contraception, Republicans lose. The polls are clear enough about that. But the numbers do move a bit depending on how you ask the question: if it’s framed in part as an issue of religious liberty, the picture looks better for opponents of the rule. There, Republicans have an opening—if they can shift the debate away from contraception, and instead make it about the President attacking religion and the religious (and throw in a few winking hints about his personal beliefs), then they have a chance to turn this into a winning issue come November.

    A winning issue?

    Protesters move within sight of Assad’s palace A chilling photo at that link…

    Swiss create ‘janitor satellite’ to clean up space | Science | The GuardianMy question here is…will a poor kid be able to operate this thing and learn about the importance of having a work ethic?

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    A Conservative Explains Why Right-Wingers Have No Compassion | | AlterNet

    Right-wingers have occasioned much recent comment. Their behavior in the Republican debates has caused even jaded observers to react like an Oxford don stumbling upon a tribe of headhunting cannibals. In those debates where the moderators did not enforce decorum, these right-wingers, the Republican base, behaved with a single lack of dignity. For a group that displays its supposed pro-life credentials like a neon sign, the biggest applause lines resulted from their hearing about executions or the prospect of someone dying without health insurance.

    Who are these people and what motivates them? To answer, one must leave the field of conventional political theory and enter the realm of psychopathology. Three books may serve as field guides to the farther shores of American politics and the netherworld of the true believer.

    • Wow, what an amazingly article. It’s nice to know that the professionals agree that the radical Right are really a herd of sheep. The preachers & Repug candidates are the shepherds or maybe the border collies actually herding them along. Guess we need a pack of wolves or a group of coyotes to thin the herd…

  4. Minkoff Minx says:

    Geez, I keep finding things to link to this morning. Iran Stops Oil Sales to UK, French Companies: Ministry – Business News – CNBC

    Iran has stopped selling crude to British and French companies, the oil ministry said on Sunday.

    “Exporting crude to British and French companies has been stopped … we will sell our oil to new customers,” spokesman Alireza Nikzad was quoted as saying by the ministry of petroleum website.

    • dakinikat says:

      Santorum’s on face the nation saying prenatal testing encourages abortion and shouldn’t be funded by the federal government. He also thinks obama wants to kill disabled people in the womb. Where is the AMA on this nut?

      • The AMA? They are probably filling up the coffers of Romney’s Super Pac.

        OT – anyone watching Melissa Harris-Perry? Really good show. I love how she interviews her guests. I’m afraid I’m going to be disappointed in the next segment, however. Her teaser made it sound like she supports Keystone XL.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Is his next platform item ‘Stoning Women’ at the public square? Goof grief he gets scarier by the day. CAVEMAN SANTORUM

      • Fannie says:

        I watched Melissa yesterday……..she was doing a good job (liked the Chris Brown segment)……….the problem I saw was a repeat of what others are doing, having more men than women talk about birth control, and the politicis of that. In the time I saw her show 5 or 6 men, and one woman on the panel…………….Maybe I’m having a knee jerk reaction.

        • Minkoff Minx says:

          Agreed Fannie.

          Weekly Feminist Reader

          Men-only panel discusses men-only hearing on contraception without a hint of self-awareness? That happened. “It pains me to say this, but I don’t think they have a clue, and that’s the sad part about it.” Umm…

          Looks like Chris Hayes had all dudes too…

          • Both yesterday & today the panels were equally divided. He generally has a lot more women panelists on his show than any other show I watch. Rev Al is pretty good about listening to women’s voices as well.

        • I watched the entire show and just checked her website to confirm that I’m not completely nuts. Her initial panel was 1 woman & 2 men. The final panel, discussing Whitney Houston was actually 3 black men in the entertainment/music industry. Yes, she could have done better & she did today, with 2 women & 1 Republican man. I think the women did a good job of politely ganging up on him. He seemed a bit surprised that his comments didn’t resolve the conversation & make the ladies STFU.

  5. Woman Voter says:

    MSNBC Mellisa Harris Perry talking abt lack of women in congress. She support Obama over Hillary …we got Pres Obama Stupak Executive Order

    MSNBC Mellisa Harris Perry posing issue of lack of women in congress. Then included Colin Powell w/ female Secretary of State women.

    …………..

    Interesting, thing about Mellisa Harris Perry including Colin with the women Secretary of State, as it finally gave me, the insight I had been shaking my head over. So, Harris Perry sees men of color like Colin as a women’s rights achievement even though he doesn’t support most of the positions and is a Republican.

    She supported Obama over Hillary and even wrote an article attacking Hillary, but she is now talking about why we don’t have women and are loosing elected positions…GEE WONDER WHY!

    Also, she discovered that the nuns do all the work…OH the laity was forgotten and it is mainly women…yup women get things done. Women in war torn countries share the resources and take care of all in need…

    • Fannie says:

      Thanks WV I was gonna ask, now I know. Yes 4 of the 56 men were black on her panel.
      There is a cure, allow women to speak.

    • ralphb says:

      Considering the history of African-Americans in this country, I never blamed anyone for supporting Barack Obama. While that support was not on rock solid ground, it was certainly understandable. Surely you can understand that as well.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Considering the history of Mexican Americans, and Native Americans who were also lynched, segregated and yes even enslaved, forbidden to speak their language, prevented from using public facilities, land taken, placed in reservations after removal from ‘good’ land…some starving in said reservation as recently as the 1990s etc….preaching to the choir. I still love ya ralph.

        THE LONGORIA AFFAIR | Clip 1 | PBS (Case for a Jury Of Your Peers…Civil Rights were a struggle of many people of color in the United States of America)

        Despite this, I can keep it separate and not value women less because of it, but fight even harder for women’s rights, because the goal is rights for all. In the last Civil Rights case I was involved with we included ‘Poor White Children’ (as plaintiffs, those having been affected), which turned a couple of heads, but it was the right thing to do…many had not had a college graduate in generations due to generational poverty, and they too had/were suffering from lack of a proper education from the school district.

        The suffering within this country is long and often I feel it is ‘erased’ for political reasons or because we can’t or won’t see all of it, as it would cause a

      • Woman Voter says:

        …hard look and examine who we are oppressing today: Gays/LGBT and…and … OH, WOMEN!

    • Re the Secretary of State, I didn’t take it the same way. It just seemed to me that she was showing the last 4 SOSs.

      And on the Hillary piece – she basically said she was embarrassed for the letter she wrote to Dean & felt complicit in fewer women being elected. And, frankly, as Wonk (I think( said down thread, I would expect most African Americans to have voted for Obama. Especially at the time, I certainly wouldn’t equate it with a woman voting for Palin simply because she’s a woman. Didn’t both Colin Powell & Oprah, life long Republicans, vote for Obama?

  6. Woman Voter says:

    Secretary Clinton Meets With Mexican Foreign Secretary Espinosa

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa at dinner in Los Cabos, Mexico on February 18, 2012. [Government of Mexico photo/ Used by Permission]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/statephotos/6903849153/

  7. dakinikat says:

    Amanda Marcotte

    Dana Loesch defends the mandatory ultrasound with the “non-virgins can’t be raped” argument.

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/39937_CNNs_Dana_Loesch_Equates_Mandatory_Trans-Vaginal_Ultrasound_to_Having_Sex

    • dakinikat says:

      Ayatollah Santorum Excommunicates Obama, Mainstream Protestants

      http://www.juancole.com/2012/02/ayatollah-santorum-excommunicates-obama-mainstream-protestants.html

      Rick Santorum attacked President Obama on Saturday for his theology. Although people assumed that Santorum was, like other conservatives, hinting around that Obama is not a Christian but rather a secret Muslim, Santorum denied this allegation. And, likely he meant instead to lump Obama with the 45 million members of mainline Protestant churches in the US who he considers to be pagans. You see, for Santorum, Methodists and Lutherans and Episcopalians may as well be Muslims, since he does not believe that they are Christians.

      What is remarkable is that it is Santorum who sounds like a Muslim fundamentalist. And ultimately maybe what he is saying is that Obama isn’t Muslim enough.

      Santorum told his audience in Ohio that Obama’s policy is “not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs. It’s about some phoney ideal, some phoney theology — not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology.”

      Likely Santorum was condemning Obama for being a theological liberal. Despite the Obamas’ occasional attendance at African-American Baptist churches just before Martin Luther King Day, they also have gone to the Episcopalian church.

      Rick Santorum does not think Episcopalians are Christians.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      That woman needs to go…

  8. Minkoff Minx says:

    Where the hell is that ad or music coming from?

    I can’t find it…

  9. ralphb says:

    People from across the political spectrum from conservative property rights advocates and tea partiers to Occupy protesters and environmentalists all are trying to stop TransCanada in Texas.

    Texans rally against Keystone XL oil pipeline easement

    Protesters in Austin try to clog pipeline proposal, support North Texas landowner

    • One of the panelists on MHP this morning brought up the issue in Texas & Keystone. I think she was trying to get the Republican man to rethink his position on Keystone. MHP read job estimates from 1200 to 128,000. Pretty wide spread, don’t you think? Boyz sure like to exaggerate.

      • ralphb says:

        What’s really interesting is the truth that most of the construction work on the pipeline won’t be done by local people. The welders etc for pipelines should be specially certified for that work so they’ll come from all over. Unless the pipeline is built with uncertified welders which would be a disaster waiting to happen even worse than it will be in any case.

    • dakinikat says:

      Santorum was on the talk shows today explaining how it was proper theology for man to take advantage of everything on the planet and radical environmentalist had it all wrong.

      http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/211577-santorum-i-accept-the-fact-the-presidents-a-christian

      Rather, Santorum said, he believed that the president held the view of “radical environmentalists” who wanted to shape policy around “things that frankly are just not scientifically proven” – like global warming.

      “When you have a world view that elevates the earth above man and says we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the earth by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven, like for example the politicization of the whole global warming debate – this is all an attempt to centralize power anhid give more power to the government,” Santorum said on CBS Sunday. “This is not questioning the president’s beliefs in Christianity, I’m talking about the belief that man should be in charge of the earth.”

      Santorum said that “radical environmentalists” like the president prioritized the environment over bettering mankind.

      “We’re not here to serve the earth, the earth is not the objective. man is the objective. I think a lot of radical environmentalists have it upside down,” Santorum said.

      Dude needs to join an order and run for pope. He’s got a dick. That’s all that job requires.

  10. Minkoff Minx says:

    Joan Smith: Believe it or not, prayer has no place in democracy – Joan Smith – Commentators – The Independent

    Britain is going through similar situation:

    Imagine that you’re at the dentist. You discuss the treatment, settle back in the chair, open your mouth – and the dentist announces she’s invited the vicar to say prayers before proceeding. Wouldn’t that seem weird, not to say annoying and inappropriate? A dentist’s surgery is not a place of worship and neither is a council chamber, despite all the hot air that’s been generated in the past few days about the “right” of believers to hold prayers during council meetings.

    • ralphb says:

      We would have much rather(ed) spent that money helping families and creating homes rather than knocking houses down that we believe are owned by some very well-resourced banks,” Chris Warren, the city’s chief of regional development, tells the news organization.

      Then WTF didn’t they do that instead? Cleveland must not have any homeless families who could have benefited from those home. What an astounding waste!

      • I don’t know the situation in Cleveland, but I saw a show recently about the vacant foreclosed homes. They are being stripped of anything worth selling, the minute people move out. They take copper, of course, but also siding, appliances, sinks, etc. The price of neighboring homes have dropped to ridiculous levels – like $20 or $30 thousand. Which is why the first step in the TARP should have been refinancing for anyone eligible, especially those with ARMs. Maybe they made stupid choices, but the folks who didn’t & continued to pay their mortgages have been seriously hurt for doing nothing wrong. Anyway, by tearing down the homes that cannot be repaired, it does help the property values of the remaining occupied homes at bit. But, again, I don’t know if that was the case in Cleveland.

      • ralphb says:

        Actually I think banks should have been forced to do writedowns on a lot of those mortgages, where people went underwater, and refinance the rest in order to qualify for any bailout funds. But that’s all water under the bridge.

        I imagine you’re right but, in some cases, I would assume some portion of those homes were salvageable. Then again, I’m gratefully not in Cleveland either.

        • I agree, The money should have gone to homeowners instead of Wall Street. However, the politicians, mostly Republicans of course, demonized the homeowners – not the banks, not the slimy mortgage brokers but the people who foolishly trusted “the experts” and got in over their heads. Did you know that Florida had licensed mortgage brokers who were felons? Caveat emptor!

      • ralphb says:

        A friend of a friend was a mortgage broker and his qualification seems to be that he was a failed actor. It must be an interesting profession.

    • northwestrain says:

      Seems like there is a pattern — and this particular war on women is organized.

      Do these asshats think that women are going to shut up and all of us will be suddenly passive/submissive to the penis? I don’t think so. Unless of course the males in charge decide to kill of all the outspoken females. Which is what happened during the slaughter of “witches” during the dark ages. Women learned their lesson and were submissive for centuries.

    • northwestrain says:

      If women have a choice — yes — but a hell of a lot of the abortions are due to rape — and often the women won’t admit that fact. Rape is still one of the most unreported crimes — and why should women report crimes when you have dodo dimwits who claim only virgins can be raped.

      I’d say rape the bags who spout such nonsense — but then I’d never wish a rape on anyone.

      I’d like to know what the real agenda is for the renewed war on women. Don’t these men have more important things to do?? All this busy work by males — pontificating about things that they have no personal knowledge of.

      I agree with Pat — give all males a vasectomy at birth. At 21 the vasectomy can be reversed after a background check and interview by a panel of 12 women.

      • ralphb says:

        At least part of this whole creepy mess is a plotted out electoral strategy to turn the upcoming election from one based on an improving economy to one based on these social issues. The right wing believes this will get the teavangelicals all fired up for November and they just might be right.

        • And don’t forget that most states have voter fraud laws on the books now. They’ve done whatever they can to limit access to people who will vote Democratic. MHP had a map today and there are only about 6 or 8 states that don’t have these repressive laws.

  11. If Santorum is right that pre-natal care leads to abortions, then let’s take that a little further. Pregnancy also causes abortion. Seems the solution to the contraception, pre-natal care & abortion problem could be easily solved by giving all women a hysterectomy. Problem solved! (and since my sarcasm didn’t work last time – SNARK).

    • northwestrain says:

      Adding the “snark” is a good idea. Some folks don’t understand my sense of human — unless I add the snark. We don’t have body language and voice to give us a clue.

  12. I was listening to NPR this afternoon. I never listen to the travel show because I don’t travel. He was talking to David Farley, author of an “An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town”. Two things jumped out at me. Women weren’t allowed into the Santum Sanctorum until 20 years ago. Gotta love the Catholic Church. Then the conversation moved on to “the relic” which is purported to be Jesus’ foreskin. Seriously. I would have laughed hysterically but I would have had a coughing fit. Whoo-hoo, who has the foreskin. It’s a shame they didn’t save the afterbirth too.

    • northwestrain says:

      Oh worship the penis. Extract some DNA from said piece of penis and clone Jesus. Let’s see how long it takes the fundamentalists to kill the clone. /snark

  13. Kind of off topic, but not really. I’m listenign to American Radio Works documentary “State of Siege.” Although I born in 1950 & lived in a sort of southern state, Florida, I was largely unaware of most of the civil rights movement. This documentary is really incredible: http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/mississippi/

    And it is programs like this that the Republicans want to defund NPR & PBS. It isn’t because it’s left leaning – it’s because it educates people.