Wednesday Reads: V-Jay D-Day? Nope, Texas’ Vaginas Get Six Week ReprievePosted: March 14, 2012
We had a live blog going last night:
You can catch up with the Clown Show at that link. If you are not in the mood for a bit of humor, redneck style, then by all means…
Boy, I tell yew what…that thar Sanitorum shore is a Dick….God Bless Him. (Read the post last night to get the joke.)
Since we write the morning reads the night before, I have no idea about the results of the Hawaiian or American Samoan primaries, I will update the post with those numbers in the comments.
Let’s move on with updates on the GOP’s War on Women. Today was the day that Texas Planned Parenthood would be closing their doors due to an
asshole’s Governor’s decision to defund the program because..you know…it helps women take care of themselves. Planned Parenthood Prepares To Turn-Away State-Funded Patients
Planned Parenthood clinics across the state have a little more time before the must turn-away patients in the state’s Women’s Health Program. KERA’s BJ Austin says funding was to be cut Wednesday, but new regulations issued over the weekend allow patients to be seen through April 30th.
According to the article, Planned Parenthood provides basic healthcare, contraception and mammograms for 40% of all women in Texas.
At Planned Parenthood of North Texas, Kelly Hart says even with the extra time this situation is distressing for thousands of Women’s Health Care Program patients.
Hart: I’m hearing more and more stories from our health center managers and the nurses about these patients which just don’t have any idea what they’re going to do. And it is heartbreaking.
A law professor at University of Georgia wrote an op/ed about all this women stuff. Eric Segall: The Hypocrisy of the Abortion Debate: Why Conservatives Should Vote Pro-Choice and Leave Planned Parenthood Alone
Over the last two months, Republican politicians in Congress and across the nation have launched a complete assault on women’s health generally and a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion specifically. Last Thursday (on International Women’s day no less), Congress debated a completely unnecessary (and potentially harmful) law making it a federal crime for anyone but a parent to accompany a young woman across state lines to seek an abortion, even where the parents are absent or abusive. All over the country, states are enacting anti-abortion laws at record levels designed to deter women from exercising their constitutional right to choose.
As part of this overall effort to prevent women from having abortions, Republicans are also attacking Planned Parenthood on almost a daily basis. Texas recently decided to forego significant federal money to be used to provide health care (not abortions) to poor women solely because of Texas’ desire to strip Planned Parenthood of all financial support within the state. The United States government was almost shut down recently because of Republican hostility to the work of Planned Parenthood (most of which, of course, has nothing to do with abortion). Virtually all of these attacks on the right to choose have been brought by members of the Republican Party who would self-identify themselves as conservatives.
There are many public policy arguments supporting the right of women to control their own reproductive destinies. This essay, however, is only concerned with the one argument that should in a sane world appeal to the very people who are trying so hard to interfere with that right.
(Raises hand.) I have a question, if you are dealing with these fetus fanatics who want to send women back to the days of chastity belts, how can you even begin to expect to have a “sane” argument.
The four men currently running for the republican nomination for president stress individual freedom and governmental non-interference with important decisions as the most important American values. Because they cannot argue with the fact that approximately half our society feels the right to terminate a pregnancy is such an important freedom, on what basis do they support the government’s right to take that liberty away or make it much more difficult to exercise?
The answer, of course, is that these four candidates and other anti-abortion advocates would argue that fetuses are innocent victims who cannot take care of themselves and thus need governmental protection from would-be killers. But, as previously noted, there is significant disagreement in our culture on this question. In totalitarian states, government officials could simply say we know better and we get to choose. In America, however, especially in the eyes of conservatives and libertarians, it is not the government’s job to resolve through coercion and duress issues of freedom that so many in our population view as fundamentally important to living the good life. The argument “we know better,” when there is such disagreement, simply should not be available to people who consistently voice skepticism of intrusive government.
Anti-choice politicians and pundits can scream as loudly, intensely, and as often as they like that abortion is murder but that does not make it so. Many Americans believe the right to abortion is just as important as the right to free speech, the right to practice religion, and the right to vote. In light of that undeniable reality, those in favor of private decision-making and personal freedom should vote pro-choice every time (and not use governmental force to punish an organization so vital to women’s health just because it provides some abortion services). That conservative politicians and pundits often argue and vote otherwise demonstrates the great hypocrisy of the abortion debate and strongly suggests that anti-choice republicans and conservatives only believe in small government and personal liberty when it is their personal, subjective, and contestable views of freedom that get to carry the day.
This next story is one that is so upsetting, I could not write about it yesterday when I read it. Unarmed Black Teen Killed By White Neighborhood Watch Leader
This is such a sad story: the senseless murder of a high school junior in Florida.
On the evening of February 26, Trayvon Martin, 17, of Miami, FL, was visiting his father in a gated community near Orlando, FL, when he left during halftime of the NBA All-Star Game to get a bag of Skittles for his younger brother.
When Martin returned into the community, with the candy and a soda, Neighborhood Watch captain George Zimmerman, 28, began to trail him.
When police arrived, they found Martin dead. According to Zimmerman, the shooting was in self-defense, even though the teen was unarmed.
Yet even though it’s clear that he shot the unarmed black boy, Zimmerman, who is white, has not been arrested or charged in the death of Martin.
The family of the dead teenager is outraged and are demanding that tapes from 911 calls made by neighbors be released to help piece together what happened before, during and after the incident.
“I’m looking for justice for my family,” says Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father. “I want answers but I don’t have any to give, not for his mother, his brothers or sisters. We don’t have nothing, but we want answers.”
Neighbors are just as upset that no arrests have been made. Police are saying they need time to conduct a proper and “fair” investigation.
You can watch interviews with Martin’s family here.
ABC News has uncovered questionable police conduct in the investigation of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white neighborhood watch captain in Florida, including the alleged “correction” of at least one eyewitness’ account.
Sanford Police Chief Billy Lee said there is no evidence to dispute self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman’s assertion that he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin out of self-defense.
“Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him,” Lee said.
Martin had been staying at his father’s girlfriend’s house during the night of the NBA All-Star game Feb. 26.
The teenager went out to get some Skittles and a can of ice tea. On his way back into the gated suburban Orlando community, Martin, wearing a hood, was spotted by Zimmerman, 28.
According to law enforcement sources who heard Zimmerman’s call to a non-emergency police number, he told a dispatcher “these a..holes always get away.”
Zimmerman described Martin as suspicious because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and walking slowly in the rain, police later told residents at a town hall.
A dispatcher told him to wait for a police cruiser, and not leave his vehicle.
So Zimmerman killed an unarmed teen, an unarmed black teen.
As he’s walking home, a car starts following him. The man driving the car is watching him. Trayvon finally turns and says, “What’s your problem?” The problem is he “walks in a suspicious way” – and the guy in the car is a 26 year old neighborhood watch captain who has been stalking him from the convenience store. When Trayvon confronts him, the man gets out of his vehicle and they get into some kind of shoving match. The shoving match ends with the unarmed teenager dead on the ground within sight of his dad’s front yard.
No Charges Against Zimmerman
The details are sketchy as to why, but for some reason Mr. Zimmerman decided earlier that Trayvon was walking suspiciously. I’m not sure what that means but I’m sure it has more to do with the tone of his skin than the movement of his feet. Mr. Zimmerman calls the police to alert them. They tell him to stop pursuing the individual, that they are dispatching a car. Mr. Zimmerman disregards that direction and keeps on tracking Trayvon as he walks “suspiciously” home with his little brother’s candy.
Before the police arrive, they get two more 911 calls about the scuffle. By the time they get there Trayvon is dead and Zimmerman has a bloody nose and a 9mm in his waistband. He claims to have killed the boy in self-defense. On what planet – Bubbaville?
Mr. Zimmerman had absolutely no authority to stalk Trayvon, no authority to confront him on the street and absolutely no authority to shoot him when the kid had the audacity to challenge being followed.
Bill Lee, Chief of Police in Bubbaville
Interestingly enough, the Sanford police saw no reason to arrest Zimmerman, who admitted he just gunned down an unarmed kid on the street walking home from a convenience store. Evidently Mr. Zimmerman is well-respected, has a background in criminal justice. Says Chief Lee,”It’s not like he went out there looking to shoot somebody.”
HELLOOOOO! He did shoot somebody.
According to the Huffington Post, Trayvon’s dad, Tracey Martin asked the police why Zimmerman hadn’t been arrested. He says the officers told him “they respected [Zimmerman's] background, that he studied criminal justice for four years and that he was squeaky clean.”
“My question to them was, did they run my child’s background check? They said yes. I asked them what they came up with, and they said nothing. So I asked if Zimmerman having a clean record, did that give him the right to shoot and kill an unarmed kid?”
The police have questioned Zimmerman twice in the two weeks since Trayvon’s murder, but no charges have been filed. The most recent update from Chief Lee is that there is insufficient evidence to arrest Mr. Zimmerman. After all, he had a bloody nose and grass stains on his shirt.
What Zimmerman must have endured from that young kid he stalked and then murdered? I’m sure Tide will get out the stains out of his shirt, but he sure as hell can’t get the blood off his hands.
If this was episode of Criminal Minds, Mr. Zimmerman would fit the profile of a budding serial killer. You know, the kind that has a hero complex, pretends to be a cop, practices pulling his gun at home in front of the mirror? Who better to take out than a kid Walking While Black.
Trymaine Lee of the Huffington Post has a series of very good articles that you should read. Trayvon Martin
This is a link to Lee’s latest article: Trayvon Martin Case Sent To State Attorney’s Office Amid Growing Tension, Questions About Police Probe
More from a local Orlando news station: Family wants 911 calls released in teen’s fatal shooting
A controversial 911 call is now the focus in the case of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch captain.
Martin’s family attorney says that recording will clear up what she believes really happened.
“I think we’re going to hear that this was not a case of self-defense,” says Natalie Jackson. “This is a case of Geroge Zimmerman stalking Trayvon Martin.”
The shooting happened All-Star Weekend at the Twin Lakes gated community in Sanford. Police say 28-year-old George Zimmerman was patrolling the neighborhood when he spotted Martin. Zimmerman called 911 asking for backup, because he believed Martin appeared suspicious.
So far, the 911 recordings haven’t been publicly released. However, Jackson says she has numerous tips from people claiming to have ties to the Sanford Police Department. Those people say they know what’s on the tapes.
There is speculation and Jackson says she has been told from people who have heard the tapes, there is incriminating evidence regarding racist remarks from Zimmerman.
Sanford Police have not recommended criminal charges against Zimmerman, saying right now there is not enough evidence. News 13 asked a department spokesperson to comment on Jackson’s statement regarding the 911 calls, but he declined.
We also attempted to contact George Zimmerman for a comment but were unable to reach him.
Nevertheless, Jackson believes the evidence is in the 911 calls.
“I think the 911 calls will shed light on the fact that George Zimmerman was asked to stay in his car,” Jackson said. “He disregarded that and in two minutes Trayvon was dead.”
Although Sanford Police are finished with their investigation they still will not release the tapes or say what is on them.
Jackson has filed court documents seeking the 911 tapes and expects the judge to rule later this week.
From the Addicting Info link:
The Sandford Police turn the case over to the Seminole County DA on Tuesday, saying they have no grounds for arrest. The DA’s number is 407-665-6000. But maybe it’s time to bring this back from Planet Bubbaville and into the US Justice System. You can contact the US Attorney’s office for Orlando at 407-648-7500.
This is such a disturbing and sad story. I really can’t say anything about it.
We lived in Orlando for about 6 years, my cousin still lives in Winter Park….We used to talk about Sanford being a hotbed of racism. The killing, claim of self-defense, and lack of charges are unreal, like something out of the civil rights era.
Let’s end the post with some lighter news…okay?
After 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica will cease publishing its flagship encyclopedia and concentrate on its digital offerings.
You know, there is something satisfying in doing research with actual books and papers. You don’t get the same “yessss, eureka I found it” feeling when you use Google. It is like taking the easy way out. (If that makes any sense.)
Scenic Greek Island Shows Signs of Volcanic Unrest– Okay, so this may not be a “good” thing, but it is very interesting to say the least.
The volcanic caldera on the picturesque tourist island of Santorini is showing signs of unrest. But researchers detecting the caldera’s movement say it doesn’t necessarily mean an eruption is imminent.
The Greek island was the site of one of the most massive volcanic eruptions in history 3,600 years ago. That eruption, which created tsunamis 40 feet (12 meters) tall, may have spawned the legend of the lost city of Atlantis. The volcano last erupted in 1950, albeit on a much smaller scale.
If a Santorini eruption did occur, Newman said, it would be nothing like the Minoan eruption of 1650 B.C. that birthed the myth of Atlantis. That eruption was a once-in-100,000-year event, and the expansion of the magma chamber happening now is only 1 percent of what would have gone on prior to the ancient blast. [The 10 Biggest Eruptions in History]
Geophysicists are keeping an eye on the caldera, however. An eruption could generate local tsunamis within the Santorini archipelago, Newman said, damaging ports and disrupting ship traffic. Even if the volcano doesn’t erupt, the shifting caldera could increase earthquake risk, and the island cliffs are vulnerable.
One more, The Woman Who Skied Antarctica Solo.
The meteorologist-turned-adventurer Felicity Aston has had a soft spot for Antarctica ever since she learned of the ill-fated British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, who loomed as large for her growing up, she says, as characters like King Arthur and Robin Hood. But unlike most of us, Aston never abandoned her dream of emulating her childhood hero. In January the 34-year-old became the first woman to cross Antarctica alone and the first human to traverse the 1,084 mile-long continent without dogs or snowmobiles—although, because she had two food drop-offs, Guinness World Records won’t credit her for a solo crossing.
In any case, the trek took her 59 days of pulling two sledges behind her on skis, securing her tent against ferocious windstorms, navigating glaciers, and rationing a small tub of peanut butter—her only luxury. In the process, she fell even more in love with “that white place at the bottom of the globe.” I spoke with Aston last month, two weeks after her return from the Hercules Inlet, where her journey ended.
Read the interview at the link above.
That is it for me, what do you all think about the killing in Orlando? (Well, Sanford Florida.) And what kind of news stories are you reading about today?
*Correction, Texas Vaginas will get six week reprieve…I had a “slight” miscalculation with the dates. When I wrote this post late last night I transposed the date Texas Planned Parenthood will close, thinking the date was April 3rd and not April 30th. I have changed the title of the post to reflect this correction.