Wednesday Reads: Big Bang July 4th Edition
Posted: July 4, 2012 Filed under: Affordable Care Act (ACA), Afghanistan, Discrimination against women, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Hillary Clinton, legislation, Medicaid, Medicare, morning reads, Pakistan, PLUB Pro-Life-Until-Birth, prison population, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, Republican politics, Syria, U.S. Politics, War on Women, Women's Healthcare | Tags: Nuns on a Bus, Paul Ryan, Paul Ryan budget
It’s July 4th!
So, in honor of those big firework shows that are probably canceled throughout the US, I will bring y’all a special edition of the evening reads, so be sure to check it out.
Now, however…this morning’s post we’ll be catching up on world news reports, and a few other stories to make your day.
First a warning, some of the news is upsetting and graphic.
In Syria, there is a report that exposes how Syria is running 27 torture centres, says rights group
Syrian intelligence agencies are running torture centers across the country where detainees are beaten with batons and cables , burned with acid, sexually assaulted, and their fingernails torn out, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Tuesday.
The New York-based rights group identified 27 detention centers that it says intelligence agencies have been using since President Bashar al-Assad’s government began a crackdown in March 2011 on pro-democracy protesters trying to oust him.
Human Rights Watch conducted more than 200 interviews with people who said they were tortured…
I won’t post the rest, safe to say that it is not an enjoyable read.
In Mexico, the new president-elect is making some key decisions. Mexico’s president-elect may double security spending: aide
Mexico’s President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto will seek to double security spending to around 2 percent of GDP to fight drug violence and organized crime while proposing new tactics to the United States, a top aide said on Tuesday.
Emilio Lozoya, touted as a possible pick for foreign minister, said Pena Nieto’s administration would try to boost efforts to tackle money laundering and propose trans-border infrastructure projects to help create jobs, cut business costs and increase security.
“Today Mexico is investing a bit less than 1 percent of gross domestic product (in security) which is low and clearly not enough to confront this problem,” Lozoya told Reuters in an interview. “Investment on security needs to double at least.”
The aide continued…
Pena Nieto proposes focusing efforts on projects that straddle the U.S.-Mexico border such as tunnels and high-tech border crossings, which would create jobs, boost security and promote economic development, Lozoya said.
He said there was also scope for cooperation to fight money laundering and that the United States could help Mexico by stopping automatic weapons from crossing the border and feeding drug gang violence.
“There is a lot that can be done to combat money laundering in particular,” Lozoya said. “We are not getting the results that we want. … The United States can make an additional effort to reduce the flow of arms from there into Mexico.”
In other world news, the State Department released this statement last night: Statement by Secretary Clinton on her Call With Pakistani Foreign Minister Khar
I once again reiterated our deepest regrets for the tragic incident in Salala last November. I offered our sincere condolences to the families of the Pakistani soldiers who lost their lives. Foreign Minister Khar and I acknowledged the mistakes that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives. We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military. We are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again.
As I told the former Prime Minister of Pakistan days after the Salala incident, America respects Pakistan’s sovereignty and is committed to working together in pursuit of shared objectives on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect.
In today’s phone call, Foreign Minister Khar and I talked about the importance of taking coordinated action against terrorists who threaten Pakistan, the United States, and the region; of supporting Afghanistan’s security, stability, and efforts towards reconciliation; and of continuing to work together to advance the many other shared interests we have, from increasing trade and investment to strengthening our people-to-people ties. Our countries should have a relationship that is enduring, strategic, and carefully defined, and that enhances the security and prosperity of both our nations and the region.
You can read the rest at the link, it seems that relations between the US and Pakistan are feeling a little less heated, Clinton Says ‘Sorry’ to Pakistan, Afghan Supply Lines to Re-Open
Image credit: Laurent Gillieron/AFP/Getty Images
“Foreign Minister Khar and I acknowledged the mistakes that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives. We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military.”
The word “sorry” has never been used by the U.S. government since the incident, instead choosing to express regrets and condolences. The Pakistani government has been demanding an apology before it would consider re-opening NATO supply lines to Afghanistan, which were closed after the incident.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Sherry Rehman issued a statement that the country accepts Secretary Clinton’s statement and hopes that the two reluctant allies can move forward.
” We appreciate Secretary Clinton’s statement, and hope that bilateral ties can move to a better place from here,” said Reham. “I am confident that both countries can agree on many critical issues, especially on bringing peace to the region.”
Yesterday Ralph mentioned a link about the Plantation State we’ve been discussing lately. Probation Fees Multiply as Companies Profit – It was an important story and I thought it should be put up on the front page.
Three years ago, Gina Ray, who is now 31 and unemployed, was fined $179 for speeding. She failed to show up at court (she says the ticket bore the wrong date), so her license was revoked.
When she was next pulled over, she was, of course, driving without a license. By then her fees added up to more than $1,500. Unable to pay, she was handed over to a private probation company and jailed — charged an additional fee for each day behind bars.
For that driving offense, Ms. Ray has been locked up three times for a total of 40 days and owes $3,170, much of it to the probation company. Her story, in hardscrabble, rural Alabama, where Krispy Kreme promises that “two can dine for $5.99,” is not about innocence.
It is, rather, about the mushrooming of fines and fees levied by money-starved towns across the country and the for-profit businesses that administer the system. The result is that growing numbers of poor people, like Ms. Ray, are ending up jailed and in debt for minor infractions.
“With so many towns economically strapped, there is growing pressure on the courts to bring in money rather than mete out justice,” said Lisa W. Borden, a partner in Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, a large law firm in Birmingham, Ala., who has spent a great deal of time on the issue. “The companies they hire are aggressive. Those arrested are not told about the right to counsel or asked whether they are indigent or offered an alternative to fines and jail. There are real constitutional issues at stake.”
Please read the rest at the link.
In another part of the US, this time South Carolina a Drunk Driver Kills Son; Grieving Mom Must Pay For Clean-Up
A coroner in Greenville, South Carolina, called Loretta Robinson in June, 2011, and told her that her oldest son, Justin Walker, had died when his car was struck by a drunken driver.
This must be every parent’s worst nightmare.
As Robinson told WYFF4. com,
“I never would have imagined getting that call,” she said. “Never in one million years expected that.”
You might imagine that nothing could make this worse, but you would be wrong: Robinson has since been slapped with several bills in connection with the accident, including one to clean the street of her son’s blood.
I swear, you can’t make this stuff up these days…
She was in court on June 19, and looked Anna Gonzalez, the accused driver, in the eye as Gonzalez pleaded guilty. Justin Walker, Robinson’s deceased son, was not found at fault for the accident.
The grieving mother then showed the judge the many bills she’s had to pay, even though her son was not at fault.
Robinson said she paid to have the wrecked car stored for months, in case there was a trial.
“I had to pay to have the vehicle towed,” she said. “I had to pay for the vehicle removed and to clean up the street from Justin’s blood on the ground.”
Robinson said that was the bill that stung the most – paying $50 to have the street cleaned.
“First of all, having to open the mail and look at the charge to the deceased, Justin Darryl Walker — the deceased! It’s just a hard thing to deal with in the context of your child,” she said.
That’s right: Robinson is being charged $50 for the removal of her son’s blood from the scene of the accident, even though her son was not at fault. How insensitive can the system get?
Robinson has not been able to work because of all the stress and emotional grief, she received some funds from the SC State Office of Victims Assistance, but it was not enough to pay for the cleaning fees. I just don’t understand why she is being charged for this in the first place.
Let’s move on to another car accident, this time a hit and run…John Bryson Had Ambien In System, But Prosecutors Decline To Charge
A report released on Tuesday revealed that former U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson was driving with a small amount of the sleep drug Ambien in his system when he was involved in multiple collisions in Southern California last month.
Despite that, prosecutors declined to charge Bryson with any crimes, saying it was not clear the drug had anything to do with the bizarre June 9 collisions and that a seizure was more likely to blame.
Bryson resigned from President Obama’s cabinet on June 21 after revelations that he had crashed his Lexus into another car, drove away and then crashed into a second car minutes later in a neighboring city.
Well, Bryson’s actions still seem strange to me, but with all these zombie freak attacks going on in the world, I guess his odd behavior is nothing to get worked up about.
Casey Anthony Wears Caylee’s Cremated Remains Around Her Neck, Report Says Oops, I guess I spoke too soon about freakish behavior.
Casey Anthony is reportedly wearing a constant reminder of her daughter, Caylee – a necklace that contains cremated remains of the deceased two-year-old.
According to People, the locket containing Caylee’s ashes was a gift to the 26-year-old from her mom, Cindy. The magazine also reports Cindy Anthony wears a matching necklace.
Geez, now that is one story that gets me running for a bucket and a cleaning lady…ugh.
(See, I told you these stories were going to make your day!)
Mandatory Ultrasounds Not Enough In Virginia Yup, I am going from one stomach turning link to another.
As Virginia’s mandatory ultrasound law goes into effect the state has released a list of places that a woman or girl can go to obtain a free ultrasound, purportedly to help defer the additional expense incurred with the procedure. The problem is, the list is made up almost exclusively of crisis pregnancy centers.
The Virginia law requires a girl or woman who needs to terminate a pregnancy obtain an ultrasound 24 hours before the procedure, regardless if one is medically warranted or not. The states that a “qualified medical professional trained in sonography and working under the supervision of a physician licensed in the Commonwealth shall perform fetal transabdominal ultrasound imaging on the patient undergoing the abortion for the purpose of determining gestational age.” CPC’s often perform ultrasounds, but they just don’t always have medical professionals, so there’s no guarantee that an ultrasound performed by the CPC’s identified by the state would even meed the law’s requirements.
It gets worse. CPC’s are independently run women’s health “centers” that often fall outside the bounds of state regulation and oversight. A woman or girl who has an ultrasound at one of these CPC’s has no guarantee her medical information will remain private, nor does she have any guarantee the center will even turn over the image.
Video at the link.
I have a couple other political links for you, Which states have the most to lose if their governors reject Medicaid expansion? | theGrio
The Supreme Court has declared that states can opt out of the provision in the Affordable Care Act that expands Medicaid coverage (at the federal government’s expense for the first three years, and with states paying a small percentage of the cost after that) to people under age 65 who reach up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. But which states stand to lose the most if their governors say “thanks, but no thanks,” to the Medicaid funds? We ranked them based on the Kaiser Family Foundation data on the states with the highest rates of children currently being covered by Medicaid the percentage have no health insurance (via their parents or the government) at all.
These are my kinda sistahs!
Sister Diane Donoghue, 81 years old and, by her own estimation, still kicking, took the mic. The bus had stopped by Rep. Eric Cantor’s office yesterday, she said. The crowd hissed. There, the sisters had met a woman with cerebral palsy who depended on federal assistance. The crowd awwed. “I’m not going to stand here and say that the Ryan budget is moral,” Donoghue said. “It’s immoral!” The crowd went bonkers.
Wonderful isn’t it?
So on that note, what are you all doing on our Nation’s Birthday? Have a safe 4th of July y’all! Stay cool!