Friday Morning Reads

cuppaGood Morning!!!

I’ve been a little out of the loop recently since I have a friend here to visit.  So, I’m going to start with a Happy 65th Birthday wish to Bernadette Peters because I saw her in concert last night. She’s 59 in this youtube but  she wore the same dress and did this song.  I was shocked!! shocked!  to hear that she told us that it was her first time!!!

It was a night of Broadway songs and overtures with the Louisiana Symphony Orchestra.

So, the House passed the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act which is finally on its way to the President for his signature.

After months of delay, GOP leaders allowed the bill to come to the floor only after a Republican substitute version of the legislation — set up as an amendment to the Senate’s bipartisan bill — failed, 166-257. The House amendment was expected to fail, but allowed members to vote for a version of VAWA while not supporting the Senate bill.

Still, House leaders were under pressure from members of their own party to pass the Senate version without any changes. Nineteen House Republicans sent a letter to Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner urging them to pass a bipartisan version of VAWA.

This is the third time Boehner has allowed a bill to pass with a majority of Democratic votes.

Democrats for the most part were united in their opposition to the House version, arguing it stripped out important protections for LGBT and Native American women. Sixty Republicans joined them in opposition. Only two Democrats, Dan Lipinski of Illinois and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, supported the House version.

Eric–VAGINA–Cantor evidently played an interesting role in its passage which is odd given his role its problems last year.

In the last Congress, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) played a critical role in blocking reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. In this Congress, Cantor was so eager to get VAWA passage over with, he told House Republicans yesterday to either clear the way for the already passed Senate version or risk causing a “civil war” within the party.

Well, that’s some progress, however.  TODAY is SEQUESTER day!!

It’s Friday, March 1, and that means the federal government has crossed the much-hyped and dreaded deadline for the fiscal reductions known as the “sequester.”

The members of Congress who for voted for the Budget Control Act – and the budget cuts contained within – and President Barack Obama who signed it into law on Aug. 2, 2011, may not have believed the day would arrive, but now it has.

But today is only the beginning of the beginning.

For one thing, Obama must sign an order formally starting the “sequester” or spending reductions – which according to a new estimate from the Congressional Budget Office – would amount to $42 billion in the current fiscal year.

And White House aides have indicated that the president is not likely to put pen to paper on that order until after he meets with congressional leaders, a meeting slated for Friday morning.

Once Obama signs the order to start the spending cuts, any furloughs of federal workers could not begin at least for another 30 days due to federal regulations and to collective bargaining agreements which the government has with the unions that represent roughly half of the federal workforce.

I guess Transvaginal Ultrasounds are fine as long as your representative doesn’t feel it’s all that relevant for him.

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) declined to take a position last week during a town hall meeting on whether transvaginal ultrasounds should be mandatory for women seeking abortions, saying he has never heard of the practice and couldn’t weigh in on it because “I haven’t had one.”

Ultrasound requirements are a top priority for anti-abortion advocates in Wisconsin and other states. Similar legislation in past years has landed Republicans in political hot water, and this time around many GOP leaders are distancing themselves from proposed ultrasound requirements.

Duffy has described himself as “100 percent prolife without exceptions” (though he also said “To qualify, I believe that if we have the life of a mother as an issue, the mother’s life takes priority, but we must make every effort to save the life of the child.”) Asked about one of the main goals for the pro-life movement, however, Duffy said he had not heard of transvaginal ultrasounds at all.

A Democratic operative recorded Duffy’s exchange with the questioner at a Feb. 21 townhall meeting in Spooner, Wisc. Through his congressional office, Duffy declined to comment or clarify his views on mandated ultrasounds.

Arkansas has passed–over the veto of its governor–the most restrictive anti-abortion law since before Roe v. Wade.

Arkansas became the eighth state Thursday to enact a near-ban on abortions starting in the 20th week of pregnancy, and by next week it could outlaw most procedures from the 12th week onward, which would give it the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

The Republican-led Senate voted 19-14 along party lines to override Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of a bill barring most abortions starting in the 20th week of pregnancy that was based on the disputed notion that a fetus can feel pain by that point. The Arkansas House voted to override the veto Wednesday. A simple majority was needed in each chamber.

That law, which took effect immediately but which will likely be challenged in court, includes exemptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

Senate President Michael Lamoureux, R-Russellville, voted to override the veto, but later told reporters he wasn’t sure the new law would survive a constitutional challenge.

“If it was an easy answer, then people wouldn’t be raising that subject,” he said after the vote.

After overriding the veto, the Senate voted 26-8 in support of a separate measure that would outlaw most abortions starting in the 12th week of pregnancy. In addition to the exemptions for rape, incest and the mother’s life, it would allow abortions when lethal fetal conditions are detected.

The proposed 12-week ban, which would ban abortions from the point when a fetus’ heartbeat can generally be detected through an abdominal ultrasound, would give Arkansas the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, said Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Yes, the religious extremists in this country have taken over a number of state legislatures.  Look for more violations of your civil rights–except the right to arm yourself with a nuclear bomb–in a state near your.

So, I’m going to make this short this morning . What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

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20 Comments on “Friday Morning Reads”

  1. RalphB says:

    Paul Waldman has an excellent look at the Woodward debacle. It seems to me that one of the major problems with the media, which allows crazy politicians to get away with being crazy, is the elite insiderism they worship. In other words, what matters is what Eric Cantor said and not the effect of the sequester or any other policy on ordinary people and on ad nauseum.

    American Prospect: Falling into Woodward’s Den of Iniquity

    Nobody has done more than Woodward to elevate insiderism, the belief among many journalists that what matters isn’t the effect government has on people’s lives, but who said what to whom when, that if you can get the Secretary of State to tell you what he said to the National Security Advisor while they were at the urinals in the bathroom down the hall from the Oval Office, then you’re a hero of democracy.

    I’m not saying there’s no value in that kind of reporting—we do want to know what policy makers are thinking, how they interact with each other, and so on. The mistake is to think it’s the only thing that matters. And I think that explains why Woodward is now finding himself at odds with the White House.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Waldman:

      It’s not that Woodward isn’t a good reporter, of a sort. But Watergate was pretty much the last time his reporting enhanced public understanding in a meaningful way.

      I’m not even sure of that anymore. Frankly, he used pretty much the same modus operandi in his Watergate reporting, and he made sure to leave out any complicity by the CIA in bringing down Nixon.

    • dakinikat says:

      Woodward is acting like a drama queen.

    • prolixous says:

      Woodward’s paperback book sales must have been in a need of a good goosing.

      He’s darkened every talk show with the line that the White House tried to intimidate him. The smoking e-mail of inglorious intimidation from Gene Sperling begins with an apology. An apology and then kissy, kissy, more BFF electronic aspartame. Honestly, someone needs to run these intimidation e-mails by Rahmbo before they go out.

      • bostonboomer says:

        His latest book on the debt ceiling fight is still in hardcover. It’s doing well on Amazon, but no one is talking about it. He needs publicity. I don’t think this is the kind of publicity he was looking for, though. Still they say no publicity is bad publicity. Check out the people who recommended the book:

        “Groundbreaking” —David Gregory, NBC’s Meet the Press

        “Takes us inside the room once again.” —Charlie Rose

        “Fabulous book and great reporting.” —Norah O’Donnell, CBS This Morning

        “Bob Woodward, in characteristic fashion, does his competitors one better by filling in blanks and providing even finer detail.” —Miranda Green, The Daily Beast

        “A book everyone is talking about.” —Diane Sawyer, ABC

        “A very revealing, insightful book.” —Sean Hannity, Fox News, “Hannity”

        “Required Reading” —Elizabeth Titus, Politico

        Not exactly a collection of intellectuals there.

      • prolixous says:

        BB, well this clinches it:

        “A very revealing, insightful book.” —Sean Hannity, Fox News, “Hannity”

        From the dumbest man to have ever been paid to talk on teevee and who thought “Wreck It Ralph” was an earth shattering documentary.

      • bostonboomer says:

        LOL! Yes, and Dancin’ Dave and some Politico writer were bad enough.

  2. RSM says:

    Arkansas is going to be privatizing Medicaid coverage. They have the Obama administration’s blessing.

    Medicaid Game Changer

    The feds have given Arkansas permission to pursue a plan that would provide private health insurance to anyone between 0-138 percent of the federal poverty level, giving coverage to more than 200,000 of the currently uninsured. The government would pay for the entirety of the premium, though consumers might be subject to some co-pays.

  3. phl0 says:

    I’m struggling with this one:

    http://lagrangenews.com/view/full_story/21701020/article-Full-story–Mallory-sentenced-to-1-000-years?

    1st time non-violent offender gets life with no parole, and daily torture judging from the comments here:

    http://www.policeone.com/corrections/articles/6120454-64-porn-counts-bring-1-000-year-sentence-to-Ga-man/

    Draconian laws are no solution to the cultural cancer that allows/condones/perpetuates degrading weaker individuals in any context.

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/08/16890167-betrayed-male-rape-victims-slam-oscar-nominated-filmmakers-over-focus-on-women?lite

    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t understand exactly what you are referring to. The 1,000 sentence does seem excessive, but aren’t sex offenders like this separated from the general population. The article you posted says that he exploited children directly as well as downloading child porn. Children are tortured in child pornography. The fact that he downloaded thousands of images at once doesn’t change that. Each child in a photo or video was hurt and damaged and people who buy the images are complicit in that.

      Maybe your point is about prison rape, which I agree is wrong and must be taken seriously. Male rape in general does not get enough attention, as the third link you posted shows.

      Still, women and children are more likely to be raped and/or murdered than men in this country. The murder of women is taken as a given in American society. It’s a daily bloodbath. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the sexual exploitation of adult men seriously.

      I may still have missed your point, so I hope you’ll expand on it.

      • phl0 says:

        I’m not defending him at all. He was charged with sexual exploitation but there was no evidence of him inducing, participating in, or distributing child porn, or of having any illicit physical contact with anyone. I have no knowledge of how prisons actually work, but assume based on the comments at policeone.com that he can expect to be tortured.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I didn’t think you were defending him. I was just trying to understand your comment and also responding to some of the arguments from the defense. I’ll go read the comments as soon as I can find time.

        Going to prison is Georgia is probably dangerous for anyone. I think they have privatized prisons. I’ll have to double-check that–unless JJ shows up to respond to the question.

      • phl0 says:

        ‘Struggle’ means half of me is glad to see a potential child predator put away, the other half wondering what sentence would be handed down to someone who pimps out a child. I doubt any pimp would get life with no parole on a 1st offense.
        While I’m proud of the judge’s comments, laws (and the VAWA) are not nearly enough to change the culture (though they are certainly necessary components of the solution).
        The publicity Hollywood gave “The Invisible War” doesn’t do much to counteract the rape culture glorified in lots of R rated movies. Still, documentaries like “The Invisible War” and “The House I Live In” are finding an audience.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

        I don’t know enough about this case, so I’m not sure why this guy got such a long sentence. The article you linked to says that he did exploit at least one child directly:

        Two victims, whom Mallory had recorded with a hidden camera under his office’s desk — which brought Mallory invasion of privacy charges — a former TV-33 employee and her juvenile daughter, were the first to give their statement to the judge.

        The girl explained how the video recording her private area has changed her life. She explained how embarrassed she was when she found out that the man she referred to as her crazy uncle secretly recorded her.

        From another story:

        Investigators said while they were searching for the child porn, they also stumbled upon photos of some of Mallory’s employees. Police said he had cameras under his desk that took photos underneath female employees’ skirts.

        I guess what surprises me most about this case is that an owner of a TV station–presumably an important person in the community and probably wealthy with powerful friends–was convicted at all.

        I totally agree with you about the nearly impossible task of changing our rape culture. Although I’m guilty of enjoying reading thrillers and watching Criminal Minds, it does bother me that rape and murder are used for entertainment in our culture.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Just one more comment. Although there was no evidence, I would be shocked if Mallory didn’t share the child porn images with on-line friends. That is part of the pattern with these guys. Obviously that shouldn’t be considered at his trial.

  4. RalphB says:

    Paul Krugman on Woodward :-)

    Gene Sperling Doesn’t Respect Me

    So, after reading the Bob Woodward saga of the alleged “threat” from Gene Sperling, the White House supereconwonk, I went through my own correspondence with Gene, and couldn’t find anything threatening — although I guess you could read his injunction, at one point, to “take care” in an ominous tone of voice.

    Hey, don’t I rate some proper intimidation?

    But then, Woodward’s story is looking supremely silly too. Can Robert Redford unportray him, or star in a sequel titled “All the president’s crybabies”?

    Pierce’s post today about his victimhood is just hilarious.

    • Fredster says:

      Did Krugman check his emails from morning schmoe? MJ was still at it this a.m. with his “entitlement reforms” and poking fun at Krugman. Gee Joe: Krugman has the Nobel, you don’t…who do I believe? NEXT!