Lazy Saturday Reads

"Someone is Waiting," by David Hettinger

“Someone is Waiting,” by David Hettinger

Good Morning!!

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that  today is a very slow news day.  Nevertheless, I’ve still managed to dig up a few interesting reads.

Long-time Clinton hater Richard Mellon Scaife has died at 82. The Associated Press reports via Politico:

Scaife died early Friday at his home, his newspaper, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, reported. Scaife’s death comes less than two months after he announced in a first-person, front-page story in his Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he had an untreatable form of cancer.

“Some who dislike me may rejoice at the news,” wrote Scaife, who acknowledged making political and other enemies. “Naturally, I can’t share their enthusiasm.”

He was the grand-nephew of Andrew Mellon, a banker and secretary of the Treasury who was involved with some of the biggest industrial companies of the early 20th century. Forbes magazine estimated Scaife’s net worth in 2013 at $1.4 billion.

The intensely private Scaife became widely known in the 1990s when first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said her husband was being attacked by a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” White House staffers and other supporters suggested Scaife was playing a central role in the attack.

Hillary was mocked for those remarks; but today, in the aftermath of the Hobby Lobby decision, it should be obvious to all but the most oblivious and ignorant among us that the vast right wing conspiracy exists and its tentacles have reached even the U.S. Supreme Court.

Black-Girl-Reading

From Forbes, Clare O’Connor reports more Hobby Lobby Fallout: Catholic Soy Milk Mogul Won’t Cover Drugs That ‘Prevent Procreation’. Eden Foods founder Michael Potter has stated his determination to prevent his female employees from getting access to birth control, and the Supreme Court is helping him.

In April 2013, devout Catholic (and sole Eden Foods shareholder) Potter sued the Department of Health and Human Services, calling the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate “unconstitutional government overreach.”

In a letter he wrote in response to a shopper complaint that month, Potter described contraceptives as “lifestyle drugs” akin to “Viagra, smoking cessation, weight-loss” tools and other medications. (He also compared birth control to “Jack Daniels” in a contemporaneous interview with Salon.)

In October, the U.S. Court of Appeals decided against Potter, ruling that Eden Foods, as a for-profit corporation, couldn’t exercise religion.

The day after the Justices decided evangelical Hobby Lobby billionaire David Green doesn’t have to cover certain contraceptives for his employees, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment against Eden Foods and sent the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for further consideration.

“The court of appeals is ordered by the Supreme Court to follow its decision in Hobby Lobby,” said Erin Mersino, the attorney handling Potter’s case at the Christian, conservative Thomas More Law Center.

And the beat goes on . . .

At The Nation, Katha Pollit asks: Where Will the Slippery Slope of ‘Hobby Lobby’ End?

Facts are stubborn things, as John Adams famously said. Unless, that is, you’re talking about religion. Then facts don’t seem to matter at all: right you are if you think you are. The Hobby Lobby case was billed as a test of religious freedom versus the power of the state: Did the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) mean that David Green, the evangelical Christian CEO of a chain of crafts stores, could be exempt from providing coverage for the full range of contraceptives for his employees under the Affordable Care Act? Green balked at including Plan B, Ella (another form of emergency contraception) and two kinds of IUD, because, he claimed, they caused “abortion” by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg.

The Court’s 5-to-4 decision—which featured all three women justices ruling for the workers, and all five Catholic men ruling for the corporation—was wrong in many ways. But the thing I really don’t understand is why it didn’t matter that preventing implantation is not “abortion,” according to the accepted medical definition of the term. And even if it was, Plan B, Ella and the IUDs don’t work that way, with the possible exception of one form of IUD when inserted as emergency contraception. As an amicus brief from a long list of prestigious medical organizations and researchers laid out at length, studies show that emergency contraception and the IUD preventfertilization, not implantation. They are not “abortifacients,” even under the anti-choicers’ peculiar definition of abortion. (Green is actually more moderate than some anti-choicers, who include hormonal contraception, aka “baby pesticide,” as abortion.) Why doesn’t it matter that there is no scientific evidence for Green’s position? When did Jesus become an Ob/Gyn?

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Good question. Today even facts are irrelevant to Supreme Court decisions. The fact is that Democrats helped Thomas, Roberts, and Alito make it onto the Court, and now we’re stuck with these religious and ideological fanatics.

At Salon, Digby writes that Alito could have been stopped: Why Dems should have filibustered the radical. And from Peter Montgomery at HuffPo, Samuel Alito: A Movement Man Makes Good on Right-Wing Investments. Read them and weep.

Dakinikat posted this Guardian piece in the comments last night; I thought it should be included in this morning’s links: Black people were denied vanilla ice cream in the Jim Crow south – except on Independence Day.

By custom rather than by law, black folks were best off if they weren’t caught eating vanilla ice cream in public in the Jim Crow South, except – the narrative always stipulates – on the Fourth of July. I heard it from my father growing up myself, and the memory of that all-but-unspoken rule seems to be unique to the generation born between World War I and World War II.

But if Maya Angelou hadn’t said it in her classic autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I doubt anybody would believe it today.

People in Stamps used to say that the whites in our town were so prejudiced that a Negro couldn’t buy vanilla ice cream. Except on July Fourth. Other days he had to be satisfied with chocolate.

Vanilla ice cream – flavored with a Nahuatl spice indigenous to Mexico, the cultivation of which was improved by an enslaved black man named Edmund Albius on the colonized Réunion island in the Indian Ocean, now predominately grown on the largest island of the African continent, Madagascar, and served wrapped in the conical invention of a Middle Eastern immigrant – was the symbol of the American dream. That its pure, white sweetness was then routinely denied to the grandchildren of the enslaved was a dream deferred indeed.

What makes the vanilla ice cream story less folk memory and more truth is that the terror and shame of living in the purgatory between the Civil War and civil rights movement was often communicated in ways that reinforced to children what the rules of that life were, and what was in store for them if they broke them.

Please go read the whole thing if you haven’t already.

man reading

From Politico: Why the Civil Rights Act couldn’t pass today.

It was a painful tableau: The bipartisan leaders of Congress linking hands in the Capitol Rotunda and swaying to the strains of “We Shall Overcome” as they commemorated the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi sang along with the crowd, but Mitch McConnell and John Boehner’s lips were frozen in silent, self-conscious smiles.

The climate in today’s Washington is so different from the one that produced what many scholars view as the most important law of the 20th century that celebrating the law’s legacy is awkward for Republicans and Democrats alike. Neither party bears much resemblance to its past counterpart, and the bipartisanship that carried the day then is now all but dead….

The current congressional leaders gathered last week not to honor Johnson — or any of the legislative leaders who actually passed the landmark law — but to award a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal to The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, whose crusade helped create the climate that made the bill possible. In his life, racial tensions helped make King such a polarizing figure that both Johnson and John F. Kennedy worried about seeming too close to him, but in martyrdom and myth, he is the only politically safe ground on which present day leaders could unite.

They are all so pathetic. And this is beyond pathetic: Callers Use C-SPAN Civil Rights Discussion To Complain About White Oppression (VIDEO).

“Washington Journal” host Steve Scully listened as an “independent” caller named Thomas from Maryland told him that he is “much less liberal today” than he was in 1964 when the landmark law was signed by Lyndon B. Johnson.

“And I think the blacks have brought on most of their present-day problems themselves. They insult white people,” he told Scully. “I heard it right on your own show, I heard some black call Karl Rove a ‘white boy.’ And I don’t think that’s right. They’re attacking white people in the big cities and we’re supposed to put up with that kind of stuff and like them and say, ‘Well, come into our neighborhood.’ And how about the discussion of the black crime that goes on in this country?”

The caller went on to complain that the discrimination endured by Irish, Mormons and Italians is widely ignored.

“You people will never, never discuss that. You only discuss the discrimination against the black people,” he said.

Is that sick or what?

A few more news links:

Information Week on private tech companies treatment of their customers, Facebook Mood Manipulation: 10 Bigger Problems.

Fox News: Suspect arrested in Bourbon St. shootings.

USA Today: Seven hurt in Indianapolis shootings.

WSJ: A Weakened Hurricane Arthur Heads Toward Nova Scotia

ABC News: Before Boston Attack, Alleged Bomber Posed With Black Flag of Jihad at Local Mosque.

So . . . what stories are you reading and blogging about? Please share your links in the comment thread, and enjoy the rest of the long weekend!

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34 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads”

    • Beata says:

      Yeah, ready, steady, go. Let’s do this thing!

    • ANonOMouse says:

      We went grocery shopping Thursday and we parked behind a big old Caddy SUV. The entire back window was covered in RED marker imploring Mitt to run in 2016. “Dear Mitt, We need you” and it went on and on. I almost tossed.

      And so life is down here in BumFuckerville

  1. joanelle says:

    How did we stray so far?
    Our “representatives” are an embarrassment simply doing as they please to foster their own agenda with little knowledge or care of the ‘people’ they are supposed to be representing.
    This Fourth I was saddened at the thought of the direction this country has taken.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Me, too, I don’t feel celebratory at all.

    • Boo Radly says:

      Me three – we are devolving. Hate is rampant – human rights only exist for a certain small percent – namely male and wealthy. This is not my America.

      • joanelle says:

        I guess we’ve come full circle. Our founders came here to escape the great divide between rich and poor and guess what, we’ve recreated the same system – where do we go from here?

  2. Fannie says:

    Good morning, heat is coming on, and I try to get things done earlier. Had a blast, visiting up and down my neighborhood, with all the different folks. One family invited us to their BBQ and for cold beer, etc. They had a pretty big spread, and people keep coming. What was really neat were the young girls. They had seen me off and on, and knew that I shared food from garden. One young girl was 24, she was learning to be a chef, and she had made mimi cheese cakes, potato salad, and fruit salad…………Another girl, was 25 she was working at the mall. Another girl was working at McDonald’s and she was a drummer. The other girl was starting out in relationship, and had a 2 year old girl. As I was talking to the woman who had invited us over, they had overheard me talking about Hobby Lobby, and they scattered inside house, to come out with a special made drink for me, made with honey bourbon, really nice of them I thought. They all gathered round me and said, we had no idea about the kind of woman you are, when we heard you talk, we didn’t want to hold back, as they saw this as an important issue for them. Well, of course, we talked about choices, we talked history. None of the young women could comprehend how hobby lobby was permitted to deny them birth control. I just hope I said something in the moment that will forever change their lives, and I hope I did it with kindness and laughter. Young women do need to see the way out of this mess, and speaking out is a first step. And I hope they come to visit, and sit with me for a while.

  3. ANonOMouse says:

    “But the thing I really don’t understand is why it didn’t matter that preventing implantation is not “abortion,” according to the accepted medical definition of the term. And even if it was, Plan B, Ella and the IUDs don’t work that way, with the possible exception of one form of IUD when inserted as emergency contraception.”

    Not only is it not abortion, it is in essence the VERY SAME method of contraception that the Catholic Church suggests to it’s communicants. That method is called the “Rhythm Method”. I’m not a Doc, but if I understand it correctly in that method it is thought that impregnation is less likely to occur at certain times in the monthly cycle when most women are thought to be infertile. And if an egg is fertilized during that time of the cycle the egg is less likely to attach to the wall of the uterus. Not to mention that the fertilized egg not being able to attach to the uterus wall happens naturally to sexually active women over and over again during their reproductive years. This is clearly MEN (and a handful of stupid ass women) trying to tell WOMEN what they can and cannot do with their bodies. All of it based on some archaic religious notion that most women in the world no longer ascribe to.

    It’s really time for women, of all ages, to rise up and put this travesty to rest once and for all. But as I’ve said many times here too many people are caught up in the “if it’s not happening to me, it’s not happening” syndrome and until most women of child bearing age are impacted by the misogyny of this ruling and experience the denial of prescription meds, nothing will change.

    .

    • dakinikat says:

      Here’s a good one on Eden Foods that feels the same way. Now, that their primary customer base is boycotting them, they’re crying their “victims”.

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/07/04/1311705/–Grotesque-Mischaracterizations-and-Fallacious-Arguments-Eden-Farms-in-the-wake-of-Hobby-Lobby?detail=facebook#

      • ANonOMouse says:

        No doubt we can make incredible statements with our pocketbook, I don’t shop at Whole Foods and I don’t have access to Eden Food products. There’s is a niche market so I don’t know how effective a boycott of their brand would be. Still we should try to get the word out about any employer who chooses this path when it comes to the health choices of women. It’s infuriating to me that this man compares prescription Contraception to Jack Daniels. Just the fact that he thinks it’s ok to publicly draw those insidious parallels tells us more about this mans archaic attitude toward the sexuality of women and HIS TOTAL IGNORANCE about our reproductive system than any lawsuit ever could. He still doesn’t understand that most of the health issues for women of child bearing age is tied to their reproductive system. He’s just like the Hobby Lobby folks, no matter how much he tries to distance himself from them and their SCOTUS action.

        I’m so pissed at Hobby Lobby because I know there suit is less about religion and more about their bottom line. The little known and underreported truth is that Hobby Lobby purchases much of it’s inventory from China in factories that use what we would see as slave labor. It doesn’t bother Hobby Lobby to buy cheap merchandise from a slave labor market where the abortion rate is among the highest in the world because when it comes to PROFIT margin Hobby Lobby is all in. HYPOCRITES. Since women keep Hobby Lobby in business, a boycott of Hobby Lobby and an intense and visual shaming campaign could have a real and measurable impact. Let’s do it.

        • joanelle says:

          Good point Hobby Lobby can’t have it both ways. A boycott is the simplest way to get our point across.
          BTW I have a question: Does the affordable care act still cover Viagra?

          • NW Luna says:

            Even before ACA, Viagra was not covered by any insurance in my state, at least not for any of my pts who had a legitimate medical need. By that I mean very rare and serious conditions such as spinal cord injury. Hypertension, diabetes are the usual causes and those are what should be treated instead, not the symptom.

      • Fannie says:

        Good idea – boycott them. I’ve never in my life purchased Eden products, and don’t intend to either.

        • joanelle says:

          I don’t think we even have a Hobby Lobby or Eden near us – never saw one, if they are an online store we can leave messages in their customer service email box

          • bostonboomer says:

            There’s a Hobby Lobby here in Muncie. I mentioned it to my Mom and my sister-in-law, and they both had gone there for picture framing. Bummer.

    • Fannie says:

      Mouse, I remember all the crap about “rhythm method”. I bet you’d have a better chance with the lottery.

  4. dakinikat says:

    Did y’all know that John Adams had a dog named Satan?

  5. dakinikat says:

    I still am amazed Democrats voted to affirm Alito. I’m amazed he made it out of law school frankly. But what’s worse, is why do we have these “cult” catholics on the court? These guys are all opus dei. Now that we’ve rid ourselves of “fascist” popes, maybe this pope will work to clear the nest of them out of the church.

    http://www.mond.at/opus.dei/opus.dei.uo.faq.html

  6. dakinikat says:

    http://bluenationreview.com/birth-control-case-worse-hobby-lobby/

    In a blistering dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the ruling contradicts what the conservative majority said in the Hobby Lobby case just a few days ago – that a way to fix the religious opt-out would be to have the government pay for the contraceptives, and that the Hobby Lobby decision was narrow:

    “Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word. Not so today. After expressly relying on the availability of the religious-nonprofit accommodation to hold that the contraceptive coverage requirement violates [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] as applied to closely held for-profit corporations, the Court now, as the dissent in Hobby Lobby feared it might, retreats from that position,” Justice Sotomayor said.

    • RalphB says:

      They are just making this shit up as they go along. There is no respect for precedent or even the Constitution in their rulings now.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Hobby Lobby’s Not Alone: Here Are 4 of the High Court’s Biggest Science Blunders

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/supreme-court-worst-scientific-blunders?google_editors_picks=true

  8. dakinikat says:

    Major New Study Finds Kids Raised By Same-Sex Couples Are ‘Healthier And Happier’

    http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/07/05/3456717/kids-raised-by-same-sex-couples-are-healthier-and-happier/

  9. dakinikat says:

    Rush Limbaugh’s Thoughts On The Hobby Lobby Case Are As Gross As You’d Imagined

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/02/rush-limbaugh-birth-control-women_n_5552369.html