Wednesday Reads: Clowns, Rainbows and Pandas

1ccca3098165d541a0f317a49e6fa02aGood Morning

What a fabulous week it has been for those of us with GLBT family and friends. It does feel good to know that my 7926e78cc651b090851ec2da26316142uncle…my friends here on the blog, my good friends from high school…my daughter’s best buddies, my son’s friends too…can legally gain the rights, respect and dignity that they deserve…as human beings.

This is the point of all these rainbows innit? And here we are days after the ruling, and still people are posting hateful shit on social media. They don’t get it.

I want to share something with you, written by one of my daughter’s very good friends…Her name is Jemha, it was written last week but it still does make a huge point:

Jemha

 

Smart cookie isn’t she.

10999985_966134726743787_4490115553396602658_n

And what about all the fuss doing with flags, black ones with dildos…confederate ones? This is another point that bothers me, as I look around at social media (Facebook) because this is where my “friends” are mostly found hanging out.

13d9e92cb0f60a7ffc5deb268f88d52dAgain, I am amazed at how many people don’t “get it” but I will use Jemha again as an example…she is half-black, half-Haitian. When my daughter is enjoying a Blizzard in a Blue Ridge Dairy Queen with Jemha, and they actually feel so intimidated…they are all afraid, because of the racist assholes glares and scowls and threatening looks…with the confederate flag on display everywhere. This is Hate. And it is directed at both girls.

That is a reality, that is what so many don’t understand, and it is so frustrating for me that many of my friends who are very intelligent…don’t get it. Yes, freedom of speech is one thing. But there is a line that is crossed when freedom of speech becomes: hate motivated intimidation, terroristic threats, hate crimes, etc.

The actions and statements made by assclown right-wing religious racist bigots of late hurt my family and friends. And I do not like to see my people treated unfairly, unkindly or disrespected.

Am I going to stand up for my friends and family? You bet your fucking ass I will…

be7c9dc5f379c77a754ef804c2dfcc46I am so sick of folks using religion as an excuse to discriminate and spread their hate and racist agenda against people of color (Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, Green, whatever.) And….when they plead religious freedom as an excuse to manipulate and control women and deny us reproductive healthcare, or scream religious liberty against GLBTs to avoid following the law of the land….this is not what the Constitution is all about.

They preach their righteousness and pass judgement when hypocrisy is the cornerstone of everything they stand for….This does not sit well with me. Whatever the religious folks want to do in their own private lives within their own house is their business….but do not come and force their version of religion liberty upon everyone else, by taking away the liberty of those they hate and despise.

Anyway, that isn’t anything new for you all to read. Boston Boomer said the same thing last week. Now, here are your links for today.

3d7eac43e8de493cb1314cbc88b8ce3eA Southern Black Church fire raged overnight, this makes 8 in the last 10 days. 

Another Black Church Burns in the South, the Eighth in 10 Days | TIME

Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, a prominent African-American church in Greeleyville, S.C., caught fire late Tuesday. It is the eighth black church in the southern U.S.A. to burn in 10 days.

[…]

Mount Zion was burned to the ground by the KKK in 1995, part of a string of 30 fires in black churches that spanned two years.

An investigation into the fire’s cause will begin after it is safely extinguished, chief of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division Mark Keel told the Post and Courier. He noted that that the thunderstorm that pounded the town of 375 Tuesday evening could have ignited the church. Meteorologist Pete Mohlin of the National Weather Service told the paper there was a lot of lightning in the area around 7 p.m. but he could not say if it had caused the fire.

Parishioners across the south are surveying the damage a string of similar fires has caused this week, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports, starting in Knoxville, Tenn. on June 21 and moving to Macon, Ga and Gibson County, Tenn on June 23; Charlotte, N.C. on June 24; Elyria, Ohio on June 25; and Tallahassee, Fla. and Warrenville, S.C on June 26.

413d202e8248e164760965ca1ddb8178Three of those fires have been ruled arson, one was determined to be caused by a falling branch and faulty wiring, and the others remain under investigation. Several have been blamed preliminarily on lightning; weather in the south this week has been turbulent.

“Lightning?”

FBI Investigates Southern Church Fires 

The Rev. Nelson Rivers said Tuesday night that he worked closely with ATF while they investigated a string of arsons at black churches in the 1990s.

“My prayer is that we’re not having a repeat,” Rivers told ABC News 4. “But we’re not going to take chances and we are plotting where the churches have burned so far, reaching out to the pastors and the congregations, and also talking to the authorities in those areas to see what they think.”

A federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said a Friday fire at a church in Aiken County does not appear to have been intentionally set. The official had direct knowledge of the investigations but spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the official was not authorized to discuss them publicly.

Tfdbba6534f4afe1dab9c84c7fa784bcfhe official said another fire Wednesday at a Charlotte, North Carolina, church appeared to be set by vandals, and investigators have found no graffiti or other evidence that it was racially motivated.

In Georgia, FBI Special Agent in Charge Britt Johnson said Monday that authorities are also looking into whether a June 23 fire could be a hate crime, which is common practice for fires at houses of worship.

“Opening a preliminary inquiry doesn’t suggest that a hate crime has occurred, but rather ensures that it is getting additional scrutiny for hate crime potential,” Johnson said in a statement.

6feee645c8b7de2354c807def2c12eb7Another fire was reported at the College Hill Seventh Day Adventist church in Knoxville,Tennessee, a predominantly black congregation. Knoxville Police spokesman Darrell DeBusk had said previously that the fire was not being investigated as a hate crime. Authorities have said bales of hay outside the church were set on fire, and a church van was damaged in the blaze.

Federal investigators are tracking the Knoxville blaze and several others in an arson database to determine whether there are any trends or similarities, but none of the fires appear to be related, said Michael Knight, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Tennessee.

In Elyria, Ohio, arson has been ruled out in the burning of the College Heights Baptist Church, fire Chief Richard Benton told The Chronicle Telegram newspaper.

98b6042b0a1d32264e7f569aefbcc382Okay, when “vandals” are burning down black churches in the South, after the murders of 9 black people, inside a Southern black church…when the confederate flag is under threat of being banned…to say that there is no evidence of racial motivation. Or…that lightning is the cause of eight black churches burning down?  Come on…seriously.

More links on this story:

Mt. Zion AME church burns in South Carolina

Rash of fires at African-American churches continues: Blaze at South Carolina church

Feds notified of fire at African-American church in South..

BREAKING: African American Church In South Carolina, Previously Burned Down By The KKK, Is On Fire | ThinkProgress

Just a few more links on white supremacist.

a319b13562f8901d35401ee1500d5745White supremacists want a race war. They must not fight America’s wars | Matt Kennard | Comment is free | The Guardian

After the horrific massacre at Charleston’s historic black church, Americans are slowly realizing the threat posed by white supremacist and neo-Nazimovements. But few know that their presence has grown within one of the most powerful institutions in America: the US military.

According to the FBI, there are hundreds of white supremacists in the US army or in the veteran community. Some analysts even estimate the number is in the thousands. In America, 203 white supremacist “extremist cases” investigated by the Bureau from 2001 to 2008 involved veterans. The problem hasn’t gone away. Neo-Nazi veteran Wade Michael Page attacked six worshippers at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, in 2012.

f5abd9516a7b695d8be8d05a35bf5dcdI spent a number of years investigating how neo-Nazis and white supremacists had infiltrated the US military, with very little push back from the Pentagon, which was desperate to keep the supply of troops flowing for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

As part of my research, I spoke to veterans who had become white supremacists before service and joined to gain access to weapons and training, as well as veterans who had been radicalized after returning from the war.

Charles Wilson, spokesman for the National Socialist Movement, one of the top neo-Nazi groups in America, was frank about his attempts to populate the US armed forces with extremists: 76779a38c3c8eb34fc32c9ce0520e9b0“We do encourage [our members] to sign up for the military. We can use the training to secure the resistance to our government. Every one of them takes a pact of secrecy … Our military doesn’t agree with our political beliefs, they are not supposed to be in the military, but they’re there, in ever greater numbers.” He claimed to have 190 members serving.

Read the rest at the link, it is fucking scary.

And then think about how many former military are in the police force…

Map: The United States of Confederate-flag shopping – The Washington Post

This map by Jody Sieradzki of Dadaviz shows which flag people in different states searched more on Google Shopping between January 2008 and June 2015: the U.S. flag or the Confederate flag. The states in black — most of them — shopped more for the American flag. The states in red — Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois and Texas — searched more often for the Confederate flag.

Hmmmmm, notice that one state there in the middle, near the one of the Great Lakes?

Illinois?

Yes? Yeah….and what would be in Illinois that would make confederate flags so fucking popular?

Illinois Nazis.

This next link is a couple of days old, but: KKK plans SC Statehouse rally, says Dylann Roof ‘was heading in the right direction’

3f1566f9577e3cbf8b2eea495ca792b1North Carolina-based Ku Klux Klan group announced plans to hold a rally in front of the South Carolina Statehouse on July 18, the Charleston Post and Courierreported on Monday.

State officials confirmed that the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which calls itself the “largest Klan in America,” filed a permit saying they expected between 100 and 200 people to attend the event on the north side of the building, where the Confederate battle flag is currently being flown. If the permit is approved, the event would be held between 3 and 5 p.m. on July 18.

The South Carolina Budget and Control Board approved the application Monday, and spokesman Brian Gaines explained that space to demonstrate was provided at the site when not already reserved.

“This is our state, and they are not welcome,” Gov. Nikki Haley said in a statement. Haley called for the flag to be removed from outside the building in the wake of the terrorist attack committed by 21-year-old Dylann Roof earlier this month. Lawmakers will discuss removing the flag on July 6.

ecca12bb9a91947f629be051a3b5e172While Roof faces nine counts of murder in connection with the attack, the group’s leader, Robert Jones, expressed support for him.

“He was heading in the right direction; wrong target,” Jones told the Post and Courier.“He should have actually aimed at the African-American gang-bangers, the ones who are selling the drugs to white youth, the ones who are robbing and raping every chance they get.”

You can see more about how the history books are mistreating the KKK and Confederacy at the link…if you like.

9d3fdba07590d2443cebf0328ca45633About this rally in South Carolina: South Carolina approves KKK’s pro-Confederate flag rally at capitol | New York Post

But according to the newspaper, the South Carolina Budget and Control Board approved an application filed by the “Loyal White Knights” chapter of the Ku Klux Klan for a July 18 rally in favor of the flag.

Budget and Control Board spokesman Brian Gaines told the newspaper that space to demonstrate was provided at the site when not already reserved.

Ugh.

And this…which has nothing to do with white supremacist. It does deal with Jeezus freaks, but how one preacher is reacting in a positive way: Read what this Christian pastor promises to do if his children are gay | Gay Star News

It is a long open letter, just go and take a look. It is no way a blanket acceptance of all religious actions, but it is a good response, one that illustrates how the mass christian right should act.

The rest of the links in dump format:

Boy had been on park swing two days when he was found dead, officials say – The Washington Post

That is a sad situation, and it looks like it will only get worse as the story develops.

Woman gives birth, fights off bees, starts wildfire in Northern California – LA Times

A woman fought off bees, started a fire and survived on apples — all after giving birth in a lonely stretch of Northern California forest, she told a Bay Area TV station.

The woman, Amber Pangborn, 35, of Oroville, made a hasty decision to take an unfamiliar shortcut while driving to her parents’ house after going into labor Thursday.

Instead, she got lost.

“I thought we were going to die,” she told KCRA-TV. “And there was no cell service, there was no … there was nothing.”

But Pangborn’s baby wouldn’t wait and she had no choice but to give birth alone. She named her daughter Marisa.

I think it is ironic that the woman’s name is Pangborn…which is the Norse/Celtic term for labor pains…in childbirth.

This will probably be big news today: Greece, Missing I.M.F. Payment, Is Called Effectively in Default – The New York Times

Along with this: The U.S. roars into World Cup final with fierce win over Germany | For The Win

And if you want proof of PLUBs Pro-Life-Until-Birth…especially for those GOP ultra conservatives in the South:

Addicting Info – One Simple Infographic Shows How Bloodthirsty The ‘Pro-Life’ South Really Is

state by state executions death penalty texas

 

 

This next story is amazing news, and at the same time…puts things in perspective:

c72a7501098a3990a6ba02e4cb9c7ea9Cuba Is The First Country To Eliminate Mother-Baby HIV And Syphilis Transmission

 

The World Health Organization on Tuesday declared Cuba the first country in the world to eliminate the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child.

The WHO said in a statement that an international delegation that it and the Pan American Health Organization sent to Cuba in March determined the country met the criteria for the designation. In 2013, only two children in Cuba were born with HIV and five with syphilis, the statement said.

“Cuba’s success demonstrates that universal access and universal health coverage are feasible and indeed are the key to success, even against challenges as daunting as HIV,” PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said in the statement.

Also, U.S. and Cuba agree to open embassies and restore diplomatic relations – LA Times

In other news: U.S. now home to more Spanish speakers than Spain: study – NY Daily News

Shit that should scare the hell out of the GOP.

Last few links for you:

58331bd183f2c64adacc94b5957f8f15An interesting read: The Moment I Knew I Had To Break Up With My Best Friend especially with all the back and forth and disagreements on Facebook…over gay marriage rights.

And last Sunday I posted a link to a story about Misty Copeland, the first African American lead in Swan Lake in ABT history…well, check it out:

Misty Copeland Promotion Part of A New Era at American Ballet Theatre – WSJ

Misty Copeland made history Tuesday, becoming the first African-American woman to reach the top rank of principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre.

Her promotion, announced by Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie, marks a significant milestone for diversity in ballet.

“So many young dancers of color stop dancing at an early age because they don’t think there will be a path for them,” Ms. Copeland said at a news conference following the announcement. “I hope this will change that.”

She had said this was a dream for her…to become a principal dancer.

Misty Copeland leaps past racial barrier in U.S. ballet | Reuters

Copeland, the author of a best-selling memoir, “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina” and the subject of a documentary film, “A Ballerina’s Tale,” has been a supporter of diversity in ballet. She had also been open about her goal to be lead dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT).

“My dream has been ABT since I was 13,” she said fighting back tears. “I’m excited to continue to grow as an artist and hopefully see more brown dancers come into the company in my lifetime.”

Copeland has already been credited for being an inspiration for younger dancers and for bringing in more diverse audiences to ballet. In her best-selling memoir, she recounted how weird it was for minorities just to buy tickets to the ballet.

Copeland has also appeared on the cover of Time magazine. Earlier this year she took on the lead role in the American Ballet Theatre production of “Swan Lake.”

“It’s been a long journey but it is just the beginning,” she added.

Misty Copeland Is Promoted to Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theater – The New York Times

Misty Copeland was fast becoming the most famous ballerina in the United States — making the cover of Time magazine, being profiled by “60 Minutes,” growing into a social media sensation and dancing ballet’s biggest roles on some of its grandest stages. But another role eluded her: She was still not a principal dancer.

Until Tuesday, when Ms. Copeland became the first African-American woman to be named a principal in the 75-year history of American Ballet Theater.

[…]

“I had moments of doubting myself, and wanting to quit, because I didn’t know that there would be a future for an African-American woman to make it to this level,” Ms. Copeland said at a news conference at the Metropolitan Opera House on Tuesday afternoon. “At the same time, it made me so hungry to push through, to carry the next generation. So it’s not me up here — and I’m constantly saying that — it’s everyone that came before me that got me to this position.”

da2111baf115692d55262ffae5ec9cb7Fittingly, the moment of her promotion was captured on video andshared on Instagram. “Misty, take a bow,” Kevin McKenzie, Ballet Theater’s artistic director, could be seen saying, before colleagues congratulated Ms. Copeland, who seemed to be fighting back tears. Her promotion was lauded on social media by, among others, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Prince, who had featured her in a video.

Over the past year, whenever Ms. Copeland, 32, danced leading roles with Ballet Theater, her performances became events, drawing large, diverse, enthusiastic crowds to cheer her on at the Metropolitan Opera House, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. After she starred in “Swan Lake” with Ballet Theater last week — becoming the first African-American to do so with the company at the Met — the crowd of autograph-seekers was so large that it had to be moved away from the cramped area outside the stage door.

Read more at the links, there are videos too…she is an amazing artist…and now Principal Dancer of ABT! I think it is about damn time!

Have a great Wednesday, and share your thoughts with us. What are you finding interesting today?


Friday Reads: Welcome to the Jungle

Justice Kennedy delivers opinion in same sex marriage

Justice Kennedy delivers opinion in same sex marriage

How very ironic that it is my day to post and it’s the very day that all my gay friends get access to the one institution that I tell every one I know and love to avoid like a plague.  You can ask my daughters. My first response is that you really don’t have to do this because you’re educated, can make your own life, and you don’t have to continually have your assets, energy, will to live, and dreams drained away from you over time.  Just hang out with him until the inevitable drift to hell becomes obvious.  Please, don’t do it.  It hasn’t worked so far. Just a few months ago, yet another long time, long married friend confessed to me that she–and others she knows–would have the kids and everything else but never do the husband thing again. That’s pretty much where I’m at with an institution designed to make you disappear into chattel v. meal ticket status.

No one can make you happy but you.  That’s basically a head trip. Marriage, however, absolutely gives another person the right to make you miserable in ways that you’d never even dreamed about when you’re lost to bonding hormones.  You can’t ever ever know how to properly enunciate “till death to us part” until you’ve been stuck at least a good 15 -20 years in the institution. Then you realize, it’s pretty much akin to a death row sentence where the things you really wanted to do with your life were left outside the doors.

Bill Murray showed up–seemingly drunk–on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show in May when the nice young gay couple looking to get married that were filmed in  that Hillary Clinton commercial were interviewed.  He pretty much expressed my views exactly.  I really hope you all make a better situation out of it than straight people generally do. Knock yourselves out!  I want nothing to do with any of it!  I frankly think that there’s hope for some change given the rigid expectations that come with an institution that’s generally been defined by really awful stereotypical sex roles and where it may not treated as a purely breeder institution.

So, with you knowing that I am a conscientious objector to the entire institution for any one, I give you the day that marriage equality happened in the USA.  To my knowledge, nobody’s church has crumbled to the ground and no one’s sanctified marriage has been taken away by any angry sky fairy.   This gives legal access to huge numbers of subsidies, tax benefits, and rights that were never available to gay couples before.  For that, I am very happy.  All the spoils that government provides the institution should be available to any one that wants to try to go the distance; especially if they do so with children.

The Supreme Court has given gay couples the right to be married every where in the United States and its territories.  Just think on that one given Scalia, Thomas, and the religious-politico harpies of the the-honeymooners-pow2Republican party.  Teenagers, now is the time to go to law school and become a divorce lawyer.  An entirely new and huge market segment has just opened up. Until then, welcome to the boom in wedding paraphernalia and hoopla.

“Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. He was joined in the ruling by the court’s liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

All four of the court’s most conservative members — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — dissented and each wrote a separate opinion, saying the court had usurped a power that belongs to the people.

That sums it up and it happened just about the way every one thought it would. Kennedy has always seemed open to the idea that civil marriage was a civil right.  I’m not sure how access to a legal institution basically is a power that belongs to the people, but that appears to be the argument by the court’s hyper religious sour grapes.

Here’s the analysis from SCOTUSBlog.

Putting itself back in the forefront of the gay rights revolution, the Supreme Court ruled by the narrowest margin on Friday that same-sex couples across the nation have an equal right to marry.  The five-to-four decision was based firmly on the Constitution, and thus could be undone only by a formal amendment to the basic document, or a change of mind by a future Supreme Court.  Neither is predictable.

Explicitly refusing to hold off deciding the issue to see how other parts of society may deal with the rising demand for gay acceptance and legitimacy, the Court declared that two clauses in the Fourteenth Amendment mean that a “fundamental right to marry” can no longer be denied because the partners are of the same sex.   It did not create a new right, but opened a long-existing one to those partners.

The ruling was the most important victory in a cultural revolution that began almost exactly forty-six years ago, when patrons of a gay bar — the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village — fought back against a police raid.  The events that began on the night of June 28, 1969, are widely known as the beginning of “gay pride” and an unapologetic campaign for equality.

The decision in Obergefell v. Hodges expressly overruled the Court’s only prior ruling directly on same-sex marriage — a one-line decision in the 1972 case of Baker v. Nelson, declaring that a claim to such marriage did not raise “a substantial question” for the Court to resolve.

Over the last two years, the right to marry has been extended rapidly and widely for gays and lesbians, ultimately expanding the places where they may marry legally to thirty-six states and Washington, D.C., through new laws, court rulings, or voters’ approval.  From a 2003 ruling by the highest state court in Massachusetts allowing same-sex marriage, the movement to gain marital rights had spread from coast to coast, with lawsuits in every state where the right had not yet been recognized.

The decision on Friday will open marriage legally in the remaining fourteen states, and will give new legal protection for those who got married under court rulings that actually could not be considered truly final until the Supreme Court itself had decided the constitutional question.  The decision nullified bans on same-sex marriage as well as bans on official recognition of such marriages performed outside a state.   Both prohibitions, it said, violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantees of due process and equal protection.

6993425243_70e116e576The dissenting justices evidently strongly dissented. Quelle Suprise!

Chief Justice John Roberts not only dissented from the Court’s ruling but also read a summary of his dissent from the bench.  It was the first time that he has done so in his ten Terms on the Court, and it signaled how strongly he disagreed with the Court’s ruling.  Roberts forcefully criticized the majority for side-stepping the democratic process and declaring that same-sex couples have the right to marry when, in his view, such a right “has no basis in the Constitution.”  The Court’s decision, he complained, “orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs.”  “Just who,” Roberts laments, “do we think we are?”  The other three Justices echoed Roberts’s sentiments, sometimes in even more strident terms:  Justice Antonin Scalia characterized the decision as a “judicial Putsch” and suggested that, before he signed on to an opinion like the majority’s, “I would hide my head in a bag.”

I always love that historical and religious marriage is always defined by modern terms.  They so overlook the traditional old man and harem mold.  It’s always amazing to me when people that should be smart and well educated just get so hung up in the frames of their bias that they conveniently overlook a huge amount of history that contradicts their halcyon view. Marriage has had many forms over history. The rich and powerful basically treat it as a protocol for more property, power, and strategic alliances. Beyond the breeding requirements, historically, it’s more of an economic and political arrangement with the exceptions of the old common law marriages of the masses.  Most of those were never even registered or recognized by the state. Here’s the typical ancient Greek marriage according to one scholar.

Closely endogamous marriages between uncles and nieces (and sometimes half-siblings), marriages in which women retained almost no property rights or independence and were regularly both physically segregated and violently abused, and a system in which marriage was designed explicitly to increase and safeguard the property of closely related men while encouraging the production of definitely legitimate male heirs to those men through tightly restricting access to their wives.

Scalia was unhinged, as usual.

“‘The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality,'” he quoted from the majority opinion before adding, “Really? Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie.”

So, while, I’m just a grumpy pessimist who thinks the entire institution and its subsidies/financial incentives should go away, the 2016 GOP candidates are on their barn burning fatwas.   Which gas bag should I quote first?  Hmmm…. let’s go with the Jebster of love.

“Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage. I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision. I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments. In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate.”

Prop8-gay-weddingAh, yes, HIS faith should triumph, every one else’s can go to hell, and if we don’t agree with his faith than were oppressing him.  His brain should explode from this basket of contradiction if it were functional enough to fire a synapse to set off the explosion.

Rubio actually tried the pragmatic dogmatic approach. I’ll be interested in seeing how that flies with the hate groups that now comprise the republican base.

I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman. People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

“While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law. As we look ahead, it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood.

The most interesting thing about this bit of dogma dancing is that Kennedy rooted the finding in the Constitution which solomonwivesmakes what Rubio said flagrantly out to lunch.  (Is it just me or does Rubio always say things that just are not grounded in the facts on the ground?)  Kennedy carefully crafted the decision in light of a constitutional right.

The first line of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, on the legality of same-sex marriage in the United States, is as breathtaking as it is legalistic.

The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.

There it is, the ruling that gay-marriage advocates and opponents have been waiting for since April when the Court took up the case—but really, for years long before that. There is now a constitutional right for people of the same sex to get married in the United States.

He even crafted the ruling’s logic to follow the precedent of similar constitutional rights.

Second, Kennedy writes, marriage is a distinctive institution: “It supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals.” Here, he points to the Court’s opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut, which affirmed the right of married couples to use birth control. “Same-sex couples have the same right as opposite-sex couples to enjoy intimate association.”

So, my gay friends and family, you have total access to the institution of marriage  in these United States.  Please make it a better arrangement for everyone!


Wednesday Reads: The Wo-Man In Us All

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert TICK'S APPARTMENT. Tick is demonstrating a gaudy arrangement of facial  products to a potential customer. Tick.  Wo-man is a unique range of specialty facial  products designed for the more…….heavy duty woman  in all of us.  Now this week…
From the film: Priscilla, Queen of the DesertTICK’S APPARTMENT.Tick is demonstrating a gaudy arrangement of facialproducts to a potential customer.Tick: Wo-man is a unique range of specialty facialproducts designed for the more…….heavy duty woman in all of us. Now this week…

 

Good Morning

Ah…and how are you this Wednesday, the first Wednesday in June?

That image up top is from a few scenes in the movie Priscilla, Queen of the desert. It is the special beauty products sold by the character “Tick” or “Mitzi” aka Hugo Weaving, you can see a quick clip of a scene here:

Raucous laughter from the crowd in the bar.

38. LATER IN THE BAR. All are very drunk and Mitzi is sharing her expertise on her facial products

MITZI: Now what could be more soothing than coming home after a hard day down the mine to the wo-man in us all. Now don’t send any money..

Why bring this image and scene up? Well…I don’t know. Priscilla is in my top 5 favorite shows? Maybe…

For some reason as I was organizing the links I have for you today, that image of Mitzi on the package of Wo-Man Beauty Products kept coming to my mind.

I think for many reasons, but especially for one of the lines in the film.  There is a point to all this…just follow me here.

The scene I am talking about is after this just watch this so it will set you up. The character Felicia has been beaten up by the idiot bigots in town… :

BOB: get off him you mongrel! He was joking OK? Now you leave the bugger alone.

FRANK: get out of there Bob!!!!!

BOB: Cut it out Frank.

FRANK: get the fuck out of the way, Bob, or you’ll be next

BOB: Frank!

FRANK: Get out of there!!!!!!!!!

BERNADETTE: Oh stop flexing your muscles you big fucking pile of budgie turd! I’m sure your mates would be much more impressed if you just went back to the pub and fucked a couple of pigs on the bar.

BOB: Bernadette please.

FRANK: bernadette? Well, I’ll be darned! The whole bloody circus is in town. I suppose you want a fuck too? Come on Bernadette. Come on and fuck me. That’s it. Come on. Come on and fuck me. Come on Fuck me.

Bernadette suddenly knees Frank in the balls and frank falls to the ground in agony.

BERNADETTE: There, now you’re fucked.

 

Now this is the part I am talking about…

105. HOTEL ROOM

TICK: You stupid bloody idiot. Drugs for Christ’s sake. Well three cheers for you. I hope you’re bloody well happy now. Stupid bloody fuck witt!

Adam begins to cry and Bernadette sidles over to him.

BERNADETTE: It’s funny. We all sit around mindlessly slagging off that vile stink-hole of a city. But in it’s strange way it looks after us. I don’t know if that ugly wall of suburbia has been put up to stop them getting in or us getting out. Come on. Don’t let it drag you down. Let it toughen you up. I can only fight because I’ve learnt to. being a man one day and a woman the next is not an easy thing to do.

That is what I am talking about. That last part that I emphasized for you. For Caitlyn Jenner, not only is this “not going to be an easy thing to do” she is doing it in front of an audience, and she has admitted that she is making money on her transition as well. This month Caitlyn has a cover on Vanity Fair, photography by Annie Leibovitz. You must have seen it by now.

556cd6644ae56e586e4588d8_caitlyn-jenner-bruce-jenner-july-2015-vf

 

It looks photo-shopped, like they airbrushed the fuckarama out of her…but damn, she looks good, fantastic! As TLO says, a bit like Jessica Lange.

Now for a few links on the issue, the article is supposed to be 22 pages long, the magazine hits newsstands in a couple of days.

556cc5f54ae56e586e4586a9_t-caitlyn-jenner-july-2015-vf-01Caitlyn Jenner on the Cover of Vanity Fair | Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair’s 22-page cover story features stunning Annie Leibovitz photos of Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce, along with revealing new details. Here’s a preview of the story.

Speaking publicly for the first time since completing gender transition, Caitlyn Jenner compares her emotional two-day photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz for the July cover of Vanity Fair to winning the gold medal for the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics. She tells Pulitzer Prize–winning V.F. contributing editor and author ofFriday Night Lights Buzz Bissinger, “That was a good day, but the last couple of days were better. . . . This shoot was about my life and who I am as a person. It’s not about the fanfare, it’s not about people cheering in the stadium, it’s not about going down the street and everybody giving you ‘that a boy, Bruce,’ pat on the back, O.K. This is about your life.”

Jenner tells Bissinger about how she suffered a panic attack the day after undergoing 10-hour facial-feminization surgery on March 15—a procedure she believed would take 5 hours. (Bissinger reveals that Jenner has not had genital surgery.) She recalls thinking, “What did I just do? What did I just do to myself?” A counselor from the Los Angeles Gender Center came to the house so Jenner could talk to a professional, and assured her that such reactions were often induced by pain medication, and that second-guessing was human and temporary.

bruce-jenner-vanity-fair-cover-as-caitlyn-02-600x600You can read the rest of the preview at the link. The rest of the pictures in the thread are from the photo shoot.

Caitlyn Jenner’s courage is bold, Annie Leibovitz’s portrait cliched – LA Times

Annie Leibovitz photograph of Caitlyn Jenner slated for the July cover of Vanity Fair — prime magazine real estate — was revealed Monday. The trumpeted publicity still is the latest and, in some ways, most dramatic step in the difficult gender transition of former Olympic decathlon gold medalist Bruce Jenner.

For wardrobe, Betty Grable’s ’40s bathing suit is crossed with Madonna’s white-satin ’90s bustier. Toss in the gold-ground setting from a Byzantine icon that Andy Warhol chose for his silk-screen version of Marilyn Monroe’s famous publicity still from the 1953 Hollywood potboiler “Niagara.”

Add a glamorous, cascading hairstyle lifted from somewhere between Rita Hayworth’s smoking Gilda and Bette Davis’ fearsome Margo Channing. And — voila! — a pinup for the age of Pinterest.

For all the advance buildup, the picture feels flat — a pedestrian celebrity pastiche of rather tired visual cliches. That’s too bad. Jenner’s courage in taking control of the public process of coming out as transgender is bold, and this will be the most widely seen initial image.

In recent years, the LGBT civil rights movement has been making huge strides. It has taken decades, but transgender men and women are now an essential part of the necessary equality mix. Jenner, by effectively stage-managing her transition, has largely avoided what could have been a cruel and ugly scenario.

Yet the Vanity Fair photograph seems a missed opportunity — a picture from the past rather than the present. Maybe that’s because all its conventional, glamour-girl signals weigh down the lively fluidity swirling at the center of gender identity.

caitlyn_jenner_vfWell, it is airbrushed like a picture that is on the cover of Vogue or Vanity Fair…but if I was waiting so many years to be the “real me” then I sure as hell would want to go all out and take advantage of what was available to me. Yeah, it is definitely a typical Annie Leibovitz photo shoot, but she does take a pretty picture.

Caitlyn Jenner Says Kris Jenner Split Was About Mistreatment, Not Gender Issues

Caitlyn Jenner opened up about her split from ex-wife Kris Jenner in her Vanity Fair profile, revealing their marriage fell apart because of mistreatment and not gender issues.

Caitlyn and Kris Jenner married in 1991 and were together 16 years before their home life morphed into a pop-culture phenomenon with the 2007 premiere of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” As Kris Jenner became more financially independent because of the show’s success, Caitlyn Jenner said, things changed.

“The relationship was different. I think in a lot of ways she became less tolerant of me. Then I’d get upset and the whole relationship kind of fizzled,” Caitlyn Jenner told Buzz Bissinger for Vanity Fair, per Us Weekly. “A lot of times she wasn’t very nice. People would see how I got mistreated. She controlled the money … all that kind of stuff.”

Adding: “Twenty percent was gender and 80 percent was the way I was treated.”

However, the famous momager told Bissinger that it was her ex’s social anxiety that took a toll: “He was married to me and he wasn’t who he wanted to be so he was miserable … All I was doing was working very hard for my family so that we could all have a wonderful future, and he was pissed off. At the end of my relationship with Bruce he definitely had a lot of social anxiety … That was one of the reasons we were in a struggle at the end. We fought a lot because we would go out together and before we got to the end of the block we were in a fight because he started saying, ‘When can we go home?’”

caitlyn-jenner-2-569x560Bissinger said Kris Jenner was “very open” during the Vanity Fair interview.

“She said, ‘I didn’t know … I had no idea about the extent of his gender issues, really the severity,'” he said during a “Today” show appearance Tuesday. “I’ve got to say, I think she’s right. I think Bruce downplayed it [as] ‘It was a phase of my life, it’s over.’ It wasn’t over, and I think Kris had a sense that whatever happened in the past I can fix it.”

20% gender? Okay. I can’t say anything without reading the entire piece.

Anyway, back to that quote from the film Priscilla, about being a man one day and a woman the next…, lets look at the reverse…I thought this was an interesting read:

These 25 Examples of Male Privilege from a Trans Guy’s Perspective Really Prove the Point — Everyday Feminism

Quite a bit changed for me over the first couple of years I started testosterone.

My health and mental wellbeing improved, my happy button grew over an inch in length, my natural musk became so fragrant that now I gross even myself out if I don’t shower pretty much every day (no deodorant can contain this beast).

So many awesome, big-deal body changes and mind improvements flourished.

Then there were the smaller, odder things: I finally gained an appreciation for peanut butter and chocolate, my favorite color went from blue to green, my most hated school subject suddenly became a favored pastime.

150602180646-caitlyn-jenner-profit-00002926-1024x576All sorts of things, from the big to the small, altered themselves.

I was indeed exactly the same person as I’d always been, just the 2.0 version.

In the long run, I don’t always know which things were an actual, physical reaction to the T, which were a result of getting out of a toxic environment, and which were simply my tastes naturally changing as I put on a few years.

But just as fascinating as it was to witness my mental and physical changes, it was just as equal of an adjustment to comprehend how other people were responding to me.

In short, I was being treated better by everyday America because people were reading me as a young, white, straight (?!) male. And I recognized many new privileges that came my way because of it.

jenner2n-4-webEmphasis not mine, btw….

For the record, this isn’t an article meant for transphobic people to share around and say, “See?! See?! Trans guys are totally reaping all the benefits of patriarchy, and WE MUST HATE THEM!”

If you think this is true, you’re not paying attention. And clearly haven’t educated yourself appropriately on trans issues. Or patriarchal issues. Or feminist issues. Or really any issue that has to do with inequality based upon this toxic culture of ours.

Rather, this article is simply meant to focus on male privilege at large, primarily owned by cis men who think they’re bestowing it only upon other cis men.

Just go and read the entire thing, I think that you will find some of the examples enlightening.

1. I’m Suddenly Funny

I’ve always been dry, sarcastic, and satirical with my humor.

In Ye Olden Times, I was considered unfunny at best – and a bitch at worst.

Now that I’m a short white guy, people automatically peg me for a comedian and laugh at the bulk of my mouth zings.

But nothing has changed. I’ve even recycled some of my old material that people didn’t find funny before just to make sure.

2. Yet I’m Still Taken (More) Seriously

I’m still amazed at the amount of people that now immediately shut their mouths the second I open mine.

Believe me, my ideas haven’t improved at all.

I’ve even tried to derail serious conversations with ludicrous stuff just to see what would happen – and I’d still be regarded highly.

556ce5ea4ae56e586e4589ca_caitlin-jenner-jessica-diehl-july-2015-vf3. I Rarely Get Interrupted

I used to be interrupted so often while presenting as a woman that I in turn started to talk over people as a form of conversational survival.

Unfortunately, because it became so ingrained in me, I still find myself doing it from time to time even though it’s rarely necessary anymore.

I think after you read that article, you need to share it….

Which brings us to this next link:

10 Words Every Girl Should Learn

“Stop interrupting me.” 

“I just said that.”

“No explanation needed.”

In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My brother, on the other hand, was considered the class comedian. We were very typically socialized as a “young lady” and a “boy being a boy.” Globally, childhood politeness lessons are gender asymmetrical. We socialize girls to take turns, listen more carefully, not curse and resist interrupting in ways we do not expect boys to. Put another way, we generally teach girls subservient habits and boys to exercise dominance.

I routinely find myself in mixed-gender environments (life) where men interrupt me. Now that I’ve decided to try and keep track, just out of curiosity, it’s quite amazing how often it happens. It’s particularly pronounced when other men are around.

caitlyn-jenner-4-558x560This is a good one. Finish it up at the link.

For a turn, lets look at tampons: Don’t Let Them See Your Tampons – The Atlantic

The key word is “discreet,” apparently.

“Tampax Compak has a smooth plastic applicator that is half the length of a usual Tampax Cardboard applicator, making it twice as discreet to carry.”

“New! Neat! Discreet!” proclaims an 80s-tastic ad for Playtex Portables.

“The original o.b. tampon … was revolutionary in the world of tampons and played to women’s need for discreet yet reliable protection.”

Tampax Compak is apparently so discreet, according to one old commercial, that a teacher mistakes it for a piece of candy, and asks his student to bring it to the front of the class when he catches her passing it to a friend.

You would think once he held it and felt the hard plastic applicator within the wrapper he would figure it out—tampons and candy bars don’t really have similar tactile sensations. But no. “I hope you brought enough for everyone,” he says, sternly.

“Enough for the girls,” the girl replies, laughing. All the boys in the class look around, confused. This is beyond their simple understanding.

caitlyn-jenner-5Hey, lets add this to the list of male privilege….not having to hide something that is a necessity of your sex, the shame of having to carry a tampon.

In some sense, they can be forgiven. It’s entirely possible these wide-eyed naïfs have never seen a tampon in the wild, given the sometimes painstaking efforts women make to conceal them (the same efforts that products like Tampax Compak are created to facilitate). You can just palm it, or there’s the ole tampon-up-the-sleeve trick. In sleeveless weather, one can tuck it under the bra strap, or in the waistband. Anywhere tuckable, really. Or just bring your whole purse to the bathroom.My friend Mallory, a project manager for a digital agency in Nashville, used some creative strategies to carry tampons at her old job. Her office was situated at the end of a long hallway, meaning she had to walk past everyone else to get to the bathroom.

“I would make sure I took care of things in the morning and then always have to remember to take my purse with me to lunch,” she says. “And then one day I was in a bind, I had already gotten up to get coffee and then get water and then I came back to my desk and I realized I hadn’t changed my tampon. It feels too awkward to get up from my desk in the middle of the day and walk out with my purse and then walk back in five minutes later. Then I look at my coffee mug, it was empty. So I stuck a tampon in an empty travel coffee mug and walked to the bathroom. And that was my plan.”

Nadine Ajaka / The Atlantic

Mallory also mentioned a friend of hers with an even sneakier approach—this person apparently hides tampons in the bathroom stalls at her office in the morning, and just hopes they’re still there when she returns.

Why go to all that trouble?

Secrecy is a key element of the modern period—the existence of tampons and pads in the first place allows women to “pass as non-bleeders,” as Sharra Vostral puts it in her book Under Wraps: A History of Menstrual Hygiene Technology.Barring any mishaps, the blood is only visible behind closed doors. Women’s public bathrooms have special trashcans in the stalls so feminine products can be disposed of neatly and privately.

There is more at the link, and if that isn’t enough for you:
The Tampon: A History – The Atlantic

And additional links for you:556cbb02378caf0d670e5f10_caitlyn-jenner-july-2015-vf-02A ‘wife bonus’ is just an allowance for a dependent spouse by another name | Jessica Valenti | Comment is free | The Guardian

 

My childhood in a cult is hard to imagine – but my survival is truly unbelievable | Jenna Tracy | Comment is free | The Guardian

 

“Boys will be boys” in U.S., but not in Asia | News & Research Communications | Oregon State University

Books About Women Don’t Win Major Fiction Prizes. How Can We Change That?

Let God be a ‘she’, says Church of England women’s group | World news | The Guardian

Associated Press Violates Its Own Transgender Guidelines In Caitlyn Jenner Story | Blog | Media Matters for America

Slave Ship Sank With Human Cargo On Board – Archaeology Magazine

caitlyn-jenner-boobs-060115North Carolina’s 72-Hour Forced Waiting Period Law Moves Forward

Petco’s History of Condoning Animal Cruelty and Suffering [Graphic Video]

Is This the Uninhabited Pacific Island Where Amelia Earhart Spent Her Last Moments? | TIME

Untangling FIFA’s Mysteries | RealClearPolitics

FIFA Scandal: The Complicated Science of Corruption – Scientific American

Banjoville has a FIFA Scandal connection: FIFA Scandal Will Test Banks’ Anti-Money-Laundering Liability | American Banker

The scheme laid out in the indictment is a complex web of ties between FIFA officials and sports-marketing companies, involving bribes paid in exchange for media rights to soccer tournaments.

The payoffs were allegedly made through envelopes of cash, checks, and, especially, a massive number of bank transfers.

The indictment names 26 banks, which range from exclusive Swiss private banks and Caribbean-chartered offshore entities to major American lenders like Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase, and even one community bank: the $7.6 billion-asset United Community Bank in Blairsville, Ga., where one of the defendants allegedly transferred cash to pay a swimming-pool contractor.

Here’s John Oliver’s Perfect Response to FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s Resignation | TIME

The Best Twitter Reactions To Sepp Blatter’s Resignation As FIFA President

This one is my favorite:

 

 

Y’all have a good day, and of course…this is an open thread.


Wednesday Reads: Getting Medieval on the GOP’s Ass!

015869e914b4837726f0e88eeec3b043e2fb7bdbadHey Y’all

I could not bear to write a post today. So just take this one for what it is, my overzealous attempt to find a few Medieval images for the thread that reminded me of the GOP idiots who are running or announcing that they are running for Prez…in 2016. I was looking and next thing I know it is four am…go figure.

So, I decided to post the illuminations, manuscripts,  marginalia, bestiary, cheeky monkeys and the like with my own various commentary. Most of which will call back to the clowns that Boston Boomer and Dakinikat have been talking about lately. The images below are found here:

J.J. Lopez Minkoff on Pinterest

and here:  Pinterest: Getting Medieval On Your Ass

 

So the captions within the slide show are just my observations. Click on the links above for the information on the links.

Just a few that are beyond the scope of the political references that are the theme of the post today.

 

e77aeaba2bf54f1ba7371253c08d3a33

This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with the marbled rye…“Seinfeld” The Rye (TV Episode 1996) – IMDb it airs tomorrow by the way on TBS.

 

The next image is also from a Seinfeld episode.

0105ca3661274ee4c63cf14e4a463e5109d1c68aa0

 

Little Jerry was born to cock fight! “Seinfeld” The Little Jerry (TV Episode 1997) – IMDb

little-jerry-seinfeld-540x409

The_little_jerry

Little Jerry is lean, mean, peckin’ machine!

 

 

811-little-jerry

Tamale!

Okay, now for the slide show…click on the first picture below, it should open up to the larger gallery slide show….if you cannot read the full caption under the image, use the down arrow on your keyboard, it should work to move the text so you can read the entire entry.

 

 

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: Everything Looks Better in Autochrome

19e09874dfe2caad2cf6e85dd11f34cbGood Afternoon

Still moving sick and slow,  and so this morning’s post is barely going to seem coherent.

While you read the links enjoy the images, which are actual color photographs from the beginning of the medium.

Particularly photos by Gustave Gain. I’ve got a bit of information on him below…

vintage everyday: 23 Rare and Stunning Color Portraits of French Women from the 1920s

French photographer Gustave Gain (1876-1945) was born in Cherbourg, France on June 27, 1876. As a chemist he keens on photography and related technical achievements. After the invention of the Autochrome by the Lumière brothers, Gustave is actively engaged in color photograph.

Gustave Gain loves beach. In the summer, he spent much time with his family on the coast of the English Channel in Brittany and Normandy, where he took a lot of stunning shots of his wife, Adeline and other women.

80f3fe5a288ebe215f777d4459375a81More links on Gain:

Gustave Gain (1876-1945) – Author – Resources from the BnF

Fonds Gustave Gain (FR-FRAD050 – FRAD050_00225)

And here is a Pinterest section on Autochromes – People on Pinterest | 558 Pins

So, on with the links for the post:

Now this is one image that I am sure you will agree, should look a lot better in autochrome, because the present day image is just too much. Beware, once you see it you can’t unsee it.  18th century sex toy found in ‘toilet of sword fighting school’ in Poland – Europe – World – The Independent

An old leather sex toy dating back to the 18th century was found by surprised archaeologists during a dig in Poland.

18th century sex toy found in  toilet of sword fighting school  in Poland   Europe   World   The Independent

The eight-inch dildo filled with rough bristles was discovered during an excavation that could have been the site of an old school of swordsmanship in the northern coastal city of Gdansk.

c1be0b3f3b02b9937a8a7137bfe47606A spokesman for the Regional Office for the Protection of Monuments in Gdansk, which found the penis-shaped object in the Podwalu district, said: “It was found in the latrine and dates back to the second half of the 18th century.”

“Whether that was by accident or on purpose is anyone’s guess though,” they added.

Wooden swords found on the site by the archaeologists led them to conclude that the place was once a school of swordsmanship.

Wow, that leaves me almost speechless…

 

Lili Von Shtupp: Would you like another schnitzengruben?

Bart: No, thank you. Fifteen is my limit on schnitzengruben.

 

Dr. Frankenstein: For the experiment to be a success, all of the body parts must be enlarged.

Inga: His veins, his feet, his hands, his organs vould all have to be increased in size.

Dr. Frankenstein: Precisely.

Inga: [her eyes get wide] He vould have an enormous schwanzschtücker.

Dr. Frankenstein: [ponders this a moment] That goes without saying.

Inga: Voof.

Igor: He’s going to be very popular.

 

That’ll do nicely.

Since you have seen something as horrid as that…how about this:

IMG_1123

 

A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook, oof, talk about polar opposites.

51aca41dd9fa7b92ab2f0737adb4ba69I guess I have given you some images to disgust your eyes for the day, how about some links to give your brain a going over:

Rand Paul smacks around Hilary Clinton at New Hampshire summit | Daily Mail Online

‘When Hillary Clinton travels there’s going to need to be two planes, one for her and her entourage, one for her baggage,’ Rand Paul smacks around Democratic rival at New Hampshire summit

59a4c48be796c8e7880afe5174e548f9At Republican Gathering, All Talk Is of Hillary Clinton (None of It Is Good) – NYTimes.com

GOP Presidential Contenders Go After Hillary Clinton In New Hampshire

Those Hillary links are especially vile.

Next up, immigrants. Only this time in the Mediterranean.

Up to 700 feared dead after migrant boat capsizes in Mediterranean – The Globe and Mail

The extreme danger faced by migrants crossing the Mediterranean in small, rickety vessels was highlighted earlier today when a boat carry as many as 700 capsized, resulting in possibly the largest mass drowning since the migrant crisis began several years ago.9ab4264e47cee5abd9501847e9617e3a

Initial reports said that only 28 of the 700 migrants had been rescued, though one report put the figure at 50. The disaster happened about 60 kilometres off the Libyan coast and about 200 kilometres south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, which lies roughly half way between Sicily and northwest Libya.

The emergency was declared at about midnight, local time, with more than a dozen Italian and Maltese ships taking part in the rescue, plus three helicopters. At midday Sunday, the UNHCR, 80c0ebdba658e1cfbc87ccfce438093cthe United Nations’ refugee agency, said the rescue was ongoing. The vessel is believed to have capsized when the migrants shifted to one side of the vessel when a merchant ship approached. “At the moment, we fear that this is a tragedy of really vast proportions, UNHCR spokeswoman Carlotta Sami told SkyTG24 television.

In connection with this latest sinking:

59e5890dbc856d55a32b961856ec629aPope Francis asks world to help Italy with migrants – Al Jazeera English

Pope Francis has called on the European Union and the international community to do more to help Italy cope with unprecedented numbers of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean during journeys on smugglers’ boats to flee war, persecution or poverty.

With his popularity and deep concern for social issues, the pope gave Italy a boost in its lobbying for Brussels and northern EU countries to provide more assistance.

fa90e3caac3debc99d3779593a44e5eb“I express my gratitude for the commitment that Italy is making to welcome the many migrants who, risking their life, ask to be taken in,” said Francis, flanked by Sergio Mattarella, the Italian president. “It’s evident that the proportions of the phenomenon require much broader involvement.”

44a777124ac84e08710fc542c5cf6051“We must never tire of appealing for a more extensive commitment on the European and international level,” the pope said.

On Saturday, towns in the southern island of Sicily were running out of places to shelter the migrants, including 11,000 arrivals in the past eight days. At least another 400 people are known to have drowned.

From to Pope to crazy ass Plubs, and their attacks on…everything.

This, read it in full: Why Gay Rights Trumps Women’s Rights – In These Times

Yet it’s not simply the fringe that’s the problem. I have a sneaking suspicion that while as a society we may use women’s sexuality to sell everything from cars to buffalo wings and beer, we really don’t like women actually engaging in sex on their own terms and having the ability to make certain to solely determine the results of those encounters.

ce1c947d5aa05c43e130b6ed281da4abFor me, having spent 40 or more years fighting along my brothers and sisters for full equality for the LGBT community, I’m ready for a bit more two-way solidarity.

I’m ready to have the NCAA, with their supposed commitment to Title IX, refuse to play in Indiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, North Dakota and Arizona because these states are openly hostile to women and our constitutional rights.

c464f21863bf030f695c472480417f8bI’m ready to have gay rights organizations, the media and corporations, such as Walmart, Google, NASCAR and Angie’s List, be as moved to action by Purvi Patel’s 20-year incarceration as they—and I—are about the refusal of a baker to make a wedding cake for same-sex celebrations.

And most of all I’m waiting for the kind of Act Up outrage that the abuse of women surely deserves.

And yes, I do feel the writer has a HUGE point. Read the entire thing. That of course does not mean the fight for LGBT is over, not by  a long shot:

ff9831de626ede0ce935a364d5c697a4Addicting Info – Pennsylvania High School Students Organize ‘Anti-Gay Day,’ Complete With ‘Lynch List’ (VIDEO)

That is so unacceptable, it is beyond comprehension, at least to me.

Jeffco board member apologizes for sharing link to “hate group” on Facebook | Chalkbeat

fbb78843378e73fbd97fe958e36b8c4dJefferson County school board member Julie Williams said late Friday that she was “sincerely sorry” and that she would remove a link on her personal Facebook page that she shared that encouraged families to keep their students home Friday and “away from perverse indoctrination” of the“homosexual-bisexual-transsexual agenda.”

“To be honest with you, I didn’t read the article,” Williams said.  “I just saw it and thought I was sharing information with parents.

12c3334cbd496f8d1247cd3ca05e8c87More Women in the news:

Indiana taxpayers ripped off in horrifying scheme that targeted poor pregnant women

Courts should strike down bans on abortion method in Kansas, Oklahoma – LA Times

Meanwhile in Europe:

8320026490bbc378a6f888e589d33ef3Anti-Semitism in the Soccer Stands – NYTimes.com

An ugly vein of soccer fan excess — the chanting of anti-Semitic slurs — recently disgraced a Dutch soccer game, prompting officials of the home team, Utrecht, to apologize for shocking outcries from the stands like “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas” and “Jews burn the best!”

It is scary.

Brunch dine and bash at Bocca: witnesses – NY Daily News

An angry diner viciously grabbed an Upper East Side restaurant manager by the neck and hurled him into an elderly woman after waiting an hour and a half for his omelette during a case of brunch rage Saturday afternoon.

5df910fa21b8ab993c81c21cfd738775Dammit, what the hell is wrong with people?

Can you believe it has been 20 years since the Bombing of Oaklahoma?

US Remembers Oklahoma City Bombing 20 Years Later

About 1,000 gathered at the former site of the Oklahoma City federal building to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the terrorist bombing there that killed 168 people and injured many others.

Former President Bill Clinton and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin were among those who spoke at Sunday’s service at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building once stood.

783238f1b3d490ebc3fcc50f5bdc032bThe service started with a 168-second moment of silence and concluded with survivors and tearful relatives of the dead reading the names of those killed in the April 19, 1995, attack, which remains the worst U.S. act of domestic terrorism.

A surprise admission out of Washington.Dc: FBI overstated forensic hair matches in nearly all trials before 2000 – The Washington Post

The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

7d58d3d17683cb7646f6607516eea021Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’slargest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.

8975cabf6403f912418fdf2a22de6406The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions.

 

And in Africa: ‘Mysterious’ disease kills 18 in Nigeria | World news | The Guardian

A “mysterious” disease that kills patients within 24 hours has claimed at least 18 lives in a south-eastern Nigerian town, the government said.

“Twenty-three people were affected and 18 deaths were recorded,” the Ondo state health commissioner, Dayo Adeyanju, said on Saturday.

11d21bfbdbe6dd2fba94358a63012eb2The government spokesman for the state, Kayode Akinmade, earlier gave a toll of 17 dead.

“Seventeen people have died of the mysterious disease since it broke out early this week in Ode-Irele town,” Akinmade told AFP by telephone.

The disease, whose symptoms include headache, weight loss, blurred vision and loss of consciousness, killed the victims within a day of falling ill, he said.

Laboratory tests have so far ruled out Ebola or any other virus, Akinmade said.

The World Health Organisation meanwhile said it had information on 14 cases with at least 12 dead.

ea64bf91e64cdfea6f698c0ad2057a1a“Common symptoms were sudden blurred vision, headache, loss of consciousness followed by death, occurring within 24 hours,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told AFP by email, adding that an investigation was ongoing.

How horrible.

I will end this with a tweet from Stephen King that I think sums just about the entire 2016 GOP primary list so far:

 

Oh yeah, that man just said a fucking mouthful!!!!!!!!!

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66736de94181363695cbff6d034caba4

 

 

This is an open thread, I am falling asleep while trying to write it. lol


Thursday Reads: A Mixed Bag of News and Views

Tea in the garden darker

Good Morning!!

I’m not seeing any particular theme in today’s news, but there is quite a bit of good stuff to read; so I’ll just toss out a few items that interested me.

Poor Benjamin Netanyahu. It seems all his efforts to use the Republican Congress to squash President Obama’s negotiations is one big giant fail. He managed to get reelected with the help of John Boehner et al., but that’s about it. First Obama said that Iran recognizing Israel wouldn’t be part of any deal, and then yesterday the White House mocked Bibi on Twitter.

The Washington Post: Why Obama says Iran does not have to recognize Israel as part of a nuclear deal.

President Obama, who doesn’t get along with Netanyahu, seemed to dismiss the Israeli premier’s latest demand in an interview this week. When asked by NPR’s Steve Inskeep whether Iranian recognition of the state of Israel would be included in any final deal, Obama deemed such a move a “fundamental misjudgment.” Here’s an excerpt of his remarks:

Well, let me say this — it’s not that the idea of Iran recognizing Israel is unreasonable. It’s completely reasonable and that’s U.S. policy….

There’s still going to be a whole host of differences between us and Iran, and one of the most profound ones is the vile, anti-Semitic statements that have often come out of the highest levels of the Iranian regime. But the notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons, in a verifiable deal, on Iran recognizing Israel is really akin to saying that we won’t sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms. And that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment.

The point here is one that diplomats would take for granted. When attempting to make a deal with your interlocutor, particularly one where there’s a considerable history of grievance and animosity, you can’t expect to win a total capitulation.

Duh. Poor Bibi, like today’s Republicans doesn’t comprehend the notion of compromise.

David Knowles at Bloomberg Politics on the Twitter gag: White House Trolls Netanyahu on Iran with Bomb Graphic.

The White House has employed a graphic first used by Benjamin Netanyahu to push its case for a nuclear deal with Iran that the Israeli Prime Minister opposes. On Wednesday, the president’s office posted a tweet that borrowed the graphic representation of a bomb that Netanyahu had held up during a speech to the United Nation’s General Assembly in which he warned of Iran’s growing nuclear capability.

The fuse on the original image was intact, and there was no sign of the metaphorical scissors or accompanying text that the White House saw fit to add.

Bibi bomb

Pretty funny.

And how about this op-ed from the Jerusalem Post: How Netanyahu is single-handedly hurting the US-Israel relationship.

Benjamin Netanyahu is singlehandedly hurting a relationship that has resulted in over $100 billion in military aid to Israel since 1962.  The Prime Minister is hurting a relationship with a country that constantly defends Israel at the UN; resulting in over 30 U.S. vetoes of resolutions critical to Israel. Because of Netanyahu, some are wondering if the U.S. should continually give $3.1 billion in annual aid and professors like Harvard’s Steven Strauss have written about ending this perpetual assistance. Sadly, the Prime Minister’s supporters in Israel and abroad don’t seem moved by the magnitude of what could be lost if Netanyahu’s feud with Obama “gets even worse.”  [….] 

even those whose job it was to protect Israel from the threats trumpeted by Netanyahu feel that the Prime Minister has overstepped the boundaries of rationality.

According to The Jerusalem Post recently, “Former Mossad chief slams Netanyahu for insistence that Iran recognize Israel’s right to exist.” Efraim Halevy also predicted a“dramatic” improvement in Israeli relations with the U.S. if Netanyahu were to be defeated in the latest elections.  Another former Mossad chief, Meir Dagan, called Netanyahu’s speech to Congress “bull—t” and views the Prime Minister’s policies as dangerous to Israel’s future. A third former Mossad chief, Tamir Pardo, stated that a nuclear Iran did notpost an existential threat to Israel; a viewpoint directly at odds with the hysteria (fueled by Netanyahu’s political ideology) surrounding Obama’s nuclear deal.

When three former Mossad chiefs are forced to speak out, an Israeli Prime Minister should tone down his paranoid rhetoric, not increase the tempo of his political exploits. Say what you will about Bibi’s critics, but former Mossad chiefs aren’t “leftist” and they know quite a bit about Israeli security threats. Their sober assessment of Netanyahu’s P. T. Barnum inspired diplomacy (regarding Israel’s U.S. relationship) is just cause to reassess the Prime Minister’s behavior; not champion his constant criticism of Obama’s nuclear deal.

The Economist writes that “RARELY have relations between an American president and an Israeli prime minister sunk so low.” The New Yorker published an article titled A Bad Day In American-Israeli Relations. Senator Dianne Feinstein recently stated she wished that Netanyahu “would contain himself” and I echoed the California Senator’s sentiment in a recent Congress Blog piece. Tzipi Livni has warned that Netanyahu is leading Israel into “crisis and diplomatic isolation.” Like Livni, Yair Lapid has lamented over the state of relations between the White House and Israel, stating, “This damage will take a long time to mend.” Everyone from former Mossad chiefs, U.S. Senators, Israeli politicians, and journalist have expressed dismay about the decline in a relationship that is essential to Israel’s future.

Valerie_Jarrett_insert_c_Washington_Blade_by_Michael_Key

From The Washington Post, here’s more interesting news from the White House: White House condemns therapy to ‘cure’ gay youth.

The statement was issued in response to a White House petition signed by more than 120,000 people after the suicide of 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen from Ohio whose suicide note condemning the society’s treatment of transgender people went viral after her death. In the note, she indicated she had been subjected to such therapies.

“The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights,” Alcorn wrote in her note.

The White House statement, issued by President Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, condemned “conversion” therapy, also known as “reparative” therapy, which she defined as any treatment aimed at changing a person’s sexual identity.

“The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm,” she wrote. “As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”

Shortly before releasing the White House response to the petition on conversion therapy, according to a White House official, Jarrett spoke with organizers of the petition. “She listened to their personal stories about why this was important to them and thanked them for their efforts,” said the official, who asked for anonymity in order to describe a private conversation.

Transgender Bathroom

And from The Advocate: The White House’s Executive Office Now Has Gender-Neutral Bathroom.

An all-gender restroom is for the first time available in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, confirms a White House spokesman. Alternatively, guests are invited to use whichever bathroom fits with their gender identity.

“The White House allows staff and guests to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity,” said White House spokesman Jeff Tiller, “which is in keeping with the administration’s existing legal guidance on this issue and consistent with what is required by the executive order that took effect today for federal contractors.”

Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, had mentioned the policy change in an op-ed today for The Advocate, saying the adminstration had “closely examined” its policies on “restroom access” to help “ensure that everyone who enters this building feels safe and fully respected.”

Gender neutral bathrooms, if single-stall, also often offer a safe space to differently abled users, parents with their children, and anyone else seeking privacy.

The push for gender-neutral restrooms in public buildings and workplaces has been one cause taken up by transgender rights activists — and one that’s found the most visible sucecss on university campuses — making Jarrett’s anouncement feel to many like a win for trans Americans.

“It is heartening to see that, even if legislators in some states are attacking the dignity and humanity of transgender and gender-nonconforming people, at least the White House is still moving in the direction of dignity and common sense,” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told The Advocate.

Within the past several years, the Obama administration has been increasingly affirming of trans citizens, with Vice President Joe Biden referring in 2012 to transgender discrimination as the “civil rights issue of our time” and President Obama using the word “transgender” (in addition to “lesbian” and “bisexual”) in this year’s State of the Union Address for the first time ever for any president. Federal employees have had the right to use the bathroom that accords with their gender identiy since 2011.

Around the country, heads of Republican homophobes must be exploding. Read the whole article for more on LGBT-positive actions the Obama administration has taken.

Xavier Morales

Xavier Morales

Some not so good news: the Secret Service’s credibility continues to slide downhill rapidly.

WaPo: Secret Service manager put on leave during probe of alleged assault.

The D.C. police’s sex-crimes unit and a government inspector general are investigating the female agent’s allegation that Xavier Morales, a manager in the security clearance division, made unwanted sexual advances and grabbed her on the night of March 31 after they returned to the office from a party at a downtown restaurant, according to two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the probe.

The woman told police and agency investigators that Morales, her boss, told her during the party at Capitol City Brewing Company that he was in love with her and would like to have sex with her, according to two people briefed on her statements. In the office later, she alleged, Morales tried to kiss her and grabbed her arms when she resisted, according to the two people briefed on her complaint. The woman alleged that the two scuffled until Morales relented.

Through an agency spokesman, Morales declined to comment, and he did not respond to requests for comment left on his personal phone.

Late last week, the Secret Service took the unusual step of placing Morales on indefinite administrative leave and adding his name to an internal “do not admit” list prohibiting entry to the office, a Secret Service official said. The Secret Service also took away his gun and badge after agency investigators launched a preliminary review of the complaint and conducted “subsequent corroborative interviews” Thursday afternoon, said agency spokesman Brian Leary.

More details at Heavy.com: Xavier Morales: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know.

Ugh. Maybe we need more female Secret Service agents to quell the “boys will be boys” atmosphere in the agency.

Christ-Christie-Bridgegate-Press-Conf-3-620x430

More trouble may be coming for NJ governor and possible GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie.

NJ.com reports:  Indictments may come very soon in Bridgegate, report says.

Indictments may be coming very soon in Bridgegate, the investigation into improper lane closures at the George Washington Bridge in late 2013 that has also led to questions about bribery and conflicts of interest possibly involving Gov. Christie and the Port Authority, sources told The New York Times.

New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman launched the probe a few months after three lanes were closed to the bridge in September 2013, causing gridlock in Fort Lee. The closures were initially attributed to a traffic study by a Port Authority executive, Bill Baroni, but emails unearthed during an investigation revealed that the lanes were shut down on the orders of a Christie aide, Bridget Anne Kelly, to a Port Authority official appointed by Christie, David Wildstein. Some believe the lane closures were retribution for the failure of Fort Lee’s mayor, Mark Sokolich, to endorse Christie’s bid for re-election at a time when the governor and likely Republican presidential candidate was trying to build bipartisan support.

The Times previously reported that Fishman’s office may bring indictments to the operators of the bridge under a little-used statute that makes it a crime to use the bridge for something other than its intended purpose. Fishman’s office declined to say what course the investigation is taking.

This could be very interesting.

I have more news links, but I’m running out of space and time. I’ll add them to the comments.

What stories are you following? I’d love to read your comments on this post and click on your links to your recommended reads for today.

 


Friday Reads: The Theocratic Tango

Good Morning!

bigotsRight wing religious extremists in the US continue their incredible movement to ignore our Constitution’s separation of church and state to push hate agendas throughout various states in the country.  The hate was front and center in Indiana as Governor Mike Pence signed a bill that basically labels bigotry as “religious freedom.”  We continue to see Jim Crow type laws established so bigot business owners can openly refuse service to GLBT Americans.

The Indiana bill is part of a wave of recent legislation seeking to guarantee “religious freedom” on the part of organizations or businesses who want to retain the right to discriminate against gay people. While the advocates usually posit a baker who doesn’t want to have to take business from a gay couple seeking a wedding cake as the person the law would protect, the laws are often written so vaguely that they would allow almost any kind of discrimination, so long as the discriminator justifies it on the basis of their religious beliefs.

The bill in Indiana doesn’t mention words like “gay” at all. It merely says that the government can’t “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.” And a key element of the conservative Christian argument about religious freedom is that “exercise” of religion isn’t just about rituals and prayer and worship; it extends to everything, including commerce.

The implications are therefore enormous. Forget about the baker — what if you own a restaurant and think homosexuality is an abomination, and therefore you want to hang a “No gays allowed” sign in your window? Under this law, you’d be able to. Or what if you’re a Muslim who owns an auto repair shop, and you want to refuse to serve women, because you say your religion tells you that women shouldn’t drive?

Those kinds of concerns are what led former governor Jan Brewer to veto a similar bill in Arizona, after she got all kinds of pressure from the state’s business community, which feared boycotts of the state. That same pressure has been building in Indiana, though it doesn’t seem to have moved Governor Pence.

The more news this Indiana law gets, the more likely it is that it will become an issue in the presidential primaries. And it fits neatly within the key divide among Republicans: on one side you could have business groups that are nervous about negative economic impacts and strategists who don’t want the GOP to be known as the party of discrimination, while on the other side you have candidates eager for the votes of religious right primary voters.

Pence signed the bill in private and against the outcry of many in the business community who are now pulling business from the state.  This is from the lunch counterIndianapolis Star. This includes a video of his statement and a presser with Q&A.

The nation’s latest legislative battle over religious freedom and gay rights came to a close Thursday when Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a controversial “religious freedom” bill into law.

His action followed two days of intense pressure from opponents — including technology company executives and convention organizers — who fear the measure could allow discrimination, particularly against gays and lesbians.

Pence and leaders of the Republican-controlled General Assembly called those concerns a “misunderstanding.”

“This bill is not about discrimination,” Pence said, “and if I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it.”

Senate Bill 101 prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion — unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it. It takes effect July 1.

Although the bill does not mention sexual orientation, opponents fear it could allow business owners to deny services to gays and lesbians for religious reasons.

Pence signed the bill during a private ceremony in his Statehouse office just before 10 a.m. Thursday. He was joined by supportive lawmakers, Franciscan monks and nuns, orthodox Jews, and some of the state’s most powerful lobbyists on conservative social issues.

The event was closed to the public and the press.

bigots2As I said, the response from businesses was swift and drastic.

The CEO of major U.S. corporation is following through on his warning to the State of Indiana to not pass a discriminatory “religious freedom” bill. 

Salesforce, founded in 1999, has grown into a $4 billion software corporation. It is a component of the prestigious S&P 500, and boasts 12,000 employees.

50-year old CEO, founder, and chairman Marc Benioff (photo), who started the company in San Francisco, and his wife Lynne Krilich, have given millions to children’s hospitals.

Recently, Salesforce came out strongly against Indiana’s discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“We have been an active member of the Indiana business community and a key job creator for more than a decade,” Scott McCorkle, CEO of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud division, wrote in a letter to Indiana lawmakers. “Our success is fundamentally based on our ability to attract and retain the best and most diverse pool of highly skilled employees, regardless of gender, religious affiliation, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”

“Without an open business environment that welcomes all residents and visitors,” he warned, “Salesforce will be unable to continue building on its tradition of marketing innovation in Indianapolis.”

Benioff has cancelled all business travel to Indiana. tumblr_m264nhl6rD1qguulqo1_500

Already, the gamer convention Gen Con and the Disciples of Christ church group had threatened to pull their conventions out of Indianapolis. Tech giant Salesforce said it would halt its plans to expand in the state, too.

The NCAA had hinted for days that the bill — which has the effect of allowing businesses to challenge local laws that forbid discriminating against customers based on sexual orientation in court — could damage the city’s reputation as a host of major sporting events.

Jason Collins, who last year became the first openly gay active NBA player, asked Pence in a tweet whether it is “going to be legal for someone to discriminate against me & others when we come” to the Final Four.

Still, Pence signed the bill in his office Thursday. In a statement explaining his decision, he pointed to President Barack Obama’s health care law — which triggered a lawsuit by Hobby Lobby to ensure the company wasn’t required to cover birth control through its employees’ health insurance plans.

Of course, the War on Women continues too with the Republican’s whackadoodle religious right taking the lead.  Arizona proves its once again the place where medical science can be damned when it gets in the way of fetus fever.

Doctors in Arizona might soon be required to tell women that abortions can be “reversed.” As the Washington Post reports, the Arizona legislature just passed a bill that is the latest in state-based attempts to ban women from using their own health insurance to pay for abortion. What makes this bill especially Orwellian is this attempt to force doctors to put the stamp of medical authority on the fantastical belief that women en masse are regretting their abortions hours after getting them and are miraculously getting them reversed through heroic interventions by Christian doctors.

I reported on this fantasy back in December, but to recap: Anti-choicers, backed by one particularly vocal doctor named George Delgado, are claiming that you can “reverse” medication abortions. A woman having a medication abortion takes two pill doses, one of mifepristone and then another of misoprostol. Proponents of “abortion reversal” would like you to believe it’s common for women to take the first dose and become wracked with guilt, desperate to save her pregnancy. To help these women, Delgado gives the woman progesterone shots, supposedly in an effort to reverse the effects of the mifepristone.

The problem is it’s almost certainly quackery. Mifepristone is not enough on its own to terminate a pregnancy some of the time, so you’re not “reversing” the abortion so much as interrupting the process before it’s complete. The progesterone shots reverse nothing—they are medically unnecessary theater, designed to portray anti-choicers as conquering heroes rescuing pregnant maidens from the clutches of abortionists. There’s no evidence of much demand from women to interrupt their abortions, and in the rare circumstances that someone is seized by regret, all she needs to do is contact her regular doctor about stopping the pills.

Forcing doctors to “inform” patients about an intervention that isn’t medically useful and isn’t really in demand serves no other purpose but to inject anti-choice histrionics into what is already a stressful situation for many patients. You should be able to get through an abortion without having to indulge a right-wing delusion.

I’ve had several friends travelling to Mississippi to defend the last standing abortion clinic there.  The Fetus Fanatics have physically attacked the building and are doing all kinds of crazy things there in the name of Operation “Rescue”.   So, here’s a little of that homegrown terrorism for you.

A couple nights ago, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the last standing abortion clinic in all of Mississippi, was attacked and vandalized by a masked intruder who destroyed security cameras and attempted to cut the power lines.

So I’ll just ice the cake with a little gratuitous Pat Robertson.  You remember him, he ran for the Republican presidential nomination and did pretty well back in the 1980s?  Ongoing investigations show that the co-pilot most likely downed that German Airliner in a murder/suicide action related to ongoing issues with depression. So, with that in mind … Here’s Patty!!!

Christian televangelist Pat Robertson suggested on Thursday that the co-pilot’s decision to crash Germanwings Flight 9525 could be explained if he was a Muslim.

French prosecutors concluded on Thursday that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had locked the pilot out of the cockpit, and then deliberately crashed the plane into the French Alps, killing 150 people.

“What happened to that plane that crashed into the French Alps?” Robertson asked on Thursday’s edition of The 700 Club. “Well, they’ve begun to find out. The pilot went to the lavatory and was soon locked out of the cockpit. He pounded on the door, begging to come in. But the door was not opened.”

“The co-pilot then takes the plane, pushes it into a dive and crashes it. The passengers are screaming as the plane went down. The pilot is yelling.”

“What a terrible tragedy,” the TV preacher continued. “Was that co-pilot a Muslim? Was he suicidal? What was it about him?”

Robertson later allowed for the possibility that Lubitz could have been “just psychotic.”

“What was it?” he wondered. “Why would he want to kill all those people?”

French prosecutor Brice Robin on Thursday described Lubitz as a 28-year-old German who was “not listed as a terrorist.”

Robin told reporters that he did not know Lubitz’s religion or ethnicity, but said, “I don’t think that’s where the answer to this lies.”

144769_600I’m still stunned by the murder fantasies of hyper-Christian and Duck seducer/murderer Daddy FuckBucks Robertson who seems to have replaced a smack addiction for talking religious smack.

Phil Robertson, the paterfamilias on A&E’sDuck Dynasty who also frequents the Christian speaking circuit, has stirred up controversy yet again by inventing a bizarre parable in which an atheist family is raped and murdered.

The conservative reality television star has a reputation for sounding off about controversial issues. In 2013, he came under fire for making homophobic remarks in an interview with GQ.This time, his focal point was atheists, whom—he asserted—have no moral compass because they do not believe in God. Here is the graphic story he told, per the audio from Right Wing Watch:

I’ll make a bet with you. Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude?’

Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if this [sic] was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.’

The moral of the tale? “If it happens to them, they probably would say, ‘Something about this just ain’t right,’” Robertson said.

Some fundamental Christians, like Robertson, believe that morality is dependent on the existence of God and by rejecting God, atheists also reject morals.

WTF is wrong with these people?!?!?!   Dude, nonsociopaths do not have to have imaginary beings threaten them with hell to do the right thing.  Doing the right thing is its own reward.  We can ask BB, but I’d say the guy has a serious case of projectionitis.

But, here’s a better question … why are we enacting their hateful, bigoted crap into our laws? And, why do these people get a public platform?

There’s way too many of them and way too few lions for my taste.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?