Tate Britain‘s new Pre-Raphaelites exhibition is a steam-punk triumph, a raw and rollicking resurrection of the attitudes, ideas and passions of our engineering, imperialist, industrialist, capitalist and novel-writing ancestors. The pistons are pounding, the steam is hissing, cigars are being lit and secret lives once more being concealed. The Victorians are back in town. This is as much a costume drama as a show, jam-packed with heroes and villains and innocent victims, holding up a lurid mirror to the age that built Britain.
Finally…we have a nippy morning here in Banjoland! I love the cold weather, it makes sleeping late in a nice cozy bed even more enjoyable.
There was another shooting late yesterday, this time in Portland, Oregon. Gunman Opens Fire in Oregon Shopping Mall. According to VOA, the gunman shot and killed two people before turning the gun on himself…no final number of wounded as I write this post. I will be sure to update you on this latest shooting as more information comes forward.
Okay…I’ve got plenty of politics for you this morning, if it is okay I will give them to you in link dump fashion. (Honestly, I am still a bit “gun-shy” with WordPress. It may take a few post before I feel comfortable writing a lot of words in these threads. I think it is a slight case of PSTD, from way back in college…when my final thesis went phffft, poof and gone…just as I was printing the thing out on the day it was due. Nightmare!)
Anyway, here are some of the political stories of the last 24 hours:
Soledad kicked some major ass yesterday. She is awesome at her job, which btw is being a journalist and a real savvy reporter. Soledad Grills Jeff Sessions: ‘You Hurt People Who Need Food’ with Food Stamp Cuts
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) on Tuesday faced tough questions from CNN host Soledad O’Brien for his plan to cut the food stamp program and “hurt people who need food,” including 20 percent of his own constituents in Alabama.
Speaking to Sessions in an interview on CNN’s Starting Point, O’Brien wondered if cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) should be on the table as part of the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations.
“Absolutely,” Sessions insisted. “This month was a record increase in food stamp participation at a time when unemployment is declining.”
“But there are people who say if you’re doing cuts, you invariably hurt people who need food,” O’Brien observed. “It’s 61 percent of households in your state have children who are recipients of the food program that they’re on.”
Sessions continued to spew his crap, I mean opinion:
“Soledad, this program has been growing out of control at an incredible rate and there are a lot of people receiving benefits who do not qualify and should not receive them,” Sessions remarked. “No child, no person who needs food should be denied that food. Nobody proposes that. We are talking about an amendment that I offered that would have reduced and closed a loophole of $8 billion when we would spend $800 billion was opposed by saying it would help — it would leave people hungry in America, but it would have only eliminated abuses in the program.”
The CNN host, however, pointed out that the Alabama Republican had voted twice to grow the program and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities had determined that “SNAP has one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public benefit program.”
“People highlight the program as actually not having a lot of fraud,” O’Brien explained. “Most people who are on it are not somehow working the system. They’re just hungry people.”
Snap for SNAP…Video at the link.
From ABC News, and what looks like the back of Barbara Walter’s head: EXCLUSIVE: President Obama Predicts GOP Will Cave on Taxes
You wanna bet?
These right-wing Republicans are like bulldogs locked down on a hunk of red meat…they do not give up. Just take a look at these headlines:
Yes, threats and promises of all out war to get what they want. Basturds!
In other GOP political news:
You didn’t think Michigan Republicans had an original idea:
I’ve got to share this political cartoon with you, it can’t wait until our Friday Nite Lite:
Yup, piss on…piss on!
This latest PPP poll shows that people are sick of the mutant asshole turtle, I mean…Mitch McConnell…he is highly unpopular according to Public Policy Polling
Mitch McConnell is the most unpopular Senator in the country. Only 37% of Kentucky voters approve of him to 55% disapprove. Both in terms of raw disapproval (55%) and net approval (-18) McConnell has the worst numbers of any of his peers, taking that mantle from Nebraska’s Ben Nelson.
McConnell is predictably very unpopular with Democrats (23/73). But his numbers are almost as bad with independents (33/58) and even with Republicans he’s well below the 70-80% approval range you would usually expect for a Senator within their own party (59/28).
If only this disgust toward McConnell would relate in votes against the man.
The reason McConnell does decently well in the head to head match ups despite his poor approval numbers is that even though a lot of Republicans dislike him, most of them would still vote for him in a general election before they would support a Democrat. This is the same phenomenon we saw in Florida and Pennsylvania this year where Bill Nelson and Bob Casey won by solid margins despite middling approval numbers because Democrats that weren’t thrilled with them still voted for them. And although independents don’t like McConnell they don’t like most of the Democrats either, and they support McConnell in every match up we tested.
The PPP article mentions Ashley Judd, go read the rest at the link. (I sure hope Judd does run for McConnell seat in 2014. But my hope is up there with a Hillary run in 2016….I think it is kind of a long shot they will run period.)
Speaking of Hillary, Nate Silver has this to say about Hillary 2016: Why Hillary Clinton Would Be Strong in 2016 (It’s Not Her Favorability Ratings)
Let’s start by stating the obvious: Hillary Rodham Clinton would be a formidable presidential candidate in 2016.
Mrs. Clinton’s credentials as secretary of state, as a United States senator and as a politically engaged first lady would be hard for any of her Democratic or Republican rivals to match. She would have little trouble raising funds or garnering support from the Democratic officials, and she might even come close to clearing the Democratic field of serious opposition.
Be sure to read the rest of Silver’s post.
With the release of The Hobbit later this week, J.R.R. Tolkien is figuring in lots of blog post, like this one from Medieval.net: Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics
Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics
By J. R. R. Tolkien
Introduction: In 1864 the Reverend Oswald Cockayne wrote of the Reverend Doctor Joseph Bosworth, Rawlinsonian Professor of Anglo-Saxon: ‘I have tried to lend to others the con-viction I have long entertained that Dr. Bosworth is not a man so diligent in his special walk as duly to read the books… which have been printed in our old English, or so-called Anglosaxon tongue. He may do very well for a professor.’ These words were inspired by dissatisfaction with Bosworth’s dictionary, and were doubtless unfair. If Bosworth were still alive, a modern Cockayne would probably accuse him of not reading the ‘literature’ of his subject, the books written about the books in the so-called Anglo-Saxon tongue. The original books are nearly buried.
Of none is this so true as of The Beowulf, as it used to be called. I have, of course, read The Beowulf, as have most (but not all) of those who have criticized it. But I fear that, unworthy successor and beneficiary of Joseph Bosworth, I have not been a man so diligent in my special walk as duly to read all that has been printed on, or touching on, this poem. But I have read enough, I think, to venture the opinion that Beowulfiana is, while rich in many departments, specially poor in one. It is poor in criticism, criticism that is directed to the understanding of a poem as a poem. It has been said of Beowulf itself that its weakness lies in placing the unimportant things at the centre and the important on the outer edges. This is one of the opinions that I wish specially to consider. I think it profoundly untrue of the poem, but strikingly true of the literature about it. Beowulf has been used as a quarry of fact and fancy far more assiduously than it has been studied as a work of art.
It is of Beowulf, then, as a poem that I wish to speak; and though it may seem presumption that I should try with swich a lewed mannes wit to pace the wisdom of an heep of lerned men, in this department there is at least more chance for the lewed man. But there is so much that might still be said even under these limitations that I shall confine myself mainly to the monsters—Grendel and the Dragon, as they appear in what seems to me the best and most authoritative general criticism in English—and to certain considerations of the structure and conduct of the poem that arise from this theme.
Hopefully one of those three links will work for you. Enjoy it!
And finally, a big hat-tip to Fiscal Liberal, who emailed me these links below…kewl as hell!
First link is to a blog that details the movement of sunlight and weather during the day, via Opentopia – World Sunlight Map
A world map showing current sunlight and cloud cover, as of Dec 12 2012 02:00 UTC.
This is the rectangular projection. You can also see a more realistic hemispherical projection.
Image provided by die.net.
Click the link to see the updated real/time image.
This next link is to a 19 minute video, OVERVIEW on Vimeo
On the 40th anniversary of the famous ‘Blue Marble’ photograph taken of Earth from space, Planetary Collective presents a short film documenting astronauts’ life-changing stories of seeing the Earth from the outside – a perspective-altering experience often described as the Overview Effect.
The Overview Effect, first described by author Frank White in 1987, is an experience that transforms astronauts’ perspective of the planet and mankind’s place upon it. Common features of the experience are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.
‘Overview’ is a short film that explores this phenomenon through interviews with five astronauts who have experienced the Overview Effect. The film also features insights from commentators and thinkers on the wider implications and importance of this understanding for society, and our relationship to the environment.
I’ve embedded the video below…however if you want to see a larger screen image, click on that Vimeo link up top. Hope you enjoy this one too.
That is all I got for you this morning, should be a good start, right? What are you all reading and thinking about today?
**Updates on Savita Halappanavar story below**
While looking for links for you this morning, I was appalled to read about this woman, Savita Halappanavar, in Ireland.
Savita Halappanavar, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died of septicaemia a week after presenting with back pain on 21 October at University hospital in Galway, where she was found to be miscarrying.
After the 31-year-old dentist was told that she was miscarrying, her husband reportedly said that she had asked for a medical termination a number of times over a three day period, during which she was in severe pain.
But he said these requests were denied because a foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told at one point: “This is a Catholic country.”
Medical staff removed the dead foetus days later after the heartbeat stopped but Halappanavar died of septicaemia on 28 October.
Ireland’s health service executive, which runs the country’s public health care system, has initiated an investigation into the incident, which is also being investigated by the hospital itself.
Reports of the death sparked an outcry on Wednesday night in Ireland, where abortion is illegal unless the life of the woman is in danger.
It is disgusting that something like this has happened…and what bothers me the most is that it isn’t the first time a woman has lost her life because of an archaic religious belief…and it won’t be the last…look at these righteous faces:
Members of pro-life groups demonstrating in Dublin last year as a private member’s bill proposing legalising abortion in Irelandwas debated. The bill did not succeed. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA
J.J. Lopez Minkoff (@MinkoffMinx) November 14, 2012
Apparently Republicans in the state of Ohio didn’t quite get the message from the election. Rather than back off unpopular efforts to restrict access to reproductive health care, they’ve gone all in, renewing efforts to strip family-planning dollars from Planned Parenthood and reviving the once-dead “heartbeat bill” which purports to ban abortions as soon as a heartbeat is detected.
Stephanie Kight, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, reacted to news of the renewed attacks on women’s reproductive health care in a statement. “Just days ago, in an election where the stakes for women’s health were higher and clearer than they have ever been, Ohio voted to protect a woman’s ability to make her own personal medical decisions without interference from politicians,” Kight said. “The announcement to focus on these dangerous bills now makes Ohio a ‘battleground state’ once again.”
Exit polling from the national election showed that, of those voters who thought health care was most important, the vast majority are not with politicians who want to interfere with women’s private medical decision-making. To reinforce that fact, President Obama won Ohio women by 11 percent.
Just in case you weren’t positive that the Bishops-fueled right-wing freakout about birth control has fuck-all to do with “pro-life,” Forced Birth protestors in Wisconsin are protesting in front of a Family Planning Clinic that does not provide abortion services. Via Robin Marty at RH Reality Check:
Wausau, Wisconsin, doesn’t have a clinic that provides abortion services. But that doesn’t mean anti-choice protesters in the community are willing to bypass the tradition that is the “40 Days for Life” vigil, a twice-yearly event where religious advocates try to pray to “end abortion.”
No, in Wausau, they simply took their protest to the sidewalk in front of Family Planning Services. Those services? Birth control, WIC distribution, STI screenings.
Oh, and basic health care, too.
It’s 4:00 in the afternoon, and rush hour traffic has slowed so the looky loos can snap a picture of the disturbance with their cell phone cameras. The anxious girl hides her face, painfully aware someone passing by may recognize her, but she bravely trudges past the protesters. Some merely stare at her accusingly. Others hiss words meant to shame her. She wants to run away, but she has no money, and there is nowhere else she can go for help. Hers is a torment that cannot be prayed away. Her eyes fill with tears, but she refuses to let them fall. She keeps her gaze on the entrance; five more steps, three, two. One more step and a push of the door and this nightmare will be over. Inside she will find medical help. She will find compassion without judgment. After weeks of suffering, of tossing and turning and worrying about what she was going to do, the teen is about to find someone who will help her end her unwanted……… yeast infection.
No, I did not get that diagnosis wrong. Family Planning Services in Wausau does not offer abortion services. In fact, they are forbidden by the terms of their state grants from even referring a woman to an abortion provider. (Remind me to do a column about that little piece of injustice sometime.) What FPHS does, is help pregnant women of low to moderate means to have healthy babies. They educate young people about contraception and STDs. They help women (and men) avoid pregnancies that would end in abortions. Their WIC program gets fresh vegetables and fruits from local farmers into the diets of mothers and their young children. You would think the Catholics, with their history of community charity, would be holding fundraising Bingo nights and bake sales to help them. But nope, they have opted to go the pageant route instead.
As Cienna Madrid at The Stranger aptly put it:
Their overarching goal isn’t just to make abortion illegal, it’s to shame and punish modern women for having sex lives, for caring about their health, for being anything other than subservient, walking chattels whose uteri are wallpapered with Bible passages.
The teacher and his defender have the gall to call this an “X” because they think everyone is just as ignorant as they are.
In a case that has been litigated since 2008 (and is still ongoing), John Freshwater, a teacher who previously lived and worked in Mount Vernon, Ohio, insists that his First Amendment rights and “academic freedom” were violated when he was fired by the school district for teaching Creationism in class and burning a cross into the arms of students using a Tesla coil.
From the report that lead to his firing:
Mr. Freshwater was insubordinate in failing to remove all of the religious materials from his classroom as ordered by his superior, Principal White.
- Mr. Freshwater did burn a cross onto the complaining family’s child’s arm using an electrostatic device not designed for that purpose
- The Ten Commandments together with other posters of a religious nature were posted in Mr. Freshwater’s classroom. Most were removed after Mr. White’s letter of April 14, 2008, but at least one poster remained which Mr. Freshwater was again instructed to remove on April 16, 2008, but did not do so.
- Several Bibles were kept in Mr. Freshwater’s classroom including his personal Bible on his desk and one he checked out of the library placed on the lab table near the desk. Other Bibles that had been maintained in the room were removed by the time the investigators viewed Mr. Freshwater’s room.
- Mr. Freshwater engaged in teaching of a religious nature, teaching creationism and related theories and calling evolution into question. He had other materials in his classroom that could be used for that purpose.
- Mr. Freshwater engaged in prayer during FCA meetings in violation of the District’s legal obligations for monitoring such organizations.
- Mr. Freshwater participated and possibly lead a prayer during an FCA meeting that concerned a guest speaker’s health. There is no conclusion as to whether such prayer was a “healing” prayer.
- Mr. Freshwater gave an extra credit assignment for students to view the movie “Expelled” which does involve intelligent design.
It’s important to note that Freshwater did not work at a religious institute but a regular public school (not that branding would be acceptable at ANY kind of school). Freshwater knows, as does every Creationist teacher, that the courts have struck down (over and over again), in the harshest possible terms, any attempt to legally teach Creationism, Intelligent Design or any other phony variation of anti-evolution claptrap in public schools. It’s a direct violation of the Separation Clause in the First Amendment. Freshwater did not care. How do we know Freshwater knew he was breaking the law? Like any common criminal, he tried to hide the evidence:
There is a significant amount of evidence that Mr. Freshwater’s teachings regarding subjects related to evolution were not consistent with the curriculum of the Mount Vernon City Schools and State standards. Contrary to Mr. Freshwater’s statement, the evidence indicates he has been teaching creationism and intelligent design and has been teaching the unreliability of carbon dating in support of opposition to evolution. He has passed out materials to students for the past several years challenging evolution and then collecting the materials back from the students. He has done so in spite of specific directives not to teach creationism or intelligent design. He has taught students to use the code word “Here” to challenge scientific process that is considered settled by the high school science teachers.
However, it is equally clear that Freshwater is hoping to be a new test case. His claim of “academic freedom” is simply a new tactic to force religion into the classroom.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco launched a Global Turnaway Study this year to explore the potential social and economic implications of denying women access to legal abortion. And after documenting the experiences of the women who seek to terminate a pregnancy but are turned away from abortion services, the UCSF researchers found that those women were three times more likelythan the women who successfully obtained abortions to fall below the poverty line within the subsequent two years.
The Gawker affiliate i09 summarizes some of the researchers’ preliminary findings, and notes that denying women access to abortion puts a strain on struggling women as well as federal assistance programs. Although the women who participated in the Turnaway Study were in comparable economic positions when they sought abortions, the woman who were unable to terminate their unwanted pregnancies were more likely to have slipped into poverty just a year later:
A year later, [the women who were denied an abortion] were far more likely to be on public assistance — 76 percent of the turnaways were on the dole, as opposed to 44 percent of those who got abortions. 67 percent of the turnaways were below the poverty line (vs. 56 percent of the women who got abortions), and only 48 percent had a full time job (vs. 58 percent of the women who got abortions).
When a woman is denied the abortion she wants, she is statistically more likely to wind up unemployed, on public assistance, and below the poverty line. Another conclusion we could draw is that denying women abortions places more burden on the state because of these new mothers’ increased reliance on public assistance programs.
The UCSF researchers also told i09 that their study did not find any statistical correlation between abortion and drug use, or abortion and clinical depression — in other words, women who successfully obtained abortions did not experience any negative emotional consequences stemming from their decision to end a pregnancy, including an uptick in drug abuse. In fact, the researchers explained, “One week after seeking abortion, 97 percent of women who obtained an abortion felt that abortion was the right decision; 65 percent of turnaways still wished they had been able to obtain an abortion.”
In fact, women often seek abortions for the very same reasons they seek access to affordable contraception: because they cannot currently afford to have another child. Women typically want to avoid unintended pregnancies in cases when having a baby would compromise their economic autonomy and prevent them from finishing school, keeping a job, or supporting their current families.
After nearly 10 years of follow-up of study participants who experienced migraines and who had brain lesions identified via magnetic resonance imaging, women with migraines had a higher prevalence and greater increase of deep white matter hyperintensities (brain lesions) than women without migraines, although the number, frequency, and severity of migraines were not associated with lesion progression, according to a study appearing in the November 14 issue of JAMA.
The Archduke Joseph diamond, sold at Christie’s in Geneva. Photograph: Laurent Gillieron/AP
A huge, internally flawless diamond from India’s fabled Golconda mines was sold at auction in Geneva on Tuesday night for a record 20.35m Swiss francs (£13.5m), Christie’s said.
The rare, colourless stone – weighing 76 carats and roughly the size of a large strawberry – once belonged to Archduke Joseph August of Austria (1872-1962), a prince of the Hungarian line of the Habsburgs.
It fetched more than double the price paid for it at auction almost two decades ago.
“It is a world record price per carat for a colourless diamond,” François Curiel, director of the international jewellery department at Christie’s, said.
(Chuck Todd: Republicans will give Democrats all the revenue they want, if they just agree to raise the retirement age. Trust them.)
I don’t know about anyone else, but as someone who has actually worked at one of those jobs where you take a shower at the end of the work day and not before you go in, I’m sick to death of watching these overpaid television pundits and their counterparts in the Congress, nonchalantly discussing raising the retirement age. It may not matter much to them, but there are real economic hardships involved when you force the average wage earner out there to continue to work until they drop dead if the retirement age is raised any higher than it already is now.
If our beltway Villagers and politicians really believe that it’s no big deal to raise the retirement age for the rest of America, how about we ask them to walk a mile in our shoes? I wonder if any of them would decide that maybe it’s not such a great idea to be doing physical labor well into your late sixties if they were the ones actually having to do those jobs?
I wonder if Chuck Todd would be a little more worried about when he might be able to retire if he were say, some migrant worker picking berries and in need of daily visits to the chiropractor he can’t afford because his back is screaming all day from being bent over?
A popular New Year’s celebration that draws thousands of tourists to the tiny North Carolina town of Brasstown for a party that ends in a “possum drop” may no longer be held there, a judge ruled.The 18-year tradition in the town of 240 consisted of lowering the animal to the ground at midnight in a see-through cage decked out in Christmas garlands, like the ball that is dropped in New York’s Times Square — except the possum is alive.
Believe me, these critters are not in danger, this is a big artist community…there is no way these pacifist, Birkenstock wearing, liberal artist will hurt the possums. Let them have their fun!
So, that is all…have a wonderful day!
**Updates to the #Savita story:
|Telegraph.co.uk - 6 minutes ago||
|The Guardian - 2 hours ago||
|Huffington Post UK (blog) - 35 minutes ago||
|Irish Independent - 1 hour ago||
|The Guardian - 4 hours ago||
|Irish Times - 2 hours ago||
|Irish Times (blog) - 3 hours ago||
|Newstalk 106-108 fm - 51 minutes ago||
|Irish Times - 3 hours ago||
|The Nationalist - 2 hours ago||
I’ve no clue what is going on in the world, it feels like I have checked out but still stuck in the same place. It is like I can see things going on around me, but I just don’t give a damn about it.
So for this morning’s thread, I have some links that I have saved along the way. Some of them are from a few weeks ago…anyway…
This first article is over my head…my son has tried to explain dark matter to me and I still don’t get it. Mathematicians offer unified theory of dark matter, dark energy, altering Einstein field equations
A pair of mathematicians — one from Indiana University and the other from Sichuan University in China — have proposed a unified theory of dark matter and dark energy that alters Einstein’s equations describing the fundamentals of gravity.
I will just let you read that article on your own.
Now for something I can comprehend, Pre-Raphaelites as costume drama: Victorians in all their lurid glory
These style of paintings have always fascinated me, maybe it is because there is something medieval about them?
The Pre-Raphaelites were painting as Karl Marx was writing his revolutionary works in the Reading Room of the British Museum. Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto in 1848, the same year the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood formed. The young artists who joined this radical band saw through the hypocrisy of the factory owners who bought their paintings. In Isabella, painted in 1848-49, John Everett Millais illustrates a medieval Italian tale about the daughter of a rich merchant family who loved a penniless young clerk. Isabella’s brothers murder her unsuitable lover. Millais suggests these brothers have incestuous designs on their sister: one of them points a white-stockinged leg phallically at Isabella. The foregrounded brothers are creepy in the extreme, but the most villainous faces in Millais’ painting belong to a row of respectable bourgeois types who share their dinner table: they radiate the cold propriety of Poor Law guardians. This is a painting about secrets and lies, and Millais makes it a psychodrama full of resonance with the Victorian period.
Beautiful. Read the entire article at the link above, they have more visual images too…real nice ones.
Now, I usually love to read articles from HNN History News Network, but this has to be one subject of study I would never have thought people would take seriously. Just the title for you, The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies: The Best is Yet to Come | History News Network
Damn, I feel violated, like I need to take a shower, ugh…Ayn Rand Studies? Now that is fucked up.
Here are a couple of articles that are very important, they discuss the War on Women…well, take a look for yourself. And yes, I am quoting the whole thing.
As the most extreme anti-choice advocates push to force all politicians to accept “no exceptions” as the default position when it comes to opposing abortions, it’s stories like these that serve as a reminder of how an all out ban would effect real people.
Especially young girls.
The girl is not yet in her teens. Police say her mother’s boyfriend, who had a history of violent crime, raped her. He was ultimately shot dead by deputies trying to arrest him. She was impregnated. She was 11.
It bears repeating. Eleven.
Forget for a moment a woman’s very personal right to choose, the spark for recent demonstrations at both the Republican and Democratic conventions. Here is a question for those who seem to know what’s best for the rest of the world: Can reasonable people really believe there should be no choice, under any circumstance, even in what happened to this child?
It’s a yes or no question that should be asked of every politician. Do you believe an 11 year old pregnant rape victim should be forced to give birth if she doesn’t want to? Because this is what no exceptions would really look like
Ugh…I thought about posting that link on the Banjoville Topix form, just to see what kind of reaction it gets, but I am afraid to read the comments. I mean, I am already depressed about things as it is. But hey, at least there is some “good” news out of Idaho: Idaho Abortion Ruling States Pregnant Women Can’t Be Prosecuted For Having Abortions
An Idaho law that bans the use of medication to induce abortion cannot be used to prosecute a woman who took the pills to abort her pregnancy, a U.S. appeals court decided on Tuesday.
Bannock County prosecutors brought a case against Jennie Linn McCormack in 2011 after she used medication that she obtained online to induce her own abortion. McCormack, a single mother of three, claims that she could not find a licensed abortion provider in Southeastern Idaho, so she had to violate a state law that requires abortions to be performed at a hospital or medical clinic.
An Idaho federal judge dismissed the charges against McCormack in September 2011 on the grounds that the law cannot be enforced. McCormack then challenged the law itself, arguing that it imposes an undue burden on women’s access to abortion in Idaho.
I’ve got two more links for you, and I have to admit, they are a bit on the selfish side. One is about a medieval woman…The Curious Case of Mary Felton
…the interesting life of a 14th century English lady: Mary Felton was at one point or another during her complex life was married to Edmund Hemgrave, Thomas Breton, Geoffrey Worsley, and John Curson, consectively, though not always exclusively; she was also ‘sometime’ widow, mistress, divorcee, nun, apostate, and mother.
Mary (born circa 1356) was the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Felton, who was Knight of the Garter and a high ranking officer in Edward III’s armies in France. By the time she was six years old, Mary was betrothed to Edmund Hemgrave, but he died in 1374, leaving Mary as a child widow, but also with some property.
However, Mary did not stay single for long – within a few months she had clandestinely married Thomas Breton. However, this marriage does not seem to have lasted, as in 1376 she had married Geoffrey Worsley in a parish church. Meanwhile, Thomas Breton died in 1380 while fighting on the continent.
The marriage with Geoffrey did not last either, as in 1381 the Archdeacon of Chester granted Mary a divorce, and the the 25-year-old lady entered a Franciscan nunnery at Aldgate, London where she was strictly cloistered.
Over the next few years Geoffrey Worsley remarried, and Thomas Felton died. Although Mary was Thomas’ only heir, as a strictly cloistered nun who had taken a vow of poverty, she was unable to own property. Her mother, Joan, set up several trustees to manage the properties of Mary, with Makowski adding that Joan was eager to maximize the profits from these various estates.
In 1385 the situation changed dramatically, as Mary left Aldgate and made a bold bid to reclaim her secular status. When the crown issued an arrest warrant against Mary for being a runaway religious, she responded by claiming that she was not an apostate because never freely joined. Mary Felton stated that she was forced to divorce Geoffrey and enter the nunnery. She also complained that she was not receiving any profits from the properties being run by her mother.
This case would spend several years in the episcopal courts, and Mary received support from some relatives of Geoffrey Worsley – Geoffrey had died in 1385 but had an infant daughter who would have inherited his estate. By Mary making a claim that she had never truly divorced Geoffrey, this daughter would be declared illegitimate, which meant that Geoffrey’s other relatives would get his inheritance.
In 1392 the episcopal court decided the Mary was indeed a secular person. This allowed her to marry for a fourth time – now with John Curson, who happened to be one of the trustees appointment her mother. Mary never did get control of her properties herself – she died in 1398 and her mother outlived her. When Joan died a few years later, the property of Thomas Felton went to Mary and John’s legitimate son, also named John.
Elizabeth Makowski, a professor at Texas State University, found this to be a very interesting case of matrimonial intrigues and legal entanglements, showing how an individual used canon law to regain her secular status.
And the other link is about this band I loved back in the day, Pet Shop Boys: ‘We don’t think about the old stuff’
After 30 years in the limelight, the Pet Shop Boys are tackling an unusual subject for a pop album – ageing and death.
The Pet Shop Boys are sprawled at opposite ends of a sofa in a perfectly white room on the top floor of their record company’s London headquarters.
Neil Tennant, professor of pop and deadpan frontman is on the right, alert and well-groomed.
His partner in crime for the last 30 years, Chris Lowe, is on the left, slouched and sardonic in jeans and a sports T-shirt.
They are here, ostensibly, to discuss their 11th studio album, Elysium.
But, as is often the case with the polymath pop group, the conversation becomes a survey of the entire music scene.
Take a look at that article, you may be surprised at just how active the Pet Shop Boys are…I know I was. There are many favorite tunes I could bring you now from these “boys” but here is one that sort of “goes” with the medieval theme of today’s post.
So, what’s going on with your sins lately?
The last few days have been some of the most difficult days for me in years! And that says a lot because in my life I have had many times where sadness and despair was something I felt day after day. Miscarriages, ectopic pregnancy, pre-term labor, months of hospitalized bed rest, September 11th World Trade Center, cheating husband, abandonment, sick kids, bankruptcy, foreclosure, breast lumpectomies, per-cancerous ovarian tumors, toxic liver, epilepsy, migraines…and yet here I am feeling sick and disgusted over the words of a politician running for the US Senate.
I owe these past few gut wrenching, painful days to the unrelenting memories of my own “legitimate” rape 27 years ago. All thanks to an asshole Republican named Todd Akin…who is not going anywhere, not stepping down, and asking for support via Twitter:
I apologized but the liberal media is trying to make me drop out. Please stand w/ me tonight by signing my petition at akin.org/still-standing—
Todd Akin (@ToddAkin) August 22, 2012
Did you catch that petition page title? Still Standing! I had to answer him back:
J.J. Lopez Minkoff (@MinkoffMinx) August 22, 2012
(Unfortunate that a tweet is 140 characters…I could have added more hateful words in reply to that misogynist asshole.)
The violent feelings I have towards this idiot (and that is putting it nicely) must be from internalizing the trauma I experienced 27 years ago. My rage has built up into something that actually frightens me. I could go Thelma and Louise on Akins and all the other assholes who push this anti-woman platform and deny basic human rights to anyone with a vagina.
I cannot fully put into words the pain that Todd Akins has caused me. His comments have made me relive my attack in vivid memory.
I was a few days shy of sixteen, tied and gagged…my body must have gone into spastic tube mode, because I did not get pregnant…but then again…the rapist at least took the time to take the tampon out of my vagina before he assaulted me…the first time…his second assault was one that could never result in a pregnancy. He left me there in the bathroom alone. I laid there bleeding from both ends, my hands tied behind my back, my bra stuffed into my mouth, and all I could think of was how cold the bathroom tile floor was, and how hard the tub felt against the top of my head. I was able to untie myself, found my panties and put on a kotex pad, got dressed and drove home alone.
I put it all away…somewhere back deep and did not even mention it to my husband or my parents until I was in my early twenties. My mental health has been damaged because of this rape, my personality reflects the pain that I survived that day. But my story is one of millions of rape survivors…and we all are connected by a violent act that binds us to one another.
To be unsympathetic towards victims of rape is beyond comprehension to me, and that is just what assholes like Akin are doing when they pronounce such idiotic theories and “pro-life” sentiments. There is no human compassion within the GOP, and it is disgusting. Anyone who will defend and/or support the Republican Party are just as monstrous as those anti-woman political beast who proclaim their war on women with pride.
I do not know if this first link has been mentioned here on the blog. I could not even bring myself to read anything online until I wrote this post last night. I want to share the open letter written by Eve Ensler with you this morning. I feel I must quote the whole thing, because it is so personal to me, and expresses my emotions better than I could.
Dear Todd Akin,
I am writing to you tonight about rape. It is 2 AM and I am unable to sleep here in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am in Bukavu at the City of Joy to serve and support and work with hundreds, thousands of women who have been raped and violated and tortured from this ceaseless war for minerals fought on their bodies.
I am in Congo but I could be writing this from anywhere in the United States, South Africa, Britain, Egypt, India, Philippines, most college campuses in America. I could be writing from any city or town or village where over half a billion women on the planet are raped in their lifetime.
Mr. Akin, your words have kept me awake.
As a rape survivor, I am reeling from your recent statement where you said you misspoke when you said that women do not get pregnant from legitimate rape, and that you were speaking “off the cuff.”
Clarification. You didn’t make some glib throw away remark. You made a very specific ignorant statement clearly indicating you have no awareness of what it means to be raped. And not a casual statement, but one made with the intention of legislating the experience of women who have been raped. Perhaps more terrifying: it was a window into the psyche of the GOP.
You used the expression “legitimate” rape as if to imply there were such a thing as “illegitimate” rape. Let me try to explain to you what that does to the minds, hearts and souls of the millions of women on this planet who experience rape. It is a form of re-rape. The underlying assumption of your statement is that women and their experiences are not to be trusted. That their understanding of rape must be qualified by some higher, wiser authority. It delegitimizes and undermines and belittles the horror, invasion, desecration they experienced. It makes them feel as alone and powerless as they did at the moment of rape.
When you, Paul Ryan and 225 of your fellow co-sponsors play with words around rape suggesting only “forcible” rape be treated seriously as if all rapes weren’t forcible, it brings back a flood of memories of the way the rapists played with us in the act of being raped — intimidating us, threatening us,muting us. Your playing with words like “forcible” and “legitimate” is playing with our souls which have been shattered by unwanted penises shoving into us, ripping our flesh, our vaginas, our consciousness, our confidence, our pride, our futures.
Now you want to say that you misspoke when you said that a legitimate rape couldn’t get us pregnant. Did you honestly believe that rape sperm is different than love sperm, that some mysterious religious process occurs and rape sperm self-destructs due to its evilcontent? Or, were you implying that women and their bodies are somehow responsible for rejecting legitimate rape sperm, once again putting the onus on us? It would seem you were saying that getting pregnant after a rape would indicate it was not a “legitimate” rape.
Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to close your eyes and imagine that you are on your bed or up against a wall or locked in a small suffocating space. Imagine being tied up there and imagine some aggressive, indifferent, insane stranger friend or relative ripping off your clothes and entering your body — the most personal, sacred, private part of your body — and violently, hatefully forcing themself into you so that you are ripped apart. Then imagine that stranger’s sperm shooting into you and filling you and you can’t get it out. It is growing something in you. Imagine you have no idea what that life will even consist of, spiritually made in hate, not knowing the mental or health background of the rapist.
Then imagine a person comes along, a person who has never had that experience of rape, and that person tells you, you have no choice but to keep that product of rape growing in you against your will and when it is born it has the face of your rapist, the face of the person who has essentially destroyed your being and you will have to look at the face every day of your life and you will be judged harshly if you cannot love that face.
I don’t know if you can imagine any of this (leadership actually requires this kind of compassion), but if you are willing to go to the depth of this darkness, you will quickly understand that there is NO ONE WHO CAN MAKE THAT CHOICE to have or not have the baby, but the person carrying that baby herself.
I have spent much time with mothers who have given birth to children who are the product of rape. I have watched how tortured they are wrestling with their hate and anger, trying not to project that onto their child.
I am asking you and the GOP to get out of my body, out of my vagina, my womb, to get out of all of our bodies. These are not your decisions to make. These are not your words to define.
Why don’t you spend your time ending rape rather than redefining it? Spend your energy going after those perpetrators who so easily destroy women rather than parsing out manipulative language that minimizes their destruction.
And by the way you’ve just given millions of women a very good reason to make sure you never get elected again, and an insanely good reason to rise.
I have nothing more to say, except give you several links to articles I found that illustrate my disgust with the right wing.
Take a look at this page on Memeorandum, the news headlines are so disheartening… memeorandum @ 10:05 PM ET, August 21, 2012
I have a friend who lives among the cornfields of Iowa, and she is a supporter of Steve King. I can’t deny that this does not hurt me…I love her but her far right wing values just tear me up inside. Case in point: Rep. Steve King: I’ve Never Heard Of A Girl Getting Pregnant From Statutory Rape Or Incest | TPM2012
Rep. Steve King, one of the most staunchly conservative members of the House, was one of the few Republicans who did not strongly condemn Rep. Todd Akin Monday for his remarks regarding pregnancy and rape. King also signaled why — he might agree with parts of Akin’s assertion.
King told an Iowa reporter he’s never heard of a child getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest.
“Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way,” King told KMEG-TV Monday, “and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”
Oh, like a knife in my gut, twisting…
Here are the rest of the links, in link dump fashion. Thank you for letting me get these thoughts out on paper. Hopefully I will be able to catch up on all the comments and post from the past few days. I do miss the blog so much…
I completely forgot that I had a post to write this morning, and then we had a huge storm here in Banjoville, and the power went out. So this post will be a quick one.
Tennessee is getting quite a reputation these days. Kelly Keisling, Tennessee Legislator, Mass Emailed Obama ‘Staged Assassination’ Rumor
A Republican member of the Tennessee state legislature emailed constituents Tuesday morning with a rumor circulating in conservative circles that President Barack Obama is planning to stage a fake assassination attempt in an effort to stop the 2012 election from happening.
Rep. Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown) sent an email from his state email account to constituents containing a rumor that Obama and the Department of Homeland Security are planning a series of events that could lead to the imposition of “martial law” and delay the election. Among the events hypothesized in the email is a staged assassination attempt on the president that would lead to civil unrest in urban areas and martial law.
Ugh…surprise his source is not Michele Bachmann…
Keisling appears to have forwarded a more widely circulated email from Joe Angione, a Florida-based conservative blogger. Angione prefaces the rumor by saying it has not been confirmed but likewise notes it has not been denied. Angione also writes that people need to work to prevent the rumor from becoming reality.
The conspiracy theory started with an article written by Doug Hammon and posted on CanadaFreePress.com, which he said arose from conversations he had with an informant within the Department of Homeland Security.
The Constitution Party of Florida posted the same Angione story on their website this week. Party chairman Mark Pilling wrote a note saying that he believes some sort of unrest will occur this year.
And just when you think Romney can’t flip any more, he writes an op/ed for the National Review: Culture Does Matter – By Mitt Romney – The Corner – National Review Online
TPM takes a look at it here: Take Three: Mitt Romney Now Says He Stands By Palestinian ‘Culture’ Comments | TPM2012
On Sunday, Mitt Romney boldly declared that Israel’s economic superiority over the Palestinians was due to its culture. On Tuesday morning, he dismissed any notion that he had even discussed Palestinian culture. On Tuesday night, Romney reversed himself yet again, in an op-ed entitled “Culture Does Matter.”
“During my recent trip to Israel, I had suggested that the choices a society makes about its culture play a role in creating prosperity, and that the significant disparity between Israeli and Palestinian living standards was powerfully influenced by it,” Romney wrote in the National Review. “In some quarters, that comment became the subject of controversy. But what exactly accounts for prosperity if not culture?”
In an interview earlier the very same day with FOX News, Romney told interviewer Carl Cameron that he “did not speak about the Palestinian culture or the decisions made in their economy” and that he “certainly [doesn’t] intend to address that during my campaign.”
That interview appeared to be directly at odds with Romney’s original speech, in which he directly compared the per capita GDP of Israel and the Palestinian territories and attributed Israel’s comparative strength to “culture” and the “hand of providence.” It also directly contradicts the first paragraph of his National Review op-ed, in which he explicitly says he was comparing the two economies and cultures.
I think this is the kind of cultural differences Romney is making: Cagle Post » Rich Culture of Romney
Or was Romney talking about this kind of cultural differences: Jon Stewart Mocks Romney Campaign For Gaffes In Poland And Israel | Mediaite
He observed that Romney faced “trouble in England for answering questions [and] trouble in Poland for ignoring questions,” and prayed that the third country Romney visited was not a place where people are easily “prone to complaining.” Naturally, it was Israel, and Stewart’s hopes were dashed once again.
Stewart sat with baited breath, wondering how Romney would mess up in Israel, and while at first he was relieved that Romney was overly complimentary of the Israeli people in his speech, he then brought up the controversy over Romney’s remarks about the Palestinians that did not go over well. As Stewart observed:
“Romney appears to be saying that the Palestinians are purely the architects of their own poverty, or, if you prefer to look at the converse, that Jews are culturally some money-making motherfuckers. Either way…”
Video at the link…
Updates on the DC fetal pain crap….I mean proposed bill. House Fails to Pass D.C. 20-Week Abortion Ban | RH Reality Check
And about that PLUB law in Arizona? Goodbye, Trimesters: How The Arizona Court Ruling May Turn Roe On Its Head | RH Reality Check
They are both long links so please go and read them in full.
Senate Republicans last week proposed a plan that would raise taxes on more than 20 million Americans, while maintaining the high-end Bush tax cuts. Letting those tax cuts on income in excess of $250,000 expire would affect just two million wealthy taxpayers, by comparison.
Now, House Republicans have adopted the same plan, and the effect is the same: roughly 24 million middle- and lower-class Americans will see their taxes raised so that roughly two million of the richest taxpayers can maintain a tax cut, as this chart from the Center for American Progress’ Seth Hanlon and Sarah Ayres illustrate:
More nifty graphs at that link…it shows us who are the ones that will be getting hit with these increases…
Even worse, more than a third of families with children — a total of 18.6 million households, including 9.2 million single parents — would see a tax increase, according to Hanlon and Ayres’ analysis:
According to the analysis, roughly 11 million American families would lose some or all of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides a tax break on college tuition payments, at an average cost of $1,100 each. About 12 million would lose part or all of the Child Tax Credit, costing them an average of $800, and about 6 million would lose all or part of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which saves each recipient an average of $500.
One thing I find interesting is this(Oh, it is a good one, you betcha!): Dishonest Fox Chart: Bush Tax Cut Edition | Blog | Media Matters for America
Fox Business used a graphic with a badly distorted scale to exaggerate the effect that the expiration of the Bush tax cuts would have on the rich.
Here’s how Fox Business’ Cavuto presented a return to the Clinton-era tax rate of 39.6 percent on the top income bracket, from the Bush-era rate of 35 percent:
Here’s what that increase of 4.6 percentage points looks like on a more realistic scale:
Heh…heh…heh. I quoted the whole post there, because I had to. Look at it! Look at it!
And what about those Voter ID laws? ugh…Pa. Top Election Official Disputes Negative Impact of New Voter ID Law « CBS Philly
Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Commonwealth was on the witness stand today, during day five of the court hearing on Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law.
And her testimony just added to the confusion over exactly how many voters need ID.
Secretary of the Commonwealth Carole Aichele is the top state official in charge of implementing the voter ID. But when she took the stand she was cagey, even making jokes in some instances in her response to plaintiffs’ attorneys.
At one point, when lawyers asked her about the details of the voter ID law, Aichele responded, “I don’t know what the law says.”
I can show you what it means…after this continuation of the story:
Plaintiffs’ attorney David Gersch (of Arnold and Porter) says the secretary is not the only one confused about what the law requires.
“The law is very technical — that’s another problem with it,” he tells KYW Newsraadio. “Earlier in the trial we had testimony from lawyers who are advocates for poor people and homeless people trying to get identification, and those lawyers said they didn’t understand all apects of the law!”
When lawyers questioned Aichele today about the number of Pennsylvanians who need ID, Aichele was adamant that 99 percent of voters had valid ID.
When plaintiffs’ attorneys cited earlier Department of State testimony that the number is likely inaccurate, Aichele said simply, “I disagree.”
She later admitted that the state does not know the real number of voters who need ID.
Voter ID laws = Voter Suppression – Truthdig
And one more goodbye, this time to Writer Gore Vidal, 86, has died – latimes.com
Gore Vidal, the iconoclastic writer, savvy analyst and imperious gadfly on the national conscience, has died. He was 86.
Vidal died Tuesday at his home in the Hollywood Hills of complications of pneumonia, said nephew Burr Steers.
Vidal was a literary juggernaut who wrote 25 novels, including historical works such as “Lincoln” and “Burr” and satires such as “Myra Breckinridge” and “Duluth.” He was also a prolific essayist whose pieces on politics, sexuality, religion and literature — once described as “elegantly sustained demolition derbies” — both delighted and inflamed and in 1993 earned him a National Book Award for his massive “United States Essays, 1952-1992.”
He also wrote Broadway hits, screenplays, television dramas and a trio of mysteries under a pseudonym that remain in print after 50 years.
When he wasn’t writing, he was popping up in movies, playing himself in “Fellini’s Roma,” a sinister plotter in sci-fi thriller “Gattaca” and a U.S. senator in “Bob Roberts.” In other spare moments, he made two entertaining but unsuccessful forays into politics, running for the Senate from California and Congress in New York, and established himself as a master of talk-show punditry who demolished intellectual rivals like Norman Mailer and William F. Buckley with acidic one-liners.
“Style,” Vidal once said, “is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” By that definition, he was an emperor of style, sophisticated and cantankerous in his prophesies of America’s fate and refusal to let others define him.
Dakinikat put up a post in tribute of Vidal late last night. Goodbye Mr. Vidal.
That was a whirlwind of a post…woosh.
So, what are you all reading and thinking about this first day of August!