Real late tonight…I know. Geez, if it isn’t one thing its another…so here are tonight’s cartoons.
I know that this one is a bit old, but damn it is funny.
After the shitstorm today in Texas…otherwise known as tampongate, this next cartoon are nothing to what we may be seeing from the artists pens in the nest week.
This is an open thread…have a nice night.
The overwhelming amount of news these days shows a discouraging trend in that one party continues to want to disenfranchise a large number of people and strip them of their constitutional rights and of programs hard won in the face of our wars against economic depression, discrimination, and poverty Here are some of today’s most disturbing Right Wing Republican Headlines.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Thursday objected over and over again in order to keep statements out of the congressional record that accused Republicans of hurting working families by taking food stamps out of the farm bill.
Before a vote could be taken on the Republican farm bill that drops the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — or food stamps — Democrats attempted to voice their unhappiness by inserting statements into the record.
“Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it will increase hunger in America,” Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) said.
Although requests to “revise and extend” remarks are routine, Gohmert immediate shouted, “Objection!”
Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-IL) next asked permission to “revise and extend” his remarks in opposition to the farm bill “because it takes food nutrition away from working families.”
“Objection!” Gohmert yelled.
“What he is doing is he is not even giving members on our side the courtesy inserting their statement in the record?” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) asked.
As several more Democratic representatives attempted to insert remarks that the bill “hurts the working poor” and “increases hunger and poverty,” Gohmert repeatedly objected.
“I think it is extremely unfortunate that that members on the other side of the aisle would deny members on this side of the aisle the ability to insert written materials in the record,” McGovern noted. “In all my years here, I’ve never seen such uncourteous gesture.”
The man who co-wrote Sen. Rand Paul’s 2011 book and currently serves as an aide to the Kentucky Republican reportedly spent years in the 1990s and 2000s as a pro-secessionist activist and radio shock jock.
According to conservative news site The Washington Free Beacon, Jack Hunter, who currently serves as the senator’s new media director, spent his part of his 20s as a member of the League of the South, a group which “advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.” In 1999, Hunter was listed as chairman of the group’s Charleston, S.C., chapter.
While the League of the South maintains that it is not racist, Mark Pitcavage, the director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League, told the Free Beacon that the League of the South is an “implicitly racist group.”
“When I was part of it, they were very explicit that’s not what they were about,” Hunter told the Free Beacon. “I was a young person, it was a fairly radical group – the same way a person on the left might be attracted in college to some left-wing radical groups.”
But Hunter’s troubling past doesn’t end there. In the early 2000s, Hunter, now 39, began contributing anonymous political commentary to the South Carolina radio station 96 Wave, under the moniker the “Southern Avenger.” According to the Free Beacon, as the “Southern Avenger,” Hunter would wear a mask printed with a Confederate flag to public appearances.
According to transcripts of monologues reviewed by the Free Beacon, Hunter’s commentaries in the 2000s included assertions that Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth’s heart was “in the right place,” that white people are subject to a “racial double standard,” and that a “non-white majority America would simply cease to be America for reasons that are as numerous as they are obvious – whether we are supposed to mention them or not.”
At other times, Hunter equated the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and said that “[w]hether for Israel or oil, or both, a permanent U.S. foothold in the Middle East has been the primary neoconservative goal since day one and certainly since long before 9/11.”
While Hunter defended his secessionist views in print as recently as 2009, the Free Beacon reported that he “renounced most of his comments” during an interview on Monday.
Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, took the lead for stalwart opponents of any legislation that could lead to what they view as amnesty. “You can’t separate the Dream Act kids from those who came across the border with a pack of contraband on their back, and they can’t tell me how they can do that,” Mr. King said, referring to the undocumented immigrants brought here by their parents as young children and known as “Dreamers.”
“Once you start down that line you’re destroying the rule of law.” But the response to his pitch was not as robust as it had been in the past: “It was not a standing ovation,” he conceded.
In fact, the one area where the legislators showed signs of some consensus was around the “Dreamers,” who many agreed should not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. Hours before the meeting, hundreds of young immigrants who had grown up in the country without legal papers held a mock citizenship ceremony on a Senate lawn. “We have come today to claim our citizenship,” said Lorella Praeli, a leader of United We Dream. But she insisted young immigrants would not agree to any plan that included only them and not all undocumented immigrants. “2013 is not the time for separate but equal.”
The North Carolina House is set to vote on a draconian anti-abortion bill Thursday after Republicans bundled the bill’s provisions into a motorcycle safety bill on Wednesday in an effort to hurry it through the legislature. According to Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel, the state’s GOP made the changes to the motorcycle law bill without giving advance notice to the public or to Democratic legislators.
Democratic legislators told Huffington Post that they’re expecting large and voluble protests to accompany Thursday’s legislative session, which will feature two hours of debate on SB 353 from Democrats and one hour from Republicans.
“We know that proponents — or what I call the anti-women’s health people — are going to do the same, so it’s going to be a zoo,” said Paige Johnson of Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina.
Republicans originally tried to ram through the brace of anti-choice laws — some of the most stringent in the nation — as part of a Senate bill banning Sharia law in the state. It passed the state Senate July 3, but Republican Gov. Pat McCrory threatened to veto the measure because he felt that the process of writing the bill’s amendments had been rushed.
Senate Republicans instead pulled anti-abortion measures — which require abortion providers to meet a long list of bureaucratic hurdles and mandate that a doctor be present for all abortions, whether they are invasive or not — from the anti-Sharia law bill and bundled them into SB 353, the motorcycle safety bill, and passed it without notifying Democrats. The bill moved on to the House, where Democrats who arrived at the bill’s hearings expected to debate motorcycle safety.
“As a member of the committee, I thought I had a motorcycle safety bill,” state Rep. Joe Sam Queen (D) said to Huffington Post. “I didn’t bring a file on this abortion bill they had, so I wasn’t prepared when we got into the meeting.”
The new bill also denies public employees access to health plans that include abortion coverage and mandates even more red tape licensing requirements for clinics that offer abortion.
“It could very well close down abortion clinics that already exist in this state,” said state Rep. Mickey Michaux (D) to Huffington Post.
Rick Perry’s long reign as governor of Texas is ending, with the announcement that he’s not running for reelection in 2014. Among other things, he’ll be remembered as one of the most vocally anti-gay governors and political figures in American history. In 2003, Perry lambasted the U.S. Supreme Court for striking down the Texas sodomy ban, and all sodomy bans in the states, calling the court “nine oligarchs in robes.” In 2005, Perry championed a draconian constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions in Texas, and signed it into law in a ceremony held in a church. During his 2012 presidential run he cruelly told a 14-year-old bisexual girl on the campaign trail that gays shouldn’t serve in the military because “homosexuality is a sin,” and he demeaned gay service members in a political attack ad that was the most parodied ad of the election season.
So if Perry is stepping down to focus solely on a presidential run in 2016, as some observers contend, what will that mean for GOP political gay-bashing in the 2016 presidential race? Judging from Perry’s most recent rants, 2016 will be 2012 redux, no matter what anyautopsy of the 2012 election by the Republican National Committee or GOP strategists might reveal about how to proceed. Since last fall Perry has only ratcheted up the attacks on gays, much as he has done on abortion. Polls show a majority of Americans, and particularly young Americans (and that includes young GOP Americans), support LGBT rights and even marriage equality. But Christian right groups still influential in the party have been threatening to bolt the GOP unless candidates toe the line. Contrary to strategists who suggest that the GOP will be forced to be more supportive on issues of concern to Latinos, women, gays and other groups, there are thinkers in the GOP who simply want to believe the GOP can win by ignoring all those groups and just getting more straight white male voters to the polls.
Think the whole birther thing is dead? Not in Republican land. Did you catch this on Rachel Maddow last night? This is your Republican Grass Roots in action!! Birthers! Successionists! Racists!! Christofascists! All part and parcel of what is going on in legislatures and congress in this country!
So, is the Republican Party just doubling down or tripling down on white–mostly male and straight–voters? Here’s some interesting analysis of voter and voter trends.
In the aftermath of Barack Obama’s relatively comfortable reelection victory in 2012 — a win fueled by massive margins among African Americans, Hispanics and other nonwhite voters — an intense debate has begun among Republican leaders and strategists over the future direction of the party. The GOP has now lost the national popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. Yet according to national exit polls, Republican candidates won the white vote by double-digit margins in the last four of these elections, including a 20-point margin in 2012.
Given these results, some prominent Republican strategists, including Karl Rove, believe that the key to the party’s future viability in presidential elections is finding ways to increase its share of the growing nonwhite vote. Since 1992, according to national exit polls, the nonwhite share of the electorate has increased from 13% to 28%, and this trend is almost certain to continue for many years to come. Based on census data, the voters who will be entering the electorate over the next few decades will include a much larger proportion of nonwhites, and especially Latinos, than the voters who will be leaving the electorate.
But not all GOP strategists agree with the approach advocated by Rove and his allies or with the necessity of increasing the party’s share of the nonwhite vote in order to achieve success in future presidential elections. In a recent series of posts at RealClearPolitics.com, analyst Sean Trende has argued that Republicans can effectively compete in future presidential elections without substantially increasing their support among Hispanics and other nonwhite voters by focusing on increasing turnout and support among white voters, who will continue to make up the large majority of the American electorate.
Trende’s argument that the GOP can achieve success by, essentially, doubling down on white voters rests largely on an analysis of racial voting patterns in presidential elections over the past several decades. According to Trende, Republicans have significantly increased their performance among white voters over time. If this trend continues, he argues, given a reasonably favorable political and economic environment, Republican candidates should have a good chance of overcoming the Democratic advantage among nonwhite voters in future presidential elections.
The problem with the PVI
Trende’s claim that Republicans have increased their performance among white voters is based on his calculation of a statistic known as the PVI, or Partisan Voting Index, for white voters. Essentially, this statistic is used to compare the political preferences of a given group to the electorate as a whole. The PVI for white voters compares the Democratic share of the white vote with the Democratic share of the vote in the overall electorate. For our purposes, however, we have calculated the PVI based on the Democratic vote margin among white voters compared with the Democratic vote margin in the overall electorate in order to reduce the impact of votes for third party and independent candidates.
Over time, as the data in Figure 1 show, the PVI for white voters has become increasingly negative, with an especially dramatic decline since 1992. There is no question that in comparison with the overall electorate, white voters have become more Republican over time. But the interpretation of this result is not as straightforward as Trende suggests. That is because the PVI for white voters reflects both the Democratic margin among white voters and the size of the nonwhite electorate.
In fact, the main reason that the gap between the Democratic margin in the overall electorate and the Democratic margin among white voters has increased over time is not because whites have become more Republican but because nonwhites, who are overwhelmingly Democratic, now make up a larger share of the overall electorate. As just one example, the PVI of the white vote in 2012 (-24) was far more negative than it was in 1988 (-13). Yet Democratic margins among both whites and nonwhites were essentially the same in each election. The real change: Nonwhites were just 15% of voters in 1988 compared to 28% in 2012. In other words, the rapid growth of the very Democratic nonwhite share of the electorate makes it seem like white voters are becoming more Republican than they actually are.
It’s been really difficult for me recently to continue to turn on the TV and see assault after assault on women, the GLBT, minorities, immigrants, religious minorities, and the poor. How do we make it stop?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Thing one... Spending life not rattling my jewellry:
Joan Jett’s jacket. Notice the pins.
“keep abortion legal”
“If she says no, it’s rape”
“Pro fucking choice”
This jacket is from about thirty years ago. These issues were big then. Thirty years later, these issues are still present. I was amazed to find these pins on the jacket, and realize this, because I would have thought, back then, if I was alive, that those issues would be solved by NOW.
But they aren’t. Joan Jett knew what was up.
Why can’t we take a minute and soak in her “bad reputation” and think about how in thirty years, abortion and rape culture STILL are huge issues.
Photos courtesy of EMP museum in Seattle, Washington.
Thing 2… I love Joan Jett and the Foo Fighters and so finding this video made my day (language Not-exactly-SFW unless you work in Congress or a state legislature, perhaps *wink*):
Alright, that’s all! Open thread, and enjoy your night.
There’s been quite a bit of legal and courthouse news this week, so I’m going to focus on that today.
Yesterday was a big day at the Boston Federal Courthouse as the Whitey Bulger trial was briefly eclipsed by the first court appearance of Boston Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. From The Boston Globe:
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev shuffled into the courtroom, appearing confident despite the ankle chains and an orange jumpsuit so big on him that it made him appear younger than his 19 years.
As federal prosecutors read the charges against him Wednesday in his first appearance since being captured in April, Tsarnaev repeatedly looked over his shoulder at the packed courtroom, at one point blowing a kiss to his sisters, one sobbing and another holding a baby.
He leaned into the microphone in the hushed courtroom to tell Judge Marianne B. Bowler with an accent that he pleaded not guilty to 30 charges, including use of weapons of mass destruction. More than 30 victims of the Marathon bombings and about a dozen supporters who say they believe Tsarnaev is innocent watched intently as the accused terrorist yawned and stroked the side of his face, which appeared swollen from a wound.
Tsarnaev, who could receive the death penalty, fidgeted in his seat as he listened to the charges, one of his attorneys patting him on the back gently several times. He had a visible scar just below his throat and had a cast on his left arm.
ABC News talked to survivors of the April 15 bombings who showed up to watch Tsarnaev’s court appearance.
Friends and family members of people whose lives were shattered when two homemade bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15 packed three rooms in a federal courthouse on Wednesday as suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to a 30-count indictment.
But the fleeting courtroom encounter brought little relief to Bostonians who said the 19-year-old —accused of conducting the deadly bombings with the help of his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev —showed little feeling.
“He came out and he smirked at the families,” said Ed Fucarile, 64, outside of the John Joseph Moakley federal courthouse along the water in South Boston. “The lawyers put their hands on his shoulders like it was going to be all right.”
Fucarile wore a Boston Strong t-shirt with the name of Marc Fucarile, his son who lost his right leg and still carries shrapnel in his body, the father said.
Marc Fucarile, 34, was standing near the second blast when it went off. He still has more surgeries to go, and has spent every day of the nearly three months since receiving medical care, his father said. Members of the family have taken weeks off work so that someone is always at Marc’s bedside, he said.
Read more survivors’ stories at the link.
At the Whitey Bulger trial, there was a bit of comic relief as Bulger flew into a rage toward the end of testimony and exchanged curses with his former close friend and partner Kevin Weeks. It was reminiscent of a scene from Sopranos.
Bulger’s lawyer, J.W. Carney, tried to portray Weeks as an opportunist who knew how to manipulate the system, someone who cut a deal with prosecutors to serve just five years in prison for aiding and abetting five killings, several of which, Weeks testified, he saw Bulger commit.
“You won against the system,” said Carney.
“What did I win? What did I win,” Weeks said, his voice sounding strained and tired. “Five people are dead.”
Asked whether that bothered him, Weeks shot back, “We killed people that were rats, and I had the two biggest rats right next to me …”
At that, Bulger turned and hissed, “You suck.”
“F— you, OK,” snapped Weeks.
“F— you, too,” shouted Bulger as the jury watched.
“What do you want to do?” said Weeks, his eyes locked on Bulger, who was flushed and staring right back.
At one point Weeks even threatened Carney, asking him if he’d like to step outside.
Weeks grew belligerent and threatening as Carney accused him of lying, challenged his motivation for cooperating, and suggested that Weeks, not Bulger, was a rat.
“You can’t rat on a rat,” said Weeks, adding that he lives in South Boston and walks the streets without being called a rat.
When Carney asked Weeks what he would do if someone did call him a rat, Weeks snapped that if he stepped outside the courthouse he’d show him.
Yesterday the testimony was even more grotesque and sickening, as forensic expert Ann Marie Mires testified about remains of murder victims Arthur Barrett, Deborah Hussey, John McIntyre, and Paul J. McGonagle. I’ll spare you the descriptions; you can go to the links and read more if you’re interested.
This morning Carney asked the judge for a break in the testimony so the defense team could catch up.
The defense team for James “Whitey” Bulger is asking the judge to suspend testimony until next week so they can catch up on evidence.
Defense attorney J.W. Carney filed the motion with the court on Thursday.
“Simply put, the defendant’s counsel have hit a wall, and are unable to proceed further without additional time to prepare for upcoming witnesses,” the motion reads. “Counsel have struggled mightily to be ready for each day of the trial since it began on June 3, 2013, working seven days a week and extraordinarily long hours.” [....]
“A major problem has been the delay in the receipt of discovery from the prosecution,” the motion reads, citing examples of receiving binders of documents pertaining to testimony to be given by witnesses the evening before they take the stand.
Yesterday defense teams rested in both the Bradley Manning and the George Zimmerman trials.
From the Guardian via Raw Story: Bradley Manning defense rests its case after calling just 10 witnesses
Having called just 10 witnesses over the space of three days, the defence phase of the trial was brought to a close far quicker than expected. The defence had indicated in earlier hearings that it intended to call more than 40 witnesses, although many may yet still be presented in court during the post-verdict sentencing stage of the court martial.
By contrast, the prosecution took 14 days to make its case, drawing on 80 witnesses.
On Wednesday, the defence team lead by the civilian lawyer David Coombs, focused its attentions on the most serious charge facing the Army private – that he “aided the enemy” by transmitting information to WikiLeaks knowing that it would be accessible to enemy groups notably al-Qaida. Manning faces a possible sentence of life in military custody with no chance of parole under this single charge.
The final defence witness called, the Harvard law professor Yochai Benkler, delivered blistering testimony in which he portrayed WikiLeaks as a legitimate web-based journalistic organisation. He also warned the judge presiding in the case, Colonel Denise Lind, that if the “aiding the enemy” charge was interpreted broadly to suggest that handing information to a website that could be read by anyone with access to the internet was the equivalent of handing to the enemy, then that serious criminal accusation could be levelled against all media outlets that published on the web.
Yesterday was quite a theatrical one in the Zimmerman trial, as a mannequin was brought into court and both a prosecutor and defense attorney Mark O’Mara got down on the floor and straddled the dummy in effort to act out what might have happened during an alleged altercation between Zimmerman and his victim Trayvon Martin.
As professional images go, what followed in the courtroom was probably not something for which Mark O’Mara would most like to be remembered.
Hitching up his pant legs and straddling a life-size human mannequin, Zimmerman’s lead defense counsel got down and dirty on the courtroom floor and proceeded to demonstrate for jurors the “ground and pound” move that they have been told Martin exerted on the accused.
Coming a day after he encouraged one of his witnesses, gym owner and mixed martial arts trainer Adam Pollack, to “step down from the stand to give me an example of a mounted position,” prostrating himself on the floor and asking Pollack, “Where do you want me?” the episode made for an awkward role play, leaving court observers snickering and biting their lips in the midst of an otherwise tragic plot.
Earlier in the day, prosecutor John Guy—described by one public observer in the courtroom on the trial’s opening day as “the supermodel of attorneys”—had also hopped on the mannequin for a similar demonstration in front of the all-female jury.
Later Judge Debra Nelson had a “testy exchange” with defense attorney Don West as she asked Zimmerman whether he planned to take the stand. Zimmerman seemed unsure, and West tried to step in.
West repeatedly challenged Nelson’s decision to press Zimmerman for a clear answer. The judge repeatedly slapped him down, her voice gathering volume every time.
“The court is entitled to ask Mr. Zimmerman about his determination as to whether he wants to testify,” Nelson insisted tersely after West objected to her line of questioning.
She looked back at Zimmerman: “How long do you think you need before you make that decision?” she inquired again, as the defendant—who had a minute earlier been made to raise his hand and swear under oath that any decision whether to testify would be his—turned to his counsel for help.
“I object to the court inquiring of Zimmerman about his intention to testify,” West whimpered for a second time.
“I object to the court inquiring of Zimmerman about his intention to testify,” West whimpered for a second time.
“And I have O-VER-RULED” Judge Nelson spat back—several times—as the objections kept coming.
Finally Zimmerman haltingly said he did not want to testify. I think he actually wanted to–if only. What a disaster that would have been for his attorneys! Closing arguments are scheduled to begin this afternoon.
In other news, I can’t resist sharing this article from Time Magazine about what former Russian spies think is probably happening to Edward Snowden in Russia.
In the summer of 1985, KGB colonel Oleg Gordievsky was called back to Moscow from the Soviet embassy in London, where he was serving as a resident spy. As a pretext, his commanders told him that he was going to receive an award for his service. But in fact the KGB suspected him of being a double agent — which he was — and they were looking to interrogate him. So upon his arrival, his KGB colleagues, still concealing their suspicions, took him to a comfortable country estate in the suburbs of the Russian capital, much like the one where Gordievsky and other former spies believe Edward Snowden, the NSA whistle-blower, has spent the past few weeks….
The official story coming from the Russian government since then is that Snowden has been holed up in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, waiting for some third country to grant him asylum. But few experts or officials in Moscow still believe that to be true. The accepted wisdom, unofficially acknowledged by most Western and Russian sources, is that Snowden was taken soon after his arrival — if not immediately — to a secure location run by some arm of the Russian government.
Experts and former spies who have dealt with the Russian security services are sure that agents would want to get the encryption keys to the data stored on Snowden’s four laptops. The only way to do that would be to get Snowden to give them up.
So Gordievsky believes Snowden would have gotten roughly the same treatment that the KGB spy got back in 1985. “They would have fed him something to loosen his tongue,” Gordievsky says by phone from the U.K., where he has been living in exile for nearly three decades. “Many different kinds of drugs are available, as I experienced for myself.” Having been called back to Moscow, Gordievsky says his KGB comrades drugged him with a substance that “turned out his lights” and made him “start talking in a very animated way.” Although the drug wiped out most of his memory of the incident, the parts he did recollect horrified him the following morning, when he woke up feeling ill. “I realized that I had completely compromised myself,” he says.
One of the substances the KGB used for such purposes at the time was called SP-117, which is odorless, tasteless and colorless, according Alexander Kouzminov, a former Russian intelligence operative who describes the drug’s effectiveness in his book, Biological Espionage. Now living in New Zealand, Kouzminov worked in the 1980s and early 1990s for the Foreign Intelligence Service, the spy agency known as the SVR, which handles undercover agents, or “illegals,” stationed in foreign countries. In his book, Kouzminov writes that various drugs were used periodically to test these operatives for signs of disloyalty or diversion. Once the drug had worn off, the agents would have no recollection of what they had said and, if their test results were satisfactory, they could be sent back into the field as though nothing had happened.
Yesterday, Snowden announced through Glenn Greenwald that “I never gave any information to Chinese or Russian governments.” I guess he assumes that Chinese and Russian officials don’t read The Guardian, The Washington Post, or the South China Morning Post. Anyway now it’s not clear if he would even remember if he gave them anything.
For all you Snowden and Greenwald fans out there, this information comes from an article in Time Magazine based on interviews with people who have actual experience with the ways Russia deals with spies. Don’t shoot the messenger.
Now it’s your turn. What stories are you focused on today. Please share you links on any topic in the comment thread, and have a tremendous Thursday!
So our illustrious and prolific JJ aka Minkoff Minx is still not quite back in the pink yet–she needs to rest all she can and get well soon! I’ll be filling in for the Evening Reads tonight, and while I cannot for the blogger life of me do the kind of thorough job she does following all the day’s news leads day in and day out, here’s what’s on my radar today.
Is Texas Hillary Country? That’s what a “new poll” suggests, but it’s just one of many “new polls” that have been trending this way for
Also via KTRH News Radio out of Houston: Hillary Clinton Pantsuit Becomes Museum Display. I have embeded the Newsy youtube below, so you don’t have to click over–if you wait past the blah blah fashion cakes in the first 45 seconds or so, the second half is commentary on Hillary’s future that you might find of interest. You won’t want to miss Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour’s comment at the reception in Little Rock at the Clinton library honoring Oscar de la Renta … I’ll transcribe it for you below the video.
Anna Wintour: I can only hope that all of you here in Little Rock will be celebrating her come November 2016 … All of us at Vogue look forward to putting on the cover the first female president of the United States.
I stood with Wendy last night as the Stand With Texas Women bus tour made its stop in Houston. I saw her speak, oh yes I did. I went with my sister of course! Sisterhood of the Pink Sneaks
1) Wendy is simply amazing, y’all. 2) I got the burnt orange T-Shirt to prove it!
As my sister and I were leaving Discovery park, a woman in maybe her 30s or 40s walking toward us just getting there asked, “Is she still speaking?” I had to let her down, but luckily she followed up by asking about the “Stand With Texas Women” t-shirts, and we were able to direct her where to go get her own! So those were the two big things of the night, Wendy and the shirts, though there were so many wonderful little things and moments.
I did take my own photos, some of which I’ll post in the comments. They aren’t the greatest, partly because my iPhone camera roll was annoyingly full, so I couldn’t snap very many, and the other part being there was quite a sizable turnout (see the Egberto Willies article I highlight below), especially on a muggy, muddy Tuesday night with only a day or so’s notice… Everybody in the crowd was swarming to get pics, and…rarely have I ever felt bad about being short except for times I can count on my one hand like last night, where tall guys and people’s posters kept covering the podium space! However, I did get this awesome photo (see right) of a little girl in the crowd whose father held her up over his shoulders and who Wendy referred to in her speech–and he held her up again. I was standing right behind him and got this photo. Wendy referenced his holding her up earlier as an symbol of our future that we are standing for as we take our stand for Texas women…she didn’t seem to expect him to lift the girl up again. It was just one of those moments you had to be there! He held her up as much as he could without being a bad dad about it. It was great.
As was seeing all the pro-feminist men (read: unicorn!) who showed up to stand with and alongside Texas women…speaking of which, here is Art Pronin (old blogger handle texan4hillary) with Cecile Richards at yesterday’s event!
Blogger Egberto Willies has video and describes the event thus: “Electrified Crowds Greet Wendy Davis & Company Tour In Houston”:
There were over 1000 souls in attendance even after a downpour followed by a very muggy humid heat. Attendees did not mind the heat, wet, or the mud. They gave the Senators and Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood a fiery hot welcome. This rally exceeded expectation just as did last night’s rally in Austin and last week’s rally.
All of the attendees knew exactly why they were there. “I feel strongly about this issue,” said Linda Walker, a veteran that served the country. “I didn’t serve this country to be treated as a second class citizen.”
Here is Egberto’s youtube footage of the event, just shy of 10 minutes, with interviews of people there and parts of the speeches. I was pleased with the portion he chose from Wendy’s speech, because I had wanted to write that part down when I heard it:
Afterward at dinner, the head waiter and waitstaff kept commenting on my sister and my t-shirts (“So I’m going to say you… -dramatic pause- ….stand for Texas Women…,”). Most of them were unaware but curious to learn what it was all about. I tried my level best to keep relatively quiet and not go off on a feminist tear (you never know in Houston what mansplaining turd lurks ready to explain why we need to defund Planned Parenthood…). I just kept dropping Wendy’s name, the filibuster, told people to google it. At least our waitress had an inkling of what it was about…she brought up her friend working at the Capitol in Austin, who she described as a “big feminist” (which had me raising the roof a little visibly of course!)
But, enough of my fangirly gushing on that. Here’s the big bad ugly headline out of Texas today…predictable but ugly…
From the link:
The House voted 96-49 on Wednesday to give final approval to proposed abortion regulations in Texas. House Bill 2, which would ban abortion at 20 weeks and enact some of the strictest regulations in the country on abortion providers and facilities, now heads to the Senate.
“If we’re going to ask for more children to come into this world, we should provide for them,” said state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio. She offered an amendment, which lawmakers tabled, that would have extended state benefits to children put into the foster care and adoption system by women who could not access abortion as a result of the legislation. She added, “We know there are going to be lots of cases where the mothers just cannot, even though they may want to, they cannot take care of them.”
Of course Laubenberg (the bill’s author) “countered” that the amendment wrongly assumed abortion wouldn’t be available, services wouldn’t be available for a child in need, yarda yarda. Really, then what’s the rightwing’s motivation with all this pro-DUMB legislation?
Crickets. (Oh, right. No Profit Left Behind)
Oh, and… of course… Five Texas women arrested in the Capitol today for protesting this pro-DUMB/No Profit Left Behind smoke and mirrors. Of course.
Police arrested five women in the Texas House of Representatives Gallery today following the passage of House Bill 2.
According to a press release from abortion rights group Rise Up Texas, the five women arrested were Jessica Harmon, Yatzel Sabat, Joshua Pineda, Hallie Boas and Julia Pashall, all abortion rights activists.
According to witnesses at the scene, the women were screaming their opposition to the bill from the gallery as the House voted. Police are allowed to place anyone disrupting proceedings in the House and Senate in jail for up to 48 hours.
The press release reads that the women were “stating their opposition to the continued assault on women’s human rights and standing up for their moral beliefs.”
“We are the people of Texas and we are horrified by legislators’ blatant disregard for the law,” Harmon said in the press release. “You have executed voter fraud and corruption of the legislative process, as well as attempted to silence the voices of choice. Shame on you.”
I guess it could have been worse. I guess it could have been 63 Pro-choice activists arrested like in North Carolina on Monday night. (See also Janet Colm: Why I Got Arrested for Women’s Health)
Seriously, think twice America before ever letting Goodhair and his dodo-bird governance anywhere near the White House, let alone a heartbeat away… his presidential aspirations pose much more of an actual harm than Sarah Palin’s or Michele Bachmann’s five minutes of presidential fancy ever did. This is the kind of awesomely productive special/emergency legislative sessions to which you have to look forward if you really want Dubya’s cowboy clone or any of the other dodo governors in charge of our country (pictures of today’s arrest in Austin via the Houston Chron blog):
The more the ultra-rightwing Texas Taliban tries to infect the rest of the country, the more women across the nation–like women in Texas–are going to stand up, for themselves, their daughters, their families, and their communities, to say the have had enough and RAISE HELL… (WENDY DAVIS for Governor 2014! HILLARY 2016!)
Oh, and Handmaidens of the Patriarchy (yes I’m looking at you Kirsten “I Don’t Stand With Wendy Davis” Powers)? You might want to evaluate which side of history you have set up camp. The inner voice of resistance in women–oh yes, the F word, feminism!–is growing.
Kirsten et al. here’s THE POINT — Legislators should keep their hands off women’s bodies:
[...] issues of abortion should not be decided by the men of the Texas Legislature. They should be left up to the woman, her doctor and her conscience.
–The Eagle of Bryan-College Station
Here’s a blurry photo I took of my favorite poster from yesterday (also featured much more clearly in Egberto Willies’ youtube embedded above):
NO means NO. Get it out, get your hands off our bodies, our health rights, our right to self-governance and “small” government. NO means NO! We need actual governance of ours states–our country. The grownups are coming to your places of power and they got girly brains that rival your concerns with their lady parts! (WENDY 2014! HILLARY 2016!)
From the the capital of the state in which I was born, to the capital of the state I’ve lived in for almost 3 decades…Solidarity, forever, sisters! Via Overpass Light Brigade, a picture out of Madison, WI on Monday night:
Also, briefly! From the Nation earlier this week, part two in a series on the global sexual violence epidemic by Salamishah Tillet:
Opponents of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi rally in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, July 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Last Wednesday, the world watched an increasingly familiar scene: Egyptian crowds gathering in Tahrir Square to demand social change. Once the army announced it had ousted President Mohamed Morsi, these same streets became host to victory celebrations for some, and violent conflict for others. For over ninety-one women who were sexually assaulted that night, Tahrir Square became what Egyptian women’s rights activist. Soraya Bahgat described as “a circle of hell.”
Tillet ends her piece with a very powerful indictment and call to action:
In an e-mail, Rebecca Chiao, the co-founder of HarrassMap Egypt, a group that rescues women being sexually assaulted by mobs in the recent protests, wrote, “Whoever is at fault for paying thugs, no political actors have made a serious effort to punish or prevent mob harassment/assault/rape.”
Régine Jean-Charles, author of Conflict Bodies: The Politics of Rape Representation in the Francophone Imaginary, told me in a phone interview that this insidious response is “not new” but consistent with “a global pattern of social movements not including ending gender-violence in their liberatory visions.”
Even in our own Occupy Wall Street movement, women were subject to sexual assaults and misogynist jokes.
Real social change must include eradicating rape culture. Until then, as women continue to be on the frontlines of protests—be it in New York City or Cairo—with our political brethren, our bodies, our rights and ultimately our lives remain on freedom’s sidelines.
Privacy vs. Security: Is it really a binary discussion?
I had intended to do another section here at the end devoted to the debate of just how much privacy we are willing to give up in the name of security, but honestly? It will have to wait for the weekend. Not that I don’t care–I care deeply about the issue. However, I just care even more about fighting for the things that I support (rather than focusing on things I oppose but don’t know what to replace it with… things like the behemoth spy state.)
And, y’all know there is nothing I care to fight for more than for women’s rights! WENDY WENDY WENDY! HILLARY HILLARY HILLARY!
(And no lectures on how I should talk about issues instead of shero worship, please. I’ve had enough of d00dz chanting Obama and Ron Paul as an anti-war cry to last me a liftetime. Wendy and Hillary and other serious women pols like them actually promote policies I care about, for example the fifty year fight for Equal pay for Equal work, not just pie-in-the-sky rhetoric against something. Yesterday, Wendy made a point to speak of Texas legislators working to reintroduce the Lilly Ledbetter act that Gov. Dodo vetoed in Texas.)
All that said and getting back to privacy (which as we know has been linked to reproductive rights and women’s autonomy in this country), if anyone has any really great links on solutions to the problem of how we keep the spy state in check, please post them in the comments or e-mail them to me so I can add them to my reading list before my next post on the topic.
I really don’t understand the libertarian-savant focus/elevation of privacy OVER all other issues–say we were able to completely dismantle the surveillance apparatus of this country? Then what? How do we operate in a world where security is still a real concern? Enough with the binary framing! It’s not either privacy or security. Both are valid, just one shouldn’t infringe upon the other.
Anyway, I think I’ve said enough for awhile.
I did want to end with this funny list from In the Pink Texas, one of my Texas blogger reads for years now:
July 8, 2013 – 2:08 pm 4 Comments
Gov. Rick Perry made a very important announcement in San Antonio today that will shape his political future. As I am loathe to wait for press conferences such as these, I typically prepare my analysis beforehand, taking into consideration several possible—and likely—scenarios.
1. He will not run for reelection. Instead he will become the new face of Men’s Wearhouse. (You’re going to like the way he looks.)
2. He will run for reelection and institute martial law immediately following Inauguration.
3. He will run for president, as well he should, since he didn’t make Texans look sufficiently idiotic the first time around.
4. He is harboring Edward Snowden.
5. He is leaving politics to star in Magic Mike 2.
6. He will run against Andy Brown for Travis County judge.
7. He finally admits to blood doping with Lance Armstrong.
8. He is switching back to the Democratic party to #standwithwendy.
9. He’s entering rehab to treat his addiction to painkillers.
10. He is joining the Texas Tribune.
Check out the rest of the post, as well as the rest of In the Pink Texas, if you like. And, please share what you’re reading and thinking about this evening in the comments if you get a chance.
Well, maybe I have one more thing to say:
WENDY 2014. HILLARY 2016. From MADISON WISCONSIN to TAHRIR SQUARE. RISE, SISTERS, RISE!
It’s become painfully obvious that women still lack a voice in legislatures around the country and in governor’s mansions as state after state find sneaky, undemocratic, underhanded ways to undercut our civil liberties, our constitutional rights and our autonomy in red state after red state. The christofascist wing of the Republican Party has snuck drastic anti-women’s health laws in many states. I passed a billboard today on a local Catholic church reading “More Planned Parenthood means more abortion”. I wanted to stop and spray paint “More Catholic Churches mean more Child Rape” because it makes as much sense. Women are taking to the street and need to do so in greater numbers.
North Carolina House Republicans are pushing legislation that would restrict abortion access, attaching the measure to an unrelated motorcycle safety bill on Wednesday and giving neither the public nor Democratic legislators any advance notice.
On Wednesday morning, state Rep. Joe Sam Queen (D) wrote on Twitter, “New abortion bill being heard in the committee I am on. The public didn’t know. I didn’t even know.”
“I wish I had more time to look at this new bill before I had to ask questions about it or debate it,” he added.
The bill then passed the state House Judiciary Committee in a 10-5 party-line vote.
The stealth maneuver came after North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) threatened to veto a similar Senate bill on Wednesday morning. The Senate legislation would require abortion providers to meet strict licensing standards and would mandate that a doctor is present for the entire procedure.
The state’s top health official has called for lawmakers to slow down on the abortion legislation, and in his 2012 campaign, McCrory pledged not to sign any legislation that would further restrict abortion access.
House Republicans tweaked the Senate legislation: A doctor would have to be present when the first drug in an abortion procedure is administered — rather than for the entire procedure — and clinics would not have to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers.
Every Monday since April, thousands of North Carolina residents have gathered at the State Capitol to protest the grotesque damage that a new Republican majority has been doing to a tradition of caring for the least fortunate. Nearly 700 people have been arrested in the “Moral Monday” demonstrations, as they are known. But the bad news keeps on coming from the Legislature, and pretty soon a single day of the week may not be enough to contain the outrage.
In January, after the election of Pat McCrory as governor, Republicans took control of both the executive and legislative branches for the first time since Reconstruction. Since then, state government has become a demolition derby, tearing down years of progress in public education, tax policy, racial equality in the courtroom and access to the ballot.
The cruelest decision by lawmakers went into effect last week: ending federal unemployment benefits for 70,000 residents. Another 100,000 will lose their checks in a few months. Those still receiving benefits will find that they have been cut by a third, to a maximum of $350 weekly from $535, and the length of time they can receive benefits has been slashed from 26 weeks to as few as 12 weeks.
The state has the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country, and many Republicans insulted workers by blaming their joblessness on generous benefits. In fact, though, North Carolina is the only state that has lost long-term federal benefits, because it did not want to pay back $2.5 billion it owed to Washington for the program. The State Chamber of Commerce argued that cutting weekly benefits would be better than forcing businesses to pay more in taxes to pay off the debt, and lawmakers blindly went along, dropping out of the federal program.
At the same time, the state is also making it harder for future generations of workers to get jobs, cutting back sharply on spending for public schools. Though North Carolina has been growing rapidly, it is spending less on schools now than it did in 2007, ranking 46th in the nation in per-capita education dollars. Teacher pay is falling, 10,000 prekindergarten slots are scheduled to be removed, and even services to disabled children are being chopped.
“We are losing ground,” Superintendent June Atkinson said recently, warning of a teacher exodus after lawmakers proposed ending extra pay for teachers with master’s degrees, cutting teacher assistants and removing limits on class sizes.
Republicans repealed the Racial Justice Act, a 2009 law that was the first in the country to give death-row inmates a chance to prove they were victims of discrimination. They have refused to expand Medicaid and want to cut income taxes for the rich while raising sales taxes on everyone else. The Senate passed a bill that would close most of the state’s abortion clinics.
And, naturally, the Legislature is rushing to impose voter ID requirements and cut back on early voting and Sunday voting, which have been popular among Democratic voters. One particularly transparent move would end a tax deduction for dependents if students vote at college instead of their hometowns, a blatant effort to reduce Democratic voting strength in college towns like Chapel Hill and Durham.
The Texas House of Representatives approved sweeping abortion restrictions on Tuesday, including a ban after 20 weeks of pregnancy and tougher standards for clinics that perform the procedure.
The vote of 98-49 came after a full day of sometimes emotional debate. Before the measure can head to the state Senate, it needs a final vote from the House, which is expected on Wednesday.
The House approved the same proposal during a previous special session of the legislature, but it failed to pass in the Senate after Democratic Senator Wendy Davis staged an 11-hour filibuster that gained national attention.
Here’ in Louisiana, we are trying to stop devastating cuts to Domestic Violence programs and programs to help families with handicapped children. We are asking for a special override session to restore the funding and override a line item veto by the governor that would reestablish funds to these programs.
Domestic violence service providers across Louisiana are facing their second budget crisis in 2 months. The Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services unveiled its proposed budget Thursday. The plan includes a cut of $1.4 million dollars to domestic violence services; this is in addition to the $1 million the Jindal administration cut in the December, mid-year budget adjustments.
Programs will be losing $2.4 million of the $6.2 million the state was spending on domestic violence services. This means emergency shelters across the state will have lost more than 38% of their funding from DCFS in just over six months. This makes a significant impact in a state that consistently leads the nation in domestic homicides.
Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Beth Meeks, warned during the last round of cuts that ‘the situation was precarious and further cuts would destabilize the system’. She calls the current situation dire, “In the last round of cuts programs laid off about 10% of their staff and many used up any rainy day reserves they had set aside. At this level of cuts programs will be forced to reduce and eliminate services in some areas, if they can survive at all.”
According to statistics collected by DCFS, Louisiana domestic violence shelters provided almost 91,000 nights of emergency shelter in the last year and took more than 38,000 crisis calls. There are 18 programs in Louisiana funded by DCFS to provide around the clock emergency domestic violence services. The programs documented more than 1800 unmet needs during that time period due to low staff and full shelter beds.
These states are cutting protections to women’s health and safety and children’s health and safety while transferring lots of resources to create a plague of regulations for abortion providers. This is completely unacceptable. Women need to be taking to the streets now!