Sunday Reads: Going Green and Non-Prada Pope Footwear

spdGood Morning and

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Hope everyone enjoys their day, I am also hopeful that today we see justice prevail. A verdict is expected in the Steubenville Rape Trial . We will let you know if and when the verdict does come down…

I will start this post off with some political news, CPAC is over, the conservative party has tried to rebrand their image…they sure haven’t changed one bit. Not that I expected anything different, but the conservative nut cases definitely made some people feel unwelcome to the party.

The CPAC Hits Keep on Comin': Black Man Tossed Out After Wingnut Screams at Him, ‘Race Doesn’t Matter’

Another graphic example of the right wing’s “minority outreach:” CPAC: Black Man Tossed Out After Breitbart Hack Screams at Him ‘Race Doesn’t Matter’.

In this video from CPAC, a black man seems like he sincerely interested in helping find a way for conservatives to appeal to other African Americans, but then he suddenly gets screamed on by a white guy who insists that “race doesn’t matter.” Which in short, summarizes why the Republicans continually lose the vote of any group that doesn’t have white skin.

And the whole scene was caught on tape:

And if you think this was the only disgusting racist outburst at CPAC you would be mistaken…When The GOP Told Whitey I Aint Gonna Take It No More

Yesterday, a CPAC breakout session on reaching out to black voters broke down in shouting and acrimony as a handful of ‘disenfranchised whites’ attacked the premise of the session (along with black complaints about slaveholders), got into a verbal fight with a black female attendee and with all that managed to unite the crowd against the black woman as the one who somehow spoiled all the fun.

TPM’s Benjy Sarlin was there right as it was all happening and wrote this eye-popping account in more or less real time.

[…]

the bigger thing coming out of this raucous event isn’t what the one or two people said — though that was probably enough to be the takeaway for many for the entire conference — as the fact that the whole imbroglio ended with denunciations of the black woman who was the one person to go into freak out mode — pretty understandably — on hearing the merits of chattel slavery being argued in the 21st century at a panel on racial tolerance and outreach.

From the Benjy Sarlin link…Tea Party Event On Racial Tolerance Turns To Chaos As ‘Disenfranchised’ Arrive

A CPAC session sponsored by Tea Party Patriots and billed as a primer on teaching activists how to court black voters devolved into a shouting match as some attendees demanded justice for white voters and others shouted down a black woman who reacted in horror.

The session, entitled “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?” was led by K. Carl Smith, a black conservative who mostly urged attendees to deflect racism charges by calling themselves “Frederick Douglass Republicans.”

Disruptions began when he started accusing Democrats of still being the party of the Confederacy — a common talking point on the right.

“I don’t care how much the KKK improved,” he said. “I’m not going to join the KKK. The Democratic Party founded the KKK.”

Lines like that drew shouts of praise from some attendees and murmurs of disapproval from one non-conservative black attendee, Kim Brown, a radio host and producer with Voice of Russia, a broadcasting service of the Russian government.

But then questions and answers began. And things went off the rails.

Heh…heh, sorry for the laugh, but what the hell would you expect with a discussion entitled “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?”

Scott Terry of North Carolina, accompanied by a Confederate-flag-clad attendee, Matthew Heimbach, rose to say he took offense to the event’s take on slavery. (Heimbach founded the White Students Union at Towson University and is described as a “white nationalist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.)

“It seems to be that you’re reaching out to voters at the expense of young white Southern males,” Terry said, adding he “came to love my people and culture” who were “being systematically disenfranchised.”

Smith responded that Douglass forgave his slavemaster.

“For giving him shelter? And food?” Terry said.

At this point the event devolved into a mess of shouting. Organizers calmed things down by asking everyone to “take the debate outside after the presentation.”

I have to quote a bit more of this TPM post because it is just too fantastic…

Brown, who took offense at the suggestion modern Democrats were descendants of the KKK, tried to ask a question later once things finally calmed down. She was booed and screamed at by audience members.

“Let someone else speak!” one attendee in Revolutionary War garb shouted.

“You’re not welcome!” a white-haired older woman yelled.

Eventually she asked a question. It was about whether Republicans should call out racist ads.

Attendees interviewed by TPM afterwards expressed outrage at the way the event turned out. Not at Terry and Heimbach — they were mad at Brown.

Chad Chapman, 21, one of the few black attendees, said overall he enjoyed the event — except “there were lots of interruptions, mainly because of the woman.”

I asked whether he was concerned about the question from Terry and Heimbach.

“No they were just telling the truth,” he said. You mean you agree blacks are systematically disenfranchising whites, I asked?

“I listen to anybody’s point of view, it doesn’t really matter,” he said.

A media scrum formed around Terry immediately after the close of the event. A woman wearing a Tea Party Patriots CPAC credential who had shouted down Brown earlier urged him not to give his name to the press.

She wouldn’t give her name either, but I asked her what she thought.

“Look, you know there’s no doubt the white males are getting really beat up right now, it’s unfair,” she said. “I agree with that. My husband’s one of them. But I don’t think there’s a clear understanding about what really is going on. He needs to read Frederick Douglass and I think that question should be asked to everyone in this room who is debating.”

Alright, just go to the link and read the rest…including a statement from K. Carl  Smith, the man who led the session…wow.

Ralph Nader is the author of this next link: Walmart Bosses and the Minimum Wage

Last weekend on a bright, sunny day a dozen of us demonstrated at shopping malls where Walmart has three of its giant stores, supplied heavily by products from China and other serf-wage countries. But outsourcing the jobs of its American suppliers to China was not the focus last Saturday. We were drawing attention to the plight of one million Walmart workers who are making far less than what Walmart workers made in 1968 when the minimum wage was the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $10.50 an hour today.

In 1968 Walmart was run by its founder, the legendary Sam Walton, who started with one store in Bentonville, Arkansas. Sam had to pay his workers wages that were worth much more than wages today because the law required him to do so.

The clenched-jawed CEO opposition to catching the minimum wage up with 1968 for their workers continues to manifest itself today. CEOs seem to have little concern for the budget-squeezed daily lives of their employees.

These days, however, Walmart is feeling some heat with the rising demand for increasing the stagnant federal minimum wage finally coming from Washington, backed by over 70 percent of the people in polls. A Walmart rival, the successful Costco, has a CEO who already endorsed a federal minimum wage over $10.00 an hour. Costco starts its entry-level workers at $11.50 per hour plus benefits that Walmart workers do not receive. As blogger Alan DiCara said, “Walmart’s benefits department is the U.S. taxpayer.”

Yup, and read the rest of Nader’s post. I’d comment more on the sad situation with Walmart employees….but you all are well aware of the difficulties that come with working for minimum wage.

One thing I find funny is this latest image of the new pope…or should I say…the poor man’s pope.

Francis Emerges

Pope Francis Holds An Audience With Journalists And The Media

Hey, look at that…no designer ruby slippers for Pope Francis. You can read Andrew Sullivan’s take on the new pope here.

Meanwhile, here in the states…North Dakota Passes Ban on Abortions After 6 Weeks of Pregnancy

The North Dakota legislature approved the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States on Friday, cutting off abortion access as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The bill, HB 1456, makes it illegal for doctors to perform an abortion if a heartbeat is detectable in the fetus—something that can happen as little as six weeks after conception. It passed the Senate by a vote of 26 to 17, and will now head to the desk of Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

North Dakota lawmakers have been considering a variety of anti-abortion bills. While this wasn’t their most extreme option—another bill would have outlawed all abortions, period—it does mean that North Dakota now has the most restrictive abortion law in the country. This comes just over a week after Arkansas claimed the crown for most restrictive abortion laws, passing a twelve-week ban.

This new law will more than likely be challenged in court, but damn…six weeks? That is ridiculous.

Now for some real interesting stories…in link dump fashion.

Remains of Teutonic Knights Identified

Polish archaeologists have identified the remains of three grand masters of the Teutonic Knights, a medieval religious and military order that ruled much of the Baltic coast in the late Middle Ages.

Take a look at this post and you may find something new to read…New Books on the Middle Ages: March | Medieval News

There is a beautiful gallery here about Science as art: Photography competition brings the two disciplines together

Albert Einstein’s claim that “The greatest scientists are artists as well,” is illustrated by some of the contenders for a photography competition at Cambridge University on Tuesday.

And since it is St. Patrick’s Day, we will end with something green…Globe glows green: It’s St Patrick’s Day fever

 

Sláinte is the traditional greeting today, and the normal toast is made with a pint of a certain black stout. More extreme fans of St Patrick’s Day – as found among those of Irish descent in the US – will be dressing in as much green as they can lay their hands on, painting their faces and even dyeing their hair.

This year, in celebration of the Celtic saint’s day, more than 40 international landmarks are being lit in green. From the pyramids and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to the Sydney Opera House and South Africa’s Table Mountain: some of the most recognised man-made and geographical attractions will join a host of British landmarks to “go green”.

Be sure to check out those go green images at the link.

So what are you doing today? Share your thoughts with us…


Open Thread: Funny huh?

8022105556140532_yPt36V7F_cGood Evening

Early this morning something strange happened to me, it may have been a seizure, but I’m not sure. I went to the doctor and she is sending me to a neurologist but I have to tell you this…at the doctor’s office they had me get on a scale.

Damn…I ain’t too sure about the seizure but I am damn sure I had a heart attack when I read what my weight was on the scale.   (Actually, I really do think I had a seizure, guess we will find out for sure next month.)

Anyway, because of my brain crapping out on me today, I will just put up some links for you.

Be sure to read them and please post what you want in the comments.

South Dakota Legislature Approves ‘Women Can’t Think on Weekends’ Bill | Right Wing Watch

Constituents laugh at Republican’s ignorance of trans-vaginal ultrasounds | The Raw Story

FRC’s Tony Perkins: Democrats Aligned with ‘Jewish Lobby,’ ‘Enjoy the Money’ Coming from Jews | Right Wing Watch

Some Arkansas Legislators Do the Time Warp; Pass Most Extreme Abortion Bill In The Nation – ACLU Blog

This is an open thread.


Friday Reads

victorian girl

Good

Morning!

I really don’t intend this to be a post about Republican crazy but we’re going to start out with that subject.  Let’s hope this post morphs into something else by the time I’m done.

Apparently it took a female Republican to come up with the most vicious way to punish women who had the audacity to get themselves raped.

Wednesday, state representative Cathrynn Brown of New Mexico introduced a bill whose sheer audacity makes Todd Akins look as harmless as an ill-informed teenager groping his way through puberty.

The proposed legislation, House Bill 206, would make it illegal for a woman to have an abortion after being raped because the fetus is evidence of the crime. A women who does choose to have an abortion would be charged with the third-degree felony of “tampering with evidence,” which carries up to a three year prison sentence in New Mexico.

As the bill states:

“Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.

In other words, Brown just said to rape victims: give birth to this baby or you’ll go to jail.

Crazy Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says the “GOP is a populist party’ and is the party of the middle class.  Whoa, something in that exorcism must be causing him to have some kind of flash back.  Here’s Tiger Beat on the Potomac:

“We must quit ‘big,’” he said. “We are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes or big anything. We must not be the party that simply protects the well off so they can keep their toys … We are the party whose ideas will help the middle class, and help more folks join the middle class.”

He called repeatedly for a reorienting of the party’s focus from the Beltway to state capitols.

“We believe in planting the seeds of growth in the fertile soil of your economy, where you live, where you work, invest, and dream, not in the barren concrete of Washington,” he said. “If it’s worth doing, block grant it to the states. If it’s something you don’t trust the states to do, then maybe Washington shouldn’t do it at all. We believe solving problems closer to home should always be our first, not last, option.”

Well, he did explain one of the ways he’s made everything worse down here along with that call out to states being able to do what ever they want which sounds remarkably like returning reinstating Jim Crow and expanding Jane Crow.

The Louisiana governor suggested “re-thinking nearly every social program in Washington” in a speech to members of the Republican National Committee gathered here.

“If any rational human being were to create our government anew, today, from a blank piece of paper – we would have about one fourth of the buildings we have in Washington and about half of the government workers,” he said, according to a copy of the speech obtained in advance by POLITICO. “We would replace most of its bureaucracy with a handful of good websites.”

I’ve been caught in one of his website hells as well as the result of his passion for getting rid of every service that a government more efficiently provides. Things have been replaced by endless phone trees and decidedly unhelpful websites.  It ain’t pretty or compassionate.  It’s more like being thrown into Somalia.

So, here’s a good time to talk about some interesting facts about Dung Beetles.   This is from the National Geographic which should send out a crew to figure out if there’s any sign of intelligent life in Republican held state houses through out the country.  Dung Beetles evidently have a keener sense of the right way to go than Republicans as they navigate via the Milky Way.

Talk about star power—a new study shows that dung beetles navigate via the Milky Way, the first known species to do so in the animal kingdom.

The tiny insects can orient themselves to the bright stripe of light generated by our galaxy, and move in a line relative to it, according to recent experiments in South Africa.

“This is a complicated navigational feat—it’s quite impressive for an animal that size,” said il_fullxfull.403267997_ydu1study co-author Eric Warrant, a biologist at the University of Lund in Sweden.

Speaking of moving balls of dung around, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has wimped out on Filibuster reform.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have come to a deal on filibuster reform. The deal is this: The filibuster will not be reformed. But the way the Senate moves to consider new legislation and most nominees will be.  Here’s an explanation from Beltway Bob errrr Ezra Klein.

What will be reformjfk_relaxing_outside_mouse_pads-p144021643615572926envq7_400ed is how the Senate moves to consider new legislation, the process by which all nominees — except Cabinet-level appointments and Supreme Court nominations — are considered, and the number of times the filibuster can be used against a conference report. You can read the full text of the compromise, which was sent out to Senate offices this morning, here (pdf).

But even those reforms don’t go as far as they might. Take the changes to the motion to proceed, by which the Senate moves to consider a new bill. Reid seemed genuinely outraged over the way the process has bogged down in recent years.

“What the Republicans have done is turn the motion to proceed on its head,” he argued. “It was originally set up to allow somebody to take a look at a piece of legislation. What the Republicans have done is they simply don’t allow me to get on the bill. I want to go to it on a Monday, they make me file cloture, that takes till Tuesday. Then it takes two days for the cloture vote to ‘ripen,’ so now it’s Thursday, and even if I get 60 votes, they still have 30 hours to twiddle their thumbs, pick their nose, do whatever they want. So, I’m not on the bill by the weekend, and in reality, that means next Monday or Tuesday.”

But the deal Reid struck with McConnell doesn’t end the filibuster against the motion to proceed. Rather, it creates two new pathways for moving to a new bill. In one, the majority leader can, with the agreement of the minority leader and seven senators from each party, sidestep the filibuster when moving to a new bill. In the other, the majority leader can short-circuit the filibuster against moving to a new bill so long as he allows the minority party to offer two germane amendments. Note that in all cases, the minority can still filibuster the bill itself.

Mary Jo White has been appointed to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by President Barack Obama.

Currently the head of litigation at Debevoise & Plimpton, a private law firm, Ms White will add a female voice to Mr Obama’s second-term team, which is so far dominated by men. More importantly, the former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York has experience policing Wall Street, which fell under her jurisdiction. Mr Obama has slammed bankers for their role in the financial crisis and ensuing recession. The choice of Ms White seems to signal his resolve in getting tough with the banks.The appointment is not without controversy. Ms White has benefited from the revolving door between public service and private practice. In the aftermath of the crisis, financial firms sought the assistance of former regulators with strong ties to the government. In a scathing article on Bloomberg‘s website, Jonathan Weil notes that Ms White participated in the defence of many people and institutions at the heart of the financial collapse. In October 2008 she was cited in a critical report by the SEC’s inspector general for receiving “relevant information” that was not publicly available. Some will ask whether she is truly a poacher turned gamekeeper or simply setting herself up for another lucrative turn through the revolving door.Mr Obama, for one, is convinced he is getting the “tough-as-nails prosecutor”. By putting Ms White at the SEC, he has suggested that the agency’s priority is enforcement. But a bigger challenge may come from the sprawling Dodd-Frank legislation, and its many gaps and contradictions. Much of the next chairman’s time should be devoted to rethinking how America’s capital markets are structured, and deciding how that vision will be translated into the numerous rules the SEC is required to write under Dodd-Frank’s sloppy mandates. Ms White, in other words, has a big job ahead of her.

Well, today’s post sorta took an interesting turn didn’t it?  It went from crazy Republicans to wimpy Democrats with one little mention of the only smart and honest shit pusher in between.  Well, at least the pictures are fun to look at.

What’s on your blogging and reading list today?


The War on Constitutional Rights

We’ve already seen many many ways that states are trying to restrict constitutionally-granted rights like voting. Many states are trying to restrict the rights of women and the GLBT community.  Access to abortion rights suffered severe blows under any state suffering from Republican Majority Rule.  A recent report showed that 39 states enacted restrictions on a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.

Here are some examples of the kinds of assaults that women have had to endure as Republican majorities try to force them further into second class citizenship.

– Waiting periods: So far this year, states have considered requiring counseling and extending waiting periods for women seeking an abortion. In April, Utah enacted the most extreme waiting period law by requiring women to wait a full 72 hours between obtaining counseling and having the procedure. Twenty-five other states have waiting period laws that generally require the woman to wait 24 hours.

– Fetal heartbeat: Oklahoma and Louisiana adopted measures that attempt to use the fetal heartbeat to dissuade women from seeking an abortion. The Oklahoma law requires health providers to offer women the opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat if they are after eight weeks’ postfertilization. In Louisiana, health providers must make the heartbeat audible, often necessitating a transvaginal ultrasound.

– Mental health: Arizona and South Dakota passed laws requiring counseling on the unsubstantiated negative mental health consequences of abortion. Nine states now require the counseling. The myth that there is a causal link between abortion and mental health issues has been largely debunked by mental health professionals.

– Public pressure helps: Only 30 percent of abortion restrictions passed by one chamber have actually been enacted so far this year, a significantly lower rate than the proportion signed into law at this point in 2011. Public pushback against the transvaginal ultrasound law in Virginia likely squashed momentum for similar provisions in Alabama, Idaho, and Pennsylvania. In addition, last November’s defeat of the Mississippi personhood amendment probably helped thwart efforts for similar laws elsewhere in the country.

This really does look like a war on Women and their health. It will take years to unravel the damage that Bobby Jindal has done in Louisiana in just a few short years.

A year ago, 2011 was record-breaking in terms of attacks on reproductive health. While this year is set to have fewer restrictions on the books, 2012′s figures are still higher than any year prior to 2011. As was the case last year, issues related to abortion and family planning funding were lightning rod issues in a few state legislatures. In fact, 14 of the new restrictions have been enacted in just three states — Arizona, Louisiana, and South Dakota — three of the most hostile to reproductive health.

No wonder my Ob/gyn daughter is trying to move to the safety of a blue state where the state government doesn’t try to influence what she can and cannot do as a doctor.  Here’s the 19 worst states to live for women who would prefer the states stay out of their VAGINAS!


Mitt Romney’s Positions on Social Issues Dictated by Church Leaders

Mormon Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah

On January 26, I wrote a post about an excerpt from the biography The Real Romney that had just been published by Vanity Fair. The Vanity Fair article detailed Romney’s cruel treatment of women when he was a Bishop and later Stake President in Boston’s Mormon community.

In doing a little further research on one of those women, Judith Dushku, and came across an earler interview with Dushku in which she recounted a conversation with Romney in which he told her he had been given permission by his church leaders to lie about his views on abortion and LGBT rights. A few years before, Romney had cut Dushku out of his life because she supported a women who had to choose between having an abortion and losing her own life. Here’s the relevant excerpt from my post:

A few years after the friendship ended, Romney ran for the Senate in 1994 against Ted Kennedy. Dushku was very surprised to learn that Romney was running as a pro-choice candidate. Dushku:

I was pleased and called, asking to see him. I told him I suspected that we had our differences, but that maybe I could work with him if he’d come to a really good position on women and childbirth.

And he said – Yes, come to my office.

I went to his office and I congratulated him on taking a pro-choice position. And his response was – Well they told me in Salt Lake City I could take this position, and in fact I probably had to in order to win in a liberal state like Massachusetts.

Suzan Mazur: Who’s “THEY”?

Judy Dushku: I asked him the same question. And he said “the Brethren” in Salt Lake City.

In other words, Romney was consulting with his church elders before deciding his positions on the issues, and they told him to lie!

Last night The Daily Beast published a post by famed investigative reporter Wayne Barrett that adds weight to Dushku’s testimony. Barrett begins by discussing portions of another Romney biography, Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and his Politics, by R.B. Scott, a former reporter for Time and a “distant cousin” of Mitt Romney’s, as well as an adviser to Romney early on. In the book, Scott writes about

numerous trips Romney has taken to the mountaintop to square his positions on social issues like abortion and gay rights with church hierarchy….[and] he describes how Romney came away from these Salt Lake treks bolstered by a flexible understanding he reached with the brass: He was able to moderate his views during his runs for Senate and the governorship in liberal Massachusetts, yet he could still find his way back to doctrinal purity once in the governor’s mansion and safely on to his way to the White House….

Scott says that 1993 trip “established a pattern” that Romney “would follow in years to come when deliberating about whether to run for Massachusetts governor in 2002, and, especially, before announcing his candidacy for president in 2007.”

In the spring and early summer of 2005, while Romney was still Massachusetts governor and preparing to set up his first presidential PACs, he visited Salt Lake so often that one senior church official said he “basically camped out” at church headquarters, according to Scott. Gordon Hinckley, the president and prophet with decades of ties to the Romney family (he and Mitt’s father, George, went to high school together), reportedly found the frequency and “dithering,” as Scott put it, “a little tiresome.”

During the Republican primaries this year, there was much discussion about Jack Kennedy’s famous speech to Southern Baptist ministers in Dallas in 1960. Kennedy was forced by constant questioning to pledge his independence from the Roman Catholic Church–even though Kennedy never traveled to Rome to seek guidance on political issues and was never a member of his church’s hierarchy as Romney was for many years.

Why is Romney being given a pass on his lack of independence from Mormon church leaders? Why do you suppose these church leaders gave Romney dispensation to hide his “severely conservative” views from voters until he had taken office as Governor of Massachusetts? Here is Scott’s answer, as reported by Barrett (emphasis added):

In 1993, Romney went to Salt Lake with a Mormon pollster and poll results showing that he couldn’t win in Massachusetts without moderating his positions on those sorts of issues. “They realized it would serve no purpose to quibble—the greater good was to get him elected and give him a shot at realizing the victory his father booted 40 years earlier,” Scott writes. “Did they see him as a future presidential candidate? Did he? Do the statues of Angel Moroni atop every Mormon temple always face east?”

In other words, Scott is contending that the church in effect licensed Romney’s better-than-Kennedy promises on gay rights, as well as his pink flyers at the Gay Pride Parade in 2002 that beckoned: “All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference.”

I won’t belabor the White Horse Prophecy myth again, but it certainly appears that Mormon church leaders very much want a man in the White House who will follow their “advice.”


Monday Reads

Good Morning!

More news on the assault on the rights of US women and a case that may put Roe v. Wade back on the SCOTUS  Docket.  We’ve written of this one before; however, Newsweek has some extra analysis.  Jennie McCormick was arrested for using RU-486 to terminate a pregnancy in her home state of Idaho.  She got the pills from her sister and was reported to police by a friend.  So, what exactly is her crime?  Her pregnancy was a few weeks farther along than the one trimester.

McCormack, who thought she was about 12 weeks along, took the pills (the protocol involves two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol) the afternoon they arrived. The drugs are FDA-approved only for ending early-stage pregnancies; McCormack had no complications, but the pregnancy turned out to be more advanced than she thought—perhaps between 18 and 21 weeks, experts later speculated—and the size of the fetus scared her. She didn’t know what to do—“I was paralyzed,” she says—so she put it in a box on her porch, and, terrified, called a friend. That friend then called his sister, who reported McCormack to the police.

Although RU-486 is legal and the fetus was not yet “viable” (that is, old enough to live outside the uterus), Idaho has a 1972 law—never before enforced—making it a crime punishable by five years in prison for a woman to induce her own abortion. The day after police arrested McCormack, her mug shot appeared above the fold in the local newspaper. “It’s hard to imagine the humiliation and fear,” says her lawyer, Richard Hearn, who is also a physician.

The case was dropped weeks later due to lack of evidence. Without solid proof, such as the envelope in which the pills came, her confession wasn’t enough to sustain the case. But prosecutors retained the right to re-file charges. In response, Hearn got a federal injunction to prevent any woman from being prosecuted under the state’s anti-abortion statute by the district attorney. He also filed a class-action suit against the state, claiming the statute is unconstitutional. But all that took nine months to play out, and McCormack lurched into depression and became a virtual shut-in.

“You’d have to know the climate here,” says Hearn, “to fully imagine the amount of pressure Jennie is under, how hostile people can be, how isolated she is.” Next week, motions will be heard in federal court to certify the suit as a class action. Last week, the prosecutor filed a motion to have Hearn’s injunction lifted.

This is basically the new frontier of the back alley abortion.  Approximately 20 percent of abortions now involve pills abortion drugs.  They are 95% effective and many can be mail ordered over the internet.  Restrictions on abortion providers and funding all over the country may increase the necessity of using abortion drugs.  This could be a central case in the fight for women’s reproductive rights and our constitutional rights.

Last night North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died.  His third son will replace him.  Frontline has an interesting series of programs  on Kim that you may want to watch.

Speaking of Tin Pot dictators, John Boehner and his house republicans have blocked the payroll tax cuts.  Only tax cuts for billionaires seem to be acceptable to the minions of Grover Norquist.

In an interview on “Meet The Press” on NBC, John A. Boehner, the House speaker, said his members broadly opposed the two-month extension that passed the Senate 89 to 10 on Saturday, believing that it would be “just kicking the can down the road.”

“It’s time to just stop, do our work, resolve the differences, and extend this for one year,” Mr. Boehner said. “How can you have tax policy for two months?”

The surprising setback threatened the holiday plans of lawmakers and President Obama, deeply embarrassed Republican leaders in both chambers and raised the specter of a year-end tax increase that economists have warned could set back the already fragile economic recovery

The House is to take up the Senate bill — passed in a rare Saturday session — when members return to Capitol Hill on Monday night. House leaders expect the bill to fail and their members to then consider and perhaps vote on an amended version that same night.

Horrifying violence in Egypt extends to women protestors.  Two women were photographed being brutally beaten and molested by Egyptian Security forces.

In a video broadcast on the internet, security forces dressed in riot gear are seen chasing a woman and beating her to the ground with metal bars before stripping her and kicking her repeatedly. One soldier stamps his foot hard on her chest.

Other images showed women beaten unconscious.

After being viciously beaten by the ten-strong mob, the woman lies helplessly on the ground as her shirt is ripped from her body and a man kicks her with full force in her exposed chest.

Moments earlier she had been struck countless times in the head and body with metal batons, not content with the brutal beating delivered by his fellow soldier, one man stamped on her head repeatedly.

She feebly tried to shield her head from the relentless blows with her hands.

But she was knocked unconscious in the shameful attack and left lying motionless as the military men mindlessly continued to beat her limp and half-naked body.

Before she was set upon by the guards, three men appeared to carry her as they tried to flee the approaching military.

But they were too slow and the soldiers caught up with them, capturing the women and knocking one of the men to the ground.

I’m just glad we didn’t share our armed drone technology with Mubarak.

William D. Cohen has a killer essay up at Bloomberg called: Corzine Another Victim of the Alpha-Male Curse.

For years, I have wondered why, for some people, enough is never enough. For example, what could have possibly motivated Jon Corzine — a respected former senator, governor and Wall Street big shot with hundreds of millions in the bank — to take the top job at MF Global Holdings Ltd (MF) in the first place?

He was 63 years old, six months away from getting remarried. He was one of the few remaining high-profile Wall Street Democrats around, and an avid supporter of President Barack Obama. He was routinely mentioned as a possible successor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, if Obama were to win a second term.

Why couldn’t Corzine just enjoy his fortune, perhaps set up an eponymous foundation to do good works, bide his time and then use his connections to become Treasury secretary? He already had a cushy perch at Princeton University, where he invited any number of finance types to teach his class while he basked in their reflective glory. Life was good. (Disclosure: I once taught the class, although the amount of glory reflected is debatable.)

There’s a fascinating set of articles on the CERN particle collider and the hunt for The Higgs boson particle at The Economist.

The announcement, by Fabiola Gianotti and Guido Tonelli—the heads, respectively, of two experiments at CERN known as ATLAS and CMS—was that both of their machines have seen phenomena which look like traces of the Higgs. They are traces, rather than actual bosons, because no Higgs will ever be seen directly. The best that can be hoped for are patterns of breakdown particles from Higgses that are, themselves, the results of head-on collisions between protons travelling in opposite directions around CERN’s giant accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Heavy objects like Higgs bosons can break down in several different ways, but each of these ways is predictable. Both ATLAS and CMS have seen a number of these predicted patterns often enough to pique interest, but not (yet) often enough to constitute proof that they came from Higgses, rather than being random fluctuations in the background of non-Higgs decays.

The crucial point, and the reason for the excitement, is that both ATLAS and CMS (which are located in different parts of the ring-shaped accelerator tunnel of the LHC) have come up with the same results. Both indicate that, if what they have seen really are Higgses, then the boson has a mass of about 125 giga-electron-volts (GeV), in the esoteric units which are used to measure how heavy subatomic particles are. That coincidence bolsters the suggestion that this is the real thing, rather than a few chance fluctuations.

Bradley Manning begins his 4th day of his preliminary hearing.  The third day brought some interesting testimony on the atmosphere surrounding the sort of intelligence Manning saw.

However, the witnesses also said soldiers at the intelligence analysis center Manning worked at in Iraq routinely flouted the Army’s safeguards for classified information by playing music, movies and video games on computers that were part of the military’s secure network for classified information.

Some in the brigade even used a “password-crack program” to break into the administrator account and add software, a civilian computer contractor who handled Manning’s unit, Jason Milliman, testified.

“They thought they had full rights and were able to whatever they wanted to do,” said Milliman, who said he couldn’t stop the unauthorized practices because he had no authority over the soldiers.

Capt. Thomas Cherepko, who was in charge of the computer network at Manning’s base in eastern Iraq, said the presence of unauthorized programs on the classified computers was routine

Asked if the rules were “violated on a daily basis,” Cherepko said: “More or less, yes sir.”

Well, that should start things off today.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


This is NOT what a Feminist Looks Like (yet again)

I watched the last presidential presser this afternoon.  The President wants to be seen as a fighter, yet once again, the President will not fight for the constitutional rights or health of our country’s women.

Here’s the sum up from USA Today.

President Obama said today that “as the father of two daughters,” he supports his Health secretary’s decision to block over-the-counter sales of the Plan B “morning after” birth control pill to girls under 17 years of age.

“I did not get involved in the process,” Obama said during a White House news conference, though he added he supports the decision by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Sebelius, overruling the Food and Drug Administration, said there are too many questions about the safety of Plan B for girls who can bear children as young as 10 or 11 years old.

“I think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine,” Obama said during an impromptu news conference at the White House.

He said Sebelius decided 10- and 11-year-olds should not be able to buy the drug “alongside bubble gum or batteries” because it could have an adverse effect if not used properly. He said “most parents” probably feel the same way.

Put another way:

From Empty Wheel: Obama: “As the Father of 2 Daughters” I Want the Government to Ignore Science

Barack Obama, who was educated in the country’s most esteemed universities, has implied that having daughters has convinced him the government should ignore science.

From FDL: Obama’s Deeply Paternalistic Statement on Plan B Decision

This is a pure expression of male paternalism regarding women being able to make their own reproductive decisions. … Who needs lengthy scientific review, when apparently father knows best?

I have only one more question.  Have any of you ever seen any kind of drug stored next to batteries or bubble gum?  When is the last time this man visited a pharmacy?