Friday Reads

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Good Morning!!!

Since it’s the beginning of the Labor Day weekend, I thought I’d start out with some Labor News.  There are so many jobs these days that don’t really pay a living wage in the US that it’s really astounding.  Fast Food Workers are among the lowest paid in the country.

Fast-food workers went on strike and protested outside McDonald’s, Burger King and other restaurants in 60 U.S. cities on Thursday, in the largest protest of an almost year-long campaign to raise service sector wages.

Rallies were held in cities from New York to Oakland and stretched into the South, historically difficult territory for organized labor.

The striking workers say they want to unionize without retaliation in order to collectively bargain for a “living wage.”

They are demanding $15 an hour, more than twice the federal minimum of $7.25. The median wage for front-line fast-food workers is $8.94 per hour, according to an analysis of government data by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), an advocacy group for lower-wage workers.

“It’s almost impossible to get by (alone),” said McDonald’s worker Rita Jennings, 37, who was among about 100 protesters who marched in downtown Detroit Thursday. “You have to live with somebody to make it.”

Rush Limbaugh was all agog and demagogue about the striking workers

LIMBAUGH: If you want a “living wage,” if you don’t like what fast food restaurants pay, then do something else. It’s just that simple. Go to a trade school. Go to another business. Start your own business. Maybe the work that you are capable of isn’t yet worth $15 an hour at a fast-food restaurant. Maybe the consumer doesn’t want to pay $10 for a Big Mac so that people working at McDonald’s make $15 an hour. It’s not just a one-way strata.

You don’t just sit there and double what the employees at McDonald’s make and keep the prices the same. Now, you may think this is obvious, folks, and you may think, “Come on, Rush,” you’d be amazed at how many people do not understand the push-pull in economics. You’d be amazed at the number of people who have taken economics courses who think that the truth about headaches is that the boss is a cheap skinflint and wants his employees to starve and wants to screw his customers.

That’s the basis of their understanding, and they go from there, and they are applauded by left-wing Democrat politicians for holding that belief, and they’re encouraged to have it. Now, to those of you who, like Sean from San Diego, are sympathetic to this demand for the minimum wage at Mickey D’s to go from $7.15 or $7.25 an hour to $15, let me ask you this: When you buy a meal, do you make sure that you’re paying a fair price for it?

When you walk in there, do you ask the employee, “Look, am I paying enough here so that you can get a livable wage? When you go in and buy a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder with cheese or a double Quarter Pounder with cheese, do you look at the price is and say, “Are you sure that this costs enough that you can make a livable wage?” Or do you just get a little upset when you think it’s a little too expensive?

Limbaugh was lecturing fast workers on getting a better job as he sat in his mansion with no clue what it is like to work and survive on minimum wage. Limbaugh’s lecture was centered around a couple of the Republicans favorite falsehoods. Rush was pretending that there are better jobs out there for minimum wage workers.

Some happy news for married GLBT workers!  The IRS and the US Treasury will recognize your marriage.  You get the standard marriage deduction!!

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The ruling implements federal tax aspects of the June 26th Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” said Secretary Jacob J. Lew. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

Under the ruling, same sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including income and gift and estate taxes. The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA, and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.

I joined the Sisterhood of the Pink Shoes this weekend.  Meanwhile, the real sister with the pink shoes is doing really well in the fundraising arena.

In the six weeks following her headline-grabbing filibuster, Wendy Davis raised $1.2 million — nearly 40 percent of it from outside Texas. Davis drew national attention following the filibuster against an abortion-restriction bill that helped shut down the Texas Senate and prompted Gov. Rick Perry to call lawmakers back into another special session. In the wake of Davis’ new-found fame, Davis has been urged by some Democrats to run for governor next year. She says she will announce her political plans — whether to run for reelection as a senator from Fort Worth or as a Democrat for governor — in a few weeks.

Martin Luther King was fighting for working folks when he was assassinated.  We’ve already said that no Republicans showed up to commemorate the March on Washington.  Where were they?  

So what was did they do instead? Well, Boehner was in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and had no public events scheduled, but he has been headlining GOP fundraisers all this month, so it’s a fairly safe to assume that he was raising cash at the time. Cantor, meanwhile was touring an oil field in North Dakota. The Grand Forks Herald reports:

Cantor, hosted by Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., met with energy industry and community leaders at a crew camp in Williston, toured a drilling site and other oilfield locations in the Bakken and met with North Dakota Petroleum Council members in Watford City.

Cantor praised North Dakota’s approach to energy development and said the country needs to follow the state’s example and adopt a national energy policy.

“I hope to be able to tell the president that there’s a lot for him to learn here as far as energy production here in America,” Cantor said. “North Dakota seems to have gotten it right.”

The North Dakota Petroleum Council, by the way, is a lobby group that represents the state’s oil and gas industry. That’s what Cantor was doing on the day of the march.

Here’s a little bit of News on New Orleans 8 years after Katrina.

Now optimism is rising as a rebounding city approaches the 300th anniversary of its 1718 founding.

“The city is a much better place than it was eight years ago. The biggest challenge we have is blight,” Landrieu said, adding that 10,000 blighted properties have been removed from the cityscape.

A thriving downtown and newly vibrant neighborhoods contrast starkly with the city’s appearance eight years ago. When Katrina hit, thousands of people who couldn’t escape New Orleans in time were trapped in homes as levees broke and floodwaters rose. Helicopters plucked the desperate from rooftops as chaos spread. The damaged Superdome became a refuge of misery for thousands as tempatures and tempers soared.

Days afterward then-President George W. Bush promised the nation’s full attention. But federal authorities were sharply criticized for their early response and local and state authorities as well. And though billions of federal dollars have helped to rebuild a strengthened levee system, many locals remain bitter with the Army Corps of Engineers for the failure of the levees.

Landrieu said he’s intent on moving forward.

“I think that we have successfully done the most important thing, which was to think about building the city back the way she should have always been and not the way she was,” he said.

Landrieu said rebuilding has even meant re-organizing government operations, streamlining finances, curbing waste and fraud and reorganizing the city’s education system – even adding new fire and police stations, parks and libraries.

The weird thing about the blight is that it’s in areas that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to have ramshackled buildings and over grown lots.  Every time I go from my home near the Mississippi River towards the Lake I see blight on the way.  It pops up in the newer suburban areas as well as older neighborhoods.  There are still a lot of eye sores and it appears it’s going to take a long time for many of them to be torn down or restored.  Thankfully, the historic parts of the city appear to be well on the mend.  Unfortunately, the infrastructure is so gone in many areas that the blight will remain for some time.

That’s my offering today!  What’s on your reading and blogging list?


Friday Reads

Good Morning!

There are so many headlines flying about at the moment of interest that it’s hard to pick just a few this morning.  Let’s start with some big ones that won’t go away.

A 267 page internal investigation of pedophile Jerry Sandusky shows that every knew and they all concealed the horrible crimes. Gawker sums up the shameful findings.

If you don’t have time to review the full 267-page internal investigationof the Penn State scandal, here’s the gist: Everyone knew. Former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno knew. Former Penn State University president Graham Spanier knew. Former Penn State University vice president Gary Schultz knew. Penn State Athletic Director (currently on leave) Tim Curley knew. Everyone knew. As far back as 1998, when they learned of a criminal investigation of Sandusky related to an instance of suspected sexual misconduct with a boy in a PSU football locker room shower.

Here’s a paragraph from investigator Louis Freeh’s remarks sent out alongside his report that damns “the most powerful leaders at Penn State University” quite succinctly:

“Taking into account the available witness statements and evidence, it is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at Penn State University – Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley – repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the Board of Trustees, Penn State community, and the public at large. Although concern to treat the child abuser humanely was expressly stated, no such sentiments were ever expressed by them for Sandusky’s victims.”

It’s really hard to put together the words that describe exactly how disgusted I am by this statement.  That last sentence just is shameful.  This sums up just about everything there is to say about how people in power with an agenda will behave when their interests are placed above everything else.

You wouldn’t know about the complete meltdown over Mitt Shady in the MSM and everyplace else if you hang out in right blogosphere or listen to Rush Limbaugh. It’s a wonderful day for race-baiting!  They’re stuck on the NAACP Romney appearance and appear oblivious to the continued uncovering of Romney’s lies to every one including two federal agencies.  Nope.  Rush just turns up the volume and hate. Here’s more on that from MoJo.

“Obama’s the Preezy,” Limbaugh told his listeners Wednesday, (get it? Cuz that’s how black people talk). “He’s confident they’ll boo Romney, simply ’cause Romney’s white. He’s confident of that.” I’m sure Limbaugh will have an impressive rationalization for why Vice President Joe Biden was so well received by the NAACP convention Thursday. This is, put simply, the dumbest thing Limbaugh has said since the time the 61-year old radio host revealed he didn’t know how birth control works.

Romney has now said he “expected” to get booed, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi accused Romney of wanting to get booed in order to make himself look politically brave. Like Limbaugh’s ridiculous comment, Romney and Pelosi’s statements are unfair to the NAACP. There has only been one black president of the United States in history, and Mitt Romney is not the first white presidential candidate to address the NAACP. When Ross Perot (!) adressed the convention in 1992, press accounts don’t describe any boos despite Perot referring to the audience as “you people.” Then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was well received. Former Republican Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan.) declined to speak, saying he wanted to talk to audiences he “could relate to.”Both Al Gore and George W. Bush addressed the convention in 2000, and neither were booed.

There are only two instances in the past thirty years or so in which a “white guy” of comparable status to Romney getting booed at an NAACP convention. Following his appearance in 2000, George W. Bush snubbed the NAACP for years as president, but when he finally did speak in 2006, he was booed when he brought up charter schools and the war in Iraq. Prior to that, you have to go back about twenty years of white guys not getting booed to 1983, when then-Vice President George H.W. Bush was booed because of his defense of the Reagan administration’s civil rights record. Even then, ABC News describes him as being “well received” when he returned as a presidential candidate in 1988.

Here’s something interesting from Paul Krugman quoted at Politico: “I miss Bush’s ‘honesty’.”

The “radicalized” GOP has gone so far off the deep end, according to Paul Krugman, that it has the New York Times columnist wishing for the days of George W. Bush.

Only one side’s to blame for our “nightmarishly dysfunctional political situation,” he tells Business Insider.

“It’s entirely one-sided,” Krugman said. “That’s one of those things, you know, the centrists — you want to be a centrist, and you want to blame both sides, and it’s one of those almost hilarious things because you see it again and again, the pundits who say, ‘Here’s what President Obama should do, he should reach out across the divide and propose some short-term stimulus but long-term spending cuts to balance the budget, and you say, ‘He’s actually proposed that.’”

“We have a radicalized, off-the-deep end Republican Party,” the Nobel Prize–winning economist added.

Krugman puts the GOP’s latest presidential candidate in that category.

“I find myself now, watching Mitt Romney campaign, I find myself wishing for the honesty of George W. Bush,” he said.

The FBI has released its report on George Zimmerman–shooter of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin–and has determined there is no evidence of racism present. CSM reports on the findings.

After interviewing 30 people familiar with George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain charged with killing African-American teenager Trayvon Martin, FBI agents found no evidence that the shooting was driven by racial bias or animus.

Before Thursday’s release of a Department of Justice report, both sides have argued over whether smatterings of racially charged testimony should be released to the public before the trial – in particular, the testimony of “Witness 9,” whom state prosecutors say has described an “act” by Mr. Zimmerman that suggests “he had a bias toward black people.”

The report released Thursday made clear that the FBI found no one willing to go on the record as saying Zimmerman is racist. Even one of the most skeptical local investigators with the Sanford, Fla., police department, Chris Serino, suggested to the FBI that Zimmerman followed Trayvon “based on his attire,” not “skin color,” and added that he thought Zimmerman had a “little hero complex,” but is not racist, according to the Orlando Sentinel, which obtained copies of the document.

Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled Trayvon as a criminal (though the teen was doing nothing wrong), followed him, confronted him, and then killed him after a brief scuffle. Zimmerman says he shot Trayvon in self-defense after the teen jumped him, knocked him down, and bashed his head against a sidewalk. The case caused a national uproar over racial profiling and gun laws after local police originally declined to charge Zimmerman. Forty-four days after the shooting, a special state prosecutor charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder.

The report outlines how FBI agents asked each person interviewed whether Zimmerman “displayed any bias, prejudice or irrational attitude against any class of citizen, religious, racial, gender or ethnic groups.” No one said he had.

More information is available at the paper’s website.

I want to add a few interesting links since this is Friday! First, the CSM reviews DNA evidence that shows that indigenous Americans came to this side of the world in at least three waves.

Supporting a controversial view of how humans might have populated the Western Hemisphere, geneticists have found that groups from Asia traveled over the Bering Strait into North America in at least three separate migrations beginning more than 15,000 years ago — not in a single wave, as has been widely thought.

“We have various lines of evidence that there was more than one migration,” said Dr. Andres Ruiz-Linares, a professor of human genetics at University College London and senior author of a report on the findings that was published Wednesday by the journal Nature.The discovery was made possible by the sheer volume of genetic material the team was able to assemble and analyze, he said.

Ruiz-Linares and colleagues around the world analyzed DNA samples, primarily from blood, taken from hundreds of modern-day Native Americans and other indigenous people representing 52 distinct populations. These included Inuits of east and west Greenland, Canadian groups including the Algonquin and the Ojibwa, and a larger variety of people spanning the southern regions of the Americas from Mexico to Peru.

Investigating patterns in more than 350,000 gene variants, the scientists determined that most of the groups they studied did indeed descend from an original “First American” population.

One last link!  Ever wonder how dinosaurs had sex? Here’s some information on T-Rex’s Sex Life from the Daily Mail.  There’s even some paintings that depict the act.  Consider this!

Scientific illustrators have also attempted to capture the intriguing rituals of the huge beasts – including an illustrator who worked with Dr Halstead on a magazine article in 1988.

The physical challenges involved must have been formidable.

The penis of a tyrannosaur is estimated to be around 12 feet long.

Kristi Curry Rogers, Assistant Professor of Biology and Geology at Macalester College in Minnesota, told the Discovery Channel.

‘The most likely position to have intercourse is for the male behind the female, and on top of her, and from behind, any other position is unfathomable.’

So, that’s my offerings today!  That should get us started!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads

Good Morning!!

There are a couple of finance stories that I’ve been following that I’m getting ready to write more bout.  One is the story about the manipulation of LIBOR by Barclays with possible involvement of JPM and others.  Here’s an article from The Economist to get us started on the topic. Its title includes the word “banksters”.  That should be telling.

At present, the scandal rages in one country and around one bank. Barclays has been fined $450m by American and British regulators for its attempts to manipulate LIBOR. The bank’s first attempt to ride out the storm failed miserably; Bob Diamond, Barclays’ chief executive, resigned this week. The British government has ordered a parliamentary review into its banks. The reputation of the City of London, where LIBOR is set by collating estimates of their own borrowing costs from a panel of banks, has been further dented.

But this story stretches far beyond Britain. Barclays is the first bank in the spotlight because it offered to co-operate fully with regulators. It will not be the last. Investigations into the fixing of LIBOR and other rates are also under way in America, Canada and the EU. Between them, these probes cover many of the biggest names in finance: the likes of Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Deutsche Bank and HSBC. Employees, from New York to Tokyo, are implicated (see article).

I’m just delving into the details now.  It will take me awhile to get to the point of being able to describe it nontechnically so please be patient.  This is huge.  It will likely show us why the moves to remove Dodd-Frank and the Volker Rule are as criminal as the intent.

Well, I certainly wouldn’t wish Bobby Jindal on the country but it appears that our Governor has made the short list in the Romney VP stake.  Frankly, anything he does is only to further his professional political career having done nothing else.  Judging from my LA twitter feed, he might just have fled the state because every one is mad at him over his move to end public education as we know it. The man has a weird personality and he excels at ambition and lying.  He’d be perfect for the job, frankly.  Romney and Jindal are a matched set of amoral liars.  Unfortunately, he won’t quit even if he gets the nod which only puts my state in worse condition than it is since he took over. Ask me about our more than double unemployment rate since he took over. He’s got his eye on 4 years from now.

On readiness for office, conversations with Romney insiders and allies suggest that they have no qualms about Portman or Pawlenty. One of Romney’s biggest complaints about President Obama is that he is in over his head and had “never run anything before.” Pawlenty governed the state of Minnesota for two terms; Portman ran the Office of Management and Budget as well as the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Jindal is in his second term as governor of Louisiana. Paul Ryan, however, falls short in this regard; he was a Capitol Hill staffer and a marketing consultant before becoming a congressman at age 28.

As for chemistry with the candidate, Pawlenty, Portman and Ryan have all campaigned alongside him multiple times. Each endorsed him at critical moments in the primary process and appeared with him on the stump when they did. And each got a turn as his key surrogate on Romney’s June bus tour, which ran through their states. Jindal has not yet campaigned with the presumptive nominee, so look for that to happen soon in a swing state near you.

Does this picture remind you of something from the John Kerry Files?  Notice the dressage horses are missing.  Romney going one way on the lake.  Then, the other way on the lake … then back again the other way on the lake …

I’ll just say it: I don’t think the political pundit class understands just how toxic the Swiss/Caymans/Bermuda accounts issue is for Romney. Not that they don’t know it’s a liability at all. But I don’t think they realize the extent of it.

Here’s a report just out from ABC News on how Ted Strickland introduced Obama in Ohio …

“Oh, what a contrast, my friends, between these two men who would be president!” Strickland said, standing outside the Wolcott House Museum. “President Obama is betting on America and American workers, and Mitt Romney is betting his resources in the Cayman Islands, in Bermuda, in Switzerland and God only knows where else he is putting his resources.”Fair or not, it just rolls off the tongue. Immediately understandable. And assuming you’re not talking to the deeply ideological committed or hyper-partisans, how exactly do you understand that a man running for president has parked a lot of his money in offshore tax havens?

Whatever harsh message you’re trying to prove — out of touch with lives of ordinary Americans, plays by a different set of rules, isn’t focused on America and American workers — it fits right in.

Set aside all questions of legality. And I think Romney’s probably too smart and close to the vest to break any laws. But how do you explain it? What’s the good explanation?

Do you seek the safe harbor of Romney’s 15% tax rate?

How many of you know any one that hides assets in off shore banking havens? Better yet, how many savvy politicians would do it?

The attacks on Mississipi’s sole abortion clinic seem to be aimed at sending a court case to SCOTUS to test Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. WadeCreeping theocracy threatens the health of American women.

Earlier this week a district court issued an eleventh-hour stay to block a Mississippi law designed to shut down the state’s last surviving abortion clinic. It’s the only one that has muscled through a spate of regulations aimed at making Mississippi “abortion-free,” in the words of Gov. Phil Bryant (R).

“The Court has considered the parties’ arguments and finds Plaintiffs satisfy the requirements for temporary injunctive relief to maintain the status quo until the newly framed issues can be more thoroughly examined,” wrote U.S. district judge Daniel P. Jordan III.

Bryant’s intentions are clear: make Mississippi the first state without access to abortion. But that’s a tricky legal proposition as a result of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the two key Supreme Court rulings that protect abortion rights.

The question before the courts is whether the new state law is legitimate under Roe and Casey. If so, pro-choice advocates fear it would threaten abortion rights protections nationwide

“In this case, Plaintiffs have offered evidence — including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers — that the Act’s purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi,” wrote Jordan. “They likewise submitted evidence that no safety or health concerns motivated its passage. This evidence has not yet been rebutted.”

A hearing is scheduled for July 11 to determine if a preliminary injunction should follow. That’s a reasonably likely scenario since the Bush-appointed Judge Jordan issued the stay on the basis that the plaintiffs have “a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”

Whether or not the case climbs up to the Supreme Court and puts Roe at risk of being overturned depends on the breadth of the lower courts’ ruling. But neither side is particularly keen on going down that road — at least for now.

“From a pro-choice perspective, the less the current Court does to define Casey, the better. From a pro-life perspective, they want to wait until there’s a clear shot at Roe v. Wade,” said Scott Lemieux, a political science professor at the College of Saint Rose.

Meanwhile, back in Rush Limbaugh’s warped reality, ALL the problems of the country are due to women getting the vote.

Rush Limbaugh has a major problem when it comes to women. In the past, the conservative talk radio host has accused them of being sluts for using birth control and called those who support feminism “feminazis.” (Media Matters has compiled a pretty good list of Limbaugh’s sexist and misogynistic remarks over the years.) Now, the caustic commentator has come up with a new calumny: “When women got the right to vote is when it all went down hill.”

He made the remark on his radio program Tuesday, adding: “Because that’s when votes started being cast with emotion and maternal instincts. …”

That’s right. According to Limbaugh, America messed up big-time when it allowed all of its citizens—not just men—to vote.

I have no idea what makes people vote Republican any more but I don’t think it has anything to do with sanity.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads: How many slutty angels can pole dance on the head of a pin?

Good Morning!

I would say that it’s the silly season of the political year but to tell you the truth, to name all this nonsense anything but insanity would be way too much like lying.  I don’t recall seeing anything like this EVER and I came of age during Watergate.

So, the misogynistic attacks against law student Sarah Fluke are now being weighed against the misogynist attacks on women politicians by Bill Maher.  First, we have to accept that Bill Maher’s career = Rush Limbaugh’s.  Mahr’s a Hollywood comedian who has starred in a few cheesy movies and has an HBO comedy show laced with political commentary.  Limbaugh’s TV show and radio show are billed as political commentary with bite.  Equivalent?  I don’t think so.  Also, Maher’s used worse vocabulary than Limbaugh because his platform allows it and Limbaugh’s platform are public air waves.  Equivalent?  I don’t think so.  But, misogyny is misogyny and none of it should be written off as simple “entertainment”.  How is misogyny either entertainment or political commentary?  Would racist slurs be given a pass under this standard?

So, how many slutty angels can pole dance on the head of a pin?

President Obama’s campaign senior strategist David Axelrod weighed in on one of the testiest political debates in recent weeks during an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett on Thursday: Was Bill Maher’s ridicule of Sarah Palin as reprehensible as Rush Limbaugh’s criticism of Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke?

Burnett asked Axelrod whether “to be consistent,” Obama’s Super PAC should return the million dollars the comedian recently donated to the president’s reelection effort. Obama criticized Limbaugh’s descripton of Fluke, who testified before Congress about the need for insurance coverage for birth control, as a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

In past comedy routines, Maher has used vulgar, misogynistic terms for women to describe Palin.

“Understand that words Maher has used in his stand up act are a little bit different than — not excusable in any way — but different than a guy with 23 million radio listeners using his broadcast platform to malign a young woman for speaking her mind in the most inappropriate, grotesque ways,” Axelrod said.

Axelrod then described Limbaugh as the “de facto boss of” the GOP.

While Axelrod didn’t excuse Maher’s comments, he said Limbaugh’s comments about Fluke were “perverse.”

Bill Maher responds by saying Limbaugh attacked a “private citizen”.  That’s a point I will give him.  Still, can’t he find better things to attack then women being women?  Aren’t Sarah Palin’s statements and behaviors a more appropriate target than her genitalia?

“To compare that to Rush is ridiculous – he went after a civilian about very specific behavior, that was a lie, speaking for a party that has systematically gone after women’s rights all year, on the public airwaves,” Maher told Jake Tapper of ABC News. “I used a rude word about a public figure who gives as good as she gets, who’s called people ‘terrorist’ and ‘unAmerican.’ Sarah Barracuda.”

Maher added, “The First Amendment was specifically designed for citizens to insult politicians. Libel laws were written to protect law students speaking out on political issues from getting called whores by Oxycontin addicts.”

The transcript of the Tapper-Maher interview can be found at the ABC website.  Never let it be said that Mitt Romney omits an opportunity to pander.  After refusing to comment on the Limbaugh sexism, he’s more than willing to slam Maher.  Can this guy get any more inconsistent and hypocritical?

In an appearance on the Sean Hannity radio show, Romney said, “Frankly, what Bill Maher said, and I finally read the transcripts, I was offended, outraged that a person would say that on TV and would not have been called on the carpet before now and not apologized for it. To have the Obama campaign retain a million dollars from Bill Maher, it is simply outrageous. I don’t condone that kind of language and particularly in a public setting, a TV setting.… It’s just gone way beyond the pale.”

Romney did not stipulate which transcript he had reviewed, but Maher has used inappropriate language to attack conservative women, including Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee. Much of what he said is not publishable, but he did call Palin “a bully who sells patriotism like a pimp, and the leader of a strange family of inbred weirdos.”

I wonder if Romney knows the difference between cable and the public air waves.

Ever wonder why Republicans think climate change is a hoax?  According to Senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma, it’s all in Genesis.  Everything you need to know about climate change is right there in that iron age tale of tales.

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) appeared on Voice of Christian Youth America’s radio program Crosstalk with Vic Eliason yesterday to promote his new book The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, where he repeated his frequentclaim that human influenced climate change is impossible because “God’s still up there.” Inhofe cited Genesis 8:22 to claim that it is “outrageous” and arrogant for people to believe human beings are “able to change what He is doing in the climate.”

Eliason: Senator, we’re going to talk about your book for a minute, you state in your book which by the way is called The Greatest Hoax, you state in your book that one of your favorite Bible verses, Genesis 8:22, ‘while the earth remaineth seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease,’ what is the significance of these verses to this issue?

Inhofe: Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ my point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.Inhofe also says that Richard Cizik, the former Vice President of the National Association of Evangelicals, was bought off by environmentalists and “has been exposed since then to be the liberal that he is”…because apparently liberals can’t be Christians?

He went on to cite Romans 1:25 to criticize people, particularly evangelicals like Cizik, who believe in climate change. Inhofe said that just as Scripture forecasted, people have now “worship the creation” when they support environmental protection, which seems to assume that humans won’t be negatively impacted by climate change.

Throw out the textbooks and the evidence!  A group of illiterate nomads from a thousand or so years ago had it nailed!  So modern science–especially molecular biology and genetics–seem to throw this particular senator into apoplexy.  I wonder what finding a new species of human will do to his small brain?

The fossilised remains of stone age people recovered from two caves in south west China may belong to a new species of human that survived until around the dawn of agriculture.

The partial skulls and other bone fragments, which are from at least four individuals and are between 14,300 and 11,500 years old, have an extraordinary mix of primitive and modern anatomical features that stunned the researchers who found them.

Named the Red Deer Cave people, after their apparent penchant for home-cooked venison, they are the most recent human remains found anywhere in the world that do not closely resemble modern humans.

The individuals differ from modern humans in their jutting jaws, large molar teeth, prominent brows, thick skulls, flat faces and broad noses. Their brains were of average size by ice age standards.

“They could be a new evolutionary line or a previously unknown modern human population that arrived early from Africa and failed to contribute genetically to living east Asians,” said Darren Curnoe, who led the research team at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

“While finely balanced, I think the evidence is slightly weighted towards the Red Deer Cave people representing a new evolutionary line. First, their skulls are anatomically unique. They look very different to all modern humans, whether alive today or in Africa 150,000 years ago,” Curnoe told the Guardian.

“Second, the very fact they persisted until almost 11,000 years ago, when we know that very modern looking people lived at the same time immediately to the east and south, suggests they must have been isolated from them. We might infer from this isolation that they either didn’t interbreed or did so in a limited way.”

One partial skeleton, with much of the skull and teeth, and some rib and limb bones, was recovered from Longlin cave in Guangxi province. More than 30 bones, including at least three partial skulls, two lower jaws and some teeth, ribs and limb fragments, were unearthed at nearby Maludong, or Red Deer Cave, near the city of Mengzi in Yunnan province.

Truthout has a fascinating history of the infiltration of political movements by law enforcement which shows that it’s been going on for ages.  This link goes to part 1 of the series. J Edgar Hoover lives!  Here’s some of the history I remember learning in high school while studying the labor movement and taking a field trip to see the movie Joe Hill.

Virtually every movement has been the target of police surveillance and disruption activities.  The most famous surveillance program was the FBI’s COINTELPRO which according to COINTELPRO Documents targeted the women’s rights, Civil Rights, anti-war and peace movements, the New Left, socialists, communists and independence movement for Puerto Rico, among others.  Among the groups infiltrated were the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, Congress for Racial Equality, the American Indian Movement, Students for a Democratic Society, the National Lawyers Guild, the Black Panthers and Weather Underground. Significant leaders from Albert Einstein to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who are both memorialized in Washington, were monitored. The rule in the United States is to be infiltrated; the exception is not to be.

The Church Committee documented a history of use of the FBI for purposes of political repression. They described infiltration efforts going  back to World War I, including the 1920s, when agents were charged with rounding up “anarchists and revolutionaries” for deportation. The Church Committee found infiltration efforts growing from 1936 through 1976, with COINTELPRO as the major program. While these domestic political spying and disruption programs were supposed to stop in 1976, in fact they have continued. As reported in “The Price of Dissent,” Federal Magistrate Joan Lefkow found in 1991, the record “shows that despite regulations, orders and consent decrees prohibiting such activities, the FBI had continued to collect information concerning only the exercise of free speech.”

How many agents or infiltrators can we expect to see inside a movement? One of the most notorious “police riots” was the 1968 Democratic Party Convention.  Independent journalist Yasha Levine writes: “During the 1968 protests of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, which drew about 10,000 protesters and was brutally crushed by the police, 1 out of 6 protesters was a federal undercover agent. That’s right, 1/6th of the total protesting population was made up of spooks drawn from various federal agencies. That’s roughly 1,600 people! The stat came from an Army document obtained by CBS News in 1978, a full decade after the protest took place. According to CBS, the infiltrators were not passive observers, monitoring and relaying information to central command, but were involved in violent confrontations with the police.” [Emphasis in original.]

Peter Camejo, who ran for Governor of California in 2003 as a Green and as Ralph Nader’s vice president in 2004, often told the story about his 1976 presidential campaign. Camejo able to get the FBI in court after finding their offices broken into and suing them over COINTELPRO activities.  The judge asked the Special Agent in Charge how many FBI agents worked in Camejo’s presidential campaign; the answer was 66 agents.  Camejo estimated he had a campaign staff of about 400 across the country.  Once again that would be an infiltration rate of 1 out of 6 people.  Camejo discovered that among the agents was his campaign co-chair. He also discovered eavesdropping equipment in his campaign office and documents showing the FBI had followed him since he was a student activist at 18 years old.

The federal infiltration is buttressed by local and state police.  Local police infiltrators have a long tradition dating back to the Haymarket riots of 1886 and the 1904 “Italian Squad in New York City. In addition to political activity they were also involved in infiltrations of unions especially around strikes. Common throughout the United States were the so-called “Red Squads” a 1963 report estimated 300,000 officers were involved in surveillance of political activities. These were local police focused on the same types of people as the FBI.  Some of their activities included assassinations of political activists.

So, it appears that vigilance will always be a hallmark of a democracy.  Witch Hunts and the persecution of freethinking intellectuals will always be considered threatening to the overlords.  Speaking of Romney, watch for the Illinois and Louisiana primaries next week.

Meanwhile, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Evening News Reads for Wednesday: Solar Storms and Cool Dogs

Good Evening…

My daughter is watching one of her favorite movies, Bend it like Beckham, so I am writing this post to a wonderful sound track.

I was able to find one of the songs from this movie…enjoy.

I really wanted to keep this post light, but unfortunately we are living in disgusting times. So I will speed through the depressing and maddening links:

Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin Senator, Says Unplanned Pregnancies Are The ‘Choice Of The Women’

Wisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) said “unwanted or mistimed” pregnancies are the “choice of the women” who should learn “that this is a mistake.”
Grothman recently introduced Senate Bill 507, which would formally consider single parenthood a contributing factor to child abuse if passed into law. During an appearance on the Alan Colmes show Friday to discuss the bill, Grothman hit at women who have children out of wedlock and chastised American culture for encouraging “a single motherhood lifestyle.”
“There’s been a huge change over the last 30 years and a lot of that change has been the choice of the women,” Grothman said, noting that he thinks “we should educate women that this is a mistake.”
“I think when you have an epidemic of this great proportion, people are not so dumb that it’s surprising when they get pregnant,” Grothman said of “unwanted or mistimed” pregnancies. “I think people are trained to say that ‘this is a surprise to me,’ because there’s still enough of a stigma that they’re supposed to say this.”

What an asshole! There is a petition on Change.org, if you would like to express your disgust at this ridiculous piece of legislation.

Here is a story that really hits home with all the talk of right-wing righteous dumbshits whose only concern is for the clump of personhood they called a baby…what do they do with the former fetus mother to be? Humiliated, But Not Beaten. Fighting Back on Behalf of Pregnant and Parenting Teens

When I walked into the school gymnasium, every kid in my entire middle school was staring right at me — all 400 of them. It was like a bad dream.

I was confused why the middle school department head had called me into the junior high assembly in the first place. Students who had attended this particular assembly last year didn’t have to attend again and were free to work on homework and other assignments in their home room.

But I soon found out why.

After they called me away from homeroom into the assembly, the school department head made me stand up in front of my entire middle school and announced to everyone that I was pregnant. Until that moment, the only other student at school who knew was my sister. I was embarrassed, hurt and angry.

This bullying attempt at shaming the girl out of the school was in reaction to her not withdrawing from classes “voluntarily.”

Two weeks before they announced my pregnancy to all my classmates, they tried to kick me out of school completely. When my mother told the school department head that I was pregnant, they said I could no longer attend my school because I would “set a bad example for the other girls.” My mother contacted the ACLU and they told my school that it is illegal to discriminate against students because they are pregnant. After four days of missed classes, the school finally told me I could come back.

So when they couldn’t kick me out of school, they decided to publicly humiliate me. Maybe they thought if they embarrassed me enough, I’d leave on my own. But I won’t. I’m going to finish my education, graduate from high school then go to college so I can study nursing or criminal investigation.

She has since had the baby, and returns to school later this month.

Update on the latest advertisers to leave Rush Limbaugh: Rush Limbaugh: Over 40 Advertisers Flee, Host Says ‘Everything’s Cool’

Talk show host Rush Limbaugh sought to reassure listeners Wednesday after the tally of local and national companies that have pulled their advertisements from his time slot topped 40, insisting that the show will go on and that the program is not losing revenue from the exodus.

At last count, 42 advertisers, two radio stations and two musicians have closed the door on Limbaugh following incendiary comments he made last week about a Georgetown law student who testified before Congress in favor of having birth control covered under insurance plans.

[…]

Limbaugh told his listeners today that “everything’s cool,” noting that many of the advertisers that have yanked their support are local and thus have little if any impact on the show’s revenues.

“Nobody is losing money here, including us, in all this,” Limbaugh said on his radio show Wednesday. “[The advertisers] are not canceling the business on our stations. They’re just saying they don’t want their spots to appear in my show. We don’t get any revenue from ‘em anyway. The whole effort is to dispirit you.”

Oh yeah, he says that he has 18,000 sponsors and that the “few” he has lost is like losing a couple fries out of a container when you reach for it in a drive thru. Ah, I will pass on the fat jokes, I am sure we can have fun with that analogy in the comments.

“None of what’s happening is out of the ordinary,” Limbaugh said. “It’s just part of an onslaught to try to convince you that this show’s history and our days are numbered. And I’m happy to tell you nothing could be further from the truth.”

Here is the list of confirmed companies who have officially pulled their advertisements from the Rush Limbaugh radio show.

  1. Service Magic home contractor
  2. Hadeed Carpets
  3. Accuquote Life Insurance
  4. Vitacost vitamin supplier
  5. Bonobos clothing company
  6. Sensa weight- loss program
  7. Thompson Creek Windows
  8. AOL
  9. Tax Resolution Services
  10. ProFlowers
  11. Legal Zoom online document creator
  12. Carbonite web security firm
  13. Citrix software maker
  14. Sleep Train Mattresses
  15. Sleep Number mattresses
  16. Quicken Loans
  17. Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington
  18. Cascades Dental
  19. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services
  20. Constant Contact email marketing firm
  21. Philadelphia Orchestra
  22. Reputation Rhino online reputation consulting firm
  23. St. Vincent’s Medical Center
  24. Cunningham Security
  25. Regal Assets precious medal investment group
  26. Freedom Debt Relief
  27. Norway Savings Bank
  28. Portland Ovations performing arts center
  29. Stamps.com
These companies say their ads were mistakenly run during Limbaugh’s program and have contacted radio stations and media buyers to ensure their ads do not run during his program again.
  1. JCPenney
  2. Capital One
  3. Goodwill
  4. Geico
  5. Sears
  6. PolyCom web conferencing
  7. Matrix Direct
  8. Netflix
The following companies said they did not intentionally have their ads run during Limbaugh’s show, but are also not specifically taking steps to remove the ads from his time slot.
  1. John Deere
  2. Bethesda Sedation Dentistry
  3. Amberen menopause medication
Other news outlets have reported that the following companies have pulled their advertisements. ABC News is working to confirm.
  1. Downeast Energy in Maine
  2. RSVP Discount Beverage  of  Portland, Maine (declined to comment to ABC whether they had pulled their ads)

Over at CNN they have a new section in their political ticker, it looks like they are picking up on the success blogs within the liberal political blogging community that post daily news round-ups like we do here on Sky Dancing.

CNN’s GUT CHECK for March 7, 2012 – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs

ATTENTION POLITICAL JUNKIES: This week we are debuting CNN’s Gut Check, written by CNN Political Director Mark Preston and CNN Executive Producer Michelle Jaconi. We hope you find it useful; send us feedback at gutcheck@cnn.com. With Super Tuesday behind us, onward to Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi and beyond.

CNN’s GUT CHECK | for Wednesday, March 7, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress, or condition of the political news cycle

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics.com: Analysis: In key Romney win, some warning signs remain
Leading Drudge: Ron Paul: 0-for-23
Leading HuffPo: Chellie Pingree Announces She Will Not Run For Retiring Senator Olympia Snowe’s Seat
Leading Politico: Mitt fights back with math
Leading New York Times: For an Upbeat Romney, the Bottom Line Is the Numbers
Leading Leavenworth (Kansas) Times: Organizers prepare for Republican caucus

Interesting isn’t it…take a look at the post…

Anyway, a big ass solar storm is heading out way:

Strong solar storm heading for Earth – Africa – Al Jazeera English

Largest solar storm since 2005 engulfs planet this week, bringing fantastic skies to some areas. ( 25-Jan-2012 )

A strong geomagnetic storm is racing from the Sun toward Earth.

Its expected arrival on Thursday could affect power grids, airplane routes and space-based satellite navigation systems, US space weather experts said.

The storm, a big cloud of charged particles flung from the Sun at about 7.2 million km/h, was spawned by a pair of solar flares, scientists said.

This is probably the strongest such event in nearly six years, and is likely more intense than a similar storm in late January, said Joseph Kunches, a space weather specialist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

And now for something completely different…and a bit funny first…

This cartoon from Mike Luckovich is one I thought was real cute: 3/8 Mike Luckovich: Mitt Romney | Mike Luckovich

 mike030812

You bet it does.

And this commercial from Guinness, h/t The Dish Andrew Sullivan:

So that is all for this round up! Catch y’all later in the comments.


Limbaugh’s Latest Lame Excuse: Liberals Made Him Do It!

So much has been happening with the Rush Limbaugh story today, that I thought I’d post an update.

Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers are dropping like flies. This morning the eighth and ninth sponsors–AOL and Tax Resolution Services Co.–withdrew their ads form his show. This afternoon, two more sponsors–Bonobos and Sears–pulled their ads. It’s practically a stampede! At least one radio station, KPUA in Hawaii, has also cancelled the program.

Even John McCain–the closest thing the Republican Party has to an elder statesman–has now called Limbaugh’s behavior “totally unacceptable.”

Speaking on CNN’s “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien,” the Arizona lawmaker and 2008 GOP presidential nominee said Limbaugh was an “entertainer,” but that the remarks were “totally unacceptable, totally and completely unacceptable, and there’s no place for it.”

Fluke herself said today on The View that Rush’s faux apology “doesn’t change anything,” noting that Limbaugh hasn’t called to apologize to her personally and she really hopes he doesn’t!

Media Matters has catalogued some of Limbaugh’s greatest hits from his “decades of sexism and misogyny.”

But Rush still doesn’t get it. On his Monday show, Limbaugh once again pretended to apologize for his disgusting behavior, while claiming liberals made him do it. Eric Wemple summarizes Limbaugh’s latest lame effort:

“Give me 30 minutes — I want to explain why I apologized,” said Limbaugh just after noon.

The reason he apologized, he says, is that he descended to such a low, such a scummy, gutter-level depth . . . that he started to resemble liberals: ”I don’t expect morality, intellectual honesty from the left — they’ve demonstrated their willingness to say or do anything. This is the mistake I made: In fighting them . . . I became like them. Against my own instincts, against my own knowledge.”

Limbaugh further mentioned that he felt “very badly” because he’d “used those two words [slut and prostitute] to describe Sandra Fluke and I feel very badly about that. . . . I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her. The apology to her over the weekend was sincere. It was simply for using inappropriate words. . . . I ended up descending to their level. It’s important never to be like them.”

I can’t quite make sense of this, but it appears that Limbaugh is only sorry for the two words he used–slut and prostitute–but not for saying Fluke should post sex videos on the internet for him to watch or claiming that she “has so much sex” that she can’t afford all the pills she needs, or for claiming that she has boyfriends lined up around the block to have sex with her.

The show’s parent company Premiere Radio Networks also tried to explain away Limbaugh’s days of repulsive attacks on Sandra Fluke and the 99% of women who have used contraception:

Premiere Radio said in a statement Monday that it respects Limbaugh’s right to express his opinions, and said that “in an attempt at absurdist humor to illustrate his political point, Mr. Limbaugh used words that unfortunately distracted from the message he was trying to convey.”

The company said Limbaugh did the right thing by “expressing regret for his choice of words and offering his sincere and heartfelt apology to Ms. Fluke.”

I guess Premiere Networks and Clear Channel did not realize Limbaugh would spew out more personal attacks at Sandra Fluke today. It seems he is simply unable to control himself. From Think Progress:

LIMBAUGH: Her testimony was not that of an expert, it was just another expert person in this case, Sandra’s case. 30-year old activist after years of a career championing birth control issues. In fact, she told stories less about birth control as a social tool, which is of course the left’s true agenda, and more about birth control as a medication for treating other conditions, such as pregnancy. To the left, pregnancy is a disease. [...]

Sandra Fluke gave vague examples based on unnamed friends, who she says couldn’t afford birth control to treat medical conditions they had, since Georgetown University wouldn’t pay for them. … Or so she says. We still don’t know who any of these friends of hers are, these other women, and we don’t know what happened to them. Her testimony was hearsay, and it was unprovable. [...]

But the point here is that this was an issue that represents a tiny, tiny slice of what the Democrats really want here. They use Sandra Fluke to create a controversy. Sandra Fluke used them to advance her agenda, which is to force a religious institution to abandon their principles in order to meet hers.

So Fluke isn’t a “slut” anymore–she’s not only a dupe of the Democratic Party but also she’s duping the party into getting what she wants! WTF?! This incoherent moron is the spiritual voice of the Republican Party?

It appears that the suits in charge of Premiere Radio Networks and most likely Limbaugh’s lawyers are trying to get him to apologize, but he just can’t bring himself to do it. This mess has to be hurting the Republican Party, particularly on the eve of Super Tuesday, but it appears that most Republican leaders are still too afraid of this piggish, repulsive man to take any real action. You’d think at least Mitt and/or Ann Romney would speak up, since Bain Capital owns Clear Channel Communications.

I’ll update with any new developments in the comments to this post.


Sunday Reads: It ain’t over til the fat man is fired! #FlushRush

Good Morning!

Let me just say hello to the many new readers here at Sky Dancing. So glad to see new commentators and folks who like the blog…from all of us on the Front Page, we are happy you are here!

Can you believe it is the first Sunday in March? The days are flying by, and instead of moving forward, it seems we keep moving back. Well, let me make that more clear…the men are moving forward and the women are being pushed back.

I just finished the book Nuns Behaving Badly, and although it was interesting to read about the scandalous nuns, what got me most was the reactions of the Cardinals, Bishops, and the Pope. Some of the language used is exactly the same as the stuff that comes out of Santorum and the other wacko big mouths. (BTW, the book itself starts out much better than it finishes. Meh…)

Anyway, you must have already heard about the Rush “apology.” Dakinikat wrote a post on it last night, I love the title:

Fat Misogynistic Drug Felon makes Faux Apology « Sky Dancing

Here is the apology in full:

For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week.  In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit?In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.

My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.

I played around with the apology and made a word cloud from Wordle:

Wordle: Rush Fake Apology

I know it is very small. Click the image to see it larger...

Funny how sorry is not the largest word on that picture. Oh wait, the word “sorry” is not even in the word cloud.  And if you are looking for the word “apologize” it is there, underneath the word Fluke.

Ugh…And Rush still gets it wrong in his apology. H/T Historiann from Reclusive Leftist:  Tax Payers don’t pay for the contraception!

  1. Taxpayers aren’t paying for Sandra Fluke’s healthcare or anybody else’s healthcare at Georgetown. It’s a private insurance plan and the people who are paying the premiums are the ones footing the bill. This is true with all employer-sponsored plans. And anything contributed by the employer is part of the employee’s compensation. (Student plans also fall into this category: the students pay premiums, and any subsidization by the university is part of student aid and ultimately covered by tuition.)
  2. Insurance works by providing a pool of coverage for everybody in the plan. My insurance plan, to which I contribute substantial premiums, is right now paying for some guy’s Viagra as well as for somebody’s prostate exam, even though I personally have no use for those things. That’s just how it works.
  3. Insurance normally covers all kinds of medical expenses connected with sex and other voluntary activities. Bill O’Reilly complains that “men’s activities” aren’t covered, but they are. If men want Viagra so they can have sex, insurance covers it. If they get gonorrhea or syphilis or crabs from having sex, insurance covers it. If they get AIDS from having sex, insurance covers it. If they want to go skiing and need a cardiac stress test first, insurance covers it. If they need Diamox so they can go skiing in Aspen, insurance covers it. If they break their legs skiing, insurance covers it. If they need Simvastatin to lower their cholesterol because they won’t stop eating fatty food and red meat, insurance covers it. If they suffer a heart attack from all that fatty food and red meat, insurance covers it. If they need a nicotine patch to quit smoking, insurance covers it. If they get lung cancer because they won’t quit smoking, insurance covers it. And on and on and on.Does this mean that men are being paid to have sex, to ski in Aspen, to eat sausage, to smoke or not smoke? No.

Women’s contraception is the only medical treatment associated with normal human activity that is treated as some kind of weird off-the-wall thing that shouldn’t be covered by insurance. The only one. And we know why.

I will say one thing, the campaign against that fat basturd’s advertising sponsors worked. This is the key to getting in some good shots in this war on women. I firmly believe that the way to choke off the religious right’s balls on these anti-woman issues is through the only thing they care more about than clumps of personhood…and that is their bank accounts. Cut the tax exemptions and other “faith-based” funding, get rid of all of it! That is the only way they will feel the wrath of the women they are trying to control and dominate.  (And I want to mention not just the men, remember those women who are also vying for asshole of the week status as well.)

This weekend Kirsten Powers had some annoying tweets :

She made a point to clarify her position on Rush Limbaugh’s slut remark:

So I made sure to read her post this week, I wanted to see what she would say about all this…Rush Limbaugh Isn’t the Only Media Misogynist – The Daily Beast

And she is right…but as readers of the blog know, we have always condemned the misogynistic talk show host and writers she has listed in her column. Anyway, from the link:

Did you know there is a war on women?

Yes, it’s true. Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi, and Ed Schultz have been waging it for years with their misogynist outbursts. There have been boycotts by people on the left who are outraged that these guys still have jobs. Oh, wait. Sorry, that never happened.

I personally won’t watch any of those shows…and I really can’t stand Taibbi.

Boycotts are reserved for people on the right like Rush Limbaugh, who finally apologized Saturday for calling a 30-year-old Georgetown Law student, Sandra Fluke a “slut” after she testified before congress about contraception. Limbaugh’s apology was likely extracted in order to stop the departure of any more advertisers, who were rightly under pressure from liberal groups outraged by the comments.

Let it be shouted from the rooftops that Rush Limbaugh should not have called Ms. Fluke a “slut” or as he added later, a “prostitute” who should post her sex tapes. It’s unlikely that his apology will assuage the people on a warpath for his scalp, and after all, why should it? He spent days attacking a woman as a “slut” and “prostitute” and refused to relent. Now because he doesn’t want to lose advertisers, he apologizes. What’s in order is something more like groveling—and of course a phone call to Ms. Fluke—if you ask me.

I agree with her on the groveling and the phone call to Sandra Fluke…however, those boycotts are also utilized by the right extremely well too…how many times have we seen TV shows, celebrities, politicians and presidents cave because of the squawking from the right wing wheels.

Click the link to read the examples she give of the blatant and disgusting sexist and misogynistic things that Matthews, Olbermann, Maher, Taibbi and Schultz have said or written. (She gives a lot of memorable Hillary examples I might add.) We could list all the other media, whether it be news networks or newspapers or magazines that have shit loads of anti-women writers, anchors, host, etc. On both the right and left…and they all should be held accountable for the sexist crap they say or write.

…Many feminist blogs now document attacks on women on the left and the right including Jezebel, Shakesville, and the Women’s Media Center (which was founded by Gloria Steinem.) But when it comes to high-profile campaigns to hold these men accountable—such as that waged against Limbaugh—the real fury seems reserved only for conservatives while the men on the left get a wink and a nod as long as they are carrying water for the liberal cause.

After all, if Limbaugh’s outburst is part of the “War on Women,” then what is the routine misogyny of liberal media men?

It’s time for some equal opportunity accountability. Without it, the fight against media misogyny will continue to be perceived as a proxy war for the Democratic Party, not a fight for fair treatment of women in the public square.

So I will say to Powers, check that…all routine misogyny in the media…both the liberal and conservative needs to be called out.

(I realize that I am repeating myself, but I am proud that I can honestly say we do call it out here on Sky Dancing. And we don’t limit it to the right or left male misogynist either…we hit those women misogynistic assholes as well.  No mistake about that!)

Moving right along….

The storms over the weekend have killed dozens of people. The last figure I saw was 39…but that may have changed.

March tornadoes: One day there was a town; the next day it was gone – CNN.com

“What we know is we’ve got complete destruction. We’re going to deal with it the best we can,” Sgt. Jerry Goodin of the Indiana State Police told CNN affiliate WISH-TV.

There a lots of videos and photographs of the tornadoes and the damage at that CNN link.

One story in particular is both heartbreaking and amazing at the same time.

Tornado Survivor: Young Girl Found in Field Amid Dead Family Members

In a field outside of a flattened home rescuers found a young child laying among the bodies of her family who were killed by a powerful tornado.

The unidentified 2-year-old girl was found in New Pekin, Ind., and taken to Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Ky., where she is in critical condition. The girl has one family member, who was not identified, with her at the hospital as she recuperates from her injuries, said Cis Gruebbel, chief of nursing at the hospital.

Washington County Sheriff Claude Combs told ABC News that the girl was discovered near the bodies of her 21-year-old mother and two younger siblings, ages 2 years and 2 months old. The body of a 20-year-old male was also recovered from the field.

Indiana Tornado Outbreak 2012: Baby Found Alone In Field After Storms

A hospital spokeswoman says a toddler found alive in an Indiana field after violent storms is the sole survivor of her immediate family.

Cis Gruebbel is a spokeswoman for Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Ky. Gruebbel says the toddler is in critical condition.

Washington County, Ind., Coroner Rondale Brishaber said the girl’s mother, father, 2-month-old sister and 2-year-old brother all died in the storm.

We had some damage just north of Banjoville. In fact the town of Murphy, NC is just on the north side of the mountain where we used to live. Some video below:

Tornado causes damage in Cherokee County

Homes Destroyed By Storms In North Carolina

However, this image from Rome, GA pretty much says it all, via Susie Madrak: March comes in like a lion….

A friend from Rome, Ga sent this to me. This photograph was taken during last night’s storm.

It is getting to be a long post, so I will move along quickly with the rest of the news round-up after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »