Tuesday ReadsPosted: March 15, 2011
Well, things remain in flux. First, Senate Republicans in Wisconsin are still holding the 14 Democrats hostage to their policies and contempt.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald wrote this afternoon in an email to his caucus that Senate Dems remain in contempt of the Senate and will not be allowed to vote in committees despite returning from their out-of-state boycott of the budget repair bill vote.
“They are free to attend hearings, listen to testimony, debate legislation, introduce amendments, and cast votes to signal their support/opposition, but those votes will not count, and will not be recorded,” wrote Fitzgerald, R-Juneau.
Republicans in Kansas are also suggesting some pretty bizarre things.
A legislator said Monday it might be a good idea to control illegal immigration the way the feral hog population has been controlled — with hunters shooting from helicopters.
State Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said he was just joking, but that his comment did reflect frustration with the problem of illegal immigration.
Peck made his comment came during a discussion by the House Appropriations Committee on state spending for controlling feral swine.
After one of the committee members talked about a program that uses hunters in helicopters to shoot wild swine, Peck suggested that may be a way to control illegal immigration.
Then, Glenn Beck decided to take Pat Robertson’s place in talking about earthquakes, god, and endtimes.
Discussing the devastation in Japan on his radio program this morning, Glenn Beck lamented that we “can’t see the connections here.”
Beck said that he’s “not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes,” then clarified that he is “not not saying that, either,” then added: “Whether you call it Gaia, or whether you call it Jesus, there’s a message being sent and that is, ‘hey, you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well.’ Maybe we should stop doing some of it.”
Think that’s outrageous? Check out this one from a GOP House member from New Hampshire that at least retired after this comment.
Rep. Martin Harty, a Barrington Republican, has resigned his House seat in the wake of fire he drew for remarks on mental illness and population control.
Harty, who turns 92 this month, came into spotlight last week after telling a voter during a phone call that he thought the best treatment for the mentally ill would be a one-way trip to Siberia.
He also said population growth and mental illness could be controlled with eugenics, a form of genetic engineering commonly associated with Hitler’s Germany.
Kinda makes you wonder what’s wrong with some people in this country doesn’t it? If this is coming from the country’s decision makers and opinion leaders, I think we’re in a heckuva lotta trouble. Then there’s this bit of news on the Supreme Court coming from a study co-authored by conservative Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner.
… the Roberts Court places a huge thumb on the scale in favor of corporate interests. According to the study, the Roberts Court rules in favor of business interests 61 percent of the time, a 15 point spike from the five years before when Chief Justice Roberts joined the Court.
While the Chamber of Commerce has recently tried to downplay the favorable treatment it receives from the Supreme Court, its own top lawyer admitted a few years after Roberts joined the Court that the justices give his client special treatment:
Carter G. Phillips, who often represents the chamber and has argued more Supreme Court cases than any active lawyer in private practice, reflected on its influence. “I know from personal experience that the chamber’s support carries significant weight with the justices,” he wrote. “Except for the solicitor general representing the United States, no single entity has more influence on what cases the Supreme Court decides and how it decides them than the National Chamber Litigation Center.”
Phillips’ confession, and the Posner study’s conclusion, corroborates other data showing the Roberts Court’s favoritism towards corporate interests.
Women are definitely on the losing end of Republican Government overreach. Here’s the latest example from Iowa.
Life can’t get much worse for Christine Taylor. Last month, after an upsetting phone conversation with her estranged husband, Ms. Taylor became light-headed and fell down a flight of stairs in her home. Paramedics rushed to the scene and ultimately declared her healthy. However, since she was pregnant with her third child at the time, Taylor thought it would be best to be seen at the local ER to make sure her fetus was unharmed.
That’s when things got really bad and really crazy. Alone, distraught, and frightened, Taylor confided in the nurse treating her that she hadn’t always been sure she’d wanted this baby, now that she was single and unemployed. She’d considered both adoption and abortion before ultimately deciding to keep the child. The nurse then summoned a doctor, who questioned her further about her thoughts on ending the pregnancy. Next thing Taylor knew, she was being arrested for attempted feticide. Apparently the nurse and doctor thought that Taylor threw herself down the stairs on purpose.
According to Iowa state law, attempted feticide is an trying “to intentionally terminate a human pregnancy, with the knowledge and voluntary consent of the pregnant person, after the end of the second trimester of the pregnancy.” At least 37 states have similar laws. Taylor spent two days in jail before being released. That’s right, a pregnant woman was jailed for admitting to thinking about an abortion at some point early in her pregnancy and then having the audacity to fall down some stairs a couple of months later. Please tell me you find this as horrifying as I do.
With that bit of news, I’d like to recommend something Bostonboomer found yesterday by Chris Hedges: Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand.
The liberal class is discovering what happens when you tolerate the intolerant. Let hate speech pollute the airways. Let corporations buy up your courts and state and federal legislative bodies. Let the Christian religion be manipulated by charlatans to demonize Muslims, gays and intellectuals, discredit science and become a source of personal enrichment. Let unions wither under corporate assault. Let social services and public education be stripped of funding. Let Wall Street loot the national treasury with impunity. Let sleazy con artists use lies and deception to carry out unethical sting operations on tottering liberal institutions, and you roll out the welcome mat for fascism.
Well, there are some places in the world where people see themselves as altogether in one big struggle against the bad things that happen. The Japanese are certainly providing some good examples of resilience and human strength in the face of some horrendous disasters. In the UK, The Telegraph asks: ‘Why is there no looting in Japan?’
The landscape of parts of Japan looks like the aftermath of World War Two; no industrialised country since then has suffered such a death toll. The one tiny, tiny consolation is the extent to which it shows how humanity can rally round in times of adversity, with heroic British rescue teams joining colleagues from the US and elsewhere to fly out.
And solidarity seems especially strong in Japan itself. Perhaps even more impressive than Japan’s technological power is its social strength, with supermarkets cutting prices and vending machine owners giving out free drinks as people work together to survive. Most noticeably of all, there has been no looting, and I’m not the only one curious about this.
This is quite unusual among human cultures, and it’s unlikely it would be the case in Britain. During the 2007 floods in the West Country abandoned cars were broken into and free packs of bottled water were stolen. There was looting in Chile after the earthquake last year – so much so that troops were sent in; in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina saw looting on a shocking scale.
Why do some cultures react to disaster by reverting to everyone for himself, but others – especially the Japanese – display altruism even in adversity?
We might ask ourselves the same question. Why is it that some folks display altruism even in adversity?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?