Sunday Reads: The Almighty Hand and Being Mad as Hell!Posted: April 10, 2011
Good morning all! It is Sunday and I have lots of things to share with you. We all might be able to identify with this first link. It seems that the GOP are the way they are because of the way their brains are functioning.
Republicans and Democrats remained implacably opposed over the budget right up to the shutdown deadline this week. They can’t agree on how to improve health care, on defense spending, or even on what the American people want most. Could the differences be biological?
Researchers in the United Kingdom think so. They published a study in Current Biology this week showing they could see political differences in the brain.
They did magnetic resonance imaging or MRI scans on dozens of young London university students who were willing to define their political leanings as liberal or conservative. The differences could be seen in their brains.
Self-described conservatives had noticeably more brain cells in the amygdala—the so-called fear center. This little area of the brain is linked with detecting emotions in others, as well.
Liberals, in contrast, had well-developed regions in the anterior cingulate cortex, a brain region linked with coping with change and uncertainty.
So the fear center has more brain cells in the conservative? That explains some of their ridiculous ideas…but does not tell me why they have become such Fetus Fanatics. As Dakinikat has pointed out, the Republicans have not always been PLUBs.
There was a “grand compromise” this past Friday night…and according to Richard (RJ) Eskow: Why Progressives Keep On Losing and the Right Keeps On Winning
Congratulations! The “grand compromise” will cut nearly thirty nine billion dollars in needed government spending, which proves how “serious” everyone is about reducing the deficit. The grand compromisers could have cancelled the next ten years of tax subsidies for oil companies and cut the deficit by forty billion, but apparently that’s not how serious people do things.
If the Republican Party were singing to its base today, the song would be the theme from Friends, “I’ll Be There For You.” And the Democrats would be singing “You Always Hurt the One You Love.” We’re being told we should celebrate a “compromise” in which Democrats gave up $38.5 billion in spending cuts, when the original Republican demand was for $32 billion. That means the Democrats only gave the Republicans 20% more (20.2135%, to be precise) than they originally demanded.
Now, I don’t agree with Eskow on the following:
And progressives can’t be blamed for helping to elect a president who either misrepresented his positions on a number of issues or reversed himself once he was elected. (A sample: the health excise tax, which he opposed and later actively worked to enact; the individual mandate for health care coverage, which he opposed and then supported; some matters of civil liberties; and science policy).
Despite the naysayers, the nation elected a President who presented himself as an unambiguous progressive and gave him both houses of Congress too. So it can be done. So what keeps going wrong, over and over?
Nope, excuse me, but there are many progressives out there who had Obama pegged from the beginning. So don’t try to give excuses for the Left’s utter hook line and sinker reaction to the One, or as Pelosi said, the gift from God…
Dakinikat has written some great post on this lately, but I thought I would link to some other articles. I will leave the commentary on this to the expert.
Budget deal leaves liberals disheartened – Abby Phillip – POLITICO.com
The $38.5 billion deal brokered between Republicans and President Barack Obama on Friday night may have resolved the immediate threat of a government shutdown. But it didn’t take long for many liberal Democrats to begin to realize that there might be not much cause for celebration in the substance of that deal.
In the final hours before the federal government was to run out of money April 8, Democrats homed in on attempts by Republicans to pass anti-abortion policy riders that would defund women’s health programs and Planned Parenthood. But soon after the deal was struck, Democrats turned back to a debate not about where to cut, but whether there should be cuts at all – and who should bear the brunt of the burden.
Princeton University professor Paul Krugman noted that by agreeing to this level of budget cuts, Obama had accepted the premise that the economy has recovered enough to withstand the withdrawal of federal spending. Despite the fragile economic recovery, the economy is still not strong enough, Krugman argued.
“It’s worth noting that this follows just a few months after another big concession, in which he gave in to Republican demands for tax cuts,” Krugman said in his New York Times column on Saturday. “The net effect of these two sets of concessions is, of course, a substantial increase in the deficit.”
But it seemed that the Obama administration had long ago abandoned that line of argument.
The Ryan budget is a remarkable document: all of its budget cuts hammer working class families, seniors, and students — while all of its tax cuts go straight to millionaires. It does almost nothing to deal with the deficit, yet still manages to deal a death blow to virtually every member of the working middle class and everyone trying to work their way into it. It is especially hard on seniors and the most vulnerable in society in the midst of the toughest economic times since the Great Depression, doing serious economic damage to anyone who isn’t a millionaire, oil company, or Wall Street bank. The good news, for those who are millionaires? They get so many economic benefits it will be hard to keep track of them all.
The Guttmacher Institute has found that for every dollar invested in family planning about four are saved. Why is that? Pregnancy is very expensive, as is raising a child, for women who can’t afford it. “There is no better preventative investment than family planning,” Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Ellen Chesler says. After all, the cost burden shifts to the public sector for children who are born into poverty.
But there’s another cost that all of us feel when women are denied access to family planning: “Women can’t do their jobs, create new jobs, or add to the country’s economic well-being if they can’t control their fertility,” she points out. Women make up nearly half of the workforce and help drive the U.S. economy. If we’re constantly at risk of becoming pregnant all the time, it is very difficult to do our jobs, particularly with the lack of social programs that benefit us or help with balancing work and family. “It’s as important a tool to us as education and health care,” she says.
With Planned Parenthood being either the major obstacle to a budget deal or one of the major obstacles to a budget deal, it’s worth taking a minute explaining what they do — and what they don’t do.
As you can see in the chart atop this post, abortion services account for about 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s activities. That’s less than cancer screening and prevention (16 percent), STD testing for both men and women (35 percent), and contraception (also 35 percent). About 80 percent of Planned Parenthood’s users are over age 20, and 75 percent have incomes below 150 percent of the poverty line. Planned Parenthood itself estimates it prevents more than 620,000 unintended pregnancies each year, and 220,000 abortions. It’s also worth noting that federal law already forbids Planned Parenthood from using the funds it receives from the government for abortions.
But this year during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, state Republican lawmakers found plenty of reasons to advocate for it. State Rep. Shannon McMillan (R) argued that women who were impregnated under “violent circumstances” should have no choice because it’s not the fetus’s fault. State Rep. Brent Crane, the bill’s sponsor, took it a step further. Believing that “tragic, horrific” acts of rape or incest are the “hand of the Almighty,” Crane said women should trust God to turn the consequences of their sexual assault into “wonderful examples”:
“Is not the child of that rape or incest also a victim?” asked Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton. “It didn’t ask to be here. It was here under violent circumstances perhaps, but that was through no fault of its own.”[…]
The Idaho bill’s House sponsor, state Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, told legislators that the “hand of the Almighty” was at work. “His ways are higher than our ways,” Crane said. “He has the ability to take difficult, tragic, horrific circumstances and then turn them into wonderful examples.”
The recent invocation of the hand of the almighty in Idaho made me think of the artwork from the Middle Ages. Specifically around the time of the Holy Roman Empire. During the Carolingian Empire, when Medieval thought of the Divine Right of Kings was being “discussed” or should I say “fought” between rulers like Charlemagne and Charles the Bald, and the Pope…power was seen as coming directly from God to the King, and not from God through the Papacy…the actual Hand of God would be used in art to depict the idea… in the two images above, see the Hand coming down from the Heavens as if to say…”That’s my boy!”
This next picture below comes from the Secretary of State website, and the blog Dipnote:
Okay, this next link is from No Quarter, and in noooooo way implies that the ideas and thoughts presented on the NQ blog are in any way the same as my own…I link to it because it does raise a big question…Is The MSM Hiding Attacks On Women Journalists? : NO QUARTER
Again? So it would seem. This time, it is in Palestine by Hamas Security officers. But I bet you haven’t heard a word about it, have you? Had it not been for Phyllis Chesler, I wouldn’t have known, either.
In Chesler’s excellent post, “Arab Spring: Male-on-Female Atrocities In Gaza Disappeared By The Western Media,” she details what eight, that is 8, women journalists endured while trying to cover – get this – a Unity rally (more on that below).
Ironic, ain’t it?
Anyway, one would have thought after what happened to Lara Logan, and a number of other women journalists in Egypt recently, that maybe, just maybe, the MSM would be better about covering these sorts of attacks. And one would be wrong:
Last month, at least eight Muslim Palestinian female journalists were physically beaten with clubs, iron chairs, and fists, stabbed, and tortured with electric shocks by male Hamas security forces in the Gaza strip. Their cell phones, laptops, documents, and cameras were confiscated. They were also arrested. Some were forced to sign a document “pledging to refrain from covering such events again.”
The “events” were a series of pro-unity rallies organized by Palestinian youth on Facebook (!) which demanded an end to the dispute between Islamist Hamas and a presumably more moderate Fatah.
So much for the Arab “spring,” and the purposefully misguided Western (and these heroically naïve youthful demonstrators’) belief that the increasingly well organized Islamist Middle East will really rise up on behalf of human rights and women’s rights—without which there can be no democracy.[snip]
Oh, I should add, not only were these women beaten, and had stun guns used on them, but one was literally stabbed in the back. By a member of the Hamas Security force, that is, as this article highlights, Gaza Cops Use ‘Beatings, Stun Guns’ On Women Reporters.
It is remarkable, isn’t it? That these attacks on women journalists are not being covered by the MSM still? Is it because it doesn’t fit the narrative? So it would seem. What a shame that the small window that opened when Lara Logan was brutally assaulted closed so quickly. That is telling in and of itself about our media, about journalism, and about news in general.
These women in Palestine deserve better. They deserve more. They deserve to not have their stories swept under the proverbial rug by their fellow journalists. Their voices deserve to be heard. Hear them now.
Journalists have been missing in Libya as well: Journalists under attack in Libya: The tally – Blog – Committee to Protect Journalists
The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the fate of American freelance journalist Matthew VanDyke, who has been missing in Libya since mid-March, according to his family and news reports. He is among 15 reporters either missing or in government custody in Libya.
To see more about recent attacks on journalists, go to the home page of Press Freedom Online – Committee to Protect Journalists
Thanks to Dak for this next link: Waking the Lion | Politics | Vanity Fair
Turning his camera on Egypt’s 18-day miracle, Jonas Fredwall Karlsson captures face-to-face the thrilling, tech-savvy tide that drew all eyes to Tahrir Square, swept away Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule, and set off similar protests across the Middle East. Ron Beinner reports, while Henry Porter dissects the protesters’ world-altering triumph: an anger that defied death, the ingenuity that stymied a brutal police state, and a sense of freedom that will never be lost.
Be sure to look at the pictures in the gallery at the link above.
More is going on in MENA, and with all the news about the budget, it has not gotten the attention it deserves. So take a look at the items below.
Forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, Cote d’Ivoire’s incumbent president, have fired mortars at the hotel where the Ivorian leader’s internationally recognised rival is based.
‘They said we must stay to fight when the Americans come,’ a Ghanaian worker tells Al Jazeera from a refugee camp.
Among the reports of atrocities occurring in Libya are claims from African migrants that they were abducted and forced to fight with Gaddafi’s forces.
Nearly all migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, who arrive at the desert refugee camp in Tunisia, have fled in fear of violent reprisals by Libyans who accuse them of being mercenaries. The extent to which Gaddafi’s military has used foreign mercenaries, or press-ganged migrants into fighting, remains unclear.
A former Nigerian police officer, who had worked in Libya for eight years as a technician, alleges he was abducted in mid-March at a military checkpoint in Tripoli, along with other men from Ghana, Mali and Niger, before being taken to a military centre.
“There was up to 100 people in the courtyard and military trucks were arriving and leaving with more people. They started beating people, I saw them shoot one Ghanaian in front of me. The atmosphere was very intimidating,” he explained. “They put us into a vehicle and we were driven into the desert. I saw an oil refinery, there was evidence of bomb strikes, burnt out vehicles and a strong smell. I think it was Ras Lanouf.”
A Ghanaian worker claimed to have been abducted by Libyan military when they stormed his house in Sirte.
“They asked us why we were trying to leave the country and that we must stay to fight for when the Americans come,” he explained. “We were taken to a police station and then to an underground hospital which they ordered us to clean.”
Hundreds of anti-government protesters are reported to have been hurt in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, a day after similar clashes in the city of Taiz.
The BBC correspondent in Sanaa says the area has been blocked off by army trucks, and single gunshots echo through the city.
Doctors say at least a dozen people have gunshot wounds, and others were treated for the effects of tear gas.
The country has seen weeks of protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
President Saleh earlier recalled his ambassador to Qatar after dismissing a proposal by the Gulf states for him to step down.
Amnesty International today condemned the excessive use of force used by the Egyptian army when at least two protesters were reportedly killed when soldiers attempted to disperse those gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Protesters told Amnesty International the army used sticks, electric batons, shot in the air and drove armored vehicles into the protest causing a number of injuries.
Some 15 people were also reportedly detained, as well as six army officers who joined the protest.
“The Egyptian authorities have once again failed to respect the right to peaceful protest by using the same tactics of repression as those of the former government,” said Amnesty International.
“All those arrested for merely exercising their right to protest peacefully must be released immediately and an independent investigation begun into these disturbing events.”
Thousands of protesters had gathered in Tahrir Square following Friday prayers to demand the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak and other officials suspected of corruption and human rights violations.
“The image the Egyptian army is trying to project greatly contradicts with reports of it torturing and otherwise ill-treating those it detains, including carrying out ‘virginity tests’ on women detainees,” said Amnesty International.
“They must ensure that no such treatment is no longer meted out to anyone detained by them.”
I thought it would be helpful if people who are always hearing and reading about the “repression of dissidents” in Cuba and jump to their defense could also hear the other side: what happened to the thousands of people whose lives were affected by the actions of terrorists from inside and outside the country. I thought it would put a human face on the statistics regarding the material and human damage caused by counterrevolutionaries and mercenaries who are euphemistically called “dissidents” or “anti-Castro militants.”
“Voices From the Other Side” does this. But it also does a great deal more.
I did not realize that the debris from the Japanese Tsunami would reach our Pacific Coast as described below, but just imagine the image of all those houses floating in the vast ocean. It must be so surreal, like Dorothy’s house flying through the sky…out of place and very alone.
The devastation in Japan after the massive earthquake and tsunami last month appears to have no end, and within a year’s time much of what was destroyed may end up on U.S. shores. Scientists are now predicting that it will take a year for the wreckage from towns essentially erased off the map to end up in Washington, Oregon and California, wreckage including whole houses, cars, and human remains.
Yesterday we lost one of the best directors ever to come out of Hollywood. Sidney Lumet dies aged 86 | Film | guardian.co.uk For a complete rundown of his movies, this next link from IMDB is the best. Sidney Lumet: 1924-2011
Director Sidney Lumet, whose gritty portraits of New York City earned him four Oscar nominations for Best Director for films such as Dog Day Afternoon and Network, died Saturday of lymphoma at his home in Manhattan; he was 86.
From Minx’s Missing Link File: One of Fox News lunatics is out! So I thought that these two articles from C and L are the best at reviewing the events that led up to the mad chalkboards. A look back on Beck’s nutty Fox News career: Turning discourse into a series of stunts | Crooks and Liars
Now, there are plenty of things to object to about Glenn’s trainwreck of a career at Fox, particularly the noxious and yet little-noticed way he almost effortlessly mainstreamed extremist ideas and rhetoric, most recently with his full-bore descent into promoting John Birch Society conspiracism. Undoubtedly, Beck’s relentless fearmongering and the vicious eliminationism of his rhetoric were important components of what made Beck so toxic. Media Matters has compiled an impressive list of the “50 Worst Things Glenn Beck Said On Fox News” that gives a pretty good rundown — but is really only a start.
And for your viewing pleasure: Jon Stewart’s Epic Parody Of Glenn Beck | Video Cafe
Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the week: Some Medieval History for you…Queening: Chess and Women in Medieval and Renaissance France – Medievalists.net
Queening: Chess and Women in Medieval and Renaissance France
By Regina L. O‘Shea
Master’s Thesis, Brigham Young University, 2010
Abstract: This work explores the correlation between the game of chess and social conditions for women in both medieval and Renaissance France. Beginning with an introduction to the importance and symbolism of the game in European society and the teaching of the game to European nobility, this study theorizes how chess relates to gender politics in early modern France and how the game‘s evolution reflects the changing role of women. I propose that modifications to increase the directional and quantitative abilities of the Queen piece made at the close of the fifteenth century reflect changing attitudes towards women of the period, especially women in power. In correlation with this, I also assert that the action of queening, or promotion of a Pawn to a Queen, demonstrates evolving conceptions of women as well. This work seeks to add to the growing body of work devoted to the exploration of connections between chess and political and social circumstances during the periods under consideration. As the question of the interconnectedness between the game and gender relations is in its beginning stages of exploration, this thesis is offered as a further analysis of the gender anxieties and conceptions present in the game‘s theory and history.
So what are you reading about today? Give it to me baby…..