Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!

Well, I hate to keep having to read about states out to get women’s health clinics, but here we go again!

The Texas Legislature approved a bill Monday that would both compel the state to push the Obama administration to convert Texas’s Medicaid program into a block grant and defund abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.

The omnibus health bill also includes a number of other controversial provisions, including plans to save $400 million over the next year by increasing the use of Medicaid managed care.

The legislation now goes to the desk of Gov. Rick Perry, who has been generally supportive of both the Medicaid reforms, as well as anti-abortion language.

Here’s so more details on the Texas situation from the Dallas News.

The bill would deny $34 million to Planned Parenthood from family planning grants, curb abortions at public hospitals and promote use of adult stem cells from the patient’s own body in new medical treatments.

“Early in the session, I didn’t dare dream that we could make the gains this bill would accomplish,” said Joe Pojman of Texas Alliance for Life.

Also, under the bill, Texas could join Georgia and Oklahoma in creating a health care compact. Under the proposal, if Congress approved, the states could agree to cap the federal government’s contribution to several health care programs, including Medicaid and Medicare. In return, they would be freed from current federal laws on eligibility and benefits.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is suing to prevent Kansas from implementation of its law meant to shut down abortion clinics as well as Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is asking a federal court to block Kansas from cutting off its federal funding, after winning a similar injunction Friday in Indiana.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri filed a lawsuit Monday that seeks to prevent Kansas from implementing a provision of the state budget that would cut off federal funding.

According to the group’s brief, Kansas blocked federal money from going to organizations that specialize in family planning without also providing primary and preventive care. The provision would cut off funding to all Planned Parenthood clinics, even those that do not provide abortions, the group says.

This is really getting serious folks!  States are trying all kinds of things because they know think the courts might rule in their favor.  The amount of money going to defend nuisance laws in these states must be astounding.

The President is signalling that a ‘significant’ deal with the Republicans might be in the works about the federal budget and deficit.  Better check your passport status!  It’s likely we’re about to get fleeced and you may want to head for a country that appreciates its middle class for a stay!

President Barack Obama plunged into deadlocked negotiations to cut government deficits and raise the nation’s debt limit Monday, and the White House expressed confidence a “significant” deal with Republicans could be reached. But both sides only seemed to harden their positions as the day wore on, the administration insisting on higher taxes as part of the package but Republican leaders flatly rejecting the idea.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for about 30 minutes at the White House, and then met with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky for about an hour in the early evening.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama reported after the morning session that “everyone in the room believes that a significant deal remains possible.” But Carney also affirmed that Obama would only go for a deficit-reduction plan that included both spending cuts and increased tax revenue, an approach that Republicans say would never get through Congress.

  There’s an interesting post up at the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation called “Too Big to Fail or Too Big to Change“.  It points to failure of the SEC and the DOJ to hold corporations and their officers responsible for malfeasance.  It suggests that institutional investors may have to use the courts to fill the void.

It has increasingly fallen to institutional investors to hold mortgage lenders, investment banks and other large financial institutions accountable for their role in the mortgage crisis by seeking redress for shareholders injured by corporate misconduct and sending a powerful message to executives that corporate malfeasance is unacceptable. For example, sophisticated public pension funds are currently prosecuting actions involving billions of dollars of losses against Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Wachovia, Merrill Lynch, Washington Mutual, Countrywide, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, among many others. In some instances, litigations have already resulted in significant recoveries for defrauded investors.

Historically, institutional investors have achieved impressive results on behalf of shareholders when compared to government- led suits. Indeed, since 1995, SEC settlements comprise only 5 percent of the monetary recoveries arising from securities frauds, with the remaining 95 percent obtained through private litigation as demonstrated by several examples in the chart at right.

Institutional investors must continue to lead the charge and prosecute fraud to send a strong message that such misconduct will not be tolerated and to guarantee that shareholders are fairly compensated for their losses. Both the courts and Congress have recognized that meritorious private securities litigation is “an indispensable tool with which defrauded investors can recover their losses[,]…promote public and global confidence in our capital markets and help to deter wrongdoing.” While originally intended as a supplement to government regulation, recent events demonstrate that institutional investors may now be the entities best positioned to protect investors’ rights. Without such protection, and if Wall Street bankers are permitted to profit from their frauds without a proportionate retributive response, we may be fated to repeat the same economic calamity that has defined our generation.

The local sheriff is now investigating the Prosser ‘defensive chokehold’  at the request of Wisconsin Capitol Police Chief.

The state Capitol Police Chief, Charles Tubbs, said Monday that he is turning over the case to local law enforcement.

“After consulting with members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, I have turned over the investigation into an alleged incident in the court’s offices on June 13, 2011 to Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney,” Tubbs said in a statement. “Sheriff Mahoney has agreed to investigate this incident and all inquiries about the status of the investigation should be made with the Sheriff’s Department.”

Mahoney issued a concurrent statement declaring that he has directed detectives to investigate the incident.

“Beginning today, detectives will work diligently to conduct a thorough and timely investigation,” Mahoney said. “Because this case is in the very early stages, no further information is available at this time.”

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism first revealed the June 13 incident on Saturday, reporting that Prosser put his hands on Bradley’s neck during debate over the legality of the “budget repair bill,” which the court’s conservative majority ruled is legal in a 4-3 decision June 14.

Reaction on the Web — where partisans have been arguing Wisconsin politics for months — was swift.

At ThinkProgress, Ian Millhiser surmised four ways Prosser can be legally removed from office.

“Should the allegations against Prosser prove true, it is tough to imagine a truer sign that our political system has broken down than if the calls to remove him from office are not unanimous,” he wrote.

Natural disasters in our country have triggered concern about nuclear facilities.  The latest facility to be jeopardized is Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab in New Mexico.  Add this to the two nuclear power plants in Nebraska surrounded by the flooded Missouri River.

The Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab in New Mexico has been shut down for the day due to a fast-moving wildfire that is endangering the lab and surrounding area. The fire began around 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos, charring about 6,000 acres. Fire officials say none of the fire is under control yet. Lawrence Lujan of the Santa Fe National Forest said, “We have homes and we have the labs, so it’s a very, very big concern, not only locally, but nationally and globally.”

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner--Argentina’s president–has announced she’ll run for a second term in office in October.

Her announcement marks the beginning of Argentina’s presidential election campaign. Ms Fernández is in good shape to secure another term. She is comfortably ahead in the opinion polls, thanks in large part to Argentina’s strong economic performance: GDP grew by an annualised 10% in the first quarter of 2011, due in no small measure to growing international demand for soya, now the country’s biggest export.

Ms Fernández faces no challenges from within her governing Peronist Party. And despite months of attempts to form a coalition of opposition, her political adversaries remain hopelessly split. Her strongest opponents are likely to be Eduardo Duhalde, a former president, and Ricardo Alfonsín, the son of a former president. But her biggest problems lie elsewhere.

One is a corruption scandal surrounding the Association of Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a group of women campaigning to discover what happened to their children under Argentina’s military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983. Ms Fernández and her husband allied themselves to the group, providing them with millions of dollars of state funds with which to build houses for the underprivileged and without seeking any guarantees. The Mothers have now been caught up in a fraud investigation, which some think could cause problems for Ms Fernández.

One last bit of good news! Southern Right Whales Return to New Zealand After a Century of overhunting and being on the brink of extinction.

Southern right whales were once a common sight along the coast of New Zealand, though in the 19th century overhunting brought the species to the brink of extinction. But now, after a decades of being virtually non-existant off New Zealand’s shores, wildlife experts are seeing endangered right whales finally returning to their ancestral calving grounds — offering hope that the whales’ are rediscovering a ‘cultural connection’ to this region after a century-long hiatus.

Before they were brought to near-extinction by whalers who considered them to be the best whale species to target — hence the ‘right’ in their name — southern right whales are thought to have numbered in the tens-of-thousands in the waters off New Zealand. In the decades that followed, however, the few surviving whales limited their calving grounds to the sub-antarctic regions to the south, despite the fact that closer to the New Zealand mainland had ancestrally been where they raised their young.

But recently a team of researchers from the University of Auckland and New Zealand Department of Conservation made a remarkable discovery; right whales seemed to be heading home.

“With the increase in numbers observed around the Auckland Islands over the last decade, we think that some individuals are re-discovering the former primary habitat around the mainland of New Zealand,” researcher Scott Baker tells The New Zealand Herald.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

32 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Los Alamos National Laboratory closed because of SW wildfires

    Thousands of people are being evacuated from Los Alamos town in New Mexico as Las Conchas fire has been threatening the town since Sunday.

    Active fire behavior has been observed with running and spotting on both sides of NM 4, according to US Forest Service.

    The city of Los Alamos is under mandatory evacuation and White Rock remains under voluntary evacuation. Cochiti Mesa, Las Conchas, Bandelier National Monument, and campgrounds near the fire were evacuated yesterday.

    About 100 residents were evacuated from Cochiti Mesa and Las Conchas, and no evacuees reported to the evacuation center at La Cueva Fire Station.

    The fire is approximately 1 mile southwest of the boundary of Los Alamos National Laboratory, which will remain closed on June 28.

  2. paper doll says:

    great round up, the whale news cheered me up!

    Obama being visible involved in “negotiations” is really scary…I guess. We are about to be told total capitulation is showing fierce advocacy leadership… the deal was cut some time ago..they are watching cartoons, the playboy channel and playing video games behind closed doors until enough time goes by that it seems they are “working” …then Obama comes in to show Dem belly…seems to me

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    Some hospitals refuse to perform abortions in wake of controversial state law change

    Did a state bill that defunded Planned Parenthood put women’s health at risk? The chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Wishard Hospital says yes.

    A spokesperson for the IU School of Medicine confirmed to 24-Hour News 8 that about 70 women at IU Health and Wishard hospitals have been denied abortions in the six weeks since the law took affect. Doctors – fearing the loss of Medicaid funding – refused to do abortions even in cases where the patient’s health was at risk or there was no chance the fetus would survive.

    Dr. Elizabeth Ferries-Rowe, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Wishard, wrote a scathing letter to the Indianapolis Star, saying the GOP-controlled legislature “tied the hands of physicians attempting to provide medically appropriate, evidence-based care in the setting of routine obstetrics and gynecology” in “a politically motivated move to de-fund Planned Parenthood.”

    So am I reading this right? A hospital has refused to do abortions for women even though their health is at risk, or the fetus is deformed and will not survive…because they are worried about losing Medicaid funding? Is it ever going to end?

    • bostonboomer says:

      Good grief! A judge has put a hold on the PP law at the moment.

      • Woman Voter says:

        I keep getting e-mails from orgs claiming they are working on the ‘War On Women’ but never mention any repeal of the ‘President Obama Stupak Executive Order’? Until they address that, the War On Women will continue full steam a head.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        WV, yes…I get those same emails and you are right, don’t see much on Stupak.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    Keep in mind that it is Rick Perry from Texas who certain members of the GOP are happily encouraging to jump into the presidential parade for 2012.

    Another fundie crackpot who wants government abolished and replaced with prayer.

    It won’t be long before all women are measured for chastity belts.

    • bostonboomer says:

      He could be worse than Bachmann.

      • Peggy Sue says:

        He could. Perry is a freaking fraud, another self-proclaimed member of God’s chosen. But unlike Bachmann, who I think actually believes her own nonsense, Perry is an absolute opportunist, a former Gore supporter and conservative Dem. The Miracle Man is a midget when you look at his real record in Texas–unspeakable poverty, pollution, educational failures and corporate wheeler-dealer extraordinaire.

        These people are all whacked but Perry is in a class of his own for rank hypocrisy.

      • okasha says:

        What Peggy Sue said, every syllable. If he could get votes from doing it, Rick Perry would declare himself a devout Buddhist. Or Druid. Or High Priest of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

        No ethics. No principles. No actual political philosophy. Just what’s in it for him. He’s actually been worse for Texas than Shrub was.

  5. Woman Voter says:

    Wisconsin Supreme Court Just Like UFC
    Prosser calls Chief Justice ‘B@tch’ and later CHOKES another Justice and Greta Van Suztren said Bradley (Justice that was choked) should resign (Prosser declared innocent by Greta?).

    • Woman Voter says:

      Why would Greta defend a misogynist? She didn’t even wait for the findings, and frankly I think the FBI should be investigating this one or the Justice Department.

      Where is Nancy Pelosi?

      • paper doll says:

        Why would the justices who saw what happened decline to tell what they witnessed?

        not surprising they are doing the Sargent Schultz number

        “I know noTHING!!” The Brotherhood of the Perpetual He-man Club after all

        But now that numb nuts touched another judge….game over imo
        The police have to very reluctantly do their job…or maybe not. It’s not like we have laws
        or anything

  6. Fannie says:

    WTF, Greta wants the woman to resign, and not David Prosser? WTF, must be the republican effect, bend over woman, we’ll pray later.

    • dakinikat says:

      Greta suggested the chief justice resign. She is the one prosser called a bitch not the judge he was seen choking. I guess greta thinks the chief justice is responsible for other people’s actions. Since there were other justices in the room when this happened, I am sure the sheriff will figure things out.

      • Woman Voter says:

        You are correct, Greta was asking the Chief Justice to resign, but as a legal scholar pointed out, calling the Chief Justice a ‘Total B@tch’ and threatening to destroy her, is verbal abuse and the latter is a threat…especially now since there is a complaint that he placed his hands around the neck of another Justice.

      • Fannie says:

        Why would the justices who saw what happened decline to tell what they witnessed?

      • Woman Voter says:

        Boy, if they dob’t get their Supreme Court in order, no one will feel safe going before the lot of them, since they are withholding information. Who are they protecting, it sure isn’t the truth/transparency.

    • Woman Voter says:

      I was shocked too, didn’t even expect to hear anything about Greta in the video above. This is a bit, a kin to finding out we are surrounded and by some of the women folk too! EAK!

  7. Minkoff Minx says:

    A little interesting poll, considering the discussion we were having yesterdayStates continue Radical christianist assault on Women’s Health « Sky Dancing:

    Poll: Faith signals party affiliation – Justin Ho – POLITICO.com

    Strength of faith continues to serve as a clear indicator of political party affiliation, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

    The Gallup survey found that more religious voters are likely to be Republican, while the non-religious are likely to identify themselves as Democrats.

    The results have been consistent over many years, the polling firm said.

    “The influence of personal religiousness on party identification in the U.S. is not a new phenomenon, and has been observed in analyses of survey and voting data going back to the Reagan administration,” Gallup’s Frank Newport wrote in the poll’s analysis.

    Again nothing new, but just interesting that it comes up…

  8. Woman Voter says:

    @Hireheels It’s about time a woman held the purse! AP: French Finance Minister #ChristineLagarde is chosen to lead IMF; first woman to hold top job…

    • paper doll says:

      a woman is often sent in to mop up a sticky situation …when she’s made it all pretty again, it will then be seen as time for someone “more serious” (male) to take it over again

      but for now : good!

    • dakinikat says:

      I just frontpaged this great news!!!

  9. dakinikat says:

    US Women Who Have Stillbirths Face Murder Charges

    Women’s rights campaigners see the creeping criminalisation of pregnant women as a new front in the culture wars over abortion, in which conservative prosecutors are chipping away at hard-won freedoms by stretching protection laws to include foetuses, in some cases from the day of conception. In Gibbs’ case defence lawyers have argued before Mississippi’s highest court that her prosecution makes no sense. Under Mississippi law it is a crime for any person except the mother to try to cause an abortion.

    “If it’s not a crime for a mother to intentionally end her pregnancy, how can it be a crime for her to do it unintentionally, whether by taking drugs or smoking or whatever it is,” Robert McDuff, a civil rights lawyer asked the state supreme court.

    McDuff told the Guardian that he hoped the Gibbs prosecution was an isolated example. “I hope it’s not a trend that’s going to catch on. To charge a woman with murder because of something she did during pregnancy is really unprecedented and quite extreme.”

    • paper doll says:

      so there’s no goverment money for planned parenthood clinics…but there’s money for this shit?

      WTF !?

      • dakinikat says:

        There also appears to be tons of money for passing these stupid laws than defending them all the way up to the supreme court. That’s not cheap either.

    • Peggy Sue says:

      If this case isn’t thrown out, all child-bearing women are in jeopardy. This is what happens when we get complacent about our rights, any rights. Slowly but surely, the power hungry will take a nip here, another nip there. Before you know it, there’s virtually nothing left. We have a case like this and in other states we have state legislators seriously suggesting that miscarriage of any sort deserves criminal investigation. The fundies truly want to take us back to the Dark Ages. For whatever reason, they seem terrified of women having control over their own lives.

      Where will it stop if not strenously opposed? I shudder to even think about it.

    • Branjor says:

      I swear, some day they’re just going to make it a crime to be a woman, period, and throw us all in jail, pregnant or not, miscarriage or not. We’ll all just be involuntary egg donors and breeding vessels and after we can no longer breed, we’ll be killed. And that, dear ones, is what The Handmaid’s Tale is all about.

      • Peggy Sue says:

        Yup! And when I first read Atwood’s novel I thought it was–‘out there.’ Sadly,the woman was/is a prophetess.

      • paper doll says:

        I’d love a Ms.Attwood interview about now….clearly a visionary