Tuesday Reads: More Caucuses and a Beauty Contest; Dems Support Anti-Union Bill; and Protecting Children vs. Parents’ Rights

Good Morning!!

There are four more Republican caucuses and one “primary” coming up this week. Tomorrow, Minnesota and Colorado will hold caucuses and Missouri has a beauty contest, a non-binding primary (actual delegates will be apportioned by the Missouri Republican party on March 17). Maine holds it’s caucuses on Saturday. After that, we get a two-week respite with no primaries. Won’t that be great?

Right now, Rick Santorum is leading in the polls in Minnesota, and Mitt Romney has wasted no time in turning his mean-spirited attacks on the new upstart. Wall Street Journal:

In a radio interview in Minnesota on Monday, Mr. Romney criticized Mr. Santorum for voting to raise the country’s borrowing limit, allowing earmark spending to proliferate and letting government spending explode.

“His approach was not effective and, frankly, I happen to believe if we’re going to change Washington we can’t just keep on sending the same people there in different chairs,” he said in an interview on WCCO.

The Romney camp also circulated a research memo to challenge Mr. Santorum’s contention that Mr. Romney imposed a “top-down, government-run” health-care system in Massachusetts that led to higher costs and longer wait times. For good measure, the Romney team rereleased Mr. Santorum’s endorsement of Mr. Romney in the 2008 race.

Romney is currently leading in Colorado, but there are suggestions that Santorum could do well there too–maybe even take first place. From CNN:

Could Rick Santorum pull off a surprise victory in this week’s caucuses? Newt Gingrich thinks so.

“I think that Santorum’s going to have a pretty good day tomorrow and he will have earned it. He targeted differently than I did,” Gingrich told reporters gathered outside an energy forum in Golden, Colorado….

Speaking to reporters after the same forum, Santorum opted against setting any expectations for the caucuses. But he questioned Mitt Romney’s ability to close the deal with Republican voters, noting the former Massachusetts governor has failed to attract as many voters as he did in 2008 in some previous contests.

“He’s underperformed from four years ago. And I suspect he will again,” Santorum said about Tuesday’s caucuses.

According to USA Today:

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum has spent the past few days shuttling among Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado hoping that a good showing in one or all Tuesday would show the conservative electorate was not solidly behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

“Our hope is conservatives are stepping back and looking at the race and making the same calculations that I’ve just made that a Romney nomination will not be in the best interest of us winning the general election,” Santorum told reporters here Monday. “We need to have a conservative alternative and my feeling is that Speaker Gingrich has sort of had his chance in the arena and came up short in Florida and Nevada, and now it’s our turn.”

Santorum has spent a great deal of time in Missouri while the other candidates were competing in Nevada. He apparently thinks the “show me” state will help him launch a comeback in the race.

Tomorrow’s primary in Missouri is the staging ground for Rick Santorum’s latest campaign message—that he is the real conservative alternative to Mitt Romney and that he is the person who can best compete with Barack Obama.

A win in Missouri would be absolutely crucial in keeping Santorum’s campaign afloat. His chances look good there because Newt Gingrich—whose campaign has been plagued by logistical missteps such as failing to get on the ballot in Virginia—decided not to sign up for tomorrow’s primary.

Unfortunately for Santorum, a win won’t get him any delegates.

Yesterday, Democrats in the Senate joined their right-wing colleagues in passing an anti-union FAA bill.

The Senate passed a Federal Aviation Administration bill on Monday that includes an anti-union measure bitterly opposed by labor groups.

The bill, which modernizes America’s air traffic control system and funds the FAA through 2014, was fought over for four years, leading to a partial shutdown of the FAA last summer because of anti-union measures added by the Republican-controlled House.

It passed 75 to 20, with a majority of Democrats backing it.

Among the controversial provisions were changes to labor law for rail and airline workers — backed by the airline industry — that would count anyone who did not vote in an election for a union as voting against it, making it much more difficult to certify attempts to organize new unions.

What’s the point of voting for Democrats if they’re no different from Republicans?

Braden and Charlie Powell

This story makes me so sad that I had to share it with you. It demonstrates one of the worst thing about U.S. family courts–they care more about parents rights than they do children’s safety and well-being. Yesterday, the husband of a missing Utah woman, Susan Powell, committed suicide and chose to take his two sons along with him.

The deaths of a Washington man and his two sons in what authorities believe was a murder-suicide may mean the 2009 disappearance of the children’s mother may never be solved.

Josh Powell, a suspect in the disappearance of Susan Cox-Powell, died Sunday along with his two sons, 5-year-old Braden and 7-year-old Charlie, in what police believe was an intentionally set fire in Powell’s Puyallup, Washington, home.

It was a tragic development in a puzzling case that began two years ago in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Valley City, Utah, when Susan Cox-Powell, 28, went missing.

Josh Powell was never charged in her disappearance, and was embroiled in a bitter custody dispute with his wife’s parents.

Why was this man allowed access to his children? If the court believed he had the right to see them, why not arrange for the meeting to take place in a neutral location? Not only was this man a strong suspect in the murder of the children’s mother, but also he had allowed the boys to live with his father who was arrested awhile ago for possession of child pornography. The arrest led to Powell’s in-laws getting custody of the two boys. Powell apparently had been planning the murder suicide for some time.

Authorities say Josh Powell planned the deadly house fire that killed him and his young sons for some time, dropping toys at charities and sending final emails to multiple acquaintances.

Powell, the husband of missing Utah woman Susan Powell, died along with his children Sunday.

Authorities say they found 10 gallons of gasoline inside the home. A five-gallon can was spread throughout the house and used as an accelerant in the huge blaze. Another can was found by the bodies.

They say Josh Powell did send longer emails to some people, including his cousin and pastor, with instructions such as where to find his money and how to shut off his utilities

The motive for killing the boys might have been the fact that once they were away from their father, they began talking about the night their mom disappeared.

The children of missing woman Susan Cox Powell have said for years that “Mommy’s in the mine,” an attorney representing the Cox family said on Monday….adding the boys mentioned their mother may have been looking for crystals in the mine.

Another lawyer representing the Cox family said the children had started talking to their grandparents about things they remembered from the night their mother vanished.

“They were beginning to verbalize more,” said attorney Steve Downing. “The oldest boy talked about that they went camping and that Mommy was in the trunk. Mom and Dad got out of the car and Mom disappeared.”

The attorney said Charlie Powell drew a disturbing picture as a part of a school assignment several months ago. The drawing depicted the boy’s father driving the van with Charlie and Braden sitting in the backseat, and their mother in the trunk.

“There was a subsequent question with regard to, ‘Why is your mother in the trunk?’ And his response was simply that he didn’t know, but his mother and father had gotten out of the van, and his mother then got lost,” said Downing.

So why was the man allowed access to his children? A psychologist quoted in an article in the Christian Science Monitor seems troubled by the decision.

Joy Silberg, a psychologist who specializes in child protection and abuse cases, says courts often place more value on parental rights than a child’s safety – or see them as equal concerns, when in her view, the parental rights should be secondary.

“I have situations where the child has disclosed very clear disclosures about a parent, or terror at being near a parent … and the judge still orders a child to go [to visitation] because the parental right is seen as having so much more power,” says Dr. Silberg.

While she doesn’t know all the facts of the Powell case, she adds, “it’s hard for me to believe that this was completely out of the blue and that no one knew he was this destructive. People usually leave clues.”

In fact, Powell was named a “person of interest” by the authorities when his wife, Susan Cox-Powell, disappeared two years ago. But he was never officially charged with any crime, and no details have ever been made public linking him with the case.

I don’t like to end with an utterly heartbreaking story like that, so I’ll add this one from The Daily Beast on Nancy Brinker and her really really bad decision to defund Planned Parenthood. Apparently Brinker is real meanie when it comes to competition with other groups raising funds for breast cancer.

“Komen plays hardball and is determined to stay on top,” says a member of another cancer organization, who declined to be identified. “Let’s be honest about all this: people think of breast cancer as a charity, but it’s really a major business.”

I’m going to keep that in mind the next time I get a request for funds for breast cancer. I’ll especially want to find out what each group’s attitude is toward women’s autonomy. More from the article:

…in the early ’80s, she [Nancy] met and married multimillionaire restaurateur Norman Brinker, a major Republican donor. He had previously been married to Grand Slam tennis star Maureen “Little Mo” Connnelly, who had died from ovarian cancer.
When they tied the knot, the union provided Nancy with a network of A-list political connections and friends, plus the funds to lead a luxurious lifestyle and create the Komen Foundation, now the Susan G. Komen for the Cure with affiliates in 170 communities in 50 nations. (Interesting note: the largest Race for the Cure, a three-day run, is held in Rome, Italy.)

In 1993 Norman Brinker suffered severe head injuries during a polo match and remained on crutches for the rest of his life. Several years later the couple divorced and with a hefty settlement, formidable drive, and her chum George W. Bush in the White House, Nancy was ready to step onto the world stage. First the [resident appointed her ambassador to Hungary and then U.S. chief of protocol.

Did Nancy dump her rich hubby because his health problems were a pain in the a$$. Inquiring minds want to know. There’s more gossipy stuff in the article if you’re interested.

Now what are you reading and blogging about today?

51 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: More Caucuses and a Beauty Contest; Dems Support Anti-Union Bill; and Protecting Children vs. Parents’ Rights”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Public Policy Polling (PPP): Big day for Santorum?

    Rick Santorum could be headed for a big day in today’s contests in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri. Missouri looks like a probable win for Santorum. He’s at 45% there to 32% for Mitt Romney and 19% for Paul. Minnesota provides an opportunity for a win as well. Currently he has a small advantage with 33% to 24% for Romney, 22% for Newt Gingrich, and 20% for Ron Paul. And Santorum should get a second place finish in Colorado, where Romney appears to be the likely winner. The standings there are Romney at 37%, Santorum at 27%, Gingrich at 21%, and Paul at 13%.

    Santorum’s personal popularity is the main reason for his sudden reemergence as a relevant player in the GOP race. In all 3 of these states his favorability is over 70%- 74/17 in Minnesota, 72/17 in Missouri, and 71/19 in Colorado. He’s far better liked than his main opponents- Romney’s favorability is 47-60% in those states and Gingrich’s is 47-48%. While Romney and Gingrich have hammered each other in recents weeks Santorum’s been largely left alone and he’s benefiting from that now.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Disturbing that with absolutely nothing to run on as a platform, the GOP has now found one and is ready to use it from now until November: the “assault” on religion, primarily the Catholic Church.

    No news here now that it is pretty obvious that the line between the separation of church and state has been firmly breached. The Catholic Church, along with other religious institutions, has found a wedge in this amendment and have been using it to further install itself in the laws of the land.

    This faux “war on religion” may play out over the next 7 months since it “appeals” to the sensibilities of those who prefer to side with the Religious Right without further examining the dangers inherent in this theorcratical movement.

    Would it have the same resonance if Scientology were being introduced into the political platform and we were all to be subjected to their crackpot theories? Or how about Mormonism as another example? Perhaps the Jews can get onboard and ban pork from our diets?

    Watch this “war” become the overriding issue during this campaign. Fox is already ratcheting up the rhetoric painting the Obama administration as “anti Christian”.

    We are on a very serious path to self destruction by allowing the Catholic Church, or any other religion, to insert and inflict their views on a diverse public as they march toward the total subjugation of women and the destruction of gay rights which do not fit their narrow minded views.

    This could be the one issue that gains full traction coming from a party devoid of ideas and candidates as it is designed to strike the fear of repression that does not exist.

    It may be as close to Sharia Law as this nation can tolerate if allowed to continue without challenge.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Pat, you’re scaring me!

      • Pat Johnson says:

        And it is the primary reason why Santorum is “surging” in the polls in some states: he is expressing the same “outrage” that appeals to those who have finally found a reason to support the otherwise empty policies of the GOP.

        I don’ think that it is any “coincidence” that so much hatred against women has emerged all at once over the last 12 months. Most of these “laws” are aimed at women’s rights. Disguised as “religious freedoms” the constant whittling away, state by state, of the reproductive rights afforded women has been quietly making its way across the nation.

        The Komen issue happened because the fundies found an opening to restrict women even more regardless of the backlash. Since they have been on this road for the last 30 years they can withstand the backlash as they watch their goals succeed.

        Newt Gingrich introduced the subject of the “war on the Catholic Church” in one of his rambling speeches and has used it repeatedly ever since. Say a thing often enough and it becomes fact.

        Allowing any religious institution a seat at the governing table is opening the door to trouble.

        Many people respond when they feel their religious practices are “under attack” far more than they do when presented with differing economic solutions.

        The GOP grasps that and I promise you, they are going to run with this until November.

    • Is there any reason to believe that the Obama Administration won’t back down? Standing firm, especially for women, hasn’t exactly been his strong suit. And the way the announcement was made originally is on par with SGK’s mishandling of the PP defunding. Regardless of how anyone here feels about Obama, I would imagine that most would agree that he is intelligent. This policy announcement wasn’t done in an intelligent way, with a lead up explaining exactly what it is, which allowed the over the top rhetoric to go wild. Personally, I expect an BIG announcement that after many consultations with religious leaders, he understands & supports their pov and is reversing this edict for free contraceptive coverage in insurance policies. After all it’s only about women and there are plenty of them, so if their health is negatively impacted – there are more where they came from . No big deal.

      The Talking Heads are saying that because of the contraception ruling that Newter is saying Obama is waging war on religion. Newter has been saying that LONG before this ruling. The cynic in me says this was a political ploy to defuse the anti-religion rhetoric. Announce, reconsider, recant. Look at me – I not only listen but I love god & I love religion.

    • peggysue22 says:

      Pat, you’re right again. My husband left Fox News on after he left [he really needs to get out of this morning habit] and the commentators were pumping, pumping about ‘religious freedoms’ being squeezed, overreach by the Government and Obama. Flipped on MSNBC and it was the same thing. One guest speaker said that reasonable people should certainly see how the contraception issue was a direct assault on the Catholic Church, and then made some specious comment that this is how ‘it’ starts–a government takeover, a Big Brother revolution.

      Ah, no. That would be the Corporate takeover that is going on right now.

      This will be the attack, depending on how the WH responds. I predict Obama folds, agreeing to some sort of carve out for the sake of the church people. And their votes and money, of course.

      Women? Aways the last consideration.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Archbishop tells U.S. troops that Obamacare ‘Is a Blow to a Freedom…for Which You Have Seen Your Buddies Fall in Battle’


    Can we cancel their tax exemption now?

  4. janicen says:

    Jaysus, as if the story about the Powell kids wasn’t sickening and heartbreaking enough, new info has emerged making it even more horrible. I can’t write about it or link to it, but it’s out there. I really have to block this out, I can’t handle it.

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    I’m with Connie here: the biggest stain against Obama is his ability to capitulate so easily in the face of opposition.

    What we need is a third party, a party that is devoted primarily to women and their issues. With women in the majority at 51% we have had enough of these policies designed to further harness us as unequal partners under the law.

    With so few men out there willing to act on our behalf, and a growing number of idiot women willing to support the harnessing, we are the only ones to be counted on to act in our own interests.

    I propose “The Progressive Women’s Party” to overcome the backlash of the state, the religionists, and the kooks that would decide what is in our own best interests.

    Who’s with me on this?

    • Pat, personally I think it’s a great idea. Of course, it would take years, probably decades, before the party could get anyone elected or for the party to even be competitive with Tweedledum & Tweedledee (Nader’s characterization). And even though women make up 51% of the population, what would be a reasonable estimate of the percentage that would leave the other parties? And I think the theocrats got it correct – start locally and build from there. School boards, county/district boards to begin.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        I am so sick of listening to these @ssholes and their apologists from both genders spew this nonsense.

        The stupidity and hypocrisy of sitting here criticizing and mocking other countries for their mistreatement of women has reached new levels.

        We are proposing the very same thing!

        Unimaginable that in the year 2012 we are bowing to pressures of religious groups who adhere to the idea of a Man in the Sky framing our lives.

        Hard to believe that we have learned to read and write and can think for ourselves.

    • janicen says:

      I’m with you, Pat.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Me too, as long as the party addresses civil rights issues and protecting the constitution. I guess those are really univeral issues.

    • Fannie says:

      Your proposal would make me happy. I am in the building.

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    The Religious Right and the Catholic Church won’t be content until all women emulate The Duggers, something most women would avoid at all costs.

    Popping out a baby a year for some insane reasoning is the only satisfaction these people will settle for.

    Telling a woman or girl that rape and incest is god’s way of conferring a “blessing” upon them may become the next “sampler” to hang from the living room wall.

    “God must love my daughter so much since he singled her out to carry the baby of the rapist who attacked her at the junior prom. We are blessed!”

    I’m getting crazier and crazier trying to understand the insanity of these people.

  7. dakinikat says:

    RIP Dorthea Tanning

    She was 101 and the last living surrealist. Her husband was Max Ernst.


    Her paintings are very ethereal. You should check her out if you haven’t seen any of them.

  8. dakinikat says:

    Also, 92 year old Opera Singer Camilla Williams died.

    She was influential in breaking the racial barrier in opera for African American singers.


  9. “What’s the point of voting for Democrats if they’re no different from Republicans?”

    BB, I presume you meant that as a rhetorical question. But in any case, when my congressman and senators (all with a “D” after their names and supposedly pro-choice) voted for Obamacare, that put the kibosh on my ever voting for them again.

    I think Romney will end up being the Republican nominee, and while you’ve made it quite clear that you despise him, I think the only way to get our Democratic Party back is to get rid of Obama. With a Republican in the White House, the Obamacrats might rediscover their roots, become Democrats again, and return to supporing the principles of the Democratic Party. Four more years of Obama, and the party will be deader than the proverbial doornail.

    My husband, who would never vote for Obama, will vote for Romney. And our son-in-law, who did vote for Obama, has said he will vote for Romney. Our daughter, who voted for Obama, is on the fence. I have a visceral hatred for Obama which I don’t have for Romney. Still, I don’t want to vote for any Republican. The only thing that would get me to vote for Romney is if the polls in NJ show the race neck-and-neck. Otherwise, I’m either voting third party (depending on whether there’s a candidate on the NJ ballot I can support, like Rocky Anderson) or — for the first time in my voting life — staying home.

    Roz in NJ/NYC

    • dakinikat says:

      Frankly, I’d never vote for Romney. The more I read about him, the more evident it becomes that he’s got no concept of right and wrong. Only ambition and greed. He’s Obama on steroids.

      Did you read the Vanity Fair article on him?

      Obama is dreadful, but Romney is truly worse. I may end up voting for Rosanne Barr and the Green Party.


    • bostonboomer says:

      I could never vote for Romney. Not if the devil himself were running against him.

    • ralphb says:

      If you think you’re going to get the Dem party to move to the Left by voting for someone who is clearly more to the Right, I really don’t know how to defuse that delusion.

      I would only bring up the example of people voting for Nader because Gore was so moderate there was no difference between him and the right wing Bush. The party took the logical lesson from that and moved Right, where they thought the votes were. They’ll just do it again.

      • I agree ralph. If 8 years of Bush didn’t rile up the Dems, a Romney presidency certainly won’t do it.

      • ralphb says:

        What’s scary now if that Bush wouldn’t have a chance to get the nomination now. He didn’t run nearly right wingnut enough.

      • When there was an all-Republican government under Bush, Jr., the Democrats fought back against plans to privatize Social Security. With Obama in the White House for another four years, that will never happen because they are bound to support whatever he does. (Exhibit A: Obamacare.) Based on how he’s conducted himself during his first term, the signs are all there that he intends to go ahead with privatizing S.S. — the Republican wet dream to have it done by a president with a “D” after his name.

        Roz in NJ/NYC

      • ralphb says:

        Obamacare does not equal privitization of Social Security. It’s not even completely bad but people hate it for sometimes irrational reasons.

  10. dakinikat says:

    What is it about religious fanatics? It’s like every angry sky god cult has their own set of them.

    Settlers deface church near Jerusalem with graffiti in racist attack

    At dawn on Tuesday, a gang of Jewish settlers carried out an attack against the ‘al-Masalba Monastery’ belonging to the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem. The attackers scrawled the walls of the Christian hermitage with offensive racist slogans and threats of violence, and also damaged two of their vehicles.

    The Secretary-General of the Christian National Assembly in the Holy Lands, Dmitry Delany, placed full responsibility for the terrorist attack on the Israeli government and pointed out that “the increasing number of racist crimes perpetrated by settlers is a reflection of the fascism of the government which provides physical and legal protection to Jewish terrorist gangs.”