Lundi Gras Reads

355311-Mardi_Gras Yes!  It’s that time of year again!  I was awakened by the familiar beat of drums and a brass band and the noises of a lot of people promptly at 7:30 am on Sunday.  It was the Krewe of Eris which is a totally unauthorized and completely fun parade around the neighborhood and there were literally hundreds of people in costumes and bicycles.   Eris is a krewe of young artists, actors, and performers here in the neighborhood and has been known to be bothered by the NOPD.  It’s a bit of a circus parade.  Literally.  Many of the participants are puppeteers and performers of all kinds and sorts.  Anyway, there are many parades and events that happen off the main streets and tourist areas.  There are the Baby Dolls, the Skeletons, the Mardi Gras Indians, and many many other fine black street traditions too.  I usually hang out in the neighborhood celebrations these days.  They’re hard to miss unless you stay in  your house.  Check out NOLA DEFENDER for some great stories and pictures that you won’t see just anywhere.

So, here’s a few reads to keep you busy this morning while we get ready for the big day on Fat Tuesday.~Wikstrom - Proteus Costume 1907

Here’s a great read by Bill Keller on the “Conscience of a Corporation” about all those folks who claim religiousity as an excuse to deny women access to complete health care.

The Obama administration, in an unrequited search for compromise, has also proposed to excuse nonprofit organizations such as hospitals and universities if they are affiliated with religions that preach the evil of contraception. You might ask why a clerk at Notre Dame or an orderly at a Catholic hospital should be denied the same birth control coverage provided to employees of secular institutions. You might ask why institutions that insist they are like everyone else when it comes to applying for federal grants get away with being special when it comes to federal health law. Good questions. You will find the unsatisfying answers in the Obama handbook of political expediency.

But these concessions are not enough to satisfy the religious lobbies. Evangelicals and Catholics, cheered on by anti-abortion groups and conservative Obamacare-haters, now want the First Amendment freedom of religion to be stretched to cover an array of for-profit commercial ventures, Hobby Lobby being the largest litigant. They are suing to be exempted on the grounds that corporations sometimes embody the faith of the individuals who own them.

“The legal case” for the religious freedom of corporations “does not start with, ‘Does the corporation pray?’ or ‘Does the corporation go to heaven?’ ” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Hobby Lobby. “It starts with the owner.” For owners who have woven religious practice into their operations, he told me, “an exercise of religion in the context of a business” is still an exercise of religion, and thus constitutionally protected.

The issue is almost certain to end up in the Supreme Court, where the betting is made a little more interesting by a couple of factors: six of the nine justices are Catholic, and this court has already ruled, in the Citizens United case, that corporations are protected by the First Amendment, at least when it comes to freedom of speech. Also, we know that at least four members of the court don’t think much of Obamacare.

In lower courts, advocates of the corporate religious exemption have won a few and lost a few. (Hobby Lobby has lost so far, and could eventually face fines of more than $1 million a day for defying the law. The company’s case is now before the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.)

Meanwhile, it’s been determined that Cardinal Mahony will steal the pennies from your eyes to pay for his stable of pedophile priests.

The Archdiocese of L.A. took $115 million from its cemeteries’ maintenance fund in 2007, nearly depleting it. The move seems legal, but it was not announced, and relatives of the dead were not told.

float-design-mistick-krewe-of-comus-parade-1912-japan-embassy-louisiana-research-collectionMinnesota Congressman Keith Ellison pointed out Republican lies and hypocrisy on the so-called sequester agreement on Sunday.

When Cole tried to pin the cuts on Obama, Ellison reminded him that Cole himself voted for the Budget Control Act that created the sequester:

COLE: I think it is inevitable.  This was a presidential suggestion back in 2011, an idea. And yet the president himself hasn’t put out any alternatives. Republicans twice in the House have passed legislation to deal with it, once as early as last May and again after the election in December. Senate never picked up either of those bills, never offered their own thing. Now we’re three weeks out, and folks are worried. They ought to be worried. On the other hand, these cuts are going to occur. […]

ELLISON: Well, Tom,  the problem with saying this is the president’s idea is that you voted for the Budget Control Act. I voted against it. We wouldn’t have ever been talking about the Budget Control Act but for your party refused to negotiate on the debt ceiling something that has been routinely increased as the country needed it. You used that occasion in 2011 August to basically say we are going to default on the country’s obligations or you’re going to give us dramatic spending cuts. That’s how we got to the Budget Control Act.

Ellison also pointed out that the new GOP kinder and gentler message is simply another shade of lipstick on the same old pig.

This morning on “This Week,” Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., dismissed recent gestures by prominent members of  the GOP suggesting a softening of Republican positions as simply “lipstick on a pig.”

“I think all of this stuff is just surface stuff. It’s like lipstick on a pig, ” Ellison said. “I mean, the bottom line is, the Republicans have a core values problem, not a ‘who knows who Tupac Shakur is’ problem.”

Ellison was responding to ABC News political analyst and contributor Nicolle Wallace, who praised Marco Rubio on the roundtable. The Florida senator is seen as a rising star in the GOP and a member of the party that could help Republicans win more Latino support. Rubio recently endorsed a bipartisan senate proposal aimed at reforming America’s immigration system.

Rubio also gave an interview to BuzzFeed this week where he spoke at length about the late hip hop star Tupac’s lyrics.

“He’s everything we need and more. He’s modern. He knows who Tupac is. He is on social media,” Wallace said. “I mean, he’s got the policy.  He’s in touch with, I think, the lives of ordinary people.  And he’s a very accessible guy.  He talks about being a working dad and juggling his own priorities.”

How stupid do Republicans think we are?  There’s so many demographics moving against their ideas that they really seem clueless.

It is no secret that young voters tilt left on social issues like immigration and gay rights. But these students, and dozens of other young people interviewed here last week, give voice to a trend that is surprising pollsters and jangling the nerves of Republicans. On a central philosophical question of the day — the size and scope of the federal government — a clear majority of young people embraces President Obama’s notion that it can be a constructive force, a point he intends to make in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

“Young people absolutely believe that there’s a role for government,” said Matt Singer, a founder of Forward Montana, a left-leaning though officially nonpartisan group that seeks to engage young people in politics. “At the same time, this is not a generation of socialists. They are highly entrepreneurial, and know that some of what it takes to create an environment where they can do their own exciting, creative things is having basic systems that work.”

Here in Montana, a state that backed John McCain in 2008 and Mr. Romney last year, voters under 30 have helped elect two blogpic3Democratic senators and a new Democratic governor. Nationally, young voters have since 2004 been casting their ballots for Democrats by far wider margins than previous young generations — a shift that could reshape American politics for decades.

China’s economy continues to eclipse that of the US.  It will shortly have the largest annual GDP.  As of now, it’s the largest Trading Country in the world.

China surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest trading nation last year as measured by the sum of exports and imports of goods, official figures from both countries show.

U.S. exports and imports of goods last year totaled $3.82 trillion, the U.S. Commerce Department said last week. China’s customs administration reported last month that the country’s trade in goods in 2012 amounted to $3.87 trillion.

China’s growing influence in global commerce threatens to disrupt regional trading blocs as it becomes the most important commercial partner for some countries. Germany may export twice as much to China by the end of the decade as it does to France, estimated Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Jim O’Neill.

“For so many countries around the world, China is becoming rapidly the most important bilateral trade partner,” O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs’s asset management division and the economist who bound Brazil to Russia, India and China to form the BRIC investing strategy, said in a telephone interview. “At this kind of pace by the end of the decade many European countries will be doing more individual trade with China than with bilateral partners in Europe.”

One of my absolute favorite groups one big in the grammies last night.  Here’s one of the great songs from the BLACK KEYS!!! The lead singer also brought some in for Dr. John so we’re all happy for the Keys tonight!   (And no, the dude in the video is not one of the band!)

This is the band:

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


71 Comments on “Lundi Gras Reads”

  1. Dak, your link on the LA Dioceses using cemetery funds to pay off lawsuits and keep from going bankrupt makes me laugh, in a sarcastic way, since Pope Benedict is resigning later this month.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Dak, you are “one beat behind” the headlines today: Pope Benedict is resigning, pleading “infirmity”,.

    Pedophilia, contraception, the role of women, and the use of condoms will remain the same no matter who becomes the next pope. As a matter of fact, I am sure that whoever succeeds him has already been “chosen” as one who shares the same beliefs.

    As those lose members and continue to shell out monies to victims the Church has been tainted from the leadership on down.

    But Benedict’s role in the cover up of criminality cannot be downplayed. As the person in charge of the record keeping involving the behavior of pedophile priests while the victims suffered for decades he will never be able to overcome the perception of corruption.

    This will also be the week the networks seek to drag out the commentary of that lunatic Bill Donahue from the Catholic League who will more than likely declare this just “another attack on the Church”.

    Stay tuned.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Poor RATzinger!!! With church scandal breaking out all around him he declares “infirmity” and quits? I suppose being the leader of the most corrupt organization on the planet is draining. He has butlers selling him out, banking and property ownership questions bubbling up, AGAIN, Cardinals being de-commissioned for covering up pedophilia, a church that prohibits contraception and choice fighting hospital lawsuits by declaring that the “fetus” isn’t a person, stories of women and girls sentenced to lives as slaves in catholic laundries in Ireland, children abused in catholic schools and orphanges and the list goes on and on. They need to disband the entire franchise, it’s a clusterfuck of corruption.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      “As a matter of fact, I am sure that whoever succeeds him has already been “chosen” as one who shares the same beliefs.”

      I agree Pat. This church is beyond restoration. Expecting a new Pope to change the direction of the church would be like expecting a new Don to change the direction of the Mafia.

      • HT says:

        Mouse, so true. That amongst other things is why I am an atheist. I was Church of England (aka Anglican) until I turned 12. That’s when I realized all the good things the church espoused was antithetical to what the people practiced. Church, thy name is hypocracy.

      • bostonboomer says:

        My guess is the resignation has something to do with the fact that Ratzinger was the one in charge of the abuse cover-up in his previous job.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Why don’t they just embrace the evil and elect Cardinal Bernard Law?

    • dakinikat says:

      Born in Germany in 1927, joined Hitler Youth during WWII and was conscripted as an anti-aircraft gunner but deserted — As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spent 24 years in charge of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition

      BBC sums it up All this and protecting an international stable of pedophiles …

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    And he chose to resign just as Lent is about to commence. Interesting.

    Most of them die in office so this resignation comes with much speculation. The burden of being “keeper of the secrets” must have become too much.

    But just like Boston’s own infamous Cardinal Law, he will live out his days in luxury, immune from the punishment of protecting the criminals who have had free reign for decades.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    Some “wag” just commented that it would be “refreshing” to see a female pope.

    Undoubtedly this person has little knowledge of the Church. Only a cardinal can be considered for the papacy. As of now there are no female cardinals, bishops or priests for that matter.

    If they were to ever admit a female into the “club” it would more than likely be someone along the lines of a Sharron Angle or Michele Bachmann who would sanction this inequality and continue the attacks on gays so that alone may not be such a “big deal”.

    Church teaching has women solildly in the position to keep giving birth long after her plumbing has been destroyed! “Submission” is her only means to enter heaven.

    A “free thinking woman” has no place in this group.

    • NW Luna says:

      Sometime years ago I heard a song with lyrics like this:
      Wouldn’t it be nice
      if the next Jesus Christ
      came down to Earth
      as a woman?

      I sing that chorus every so often.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      There are no women in the heirarchy of the Catholic Church whatsoever. The catholic church wouldn’t even allow women on the altar during the consecration until 20 years after Vatican II. The highest rung on the ladder for a catholic woman is eucharistic minister which essentially means you get to take communion to the sick and dying or hand out the host during church communion. Women aren’t included in any decisions regarding the doctrine or dogma. Women are basically relegated to the role of being seen when they’re needed, which is usually the dirty work, but never, ever,heard.

    • bostonboomer says:

      There was a female pope though.

      Pope Joan

    • joanelle says:

      Yesterday there was a spread in our regional paper about the anniversary of the Knights of Malta with a picture of the knights who’d been invited to the celebration in Rome. The article spoke of the charitable works of the knights over the years. About 30 years ago I was named a “Dame of Malta” . The ceremony was imposing, a few friends and my hubby attended at a church in NYC and the following dinner at the Waldorf Astoria – the only time I’ve heard from them since is when they were seeking donations for crisis around the world.
      Yesterday when we met those dear friends for dinner they had clipped the article and asked “what’s wrong with that picture?” Of course I knew what they meant – there were no women in the picture. I’d never even heard about the event until I saw it in the paper. I guess women are good for the money – but not for a ‘thanks.’
      Another slap at women.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I saw that. I wonder if Rick Santorum was invited? He’s a “Knight.”

      • Joanelle says:

        They talk about “Cathics who leave the church” baloney – the church left all of us a loooonnng time ago, we were just deluded.

    • prolixous says:

      How about Christine O’Donnell? Her new line could be, “I’m not a witch, but a Cardinallette.” Either way about the same validity in scientific circles.

  5. NW Luna says:

    Rubio has the travails of “being a working dad and juggling his own priorities” ?!

    The heart bleeds.

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    Rubio strikes me as someone none too bright.

    His Spanish speaking origin is what is driving all the interest his way. The GOP believes that Rubio is going to lead them into the “promised land” owing to his youth, looks, and Spanish speaking background.

    So far he has been unimpressive and his past association to Scientology may pose an issue in the future. The “kook” factor at play.

    This is a guy who came out strongly in favor of Tea Party principles when he thought they were on the ascendency. Today, only a few months later, most of his time is spent downplaying their role and his affilation in looking to appear “reasonable”.

    I have about as much trust in his turnaround as I do in Jindahl’s. These people are actually unprincipled and act accordingly when they see an opening.

    Unlike Chris Christie who has some heft (no pun intended) in the political arena, these idiots are nothing but opportunists who will change positions on the turn of a dime in order to gain traction with the voting public.

    Rubio is as phony as Jindahl but it is fun watching them elbow each other out of the way in order to look more “presentable”.

    • RalphB says:

      Rubio was Mormon until they moved from Nevada to Florida where he converted to Catholicism. He is a first class opportunist.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Latest Republican fake meme: Obama was “disengaged” on 9 /11/12.

  8. RalphB says:

    TPM: New Winger Conspiracy Theory Takes Flight

    In the wake of news that Sen. Lindsey Graham is threatening to block the nominations of Hagel and Brennan, there’s a whole new conspiracy theory bubbling up on the right. From ground zero of Obama era conspiracy theories comes the conspiracy theory to top them all: that CIA nominee John Brennan is himself a Muslim.

    We may be able to watch this thing in real time.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      “Lady” Lindsay is fighting for his political life in SC. Not that his replacement would be a whole lot better since he would be facing another Tea Party financed idiot but this also reveals why he is so hell bent on keeping his lizard face in the public eye.

      Harping nonstop on Obama and faux conspiracies just might pull his butt out of the fire come 2014 if he is able to make it through the primaries.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      An Irishman by the name of Brennan is a Muslim? Holy moly!

    • bostonboomer says:

      There’s a new e-book coming out about Benghazi today or tomorrow. (The authors tweeted yesterday that it would be today, but Amazon still has it scheduled for tomorrow.)

      Benghazi: The Definitive Report

      Written by the team of former Special Operations warriors who run, here is the definitive account of what happened before, during, and after the deadly Benghazi attack.

      On September 12th, 2012, Brandon Webb learned Glen Doherty, one of his closest friends and his former Navy SEAL teammate, was killed alongside Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and two other Americans when the U.S. State Department and CIA headquarters in Benghazi, Libya, were sieged in a shocking terrorist attack. For the next four months, Webb and his team at, the world’s premier Special Ops website, embarked on a relentless investigation to understand exactly what happened to their countrymen, as well as the roles played by the Obama administration, State Department, and CIA. Drawing on unmatched sources, they spoke to individuals who would talk to no one else, including fellow Special Operations team members familiar with the African theatre, and well-placed contacts in the Washington intelligence community. This is their report–an unforgettably gripping minute-by-minute narrative of the events and their aftermath as they really unfolded on that terrible day in Libya.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Article on it from The Daily Mail

        Supposedly the attacks were retaliation for CIA assassinations of “al Quaeda” operatives, and this will all done by Brennan behind Petraeus’ back. And Petraeus was brought down in a “coup.”

      • bostonboomer says:

        Webb and Murphy claim that the ‘inside’ story of the attack – as told by their connections in the CIA and special operations units of the military – show that Brennan never warned the CIA or Stevens about ongoing U.S. military operations in the country.
        Had the State Department and the intelligence community known about what was happening, they would have stepped up security in Benghazi and could have prevented the tragedy.
        Webb counts Doherty, 42, as one of his best friends and he is furious that the real story of what happened has not yet surfaced.

        He said Doherty and a team of CIA security officers chartered a flight from Tripoli to Benghazi when the consulate came under attack – despite initial resistance from the CIA – to rush to the aid of the Americans who were in danger.

      • RalphB says:

        Sounds like 30 lbs of bullshit in a 10 lb bag to me!

      • RalphB says:

        That part is not correct. Doherty didn’t come from Tripoli to Benghazi. He was security for the CIA annex in Benghazi from the start.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m not endorsing it. It was just something I saw on Twitter.

        jeremy scahill ‏@jeremyscahill
        Wow. The new book by @BrandonTWebb and @JackMurphyRGR “Benghazi: The Definitive Report” is gonna shake stuff up.

  9. RalphB says:

    Esquire: The Shooter

    The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden… Is Screwed

    For the first time, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden tells his story — speaking not just about the raid and the three shots that changed history, but about the personal aftermath for himself and his family. And the startling failure of the United States government to help its most experienced and skilled warriors carry on with their lives.

    There is commerce attached to the mission, and people are capitalizing. Just not the triggerman. While others collect, he is cautious and careful not to dishonor anyone. His manners come at his own expense.

    “No one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job,” Barack Obama said last Veterans’ Day, “or a roof over their head, or the care that they have earned when they come home.”

    But the Shooter will discover soon enough that when he leaves after sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation:

    Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family.

    • NW Luna says:

      Yeah, there’s gratitude for you. As opposed to the lifetime healthcare and pension and etc that a Congresscritter gets.

  10. Pat Johnson says:

    O/T but I am laughing my head off over the latest revelation coming from journalists who wrote a new book outlining how Whitey Bulger, the notorious murderer from MA and who evaded the law for almost 20 years, was eventually caught.

    It seems as though the infamous Whitey, chronicled fictiously in the movie “The Departed”, became outraged at a neighbor who spoke glowingly of Obama winning the WH. This did not go down well with Whitey who then refused to speak to her again.

    As a result, the neighbor began to pay closer attention to Whitey and made a call to the FBI because he managed to raise her suspicions. He was arrested after so many years on the run and brought back to MA for trial. Supposedly to happen some time this year.

    So the “blame” for Whitey’s arrest can be laid at the feet of Obama. Had he not been elected Whitey may not have registered his “indignation” for a black president and he and the neighbor would have enjoyed more happy times together.

    Whitey was not only a felonious murderer and a corrupt “businessman”, he was also an “in your face racist” which caught up with him at the end.


  11. RalphB says:

    Tiger Beat: President Obama’s State of the Union: Aggressive

    President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech will be less a presidential olive branch than a congressional cattle prod.

  12. RalphB says:

    Liberals and conservatives both wonder about ‘SNL’ unaired riff on Hagel’s Israel comments

    Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (Taran Killam) said, “You get an urgent call from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who is truly one of the greatest men in this or any age — and he says to you, ‘It is vital to Israel’s security that you go on national television that night and perform oral sex on a donkey.’ Would you do that for Israel?”

    “I don’t think so,” a flustered Hagel answers.

    “Then I regret to say, Senator, I cannot support your confirmation,” McCain replies. Immediately, Scott said, “I’d do it for Israel — bring me the donkey!,” leading to the other lawmakers at the panel begin expressing their love for Israel in increasingly outlandish terms.

    “Do I need to be here?” Hagel asks, before leaving the hearing.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    I don’t want to post the link (Daily Caller) but I just saw that Ted Nugent is going to be at the State of the Union as the guest of Tx Rep. Steve Stockman.

    Musician and outspoken gun rights advocate Ted Nugent is scheduled to attend President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Tuesday night as a guest of Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman.

    “I am excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House Chamber to hear from President Obama,” said Stockman, known for floating the possibility of impeachment over the president’s gun control executive orders.

    I hope the Secret Service is paying attention.

    • dakinikat says:

      Some one should talk about his history as a child rapist and a draft dodger.

    • HT says:

      Good Grief – nugent is a person that no one would want to be associated with – I wonder about the sanity of the Republican official that invited him. Nugent is an ugly human being. Why would anyone want to be associated with him?

    • ANonOMouse says:

      If Nugent, the guy who lived in his feces/urine dreanched clothes to avoid the Vietnam draft, is going to the SOTU, they need to start spraying the Febreeze right now

      • HT says:

        Hon, I don’t think Febreeze will do the job. I doubt that Javex would do the job. A flame thrower perhaps, but ordinary cleaning supplies were not created to deal with the Ted Nugents of this world.

      • dakinikat says:

        again, he likes teenage girls too … he’s essentially a pedophile

        Unfortunately, Ted never progresses beyond his teenaged mentality as evidenced by this episode of Behind The Music. Ted spends the bulk of this program proving what a hypocrite he is. He lambastes drug users and alcohol drinkers, but repeatedly admits (without a trace of humility, however) to being a serial pedophile. Two relationships (one with his wife and one with “muse” Pele Massa, who was 17 when they started dating) were ended due to Ted’s infidelity while on the road, often with underage women. But Ted justifies his behavior with one of his trademark funny expressions: “alternative flesh management.” And look, I’m not anti hunting, I mean I don’t exactly dig the meat industry, but Ted has this attitude that you’re somehow stupid if you don’t hunt. I just think it’s unrealistic to believe that suddenly a nation of 290 million or so people are going to head to the woods every night before dinner. What is really surprising is his disdain for both fans and fellow band members. Both of which were necessary for his, um, success. Ted accuses fans of being unable to handle the energy of his shows when they behave violently, although tons of other bands have high energy shows without incident. And his determination to subdue singer Derek St. Holmes, resulting in his quitting the band seems incredibly pointless and stupid. You just have to laugh (well, I did) when they get to the part where Ted finds out that his management has blown all his money on chinchillas and horses. My favorite piece of Nuge-stalgia, however, is the video for his 1982 song “Bound And Gagged”.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        He likes the little girls? Yeah…..This boy has some major problems, a flame thrower might not be powerful enough HT!

      • HT says:

        Paedophiles are not recoverable. Nugent is a paedophile. As a woman who was molested when I was all of 5 years old – this man disgusts me. MInd you, the fact that hIs music was horribly awful has nothing to do with my condemnation – or does it?

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I’m hoping the Secret Service keeps him out of the SOTU. He’s made comments/threats concerning Obama that has led to him being questioned by the Secret Service within the past year. They should not allow him to even park in D.C. let alone attend the SOTU address. He makes pond scum look good.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Here’s a sample of Nugents bile

        “Last year, he told National Rifle Association members that “I will be either be dead or in jail by this time next year” if the president was re-elected. He has also called Obama a “piece of shit” who should “suck on my machine gun.”
        Raw Story (