Monday Reads

Good Morning!

inline_611336838642I thought I’d start the day with some uplifting reads!  This one from Seattle is wonderful!

A large pod of orcas swam around a Washington state ferry in an impressive display as it happened to be carrying tribal artifacts to a new museum at the ancestral home of Chief Seattle, and some people think it was more than a coincidence.

Killer whales have been thrilling whale watchers this week in Puget Sound, according to the Orca Network, which tracks sightings.

But they were especially exciting Tuesday when nearly three-dozen orcas surrounded the ferry from Seattle as it approached the terminal on Bainbridge Island. On board were officials from The Burke Museum in Seattle who were moving ancient artifacts to the Suquamish Museum.

The artifacts were dug up nearly 60 years ago from the site of the Old Man House, the winter village for the Suquamish tribe and home of Chief Sealth, also known as Chief Seattle. The Burke, a natural history museum on the University of Washington campus, is known for Northwest Coast and Alaska Native art.

Also on board the state ferry was Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman who happened to be returning from an unrelated event. As the ferry slowed near the terminal, it was surrounded by the orcas, Forsman said Wednesday.

“They were pretty happily splashing around, flipping their tails in the water,” he said. “We believe they were welcoming the artifacts home as they made their way back from Seattle, back to the reservation.”

The city of Heracleion sank into the ocean in the 6th or 7th centuray AD and has recently been uncovered.  This blog writer has a round up of some pretty cleopatra-egypt-sunk-cityamazing pictures and stories. This city is known as the city of Cleopatra.

I can’t imagine how cool it must be to be an underwater archaeologist.  If I’d have known this was a possibility when I was a teenager I would have had a different life.  I started diving at about 14 and Egypt has always thrilled my imagination. I’ve written about this before but it seems that a lot more has been accomplished.

Thonis-Heracleion (the Egyptian and Greek names of the city) is a city lost between legend and reality. Before the foundation of Alexandria in 331 BC, the city knew glorious times as the obligatory port of entry to Egypt for all ships coming from the Greek world. It had also a religious importance because of the temple of Amun, which played an important role in rites associated with dynasty continuity. The city was founded probably around the 8th century BC, underwent diverse natural catastrophes, and finally sunk entirely into the depths of the Mediterranean in the 8th century AD.

Prior to its discovery in 2000 by the IEASM, no trace of Thonis-Heracleion had been found. Its name was almost razed from the memory of mankind, only preserved in ancient classic texts and rare inscriptions found on land by archaeologists. The Greek historian Herodotus (5th century BC) tells us of a great temple that was built where the famous hero Herakles first set foot on to Egypt. He also reports of Helen’s visit to Heracleion with her lover Paris before the Trojan War. More than four centuries after Herodotus’ visit to Egypt, the geographer Strabo observed that the city of Heracleion, which possessed the temple of Herakles, is located straight to the east of Canopus at the mouth of the Canopic branch of the River Nile.

 The Senate vote on making discrimination against GLBT in the workplace is really going to show the split in the Republican party.  The discussion is about as bad–if not worse–than it was around the ERA.   Drag Queens in Christian Book Stores!  Federally Subsidized Sex Change Operations!  Dogs and Cats having sex in the street!!!!

The anticipated vote comes four months after the Supreme Court invalidated a federal ban on recognizing same-sex marriages, and nearly a year after some conservative leaders warned that losses in the 2012 elections exposed the party as being out of touch with much of the country on social issues.

With the bill apparently just one vote short of the threshold to prevent a filibuster, the Republican senators believed to be the most persuadable — Rob Portman of Ohio, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Dean Heller of Nevada — were keeping their positions private.

Political strategists and congressional aides who have been lobbying for the bill say they have received private assurances that there will be enough Republican votes to move the measure forward on Monday, but none of the senators who plan to support it want to say so publicly out of concern that they could become targets by groups opposing the measure.

In the House, the best chance for passage this year seems to be to tack the measure onto a larger piece of legislation like the National Defense Authorization Act and hope that conservatives do not revolt.

“If you’ve been told your entire career that Republican primary voters are hostile on these issues, and people have only just started to educate you otherwise,” said Jeff Cook-McCormac, a Republican lobbyist who has been pushing to get the bill enacted, “it takes a little while for that to sink in.”

While opposition appears less organized than in previous gay rights debates in Congress, senators of both parties said the emotion surrounding the issue had complicated efforts to break a Republican filibuster attempt.

One senator recalled having to explain to a colleague that the legislation would not require insurance companies to pay for sex-change operations. Another spoke of phone calls from constituents who were convinced that their children could be taught in school by men wearing dresses. And conservative groups like the Family Research Council are warning their supporters that the bill would force Christian bookstores to hire drag performers.

We continue to learn exactly how important appointments to the judicial branch are as we see women judges–appointed by Dubya–vote to place women in tumblr_mf36jfDBj51rgoah1o1_400involuntary servitude to the state.

It’s been a day of body blows for reproductive rights. On Thursday night, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit reversed a lower court’s decision to temporarily block a provision of the omnibus Texas abortion law that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The appeals court found that it’s constitutionally OK for the requirement to trigger the closure of fully one-third of the reproductive health clinics in the state, because the Supreme Court has found that “the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate it.” The ruling will be catastrophic, measured in access for women to a procedure they have the constitutional right to obtain. The decision was written by Judge Priscilla R. Owen, a George W. Bush appointee, and joined by two other judges who are women—oh how the right is crowing—and also Bush appointees.

Similar admitting privileges provisions have been struck down by courts in Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Judges in each of those cases saw these abortion restrictions for what they are—unconstitutional burdens on the right to access—and blocked them.

On Friday, morning, it was the turn of another extremely conservative woman chosen for the bench by Bush, Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Brown handed down a similarly dramatic decisionholding that the provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires companies to provide health care coverage that includes contraception “trammels” the religious freedom of an Ohio-based food service company, Freshway Foods, through its two owners, who claimed that the mandate violated its Catholic faith. This is a company we are talking about, not its owners. But following headlong in the wake of the Supreme Court’s wrongheaded finding in Citizens United that corporations are people, too, Brown found that the mandate violates the company’s strongly held religious convictions. To make the company provide a health care plan—from an outside insurer—that offers contraceptive coverage is a “compel[led] affirmation of a repugnant belief,” Brown wrote. The argument that a for-profit secular company has a religious conscience—separate and apart from the religious beliefs of its owners—is a notion that vaults the concept of personhood from the silly (“corporations are people, my friend”) to the sublime (also they pray).

It’s hard to overstate how radical these two decisions are. So it should be especially dispiriting for the left that the other really big thing that happened Thursday was the filibuster by Senate Republicans of Patricia Ann Millett, Obama’s centrist nominee to fill a vacancy on the D.C. Circuit, despite her exemplary credentials. Millett is no radical—no lefty retort to Owen and Brown. She’s a partner at Akin Gump who worked in the solicitor general’s office for both Clinton and Bush and has represented the pro-business U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She’s a military wife. That didn’t stop Republicans from claiming that simply by putting up a judicial nominee of his choosing, President Obama was attempting the “pack the court.”

Please Mr. President!!!! Pack the Court with less theocrats!!!

Governor Chris Christie is “tired of you people!”  “You people” would be teachers trying to do right by their students.  He called schools “failure factories”.

New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, has a long history of teacher bashing – not just teachers union bashing, but teacher bashing. Even when he’s clearly in the lead, he can’t help himself: he has to take a swipe at teachers whenever he can. It’s almost pathological: even when he’s up by a sizable margin, Chris Christie just can’t turn down a chance to bash a teacher who gets too uppity – as he proved today”

Just think!  He’s the one they all think is mainstream!!!  Go read the interview with the teacher at the receiving end of his bullying.

2013061616scubaSenator Charles Schumer has just endorsed Hillary Clinton for 2016.  Wow!  That’s getting things started a little early.

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, used a speech to Iowa Democrats on Saturday night to endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, another indication of how quickly the party is coalescing behind the former secretary of state.

Speaking in the state that helped lift President Obama’s campaign and dashed Mrs. Clinton’s hopes in the 2008 caucuses, Mr. Schumer said the time was right that year for Mr. Obama.

“2016 is Hillary’s time,” Mr. Schumer declared at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson Jackson Dinner. “And our nation will be all the better for it.”

While Mr. Schumer’s support for his former Senate colleague was not surprising, his endorsement one year after the 2012 presidential election underscores how much the Democratic Party elders want Mrs. Clinton to enter the race.

With Mr. Obama’s popularity waning, many party officials also want to try to clear the field for the former first lady in 2016. Last week, it was revealed that every Democratic woman in the Senate had signed a letter supporting Mrs. Clinton, a former senator from New York. She has not yet indicated her 2016 plans.

An aide to Mr. Schumer said his endorsement in such a high-profile venue had not come at Mrs. Clinton’s request.

“Run, Hillary, run,” Mr. Schumer said. “If you run, you’ll win and we’ll all win. With a strong platform and with Hillary leading the charge, we will vanquish the Ted Cruz Tea Party Republicans in 2016.”

Whoa!   So, that’s it for me this morning!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


41 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    The GOP is “giddy” about the candidates that may be seeking the presidency in 2016.

    Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Chris Christie lead their list of possible nominees with Christie being their “mainstream” hope at this point.

    A loudmouth belligerent whose “my way or the highway” approach to politics is less mainstream than what is touted as his strength since he opposes unions and the federal government as much as his possible primary opponents.

    His personal response to women shows how much he loathes having to defend his policies when he goes after nurses and teachers in forums that illustrate his repulsion to collective bargaining.

    Whether he can come through the primaries as a Northeast candidate will portent just where this party is heading but I find him to be one of the most irritating men on the planet with his “gangster wannabe” approach to dealing with people.

    He can lose all the weight he wants but it won’t make him anymore endearing to women who do not appreciate being “talked down” by his insulting manner.

    • RalphB says:

      The guy is a coward. If you notice, it’s always a woman teacher or nurse he’s yelling at and not some construction worker etc, even with a platoon of bodyguards. Typical chickenshit bully. That personality won’t work outside his own area.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Wonderful article about a Muncie, IN woman who has spent her entire life caring for animals in need. She’s finally retiring at age 75. Well worth reading!

    http://www.thestarpress.com/article/20131104/NEWS01/311040006/

  3. RalphB says:

    Hahaha. A 5 or 6 pt lead at this point? Wendy Davis can win!!!!! Woohoo.

    Texas Tribune: UT/TT Poll: Abbott’s Lead Over Davis in Single Digits

    • dakinikat says:

      That would be great! It would be nice to see some sanity from Texas for a change.

    • RalphB says:

      I really hope they can get a decent candidate to run against Cornyn. With 25% favorables, he should be beatable.

      Voters’ favorable impressions of Cornyn have slipped since June, dropping to 25 percent from 31 percent. The percentage with an unfavorable view, now at 30 percent, remained about the same, but a greater number of voters took a neutral position on that question.

    • NW Luna says:

      Go, Wendy! Gov Davis it will be!

  4. janicen says:

    I’ve been on that ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge many times. It crosses the Elliott Bay. It is unusual to see a pod of orcas that far in. I bet it was thrilling!

    • NW Luna says:

      Usually we’ll see some orcas every so often. But that large a pod, and concentrated around a ship, for that long is unusual. They are impressive.

  5. RalphB says:

    Most of the free plans I would assume are catastrophic coverage. That’s what a lot of those so-called cancelled policies in the MSM are so WTF?

    NYT: Under Health Care Act, Millions Eligible for Free Policies

    Millions of people could qualify for federal subsidies that will pay the entire monthly cost of some health care plans being offered in the online marketplaces set up under President Obama’s health care law, a surprising figure that has not garnered much attention, in part because the zero-premium plans come with serious trade-offs.

    Supporters of the Affordable Care Act say that the availability of free-premium plans — as well as inexpensive policies that cover more — shows that it is achieving its goal of making health insurance widely available. A large number of those who qualify have incomes that fall just above the threshold for Medicaid, the government program for the poor, according to an analysis by the consulting firm McKinsey and Company.

  6. RalphB says:

    Insurance companies going for the gouge as usual. The MSM is panicing the public without informing them of anything.

    tpm: Special Investigation: How Insurers Are Hiding Obamacare Benefits From Customers

    Donna received the letter canceling her insurance plan on Sept. 16. Her insurance company, LifeWise of Washington, told her that they’d identified a new plan for her. If she did nothing, she’d be covered.

    A 56-year-old Seattle resident with a 57-year-old husband and 15-year-old daughter, Donna had been looking forward to the savings that the Affordable Care Act had to offer.

    If Donna had done nothing, she would have ended up spending about $1,000 more a month for insurance than she will now that she went to the marketplace, picked the best plan for her family and accessed tax credits at the heart of the health care reform law.

    “The info that we were sent by LifeWise was totally bogus. Why the heck did they try to screw us?” Donna said. “People who are afraid of the ACA should be much more afraid of the insurance companies who will exploit their fear and end up overcharging them.”

    Donna is not alone.

    Across the country, insurance companies have sent misleading letters to consumers, trying to lock them into the companies’ own, sometimes more expensive health insurance plans rather than let them shop for insurance and tax credits on the Obamacare marketplaces — which could lead to people like Donna spending thousands more for insurance than the law intended. …

    • NW Luna says:

      Yep, I have coverage through my employer, and I got a letter from Group Health (not my current ins) which said, in effect, that I needed to contact them for an insurance plan. Quite as if there was no other option! Definitely some heavy insinuation in the wording.

      • dakinikat says:

        I just got an email on Friday now about a new plan they will subsidized that does meet the guidelines. Several plans down here are advertising too on TV
        Don’t trust any of it!

    • RalphB says:

      I looked on healthcare.gov for Travis county TX and there are 80 plans to choose from here. The prices shown were from about $300 to $1100/month for full family coverage. With tax subsidies off those prices for lots of people, that doesn’t seem too bad to me.

  7. NW Luna says:

    So glad you posted on the orcas! That was amazing.

  8. RalphB says:

    Wonder what Nino will do?

    Planned Parenthood petitions Supreme Court to block Texas abortion law

    Planned Parenthood and other abortion-rights groups on Monday filed an emergency request with the U.S. Supreme Court to block a Texas law that has left at least a dozen clinics in the state unable to provide services to women.

    Justice Antonin Scalia is responsible for overseeing emergency petitions for the state of Texas.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Wonderful post today, Dakinikat. So much great stuff. The discovery of Heracleion is just incredible–so exciting. I dreamed of being an archaeologist as a kid too. I never dreamed how much more ancient history would be discovered in my lifetime.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    I remember when Bush appointed both of those horrible judges. There was plenty of outcry, but the Democrats refused to use the filibuster against Bush. I never could understand it. Just look what the Republicans have done to Obama’s nominees!

  11. RalphB says:

    Last week 60 Minutes featured a liar while …

  12. RalphB says:

    lgf: Brazil Admits Spying on Diplomatic and Commercial Targets

    They’ll prosecute any whistleblowers. Greenwald? 🙂

  13. bostonboomer says:

    BTW,

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAKINIKAT!!!!!

  14. Fannie says:

    Happy Birthday Dak………

  15. Wow, I knew about Texas, but had no idea about DC and the other shitfest going on against women’s rights the last 24-48 hours. Damn…then I saw this: Why is the Obama administration bowing to religion? – latimes.com

    In a move sure to please religious conservatives, President Obama’s Justice Department filed a brief in the Supreme Court in favor of allowing overtly Christian prayers before city council meetings. It’s an inexplicable move, and it’s one more befitting a Republican administration than one headed by a Democrat and a constitutional scholar.

    The case is Town of Greece vs. Galloway, and it’s set to be argued in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Greece is a suburb of Rochester, N.Y. Until 1999, its Town Board opened meetings with a moment of silence — a practice that excludes no one. But then Town Supervisor John Auberger initiated a policy change, and the town began inviting clergy to open meetings with a prayer.

    These prayers were decidedly and explicitly Christian. From 1999 to 2007, the town invited exclusively Christian ministers, most of whom included explicitly Christian content. Some elaborated on Christian theology, including such discussions as “the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross” and “the plan of redemption that is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.”

    These prayers were delivered to an audience of local citizens, including children and adults, who attend meetings at the Town Board’s invitation or direction. Children’s athletic teams are invited to be publicly honored, police officers and their families attend to participate in oath-of-office ceremonies, people come to speak about local issues of great personal importance, and would-be business owners come to request zoning permits.

    All of these people — Christians and non-Christians — are asked to stand and bow their heads for many of these prayers. But Muslims, Jews and nonbelievers cannot in good conscience participate in a prayer to Jesus Christ, and doing so shouldn’t be the price of civic participation.

    • more from the link:

      Remarkably, the Obama administration has backtracked from the position taken by the Reagan administration. It now argues that even explicitly sectarian prayers are permissible. Congress and state legislatures have prayers, but they are supposed to be and usually are nondenominational, and they are delivered to legislators rather than a captive audience of the broader citizenry assembled to do business before the board.

      Given the state of the law, the importance of religious inclusivity and the facts of this case, I assumed that if the Obama administration participated at all, it would side with the plaintiffs. But the administration did just the opposite. In fact, because this is a suit not involving the federal government, it did not need to participate at all. It’s hard to fathom how the administration arrived at its conclusion, and I hope the Supreme Court will reject it.

  16. NW Luna says:

    Happy Birthday Dakinikat!

    (just catching up reading…)

    • dakinikat says:

      Thx Luna! I am headed to Seattle in a week. Will be there longer so will give you a call! Dr. Daughter has joined a practice so she will be around now too.