Wednesday Reads: Of Saints and Bastards

ddd66aca71973596df57574f0881d534Good Morning

Can you feel it? A Minkoff rant coming to ya? Yeah, it is…so just roll with it, you may find this post all over the place.  But then y’all know how I get when this happens so, I will just get on with it.

First off, this shit with the Supreme Court and public prayer at town meetings. You know…what the fuck happened to a moment of silence? Do they still do that? I mean if you are going to take time out to pray a little, do it to yourself on the quiet…if you want to…because this shit SCOTUS just ruled on gives the Christian right to fuck over anyone who isn’t born again. By that I mean you too Catholics! Which is something I think those who do vote “Republican” and are Catholic seem to fail to grasp.

8ac55ef11b2cc7c8c1b9540fea3aee5dYou see them, especially here in small towns like Banjoville. They are high and mighty evil bastards who feel above you and actually discriminate against those who are not “born again.” That means those of the Catholic, Anglican/Episcopal faith…Jews, Buddhist, Muslims, oh you all know what I am talking about.

They will say the most horrible things to kids too…shit that is beyond fucked up! And…they teach their children to behave just like them. It is an endless cycle of disgusting behavior in the name of Jesus. (Excuse me…Geeezus.)

eb11a16fe7a5384b4e86a0bf7fc7b397All this shit about prayer in schools, is not for any other prayer but theirs.

It is only their religious freedom they are concerned with.

It is only their “God” or “Gawd” they consider real and therefore legitimate.

So many conservatives who are not in line with the “christian” way of believing do not get this…they don’t realize that these assholes are not really speaking for them. They vote for these bastards because they only see them as the politician who spouts on about praying in school, and other conservative value shit…but they don’t see the big picture behind it.

a32871be6d96eeced3ed0e75ed850df9And why am I picking on these Jesus freaks? Because these are also the people who are the hypocritical bastards, and act the least charitable. They are hateful motherfuckers and prejudice and judgmental too. They say horrible things with an air of snotty intolerant Baptist superiority. (This is from my experience here in the Southern bible belt.) Both men and women are misogynistic as hell, the women are not supportive of other women within their circle and the girls are awful to other girls who are, “not one of them.”  They take any reason and twist it, manipulate it into a reason for Geezus. It is unbelievable the way they can justify their behavior…I don’t know how they can do it and consider themselves “good Christians.”

This is the backbone of the GOP, the conservatives who are changing the laws in this nation bit by bit. The assholes that are cutting out all social programs and any hope for a future in areas of science and discovery. I can honestly say these people are ruining this country. Maybe that is taking it too far, I don’t know. But what the fuck is wrong with these people?

e2d8e675cee866b319ff8ab454586944I am afraid, really I am.

I see what a small town mentality is like and I see it is taking over our Supreme Court. It has taken over our House of Representatives and it damn well can take over the Senate.

Gawd help us…what the hell are we going to do?

Here then are the links for today, there are a lot of them so some are in link dump fashion.

First a group of stories illustrating some of the talking points above.

Rep. Paul Ryan targest Poor as his “Signature Issue”, and I do Mean Targets (Cartoon) | Informed Comment


House Bill Cuts Transit, Housing Assistence | | News and Politics Blog and Podcast | We Cover the World

12e7e1c43296ee7d6181fd1d740d8415House Republicans have unveiled their version of the transportation, housing and urban development (THUD) appropriations bill and, not surprisingly, it cuts funding by nearly $2 billion.

The bill cuts TIGER grants, a favorite of many lawmakers, by $500 million to a total of $100 million. It does not allow funds for bike and pedestrian paths.

The FAA is funded at $7.3 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and the Federal Railroad Administration is funded at $1.4 billion, a reduction of $193 million. There is no funding for high speed rail, an Obama priority.

To cut costs, Amtrak would be required to put overtime limits on employees and not use federal funding for routes where Amtrak offers a discount of 50 percent or more peak fares.

All together, the House bill would set spending at a level nearly $8 billion less than what President Obama requested for the next fiscal year.

Opposition to the president’s request isn’t earth shattering news, but House Republicans going out their way to eliminating funding for bike paths and railway while instituting overtime limits for Amtrak employees is certainly illuminating.

Republicans have a big problem with pedestrian-friendly urban and mass transportation. You know, hallmarks of socialism; liberal stuff.

3f20c6490c97520e66e8717d740763e0The Next Frontier In The War Over Science

The Obama administration and the scientific community at large are expressing serious alarm at a House Republican bill that they argue would dramatically undermine way research is conducted in America.

Titled the “Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act of 2014,” the bill would put a variety of new restrictions on how funds are doled out by the National Science Foundation. The goal, per its Republican supporters on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, would be to weed out projects whose cost can’t be justified or whose sociological purpose is not apparent.

For Democrats and advocates, however, the FIRST Act represents a dangerous injection of politics into science and a direct assault on the much-cherished peer-review process by which grants are awarded.

“We have a system of peer-review science that has served as a model for not only research in this country but in others,” said Bill Andresen, the associate vice president of Federal Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania. “The question is, does Congress really think it has the better ability to determine the scientific merit of grant applications or should it be left up to the scientists and their peers?”

f2aa4c688c823841910abdcc9598cb8dIn recent weeks, the Obama administration and science agencies have — in less-than-subtle terms — offered up similar criticisms of the FIRST Act. At an American Association for the Advancement of Science forum on Thursday, presidential science adviser John Holdren said he was “concerned with a number of aspects” of the bill.

“It appears aimed at narrowing the focus of NSF-funded research to domains that are applied to various national interests other than simply advancing the progress of science,” Holdren said.

Meanwhile, in a show of protest that several officials in the science advocacy community could not recall having witnessed before, the National Science Board released a statement in late April criticizing the bill. As the oversight body to the National Science Foundation, the NSB traditionally stays out of legislative fights. So when it warned that the FIRST Act could “significantly impede NSF’s flexibility to deploy its funds to support the best ideas,” advocates said they were surprised and pleased.

020a840156d10a50de9992d936837a44“The fact that the NSB commented on legislation, I don’t know if it is unprecedented but it is at least extremely unusual,” said Barry Toiv, a top official at the Association of American Universities. “And we think that speaks to the really serious problems posed by the legislation.”

Susie Madrak » Blog Archive » See how that works?

Despite all the pissing and money about the district wasting money on outrageous teacher salaries and pensions, seems the real problem is the Santa Claus provision our Republican-dominated legislature ticked away into state law. This is, of course, contrary to the right-wing wisdom shared on our local newspaper site, but oh well! Nobody cares about schools, anyway:

4f3c895075c53c60acaad56051b652d4Unless the Philadelphia School District raises more than $200 million extra in a hurry, Moody’s Investors Service warned it will cut the district’s bond rating — which is already down at Ba2, junk status, forcing the district to pay extra when it borrows money — because the district’s proposed $2.5 billion budget for the next fiscal year will “materially imperil its ability to provide students with an adequate education.”

Without $216 million in additional funding, Moody’s analyst Dan Seymour wrote in a report to clients, the district threatens to increase the average class size to 41 students and lay off more than 1,000 staff. ” This is credit negative because a further deterioration in education services will likely result in additional student flight to charter schools and other alternatives,” further reducing district revenues, Seymour added. 3 in 10 Philadelphia students already go to charter schools.

a6f650feced450bed9e37fa50896f502“Rising charter school enrollments have been a drag on the district’s finances, as state law mandates that public school districts pay the costs of sending students to charter schools. Driven largely by charter school tuition costs, the district’s costs per pupil have increased 70% since 2004. Further enrollment declines would exacerbate the district’s financial pressure as charter schools capture a larger share of the district’s expenditures,” Moody’s adds.

Conservatives Have Free Reign In Kansas. It’s Failing. | The Daily Banter

In Kansas, Republicans dominate the state government. They have the Governorship (Former Senator Sam Brownback), the State House (92-33 for the GOP), and the State Senate (32-8 for the GOP). Democrats don’t have a say in this blood red state that went 60%-37% for Mitt Romney in 2012.

Brownback and his buddies have enacted all manner of conservative economic policy in the state. Cutting taxes, etcetera. What is the result? Guess.

Citing a sluggish recovery from the recession, risk inherent in the governor’s tax plan and uncertainty over the Legislature’s ability to keep cutting spending, one of the nation’s two major debt rating agencies downgraded Kansas’ credit rating Thursday.

Moody’s Investors Service dropped Kansas from its second-highest bond rating, Aa1, to its third highest, Aa2. The Kansas Department of Transportation also took the same downgrade.

f6964ca89bbb0e9540a1331bb4cc1a61As Businesweekexplained, “the immediate effect has been to blow a hole in the state’s finances without noticeable economic growth.”

Even with the cut in taxes, big companies like Applebee’s and Boeing have moved out of Kansas.

As a result, the most recent polling there shows Brownback’s approval rating down to 33%, while he’s slightly behind the Democratic challenger.

In Kansas, they can’t (honestly) blame liberals for this. They’ve been given a free hand. They were able to enact whatever they wanted, and it has been a miserable failure at a time when other states – including very blue Democratic states like here in Maryland – have been recovering from the Bush recession.


Because conservative economics doesn’t actually work. It is a faith based program untethered from reality. The numbers don’t add up and it is destructive to societies.

90d80323549f4203fba1e32825e491c9Charlie Crist Says He Became A Democrat Because Of GOP Racism

It was partly for that reason that Crist, the former Republican governor of Florida who’s now trying to reclaim his old job as a Democrat, broke with his former party.

“I couldn’t be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I’ll just go there,” Crist told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos. “I was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing, it was intolerable to me.”


Crist was savaged on the right when, as governor in 2009, he hugged Obama. He said earlier this year that racism motivated the outrage over the embrace.

1a2968938471c1f5fb9ce8980f223146“I think another part of it was that he was a Democrat, but not just a Democrat, an African-American,” Crist, who’s challenging Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), said during an appearance on “The Colbert Report.”

Just 7 percent of journalists are Republicans. That’s far fewer than even a decade ago.

A majority of American journalists identify themselves as political independents although among those who choose a side Democrats outnumber Republicans four to one, according to a new study of the media conducted by two Indiana University professors.

Write Lars Wilnat and David Weaver, professors of journalism at Indiana, of their findings:

Compared with 2002, the percentage of full-time U.S. journalists who claim to be Democrats has dropped 8 percentage points in 2013 to about 28 percent, moving this figure closer to the overall population percentage of 30 percent, according to a December 12-15, 2013, ABC News/Washington Post national poll of 1,005 adults. This is the lowest percentage of journalists saying they are Democrats since 1971. An even larger drop was observed among journalists who said they were Republicans in 2013 (7.1 percent) than in 2002 (18 percent), but the 2013 figure is still notably lower than the percentage of U.S. adults who identified with the Republican Party (24 percent according to the poll mentioned above).

Image courtesy of The American Journalist in the Digital Age

That link about the journalist is more for information purposes. Read what else Cillizza thinks too at that link.


8c2a3f14e9851505e3f1992043567145Los Angeles now spending more on Wall Street fees than on maintaining roads | PandoDaily

Los Angeles councilman Paul Koretz has called for banks NY Mellon and Dexia to return $65 million in “unfair profits and termination payments” they received between 2008 and 2014. This follows a report (embedded below) revealing that the city spent more than $200 million in fees to Wall Street in 2013 alone.  Koretz says he may push the city to take punitive action against the financial institutions involved if they do not renegotiate the deal.

a63f17097d9b76b0c8b35d6fe18f5a72The report, published by the union-backed Fix LA Coalition, notes that “the City of Los Angeles last year spent more on Wall Street fees than it did on our streets.” Indeed, the report notes the city “paid Wall Street $204 million in fees, spending only $163 million on the Bureau of Street Services.”

The fees are connected to the controversial interest-rate-swap deal cemented by Los Angeles in 2006. It is a deal similar to those engineered by Wall Street in cities across the country. Those deals have made headlines in recent years in some of the country’s most high-profile municipal budget crises.

For instance, a recent study by former Goldman Sachs investment banker Wallace Turbeville found that an interest-rate swap deal was a primary driver of Detroit’s fiscal crisis. Noting that the banks used the city’s bankruptcy to demand “upwards of $250-350 million in swap termination payments,” Turbeville concluded that “a strong case can be made that the banks that sold these swaps may have breached their ethical, and possibly legal, obligations to the city in executing these deals.” (A court recently reduced the amount the city has to pay Wall Street to unwind the deals).


28e2e3ff15881c293a7bd3a3c9b36dcdBorder Patrol rarely punishes agents accused of abuse, study shows | Courts & Crime | McClatchy DC

A new report by an immigration watchdog finds that the United States’ largest federal law enforcement agency rarely punishes its agents for their mistreatment of immigrants and American citizens.

The report by the American Immigration Council found that 97 percent of abuse complaints lodged against Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers resulted in no disciplinary action once an investigation had been completed. Those included a complaint from a pregnant woman in El Paso, Texas, that she had miscarried after a Border Patrol agent kicked her in the stomach, and several complaints from women that they had been forced to bare their breasts while in custody.

The survey also found that many complaints against U.S. border agents take years to resolve. The council reviewed 809 complaints filed in the three years from January 2009 to January 2012. But of those, only 485 had been investigated and resolved. The remainder are still under investigation, including a nearly 5-year-old allegation of forced sexual intercourse lodged July 30, 2009, against a Border Patrol agent in El Centro, Calif.

a53e10fafb6c21876f0987f47a562693Among the cases that were still “pending investigation, the average number of days between the date the complaint was filed and the last record date provided in the data set was 389 days,” the report said.

“This absolutely confirms the experiences of our border families and communities,” said Vicki Gaubeca, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Regional Center for Border Rights in New Mexico. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection is now the largest law enforcement agency in the nation, and yet this massive buildup of border enforcement resources has not been matched with adequate accountability and oversight.”

And about that SCOTUS decision:

64379ac1050440ca30257e0e75359f39With the Supreme Court’s Help, Religion Creeps Toward the State – Garrett Epps – The Atlantic

The 5-4 decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway shows how far the ground has shifted under the Establishment Clause in the last 30 years.

Supreme Court: Tear Down This Wall!

Yesterday’s ruling in Greece v. Galloway is an affront to religious equality, but it also reflects the poisoned fruit of a bad precedent.

Symposium: Town of Greece v. Galloway going forward : SCOTUSblog

Symposium: Dismantling the wall that should separate church and state : SCOTUSblog

Symposium: Thoughts on Town of Greece – if the kilt fits : SCOTUSblog

In fact for SCOTUSblog coverage look here: Town of Greece v. Galloway : SCOTUSblog

1393a34602c9fa0037e721e27659418bWith all this shit that happened yesterday, and the recent other shit like the repeal of some key parts of the Civil Rights Act, this next article should come as a surprise: Supreme Court popularity rebounds, survey says | Suits & Sentences | McClatchy DC


The Supreme Court’s popularity has rebounded, with more than half of U.S. residents surveyed now voicing a favorable view of the justices, a new survey finds.

The Pew Research Center survey, conducted last month among 1,501 adults, found that 56 percent have a favorable view of the court, while 35 percent had an unfavorable view. Last July, only 48 percent held a favorable view of the court. That rating was among the lowest ever recorded by the court, though still well above the abysmal poll numbers earned by Congress.

Intriguingly, 63 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of the court led by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., compared to 54 percent of Republicans.


Take a deep breath…I know I have to. More after the jump.

50c71ac536fe3cff4aac21bb9c9c70b4Now…here is the latest on the kidnapped girls in Nigeria. I’ve purposely ignored this story in my post the past two weeks. It was just too horrible a story, and…I was waiting to see just how long it would take the Main Stream Media to wake the fuck up about it. Nigeria: Boko Haram Misleads Army, Kills 300 in Fresh Borno Attack

At least 300 people were confirmed dead on Monday when Boko Haram gunmen in armoured vehicles stormed Gamborou Ngala town in Borno state.

According source the security forces earlier deployed to area, moved to the Lake Chad axis when they received intelligence report that some gunmen were sighted with abducted schoolgirls moving to the area.

29a609ebb7d9150ba23510f0457d665aBoko Haram gunmen kidnap more Nigerian girls, number rises to 11 – Hindustan Times

The number of Nigerian girls taken in the latest kidnapping by Boko Haram Islamists has risen to 11, an official in the restive northeast said Wednesday.

Residents initially said eight girls were taken when gunmen stormed a village in the Gwoza area of Borno state late Sunday.

Gwoza official Hamba Tada told AFP the attackers snatched three more girls in a neighbouring village.

– See more at:


The number of Nigerian girls taken in the latest kidnapping by Boko Haram Islamists has risen to 11, an official in the restive northeast said Wednesday.

Residents initially said eight girls were taken when gunmen stormed a village in the Gwoza area of Borno state late Sunday.

Gwoza official Hamba Tada told AFP the attackers snatched three more girls in a neighbouring village.

Global outrage over kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls | Al Jazeera America

13aed8051f2e5a557f4513901ea38b83Dozens of protesters rallied at the Nigerian embassy in Washington, DC, Tuesday against the kidnapping of 276 girls, and their alleged sale as “brides” for as little as $12, with the hope of pressuring authorities to take action against Boko Haram, the armed group responsible for their abduction.

They gathered outside the embassy, dressed in red and holding signs that read, “Bring back our girls,” and “276 stolen dreams.”

Molly Alawode, a leader of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, told Al Jazeera the protests would continue “if the government doesn’t live up to its duty of service and protect the Nigerian population.

“We think it’s really important to send this message today to let him [President Goodluck Jonathan] and other leaders know that the world is really watching,” she added.

62c36347f2d53b79f97c378a9cc22631On April 14, 276 girls were kidnapped from their dormitories at the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, a city in the northern state of Borno. On Monday, the leader of Boko Haram, an armed group that seeks to create an Islamic fundamentalist state in Nigeria’s north, claimed responsibility for the attack and said he would sell the girls as slaves.

“I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah,” Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said, according to Agence France-Presse, which reported that they obtained a video from the group.

8ae133fa52949cabbcca573105a14c26Go look at the picture used on this report at the link above. It is emotional…

Obama Calls Kidnapping Of Nigerian Girls ‘Heartbreaking’ And ‘Outrageous’ – ABC News

Nigeria’s captive girls: Calls begin for US military to join rescue campaign (+video) –

Nigeria’s government defends its actions as more girls are abducted –

BBC News – Nigeria abducted schoolgirls: Police reward offered

Nigerians in US Rally for Kidnapped Girls Back Home

Who Is Boko Haram Leader Abubakar Shekau? — NYMag

Take Action Now – Amnesty International USA

Nigeria, Bring Back Our Girls!

Take Action On This Issue On April 14, hundreds of school girls, most between the ages of 16 and 18, were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok in north-eastern Nigeria by the Islamist armed group Boko Haram. Now there are reports that the girls are being sold into sexual slavery or forced “marriage”!

Take action now: Nigerian authorities need to know that the world stands with the girls’ families in demanding their immediate release. Their rights – and the rights of all of Nigeria’s children — to education and to be protected from violence must be safeguarded!

The mothers of the abducted girls and their supporters have been marching on the nation’s capital Abuja demanding action. Your voice is needed!


f76de602bc605f7c5010376149e3daadOn the Catholic Church news front, yeah I got bones to pick with them too. You know they are big time misogynistic assholes too!  Cardinal Gerhard Mueller Rebukes U.S. Nuns For Honoring Feminist Theologian Elizabeth Johnson

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which represents the majority of U.S. nuns, was sharply rebuked by Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), last week during a visit to Rome. Cardinal Mueller emphasized the need for reform within the LCWR, objected to their choice of honoree for a leadership award, and criticized their interest in the idea of conscious evolution.

The CDF, which serves as the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, told the Presidency of the LCWR that their choice to honor a feminist theologian, Elizabeth Johnson, with an Outstanding Leadership Award “is a decision that will be seen as a rather open provocation against the Holy See and the Doctrinal Assessment.”

861fcf6e3cfd498caff010d5aa03458fJohnson’s popular book Quest for the Living God was publicly denounced by the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2011. The USCCB released a statement saying that the text reaches many “theologically unacceptable” conclusions. Johnson is a Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University, a Jesuit college in New York.

Fuckwad bastard.

I am not the only one who found this dickishness disturbing: Shakesville: Popey Changey!

Hey, remember when totes progressive Pope Francis said that women should have more influence in the Catholic Church hierarchy? And everyone was all OMG HE IS SO GREAT I LOVES THIS POPE SO MUCH? Ha ha whoooooooooops!d1f31541038f068eb148b19f6e1da344

The Vatican official overseeing the crackdown on the largest umbrella group for U.S. nuns is pressing forward with the overhaul under Pope Francis.

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, the Vatican orthodoxy watchdog, reprimanded officers of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious for planning to honor a theologian who had been criticized by U.S. bishops and said the sisters must show more willingness to cooperate.

Mueller made the remarks in a meeting last Wednesday with the group’s leaders in Rome. He apologized repeatedly for speaking so bluntly, while reminding the sisters their organization held its status within the church only through Vatican approval.

“Nice organization you got there, ladies. It’d be a shame if something happened to it!”

The reform order was issued in 2012 under now-retired Pope Benedict XVI, after an investigation concluded the nuns’ group had taken positions that undermined Roman Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality while promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” Investigators praised the nuns’ humanitarian work, but accused them of focusing too much on social justice and ignoring critical issues, such as fighting abortion.

b0f2fcc60cd62e1b06bb1026c5db144fThe nuns’ group rejected the Vatican findings as “flawed” and based on “unsubstantiated accusations.” Some sisters had hoped for a new approach under Pope Francis, a Jesuit who has stressed mercy over morals and has made social justice issues his top priority.

Sad trombone!

You might notice that a theme is beginning to emerge, ahem. Pope Francis says something that sounds vaguely progressive; it gets a whole lot of fawning headlines; then comes evidence that it was nothing but empty rhetoric.

3fdfaf7327e7ea486dbaa43324609a7fWell, I do not agree with one thing…Francis has never been open to women at all. From the very beginning he has been an ass about the nuns, and women in the church. So there has never been anything “progressive” regarding women from Pope Francis in my opinion. This crap from the Cardinal is nothing new…only same old shit as before.

Meanwhile, more Vatican links:

GENEVA: Archbishop defends church teachings before U.N. panel, calls abortion ‘torture’ of unborn | Europe | McClatchy DC

Ugh…but making a woman die a painful horrible death because an abortion would have saved her life is not ‘torture’ ?

Vatican defrocks 848 priests in 10 years | Al Jazeera America

The Vatican revealed Tuesday that over the past decade, it has defrocked 848 priests who raped or molested children and sanctioned another 2,572 with lesser penalties, providing the first ever breakdown of how it handled the more than 3,400 cases of abuse reported to the Holy See since 2004.

a5654ca08454efe7632626e8dbc77cddThe Vatican’s United Nations ambassador in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, released the figures during a second day of grilling by a U.N. committee monitoring implementation of the U.N. treaty against torture.

Tomasi insisted that the Holy See was only obliged to abide by the torture treaty inside the tiny Vatican City State, which has a population of only a few hundred people.

20e7e1834fda4232be394ad0c3378b5dBut significantly, he didn’t dispute the committee’s contention that sexual violence against children can be considered torture. Legal experts have said that classifying sexual abuse as torture could expose the Catholic Church to a new wave of lawsuits since torture cases in much of the world don’t carry statutes of limitations.

The rest of the links are really going to be quick like:


Israeli President Shimon Peres said Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked a 2011 peace agreement he had secretly negotiated with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas. Peres said he and Abbas had finalised a draft agreement in a series of…

302aa7e98ae9ce32638eeec08a880951Study of death penalty in U.S. calls for overhaul – Los Angeles Times


Panel Urges One-Drug Lethal Injections –


‘Is rape really illegal’ when rape kits go untested? | Al Jazeera America


Kremlin Accidentally Posted the Real Crimean Annexation Vote Results on their Site – Little Green Footballs


e2ec5290d241e39c2a18d73756759e13Benghazi Derangement Syndrome | | News and Politics Blog and Podcast | We Cover the World


“No one cares if you never apologize for your white male privilege.”

Here’s a story:

A 20-year-old college freshman wrote an essay for one of his college publications and was subsequently interviewed on Fox News, written about in the New York Times, and had the essay republished by TIME. Yet, he doesn’t understand why anyone thinks he benefits from white male privilege.

Honestly, that right there is all I have to say about Princeton student Tal Fortgang’s exercise in point-missing “Why I’ll Never Apologize for My White Male Privilege.”

9313171979e3743fcafd5a6b04074bf5I can think of no better proof of said privilege than the fact that Fortgang’s piece, which completely misunderstands the concept of privilege and how it works, is treated as worthy of serious discussion. And to be clear — since this is one of the many points Fortgang is confused on — I do not blame him for that fact. (He’s a college freshman; he’s allowed to bloviate on things he knows nothing about — it’s practically required. TIME, on the other hand, has no excuse.) I don’t think Fortgang should have to apologize for the fact that his uniformed opinion goes viral any more than he should have to apologize for his gender or race. I just hope that one day he’ll learn enough about the world to start questioning the myth of American meritocracy — and come to see this whole episode as a case in point.

Let’s end this post with two cool and funny stories/links.

One is a gallery of photos of Hillary: Hillary Clinton Delivers Keynote at the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference | Still4Hill


Doesn’t she look great?

bbe1fba29ec2a1bca318c6a7eb541c60Then there is this news: Marge Simpson is getting her own makeup line · Newswire · The A.V. Club

Women’s Wear Daily reports that MAC, the super-fancy cosmetics company that makes makeup for super-fancy people, is planning a limited-edition makeup line inspired by The Simpsons matriarch Marge Simpson, to commemorate the show’s 25th anniversary this year. No word yet on what products the line will offer, though we definitely like Refinery29’s suggestion of a blue lipstick called “Beehive.”As we are the target market for this line (Who else, in all honesty, would be the target market for this line?) and are overly fond of puns, we worked up an incomplete list of products and ridiculous makeup names that we hope MAC will offer:[…]

  • Eau Du Duff perfume (not to be confused with rival product, Krusty Non-Toxic Kologne)
  • d5e56b18b2343204bdffcc238ad6cadeScreaming Yellow Honkers blush, concealer, and foundation (Stone Phillips not included)
  • Patty And Selma’s Extra-Strength Hair Removal System (some assembly required)

Looking upon our twisted creations, we are concerned to discover that most of these are viable products, and some probably already exist. Does MAC not realize what special hell it’s going to unleash?



Ah, MAC will not unleash a special hell with a Marge cosmetic line…a special hell has already been made for women who do not help other women, I thought everyone knew that!


Well, this is one long ass post, y’all know what to do below. 

42 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: Of Saints and Bastards”

  1. It is late I know, and I am still tweaking the formatting too.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    I have been saying this for years: the separation of church and state was being tampered with since the arrival of the Silent Majority over 30 years ago. Once lost, the anticipated “slippery slope” is not far behind.

    Want to pray for guidance? Do so in the comfort of your own home, car, church, woods, wherever but keep it out of the public square where diversity rules. But now it seems not for long thanks to recent ruling of the SC.

    The next step – and the one goal they have always hoped to achieve – is mandatory prayer in schools. Once forbidden but never out of sight of these “Christians” who feel victimized when the Constitution serves as a reminder of how the Founding Fathers approached religious beliefs.

    Scared? We should be as this is just a first step for these fundamental fools to insert the bible into everyday law and with enough elected legislators who follow those beliefs it won’t be long before the USA becomes that “Christian nation” they have been pushing for.

    We’re that close.

    • I know Pat, and I hate to think what that christian nation will look like in full vigor!

    • RalphB says:

      Republicans only emotions are rage, hate, fear, greed, and self pity. This Christianist BS plays into several of them really well.

    • Fannie says:

      Steve Green of the Hobby Lobby Stores is taking the next step, and pushing for Bibles to be placed in classrooms, and part of their daily studies. He’s pushing the Bible like there is no tomorrow.

      I went back to read Dak’s post on the 14 Feb 2014, where she talks about the fact that many of these are “for-profit corporations.” It’s a good read about religion being ramrodded down everyone throat.

  3. Fannie says:

    JJ you are on fire today, and full speed ahead. Luv it. An old friend of mine came to visit, and while we were having coffee, over the news flashed a photo of Hillary during the Benghazi hearings……..right off she said Hillary had better change her hairdo. Talk about screaming bonkers, and the f bomb. I just had a short fuse because some women who have professional careers, seem to be the worst at paying attention to all the concerns we have, and no wonder why republican women vote against their own interest. I think at work they are brainwashed or something, I think their bosses think they can save women from becoming liberals or something. And I think all this Christian stuff has a lot to do with it too.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Does your friend know that on the day of that hearing Hillary had just been in the hospital for falling and getting a serious head injury, that she was having dizzy spells that they were trying to control with the weird glasses she had on?

      • Fannie says:

        No I failed to remember it at the time we were having coffee. Yes, that is the photo, she is in the green dress, and wearing those dark glasses you mentioned. Thanks BB. Honestly, my friend doesn’t spend much time watching the news, she was not in tune, so to speak.

  4. leefeller says:

    Love the rant and as an artist who when learning to use egg tempera was conjured into painting an Icon I enjoyed your selection of what I guess one can call iconic symbolism?
    As a political junkie, I may suggest what you commented on was received by me with amusing positivity.
    One thing I will suggest for the US DC politics…all of what you see being done is the handiwork of special interests (I suspect you know as I who they are) to protect status quo and they do not care one bit about their stick poking manufactured animosity as they promote to divide the masses, their goal is to create division to make sure populism never gains a hold, and they seem to be doing it quite well.

  5. RalphB says:

    Business Insider: Russian Propaganda Is Taking Over Online Comment Boards

    British newspaper The Guardian notes that recently, readers have been complaining of pro-Russia propaganda being posted in the comments section of articles about Russia and Ukraine.

    Guardian comment moderators believe this is an orchestrated campaign.

    Russia has worked hard to make people believe that the country is supporting the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine and defending those people against some type of threat. These “comment mills” play into that strategy.

    Last year, The Atlantic wrote about how the Russian government apparently pays people to “sit in a room, surf the Internet, and leave sometimes hundreds of postings a day that criticize the country’s opposition and promote Kremlin-backed policymakers.”

    Russian ratfkers now.

      • Fannie says:

        So with the Supreme Court ruling, it pertains to Christians only. How hollow can they get. This is so freakin’ wrong. Time for term limits on the supreme court.

    • RalphB says:

      A number of these Xtian extremists are rotten to the core and properly described as American Taliban. The growing number of non religious right people should shun or mock them. They already exhibit an extraordinary amount of self-pity so they should be given a reason.

    • NW Luna says:

      That is atrocious. This is what a country — supposedly founded on freedom from a state religion — has come to in the high halls of government?

      The forbearance shown by the American Hindu is far more than I would have been able to manage.

      A polite translation of his expression might be “Mighty deities of all lands, all of you please get down here right now and teach that Xian some manners!”

  6. RalphB says:

    Washington Monthly: Why Resentment is Key to Conservative Politics

    … Making people hate each other is at the core of right-wing politics.

    Martin Longman makes a good point.

  7. dakinikat says:

    The right’s 1990s problem: Hillary Clinton’s unique ability to provoke wingnut lunacy
    Raising old Clinton scandals doesn’t hurt Hillary as much as it exposes the insanity of folks like Laura Ingraham

    • RalphB says:

      Slate: What’s This “Silence” That Monica Lewinsky Is Breaking?

      … It’s been 15 years since Lewinsky cooperated with Andrew Morton for Monica’s Story, which you can pick up for $0.01 on Amazon, so hot is the interest in this story. (Even after you pay shipping, it’s cheaper than a copy of Vanity Fair.) It’s been just 12 years since Lewinsky cooperated with Monica: Black and White, a documentary she promoted on cable news. It’s been 10 years since Bill Clinton published My Life, his memoir, and Lewinsky broke her silence to accuse the former president of lying.

      It really doesn’t seem like Lewinsky has anything new to add about the facts of the most thoroughly reported extramarital affair of all time. But let’s pretend that she does.

      Dave Weigel is a smart reporter.

      • NW Luna says:

        Yawn” is my total reaction to the Monica business. I suspect most voters feel the same way. Besides, Bill’s not running for office anymore; the story-mongers seem to have forgotten that.

        • dakinikat says:

          I can’t wait to ask the girls what they think about all this. They were young when all this crap went down. I can’t imagine young people caring at all about this.

  8. RalphB says:

    Right Wing Watch: HGTV Backs Away From Reality Show Starring Anti-Gay Activist Following RWW Report

    HGTV announced today that the recently unveiled reality TV show, Flip it Forward, about realtor David Benham, a virulent anti-gay activist, will not move forward after all.

    Yesterday, the network said it was in the “process of reviewing all information about the Benhams.”

    As we reported yesterday, David Benham is a right-wing activist who has campaigned against LGBT equality and reproductive rights, taking after his father Flip Benham.

    It’s still safe to watch HGTV. Wonder if there will be a ragegasm?

  9. NW Luna says:

    JJ, amazing and thoughtful post packed with much linky goodness.

    I like the illustrations you found, and wish we could turn St. Brigid loose on the miserableness in the world today.

    That painting with the spinning wheel — looks almost like a cross between a modern travel wheel and an old walking wheel turned sitting style. Where did you find it, and do you know how authentic (to the equipment) it is? I’m not well versed in wheel lore; more so in spindle lore.

  10. Just a few more links to add, some are crazy and unbelievable:

    Still Mystified By This

    As we noted yesterday, the schools in Rialto, California – a town way out on the fringe of the LA sprawl, produced an assignment to ask 8th graders to “write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain.” I’ve seen a number of times where schools get into trouble on stuff kind of like this. And in some of those cases you can see how maybe someone had no ill-will but just approached something in a really stupid way. But I’m not seeing that here.

    Free speech is one thing. And there’s a heuristic purpose sometimes in having people confront very controversial issues to hone their debating or argument skills. But that really doesn’t apply to 8th graders who lack the maturity to make these distinctions. Nor is this an “issue” in any reasonable sense. But beyond that it’s the second clause, which in other parts of the assignment becomes whether the Holocaust was manufactured as “a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain.”

    These ideas come right out of the most hardcore white supremacist Holocaust denial playbook. It’s just not possible think that whoever devised this was just tone deaf.

    Holocaust School Assignment Sheet Included Text Lifted From Holocaust Denial Website

    A disputed essay assignment that asked students in a California school district to argue “whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history” incorporated a source that dismissed gassings in concentration camps as a “profitable hoax.”

    The San Bernardino Sun first reported that the Rialto Unified School District instructed eighth-graders to “write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain.”

    But initial reports on the disputed essay largely overlooked one of the three sources provided to students, extensive text lifted directly from a Holocaust Denial and conspiracy website,, titled “Is the Holocaust a Hoax?”

    read the rest of this shit at the link.

  11. RalphB says:

    Gene Lyons is straight forward and to the point!

  12. NW Luna says:

    Famed Canadian writer Farley Mowat has died at his home in Ontario at the age of 92.

    Mr Mowat was best known for adventure and travel books, including Never Cry Wolf, a fictional narrative of a man living among wolves in the sub-arctic. ….

    “Mr Mowat was obviously a passionate Canadian who shaped a lot of my generation, growing up, with his books. He will be sorely missed,” Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday. ….

    “So sorry to hear that [Mr Mowat] has died. Wonderful colleague & friend of many years,” acclaimed author Margaret Atwood tweeted. ….

    He was also an outspoken proponent of environmental and social issues, labelling Canada’s treatment of aboriginals “abominable” and the country’s annual seal hunt “atrocious”.

  13. RalphB says:

    This is just disgusting!

    Old White Male Racist Tells Black Woman To Move To The Back Of A Bus In New York (VIDEO)

    “I’m not black, but there’s whole lots of times I wish I could say, ‘I’m not white.'””
    –Frank Zappa

  14. RalphB says:

    Corruption in Texas Is Like a Cockroach Infestation

    Everything is bigger in Texas and corruption is no exception.

    Fraud, bribery, exploitation and plain old dishonesty are getting to be like a severe Texas case of cockroaches. For every one you see in the daylight, there are 800 or so hiding in the darkness. Cockroaches prefer the darkness and they scatter like mad when the light is turned on.

    In the case of Perry and Abbott, it’s as if both are trying to out-cockroach each other. Rick Perry’s entire time in office has been one of bribery, slush-funds, under-the-table-payments for appointments and a million other gubernatorial transgressions. Maybe that’s why he chose to be re-baptized recently. Nothing less than the Pacific Ocean will wash his political sins away.

    And what of Greg Abbott? He wants to sacrifice four-year-olds to Pearson, the omnipotent gods of testing, but only for informational purposes. He hangs out with pedophiles and misogynists and worst of all, while he served as watchdog, on the Oversight Board of Cancer Research Institute, his donors’ companies received $42 million of Texas’ taxpayer money.

    In spite of all the proof, the publicity, the news stories, and all the examples of backroom deals, illegal grant writing, and garden variety political theft, voters will continue their present state of passivity and continue to vote for the political profiteers based solely upon the single letter beside the candidate’s name.

    Bobby Jindall will never look good, but he may look better after this story. Jeez!

  15. Fannie says:

    Am re-reading several post from back in Feb 2014 – the one that once again caught my eye:

    The Christian right’s 5 most dangerous candidates for congress (CJ Werleman ,Alternet).

    1) Matt Bevin, Candidate for US Senate Kentucky (running against Alison Lundergan Grimes)

    2) Pam Barlow, Rep. Candidate US Congress Texas, Dist. 10

    3) State Sen. Lee Bright: Rep. candidate of US Senate South Carolina

    4) Chris McDaniel, Rep Candidate for US Senate, Mississippi

    5) Paul Brown, Rep.Candidate US Senate, Georgia