Tuesday Reads: Drink More Coffee–It’s Good for You!* And Other News

winter coffee book

Good Morning!!

There’s a supposedly huge drama being carried on in Washington DC, but I just can’t get excited about it. Republicans are holding funding for the Department of Homeland Security hostage in an effort to block President Obama’s executive order on immigration.

I really haven’t been following this story, not only because I assumed it would end like all the other idiotic Republican efforts to shut down the government–a huge bluff that ends one side caving–but also because I don’t particularly care about the Department of Homeland Security.

I don’t want ordinary workers there to lose their jobs, but “homeland security” gives me the creeps. Isn’t it mostly about investigating Americans and harassing them in airports and other public places? I read the list of DHS activities at their website (see previous link) and I could find anything that I could get worked up about–maybe disaster preparedness.

Boston is going through a horrendous slow-moving disaster right now, and there’s been no help coming from DHS as far as I know. I’m sure elderly people must be going hungry because they can’t get out of their homes and poor people are probably freezing because they can’t afford to pay for heat. I don’t know for sure, because the media doesn’t seem to be asking questions about these marginalized people.

I do know that working people here are losing their jobs and may eventually lose their homes because they can’t get to work. In addition to the problem of getting out of your house and getting around with after more than 100 inches of snow have been dumped on us, Boston’s public transportation system is crippled. This morning when I woke up it was -11 degrees outside, and more snow is expected tonight.


But getting back to the Homeland Security/Immigration fight, the truth is that it’s really a Republican thing. Semi-normal Republicans think DHS is really important and other, completely insane Republicans are more obsessed with keeping any more brown people from becoming U.S. citizens. At Forbes, Stan Collender writes:

Up to now I’ve been relatively convinced that House and Senate Republicans somehow would find a way to avoid shutting down the Department of Homeland Securitywhen its current appropriation expires in four days.

But it has become increasingly obvious over the past week that the reason for the stalemate between House and Senate Republicans over the DHS appropriation (as I said in this post, this is an almost purely GOP vs. GOP fight) has less to do with the publicly stated reason – stopping the president’s executive orders on immigration – and far more to do with the 2016 congressional election.

That makes coming up with a solution that will satisfy the House and Senate Republican majorities AND can pass each house of Congress far more difficult and makes a DHS shutdown more likely.

The militant wing of the House Republican caucus doesn’t fear a potentially negative impact on the coming election. To the contrary, it sees shutting down the Department of Homeland Security as a boon to their reelection chances. A shutdown will demonstrate a take-no-prisoners attitude to the militantly conservative, very anti-Democrat and overwhelmingly anti-Obama constituents who vote in the primary or whose support will make a primary unnecessary. To these GOP House members, a shutdown is not something to be avoided; it’s one of the first scheduled events in their 2016 reelection campaigns.

By contrast, the 24 Senate Republicans up for reelection in 2016 not only have to pay attention to a larger and (relatively at least) more moderate base, they also have to consider the Democrats in their state who will be voting. And given that 10-12 of the 24 Republican senators who will be up for reelection next year are from blue states, they cannot afford to ignore or even give short shrift to the political impact of a shutdown on their Democratic voters.

Coffee books snow

Good. Let the Republican assholes fight it out. Mitch McConnell has a new plan to separate the immigration fight from the DHS funding, but it’s hard to see how that will work because it will take away the wingnuts’ leverage. USA Today reports:

McConnell, R-Ky., announced that he is essentially breaking off controversial immigration amendments from the bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security. Those amendments have been at the center of the impasse over a $40 billion spending bill for the agency.

McConnell is offering a bill that would bar federal funds from being used to carry out President Obama’s executive actions to protect about 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to work legally in the USA.

That move should allow a separate DHS funding bill to move forward without the immigration provisions that have caused a stalemate in Congress and led to the looming shutdown at the agency.

{{yawn…}} I doubt if this will work, but we’ll see . . . . What I don’t get is, since a judge has already stopped Obama’s immigration plan for the moment, what is the GOP fight really about? If anyone can explain it to me, please do.

coffee books snow2

Meanwhile, various Republican state legislators continue to demonstrate their ignorance about female bodies. The latest example comes from Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Idaho lawmaker asks if woman can swallow camera for gynecological exam before medical abortion.

BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho lawmaker received a brief lesson on female anatomy after asking if a woman can swallow a small camera for doctors to conduct a remote gynecological exam.

The question Monday from Republican state Rep. Vito Barbieri came as the House State Affairs Committee heard nearly three hours of testimony on a bill that would ban doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine….

Dr. Julie Madsen, a physician who said she has provided various telemedicine services in Idaho, was testifying in opposition to the bill. She said some colonoscopy patients may swallow a small device to give doctors a closer look at parts of their colon.

“Can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy? Swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is?” Barbieri asked.

Madsen replied that would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina.

“Fascinating. That makes sense,” Barbieri said, amid the crowd’s laughter.

Barbieri later claimed he was just “trying to make a point.” What that point was is unclear. Here’s what he told the press:

I was being rhetorical, because I was trying to make the point that equalizing a colonoscopy to this particular procedure was apples and oranges,” he said. “So I was asking a rhetorical question that was designed to make her say that they weren’t the same thing, and she did so. It was the response I wanted.”

BTW, doctors in Idaho do not prescribe morning after pills through telemedicine, so it’s also unclear why the bill is deemed necessary by Idaho wingnut Republicans.


Remember James O’Keefe? He’s baaaaaack. On Sunday, a right-wing website that I won’t link to (you can find the link at Memeorandum) reported that O’Keefe had tweeted that he has a new blockbuster video coming out and he “fears for [his] life” after it goes public. This morning, the big scoop was revealed in the New York Post. O’Keefe is targeting Al Sharpton with claims that he doesn’t really care about the families of victims like Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner.

Al Sharpton is all about the Benjamins, a daughter of police chokehold victim Eric Garner claims in a bombshell videotape.

Erica Snipes tees off on the reverend as interested primarily in money during a conversation secretly recorded by controversial conservative activist James O’Keefe’s group, Project Veritas.

One of O’Keefe’s investigators with a hidden camera posed as a Garner supporter during a protest last month at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island.

“You think Al Sharpton is kind of like a crook in a sense?” the investigator is heard asking Garner’s oldest daughter.

“He’s about this,” Snipes replies, rubbing her fingers together.

“He’s about money with you?” the undercover asks.

“Yeah,” Snipes responds.

You can watch the video at the NY Post link.

Joseph Cannon is all over this story, and I hope he’ll write more about it. For now, he has a post up with plenty of background on James O’Keefe.


O’Keefe’s story isn’t likely to get much mainstream attention, because the media is already wallowing a scandal in Obama’s cabinet. From Huffington Post yesterday: VA Secretary Robert McDonald Falsely Claimed He Served In Special Forces.

Robert McDonald, the secretary of veterans affairs, wrongly claimed in a videotaped comment earlier this year that he served in special operations forces, the most elite units in the armed forces, when his military service of five years was spent almost entirely with the 82nd Airborne Division during the late 1970s….

McDonald, a retired corporate executive who took over the VA last June as the agency was sinking in scandal, made the claim in late January as he was touring a rundown Los Angeles neighborhood during a nationwide count of homeless veterans. He was accompanied by a CBS-TV news crew, which recorded an exchange between McDonald and a homeless man who told McDonald he had served in special forces.

“Special forces? What years? I was in special forces!” McDonald told the homeless man. That exchange was broadcast in a Jan. 30 CBS News story about the VA’s efforts to find and house homeless veterans.

In fact, McDonald never served in special forces. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1975, completed Army Ranger training and took courses in jungle, arctic and desert warfare. He qualified as a senior parachutist and airborne jumpmaster, and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division until he retired from military service in 1980. While he earned a Ranger tab designating him as a graduate of Ranger School, he never served in a Ranger battalion or any other special operations unit.

“I have no excuse,” McDonald told The Huffington Post, when contacted to explain his claim. “I was not in special forces.”

Today the story is at the top of Google News. There’s no way this guy is going to be able to continue in his job. Should we form a pool and guess how long it will take for him to “resign” in disgrace. Why do people do this? Spending five years in the 82 Airborne Division and graduating from Ranger School should have been enough. the Ranger training is what he must have been referring to in the video, but it doesn’t matter. He’s gone.


Here’s a fascinating piece about a fake story that went viral last week. I looked for local reports about this a couple of days ago and couldn’t find anything; so I figured the story couldn’t be true, since it was reported to have happened in Boston.

From Digg: Anatomy Of A Fake, Viral Story: The Priest Who Met A Female God In His Near-Death Experience.

On February 4 World News Daily Report published a story about a Massachusetts priest who made a miraculous medical recovery, and discovery:

A Catholic priest from Massachussetts [sic] was officially dead for more than 48 minutes before medics were able to miraculously re-start his heart. During that time, Father John Micheal O’neal claims he went to heaven and met God, which he describes as a warm and comforting motherly figure.

The story reported that Boston Archbishop Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley explained away O’Neal’s revelation as nothing more than “hallucinations linked to a near-death experience,” and added that “God clearly isn’t a female.”

This remarkable report of a Catholic priest claiming that the Holy Father is in fact a mother went unnoticed by other media until a newspaper in Uganda, the Daily Monitor, picked it up word-for-word. That set off a cascade of articles on other websites around the world, which together have racked up tens of thousands of shares and social interactions, primarily on Facebook.

The Daily Monitor’s motto is “Truth Everyday,” but in this case its plagiarism helped propagate a hoax. World News Daily Report looks and reads like a real news website, but everything it publishes is completely fake. It’s one of several fake news websites that pump out hoax content with the goal of generating shares and links that they can monetize with ads.

Many of these sites have legitimate sounding names, such as The Daily Currant or National Report. They not only monetize peoples’ gullibility, but also their hopes and fears, their political and religious beliefs.

Read much more about these fake news sites and how their stories go viral at the link.

* Finally, here’s a story that sounds fake, but it actually isn’t.  And it’s way more interesting to me than the DHS funding fight.


From the Washington Post’s Wonkblog: It’s official: Americans should drink more coffee.

When the nation’s top nutrition panel released its latest dietary recommendations on Thursday, the group did something it had never done before: weigh in on whether people should be drinking coffee. What it had to say is pretty surprising.

Not only can people stop worrying about whether drinking coffee is bad for them, according to the panel, they might even want to consider drinking a bit more, together with exogenous ketones supplements to keep you healthy.

The panel cited minimal health risks associated with drinking between three and five cups per day. It also said that consuming as many as five cups of coffee each day (400 mg) is tied to several health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

“We saw that coffee has a lot of health benefits,” said Miriam Nelson, a professor at Tufts University and one of the committee’s members. “Specifically when you’re drinking more than a couple cups per day.”


And from Bloomberg Business: Coffee’s Great, U.S. Panel Says in Official Diet Recommendations.

“Coffee’s good stuff,” Tom Brenna, a member of the committee and a nutritionist at Cornell University, said in a telephone interview. “I don’t want to get into implying coffee cures cancer — nobody thinks that,” he said. “But there is no evidence for increased risk, if anything, the other way around.”

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a nonpartisan panel of academics and scientists, gives suggestions to U.S. agencies including the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture. Subsequent government guidelines influence federal food programs and local issues such as school lunches. Previous guidelines have not addressed caffeine’s health effects….

Research since the advisory body last met in 2010 was critical to the decision on coffee, Brenna said. “There’s been a heck of a lot of work on coffee.”


So . . . what stories are you following today? Let us know in the comment thread and have a great Tuesday!

43 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Drink More Coffee–It’s Good for You!* And Other News”

  1. joanelle says:

    Wow! How is the Archbishop so sure that God isn’t a woman? I’d like to know his source.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Well, Cardinal O’Malley didn’t actually say that. It was a fake story.

      But if there is a God, he/she probably doesn’t have a gender, since he/she is said to be a divine presence that is everywhere and in everything. Therefore, God isn’t an earth creature and doesn’t have a body.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    I didn’t watch the Oscars, and no one told me about this:

    LOL! Greenwald was not happy.

    • janicen says:

      Sorry. I did see that. It was such a relief after the documentary about Snowden won an Oscar and Greenwald was up on stage with the creator of the documentary. He was so happy, I threw up a little in my mouth. Right after that Neil Patrick Harris said what you posted above. I wanted to kiss him for saying that. I’m wondering if that’s part of the reason some people are complaining that Harris didn’t do a good job. I thought he was great. I enjoyed every single part of the awards this year. He had one awkward bit that was a parody of a scene from Birdman that didn’t work, but overall it was a great show. I take back any negative thing I have ever said about Neil Patrick Harris. I love him now.

    • Fannie says:

      I saw it too, it got more noise from the audience, than did the acceptance of Oscar. That was low keyed clapping. I could barely stand watching it, and noticed Glenn was all over Fox News.

  3. janicen says:

    I’m not sure why the Republicans are digging in on the DHS funding. I’m no fan of DHS either, but in this case, they are handing domestic security as an issue to Hillary Clinton on a silver platter. Terry McAuliffe came out and urged Republicans to pass the funding. I think we all know what good friend of the Clintons he is. The Republicans are ceding this issue to the Democrats and it’s hard to figure out why.


    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t get it either, but as the WaPo editorial said, Republicans don’t govern from logic.

    • Fannie says:

      I turned green listening to Manchin of W. Virginia this morning. He’s the reason why republicans go around saying they have bipartisan support. He’s voting for the republican way because he puts his country first.

      BB, thanks for blog this morning, it’s does make one think about those in Boston who are suffering and where is HOMELAND Security?

      • I saw somewhere that over 20 people dead due to winter storms this season, it is probably going to rise drastically once Boston digs out.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I think we’d know if people are dead from the storms. So far I haven’t heard of any deaths from collapsing roofs or anything. The city is dug out. It’s just that there are tons of snow piled up everywhere. I guess the biggest danger will come from flooding if the melting happens really fast. What we need help with is moving all the snow and carting it away.

  4. Fannie says:

    Vito Barbieri needs to have a speculum tattooed on that long ass forehead he has.

  5. Fannie says:

    The Idaho Choose for Life is pushing the bill. Vito Barbieri serves on the Crisis Pregnancy Board in Idaho, voted 13 to 4 in favor of the bill.

    I tell you we just got to get “ignorance” out of our government. It’s almost universal with republicans, they absolutely want control of women’s parts, and this proves they don’t know jack about the uterus, the cervix, the vulva, or our menstrual cycle. Yet they give license to faith healers to kill their children, because it’s the law of God. These are your primitive assholes serving as legislators in US. Women know better, we are able to think and believe in self determination.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Another resignation from First Look Media:


    Investigative reporter Ken Silverstein has resigned from First Look Media’s The Intercept after 14 months, saying he and others were hired “under what were essentially false pretenses [by being] told we would be given all the financial and other support we needed to do independent, important journalism, but instead found ourselves blocked at every step of the way by management’s incompetence and bad faith.”

    The most telling example, was what happened to [First Look Media site] Racket. I won’t repeat that whole story but I will say that after the company forced Matt Taibbi to resign — and they left him no choice — and then told the rest of the staff that perhaps we could all continue working on a version of Racket without Matt.

    None of us really believed it and in the end it was clear First Look had no intention of proceeding with such a project, it just a game it played so Pierre Omidyar and other people in the corporate leadership would look like they seriously cared about the Racket staff when in fact they clearly didn’t.

    • bostonboomer says:

      …you know what my favorite part of working for First Look was? Last year’s holiday party when two of our fiercely independent staffers “interviewed” Pierre Omidyar and asked him what he did in the morning. Since you are all hanging on the edge of your seats, he drinks tea and reads stuff, the NYT and other things and then The Intercept was about #5 (he claims). And for the record, I boycotted this embarrassing affair and sat in a conference room with two other people, one who no longer works there and one who may or may not. It’s hard to keep track. What a joke.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Another interesting Oscar tidbit: Edward Snowden’s gf Lindsay Mills was on state during the acceptance speeches.

    At the end of Citizenfour (stop reading here if you’re trying to avoid a spoiler), it is revealed that Mills—who became a minor celebrity when photos she had posted online of her pole dancing and modeling went viral—has joined Snowden in Moscow.

  8. dakinikat says:

    It’s difficult to see the Republican Party as any entity capable of governing. It’s more like a radical insurgency or cabal. It seems they just want to drag the country down and find a way to refight and win the Civil War.

  9. dakinikat says:


    Amid record high economic inequality, America’s wealthy aren’t just buying rare caviar and Hammacher Schlemmer hoverboats. They’re also purchasing physical separation from the rest of us, a new paper from University of Toronto researchers argues, resulting in higher and higher levels of residential segregation in American cities — especially densely-populated large and mid-size metro areas where there are relatively few blue-collar jobs.
    The rankings that Charlotta Mellander’s and Richard Florida’s research produced stand out from other oft-discussed rankings of economic reality and quality-of-life in U.S. cities. Lists of the most unaffordable places to live in America, based on median rent and income, are generally topped by the largest cities in the country. But the residential segregation rankings look somewhat different. San Francisco, which typifies the housing affordability crisis and often tops lists like this one, ranks right in the middle of the pack here. Four of the 10 most economically segregated metro areas are in Texas. Midsize culturally liberal college towns like Austin, TX and Columbus, OH top the list, outdoing bustling metros like Houston, Los Angeles, and New York, where the cost of living is higher. Those cities are still relatively segregated compared to the country, ranking in the top 10 metro areas out of the 359 that the researchers examined.

  10. dakinikat says:

    I still can’t believe the level of ignorance. This guy thinks he can make women’s health decisions and doesn’t even know you can’t drop a camera into a woman’s throat and see all the way into her vagina.


    • bostonboomer says:

      That was a main subject of my post.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      ” The latest example comes from Idaho state Rep. Vito Barbieri. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Idaho lawmaker asks if woman can swallow camera for gynecological exam before medical abortion.”

      Now we know why he’s a Republican. But, aren’t you glad you’re not his wife? Sex could get really tricky with this guy!!! The ear canals, the Nostrils, don’t even think about it!!!!!

  11. Is that catholic priest from the oblate of the Virgin Mary? They are located in Boston and are deeply connected with Virgin Mary as their most revered holy mother. Just curious about that.

    Great post btw.

    This out of Miami.

  12. ANonOMouse says:

    BB….How much snow are y’all suppose to get tonight? I can’t even imagine what sort of impact this is having on the disabled or old folks who can’t get out to get what they need for survival, food, meds, etc. It’s a horrible situation.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I think just about 5 inches. That’s what I heard this morning. That’s not such a big deal, but it’s so icy outside my house now, I’m afraid to go out. I ordered some supplies from Amazon.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I’m glad you can at least get deliveries. And you’re smart not to go out, there’s nothing but trouble when it becomes ice.