Tuesday Reads: Delusional Republicans, Complicit Media, and Lots More

off-to-see-the-wizard

Good Morning!!

Yesterday the House Republicans made a so-called “counteroffer” to President Obama’s initial proposal for avoiding the fiscal cliff that basically consists of the Romney/Ryan plan that voters already rejected. The plan called for cutting Medicare by raising the eligibility age to 67, cutting Social Security by change the COLA, and supposedly “raising revenues” without raising rates on the rich–with specifics to be determined next year.

The White House rejected the offer immediately as basically a joke and will not be making a counteroffer, according to CNN’s Jessica Yellin.

Senior administration officials said the offer House Speaker John Boehner submitted to the White House on Monday wasn’t serious enough to merit a counter-proposal from the administration. So the president’s team plans to wait for the GOP to come around on the idea of raising tax rates or let the nation go over the fiscal cliff.

In a statement Monday White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer blasted the Republican plan, arguing it “does not meet the test of balance. In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill.”

Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Republicans have gone over the rainbow and have lost touch with reality. They simply can’t accept that they lost the election, and they just aren’t in “Kansas” anymore.

The talk in DC is that the Republicans have talked about a “doomsday plan,” actually another tantrum in which they metaphorically throw themselves down on the House floor screaming and kicking until they get their way. According to ABC News’ Jonathan Karl:

Republicans are seriously considering a Doomsday Plan if fiscal cliff talks collapse entirely. It’s quite simple: House Republicans would allow a vote on extending the Bush middle class tax cuts (the bill passed in August by the Senate) and offer the President nothing more: no extension of the debt ceiling, nothing on unemployment, nothing on closing loopholes. Congress would recess for the holidays and the president would face a big battle early in the year over the debt ceiling.

Two senior Republican elected officials tell me this doomsday plan is becoming the most likely scenario. A top GOP House leadership aide confirms the plan is under consideration, but says Speaker Boehner has made no decision on whether to pursue it.

Under one variation of this Doomsday Plan, House Republicans would allow a vote on extending only the middle class tax cuts and Republicans, to express disapproval at the failure to extend all tax cuts, would vote “present” on the bill, allowing it to pass entirely on Democratic votes.

It’s a mystery what Republicans think they would gain by doing this, so I guess the childish temper tantrum metaphor continues to fit.

What bothers me even more than the Republicans’ nonsensical refusal to accept reality is that the media has apparently decided to go over the rainbow too and pretend that the childish tantrums make some kind of sense. During the presidential campaign, I got the feeling that corporate “journalists” were beginning to face up to reality when they began actually admitting that Mitt Romney’s was telling bald-faced lies with regularity. But no–they’re returned to the default position of pretending that “both sides do it.” A few days ago, Michael Grunwald wrote a great piece about this at Time’s Swampland blog: Fiscal Cliff Fictions: Let’s All Agree to Pretend the GOP Isn’t Full of It.

It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan. It’s even more amazing to see them pass along Republican outrage that Obama isn’t cutting Medicare enough, in the same matter-of-fact tone they used during the campaign to pass along Republican outrage that Obama was cutting Medicare.

This isn’t just cognitive dissonance. It’s irresponsible reporting. Mainstream media outlets don’t want to look partisan, so they ignore the BS hidden in plain sight, the hypocrisy and dishonesty that defines the modern Republican Party. I’m old enough to remember when Republicans insisted that anyone who said they wanted to cut Medicare was a demagogue, because I’m more than three weeks old.

I’ve written a lot about the GOP’s defiance of reality–its denial of climate science, its simultaneous denunciations of Medicare cuts and government health care, its insistence that debt-exploding tax cuts will somehow reduce the debt—so I often get accused of partisanship. But it’s simply a fact that Republicans controlled Washington during the fiscally irresponsible era when President Clinton’s budget surpluses were transformed into the trillion-dollar deficit that President Bush bequeathed to President Obama. (The deficit is now shrinking.) It’s simply a fact that the fiscal cliff was created in response to GOP threats to force the U.S. government to default on its obligations. The press can’t figure out how to weave those facts into the current narrative without sounding like it’s taking sides, so it simply pretends that yesterday never happened.

Dakinikat has written about this repeatedly, of course, but it’s nice to see it in the corporate media for a change.

Speaking of media madness, I don’t watch CNN much anymore but it seems like any time I click by the channel one of two people is on the air–Wolf Blitzer or Erin Burnett. Do they even have any other reporters working there in the afternoon an evening?

What’s the deal with having Erin Burnett covering serious news stories, even foreign policy stories? Burnett’s background is as co-anchor of a show on CNBC as an adviser to Donald Trump on Celebrity Apprentice! She recently “interviewed” Julian Assange and failed to ask him even one significant question.

Unfortunately, I don’t get Current TV, but apparently Cenk Uygur has been criticizing Burnett relentlessly for the past couple of years. Most recently, he accused her of ‘Guarding The Fortress’ By Abetting Gutting Of Medicare. From Mediaite:

“Erin Burnett is someone that represents the rich, powerful, the establishment, in my opinion,” Cenk said, “and you can see it in her CNN reports all the time.”

Cenk set up a clip from Burnett’s show, in which Rep. [Peter] DeFazio explains how deficit reduction can be achieved without gutting Medicare benefits. “Listen to her be incredibly incredulous about this,” he said, before playing a few snippets from OutFront.

“(President Obama) has said ‘Yes, I support raising the age on Medicare from 65 to 67,” Burnett says. “Simpson-Bowles talked about raising the age. Most people do, and say that’s really going to be the only way to get out of this. You really think we don’t have to make real changes, or is that just, I understand your constituents don’t want you to say anything…”

The implication is that DeFazio is opposing the change on nakedly political grounds, and not the merits of the policy.

“That doesn’t deal with the cost of prescription drugs,” Rep. Defazio replied, “and with overpriced and unnecessary medical care.”

“Fair,” Burnett interjects, as the clip cuts ahead to Burnett saying “Interesting point, but I still find it a little bit hard to believe. when you say we don’t have to make substantive change to a program that’s going to consume all of our federal spending if we keep going the way we’re going, we do need to make substantial changes. It’s going to hurt.”

See what I mean? As Dakinkat has said, CNN is trying to compete with Fox News, though not very successfully. But why are they doing it when their ratings keep falling? And why don’t they hire some real reporters?

Have you heard that former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has begun blogging at right wing conspiracy site World Net Daily? According to Raw Story, Santorum’s first post is about a supposed UN conspiracy involving Harry Reid.

In keeping with the WND tradition of promoting various fringe conspiracies, Santorum’s debut column claimed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has an objective of “ceding our sovereignty to the United Nations.”

Santorum warned that a United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities treaty adopted in 2006 “has much darker and more troubling implications” than to simply improve the treatment of disabled people in other countries.

The staunchly anti-abortion Republican worried that the treaty would “put the government, acting under U.N. authority, in the position to determine for all children with disabilities what is best for them.”

And taking that thought to its absurd conclusion, Santorum suggested that the U.N. treaty would have meant the death of his daughter, who has a rare genetic disorder.

Sigh…

In more serious news, a very sad story this morning: David Oliver Relin, co-author of the book Three Cups of Tea, has committed suicide. Last year I wrote about a 60 Minutes report on the other co-author Greg Mortenson’s fabricated stories in the book. Relin was very disturbed by the revelations and had become deeply depressed, according to the NYT.

David Oliver Relin, a journalist and adventurer who achieved acclaim as co-author of the best seller “Three Cups of Tea” (2006) and then suffered emotionally and financially as basic facts in the book were called into question, died Nov. 15 in Multnomah County, Ore. He was 49.

His family said Mr. Relin “suffered from depression” and took his own life. The family, speaking through Mr. Relin’s agent, Jin Auh, was unwilling to give further details, but said a police statement would be released this week.

In the 1990s, Mr. Relin established himself as a journalist with an interest in telling “humanitarian” stories about people in need in articles about child soldiers and about his travels in Vietnam.

“He felt his causes passionately,” said Lee Kravitz, the former editor of Parade who hired Mr. Relin at various magazines over the years. “He especially cared about young people. I always assigned him to stories that would inspire people to take action to improve their lives.”

Relin obviously had no idea that his co-author Greg Mortenson was a fabulist.

And another sad story from the Times: Homeless Man Is Grateful for Officer’s Gift of Boots. But He Again Is Barefoot. You probably heard about the police officer who recently took pity on a homeless man whose feet were freezing and bought him a pair of $100 boots. Unfortunately the boots put the man’s life at risk.

After Officer Lawrence DePrimo knelt beside a barefoot man on a bitterly cold November night in Times Square, giving him a pair of boots, a photo of his random act of good will quickly took on a life of its own — becoming a symbol for a million acts of kindness that go unnoticed every day and a reminder that even in this tough, often anonymous city, people can still look out for one another.

Officer DePrimo was celebrated on front pages and morning talk shows, the Police Department came away with a burnished image and millions got a smile from a nice story.

But the unnamed homeless man was living in another, more painful reality.

His name is Jeffrey Hillman, and on Sunday night, he was once again wandering the streets — this time on the Upper West Side — with no shoes.

The $100 pair of boots that Officer DePrimo had bought for him at a Skechers store on Nov. 14 were nowhere to be seen.

“Those shoes are hidden. They are worth a lot of money,” Mr. Hillman said in an interview on Broadway in the 70s. “I could lose my life.”

Meanwhile, years of Republican rule in New York City have led to skyrocketing homelessness in the city. From Alternet: How One GOP Plutocrat Helped Make 20,000 Kids Homeless

There are 20,000 kids sleeping in homeless shelters in New York City, according to the city’s latest estimate, a number that does not include homeless kids who are not sleeping in shelters because their families have been turned away. Up to 65 percent of families who apply for shelter don’t get in , and their options can be grim.

“Some end up sleeping in subway trains,” Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst at Coalition for the Homeless, tells AlterNet. “Some go to hospital emergency rooms or laundromats. Women are going back to their batterers or staying in unsafe apartments.”

Families that make it into shelters are taking longer to leave and move into stable, permanent housing. Asked by reporters why families were staying 30% longer than even last year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “… it is a much more pleasurable experience than they ever had before.”

Man, that’s cold. Bloomberg could probably help all those homeless kids with money out of his own pocket and not even notice it, but instead he has banned gifts of food to the homeless even after Hurricane Sandy!

The edict, issued last March by Mayor Bloomberg, is part of a larger move by the city’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) that dictates serving sizes and other nutritional requirements. These include limits on calorie contents, minimum fiber amounts and condiment recomendations [sic]….

Mayor Bloomberg’s clampdown on food donations can be seen as a greater restriction on New Yorker’s freedom to eat or drink what they want. He banned the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces last September, baby formula to new mothers in local hospitals last July, smoking in parks and open spaces in May 2011, implemented a plan in January 2010 to cut the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant food, forced fast food restaurants to post calorie content in October 2007, and forbid restaurants from using trans fats in cooking oils in 2006.

Real human beings are cold and hungry, and Bloomberg is worried about calorie control and nutritional requirements!

Uh-oh. This post has gotten way too long and I’m way to late in putting it up, so I’ll end on this down note. I hope you’ll have some more upbeat stories to share in the comments.


Wednesday: Did you hear that?

It was a collective sigh from all the people who were relieved to see Obama giving it to Romney last night.

Good Morning!

I plumb forgot that I had to write this post. Guess I was enjoying the commentary from all you sky dancers last night.  I’m still worried about what could happen on November 6th…but as least Obama did a better job of it this time around. And kudos to Candy Crowley, she did a fantastic job as moderator….

Full debate transcript here.

I think the photo above is very telling…Romney did not have his jerk ass smirk on, nope…he sure didn’t.  And I also feel that Obama was truly offended by Romney’s politicizing the deaths of our Embassy staff in Libya and it showed when Obama gave the best answer of the night to the question about Benghazi…

Josh Marshall agrees this was a stand out moment:

I’m not sure it’s the most significant. But in some ways a stand out moment for me was the exchange on Libya when Romney clearly thought he’d caught Obama in a gotcha moment (saying he referred to attack as “terrorism” the day after it happened). But if you’ve been paying attention you know that’s exactly the word he used. Whatever else you can say happened — and must is total baloney from the Romney camp — that’s the word he used. But somehow Romney hadn’t been prepped or briefed on that. And even Crowley had to factcheck him in real time. Here’s the video.

Here are a few take-aways from last night’s debate.

First I will point to Andrew Sullivan, who will not be jumping from the George Washington bridge…. Town Hall Debate: Blog Reax  He has put together many of the pundits comments in this one post.  So give that link a look-see.

These are just a few more observations…in link dump fashion…

Obama regains the initiative to win second presidential debate | World news | guardian.co.uk

Obama Ekes Out a Win in Post-Debate Polls – NationalJournal.com

DEBATE 2: THE RE-DEBATENING | Gin and Tacos

Obama and Romney Turn Up the Temperature at Their Second Debate – NYTimes.com

Obama turns it around – The Plum Line – The Washington Post

Taegan Goddard- Reaction to the Second Presidential Debate

Last Night’s Debate – Charles P. Pierce at the Presidential Debate – Esquire

Obama Wins Debate. Rude Romney Loses. Round-Up.Tennessee Guerilla Women

#Debates: RomneyShambles, Fair Pay, and Binders Full of Women | Angry Black Lady Chronicles

Obama Strikes Back | Mother Jones

Obama’s Triumph – Robert Wright – The Atlantic

Everything You Need to Know About the Debate Exchange on Libya – Conor Friedersdorf – The Atlantic

George Will: ‘This Was Immeasurably The Best Debate’ I Have Ever Seen | Mediaite

Game, Set, Obama -Robert Kuttner

Romney menaces, but Obama emerges as the alpha male in 2nd presidential debate | theGrio

“I Am Bloody Elated” – The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan – The Daily Beast

(CNN) – Who was telling the truth in last night’s debate? Check out a slate of CNN Fact Checks below.

CNN Fact Check: A day after Libya attack, Obama described it as ‘acts of terror’

CNN Fact Check: Obama’s student aid boast on the mark

CNN Fact Check: Candidates positions on contraception?

CNN Fact Check: Romney, women and jobs

The Picture That Encapsulates the Debate – James Fallows – The Atlantic

1) The Obama team had clearly thought about one long-term tic in Mitt Romney’s debate demeanor: His apparently uncontrollable vulnerability to being flustered if he thinks the “rules” are not being enforced. “I’m speaking … it’s my turn.” Thus pictures like this, with Romney in a “teacher! teacher!” mode. This is the counterpart to the iconic picture of the first debate, which was Obama looking downcast and downward with a scowl. If I had more time I’d dig up one of those pics.

the1debatepic.banner.getty.jpg

Getty Images

2) To spell it out, I agree with my Atlantic colleagues Ta-Nehisi Coates and also Robert Wright on the general flow of this one, and disagree with our National Journal colleague Ron Fournier, who considered it a no-winner squabble that left everyone worse off. Certainly there were pitched disagreements — but to me they did not amount to squabbling but rather to the expression of actual differences, on issues from Libya to taxes. Unfortunately not on the automatic-weapons question, but that’s a different topic.

I still think that picture I put up top is better…

And… Fox Doesn’t Declare Debate Winner, Focuses On ‘Aggressive’ Obama, Romney’s Botched Libya Response (Well, no surprise there.)

One of the trends from the debate was taken from a comment Mitt made about binders full of women. In fact, I thought that whole comment of his about hiring women for his cabinet was condescending crap! You know what? Fuck you Mitt! According to this link, (h/t Boston Boomer) it was not a true story : Mind The Binder – Talking Politics

What actually happened was that in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.

They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.

I have written about this before, in various contexts; tonight I’ve checked with several people directly involved in the MassGAP effort who confirm that this history as I’ve just presented it is correct — and that Romney’s claim tonight, that he asked for such a study, is false.

I will write more about this later, but for tonight let me just make a few quick additional points. First of all, according to MassGAP and MWPC, Romney did appoint 14 women out of his first 33 senior-level appointments, which is a reasonably impressive 42 percent. However, as I have reported before, those were almost all to head departments and agencies that he didn’t care about — and in some cases, that he quite specifically wanted to not really do anything. None of the senior positions Romney cared about — budget, business development, etc. — went to women.

Secondly, a UMass-Boston study found that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006. (It then began rapidly rising when Deval Patrick took office.)

Third, note that in Romney’s story as he tells it, this man who had led and consulted for businesses for 25 years didn’t know any qualified women, or know where to find any qualified women. So what does that say?

We will keep up with this story…of course.

Anyway,  TRENDING: ‘Binders full of women’ raises brows – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs

Did Mitt Romney really request that as governor of Massachusetts, he be brought “whole binders full of women?” It was his response to a question – on gender pay inequality – which turned heads and started fingers tapping on keyboards. Before the debate was over, there was a Twitter hashtag, a blog, a series of memes, and a Facebook page with over 100,000 fans. The phrase was the third-fastest rising search on Google during the debate.

These are good:

It prompted memes, such as Hugh Heffner in what appears to be a library: “Binders full of women? Oh sure, I’ve got hundreds of them.”

Referencing an investment by Romney’s former company, Robert Drakes asked on Facebook, “Do they sell #BindersFullOfWomen at Staples?”

Others, such as Joi Jamison’s post to Facebook, get at the heart of the matter: “Binders full of women cost 77 cents, while binders full of men cost $1.”

The Obama campaign was in on it as well: a paid post from President Barack Obama’s official campaign account appeared atop searches for “binders full of women” on Twitter.

In the second question of the night, voter Katherine Fenton queried Obama: “In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?”

The incumbent cited the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was the first piece of legislation he signed into law.

Romney, who worked in business, then served as governor of Massachusetts, said he “learned a great deal” about the inequalities between men and women in the workplace when chief executive of his state.

“I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men,” Romney said. And I – and I went to my staff, and I said, ‘How come all the people for these jobs are – are all men?’ They said, “Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.’ ”

Romney said he requested “a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet.”

Then, the sound bite which drove the online chatter.

“I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women,” Romney said.

The tweets and posts quickly stacked up.

You can read lots of tweets here at hastag.org…#BindersFullOfWomen

Or, check out this tumblr: Binders Full Of Women

Binders full of women.

That is a great way to end this post…so what’s going on in your part of the world?

 


Friday Nite Lite: Wake the F#@k Up!

Good Evening!

Time for another cartoon post, damn…it seems like the week flew by doesn’t it? Before we get to the funnies, here are a couple of news links I think you may find interesting.

Over at National Journal, they have a page that maps out Muslim Protests Around the World. They are supposed to be updating it as more hot spots come into play…gives me the creeps just seeing all those dots of violence across the globe.

In New Hampshire, they are suppressing the vote before the new voter id law comes into effect. Assholes.

And, this little news blip from NYP that I am really looking forward to: Samuel L. Jackson to support Obama in a provocative new ad calling on voters to “Wake the F–k Up”

They picked the perfect actor for a political ad loaded with f-bombs.

Samuel L. Jackson will film a provocative spot supporting President Obama’s re-election bid as early as tomorrow — telling voters to “Wake the f–k up, Vote for Obama.”

The ad is a riff on Jackson’s viral video “Go the F–k to Sleep,” where he narrates a children’s book written by Adam Mansbach.

It’s paid for by the Jewish Council for Education and Research Super PAC — which earlier this summer aired an ad of comedian Sarah Silverman offering “free lesbian sex” to billionaire Sheldon Adelson if he stopped supporting GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

It is coming out on Youtube Sept. 24th and I can’t wait. And if you want to laugh at something, I say check this out:

Samuel L. Jackson Beer

Drink Samuel L. Jackson’s beer — before he gets medieval on yo’ ass. (1:15)

Alright, let’s get on with the funnies…The cartoon pages were filled with things about Romney and his appalling performance the other day. Actually, it really wasn’t a performance act per say,  it was his real personality showing through.

Cagle Post » Political Posturing

Political Posturing © Steve Sack,The Minneapolis Star Tribune,romney,posturing,consulate,us,terror,embassy,death

Cagle Post » Romney Campaign Flies Flag at Full Staff

Romney Campaign Flies Flag at Full Staff © RJ Matson,The New York Observer,Romney Campaign Flies Flag at Full Staff,Libya,Ambassador Stevens,US Flag,Half Staff,Foreign Policy,2012 Election,2012 Presdential Election,Mitt Romney,Romney-libya

Cagle Post » Libya Tragedy

Libya Tragedy © Mike Keefe,Cagle Cartoons,libya; ambassador; stevens; riot; romney; political; election; campaign

Now a few comments on the Mideast situation in general:

Cagle Post » Suspenders

Suspenders © Joe Heller,Green Bay Press-Gazette,Suspenders, foreign policy, Embassy Killings, libya, embassador, Chris Stevens,Sam Bacile, Innocence of Muslims, terrorists, movie, islam, hate

I thought that one was clever…

Cagle Post » War and Oil

War and Oil © Bill Day,Cagle Cartoons,Romney, Big Oil, money, war

And that one has me singing this song:

Cagle Post » Plan to Attack Iran

Plan to Attack Iran © Pat Bagley,Salt Lake Tribune,Iran, Israel, Uncle Sam, United States, Strike, Nuclear, Atomic, Weapons, WMD, Netanyahu, Bibi, Ahmadinejad, Khameini, Attack

Now for a ride on the Romney/Ryan Express:

Romney Ryan Crossing © Adam Zyglis,The Buffalo News,romney, ryan, president, white house, election, race, gop, tax, policies, middle class, poor, railroaded, republican, plan, medicare, medicaid, mortgage, deduction

I think the better train to be getting on board is the love train:

Okay, now that you got your funk on…just a couple of more funnies to go!

Cagle Post » Twitter Trolls

Twitter Trolls © Paul Zanetti,Australia,twitter,trolls,phone,internet

And this from my favorite cartoonist, Mike Luckovich:

9/14 Mike Luckovich cartoon: Super-sized soft drinks | Mike Luckovich

mike091412

Sad but true, innit!

Have a wonderful evening, I will be enjoying a Friday Night Lights tradition, aka high school football game, with this little nip in the air its sure to be a good one.

So…in my best Mr. Samuel L. Jackson impersonation…this is a muthafukking open thread!


Tuesday Reads: “Winds of Fanaticism”

Good Morning!!

I’m writing this on Monday night, but I’ll update in the morning if there is breaking news about either Isaac or Mitt and the gang. The Republicans appear ready to loose the hounds of hell in the next few days. We can only hope they will decide to cancel the rest of the hatefest if the hurricane does a lot of damage. For now, liberal writers are suggesting this could be the most racist convention in history and conservative writers are pretending liberals are imagining things.

There was much talk yesterday about Chris Matthews’ outburst at RNC Chair Reince Priebus on the Morning Joe Show, with liberals cheering him on and Conservatives terribly shocked by his supposed rudeness. I don’t usually like to link to right wing blogs, but I’m going to do it just this once. The National Review reported on Priebus’ reaction:

“When someone wants to grab the flag and try to be the biggest jerk in the room, sometimes you just let them go,” the chairman said with a laugh.

“We shook hands, but I will tell ya that someone from MSNBC, I don’t know if it’s a producer or somebody, has been trying to call us all day — I’m sure it’s to make amends, but there’s nothing to make amends [about]. When somebody wants to take the prize of being the biggest jerk in the room . . . I mean, he made the case for us. This is the Barack Obama surrogate of 2012. This is what they’re all about. They’re going to be about division, they’re going to be about distraction. And I’ve got to tell you, the brand of Barack Obama, hope and change and bringing us all together, it’s completely broken. When people come to realize that you’re not real anymore, you’re not who you said you were, that’s a big problem for Barack Obama.”

Sorry, Reince. The only reason you weren’t the biggest jerk in the room is that Joe Scarborough was there.

Here are three good reads on the Republican race-baiting issue.

David Corn at Mother Jones, Mitt Romney and GOP in Tampa: How Low Will They Go? It’s worth reading the whole thing, but here’s the conclusion:

Romney, who once upon a time based his successful political career on a claim to be a no-nonsense, get-things-done businessman, this week officially takes the reins of a party that has embraced an assortment of alternative realities. (Obama is an incompetent naïf but one possessing an intricate and sophisticated plan to fool the American public and remake the United States into a Europeanized secular-socialist state with a mad-with-power government crushing individual liberty; global warming does not exist; rape cannot cause pregnancy.) As a onetime middle-of-the-road governor who had succeeded wildly in the private sector, Romney has always had a compelling case to present in this campaign: Obama has not done enough to repair the economy; I can do better. And there are enough honest policy differences between Romney and Obama—on tax rates, government spending, foreign policy, abortion, gay rights, and more—to fuel a sharp, feisty, and fundamental debate based on a contest of ideas, not a clash of charges.

Yet Romney’s party did not want such a fight. They craved a mudfest, and Romney, a patrician quarter-billionaire, has obliged. So there’s really not much mystery in Florida. The Tampa convention will be a continuation of this cavalcade of sleaze. You dance to the tune that brought you. And not even a driving storm can wash Mitt Romney and his campaign clean.

Elspeth Reeve at the Atlantic: Race Takes Over the Race. Reeve provides a very interesting analysis of Romney’s several welfare ads and how they convey a racial message.

John Judis at CBS News: How Mitt Romney’s campaign strategy could set Republicans back for a decade. Judis compares Romney’s strategy of trying to get as many white people to the polls as possible while ignoring African Americans and Hispanics with George W. Bush’s approach in 2000.

Mitt Romney could not only lose the election, but set back any attempt by the Republicans to re-position themselves as a majority party. Romney has abandoned Bush and Rove’s strategy. He has taken a hard line against illegal immigration, backing measures in Arizona and other states that would stigmatize Latinos; desperate to defeat Texas Gov. Rick Perry, he even opposed Perry’s attempt to provide tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. Little that Romney can do at the Republican convention will erase an impression of hard intolerance toward Hispanics. Romney will be lucky if he wins 30 percent of the Latino vote.

Bush and Rove understood that majority coalitions have never been built on strict consensus. Instead, successful coalitions are heterogeneouos. They include groups (such as Southern whites and Northern blacks during the New Deal) that don’t get along with each other, but still prefer the one party coalition to the other. And a successful candidate will offend one part of the coalition (with the expectation they’ll still vote for him) in order to reach out to parts of the opposing coalition. Bush could support immigration reform and pick off Hispanic votes with the expectation that he would still win white working class votes. But Romney, perhaps because he is not really a Republican conservative, has sought to be all things to all parts of the Republican base — from the Tea Party opponents of any social spending to the nativists worried about a Mexican takeover of America to religious conservatives wanting to ban all abortions. As a result, Romney has closed off opportunities to pick off parts of the Democratic coalition.

Instead of trying to appeal to minority voters, Republicans are doing their best to keep them from voting at all with voter ID laws, efforts to purge voters from the rolls, and reducing the times available for voting.

As of late Monday night, it appears that the convention will go forward tomorrow. Mitt and Ann are going down to Tampa and, according to The New York Times, the roll call vote will go ahead Tuesday night just in case the rest of the convention has to be cancelled. Meanwhile, there was apparently a lot of intra-party bickering during the Monday downtime.

With the vacuum created by the postponement, “everybody who has a reason to be upset about something has time to talk about it,” said Drew McKissick, a South Carolina delegate. And, as seen Monday, to try to do something about it.

Mr. McKissick was busy rallying support to fight Mr. Romney’s legal team over new party rules that he said would hinder the kind of insurgent challenges that Mr. Romney has faced this year — a clash that appeared to have been resolved enough to prevent it from spilling onto the convention floor Tuesday.

A day of closed-door talks between Romney aides and conservative activists ended with a compromise that one person involved said would “result in what we think is a very warm and fuzzy convention.” Some activists announced that they had succeeded in preventing what they called a power grab by the party establishment.

But supporters of Representative Ron Paul of Texas expressed frustration over what they said were efforts by Mr. Romney’s aides and supporters to silence their voices in the convention hall. They were goaded along by Mr. Paul, who has declined a speaking slot, accusing the Romney campaign of trying to control his message.

And supporters of Representative Todd Akin, the Missouri Senate candidate who lost much of the party’s support after his comments on “legitimate” rape and pregnancy, revived Tea Party-infused arguments against the “establishment” wing of the party, saying Mr. Romney and “party bosses” had abandoned him after his remarks.

I strongly suggest reading this article by Jon Ward at Huffpo: The One-Termer? Ward managed to get some really interesting information and quotes from Romney campaign insiders. The gist of the article is that Romney may be hoping to do a repeat of what he did in Massachusetts. The model for Romney’s presidency, according to campaign manager Matt Rhoades is President James Polk.

Rhoades and the rest of the members of Romney’s inner circle think a Romney presidency could look much like the White House tenure of the 11th U.S. president.

Polk, who served from 1845 to 1849, presided over the expansion of the U.S. into a coast-to-coast nation, annexing Texas and winning the Mexican-American war for territories that also included New Mexico and California. He reduced trade barriers and strengthened the Treasury system.

And he was a one-term president.

Polk is an allegory for Rhoades: He did great things, and then exited the scene, and few remember him. That, Rhoades suggested, could be Romney’s legacy as well.

Basically, Romney wants to enact the Ryan budget, after which he will be wildly unpopular. But once he gets Congress to eliminate the capital gains and inheritance taxes, Romney will have achieved his goal of paying nothing in federal income taxes and made it likely that his children won’t have to pay taxes on the Romney fortune after he dies.

Multiple senior Romney advisers assured me that they had had conversations with the candidate in which he conveyed a depth of conviction about the need to try to enact something like Ryan’s controversial budget and entitlement reforms. Romney, they said, was willing to count the cost politically in order to achieve it.

“I think he is looking to get in there and fix some things and get out. I don’t think he cares,” one senior Romney adviser, who was not authorized to speak on the record, told me at the time.

I’ll end with this little tidbit, in case you didn’t hear it on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show last night or read it in the {gag!} New York Post. According to the Post, Ryan wasn’t Romney’s first choice for VP–Christie turned it down because he believes Romney will lose.

Romney’s top aides had demanded Christie step down as the state’s chief executive because if he didn’t, strict pay-to-play laws would have restricted the nation’s largest banks from donating to the campaign — since those banks do business with New Jersey.
But Christie adamantly refused to sacrifice his post, believing that being Romney’s running mate wasn’t worth the gamble….

The tough-talking governor believed Romney severely damaged his campaign by releasing only limited tax returns and committing several gaffes during his international tour in July.
Certain Romney was doomed, Christie stuck to his guns — even as some of his own aides pushed him to run, another source said.

Bwwwaaaaahahahahahahahaha! And Christie is the keynote speaker!! Hahahahahahahahaha!!

OK, I’m going to end there. I promise to update with any breaking stories in the morning. Now what are you reading and blogging about today?


Sunday Reads: Man on the Moon

Good Morning

Today’s post will be a quick one, I’ve come down with a sinus/upper respiratory infection, so I’m a little tired. Saturday we lost the first man to walk on the moon.  First man on moon Neil Armstrong dead at 82

U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong, who took a giant leap for mankind when he became the first person to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 82, his family said on Saturday.

Armstrong died following complications from heart-bypass surgery he underwent earlier this month, the family said in a statement, just two days after his birthday on August 5.

As commander of the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. As he stepped on the dusty surface, Armstrong said: ““That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Those words endure as one of the best known quotes in the English language.

There is a cool picture of Neil Armstrong on this obit from the New York Times. Neil Armstrong, First Man on Moon, Dies at 82

NASA

Neil Armstrong, photographed inside the lander after the moonwalk on July 20, 1969

Click on the link to see more pictures…I really think that smile says it all.

A quiet, private man, at heart an engineer and crack test pilot, Mr. Armstrong made history on July 20, 1969, as the commander of the Apollo 11 spacecraft on the mission that culminated the Soviet-American space race in the 1960s. President John F. Kennedy had committed the nation to sending men to the moon in that decade, and the goal was met with more than five months to spare.

On that day, Mr. Armstrong and his co-pilot, Col. Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., known as Buzz, steered their lunar landing craft, Eagle, to a level, rock-strewn plain near the southwestern shore of the Sea of Tranquillity. It was touch and go the last minute or two, with computer alarms sounding and fuel running low. But they made it.

With the state of NASA funding these days, it makes a sad point to think where our space program is heading. On the other hand, the  moon might be the safest place for women, if the GOP wins in November…

Iowa View: Much at stake in this election affecting the rights of women

Sunday, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day and the 92nd anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. We’ve come a long way and owe thanks to the many remarkable women whose sacrifices ensure that all women are afforded full citizenship. Civil rights leaders dreamed of equality and self-determination, and we should reflect on the progress we’ve made and the challenges we still face.

Much has changed in the last century. Women won the right to vote and to run for public office. We won the right to equal pay and equal opportunity for work. We won the right to make decisions about our health care.

Today’s political battles, while just as heated and just as contentious, are slightly different. Women aren’t fighting for their basic human rights; they are fighting to preserve them. And never have the lines been more clearly drawn than in the 2012 presidential election.

March for women’s rights this Sunday

As the war on women rages on, Defend Women’s Rights marches will fight back Sunday.

This week started off with Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s comments that seemed to suggest a belief that women who are raped are less likely to get pregnant. This was just one more drop in the bucket, if the bucket is reasons why men who don’t understand how reproduction works shouldn’t get to legislate policy that affects it. Remember when Michigan Rep. Lisa Brown was barred from participating in a House debate after daring to say the word vagina during an abortion debate? As Brown said at the time, “If I can’t say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas?”

People at the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week who find vaginas “lewd,” and yet work tirelessly to strip away reproductive rights, will surely be offended by some of what protesters are bringing to the convention. People with CODE PINK, for example, will be dressed in giant fluffy vagina costumes.

Women’s rights, of course, is broader than just reproductive rights. And a range of issues, including immigrants right, the pay gap, housing and welfare will be addressed at nationwide protests Sunday.

Why Women Rights Will Be Taken Away Forever if Mitt Romney Wins the Presidency

Several Supreme Court justices from the liberal side may retire during the next presidential term.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is about to turn 80, and there are four justices in their 70’s.

The New York Times summed it up by saying, “The winner of the race for president will inherit a group of justices who frequently split 5 to 4 along ideological lines. That suggests that the next president could have a powerful impact if he gets to replace a justice of the opposing side.”

What would that impact be on women’s rights? Considering what Republicans have attempted to pass in Congress, which destroys women’s rights and gives them to lawyers in DC, the impacts could not be more severe.

The party who worries about government involvement in health care wants to make women’s life choices for you. By looking at the Republican platform and the statements of Todd Akin, you will see that there is a razor thin line that prevented women from losing their rights already. You are about to lose that razor thin line. Obama must be re-elected, or women will face government intrusion in their lives unlike anything they have ever experienced. Justice Ginsburg was born in 1933, think about that. Sandra Day O’Conner, who retired in 2006, was born in 1930.

It is a frightening thought…

Why should the statements of Todd Akin concern you so much? It’s not that one guy is so important. You should be concerned because Paul Ryan and dozens of Republicans co-sponsored legislation that worked to redefine rape. Also, they co-sponsored legislation to redefine constitutionally defendable life, with the full rights of a citizen, as occurring from the moment of fertilization.

What does this mean for women? No abortion and no morning after pill. Maybe, not even birth control. You and I might both be pro-life, but does that mean a bunch of lawyers should make your decisions for you?

The question of being pro-choice asks, “whose choice?” The “personhood,” bill was unconstitutional. This goes against previous rulings by the Supreme Court. What happens if the razor thin line that protects women’s rights is sliced?

We are relatively certain that at least one Justice will retire, but there are possibly three retiring in the next term. Imagine how the constitutional questions would be answered regarding women.

Please read the rest at the link…we have talked about the prospects of women’s rights with Romney/Ryan…there is nothing more to say.

There is a ridiculous interactive here at this link…A New Guide to the Republican Herd – Interactive Feature – NYTimes.com

No, it is not a herd of dick heads or assholes…it is a bunch of pink elephants.

I wonder where this PLUB would find himself in that herd? Lawmaker who thinks gays a threat to children crashes boat into children

A homophobic Maryland lawmaker has admitted to being drunk when he accidentally crashed his boat into a boat full of children.

Maryland delegate Don H. Dwyer Jr was drinking with another man on his boat on the Magothy River in Pasadena around 7pm when his boat struck a smaller vessel with five children on board.

Four of the children were injured with one, a five year old girl, taken by helicopter to Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Two adults on the boat were unharmed.

The smash was so severe that Dwyer’s boat sunk in the river.

Dwyer later admitted to having a blood alcohol level of 0.2 – twice the legal limit.

‘It is true that I was drinking while operating my boat,’ Dwyer told a press conference outside the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where he is being treated.

‘No one, no one, should be drinking and operating a motor vehicle or powerboat.’

‘I deeply regret my actions, and I ask for forgiveness from the public. My heart and prayers go out to the family that was involved in the accident, and I pray for them to have a speedy recovery.’

What an asshole!

And just one more link for you this morning, proof that Akin’s beliefs are going to send us back to the Middle Ages: Jennifer Tucker: The Medieval Roots of Todd Akin’s Theories | History News Network

THE now infamous beliefs about pregnancy that are held by Representative Todd Akin — the Republican nominee in a hotly contested Senate race in Missouri, who remarked earlier this week that the female body will try to “shut that whole thing down” in the case of “legitimate rape” — are obviously at odds with modern science. They are, however, in step with medieval science, even if Mr. Akin doesn’t seem quite aware of the similarities.

In the Middle Ages, as the historian Thomas Laqueur has written, there were two different views of reproduction. According to the Hippocratic model, both parents made seeds from materials throughout their bodies, a process called pangenesis. Both male and female seeds were needed to make a new person.

Oh, seeds…yeah, and for fertilizer we can use all the bullshit spewing from the mouths of those pink elephants up top.

Have a wonderful Sunday, post your thoughts or links in the comments below.


Friday Nite Lite: Monster Mash

Its Friday, let’s get the party started…

I think we will start with the latest whine fest over at the Romney camp:

8/19 Mike Luckovich cartoon: Election 2012 | Mike Luckovich

mike081912

Which is kind of ridiculous when you consider the way the GOP is reacting to the latest Biden gaffe.

GOP attacks Biden – Political Cartoon by Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News – 08/17/2012

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - GOP attacks Biden

Race Baiting – Political Cartoon by Phil Hands, Wisconsin State Journal – 08/17/2012

Cartoon by Phil Hands - Race Baiting

Or, you can make a claim that both parties are a nightmare:

Cagle Post » Attack Ads

Attack Ads © Pat Bagley,Salt Lake Tribune,Attack Ads, Presidential, Obama, Romney, Negative Ads, Advertising, Negative Advertising, Jason, Diogenes, Freddy Krueger

It has been a week since Romney announced Ryan as his choice for VP, so there are a lot of cartoons on Ryan, and his budget:

Cagle Post » Pauls Plan

Pauls Plan © Tim Eagan,Deep Cover,tax,cuts,romney,ryan,rich,poor,romney-ryan

Cagle Post » Make Them Bite

Make Them Bite © Bruce Plante,Tulsa World,ryan,budget,catch,fish,plan,ryan-medicare

Cagle Post » Romney Figurehead

Romney Figurehead © John Darkow,Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri,Mitt Romney, Ryan, Budget, Sail, Complete, Figure Head, Pirate, Ship, Ocean, Medicare, Cuts

Atlas – Political Cartoon by Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 08/17/2012

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Atlas

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Paul Fell, Artizans Syndicate – 08/13/2012

Cartoon by Paul Fell -

Don’t Romney and Ryan look like a couple of horror movie monsters in that one above?

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Ted Rall, Universal Press Syndicate – 08/17/2012

Cartoon by Ted Rall -

Cagle Post » Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan © Bob Englehart,The Hartford Courant,Paul Ryan,Mitt Romney,poor,middle class,romney ryan

Chris Britt on Creators.com – A Syndicate Of Talent

Steve Sack on Creators.com – A Syndicate Of Talent

AAEC – Political Cartoon by David Horsey, Los Angeles Times – 08/14/2012

Cartoon by David Horsey -

The next batch of cartoons is on Voter ID Laws:

Cagle Post » Voter ID Laws

Voter ID Laws © Adam Zyglis,The Buffalo News,gop, platform, voter id laws, vote, voting rights, pennsylvania, ohio, state, ballot box, fraud, election, corruption, presidential, race, 2012

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News – 08/17/2012

Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson -

And now a few that touch on subjects we have been talking about lately.

Cagle Post » Putin Riot

Putin Riot © Oliver Schopf,Der Standard, Austria,putin,riot,sword,violence

You may have read that the judge gave Pussy Riot two years in prison for their 40 seconds of protest…

Cagle Post » PUSSY RIOT

PUSSY RIOT © Randy Bish,Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,RUSSIA, HOOLAGINISM, PUSSY RIOT

Cagle Post » Drought Relief

Drought Relief © Joe Heller,Green Bay Press-Gazette,Drought Relief, farm bill, food stamps

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News – 08/13/2012

Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson -

Connie will like this one coming up:

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader – 08/17/2012

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

Cagle Post » The BIG Picture

The BIG Picture © Bill Day,Cagle Cartoons,GOP,extremism,woolly mammoth

And finally, in celebration of Julia Child:

Cagle Post » Julia Child centennial

Julia Child centennial © Dave Granlund,Politicalcartoons.com,Julia Child, cooking, legend, TV, 100, centennial, bon appetit

Have a lovely Friday evening…this is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: Robot and Munster

WPA poster

Hello!

Wow, what a busy 24 hours it has been. I don’t know about you all, but my PAD (Political Affected Disorder) has been kicked into high gear. I mean, in a Ryan world, that WPA poster would say, Lack of Funds…Fuck off…you’re on your own, no need for medical care, just die already!

The thought of a Romney/Ryan presidency scares the bejebees out of me! It is frightening though, all that talk of Obama, the Socialist Kenyan Fascist Dictator, bringing on the end of the world…and this is what these nuts are pushing on us? A lying unlikable jerk robot and his Munster asshole “intellectual” cough…cough…

Well, since we don’t know what taxes Romney has paid the last few years…plus, according to Roll Call, Paul Ryan’s Tax Plan Would Slash Mitt Romney’s Tax Rate to 1 Percent : Roll Call Politics

The tax plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), the newly minted GOP vice presidential candidate, would have slashed Mitt Romney’s effective tax rate to about 1 percent in 2010, based on Romney’s tax return that year, according to a Roll Call analysis.

The Ryan tax cut, which would shave about 90 percent off of Romney’s tax bill, would result from the Wisconsin Republican’s “Roadmap for America’s Future” proposal to eliminate taxes on capital gains, dividends and interest. Since about 95 percent of Romney’s $21.6 million income came from those sources in 2010, he would pay no taxes on the vast majority of his earnings. It’s not certain exactly how low Romney’s tax bill would go, but his income from other sources amounts to about $1 million, and Ryan’s plan would set a new top rate of 25 percent. Romney’s total tax bill would have dropped from the $3 million that he paid to a few hundred thousand dollars if Ryan’s plan had been in effect.

Ryan also proposes eliminating the estate tax, which would benefit Romney’s heirs by tens of millions of dollars.

Ryan’s “Roadmap” plan on his website says eliminating taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends would promote savings.

And speaking of Ryan Budget, take a few minutes to check out Nuns on the Bus…because I am sure they are going to be one of the groups to watch now that the coward, who refused to meet with these Nuns on a Mission, has been picked as Romney’s VP.

I still can’t stand Obama, and I still feel he intends to mess with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid: Obama’s Second Term Agenda: Cutting Social Security, Medicare, and/or Medicaid « naked capitalism

This is probably the least important Presidential election since the 1950s. As an experienced political hand told me, the two candidates are speaking not to the voters, but to the big money. They hold the same views, pursue the same policies, and are backed by similar interests. Mitt Romney implemented Obamacare in Massachusetts, or Obama implemented Romneycare nationally. Both are pro-choice or anti-choice as political needs change, both tend to be hawkish on foreign policy, both favor tax cuts for businesses, and both believe deeply in a corrupt technocratic establishment.

So while the election lumbers on like the death rattles of the wounded animal known American democracy, no one on either side is asking what the plan is for the next term. For Obama, his team is going into rooms of donors and shouting “Supreme Court”, while mumbling something about bipartisanship and $4 trillion, or Simpson-Bowles. What this means is that term two of the Obama White House will be organized around cutting entitlements.

The White House already tried cutting all three main entitlement programs, last year (cuts to Medicaid are actually cuts to Obamacare, for what it’s worth, since an expansion of Medicaid was a key plank of the new health care law).

Read the rest…it is quite upsetting.

In fact, I am going to move away from Romney and Obama, and bring you some stories you may have missed during all the hubbub.

Did you all see this crap: The Goldman Sachs Department of Justice™ Would Like to Apologize to Mr. Blankfein for the Inconvenience | emptywheel

It is beyond ridiculous, and this next link shows just how f’d up this DOJ decision is: AZ Woman Imprisoned — After Producing Her Birth Certificate | Crooks and Liars

Guilt has nothing to do with punishment — that is, as long as you’re not a Wall Street banker. In Arizona, if you “look” foreign, that’s enough to put you in jail indefinitely, without bail – even after you produce your birth certificate:

Recently, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office alleged Briseira Torres, a shy, 31-year-old single mom from Glendale, was here illegally and that Briseira Torres was not her real name.

She was accused of three counts of forgery, in part because her driver’s license had her real name on it, which the MCAO thought was bogus. Following her arrest, she was held without bond in Estrella Jail for 4 1/2 months.

Torres lost her home and car because she couldn’t make the payments as she endured Estrella’s harsh conditions, lousy food, and detention officers.

Bold emphasis is Susie Madrak’s not mine,

In the pile of paperwork they provided to the court, to the prosecutor, and to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was a silver bullet: a sworn statement from Arizona’s Office of Vital Records attesting to the legitimacy of documents on file for Torres.

Among these docs is Torres’ birth certificate, showing she was born August 14, 1981, in Avondale.

Salvatierra asked the court to remand the case back to the grand jury.

Judge Carolyn Passamonte did just this, noting in her minute entry that Torres’ long-form birth certificate was “clearly exculpatory evidence that should have been presented to the grand jury.”

The judge remarked that the documents on file with Vital Records had been “available to the state,” and in oral arguments, the prosecutor had to admit that he’d never bothered to pull the file and inspect it.

Can you believe this crap? As Susie says,

…her legal birth certificate was right there, the whole time of her incarceration. A cop with a bug up his butt decided to act as if it didn’t exist. If only her name was Goldman Sachs!

Now that your blood pressure is up, check this out: Mississippi county accused of running ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ | The Raw Story

The U.S. Department of Justice has accused officials in Lauderdale County, Mississippi of running ‘a school-to-prison’ pipeline that jails juveniles for even minor school disciplinary problems.

A letter sent by the civil rights division on Friday charges that the Lauderdale County Youth Court, the Meridian Police Department, and the Mississippi Division of Youth Services have been violating the constitutional rights of children in Lauderdale County and the City of Meridian.

According to the letter, an investigation launched last December revealed that “the agencies have helped to operate a school-to-prison pipeline whereby children arrested in local schools become entangled in a cycle of incarceration without substantive and procedural protections required by the U.S. Constitution. The department’s findings show that children in Lauderdale County have been routinely and repeatedly incarcerated for allegedly committing school disciplinary infractions and are punished disproportionately, without constitutionally required procedural safeguards. Children have also been arrested at school for offenses as minor as defiance.”

“Furthermore,” it continues, “children on probation are routinely arrested and incarcerated for allegedly violating their probation by committing minor school infractions, such as dress code violations, which result in suspensions. The department’s investigation showed that students most affected by this system are African-American children and children with disabilities.”

Meridian is known for the murders of three civil rights workers, back in 1964, aka “the Mississippi Burning” case.

In 2009 the Southern Poverty Law Center brought a class-action lawsuit against the Lauderdale County Juvenile Detention Facility, accusing it of keeping youths “crammed into small, filthy cells and tormented with the arbitrary use of Mace as a punishment for even the most minor infractions — such as ‘talking too much’ or failing to sit in the ‘back of their cells.’”

An agreement was reached at that time to reform the jail system and consider alternative methods of handling school disciplinary issues, but problems have continued in what an SPLC representative now calls “a broken system.”

The Justice Department letter cites a pattern of unconstitutional conduct that includes both failure to assess probable cause before arresting school children and failure to provide proper due process with regard to alleged probation violations.

A few weeks after the Justice Department investigation began last winter, Lauderdale County took steps to shut down its juvenile detention center and send youthful offenders instead to a neighboring county. That action was apparently considered inadequate, and officials are now being told they must enter into “meaningful negotiations” to end the violations within sixty days or face a federal lawsuit.

That is disturbing, I know, and I don’t want to end on a bad note, I mean it is Sunday…and since we started out mentioning the Nuns on the Bus, let’s end with a story about another activist nun.

Behind Nuclear Breach, a Nun’s Bold Fervor – NYTimes.com

Shawn Poynter for The New York Times

Sister Megan Rice, 82, is one of three people arrested in a break-in at a nuclear complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

She has been arrested 40 or 50 times for acts of civil disobedience and once served six months in prison. In the Nevada desert, she and other peace activists knelt down to block a truck rumbling across the government’s nuclear test site, prompting the authorities to take her into custody.

She gained so much attention that the Energy Department, which maintains the nation’s nuclear arsenal, helped pay for an oral history in which she described her upbringing and the development of her antinuclear views.

Now, Sister Megan Rice, 82, a Roman Catholic nun of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, and two male accomplices have carried out what nuclear experts call the biggest security breach in the history of the nation’s atomic complex, making their way to the inner sanctum of the site where the United States keeps crucial nuclear bomb parts and fuel.

“Deadly force is authorized,” signs there read. “Halt!” Images of skulls emphasize the lethal danger.

I’ll tell you one thing…I see an Michael Bay action film in this story.

With flashlights and bolt cutters, the three pacifists defied barbed wire as well as armed guards, video cameras and motion sensors at the Oak Ridge nuclear reservation in Tennessee early on July 28, a Saturday. They splashed blood on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility — a new windowless, half-billion-dollar plant encircled by enormous guard towers — and hung banners outside its walls.

“Swords into plowshares,” read one, quoting the Book of Isaiah. “Spears into pruning hooks.” The plant holds the nation’s main supply of highly enriched uranium, enough for thousands of nuclear weapons.

The actions of Sister Rice, a New York native who grew up on a prosperous block in Morningside Heights, and her companions, ages 57 and 63, are a huge embarrassment for President Obama. Since 2010, he has led a campaign to eliminate or lock down nuclear materials as a way to fight atomic terrorism. Now, the three — two of whom, including Sister Rice, are free and are awaiting trial in October — have made nuclear theft seem only a little more challenging than a romp in the Tennessee woods.

In interviews this week, Sister Rice discussed her life — somewhat reluctantly at times — and kept emphasizing what she called “the issue.”

You need to read the rest of the story…but isn’t she wonderful?

Can you imagine who would play Sister Rice and her two male accomplices? I see Diana Rigg as Sister Rice, of course with her Avengers background, it will be a spectacular performance. As for the men, one of them has to be Bruce Willis and the other must be Samuel L Jackson.  I can just hear the catch phrase as it trickles off of Jackson’s tongue, “Bless this, muthafukkaz…”

Have a wonderful day and please share what are you all reading about this fine Sunday morning?