Good Morning Sky Dancers!
When preppy smug Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser unmasked herself in WAPO yesterday I knew exactly what this Monday Post would explore. There were inklings of all kinds of moral lapses and weirdness in Kavanaugh’s binders full of boys will be boys.
He had a lascivious obsession with the details of the Lewinsky/Clinton affair. He worked for predator Judge Alexis Kozinski but managed to see or hear nothing. He belonged to an all boy social club known informally as “Tit and Clit” because that was evidently all it was about. He was an infamous heavy drinker and rumors swirled about possible gambling addictions and odd debt and financial transactions. Additionally, it’s pretty clear he’s lied before several senate committees under oath.
We were supposed to be distracted by the cute kids he coaches and his indefatigable list of 65 high school women that magically appeared to vouch for his activities. But, women every where are beginning to learn the Truth will set you Free. Listen, I knew the Jesuit prep school culture in Omaha during my high school years. Those guys had some of the girls schools labelled the source of Madonnas and potential wives and other ones the girls were whores and prey. I was repeatedly warned by Catholic school girl friends to make sure you were never alone with a group of them. I can’t imagine it was anything but the same situation on steroids in those exclusive DC suburbs. This could be stuff I witnessed ten years earlier. I’m tempted to ask my daughters if those same prep schoolers still behave like this. I have a feeling they do.
Judge, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at the all-male Georgetown Prep the time of the alleged assault, tells stories in his 1997 memoir, Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk, of binge drinking at teen parties and trying to “hook up” with girls.
It was at one such gathering, Ford told the Post, that Kavanaugh and Judge, both drunk, shoved her into a bedroom. She said that Kavanaugh locked the door, pushed her onto a bed, fumbled with her clothing, held her down and attempted to force himself on her. Ford said she managed to escape when Judge jumped on top of both of them. Kavanaugh has “categorically” denied the accusations.
Judge recalls in his book how his life changed when he first got drunk at the age of 14 and later battled alcoholism.
His “immersion” into alcohol began the end of his sophomore year during a typical annual “beach week,” when Catholic high school students headed to the shore after school was out. “Now I had an opportunity to make some headway [with girls]. Most of the time everyone, including the girls, was drunk. If you could breathe and walk at the same time, you could hook up,” he wrote.
His drinking became so extreme that he had blackout episodes, and woke up on the floor of a restaurant bathroom with no memory of how he got there. Once “I had the first beer, I found it impossible to stop until I was completely annihilated,” he wrote.
And that’st the deal, I wonder if we can ever get rid of this culture of raising young men to be predators. But back to the cad at hand. I put this up on the thread yesterday but I’m giving it my full attention now because, well, THIS!!! Garrett Epps,Professor of constitutional law at the University of Baltimore and writer for the Atlantic wrote this yesterday: “The Subtext of Kavanaugh’s Nomination Bursts Into the Open. A sexual-assault allegation against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee brings the fight over gender and power to the fore.”
The gendered subtext of this moment is, not to put too fine a point on it, war—war to the knife—over the future of women’s autonomy in American society. Shall women control their own reproduction, their health care, their contraception, their legal protection at work against discrimination and harassment, or shall we move backward to the chimera of past American greatness, when the role of women was—supposedly for biological reasons—subordinate to that of men?
That theme became became apparent even before the 2016 election, when candidate Donald Trump promised to pick judges who would “automatically” overturn Roe v. Wade. The candidate was by his own admission a serial sexual harasser. On live national television, he then stalked, insulted, and physically menaced his female opponent—and he said, in an unguarded moment, that in his post-Roe future, women who choose abortion will face “some form of punishment.”
In context, Trump promised to restore the old system of dominion—by lawmakers, husbands, pastors, institutions, and judges—over women’s reproduction. Arguably that platform propelled Trump into the White House: Many evangelical Christian voters chose to overlook Trump’s flagrant sexual immorality, his overt contempt for the basics of faith, because they believed he would end abortion forever.
It’s also why Trump is going all in on the nominee. Kavanaugh’s got the same MOs as Trump. They’re freaking soul mates. Both are entitle dicks who hate women and feel they have the right to take and do whatever they want and to say whatever they want, and to freaking make decisions over “lesser beings” like people from shithole countries and women. Trump sees conspiracies when people actually try to hold any of them all to account for immoral, terrible behavior. They’re alllowed in their mind’s eye.
In the hours after a 51-year-old California professor came forward to publicly allege that Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were in high school, the White House signaled no interest in slowing Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.
Instead, the president’s team and his allies on and off the Hill began to mount a vigorous defense against the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, questioning why she had identified herself only now, and framing Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior as almost commonplace in nature.
A senior White House official told The Daily Beast that, as of Sunday evening, things are still “full steam ahead” for Kavanaugh. On Friday afternoon, a different White House official confirmed that President Trump had been made aware of the earlier reports involving the Kavanaugh sexual-misconduct allegation—reports that did not name the accuser.
The president has told those close to him in recent days that he believes there is a “conspiracy” or organized effort by Democrats to smear Kavanaugh and try to derail the nomination of a “good man.” One Trump confidant said Sunday that they “can’t imagine that” Ford coming forward will change the president’s position, and that it will far more likely cause Trump to dig in and attack those going after Kavanaugh.
The response from Team Trump rang all too familiar for women who have come forward in the past to allege that they had been targeted by prominent male officials. And for veterans of Clarence Thomas’ nomination for the Supreme Court seat some three decades ago, the echoes were even more profound. The extent to which lessons have been learned from that episode —and what specific lessons they are—could very well determine Kavanaugh’s fate in the coming days.
I’ve been mad about stuff like this for a very long time and I’ve never cooled down over it. I will never, EVER vote for Joe Biden because ANITA HILL. And you want a story? I was assaulted in the choir room in my high school by 2 hyperchristians. I felt fortunate I didn’t get raped. I just finally started talking about it 3 years ago. I’m finally talking about what my exhusband did to me when I was 36 and both my kids’ godparents saw the bruises as did my parents and his mother. My oldest daughter’s godparents even asked me if it was okay they talk to him at her wedding because they knew what he did to me. Just about every victim of abuse has to think long and hard about coming forward. My friend in college was raped in the University of Nebraska Library Stacks. She thought she had no options because she had smoked a joint prior to going to study. At the time, the laws let her sexual history and all kinds of crap come forward. It was and still is a torturous process for victims no matter how long SVU has been on TV.
And she was 15 and he was 17.
You don't need to be a #Kavanaugh opponent to think that Christine Blasey Ford's charges should be examined further, as I argue in this @NYTimes op-ed. https://t.co/CPGbl8OJ4f – #SCOTUS #KavanaughConfirmation @NYTopinion
— David Lat (@DavidLat) September 17, 2018
And his behavior was not the normal high school boy stupidity. Read the details. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has a posse and it includes me because I know what it’s like. I know it includes most of his here including many men.
A group of women who went to Christine Blasey Ford’s high school are circulating a letter to show support for the woman who has alleged that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tried to sexually assault her while they were in high school.
“We believe Dr. Blasey Ford and are grateful that she came forward to tell her story,” says a draft letter from alumnae of Holton-Arms, a private girls school in Bethesda, Maryland. “It demands a thorough and independent investigation before the Senate can reasonably vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to a lifetime seat on the nation’s highest court.”
The women also say that what Ford is alleging “is all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton. Many of us are survivors ourselves.”
The letter is a boost of support for Ford, who has been thrust into the political spotlight and had her credibility questioned by going up against Kavanaugh and the White House. The signatories span decades at the school, both before, during and after Ford attended.
More than 200 women had signed the letter as of late Monday morning, said Sarah Burgess, a member of the class of 2005. Burgess said she and some of her schoolmates wrote the letter because hearing Ford’s story felt “personal.”
“I know that in the coming days, her story will be scrutinized, and she will be accused of lying,” Burgess said in an email. “However, I grew up hearing stories like hers, and believe her completely.”
Politico had this to say this morning: “Why God Is Laughing at Brett Kavanaugh”.
It is on this point that the cosmos may be having a laugh not just at Kavanaugh’s expense but at many other people’s. After decades of competitive moralizing and situational ethics—in which every accuser in due course becomes the accused, and anyone riding a high horse can expect to be bucked off—even the concept of fairness in American politics seemingly is defunct.
Three decades of remorseless ideological and cultural combat—over Robert Bork, over Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, over Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, over Bush v. Gore, and, at last and above all, over Donald Trump—have made the question virtually irrelevant.
Fairness is rooted in the idea of principles, precedent, proportionality. Few people in American life witnessed at closer range than Kavanaugh the modern reality that when things really matter—in the way that the balance of the Supreme Court matters—all these fine notions matter less than the cold, hard exercise of power.
So here was Kavanaugh—who spent his early 30s as a Ken Starr warrior pursuing Bill Clinton for the political and legal implications of his most intimate moral failings—now in his early 50s facing a political crisis over disturbingly vivid, passionately contested, decades-old allegations about Kavanaugh’s own possible moral failings.
Few prosecutors, it seems likely, would ever open an assault case—36 years later—on the basis of Christine Blasey Ford’s account of being pinned down on a bed by a drunken Kavanaugh, then 17, and being aggressively groped until a friend of his physically jumped in.
But few prosecutors in the 1990s would have pursued an extensive criminal investigation over perjury into a middle-aged man’s lies about adultery if that person had not been President Bill Clinton. In his zeal at the time, Kavanaugh, like Starr, may have worked himself into a belief that this was about sacred principles of law, but to many others—and ultimately to a clear majority of the country—it was obvious that the case was fundamentally about political power.
Kavanaugh’s fate, too, now depends on precisely the same thing: Do the allegations change the calculation for the perhaps half-a-dozen senators—including Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska—whose minds were not already made up by earlier political calculations?
With the benefit of hindsight, Kavanaugh later concluded presidents should be shielded from criminal investigations of the sort he helped wage against Clinton. At the time, however, he was filled with righteous indignation. “It is our job,” he wrote colleagues in Starr’s office in an email, “to make his pattern of revolting behavior clear—piece by painful piece.”
Can Kavanaugh and his supporters really be surprised that opponents of his nomination will feel similarly righteous in wanting to examine allegations against him piece by piece?
I was intoxicated one night in college & woke up the nxt morning to realize some1 (whom I had previously rebuffed their advances) took advantage of the fact that I was unable to consent. He denies raping me, but that is exactly what he did. The #KavanaughConfirmation can’t con’t.
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) September 16, 2018
JUST IN: GOP Sen. Susan Collins: “Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh should both testify under oath before the Judiciary Committee” pic.twitter.com/T2lcnMyoWK
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 17, 2018
Democrats say the vote should be delayed so that the committee can hear Dr. Blasey — a move Republicans have said is a stalling tactic. Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings have drawn raucous protests and partisan fights, even before Dr. Blasey’s allegations became public.
Dr. Blasey was willing to testify before Congress, Debra Katz, a lawyer, said on Monday about her client, who has been referred to in news accounts as Ms. Ford but goes by Dr. Blasey professionally.
“We hope that this hearing is fair and not another weaponized attack on a woman who has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against a powerful man,” Ms. Katz told The New York Times.
There was no indication early Monday that the Judiciary Committee had requested such testimony or that the panel planned to delay the vote.
A key Republican on the committee, however, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, told Politico that he was “not comfortable voting yes” on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination until he learned more about Dr. Blasey’s account. Mr. Flake’s objection could force a delay for the committee, which has 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats.
Senate Republicans have also expected they could win the support of some Democrats who face tough re-election campaigns in states Mr. Trump won in 2016. One such Democrat, Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana, said on Monday that the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh were “serious and merit further review.”
This week is going to be a wild and bumpy ride. We’re about to see if the recent women’s marches and the incredible removals of powerful men in charge of media and entertainment interests as well as holding political positions has sunk in enough to to make Anita Hill proud of us all.
This was the one thing I always wanted to protect my daughters from and it pains me to think the girls and women today are still not believed and the men are still waved off with the “boys will be boys” mentality.
He was 17 and she was 15. She was afraid her parents would find out where she’d been. She was afraid of all kinds of things that would happen and are happening now that she spoke out.
We should be on her posse just as I will always be on Anita Hill’s posse. I believe them both.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today? This is still an open thread so share everything!
So, I’m writing this on Thursday night because I’m joining in the protest events here in New Orleans in the morning. It all starts with a mock jazz funeral for Lady Liberty.
The Next Right Thing
10:30 a.m., Congo Square
The Next Right Thing — a march of “satire and dissent” — meets at Congo Square in Armstrong Park at 9 a.m., assembles at 10:30 a.m., marches at 11 a.m. toward the Mississippi River Moonwalk and marches toward Frenchmen Street at 1 p.m. There, an “inaugural ball” will be held at clubs along Frenchmen Street. A children’s parade starts at 3 p.m. The event ends at Check Point Charlie at 6 p.m. The children’s parade encourages costumes, signs, decorated wagons and floats. Families can meet at Washington Square Park for a picnic before the children’s parade.
There are many major protests planned for the next few days as I sadly watch the best of our country fade into whatever Orwellian dystopia awaits. This week’s cabinet hearings have been a major dumpsterfire. I can’t imagine something better to do with the next few days other than to protest or wash your hair and read a good book. Just don’t watch the TV unless it’s to watch the Women’s March on Washington or one of the Sister Marches planned for Saturday.
Event: The Women’s March on Washington
Date and time: Saturday, Jan. 21. Rally begins at 10 a.m.; march begins at 1:15 pm
About: In what is billed to be the largest event countering the president-elect’s inauguration, the Women’s March is bringing together a spectrum of advocates representing diverse communities. More than 213,000 people have said on the event’s main Facebook page that they plan to attend. The rally will feature a star-studded lineup of celebrities, including Cher, Katy Perry, America Ferrera, Scarlett Johansson, Chelsea Handler, and many more.
Event: ‘Sister Marches‘ around the world
Date and time: Details are listed here
About: Organizers are boasting that as many as 1.3 million people plan to participate in “sister marches” around the world in solidarity with the headlining Women’s March on Washington. More than 600 different demonstrations are planned in every major city in the United States and as far away as Australia, South Africa, Japan, Argentina and throughout Europe.
NYC saw a major protest event on Thursday night with celebs the Hair Furor can only dream about. It’s probably why he was grousing all evening and not looking very happy during his little–emphasis on LITTLE–gathering. Oh, look where Robert DeNiro was and wasn’t.
De Niro was the first celebrity speaker to take the stage at the rally, which included thousands of attendees stretching across at least five blocks. The actor read mean tweets about the president-elect, adding that he thinks Donald Trump is “a bad example of this country and this city.”
Baldwin appeared to speak and insert a few Trump impressions along the way, commenting on Trump and his cabinet picks. “These people are a disgrace, but there is hope,” said the actor. “Trump and Pence think you’re going to lay down. That’s one thing about New Yorkers: You don’t lay down.”
Sharpton hyped the crowd after Baldwin’s speech. “This is Donald Trump’s hometown, but the hometown folk do not behave like Donald Trump,” he said. “America is already great, and we will make it even greater!”
Moore had somber words for the event: “We’re at a very dangerous moment in history,” said the filmmaker. “As bad as you think it’s going to be, it’s going to be worse. The good news is there are more of us than there are of them.”
Sally Field, talking about the labor movement, told the crowd: “I am a proud union member and have been for 52 years.” On the union fight for minimum wage, she said, “If we all stick together like we are now — if we all fight for dignity … we will find paths to victory over the next four years. Please, dear God!”
Ruffalo offered a hopeful note: “Man, I needed this. Did you need this?” he said to big cheers from the rally. “We’re coming here tonight to protect something precious to us, and that’s each other.”
Cynthia Nixon offered a message to the LGBTQ community: “We are not going back … we are here, we are queer and we have no fear!” She added to the Muslims, Mexicans and “straight while males” in the audience: “The LGBT community has got your back.”
Kremlin Caligula is not very well liked in his home town. Even Boston’s ducklings are in on the protests wearing bright pink pussy hats!
We have to protest. They’re about to give our country away to their cronies.
In the midst of highly publicized steps to dismantle insurance coverage for 32 million people and defund women’s healthcare facilities, Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens.
At stake are areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, which contribute to an estimated $646bn each year in economic stimulus from recreation on public lands and 6.1m jobs. Transferring these lands to the states, critics fear, could decimate those numbers by eliminating mixed-use requirements, limiting public access and turning over large portions for energy or property development.
Well, the Republicans are getting ready to have an easy signature for whatever they want in the Oval Office, the connections between the Trump campaign and Moscow get clearer and murkier simultaneously. It certainly appears that we were sold out to a foreign hostile state.
The New York Times is reporting that American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are investigating “intercepted communications” that potentially show ties between longtime Donald Trump ally Roger Stone and Russian officials.
The report confirming the ongoing investigation comes after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 election by hacking the Democratic National Committee, as well as reports that the FBI and five other intelligence agencies have been investigating whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided Trump’s presidential run.
In July, reports surfaced that Trump’s foreign policy advisor on Russia and Europe, Carter Page, made almost his entire fortune off of investments in Russia. Soon after, NBC News reported on alleged payments to Donald Trump’s then-campaign manager Paul Manafort from former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from 2007-2012. Roger Stone, a racist, sexist conspiracy theorist — who has previously claimed that there’s “greater freedom of the press” and expression in Russia than in the U.S. — has now also been implicated as another one of Trump’s associates currently under investigation. Media Matters first exposed Stone in August 2016, after he claimed to be in contact with Julian Assange regarding an “October Surprise.” In early October, Stone reassured anxious Alex Jones listeners that the “motherload” was coming.
The report, which will appear in the January 20 edition of The New York Times, confirms that intelligence agencies are investigating “intercepted communications and financial transactions” between Russian officials and Trump allies Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and Carter Page. The report notes that the “continuing counterintelligence means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him.”
The White House is empty tonight. The man about to get the nuclear codes is under active investigation by US Intelligence Agencies for ties with Russia.
Police in Washington, D.C. deployed tear gas as hundreds of protesters gathered outside a pro-Trump gala Thursday night. Local media reports that some attendees of the “DeploraBall” were hit by objects and clashed with anti-Trump protesters as they left the National Press Club. Some protesters, blocking the street, called gala attendees “racists” and “Nazis.” Other protesters set fires in trash cans and in the middle of the street. There was also a 15-foot-tall white elephant with a banner labeled “racism” on its side. Police arrested several people.
I don’t know how much more of this these old bones can take, frankly. But, I will be there with signs … regardless.
Sunday Sermon 6pm Lawless Chapel pic.twitter.com/eJai7ikEGS
— Lawless Chapel (@LawlessChapel) January 20, 2017
Does my sassiness upset you?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Me on the Mighty Mississippi for the mock Jazz funeral of Lady Liberty. You can actually see me around 2:48 for a sec on the video at WDSU so I can prove that I actually walked!!
Update with video:
So these photos were taken in Congo Square prior to the march. Th photo of the with the blue umbrella is of downtown New Orleans on Canal Street.
Big protest march of the day in NOLA. pic.twitter.com/xur3f0BuVA
— Campbell Robertson (@campbellnyt) January 20, 2017
Hope you’re not going to get tired of me posting Nina Simone songs because I just had to do it again. I woke up and feel optimistic for a nice change. I would like to say that my life is on the up and up but this is much less specific than that. I feel better about being a woman in the USA and that’s a big deal.
Two really great SCOTUS decisions came down today that protect women’s right to choose and the victims of domestic abuse who are overwhelmingly women and children. The Supremes have thrown out the Texas Trap Law and refused to water down gun bans for domestic abusers. Then, there was some campaign excitement! Senator Elizabeth Warren tore up the stage with a Donald Burning and an enthusiastic Hillary support speech in Cincinnati. Women on the Supreme Court made a huge difference! Can you imagine the difference a woman President may make?
Dahlia Lithwick–writing for Slate—argued that the women took over and the voices of the three women resound through out the important decisions. Here’s the Lithwick lede: “In oral arguments for the Texas abortion case, the three female justices upend the Supreme Court’s balance of power.” The Texas restrictions were stuck down vehemently.
It felt as if, for the first time in history, the gender playing field at the high court was finally leveled, and as a consequence the court’s female justices were emboldened to just ignore the rules. Time limits were flouted to such a degree that Chief Justice John Roberts pretty much gave up enforcing them. I counted two instances in which Roberts tried to get advocates to wrap up as Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor simply blew past him with more questions. There was something wonderful and symbolic about Roberts losing almost complete control over the court’s indignant women, who are just not inclined to play nice anymore.
The case involves a crucial constitutional challenge to two provisions in Texas’ HB 2, the state’s omnibus abortion bill from 2013. The first requires doctors to obtain admitting privileges from a hospital 30 miles from the clinic where they perform abortions; the second requires abortion clinics to be elaborately retrofitted to comply with building regulations that would make them “ambulatory surgical centers.” If these provisions go into full effect, Texas would see a 75 percent reduction in the number of clinics serving 5.4 million women of childbearing age. The constitutional question is whether having 10 clinics to serve all these women, including many who would live 200 miles away from the nearest facility, represents an “undue burden” on the right to abortion deemed impermissible after the Casey decision. Each of the female justices takes a whacking stick to the very notion that abortion—one of the safest procedures on record—requires rural women to haul ass across land masses larger than the whole state of California in order to take a pill, in the presence of a doctor, in a surgical theater.
The morning starts with an arcane and technical debate that eats up most of Stephanie Toti’s time. Toti, arguing on behalf on the Texas clinics, first has to answer an argument—raised by Ginsburg—that the clinics were precluded from even bringing some of their claims. Between this and factual challenges from Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito as to whether there was any evidence on the record to show that the law itself triggered the closings of Texas clinics, she doesn’t have much time to get to the merits. So frustrated is Justice Elena Kagan by the conservatives’ repeated insistence that perhaps the clinics just coincidentally all closed within days of HB 2’s passage that she finally has to intervene. “Is it right,” she asks Toti, “that in the two-week period that the ASC requirement was in effect, that over a dozen facilities shut their doors, and then when that was stayed, when that was lifted, they reopened again immediately?” Toti agrees. “It’s almost like the perfect controlled experiment,” continues Kagan, “as to the effect of the law, isn’t it? It’s like you put the law into effect, 12 clinics closed. You take the law out of effect, they reopen?”
I am so relieved that the Trap Law creep has been put down. Signing such a bill in Louisiana was one of the last things the dread pirate Bobby Jindal did to us. There are women celebrating all over the south. Wendy Davis won in the long run.
The Supreme Court on Monday struck down Texas abortion restrictions that have been widely duplicated in other states, a resounding win for abortion rights advocates in the court’s most important consideration of the controversial issue in 25 years.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joined the court’s liberals in the 5 to 3 decision, which said Texas’s arguments that the clinic restrictions were to protect women’s health were cover for making it more difficult to obtain an abortion.
The challenged Texas provisions required doctors who perform abortions at clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and said that clinics must meet hospital-like standards of surgical centers.
Similar restrictions have been passed in other states, and officials say they protect patients. But the court’s majority sided with abortion providers and medical associations who said the rules are unnecessary and so expensive or hard to satisfy that they force clinics to close.
As I wrote last week, it was a clear cut case of undue burden and that principle was upheld. The other clear victory was for sensible gun access control. They ruled that Domestic Abusers cannot have guns refusing to open the window to all infractions.
In a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that reckless domestic assaults can be considered misdemeanor crimes to restrict gun ownership. The decision comes as a major victory for women’s rights and domestic violence advocacy groups.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday against a Maine resident who argued he should not have been stripped of his ability to possess a firearm despite a prior domestic violence charge in state court.
Stephen Voisine pled guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in 2004 against a girlfriend. Five years later, he was investigated for shooting a bald eagle and as part of the investigation he turned over a firearm to authorities.
After reviewing his criminal record, Voisine was then charged with unlawful possession of a firearm pursuant to a federal law which makes it unlawful for a person who has been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” to possess a firearm or ammunition.
Lawyers for Voisine argued that his misdemeanor offense did not rise to the level to trigger the federal law.
The justices agreed to take the case to interpret the reach of a federal statute. But Justice Clarence Thomas during oral arguments was also interested in the 2nd Amendment implications, breaking in to ask a series of questions for the first time in 10 years during oral arguments.
The three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Voisine and another defendant, holding that the “question before us is a narrow one.”
Congress recognized that “guns and domestic violence are a lethal combination,” the panel said.
Is it really possible that we may see a woman President and Vice President next year? The rally in Cincinnati this morning with Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren held out that tantalizing option.
BB caught me in bed with a cup of coffee this morning. Turn on the TV! There they were and there it was. No more Texas Trap Laws! Two Powerful women thrashing a Republican Bully while the world and Cincinnati cheered them on! It’s a new day! It’s a new dawn! Warren definitely put the B in the Trump Burn. She was amazing and you could see that Hillary loved every minute of it.
Donald Trump is “a small, insecure money-grubber who fights for no one but himself,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said Monday morning at the Cincinnati’s Union Terminal, as the possible vice presidential candidate lit up the crowd in her first appearance with Hillary Clinton.
“What kind of a man?” Warren said of the presumptive GOP nominee, with whom she has had drawn out Twitter battles. “A nasty man who will never become president of the United States, because Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States.”
Warren, who is popular with many progressives who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the primary, lobbed attacks at Trump as she stood below the terminal lobby’s large mosaic of of iron-workers, railroad men and farmers. Clinton stood beside her, grinning and clapping.
The joint appearance, and Warren’s enthusiasm for attacking Trump, added to speculation about her likelihood of receiving the nod to join Clinton as the vice presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket. Clinton and her supporters have touted Warren’s endorsement as the former first lady seeks to unite Democrats after a long primary battle with Sanders.
At Union Terminal, Warren punctuated her criticisms of Trump and praise of Clinton by raising her fist and shouting “Yes!” Drawing applause and supportive laughter, Warren turned and clapped wildly for Clinton, then joined the crowd in shouts of “Hillary! Hillary!” and a “Woo!”
“Donald Trump thinks poor, sad little Wall Street brokers need to be free to defraud everyone they want,” said Warren, known for her anti-Wall Street stances. “Hillary fights for us.”
“You know I could do this all day. I really could,” Warren said of attacking Trump. “But I won’t. OK, one more.”
“You just saw why she is considered so terrific, so formidable, because she tells it like it is,” Clinton said of Warren. “I just love how she gets under Donald Trump’s skin.”
These two are a great tag team. I can’t wait to watch the thin, orange-skinned one’s twitter feed. He hates it when women put him in his place.
Warren and Clinton both share a desire to do everything they can to “stop Donald Trump” from becoming president, and, according to a campaign aide, they will both warn of the risks Trump would have on the economy during their event today, according to HASKELL and KREUTZ. “The Republicans underestimated and underestimated and underestimated Donald Trump. Look where that got them. They kept saying, no, no, no, that’s not going to happen, we don’t have to worry about that,” Warren said when she endorsed Clinton. “Donald Trump is a genuine threat to this country. He is a threat economically to this country. But he is a threat to who we are as a people. There is an ugly side to Donald Trump that we all have to stop and think about what’s going on here.” As Clinton and Warren’s relationship continues to evolve and Warren’s stock grows as a possible choice for vice president, it appears the senator is diving head first into helping elect Clinton. She even stopped by Clinton’s Brooklyn presidential campaign headquarters 10 days ago to give staffers a pep talk telling them “Don’t screw this up.”
They didn’t screw it up. It was marvelous, darlin’!
So, there’s some good news!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
We have an interesting SCOTUS decision/nondecision just announced on the challenge to the Affordable Health Care’s provision for Birth Control. Basically, they sent the case back to the lower courts. I’ve noticed a lot of women’s groups are beginning to take notice of the assault on our reproductive rights. Remember, Hillary Clinton will appoint the next Supreme Court Justice if President Obama’s selection continues to be the victim of right wing stalling. This coming election means women’s lives are at stake.
In a surprise move Monday, the Supreme Court punted on a major Obamacare case challenging the law’s contraceptive mandate, and specifically, how it accommodates religious nonprofits that object to birth control. The Supreme Court sent the case back to lower courts to examine an alternative accommodation to the mandate that the court had been briefed on by both parties in the case after the oral arguments.
The move — which comes as the Supreme Court is down a justice with Justice Antonin Scalia’s death — allowed the court to avoid what looked like a split decision after March’s oral arguments. The Supreme Court was able to stay away from the thorny trade-offs between health care policy and religious freedom, a legal landscape that got much more complicated after the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2014’s Hobby Lobby case.
The challenge the court weighed in on Monday was Zubik v. Burwell. It was consolidation of cases brought by religious nonprofits, including The Little Sister’s of the Poor, who objected to the work-around set up by the Obama administration to provide contraceptive coverage to employees of organizations opposed to birth control on religious grounds. The non-profits said that even filling out the form or sending a government the letter declaring their objections to covering birth control was a burden on their faith, because it set in motion the process by which their employees received the coverage from their insurers, though that coverage was not paid for or part of the employer plans. Lower courts’ have overwhelmingly rejected the challengers’ argument that the workaround violated 1993’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), though one appeals court ruled in their favor. (That case was not among those consolidated for the Supreme Court).
In sending the case back down to lower courts, the Supreme Court signaled that it believed a compromise could be worked out that didn’t involve weighing the larger issues involved in the RFRA challenge.
“The Court expresses no view on the merits of the cases. In particular, the Court does not decide whether petitioners’ religious exercise has been substantially burdened, whether the Government has a compelling interest, or whether the current regulations are the least restrictive means of serving that interest,” Monday’s opinion said. The opinion also stipulated that whatever was worked out should not affect “the ability of the Government to ensure that women covered by petitioners’ health plans” have access to contraceptive coverage.
RFRA was at the heart of the Supreme Court’s decision in 2014’s Hobby Lobby case — which said that certain for-profit companies that object to birth control could use the nonprofit workaround that was on trial in Zubik.
Lyle Denniston writing for SCOTUSBLOG called it “A compromise, with real impact, on birth control”.
One reading of Monday’s developments was that the Court, now functioning with eight Justices, was having difficulty composing a majority in support of a definite decision on the legal questions. Thus, what emerged had all of the appearance of a compromise meant to help generate majority support among the Justices. With this approach, the Court both achieved the practical results of letting the government go forward to provide the contraceptive benefits and freeing the non-profits of any risk of penalties, even though neither side has any idea — at present — what the ultimate legal outcome will be and, therefore, what their legal rights actually are under the mandate.
Those uncertainties are now likely to linger through the remainder of President Obama’s term in office, which ends next January. The appeals courts may well order the filing of new legal briefs, and may hold new hearings, before issuing a new round of rulings on the controversy. However, the entire future of the ACA, including its birth-control mandate, may now depend upon who wins the presidential election this year and which party has control of Congress when it reassembles in 2017.
The two issues that the Court had agreed to rule on, and then left hanging at least for now, were whether the ACA mandate violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act by requiring religious non-profits that object to contraceptives to notify the government of that position, and whether the move by the government to go ahead and arrange access to those benefits for those non-profits’ employees and students was the “least restrictive means” to carry out the mandate.
Doing on Monday much the same that it had done in several temporary orders at earlier stages of this controversy, the Court accepted that the non-profits already had given the federal government sufficient notice of their objection to the mandate, and that the government could use that notice as the basis for going ahead to provide actual access, at no cost, to the employees and students of those institutions.
The pictures you’re seeing are from a Friday night event where activists here in New Orleans –including me–assembled and composed Wire Hangergrams for Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards who is supporting a 72 hour waiting period here in Louisiana. We just can’t seem to keep these dirty old men out of our private parts!!! They don’t think we can make important decisions either. This is really getting disgusting.
The Louisiana legislature on Wednesday passed a bill requiring women to wait three days before receiving an abortion, tripling the state’s existing waiting time in one of the most stringent regulations of its kind nationally.
Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, has said he plans to sign the bill championed by anti-abortion groups. It passed with wide support from the Republican-controlled legislature.
The bill requires a woman to wait at least 72 hours after a state-mandated ultrasound for the procedure. The current waiting time is 24 hours, the same as in most states with waiting periods.
Only five other states require 72-hour waiting periods: Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Utah.
The measures are among a wave of laws being adopted by states as conservatives seek to chip away at the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion.
I voted for the man but just couldn’t bring myself to work on his campaign even though he’d promised to not mess with things like Planned Parenthood. You may recall I was incensed about an ad he ran. I found the ad appalling. He just seems to be another example of a man drenched in patriarchy who can’t keep his personal need to control the women in his life away from the rest of us.
This is another weird tale on fellow New Orleanian Wendall Pierce who actually physically assaulted a woman supporting Bernie Sanders. Pierce has been an outspoken Clinton supporter which is fine. This action is beyond wrong.
Wendell Pierce, the New Orleans-born actor known for his work in the HBO series “The Wire” and “Treme,” was arrested Saturday in Atlanta after he was accused of attacking a Bernie Sanders supporter,according to the website TMZ and online Fulton County police records.
Pierce was at the Loews Hotel in Atlanta about 3:30 a.m. when he began a political discussion with the woman and her boyfriend, according to the celebrity news website.
TMZ said a hotel source reported that Pierce, a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, grabbed the woman’s hair and slapped her in the head after learning she preferred Clinton’s Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders.
On Sunday, the Atlanta Police Department confirmed that Pierce had been arrested at that hotel, where he was staying as a guest.
“The incident did not rise to anything significant, so no special notification was made … it was treated like any other arrest a patrol officer conducts,” police spokesman Donald Hannah told WWL-TV in an email shared with The New Orleans Advocate. “Mr. Pierce made no indication he was famous, nor did the officer inquire.”
Police records show Pierce, 52, was booked and released on Saturday. He was booked on simple battery and posted an online bond of $1,000, the records indicate.
Pierce, who now lives in Pasadena, California, was raised in Pontchartrain Park, the first African-American postwar suburb in New Orleans, and was active in efforts to rebuild it after Hurricane Katrina.
The actor and producer has been in more than 30 films and nearly 50 television shows and has performed in numerous stage productions, including Broadway productions of “The Piano Lesson,” “Serious Money” and “The Boys of Winter.”
He is perhaps best known for his roles as Detective Bunk Moreland in “The Wire,” trombonist Antoine Batiste in “Treme” and Michael Davenport in the movie “Waiting to Exhale.”
Ben Carson is beginning to leak the short list for Trump’s VP and it isn’t a pretty one. Many folks think that it will most likely be Jan Brewer but Sarah Palin’s name is on it. So is Chris Christie’s which is basically no surprise to me. I really doubt either of them would bring anything to the ticket since they’re as nasty and crazy as Trump himself. They also don’t represent any new votes.
Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon turned presidential candidate turned unfiltered pitchman for Donald Trump and now part of the presumptive nominee’s vice presidential search committee, sat in the back of a Town Car with his wife, Candy, on his way to a televised interview. He had just explained to the reporter riding along that he wanted no role in a Trump administration when news arrived of a new poll naming him as the best-liked of a list of potential running mates.
“Who else was on the list?” he asked quietly, maintaining his usual inscrutable calm. The most favorably regarded contenders after himself, he was told, were John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and Chris Christie.
“Those are all people on our list,” he said.
Seriously! Trump/Palin. How much argle bargle could one country stand?
I’m making it short today because I have a long day so what’s on your reading and blogging list? This is an open thread so please share!!!
Good Morning (Just Barely)!!
The NFL domestic violence news is even worse this morning than it seemed yesterday. It turns out the child that Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson beat up is only four years old. And TMZ has published photos of some of the wounds.
The report had been that the child was hit with a “switch,” but according to TMZ, it was a belt. A four year old child! Peterson should never be allowed to see his children again without a very large social worker present. TMZ live updates:
4:12 PM PT — According to the police report, Peterson allegedly sent text messages to the child’s mother saying he “felt bad” because he struck the kid in the testicles.
“Got him in the nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad, n I’m all tearing that butt up when needed!” the text said.
Peterson allegedly sent a follow up text saying, “Never do I go overboard! But all my kids will know, hey daddy has he biggest heart but don’t play no games when it comes to acting right.”
4:10 PM PT — According to the police report, the child told authorities he had also been hit by a belt and there were “a lot of belts in daddy’s closet.”
The child also said AP had put leaves in his mouth when he was being struck and that his pants were down.
3:50 PM PT — The Vikings have deactivated Peterson for Sunday’s game….
3:00 PM PT — The police report on the case includes photos of cuts on the boy’s thigh and hands. He also had bruises on his lower back and buttocks, and according to the report … Peterson admitted punishing him.
The child may have been confused about the weapon he was attacked with, because police report that it was a tree branch (AKA a “switch.”) The child’s mother told police that several of the wounds were still bleeding when the child arrived at home in Minnesota.
Peterson will not be playing against the New England Patriots today, but why hasn’t he been suspended by the team and the league? He was arrested and charged back in May!
Gary Myers writes in The New York Daily News, Roger Goodell should throw Adrian Peterson out of the NFL for the Vikings RB’s alleged acts of child abuse.
This might be the worst week in the history of the NFL, with another despicable act by a privileged player taking Roger Goodell’s league to an unfathomable low.
Could it get any worse than the elevator video that surfaced Monday of Ray Rice knocking out Janay Palmer with a vicious punch to the face? Apparently it can with the indictment Friday of Vikings superstar running back Adrian Peterson, one of the faces of the NFL, for injuring his 4-year-old son by spanking him with a tree branch in May after removing the leaves. A warrant has been issued for Peterson’s arrest.
Goodell can begin to make up for his mishandling of the Rice case by immediately suspending Peterson for the season and then throwing him out of the league. Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, issued a
statement saying Peterson used the same type of discipline on his son that he experienced as a child growing up in East Texas, as if that condones pulling the boy’s pants down and inflicting cuts and bruises doctors found all over the little boy’s body.
It certainly is. Texas authorities should throw the book at Peterson. Get this, according to Myers, the punishment was for the four-year-old pushing another one of Peterson’s children away from a video game. For that, this small child was beaten with a tree branch. And Peterson doesn’t believe what he did was wrong! In my opinion, no one should ever hit a child. Period. Hitting a child isn’t effective in changing behavior in the first place, and in the second place, violence against children only perpetuates the generational cycle of violence. If we are ever to be a truly civilized society, we must work together to change the idea that it is okay to hit children.
According to Myers, Roger Goodell doesn’t have to wait for a conviction to discipline Peterson.
One of the circumstances that allows Goodell to punish Peterson is “conduct that imposes inherent danger to the safety and well-being of another person.”
The Vikings at least deserve credit for doing the right thing and deactivating Peterson for Sunday’s home opener against the Patriots, which pretty much eliminates any chance they had to win the game. They value common decency over winning. If Goodell doesn’t suspend Peterson, the Vikings should deactivate him every week.
Regardless of what he decides to do now that the photos and police report have been made public, it’s time for Goodell to step down.
Rant over for now.
I need to take a few deep, cleansing breaths . . . .
CNN has released new video of two witnesses reacting right after the Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
(CNN) — Two men, shocked at what they saw, describe an unarmed teenager with his hands up in the air as he’s gunned down by a police officer.
They were contractors doing construction work in Ferguson, Missouri, on the day Michael Brown was killed.
And the men, who asked not to be identified after CNN contacted them, said they were about 50 feet away from Officer Darren Wilson when he opened fire.
An exclusive video captures their reactions during the moments just after the shooting.
“He had his f**n hands up,” one of the men says in the video….
The men didn’t see the beginning of the altercation, but:
“The cop didn’t say get on the ground. He just kept shooting,” the man said.
That same witness described the gruesome scene, saying he saw Brown’s “brains come out of his head,” again stating, “his hands were up.”
The video shows the man raising his arms in the air — just as, he says, Brown was doing when he was shot.
The other contractor told CNN he saw Brown running away from a police car.
Brown “put his hands up,” the construction worker said, and “the officer was chasing him.”
The contractor says he saw Wilson fire a shot at Brown while his back was turned.
I wonder if the grand jury is hearing from any of the witness that the media has located?
The Houston Chronicle reports that there is a New focus on minority voting after Brown’s death.
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — A few miles from the street where Michael Brown died is the grave of Dred Scott, a slave who went to the Supreme Court and tried, unsuccessfully, to be recognized as a free American citizen.
One hundred and fifty-seven years later, a white police officer’s fatal shooting of Brown — unarmed, black and 18 years old — raises fresh questions about the extent to which blacks in suburban towns are regarded as full partners by the officials and law enforcers elected largely by and responsive to small segments of the population.
Political participation is increasing on the national level for blacks and Hispanics. On the local level, voting continues to be struggle, as it is in this St. Louis suburb.
In the most recent city election in April, only 1,484 of Ferguson’s 12,096 registered voters cast ballots, easily re-electing the mayor. Next year voters can weigh in again on their municipal government through city council elections.
Nationally, only 1 in 4 four voters turns out for mayoral elections in the largest cities, according to a 2013 study of 340 mayoral elections in 144 cities from 1996 to 2012 by Thomas M. Holbrook and Aaron C. Weinschenk of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin Green Bay.
Missouri does not ask about race or ethnicity on its voter registration forms. But roughly two-thirds of Ferguson’s residents are black. The police force is predominantly white. Five of Ferguson’s six city council members are white, as is the mayor. The grand jury investigating the Brown case has six white men, three white women, two black women and one black man.
I don’t know if anyone else is following “Gamergate,” the controversy of on-line attacks on women who design and write about video games. Recently feminist video game critic Anita Sarkeesian was forced to leave her home after receiving death threats from male gamers who were enraged her video blogs. Yesterday The Guardian published an article about another female game creator, Zoe Quinn.
Since late August Zoe Quinn, the developer of indie gaming’s critical hit Depression Quest, has been the target of a campaign that saw her Tumblr hacked, address posted online and terrifyingly plausible plans to cripple her laid out with cold-blooded straightforwardness….
In public the rationale for this was the allegation that Quinn lay at the centre of a network of corruption in videogaming that saw personal favours traded to elevate a network of her friends with controversial ideas about gaming above “true” gamers.
In private the rationale was simpler. Quinn was an example of a “social justice warrior”: a critic of games culture interested in opening the medium to audiences including women, queer people and people of colour. Her persecutors discussed how best to fulfil the aim of driving “SJWs” from gaming while maintaining the pretence that the campaign was about corruption.
One of the problems with using an anonymous platform to orchestrate your hate campaign is that you can never quite be sure who is listening. On 6 September, the inhabitants of a chatroom called #Burgersandfries learned this themselves.
The site was where a small collection of gamers linked to /v/, the videogame subforum of notorious image board 4chan, met to organise their “raids” on Quinn.
What they didn’t know was that Quinn was watching.
You probably need to read the whole story to understand the dynamics of this issue, so head over to The Guardian if you’re interested.
Oscar Pistorius Verdict
I hate to keep posting so much about violence against women, but that is what is in the news this week. After the Oscar Pistorius verdict, ABC News spoke to Pistorius’ former girlfriend, Samantha Taylor: Oscar Pistorius’ Ex-Girlfriend: ‘It Could’ve Been Me’.
Taylor said she dated Pistorius before he began dating Steenkamp. At his murder trial, Taylor served as a valuable witness for the prosecution. She said parts of Pistorius’ story about what happened the night Steenkamp died did not ring true.
“There were things that didn’t match up to my experience staying at his house,” she said.
For example, while Pistorius claimed during his testimony the bedroom was pitch black so he didn’t see Steenkamp go to the bathroom, Taylor said Pistorius did not typically keep his room that dark.
“He usually slept with the curtains fairly open. He always had some light coming in,” said Taylor.
And although Pistorius did startle easily, Taylor said he would always ask her about any sudden noises and found it odd that he said he didn’t make physical contact with Steenkamp the night she was killed.
Taylor said she was just 17 years old when she first met the then 24-year-old Pistorius at a rugby match in 2010.
“When I met him, I actually didn’t know who he was,” Taylor said. “He was very charming. He is a really good guy, you know. He was very respectful, very kind.”
But over time, Taylor said Pistorius would get angry at her for little things, such as not taking her plate to the kitchen, and that he could be jealous and possessive.
“He used to often look through my phone, ask me who my friends were. I think he had that control over who’s in my life and who’s not,” she said. “I was his.”
According to Taylor, Pistorious always carried a gun, and once when she was in a car with him, he shot a gun out of the sunroof.
A few more headlines, links only
The Boston Globe, The Northern Lights Shined on New England in Incredible Color Last Night.
The Guardian via Climate Central, Climate Change Threatens Half of North America’s Birds.
Will Scotland vote for independence from Great Britain? The Wall Street Journal, Severing Scotland From U.K. Is No Easy Task.
The Washington Post, U.S.-led coalition seeks to exclude Iran from fight against Islamic State.
Raw Story, Jerry Seinfeld questions Bill Maher: ‘What do you care’ if Hillary Clinton’s running or not? (Maher says he’ll vote for Rand Paul over Hillary Clinton.)
What else is happening? Let us know in the comment thread, and have a great weekend!