Wednesday Reads: Trumptovirus, you don’t want to catch it…

Trumptovirus, it is my own concoction of Trump maladies that pervade the population…it is a strange and powerful illness. Depending on your genetic makeup, certain geographic settings, early childhood nurturing experiences, you may be predisposed to developing a particular strain of the virus. I like to classify this as Trumptovirus Complex 10. Symptoms to look for are, rabid thoughts and acts of racism, misogyny and being a flat out jackass bigot, performing stalking and fascist threats, runny nose, flush skin, extreme sexual “assaultic” behavior…as in grabbing anything pussy related, such as beaver, bush, gash, poontang, coochie…oh you can get a full round up of pussy alternatives coming up. As you can see, Trumptovirus Complex 10 is a serious condition, and is incurable in some cases.

Texas congressman says he’d “consider” still supporting Trump even if he admitted to rape on tape.

 

Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold’s support for Donald Trump appears to be infinite. Does a lurid video of his prefered candidate for the presidency talking about grabbing women “by the pussy” faze Rep. Farenthold? Nope. Why? As the Republicanexplained on MSNBC’s All InWith Chris Hayes Tuesday night: “Until [Trump] does something so bad to make him worse than Hillary, I’m still in.” In sum: He’s with him.

“I think this was locker room talk that happened 10 years ago… it was a private conversation that was off the record that happened to be caught on tape,” Farenthold explained. Joking about sexual assault is NBD for Farenthold. Noted. But what would cause the Texas congressman to rethink his support? Hayes came up with this hypothetical to test that boundary: “If a tape came out with Donald Trump saying ‘I really like to rape women’ you would continue to endorse him?”

There is but one answer to that question for the non-criminal population of the United States. “That would be bad. And I would have to consider… And I’d consider it,” Farenthold stammered. That wasn’t it.

On Twitter, Farenthold issued this apology for … not condemning … Hayes.

 

Are you fucking kidding me? Now this is the kind of shit that makes me physically ill. Like, it makes me feel disgusted but it brings up this anger in me that I can tell you, is beyond anything I have experienced. Like I want to hurt someone. Maybe it is because I am a rape victim…I mean survivor.

But the emotional brutality that is deep within me, if  I could release it, (well I mean if it turned into physical brutality) to assholes like this fuck face who is making excuses for Trump’s sexual assault brag…it frightens me what damage I could do.

Which brings me to the second strain of the Trumptovirus…I will classify this one as Trumptovirus Beset Complex, because this strain of the disease is forced upon it’s sufferers…in such a way…that even those with the strongest of will, have problems fighting it off.

14671099_1711428332513386_5910472947607927280_nIs Trump a “Trigger”? According to Many Women’s Reactions to Last Night’s Debate, the Answer is “Yes

He stalked. He scowled. He stood too close. He towered over her, threatening her while she sat on a chair. He entered her space over, and over, and over again. He interrupted her; spoke over her. He lied while telling her that she was the one who was lying.

The behavior that Donald Trump showed toward Hillary Clinton at last night’s debate was reprehensible. But for many women, it was more than that. It was a sickening example of the type of domineering, dismissive, abusive, and threatening male behavior that so many of us have dealt with in our lives. As a result, many of us had strong physical and emotional reactions to watching this familiar behavior unfold on television.

Reviewing the night’s Tweets, it’s remarkable how many female viewers mentioned feeling physically ill, being emotionally exhausted, crying.

Go to the link to read those tweets, I know that Boston Boomer touched on this yesterday…

Watch this Washington University in St. Louis student and abuse survivor’s emotional confrontation with Trump supporter Omarosa after Sunday’s debate. http://bloom.bg/2d5chCy

 

Link to embedded video here.

Here’s a few other links on this and a few other Trump developments:

Eric Trump: Bragging About Sexual Assault Is ‘What Happens’ When Alpha Males Are Together | Huffington Post

TRUMP: Women have ‘heard a lot worse’ than my lewd ‘locker room’ tape – Business Insider

“The Apprentice” Microphone Guy Says Trump Repeatedly Called Him A “Fucking Monkey” – BuzzFeed News

Donald Trump fired Illinois native Maria Kanellis for ‘locker room’ talk – Chicago Tribune

Pence halts Trump supporter who called for ‘revolution’ if Clinton wins – LA Times

Trump tells supporters to go vote on ‘November 28th’ | TheHill

“Make sure you get out and vote,” Trump told supporters on Tuesday at rally in Florida. “November 28th.”

Election Day is Nov. 8, 2016.

[…]

Nov. 28 is the start date of a longstanding class action suit against Trump University, the now-defunct get-rich-on-real-estate seminar program started by Trump, CNN Money notes.

Top Georgia Republican: ‘Hillary will do for gender relations what Obama did for race relations’ | Political Insider blog

There were audible gasps in the room when Evans made this prediction, should Democrat Hillary Clinton wins the White House: “Hillary will do for gender relations what Obama did for race relations.”

Oh, this from Ben Carson…I have no words:

Ben Carson: Your Virgin Ears Are The Problem, Not Donald Trump | Huffington Post

That leaked audio wouldn’t be such a big deal if more Americans were exposed to bragging about sexual assault.

Video at the link, you have to see the way this dickhead says this shit.

The reason Americans are so angry about Donald Trump’s leaked audio is that they probably haven’t heard enough similar language, Ben Carson said Tuesday.

“That kind of banter goes around all the time,” Carson, a Trump surrogate, told CNN’s Brianna Keilar. “As I was growing up, people were always trying to talk about their sexual conquests, and trying to make themselves appear, you know, like the Don, you know, Casanova.”

“I’m surprised you haven’t heard that,” he continued. “I really am.”

Can you believe this? Oh…but Carson went on…

“Maybe that’s the problem”: Ben Carson insists that more women should be exposed to Donald Trump’s “locker room” banter about sexual assault – Salon.com

“I haven’t heard it and I know a lot of people who have not heard it,” Keilar insisted.

“Maybe that’s the problem,” Carson responded. “Maybe that’s the problem.”

“The problem is that I haven’t —” Keilar began to ask before being cut off by Carson.

“Maybe, maybe that’s the problem,” Carson continued. “People have not heard this. Maybe that’s the problem.”

The White House has released an official statement, because of assholes like Carson:

White House Releases Official Statement, Says Trump Committed Sexual Assault (VIDEO)

And finally, it seems the Media is getting it in gear:

WATCH AND WEEP: CNN host stops show to explain genital grabbing is sexual assault

N host John King took time out of his Tuesday show to explain to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) that grabbing a woman’s genitals without her permission is sexual assault.

While defending a leaked tape in which Donald Trump bragged that he grabs women “by the pussy,” Sessions told The Weekly Standard that he did not consider the act to be sexual assault.

“I don’t characterize that as sexual assault. I think that’s a stretch,” Sessions insisted to the conservative magazine.

“So if you grab a woman by the genitals, that’s not sexual assault?” an interviewer atThe Weekly Standard pressed.

“I don’t know. It’s not clear that he—how that would occur,” Sessions replied.

On Tuesday, King carved a minute out of his broadcast to address the senator, who he noted “was an Army veteran, a former federal prosecutor, former Alabama attorney general, a law-and-order conservative, a devout Christian and a former Sunday school teacher.”

“Sessions was asked about that tape, where Trump brags of forcing himself on women, including grabbing what we describe to our children as private parts,” King said, adding that Sessions had initially refused to “characterize that as sexual assault.”

“Forget politics for a moment, Senator,” the CNN host pleaded. “What about your daughters and your seven granddaughters. Saying Trump is a better choice than Hillary Clinton, that’s one thing. Saying what he described in that tape is not sexual assault — forgive me, Senator — that’s an outrage.”

Anderson Cooper Delivers Knockout Punch To Kellyanne Conway Over Settling Lawsuits | Mediaite

Watch CNN’s Damning Comparison Of Trump And Clinton Tax Plans

I don’t know how far this will go, but it is something to bring up: First State In America Moves To BAN Donald Trump From Entering, More To Follow (DETAILS)

After Trump’s campaign staff removed a Muslim woman who was peacefully protesting at a Trump rally in Rock Hill, South Carolina, state Rep. John King (D) jumped ship on the Trump train, and said he was “not welcome” in the state.

King declared he was “sick to his stomach” over the way Trump’s cohorts treated the woman. And with good reason!

He told The Herald that he will file a House Resolution that states Trump isn’t welcome in the state of South Carolina.

According to King, Trump is:

“…a race-baiting, xenophobic bigot and is not welcome in the state of South Carolina,” which was also earlier asserted by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Most people likely agree, except maybe the Trump supporters. But they probably won’t see this article, as it requires knowing how to read.

“Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much in South Carolina, but most of us agree that Donald Trump is an embarrassment to our country’s political process and stands contrary to the beliefs of our Founding Fathers and the values of the United States Constitution. Why would we welcome someone to our great state when even our senior Republican U.S. senator agrees that Donald Trump is nothing more than a modern day George Wallace who preys on people’s fears and prejudices,” King explained in his statement.

The last link today is about the show Full Frontal with Sam Bee, if you did not see these clips, go watch them now:

Samantha Bee’s ‘vagina monologue’ is the best line-by-line Trump non-apology takedown you’re going to see

Bee was unsparing of both Trump and Today show host Billy Bush, seen giggling and egging the now-GOP presidential nominee on to talk about how he sexually assaults women.

“Let’s stop that hostile work environment training module here and discuss what we’ve just seen,” she said after showing a clip. “In less than a minute, these two leering dildos turned their rape culture banter into a rape culture power move that demeaned and violated Zucker [the victim] in ways she is only now finding out about.”

“And we know this maybe  shocking for most normal men,” she added. “But every woman I know has had some entitled testosterone monster grab her like a human bowling ball.”

Bee later launched into what she called her “vagina monologue,” ridiculing cable show hosts and journalists who balked at saying what they often called, “the p-word.”

“It must be so hard to make 24 hours of television without saying the words: c*nt, snatch, cooter, silk purse, spicy taco, hoohoo,, trim, vajayjay, bearded clam, front bottom, nether region, sin grotto, red lobster, beaver, fur burger, downstairs retreat, honey pot, inner sanctum, yoni, sugar walls, peach blossom, lady treasure, roast beef curtains, gray garden — Oh! I almost forgot the most important one: box.”

“Well, that was literally a vagina monologue,” she exclaimed to the hoots of the audience.

 

Pussy Riot | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS – YouTube

 

 

GOP Fear the P | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS – YouTube

 

Debate 2: Misery in Missouri | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS – YouTube

 

We Thought We Were Done with This | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS – YouTube

 

And that is it for me, hope you all have a good morning, this is an open thread.

 

 


Sunday: Who Knew? GOP = #GrabOurPussies

 

Well, the GOP have been grabbing our pussies for a while now, legislatively….

It only follows that the letters actually stand for Grab Our Pussies!

I’ve got some images for you, before we get to the links…you have probably seen these already but they are too good to keep off the front page.

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I loved that comment from Edward…I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing it with y’all.

 

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As for Trump himself…he made a few comments this morning:

 

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All I can say is that tonight’s debate is going to be frightening. Let’s be sure to watch it together.

My post is not as eloquent as Boston Boomer’s was yesterday. I don’t have the patience to write anything today because the whole thing has me so disgusted and pissed off.

Let’s just say I am glad that the bomb has dropped but why the fuck has it taken so long for this to happen?

Some links to check out:

This one for instance:

Dent: Pressure on GOP Leaders to Pull Away From Trump

Two prominent Republican lawmakers on Sunday called for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to drop out of the presidential race.

“I have serious doubts now about Mr. Trump’s ability to beat Hilary Clinton. In fact, I don’t think he can,” Utah Sen. Mike Lee said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I’m agnostic right now about who it needs to be,” Lee said when host Chuck Todd asked if vice presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence should the nominee.

Lee alluded to the many sitting lawmakers in his party who have pulled their support for Trump.

“I think people have to consider the totality of the evidence,” he said. “There were a lot of others who wanted to be persuaded, who hoped they would be persuaded.”

All those making the case for Trump to pull out? I think this tweet by Krugman says a lot about that:

From the AP via Daily Mail: Rumors Mike Pence is under GOP pressure to quit as Trump’s running mate | Daily Mail Online

Report: RNC redirecting funds away from Trump | TheHill

On this morning’s news shows:

Jake Tapper confronts Rudy Giuliani: ‘I have never heard any man ever brag about being able to maul women’ – Business Insider

Tapper blisters Giuliani: Your candidate thinks he can ‘grab women by the vagina — and it’s OK’

Getting ready for the debate tonight:

10 Emotional Abuse Tactics That Trump Blatantly Used in the First Debate — Everyday Feminism

The Ultimate Drinking Game: Clinton v. Trump Presidential Debate Bingo, Round 2

On the No Shit Sherlock list:

The deep disgust for Hillary Clinton that drives so many evangelicals to support Trump – The Washington Post

Sean Hannity defends Trump grabbing p*ssy: ‘King David had 500 concubines’

This is the last spastic breath from the Religious Right before its overdue death – The Washington Post

Poll: GOP voters standing behind Trump after lewd comments | TheHill

Yvonne Abraham: The misogynist in full – The Boston Globe

The worst thing about the Trump tape? When he meets Arianne Zucker | Jessica Valenti | Opinion | The Guardian

‘This is rape culture’: After Trump video, thousands of women share sexual assault stories – The Washington Post

 

Kate McKinnon’s ‘Day Off’ sketch on SNL makes us actually sympathize with the real Kellyanne Conway

 

Trump’s Tape Scandal: The Latest Updates – The Atlantic

 

Watch Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump ‘Apple-ogize’ for Pussygate on Saturday Night Live

 

 

 

More links to look over:

Inside Trump Tower, an Increasingly Upset and Alone Donald Trump – The New York Times

If that Groping women is not a joke video embed did not work, look at the video here.

Other tweets of note:

The U.S. has officially accused Russia of interfering with the election.

And the latest on Hurricane Matthew: Hurricane Matthew Toll Climbs to at Least 15 as North Carolina Suffers Record-Breaking Flooding – The New York Times

How Haiti can recover from Hurricane Matthew’s devastation (Opinion) – CNN.com

Cuban medics in Haiti put the world to shame | The Independent

This is an open thread. See you tonight.

 


Wednesday Reads: Chairs…Chairs would be nice.

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Oh, I know it is late. I spent last night…or should I say the early morning hours spying images to use for this afternoon’s post. Geez, imagine all that time being sucked into a black hole of Pinterest Far Side pins…and then realizing it is 5am and you have written nothing.

On the plus side, I do have some great cartoons for you, so enjoy those at least. (Most of them are from Gary Lawson, but there are other artist included as well…)

Now a few links,  I’m introducing this article with a clip from Absolutely Fabulous…it is a quick little bit about chairs:

 

Starting at the 14:31 mark, the character Catriona is giving her suggestion for a editorial in the Magazine…and she mentions “chairs”:

And chairs I thought might be interesting.
I’ve got a friend with some lovely chairs in her shop.
– Jocasta? – Yes.
She believes chairs are as important to civilisation as a masterpiece or something.
I wrote it down somewhere.
We could print that up and do some lovely photos.

And now the link:

Sitting Up: A Brief History of Chairs

A brief history of chairs.

Still from Lawrence of Arabia.

Still from Lawrence of Arabia.

There is a pivotal early scene in David Lean’s film Lawrence of Arabia in which T. E. Lawrence and his superior, Colonel Brighton, visit the desert encampment of Prince Faisal, a leader of the Arab Revolt. The royal tent is spartan yet luxurious, patterned woven cloths hang from the low ceiling, a large brass samovar gleams in the candlelight, the ground is covered with a rich carpet. There is no furniture; the men sit on the carpet. Brighton, in his tailored uniform, polished Sam Browne belt, and riding boots, looks distinctly ill at ease with his legs awkwardly stretched out in front of him. Lawrence, a lieutenant and less formally dressed, appears slightly more comfortable, with his legs folded to one side. The prince, attired in a dark robe and a white ghutrah, reclines on a pile of sheepskins, while his colleague Sherif Ali leans casually against a tent pole. The various postures cinematically underline a central point: the relaxed Bedouins are at home in this place—the desert—while the stiff English colonel is an interloper. Lawrence is somewhere in between.

The world is divided into people who sit on the floor and those who sit on chairs. In a classic study of human posture around the world, the anthropologist Gordon W. Hewes identified no fewer than a hundred common sitting positions. “At least a fourth of mankind habitually takes the load off its feet by crouching in a deep squat, both at rest and at work,” he observed. Deep squatting is favored by people in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America, but sitting cross-legged on the floor is almost as common. Many South Asians cook, dine, work, and relax in that position. Certain Native American tribes in the Southwest, as well as Melanesians, customarily sit on the floor with legs stretched straight out or crossed at the ankles. Sitting with the legs folded to one side—Lawrence’s position above—is described by Hewes as a predominantly female posture in many tribal societies.

The diversity of different postures around the world could be caused by differences in climate, dress, or lifestyle. Cold or damp floors would discourage kneeling and squatting and might lead people to seek raised alternatives; tight clothing would tend to inhibit deep squatting and cross-legged sitting; nomadic peoples would be less likely to use furniture than urban societies; and so on. But cause and effect does not explain why folding stools originated in ancient Egypt, a region with a warm, dry climate. Or why the Japanese and Koreans, who have cold winters, both traditionally sat on floor mats. Or why the nomadic Mongols traveled with collapsible furniture, while the equally nomadic Bedouins did not.

imageTake a look at the rest of that, it is interesting.

Sticking with non-Trump articles for now…BBC – Culture – The 21st Century’s 100 greatest films

The best that cinema has had to offer since 2000 as picked by 177 film critics from around the world.

That is the main link, but if you are like me you would rather read a criticism of the thing…

Here is one from TCM’s blog moviemorlocks.com – The Greatest Films of the 21st Century

I suffer from chronic list fatigue, initially eager to scroll through the latest re-ordering of greatest hits, but inevitably collapse into a heap before I ingest the whole thing. Enter the BBC to test my illness. Yesterday they unveiled the results of their mammoth “Greatest Films of the 21st Century” poll, in which 177 critics submitted their top movies of the current century. It confirms that David Lynch’s  fractured, terrifying Hollywood fairy tale Mulholland Drive (2001) is the consensus film of the age. It has been topping lists of this ilk for years now, and I welcome a film so mysterious as our millennium-overlord. My narcolepsy is triggered not by the quality of the works cited, but the recycled nature of the discourse it elicits, which tends to ignore the films entirely for a “this-over-that” essentialism that reduces complicated aesthetic experiences to numbers on a list. Which reminds me, now it is time for me to reduce complicated aesthetic experiences to numbers on a list! Below you’ll find my top ten films of the 21st Century that were not included in the BBC’s top twenty five, in a modest effort to expand the conversation.

Go and check out that list, you may be surprised by what is included.

imageFrom Jezebel: 177 Critics Picked the Best Films of the Century. Guess How Many Were Directed By Women!

The BBC published its long-awaited list of the 21st century’s best films, as selected by 177 film critics from around the world. Lists like these are meant to drum up conversations and controversies, and when appearing online they’re usually the creations of a single author—a single critical mind. But the BBC has provided a decent chunk of data to supplement its numbered list, so we have a pretty good understanding of who those film critics are.

The 177 are from 36 countries, but nearly half (81) are from the US. Going down the list:

“19 from the UK, five each from Canada, Cuba, France, and Germany, and four each from Australia, Colombia, India, Israel and Italy. Lebanon, the UAE, China, Bangladesh, Chile, Namibia, Kazakhstan and many others are represented too.”

OK! Great. So they did a little work attempting to create a truly international pool of people. But what about gender? Of the 177 critics, there were 55 women and 122 are men. That’s roughly 31%, which is depressing until you look at data released earlier this summer that says women make up only 27% of film critics, at which point it becomes ever so slightly less depressing.

Similar feelings may arise when looking at the breakdown of the directors on the list. Of the 102 films (there was a three-way tie for #100), 12 (or roughly 12%) had women as directors, which is just three percentage points higher than the industry as a whole.

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More at that link.

On another issue, yes I must mention the Trump campaign: Yes, CNN and ABC Really Did Live-Stream Mike Pence’s Haircut | Mediaite

It seems like only yesterday the big news in candidate’s hair was that high dollar haircut Edwards treated himself to years ago. Remember? Now, the media is fucking covering the haircuts live!

I think this politician should be running on the GOP presidential ticket…sound like he is pretty successful to me: America’s Only Dog Mayor Gets Elected to Third Term | Mental Floss

Just a few links now that may bring up your blood pressure:

WikiLeaks posted medical files of rape victims and children, investigation finds | Media | The Guardian

Why is WikiLeaks publishing private individuals’ personal information? | PBS NewsHour

imageFrench police make woman remove clothing on Nice beach following burkini ban | World news | The Guardian

‘It’s about freedom’: Ban boosts burkini sales ‘by 200%’ – BBC News

Mylan CEO saw 600% pay increase during EpiPen price raise – NY Daily News

Revealed: Zika’s damage to babies’ brains more extensive than microcephaly

At least one woman finally gets what is owed her: Homeless woman proves Social Security owed her $100,000 | Tampa Bay Times

Last for those who have the cash:

Get ready to strap Aunt Edna to the roof: the Vacation car is apparently on sale · Newswire · The A.V. Club

Everybody knows you can’t take the whole tribe cross-country without the proper chariot. And as fans of the 1980s comedy classic National Lampoon’s Vacation will tell you, there’s no holiday roadster better suited for a jaunt to road trip-purgatory than the Wagon Queen Family Truckster. Now you, too, can know the luxury of gliding across the U.S. in a dinged-up metallic pea tank—“honky lips” graffiti not included—with a Houston-based auto dealership claiming to have theVacation car on sale for a measly 40 grand.

Listed as a “1979 Ford LTD,” the car features a Walley World bumper sticker, a dog leash, and a luggage rack, perfect for transporting any late relatives you might happen to pick up (and then drop off) along the way.

(Image: Carlyle Motors)

Of course, the seller makes no guarantees that this particular extremely ugly vehicle is one of the five Trucksters used in the film, so you’ll just have to take it on faith that this isn’t one of the many replicas people have made in tribute to the movie. (To quote the listing on the collectible car marketplace Hemmings, “Although this particular car is believed to be used in the filming of the movie, there is no documentation that comes with the car.“) We’re sorry if that’s a big disappointment for you, folks. Moose out front should have told ya.

Enjoy the cartoons!

 

This is an open thread.

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Sunday F*ck You Trump and Other Reads

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Good Afternoon

This post is more of a link dump than anything else, we are still working on the move…and it seems like it will go on forever.

The articles will be presented to you in a certain way…

Starting with the deep south…Florida:

Student found biting victim’s face after killings dared police to drug-test him | US news | The Guardian

In Florida, Pregnant Women Cover Up and Stay Inside Amid Zika Fears – The New York Times

Moving westward…Civil suit will cost parents of Ga. teen found dead in gym mat – NY Daily News

Trump has been causing the usual fuck ups at campaign rallies in North Carolina, Wisconsin and Michigan…

Being Donald Trump Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

Trump’s Second Amendment Comment Is Part of an Ongoing and Troubling Trend

Trump To Black Voters: ‘What The Hell Do You Have To Lose?’

Trump Surrogate Snidely Suggests African American Voters Prefer ‘A Backdrop With A Burning Car’ | Crooks and Liars

(Just a couple of more links on Trump that I have to include.)

Jerry Falwell Jr.: Trump is the Churchillian leader we need – The Washington Post

Churchillian? What the fuck is that?

Here is TPM’s take on that op/ed by Jerry Falwell Jr: Jerry Falwell Jr.: Americans Must Elect Trump Or ‘Suffer Dire Consequences’

Jerry Falwell Jr. penned a Washington Post op-ed posted Friday evening that compared Donald Trump to Winston Churchill and warned that Americans will “suffer dire consequences” if they don’t line up behind the GOP nominee.

“We are at a crossroads where our first priority must be saving our nation. We need a leader with qualities that resemble those of Winston Churchill, and I believe that leader is Donald Trump,” Falwell wrote.

 

Westward ho….to a new study out of Colorado: Contraception’s Role In Fighting Poverty

And in Washington State…Interracial Couple Allegedly Stabbed For Kissing by White Supremacist | LawNewz

Next up is a long read from the Grist: This California couple uses more water than all of the homes in Los Angeles | Grist

I don’t know I always find the topic of water rights laws interesting.

The Resnicks are the world’s biggest producers of pistachios and almonds, and they also hold vast groves of lemons, grapefruit, and navel oranges. All told, they claim to own America’s second-largest produce company, worth an estimated$4.2 billion.

The Resnicks have amassed this empire by following a simple agricultural precept: Crops need water. Having shrewdly maneuvered the backroom politics of California’s byzantine water rules, they are now thought to consume more of the state’s water than any other family, farm, or company. They control more of it in some years than what’s used by the residents of Los Angeles and the entire San Francisco Bay Area combined.

Such an incredible stockpiling of the state’s most precious natural resource might have attracted more criticism were it not for the Resnicks’ progressive bona fides. Last year, the couple’s political and charitable donations topped $48 million. They’ve spent $15 million on the 2,500 residents of Lost Hills — roughly 600 of whom work for the couple — funding everything from sidewalks, parks, and playing fields to affordable housing, a preschool, and a health clinic.

Last year, the Resnicks rebranded all their holdings as the Wonderful Company to highlight their focus on healthy products and philanthropy. “Our company has always believed that success means doing well by doing good,” Stewart Resnick said in a press release announcing the name change. “That is why we place such importance on our extensive community outreach programs, education and health initiatives and sustainability efforts. We are deeply committed to doing our part to build a better world and inspiring others to do the same.”

But skeptics note that the Resnicks’ donations to Lost Hills began a few months after Earth Island Journal documented the yawning wealth gap between the couple and their company town, a dusty assemblage of trailer homes, dirt roads, and crumbling infrastructure. They claim the Resnicks’ influence among politicians and liberal celebrities is quietly warping California’s water policies away from the interests of the state’s residents, wildlife, and even most farmers. “I think the Wonderful Company and the Resnicks are truly the top 1 percent wrapped in a green veneer, in a veneer of social justice,” says Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla of Restore the Delta, an advocacy group that represents farmers, fishermen, and environmentalists in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, east of San Francisco. “If they truly cared about a sustainable California and farmworkers within their own community, then how things are structured and how they are done by the Wonderful Company would be much different.”

In other California news, Hearst Castle threatened by fast-moving Chimney Fire – LA Times

Keeping with the Go West…theme: vintage everyday: Girls of Western United States in the early 20th Century: The Real Cowgirls of American West

Cowgirl – It’s not just a word it is a way of life! The Beauty of a Cowgirl must be seen from her eyes because that is the doorway to her heart, her true beauty is reflected in her soul.

Here are what images of badass cowgirls in the early 20th century looked like.

And just a few more articles, dealing with worldly news:

Why a 1995 speech proved formative for Clinton | PBS NewsHour -This is a post about that famous speech of Clinton’s given in China in 1995.

Refugees in Greek camps targeted by mafia gangs | World news | The Guardian

Not so jovial after all: how historians misunderstood William the Conqueror | Books | The Guardian

1-click exodus: Online ‘check out’ option sees Norway Church lose 15k parishioners in just 4 days — RT News

That is all the links I have for you today…this is an open thread.


Wednesday Evening: Is it hot enough for you?

imageGood evening!

I’ve got several links for you today, on various topics…some have more bearing than others.

So many of the newsy links today are news to me…it is embarrassing. (This past week…I’ve purposely have avoided all the internet.) In fact, the loudest news today is from Baton Rouge. I must admit, I have been in the dark regarding this latest shooting and killing of a black man by a white police officer.

Outrage after video captures white Baton Rouge police officer fatally shooting a black man – The Washington Post

Officials in Baton Rouge moved quickly on Wednesday to quell national outrage at what is the latest in a string of fatal police encounters captured on video — the shooting of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, 

Sterling was shot and killed early Tuesday morning after police responded to a imagecomplaint about an armed man threatening people outside a convenience store. Cell phone video showing Sterling on the ground, underneath two officers, when he was killed, began circulating online early Tuesday evening. By the end of the night, the outrage was rippling nationwide.

Baton Rouge police, the local district attorney, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), who called the video “disturbing,” announced Wednesday morning that federal officials with the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Department of Justice would investigate Sterling’s death.

About an hour later,  Baton Rouge police chief Carl Dabadie named both officers who had been involved in the shooting:  Blane Salamoni, a four-year veteran from a prominent local law enforcement family, and Howie Lake, a three-year veteran of the department.

“We want to know what happened, we want to know the truth,” said Dabadie, who did not clarify which officer fired the fatal shots. “At this point, like you, I am demanding answers, like you all, my prayers are with this community and the family and loved ones of Mr Sterling.”

imageQuestions abound as to the circumstances of Sterling’s death, which was the 505th fatal police shooting by an on-duty officer in 2016, according to a Washington Post database tracking such shootings. And, as has been the case after dozens of other fatal police shootings in recent years, the first versions of what happened are coming more from a video showing a fragment of the incident than from police.

Taken out of this case alone, the fact that this is the 505th fatal police shooting by an on-duty officer in 2016 should make anyone take a moment to stop and maintain on that number.

“If you look at the video, it certainly speaks for itself,” said state Rep. Edmond Jordan, an attorney representing Sterling’s family, during a news conference Wednesday morning. “Mr. Sterling was not reaching for a weapon. He looks like a man who is trying to get his head up, who is actually fighting for his life. A life that ended immediately thereafter, almost as if he knew what was about to happen.”

The cellphone video of the incident began with police standing a few feet from Sterling. A loud pop — like that of a stun gun — can be heard.

“Get on the ground!” a police officer yelled.

image“Get on the ground!” the voice yelled again, followed by a second pop.

Sterling, a large man, remained on his feet.

A police officer tackled him over the hood of a silver car, then onto the ground.

Meanwhile, another restrained his left arm behind his back and knelt on it.

“He’s got a gun!” someone yelled.

“Gun! Gun!”

Both officers drew their pistols from their holsters. In the video, Sterling appeared to be fairly immobile.

Then, the officers shouted something unintelligible, which seemed to include the phrase “going for the gun.”

imageTwo noises that sounded like shots rang out immediately after.

Whoever filmed the video then dropped the cellphone.

“Oh, s—,” someone said.

Three more shot-like sounds rang out.

“They shot him?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, my f—ing goodness.”

Sterling was pronounced dead on the scene when an ambulance arrived at 12:46 a.m. East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner William “Beau” Clark said in an email that the initial autopsy reports concluded Sterling suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back.

imageRead more if you want, at the link above.

Here are a few other stories on this shooting:

This link has a few videos:  ‘He’s got a gun! Gun’: Video shows fatal confrontation between Alton Sterling, Baton Rouge police officer | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Another Video of Alton Sterling’s Public Execution

Issa Rae Starts Scholarship Fund For Alton Sterling’s Children

Alton Sterling: police appear to take gun from body after fatal shooting | US news | The Guardian

Hey, did y’all hear about the big lawsuit over at Fox! Check this out:

imageFox News’ Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ousted Anchor Gretchen Carlson – Hollywood Reporter

Gretchen Carlson, a broadcast veteran, claims in a sexual harassment lawsuit that she was let go from Fox News on June 23 as retaliation for rebuffing Roger Ailes’ sexual advances.The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in New Jersey Superior Court, states that her contract expired, and that despite working at Fox News for 11 years and being the host of a show that was leading in its afternoon time slot, she was unfairly terminated as the result of events much earlier.

imageHmmmm…remember that she spoke her mind after the Orlando Pulse massacre.

According to the complaint, “When Carlson met with Ailes to discuss the discriminatory treatment to which she was being subjected, Ailes stated: ‘I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,’ adding that ‘sometimes problems are easier to solve’ that way. Carlson rebuffed Ailes’ sexual demands at that meeting, and nine months later, Ailes ended her career at Fox News.”

I didn’t know they fired her recently, did you? Wonkette refers to Doocy as the “rapey one” so this sort of fits:

In 2009, Carlson says she complained to a supervisor that Steve Doocy, one of her co-hosts on Fox & Friends, “had created a hostile work environment by regularly treating her in a sexist and condescending way, including by putting his hand on her and pulling down her arm to shush her during a live telecast.”

imageCarlson accuses Doocy of “severe and pervasive sexual harassment” off the air and “generally attempting to put her in her place by refusing to accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful female journalist rather than a blond female prop.”

More about this turn of events here:

Gretchen Carlson files sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes – POLITICO

Inside Gretchen Carlson’s Lawsuit Against Roger Ailes – The Atlantic

So the sentence has been handed down in South Africa: Oscar Pistorius Sentenced to 6 Years in Reeva Steenkamp Murder – The New York Times

imageHas Oscar Pistorius got off lightly with six-year sentence? – BBC News

And here is some sad news, on a captive who did not “get off lightly” …it looks like Chelsea Manning tried to commit suicide: Chelsea Manning, convicted in WikiLeaks case, hospitalized after reported suicide attempt – The Washington Post

 

Down in Florida, the Zika virus is becoming a daily news story, as more babies are being born with the virus. I found this story interesting however: One Zika twin has microcephaly; the other doesn’t. But why? – CNN.com

Jacqueline Silva de Oliveira sits on the edge of her bed, holding her 6-month-old son, Lucas. He squirms in her arms before he finally screams out, hungry and demanding milk.

His twin sister, Laura, barely notices, just a slight nod and a twitch of her eyes. Half his size, she is quiet, asleep on the other end of the bed, as she often is. When she wakes, even her cries seem to struggle from her throat. She can’t breastfeed. She can barely hold up her small head. She has microcephaly.

In the 1990s were a high-water mark for public interest in UFOs and alien abduction. Shows like “The X-Files” and Fox’s “alien autopsy” hoax were prime-time events, while MIT even hosted an academic conference on the abduction phenomenon.

But in the first decade of the 21st century, interest in UFOs began to wane. Fewer sightings were reported, and established amateur research groups like the British Flying Saucer Bureau disbanded.

In 2006 historian Ben Macintyre suggested in The Times that the internet had “chased off” the UFOs. The web’s free-flowing, easy exchange of ideas and information had allowed UFO skeptics to prevail, and, to Macintyre, people were no longer seeing UFOs because they no longer believed in them.

Data seemed to back up Macintyre’s argument that, when it came to belief in UFOs, reason was winning out. A 1990 Gallup poll found that 27 percent of Americans believed “extraterrestrial beings have visited Earth at some time in the past.” That number rose to 33 percent in 2001, before dropping back to 24 percent in 2005.

But now “The X-Files” is back, and Hillary Clinton has even pledged to disclose what the government knows about aliens if elected president. Meanwhile, a recent Boston Globe article by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie suggests that belief in UFOs may begrowing.

She points to a 2015 Ipsos poll, which reported that 45 percent of Americans believe extraterrestrials have visited the Earth.

imageSo much for reason.

Why does Western society continue to be fascinated with the paranormal? If science doesn’t automatically kill belief in UFOs, why do reports of UFOs and alien abductions go in and out of fashion?

To some extent, this is political. Even though government agents like “Men in Black” may be the stuff of folklore, powerful people and institutions can influence the level of stigma surrounding these topics.

You can read the rest of the story at the link.

So what are y’all doing this hot summer evening?

 

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Wednesday Reads: Appearance is everything

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Abortion Ruling: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Ah, good afternoon!

It has been a while since we took a look at the offerings of political cartoonist, so I thought today would be a good day for that…and in all honesty, there is another reason, things have been moving quickly with my parent’s closing (it is now pushed to the 6th) so there is plenty to do. (But it is a good plenty…)

First I will start with this video from UNICEF, posted on Huffington Post Facebook page,

 

Some of you may have seen this…if you haven’t please take the few minutes to watch it in full.

If you cannot see the embedded video, here is a link to the page:  The Huffington Post

Those fuckers made that little girl cry.

Many of the cartoons today mention the ruling regarding SCOTUS smackdown of Texas Anti-abortion law HB-2. In relation to this, Vox has an article: It could take years for Texas abortion clinics to reopen, even after a Supreme Court victory – Vox

Pro-choice advocates won a huge victory on Monday when the Supreme Court struck down two major anti-abortion laws in Texas inWhole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Those laws, part of an omnibus anti-abortion bill called HB 2, were responsible for closing about half of all abortion clinics in Texas.

Before HB 2 passed in 2013, Texas had 41 open clinics. Today there are 19. If the Court had ruled to uphold the restrictions, that number would have shrunk to nine. So it’s no surprise that lead plaintiff Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO and founder of Whole Woman’s Health, said she was “beyond elated” by the ruling.

But, Hagstrom Miller said in a recent interview with Vox, a victory at the Supreme Court is really just the beginning for abortion providers in Texas. Not only are other restrictions, like a 20-week abortion ban and limits on medication abortion, still in place in Texas but HB 2 has also done lasting damage to abortion access that could take years to repair, if it can be repaired at all.

It turns out, according to the Vox report…

The closed clinics can’t just reopen overnight, and some might never reopen

Well, I realized that they would not reopen with a snap of the fingers, but that some may never reopen, that just is salt in wounds.

Then there was this, from the NY Times: Abortion Ruling Could Create Waves of Legal Challenges – The New York Times

From Texas to Alabama to Wisconsin, more than a dozen Republican-run states in recent years have passed laws requiring that abortion clinics have hospital-grade facilities or use doctors with admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Now, Monday’s Supreme Court ruling — that those provisions in a Texas law do not protect women’s health and place an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion — will quickly reverberate across the country.

It will prevent the threatened shutdown of clinics in some states, especially in the Deep South, that have been operating in a legal limbo, with Texas-style laws on temporary hold. But legal experts said the effect over time was likely to be wider, potentially giving momentum to dozens of legal challenges, including to laws that restrict abortions with medication or ban certain surgical methods.

“The ruling deals a crushing blow to this most recent wave of state efforts to shut off access to abortion through hyper-regulation,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, the director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School.

Adopting stringent regulations on abortion clinics and doctors that are said to be about protecting women’s health has been one of the anti-abortion movement’s most successful efforts, imposing large expenses on some clinics, forcing others to close and making it harder for women in some regions to obtain abortions. Republicans like Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who deplored Monday’s ruling, argued that they were requiring clinics to “be held to the same standards as other medical facilities.”

Now, the court has ruled that any such requirements must be based on convincing medical evidence that the rules are solving a real health issue to be weighed by a court, not by ideologically driven legislators — and that the benefits must outweigh the burdens imposed on women’s constitutional right to an abortion.

Take a look at that article, because it highlights a few states that currently have abortion laws going into effect on July 1st…which could now be seen in a different light since the Monday ruling.

One more link before the cartoons…I just think this is funny: Why Do Monkeys Become More Selective With Friends As They Age, Just Like Humans? : SCIENCE : Tech Times

Scientists from the German Primate Center wanted to know how age affected the behavior of more than 100 Barbary macaques kept in an enclosure in a park in France.

They investigated how the monkeys – whose ages ranged from 4 to 29 years (equivalent to 105 human years) – reacted to physical objects such as novel toys and tubes with food, social interactions such as fighting and grooming “friends” and new social information, such as calls and photos of “friends” and “strangers.”

Researchers discovered that the interest of Barbary macaques in toys wane when they become adults. At around 20 or the retirement age of monkeys, these animals approached fewer monkeys and had less social contact.

What surprised scientists is that this obvious withdrawal was not prompted by a social affinity to avoid old monkeys. Younger ones still groomed and approached their elders.

It also wasn’t because older monkeys were not interested in anything at all. Scientists found that older monkeys still hissed to others during fights and still responded to photos of others.

These older monkeys are still attuned to what is going on around them, but they do not want to participate, says Julia Fischer, one of the researchers of the study.

They hissed? Could this be a monkey’s way of saying, get off my lawn?

The dominant psychological theory that could explain why this behavior happens in humans is that they want to maximize the time they have left with death on the horizon.

Fischer says although monkeys have excellent memories, there is no evidence that they are self-aware about their impending deaths. So if both monkeys and humans act this way as they age, the theory may be rationalizing a natural behavior with biological roots, she says.

Alexandra Freund, Fischer’s co-researcher, says the findings of the study clearly tell us that we are not distinctive in how we grow into old age.

“There might be an evolutionary ‘deep’ root in this pattern,” says Freund.

There is a bit more at the link, along with some other sources and connections to the published study.

And now the funnies…

Starting with Luckovich…06/17 Mike Luckovich: Losing letters. | Mike Luckovich

lk061716_color

 

From June, published around the 17th.

From June, published around the 17th.

 

06/22 Mike Luckovich:Hair today… | Mike Luckovich

lk062216_color

 

Signe Wilkinson: Abortion Clinic – Truthdig

Clay Bennett: Brexit Lifeboat – Clay Bennett – Truthdig

Jeff Danziger: Another Benefit of Brexit – Jeff Danziger – Truthdig

Jeff Danziger: Brexit Racism – Jeff Danziger – Truthdig

From Cagle Cartoons, click to see the toon:

Supreme Court Abortion Ruling

This is a good one: Brexit

Brexit ….a different one, but the same name.

Brexit Washup

Brexit …another one with the same name, but different, and damn good.

Brexit regret

And the rest from the AAEC:

George Will splits from GOP: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe - George Will splits from GOP

06/28/2016 Cartoon by MStreeter

Cartoon by MStreeter -

Brexit and Trump: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Cartoon by Steve Greenberg - Brexit and Trump

Undue Burden: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Undue Burden

GOP Sit-In: 06/24/2016 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - GOP Sit-In

Great Britain Great Again: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by A.F.Branco

Cartoon by A.F.Branco - Great Britain Great Again

The above cartoon is from a right wing cartoonist btw….so that is not a sarcastic cartoon. It is in fact a glorification. To see more from this cartoonist…cough, cough: AAEC — Political Cartoons by A.F.Branco Because I will not put up a sample of his other shit. (Now, I bet that gives ya the creeps. As it gave me…at least check this one out: Eye To Eye: 06/26/2016 Cartoon by A.F.Branco)

The Bowtie Rebellion: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - The Bowtie Rebellion

SUPREME COURT v TEXAS ABORTION LAWS: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - SUPREME COURT v TEXAS ABORTION LAWS

John Lewis sit-in: 06/29/2016 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - John Lewis sit-in

Brexit: 06/28/2016 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Brexit

Smoking gun: 06/29/2016 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Smoking gun

Pulse shooting: 06/15/2016 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Pulse shooting

That is an older cartoon, but I thought it was a good one and should be included.

06/28/2016 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

06/23/2016 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

06/13/2016 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

American Community: 06/29/2016 Cartoon by Angelo Lopez

Cartoon by Angelo Lopez - American Community

06/29/2016 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

06/27/2016 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

06/29/2016 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

06/29/2016 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

Pat Summitt Tribute: 06/29/2016 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe - Pat Summitt Tribute

This is an open thread…


Monday Reads: The Supremes Speak

Good Afternoon!

I’m in an absolute haze from a summer cold that popped up yesterday and sent me directly to bed. I’m trying to write and work right nowows_145558192527968 but it’s not easy at all.  I want to try to discuss a lot of upcoming things that will be important including the SCOTUS decision on the Texas Trap laws regarding abortion and abortion clinics.  These law certainly create an undue burden and they reflect specific religious view rather than medical or biological science.  Here’s a few reads to prepare us all because it’s important for all of us to understand this basic constitutional right.

Abortion opponents regularly talk as though no restriction is off the table when it comes to stripping away reproductive rights. And supporters of abortion rights don’t always set them straight. If we don’t know what our established rights are, we can’t defend them. Pro-choicers need to know why abortion is a constitutional right and what boundaries the U.S. Supreme Court has set out to protect it.

1. Abortion is protected by the rights to bodily integrity and to make decisions about family. The Court explained that decades ago.

The 14th Amendment prohibits states from depriving a person of liberty without due process of law. A person has the right to end a pregnancy without undue interference from the government because that right to liberty includes (1) the right to make decisions about family and (2) the right to bodily integrity.

However, in order to portray abortion rights as illegitimate, conservatives like to argue—inaccurately—that the Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade by inventing a right to privacy that is not grounded in the Constitution’s actual text.

In the pre-Roe contraception case Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), the Court did hold that “penumbras, formed by emanations” or various interpretations of the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments protect a right to privacy. But in deciding Roe, the Warren court located the right to privacy in the 14th Amendment’s explicit protection of the right to liberty. Regardless, the Court’s understanding of the rights that protect reproductive freedom expanded beyond just privacy decades ago.

Privacy is barely mentioned in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which established the current law governing abortion rights more than 20 years ago. “The controlling word in the cases before us is ‘liberty,’” the decision explained. It was settled law prior to Roe that liberty includes “the right to make family decisions and the right to physical autonomy.”

Privacy is also a constitutional right, and it was indeed violated by the laws at issue in Roe and its companion case,Doe v. Bolton. Those laws required a woman seeking an abortion to share her reasons for wanting the procedure with legal or medical authorities to have any hope of receiving legal abortion care. However, the law and discourse around privacy at the time of Roe implied a woman should be permitted to use contraception or end a pregnancy because the state should not interfere in decisions made in secret with the permission of her doctor, husband, father, pastor, or others. Casey instead properly recognized that the 14th Amendment protects a person’s right to control her body and destiny.

So why has the idea persisted that all we’ve got is a privacy right made up out of thin air? A counterintuitive and less textually based right serves abortion opponents, but abortion rights advocates also have a history of telling us abortion restrictions are primarily a threat to privacy. As William Saletan documented in Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the War on Abortion, in the run-up to Casey, pro-choice leaders emphasized privacy on the advice of pollsters and political consultants to appeal to anti-government, anti-welfare, anti-tax, and anti-integration sentiments. While reproductive rights lawyers argued to the Supreme Court that the Constitution’s protection of autonomy, bodily integrity, and equality protected abortion access, outside of court pro-choice leaders told the public the right at stake was privacy. But, ultimately, the Casey decision provided a much fuller discussion of why abortion is constitutionally protected by rights beyond privacy.

Abortion is protected by the due process clauses of the Fifth Amendment (which restricts the federal government) and the 14th Amendment (which was added to the Constitution to restrict the states). As Casey explained, “It is a promise of the Constitution that there is a realm of personal liberty which the government may not enter.” Using the force of law to compel a person to use her body against her will to bring a pregnancy to term is a violation of her physical autonomy and decisional freedom—which the Constitution does not allow.

 

7B2d881c8a-a777-42dc-8c89-37944494cFollow the link to read about the other two basic rights that include:” 2. Any pre-viability ban is unconstitutional. Period.” and “3. Casey‘s “undue burden” standard is a meaningful protection of abortion rights when courts apply it properly.”

There’s no doubt that the Texas Trap Law creates an “undue” burden.  Clinic closures have left the few remaining clinics overwhelmed.

The war on abortion access in Texas has already fundamentally shifted the landscape of women’s lives in the state. Now, the fallout continues: The closure of Planned Parenthood (PP) clinics in the state—which once served as primary sources of reproductive health care for women there—has left the few clinics remaining in west Texas underfunded, understaffed, and overwhelmed by demand.

According to new research, 60 percent of women receiving a low salary who were of reproductive age accessed health care through PP before the cuts and defunding which took place in 2013. The majority of those patients have since been directed to Texas Tech University and Midland County Health Services (MCHS) after PP’s clinics in west Texas closed—increasing demand at an overwhelming rate for their capacity to provide services.

“There are women [who] need these services but can’t afford them and we see as many as we can,” Michael Austin, director of MCHS, told Women’s Health Policy Report. “But the state program to help these folks along has basically evaporated. So I’m afraid there are probably a lot of folks flying under the radar who need care and aren’t getting it.” Austin pointed to the challenges of seeking funding in a state that has “eliminated or severely messed up” many of their programs which provide reproductive health care to women.

In 2011, the Texas State Assembly passed legislation which blocked funding to women’s health clinics, including Planned Parenthood, and cut the state’s family planning budget by two-thirds. Two years later, the draconian anti-abortion bill known as HB2 was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry, putting in place numerous obstacles meant to shutter clinics and restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion. HB2 requires that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a local hospital and clinics are licensed ambulatory centers. It also bans surgical abortion after 20 weeks and medication abortion after seven. (Medication abortion is the most cost- and time-effective abortion procedure.)

HB2’s impact was immediate and drastic. 82 percent of family planning clinics closed. The number of abortion practitioners decreased by over 75 percent. Over half of the clinics performing abortion closed, which in turn drastically increased the time it would take for women to make an appointment to 28 days— essentially rendering the option of medication abortion moot. When it comes to clinics, Texas is in crisis.

The Supreme Court has declined to hear the Connecticut law banning assault weapon as well as the challenge to other state laws.  Thisimages (15) leaves the bans in place.

SCOTUS will look at certain key rights of jailed inmates that have illegal immigration status.

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will take up a case exploring when immigrants detained solely for immigration violations have the right to be released from jail.

The justices agreed to consider a federal appeals court decision that essentially found detained immigrants were entitled to a bond hearing after six months in custody and every six months thereafter.

The high court’s announcement comes as immigrant rights advocates are awaiting a Supreme Court decision on the legality of President Barack Obama’s executive actions granting quasi-legal status and work permits to millions of immigrants who entered or stayed in the U.S. illegally.

In that case, the Obama administration is aligned with most immigrants rights groups. However, in the case the court said Monday that it would take up, the Obama administration is pressing for fewer rights for detained immigrants. In fact, the administration is asking the justices to overturn the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found immigrants have the right to regular review of their detention.

The newly-accepted case, Jennings v. Rodriguez, could also explore when immigrants accused of ties to terrorism have to be released if authorities are having difficulty deporting them.

9beaac6d2a9b369f60b838f47dbde993SCOTUS blog has some basic information on the remaining cases in the docket.  Here’s a few of the remaining 13.

Between tomorrow morning, when the Justices will take the bench at ten o’clock, and the end of June, the Court is expected to issue thirteen rulings in cases involving everything from tribal-court jurisdiction to abortion, immigration, and the scope of federal laws prohibiting political corruption.  Here are summaries of each pending case:

Dollar General Stores v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (argued December 7, 2015).  This case stems from accusations by a thirteen-year-old member of the tribe that a manager at a Dollar General store within the tribe’s reservation had sexually molested him while the boy was interning at the store.  The child and his parents filed a lawsuit against the manager and the store in tribal court, arguing that the store was liable for the manager’s conduct.  The issue before the Court is whether the tribal court has jurisdiction over tort claims against defendants, like Dollar General, who are not members of the tribe.

Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (argued December 9, 2015).  This case, a challenge to the university’s consideration of race in its undergraduate admissions process, is on its second trip to the Court.  In 2013, the Court sent the case back to the lower courts for a more critical look at whether the university really needed to consider race to achieve a diverse student body.  After the Fifth Circuit once again upheld the policy, the Court agreed to weigh in.  Unlike some of the Court’s other high-profile cases this Term, no one expects the Court to deadlock:  Justice Elena Kagan is not participating, which in the wake of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death leaves the Court with just seven Justices to decide the case.

Utah v. Strieff (argued February 22, 2016).  When a police officer stops a pedestrian in violation of the law, asks him for identification, discovers that there is a traffic warrant for his arrest, arrests him, and in the process of searching him discovers drug paraphernalia and methamphetamines, can the evidence found in the search of the pedestrian be used against him?  Edward Strieff argues that it cannot:  because the police officer’s stop was illegal, then anything obtained as a result of the stop is also tainted.  The state, on the other hand, contends that the evidence should be admitted because it resulted from the lawful warrant for his arrest, rather than the illegal stop.

Taylor v. United States (argued February 23, 2016).  The petitioner in this case, David Taylor, was part of a Virginia gang that robbed drug dealers.  The two robberies that led to this case, however, did not yield any drugs – only cellphones, jewelry, and a small amount of money.  Taylor was indicted on federal charges that he had violated the Hobbs Act, which punishes robberies and extortion but applies only when the defendant “obstructs, delays, or affects commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce.”  The question before the Court is whether the federal government is required to prove facts to show that the defendant’s conduct actually affects commerce.

Voisine v. United States (argued February 29, 2016).  Stephen Voisine and William Armstrong, the other petitioner in this case, both pleaded guilty in state court to misdemeanor assaults on their respective domestic partners. Several years later, each man was charged with violating a federal law that prohibits the possession of firearms and ammunition by individuals who have previously been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.  Voisine and Armstrong contend their state convictions do not automatically qualify as misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence because the state-law provisions can be violated by conduct that is merely reckless, rather than intentional.

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (argued March 2, 2016).  This is a challenge to the constitutionality of two provisions of a Texas law regulating abortion in that state.  One provision requires doctors who perform abortions to have privileges to admit patients to a local hospital; the other requires abortion clinics to have facilities that are comparable to outpatient surgical centers.  Texas contends that these new laws are constitutional because they were intended to protect women’s health, while the challengers argue that the law was actually intended to close most clinics and therefore limit women’s access to abortions.

RJR Nabisco v. The European Community (argued March 21, 2016).  The issue in this case is whether and to what extent the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a 1970 law that was originally enacted to target organized crime, applies outside the United States.  The European Community filed a lawsuit in the United States, seeking to hold RJR liable for what it says is the company’s role in an international money-laundering plot that harmed European countries.  RJR counters that nothing in the law suggests that Congress intended it to apply to a situation like this.  Justice Samuel Alito is almost certainly writing the Court’s opinion in this case, because he is the only Justice who has not yet written for the Court’s March sitting; based on the oral argument, that could bode well for RJR.

United States v. Texas (argued April 18, 2016).  This case is a challenge to an Obama administration policy, announced in November 2014, that would allow some undocumented immigrants to apply to stay in the country and work legally for three years.  Before the policy could go into effect, Texas and a large group of other states went to court to block its implementation, arguing that the administration lacks the authority to issue a policy like this.  But before the Supreme Court can weigh in on that question, it will also have to agree that the states have the legal right, known as “standing,” to challenge the policy at all; the lower courts ruled that they did, because at least Texas would incur additional costs from the undocumented immigrants who would become eligible for driver’s licenses if the policy goes into effect.

Birchfield v. North Dakota (argued April 20, 2016).  Twelve states and the National Park Service impose criminal penalties on suspected drunk drivers who refuse to submit to testing to measure their blood-alcohol levels.  The question before the Court is whether those penalties violate the Fourth Amendment, which only allows police to “search” someone if they have a warrant or one of a handful of exceptions to the warrant requirement applies.  Three drivers from North Dakota and Minnesota argue that neither of those conditions is met, and so the laws must fall.

Encino Motorcars v. Navarro (argued April 20, 2016).  This case requires the Court to weigh in on the interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which generally requires employers to pay overtime to employees who work for more than forty hours in a week but also contains a variety of exceptions – including for a salesman whose primary job is selling or servicing cars.  The respondents in this case are service advisors at a car dealership, who argue that they are not included in the exemption and are therefore entitled to overtime.

You can check out the rest on the link to SCOTUS blog. So, there’s a lot of interesting things coming down the pipe.  We’ll definitely be  following a lot of them.

There’s one piece of SCOTUS gossip that you might be interested in today. Check out this lede by David Badash:  “DC Insider Report SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas Thinking of Retiring Throws Twitter Into Frenzy.”

The Washington Examiner Sunday afternoon posted a piece by DC insider columnist Paul Bedard that claims uber-conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas “is mulling retirement after the presidential election, according to court watchers.” Those “court watchers” of course are unnamed, so the actual source of the claim is unknown.

It could be true, it could be false, but the implications of course are tremendous. Assuming Republicans in the Senate successfully keeps their vow to not confirm any SCOTUS justice nominated by President Obama, and wait until the next president takes office, this would mean the next president would automatically nominate not one but two justices to the nation’s top court, controlling its destiny for decades.

So naturally, Clarence Thomas began trending on Twitter.

Follow the link for the Twitter Frenzy.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

 

h/t to Delphyne