SDB Evening News Reads for 091511: Attack and Plead and Hope

Good Evening…

There are some very important timely links I want to bring to your attention, so I have just a couple things to mention before I get to the meat of this evening’s news post.

When I saw the image of the newest website in the Obama 2012 Campaign arsenal, I honestly thought it was a GOP wingnut site…look at this screenshot:

Get the facts. Fight the smears. — AttackWatch.com

Well, this is what Tommy Christopher over at Mediaite had to say about it.  Barack Obama | Attack Watch | Fight the Smears | Mediaite

The Obama campaign has launched a new version of 2008′s “Fight the Smears” website (also a rejected Windex slogan) that debunked guano from every source, but with some new twists. AttackWatch.com does a 180 on the old site’s shiny, happy design, and includes a nifty crowd-sourcing feature that allows supporters (or not) to report an attack, and even to attach a file. Hmmm, we’ve got a report from a supporter named Haywood D’jablowmee, let me just open that attachment…

In an email to supporters, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said, “There are a lot of folks on the other side who are chomping at the bit to distort the President’s record. It’s not a question of if the next big lie will come, just when — and what we’re prepared to do about it.”

I love this next bit of commentary:

Great. Sounds like a terrific content-generating resource for right-wing bloggers, too. Everybody wins!

…If there’s a guy at OFA whose job it is to sift through these submissions, his is officially the worst job in the world. Let’s not even think about what kinds of attachments that poor guy is going to have to look at.

Wow, I don’t know what to say about this site…it bothers me.

Here’s the full text of OFA’s “AttackWatch” email:

Expose the attacks

Friend –

If you’re someone who cares about seeing a campaign focused on substance between now and November 2012, I need you to become a part of one of our most important teams.

It’s called AttackWatch.com, and it launches today.

Here’s the deal: We all remember the birth certificate smear, the GOP’s barrage of lies about the Affordable Care Act, and the string of other phony attacks on President Obama that we’ve seen over the past few years.

There are a lot of folks on the other side who are chomping at the bit to distort the President’s record. It’s not a question of if the next big lie will come, just when — and what we’re prepared to do about it.

AttackWatch.com is exactly what it sounds like: a resource that allows us to nip these attacks in the bud before they show up on the airwaves and in emails — and then fight back with the truth.

By signing up, you’ll be on the front lines — you’ll hear about false claims as soon as they come up, and we’ll count on you to spread the truth to your friends and personal networks and let us know about new smears whenever you hear them.

Will you sign up now to be a part of AttackWatch.com?

Yes, I want to be on the team that fights back.

Not right now, but I’ll donate $5 to fund the 2012 campaign and support this work.

I remember the smears from 2008 well, and I’m sure you do, too.

They didn’t just attack Barack Obama and Joe Biden. They went after everything this movement is built on, and everyone who supports it.

This time, they’re not just out to personally attack the President — they’re also out to mislead Americans about the record of accomplishments that he’s compiled. Just the other day, a Republican financier actually quoted Saddam Hussein in telling a group of millionaire donors that defeating President Obama will be “the mother of all wars.”

We’re launching AttackWatch.com today to make sure we’re ready for the attacks we know are coming — and armed with the ability to fight back quickly.

Sign up for AttackWatch.com now, and let’s get the facts out:

http://my.barackobama.com/Join-Attack-Watch

Thanks,

Messina

Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Hey, at least you can donate your $5 bucks and feel like you are part of the “team” right?  But what’s with that “friend” intro…are they channeling McCain?

Personally I think Obama should be worried about the “livid” people he represents.

Some jobs numbers came out today that should be a warning to the Obama Administration..but they aren’t listening to any advice from the left anyway…  Georgia jobless rate hits highest level in 6 months | The Biz Beat

Georgia’s unemployment rate hit its highest level in six months, rising to 10.2 percent in August from 10.1 percent in July, the state labor department said Thursday.

There has been no improvement from a year ago, when the state’s jobless rate was also 10.2 percent.

August marked the 49th consecutive month Georgia has exceeded the national unemployment rate, which is currently 9.1 percent, the labor department said.

The August unemployment rate increased because 5,500 new job seekers — as well as more of those already unemployed — were unable to find work.

The number of long-term unemployed — those jobless for at least 27 weeks — increased by 3,000 to 254,100. There were 15.5 percent more long-term unemployed than in August of last year. The long-term unemployed account for 52.7 percent of Georgia’s 482,321 jobless workers.

Oooo, that “thair”  Georgia Works program sure does look like a good idea!

According to the Georgia Work Ready site:

Georgia Work Ready is transforming our state’s workforce into our number one competitive advantage. By ensuring Georgia workers have the best skills and training opportunities, we can guarantee businesses have the talent they need to succeed today and the resources they need to meet future challenges.

Yeah, the program is working out just fine: Georgia Works Not Working; Just Twelve Applicants in August | FDL News Desk

YMMV, but for me the worst element of the mostly-fine American Jobs Act is the plan modeled on Georgia Works, the job training program for the long-term unemployed. Businesses get free labor (let’s face it, there’s not a whole lot of “training” that goes into the perfunctory data entry or office slug jobs that would likely be filled here), and the worker gets to show up without the hope of a job at the end. It may be a foot in the door with a particular company, or it may be a two-month distraction from a deeper job search, with nothing to show for it at the end. It’s just an unpaid internship in the end, and if companies are getting away with that, why wouldn’t they just cycle through another round of unpaid interns under the guise of “training” rather than make a hire?

Dayen points out that only 12 applicants signed up in August, bring the total of people who have applied to Georgia Works up to 92…and that is since February of this year.

The Democrats got a kick in the balls today from the Orange Tangerine himself: Boehner says no new taxes for debt panel in economic speech on Thursday – The Washington Post

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) rejected Thursday any increase in tax revenue and instead said that a special committee seeking long-term debt reduction should find $1.5 trillion in savings entirely from cutting federal agency spending and slash popular entitlement programs.

Nothing new there, we expected it…right?

Moving on to crime in America, Casey Anthony is getting headlines again: Casey Anthony ordered to pay nearly $100,000 in costs | Reuters

Judge Belvin Perry ruled that Anthony must reimburse $97,676.98 in investigative costs incurred between July 15, 2008, when Anthony first told detectives that her daughter had been kidnapped by a nanny, and September 29, 2008, when detectives determined Caylee likely was dead rather than missing.

I could really give two batshits about this ruling…that $100,000 is a drop in the bucket to what she is going to get in movie deal cash…There is something way more important in the crime news today…

(Here is the meat I was talking about.)

To update y’all on the Troy Davis case: Troy Davis supporters deliver 600,000 petitions to Pardons and Parole | jacksonville.com

Supporters of condemned murderer Troy Davis delivered more than 600,000 petitions today to the Pardon and Paroles Board seeking to prevent his execution scheduled on Wednesday for killing off-duty Savannah policeman Mark MacPhail.

[…]

Also present was Gary Drinkard, who spent six years on Alabama’s death row before he was exonerated. He brought petitions from 25 others who had also avoided a death sentence through new evidence proving there innocence.

“We were there,” he said. “We know what it’s like.”

The case has drawn attention from across the globe. Politicians, entertainers and professional athletes have lent their names to groups supporting Davis. Many are participating in a social-media campaign on Twitter and Facebook on his behalf.

The Parole Board holds a hearing Monday with lawyers for Davis. Because it’s not bound by the rules of evidence and other court procedures, Davis supporters said today they hope the board will use its discretion on his behalf.

I hope the Board does the right thing…but I want to bring another execution up for discussion…

There is another man in Texas who is scheduled for execution later today.  I don’t think he will get any stay of execution from Perry, but at least there are people trying to do the right thing.

Duane Buck lawyers appeal to Rick Perry for stay of execution | World news | guardian.co.uk

Lawyers for a death row inmate in Texas who was sentenced to death on the basis of testimony from a psychologist who argued he was a risk to the public because he is black are making frantic eleventh-hour efforts to spare him from the execution chamber on Thursday.

If their pleading fails to sway the Texas authorities, Duane Buck, 48, will be put to death by lethal injection at 6pm local time. His lawyers are appealing to the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, to use his powers to delay the execution to allow for the case to go to resentencing given the racially tainted nature of the original punishment.

Here is some background on this case: US Supreme Court asked to halt Texas execution amid questions about racial reference at trial – The Washington Post

Duane Buck, 48, faced lethal injection for fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend and a man in her apartment. In an appeal to the Supreme Court on Thursday and in a letter to Perry, Buck’s lawyers said a psychologist testified that black people were more likely to commit violence. Jurors in Texas must decide on the future danger of an offender when they are considering a death sentence.

“The State of Texas should not condone any form of racial discrimination in the courtroom,” attorney Katherine Black wrote Perry, urging the governor to use his authority to issue a one-time 30-day reprieve for Buck. “The use of race in sentencing poisons the legal process, undermines the reliability and fairness of the sentence, and breeds cynicism in the community toward the very institution entrusted with protecting the rights of all persons equally.”

Buck’s case is one of six convictions that then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn — a political ally of Perry who is now a Republican U.S. senator — reviewed in 2000 and said needed to be reopened because of the racial reference.

I am posting this next quote from Tim Murphy at MoJo in full because I think it is too important not to…The Elephant in the Room in the Duane Buck Case | Mother Jones

Barring a last-minute reprieve from Governor Rick Perry, sometime after 7 p.m. on Thursday Duane Buck will become the 235th person to be executed in Texas in the last decade. Buck’s case has drawn attention because of the role race-based testimony may have played in obtaining the death sentence. As I reported previously, a psychologist summoned by Buck’s attorney testified under cross-examination that Buck’s race (he’s black) made him a greater threat to society; that testimony was then cited in the prosecutors’ closing argument.

Buck’s case is noteworthy because the racial argument was made so explicitly, and under oath. But the reality is that race is a determining factor in capital punishment sentencing whether a psychologist says so out-loud or not. As Amnesty International notes, “the single most reliable predictor of whether someone will be sentenced to death is the race of the victim.” Among other things, they point out that:

  • A report sponsored by the American Bar Association in 2007 concluded that one-third of African-American death row inmates in Philadelphia would have received sentences of life imprisonment if they had not been African-American.
  • A January 2003 study released by the University of Maryland concluded that race and geography are major factors in death penalty decisions. Specifically, prosecutors are more likely to seek a death sentence when the race of the victim is white and are less likely to seek a death sentence when the victim is African-American.
  • A 2007 study of death sentences in Connecticut conducted by Yale University School of Law revealed that African-American defendants receive the death penalty at three times the rate of white defendants in cases where the victims are white. In addition, killers of white victims are treated more severely than people who kill minorities, when it comes to deciding what charges to bring.

That kind of institutional bias means that it’s a lot harder to point to specific cases, a la Buck, in which race impacted the sentence—which means that, unlike Buck, most defendants will have a hard time making the case that their sentencing was in any way mishandled. But taken in sum, the numbers are pretty damning.

I won’t be here to update the Buck Execution situation, so if anyone has some news about it, please post it in the comments…I would appreciate it tremendously.

Let’s end on a funny note, because it is too damn upsetting to think that Perry’s execution numbers may be increased by one in just a few hours.

Here is a clip from Jon Stewart, about the NY District 9 Special Election.  The funniest part for me is the parody Stewart does of the “New York Jewish Mother” who answers the phone when Ed Koch robo calls to offer his support for the GOP candidate.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I will check back later tonight after the UCMS football game…I hope I do not come back to bad news out of Texas…


SDB Evening News Reads for 081211: Appeals court rules health care law unconstitutional

It is Friday afternoon, and the weekend cannot come fast enough.  For today’s news reads I have lots of different items to highlight for you.  Some of these links you may have missed, and some are just updating news we have talked about this week here on Sky Dancing.

Okay, first thing, if you did not read Dakinikat’s post, The Audacity of No Hope, then go read it now!

H/T to Boston Boomer for this link, today the White House got some bad news about Obama’s health care law as a Judge Rules Health Care Law Is Unconstitutional – FoxNews.com

A U.S. district judge on Monday threw out the nation’s health care law, declaring it unconstitutional because it violates the Commerce Clause and surely reviving a feud among competing philosophies about the role of government.

Judge Roger Vinson, in Pensacola, Fla., ruled that as a result of the unconstitutionality of the “individual mandate” that requires people to buy insurance, the entire law must be declared void.

“I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and inequities in our health care system. The health care market is more than one-sixth of the national economy, and without doubt Congress has the power to reform and regulate this market. That has not been disputed in this case. The principal dispute
has been about how Congress chose to exercise that power here,” Vinson wrote.

“While the individual mandate was clearly ‘necessary and essential’ to the act as drafted, it is not ‘necessary and essential’ to health care reform in general,” he continued. “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void.”

Department of Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said the department plans to appeal Vinson’s ruling to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

This particular ruling is being seen as the strongest decision against Obama care since many courts began hearing cases claiming the law unconstitutional.

Appeals court rules against Obama healthcare law – Yahoo!

The Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, found that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring Americans to buy coverage, but also ruled that the rest of the wide-ranging law could remain in effect.

The legality of the so-called individual mandate, a cornerstone of the 2010 healthcare law, is widely expected to be decided by the Supreme Court. The Obama administration has defended the provision as constitutional.

The case stems from a challenge by 26 U.S. states which had argued the individual mandate, set to go into effect in 2014, was unconstitutional because Congress could not force Americans to buy health insurance or face the prospect of a penalty.

“This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives,” a divided three-judge panel said.

Ironic that this decision comes from Atlanta, when in a suburb just north of the Georgia capital, Thousands line up for free dental services in Woodstock  | ajc.com

Thousands of people stood in line for free dental services Friday at a church in Woodstock.

Hundreds of people lined up overnight to receive free dental service. Woodstock First Baptist Church teamed with Georgia Mission of Mercy  to begin a two-day FREE, dental clinic for low- or no-income adults who cannot pay for dental care.
Hundreds of people lined up overnight to receive free dental service. Woodstock First Baptist Church teamed with Georgia Mission of Mercy to begin a two-day FREE, dental clinic for low- or no-income adults who cannot pay for dental care.
Thousands of people waited in line overnight at Woodstock First Baptist Church for free dental care.
Thousands of people waited in line overnight at Woodstock First Baptist Church for free dental care.
The two-day clinic at First Baptist Church of Woodstock on Hwy. 92 is being sponsored by the Georgia Dental Association and its Foundation for Oral Health.

“The line went around the building, all the way through the parking lot and around a warehouse,” said Dr. Richard Smith, who practices in Atlanta. He estimated the line at 2,000 yards and said that at its peak, 4,000 people were in line.

What does this tell you, when 4,000 people are lining up to get free dental care?  I wish I could have gotten in line myself. Since losing health insurance in late 2007, my husband and I haven’t had the funds to get even basic 6 month checkups.  Like so many we are in that group of people that make just over the federal limit to receive free or low cost medical care.  It is this area of population that falls through the cracks, and unfortunately it becomes more apparent when services like this in Woodstock get so many people waiting to receive care,  the local police had to stop people getting in line.   As the article continues, Dr. Smith,

… said there were 100 dental chairs set up at the church and more than 1,600 volunteers, including 300 dentists a portion of them being students at an AllStar Dental Academy. “We’ve got hygienists we’ve got dental assistants working, there’s oral surgeons extracting teeth, we have endodontists doing root canals … we’ve got people here to feed them; it takes an army and this church has just been absolutely incredible.”

He said it is the first such event in Georgia on this scale.

Smith said the  people are in line who do not get treated Friday can return on Saturday. Police were not allowing any more people to get in line Friday.

Dr. Michael Vernon of Augusta said he was moved by the patients’ response to the massive effort.

“Two the first three patients that I saw actually sat in the chair and cried because they were so appreciative of what we’re doing here and it just made me feel good about being here,” he said.

What can you say about that?

In other court news, the Supreme Court May Consider Whether Companies Can Be Sued Over Human Rights – NYTimes.com

Recent court rulings on the question of whether oil companies and other multinationals can be sued in U.S. courts for alleged human rights violations overseas has made the issue ripe for Supreme Court intervention, possibly as early as this fall.

Oil companies Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Exxon Mobil Corp. have been battling allegations that they played a role in human rights abuses in Nigeria and Indonesia, respectively.

Shell won a major victory last year when the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell that there was no corporate liability under the statute.

The Nigerian plaintiffs in that case have now filed a petition (pdf) with the Supreme Court. The justices will likely consider whether to take the case sometime after they return in October from their lengthy summer recess.

We don’t know if the SCOTUS will agree to hear this matter, but the NYT’s is suggesting there are signs that the court will take up this appeal.

This next link is a bit funny to me, funny and sad.  Mitch McConnell Called For Rich To Pay Their ‘Fair Share’ In 1990 Ad

The Republican Party’s dogmatic opposition to raising taxes has been a consistent obstacle to patching together a broader deal to decrease the nation’s growing debt. And for Democrats with good long-term memories, it’s not only causing some irritation — it’s also prompting a bit of nostalgia for days past.

That’s because some of the same GOP lawmakers holding the line on taxes today once presented themselves as willing compromisers on the issue in the past. The most recently unearthed example, pointed out Wednesday by ThinkProgress, comes courtesy of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who ended his 1990 reelection campaign with an ad titled “Fair Share.” In it, the Kentucky Republican — in the midst of a increasingly tight contest — positioned himself as open-minded on the subject of tax rates.

“Unlike some folks around here, I think everyone should pay their fair share, including the rich,” McConnell declares in the ad.

If only these people did not sign some ridiculous pledge to an anti-tax rich-ass man, promising they would not raise taxes.

Boston Boomer had a great post this week on the riots in London, here is an update on that…Riot death toll hits five as waves of looters face court

The death toll from the English riots has risen to five after a man who was attacked by a mob as he tried to stamp out a fire died in hospital.

[…]

More than 1500 people have now been arrested in towns and cities hit by rioting earlier this week and more than 500 charged with offences related to the four days of disorder.

There is talk about shutting down service to Twitter and Facebook when London has violent riots like this in the future.  Let us see what happens with that.  In Philadelphia a new curfew goes into affect today in an effort to stop the flash mob violence that city has seen this summer.

BBC News – Mixed feelings over Philadelphia’s flash-mob curfew

Philadelphia’s authorities have ordered a weekend evening curfew for under-18 years old in an effort deter teenagers from wreaking havoc in so-called flash mobs.

As Britain looks to America for answers to the rioting that has rocked England over the last week, the BBC’s Laura Trevelyan visits Philadelphia to see how its new measures will work.

The phenomenon known as flash mobbing, where groups of teenagers gather after alerting one another via mobile phone, Twitter and Facebook and rampage through the town centre, has frightened residents and alarmed Philadelphia’s city government.

While the scenes haven’t been as violent or as sustained as those in urban England in recent days, crowds of teenagers have beaten and robbed people and shops have been damaged.

Some may have heard about a drunken man that urinated all over a 11–year old girl while taking a JetBlue flight from Oregon to JFK airport in New York.  It turns out this drunk was an 18–year old US Skier…US Skier Tossed Off Team Over in-Flight Urination – ABC News

An 18-year-old was dismissed from the U.S. Ski Team’s development squad after he was accused of getting drunk and then urinating on a fellow passenger aboard a JetBlue flight.

Robert “Sandy” Vietze, of Warren, Vt., was detained by police at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday morning after arriving on a red-eye flight from Portland, Ore.

Get this…

Vietze was nominated to the development team this spring after excelling as an alpine skier at the Green Mountain Valley School, a top ski academy and high school in Waitsfield, Vt., where tuition runs as much as $42,384 per year. He had been scheduled to compete on the national ski team’s developmental squad for the 2011-2012 season.

A Port Authority Police Department detective wrote in court documents that Vietze told him he had consumed five or six beers and two rum and cola cocktails before boarding the flight. He said he passed out in his seat and awoke to find himself being yelled at by the father of a 12-year-old girl.

Damn, that is some list of drinks for anyone to consume, let alone an 18–year old.

In Orlando, Judge Melvin Barry has made a decision on the Casey Anthony probation issue regarding charges from pleading guilty to check fraud.  Casey Anthony Ordered to Return to Orlando Florida to Serve Probation – ABC News

Casey Anthony, the Florida woman acquitted of murdering daughter Caylee, must emerge from hiding and return to Orlando, Fla., by Aug. 26, a judge ordered today.

Judge Belvin Perry issued a written order that Anthony, 25, must report to the Department of Corrections in two weeks to serve a year of supervised probation.

Anthony’s probation stems from a check fraud conviction in 2010. Prior to her first degree murder trial, Anthony pleaded guilty to stealing checks from her best friend Amy Huizenga during the time that Caylee was missing.

And lastly, yesterday I had this news up about the dinosaur fossil that proves Plesiosaurs did not lay eggs, but got pregnant and delivered live babies. Here is a picture of the fossil that shows the embryo skeleton inside the mother’s fossilized bones. Pregnant Fossil Find Shows Plesiosaurs Had Live Births | Geekosystem

For nearly 25 years a spectacular fossil that could answer scientists’ questions about an ancient marine reptile lay buried in the basement of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The fossil was of a plesiosaur, a large four-flippered creature that roamed the oceans some 78 million years ago. But it wasn’t just any fossil, this fossil was pregnant.

The fossil shows the mother, around 470 cm long, carrying a single fetus, around 150 cm long. The fetus has 20 vertebrae, shoulders, hips and paddle bones, and is believed to be about two-thirds grown. This is the first case of a pregnant plesiosaur fossil, and it shows that the creatures gave birth to live babies rather than hatching eggs. The finding also suggests that the creatures cared for their young similar to modern day whales and dolphins.

See it? It is so freaking cool!

Well, that is my round-up for today, anything new you would like to comment about? Let’s have it.


Tuesday Reads: Debt Ceiling Chicken, Roberts vs. Roe, Rove on Obama, NewsCorp, and Casey Anthony Rumors

Good Morning!! I know we’re all sick and tired of the debt limit battle, but there is going to be a vote today in the House–on a stupid bill that includes a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. What a joke! And with only about two weeks to go until armageddon.

Anyway, let’s get the depressing news out of the way first. From Politico: Debt ceiling debate turns ‘scary’

Washington’s frayed nerves showed through Monday amid tough talk on the right, a White House veto threat, canceled weekend passes and the top Senate Democrat likening default to a “very, very scary” outcome even for those “who believe government should be small enough to drown in a bathtub.”

“What will it take,” asked an agitated Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), “for my Republican colleagues to wake up to the fact that they’re playing a game of political chicken with the entire global economy?”

House Speaker John Boehner confirmed a POLITICO report that he had met again privately with President Barack Obama at the White House on Sunday to try to get debt talks back on track. But ignoring Obama’s veto warning, Boehner will press ahead Tuesday with House votes on a revised debt ceiling bill that shows no sign of compromise on the spending and tax policy differences behind the crisis.

Indeed, with the Aug. 2 deadline exactly two weeks away, the House GOP is doubling down its bet with 10-year statutory spending caps intended to wring $5.8 trillion in unspecified savings from the government during the next decade — more than twice the $2.4 trillion debt ceiling increase that is allowed. And in his haste to act, Boehner will bring the so-called Cut, Cap and Balance bill to the floor under exactly the type of procedure he has said he abhors: limited debate and with no real review by any legislative committee.

Yes, the psychopaths and John Birchers are in charge, and there’s nothing we can do but wait and hope.

The Nation has a good article about the ongoing war on women by Amanda Marcotte and Jesse Taylor: How States Could Ban Abortion With Roe Still Standing

The Supreme Court granting states the power to ban abortion with Roe still standing seemed outlandish even just a few years ago, but the appointment of John Roberts to Chief Justice shifted the equation. Roberts specializes in decisions that reverse the spirit of precedent while leaving intact the letter of it, like when he squashed large chunks of Brown v the Board of Education while claiming to uphold it. To make it legal to ban abortion in the states, all the court needs is a law that eliminates legal abortion while dodging the logic of Roe v Wade.

Many state legislatures appear to be doing just that, writing legislation which Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, describes as “part of an ongoing effort around the country to choke off women’s access to abortion by any means necessary – either by forcing doctors out of practice, banning procedures outright or demeaning women.”

How would the Roberts Court invalidate Roe without actually overturning it?

Until recently, Roe has been considered an insurmountable obstacle to states that wish to ban abortion. The conservative side of the Roberts bench, however, will likely view the Roe decision as a seesaw with women’s rights on one side and the state interest in the fetus on the other. Currently, most of the weight is on the woman’s side for three months, some weight moves over to the state’s side for the next three months, and then most of the weight moves to the state’s side for the last trimester.

Roberts has two options for reshaping Roe: the first is to claim the state’s interest in fetal life starts even sooner, using bogus science to claim we know more about the fetus than we did 1992, when Planned Parenthood v Casey was decided. The second option is to change the court interpretation of individual state rights and compelling state interest, while leaving Roe’s framework technically in place. The court could, for instance, define the state’s interests more broadly, allowing it to regulate differently within the (technically) still-operative Roe framework. This would allow a state like Kansas to claim to still have legal abortion while burying would-be abortion providers under so much red tape they couldn’t keep a clinic open. It would also allow states like South Dakota to create so many hoops for women to jump through to get abortion that women simply wouldn’t be able to do it. The right to choose would theoretically exist, but only to the extent states deign to recognize it.

Yikes!

This struck me funny–Karl Rove isn’t all that impressed with Obama’s fund-raising.

According to CBS radio’s Mark Knoller, who also serves as the unofficial White House press corps statistics king, the president attended 31 fundraisers in nine states during the last three months. That is more than a fundraising reception or dinner every three days.

Rove doesn’t think Obama can keep up that pace.

Thirty-one fundraisers in a quarter is a big strain on any president’s schedule. Mr. Obama can’t keep that pace up and not just because he’s got a day job. There are also just so many cities capable of producing $1 million and only so many times you can hold a million dollar fundraiser in them.

Here’s the funny part:

Even though at least $35 million (almost half the total Obama/DNC haul) can be credited to just 244 well-connected “bundlers,” Team Obama made a big thing of their 260,000 new small dollar donors. But that means only 292,000 donors from his last campaign have renewed their support for the re-elect so far. That’s just 6.6 percent of the 3.95 million people who donated to the ’08 Obama effort, only a quarter to a third of what most reelect campaigns could expect from renewal efforts at this point.

Perhaps there really is donor fatigue among the legions of stalwarts who put Mr. Obama in the White House the first time.

Yeah, I’d say there’s probably quite a bit of “donor fatigue” among the unemployed and underemployed masses.

British police are still insisting that the death of News of the World whistleblower Sean Hoare is not suspicious; but no one trusts the police because they were apparently taking bribes from Murdoch employees to help in stalking celebrities and other NOTW targets.

We’re being prepared to find out he died of an overdose by being reminded that Hoare had drug and alcohol problems. But so far we don’t have a cause of death. I say he was suicided. Even if he died of natural causes, no one will believe it.

Some people are beginning to question whether Rupert Murdoch can keep control of NewsCorp in the face of this growing scandal.

Independent directors of New York-based News Corp. have begun questioning the company’s response to the crisis and whether a leadership change is needed, said two people with direct knowledge of the situation who wouldn’t speak publicly. Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief who Murdoch backed until last week, was arrested yesterday in London.

“The shell of invulnerability that Rupert Murdoch had around him has been cracked,” said James Post, a professor at Boston University’s School of Management who has written about governance and business ethics. “His credibility and the company’s credibility are hemorrhaging.”

Murdoch’s son James is also in big trouble and may not survive the investigation.

Finally, despite the threats of the media and the public alike to boycott Casey Anthony and consign her to oblivion, lots of people are still obsession about her. The latest frenzy is the media’s efforts to find out where Anthony has disappeared to. I thought that’s what everyone wanted her to do?

The Orlando Sentinel asks: Where in the World is Casey Anthony? My answer is “who cares?” But it seems lots of people still do. News crews and helicopters attempted to follow the SUV that Anthony got into after she walked out of jail, but

Anthony’s exact location was lost when the SUV stopped at the parking garage of the building where fellow defense team member Cheney Mason works.

Droves of journalists and spectators waited for hours at nearby Orlando Executive Airport, where many guessed Anthony would board a private plane and head out of town.

But there was no clear sign of Anthony boarding a plane and no flight manifests immediately available that would indicate who was on board the handful of flights that departed the airport early Sunday.

The secrecy surrounding Anthony’s whereabouts continued to fuel the rumor mill Monday as the media and public tried to figure out where the 25-year-old is holing up and when she’ll resurface.

The latest rumor is that Anthony is staying at Geraldo Rivera’s residence in Puerto Rico, but Rivera denies it.

Defense attorney Cheney Mason says that Anthony is “safe” and that hundreds of people have offered to help her.

Whatever. I really thought ignoring her was a good idea, but I guess it isn’t going to happen.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?


Thursday Reads: DADT Decision, Bachmann Surging, High-Profile Trials, and Mega-Wombats

Good Morning!! I think I have some interesting reads for you today, so let’s get right to it.

The biggest story of the day is that the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals has ordered the Obama administration to quit stalling and get rid of DADT immediately.

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a two-page order against the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” in a case brought by the group Log Cabin Republicans.

In 2010, a federal judge in California, Virginia A. Phillips, ruled that the law was unconstitutional and ordered the government to stop enforcing it. That decision was appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which issued a stay allowing the government to continue enforcing the policy as it made its way through the courts.

Congress repealed the policy last year, but called for a lengthy process of preparation, training and certification, still under way, before ending it….

Judges Alex Kozinski, Kim McLane Wardlaw and Richard A. Paez stated in their order that “circumstances and balance of hardships had changed” since their initial ruling: the Obama administration had informed the court that repeal of the policy was “well under way,” and in a filing in another case on July 1, the Department of Justice took the position that discrimination based on sexual orientation should be subjected to tough scrutiny. The government, the judges wrote, “can no longer satisfy the demanding standard for issuance of a stay.”

And the credit goes to the Log Cabin Republicans, because Democrats are too weak and cowardly to do anything useful anymore.

As I predicted, Michele Bachmann is making gains on Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, according to the latest PPP Poll.

When PPP polled New Hampshire in April Michele Bachmann was stuck at 4%. She’s gained 14 points over the last three months and now finds herself within single digits of Mitt Romney. Romney continues to lead the way in the state with 25% to 18% for Bachmann, 11% for Sarah Palin, 9% for Ron Paul, 7% for Rick Perry and Herman Cain, 6% for Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty, and 4% for Newt Gingrich.

Bachmann’s surge in New Hampshire is being built on the back of the Tea Party. Among voters identifying themselves as members of that movement she’s leading the way at 25% with Palin and Romney tying for second at 16%, and Cain also placing in double digits at 11%. Only 33% of Republican primary voters in the state identify themselves as Tea Partiers though and with the remaining folks Romney’s way ahead with 33% to 13% for Bachmann, and 10% for Huntsman and Paul.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The 14 men (and 5 boys whose names are being withheld because they are juveniles) who gang raped an 11-year-old Texas girl were due in court yesterday.

Four of the accused face charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child, while the majority of the men have been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. All defendants are expected to appear in the Liberty, Texas courtroom today for status updates, according to the Associated Press.

Cleveland police began investigating the case in December of last year after cell phone video showing the alleged sex attack started circulating among students at Cleveland schools, according to court documents. The video shows the girl engaged in sexual acts with several men….Most of the men who face charges are free on bond. One of the accused men, Marcus Porchia, 26, has been implicated in another unrelated case for sexual assault.

The trial has been postponed until October because of delays in DNA testing.

“I’m going to pressure the state to pressure the DPS lab to get whatever analysis as quickly as possible,” state District Judge Mark Morefield said.

Morefield reset the 14 men’s cases for Oct. 3. Five juvenile boys also have been charged.

During the hearing, Warren told the judge his office was in tentative negotiations with at least one of the defendants, Jared McPherson. Warren did not say if he was referring to a possible plea agreement and he declined to comment after the hearing. McPherson’s attorney also declined to comment. A gag order is preventing those connected to the case from commenting.

Something tells me this trial won’t get as much publicity as the Casey Anthony trial. I hope I’m wrong, because this is a horrendous crime against a child, and these men need to be put away for a very long time.

Actually the next high profile trial I expect to follow is that of Amy Bishop, the professor who opened fire in a faculty meeting after failing to get tenure. So far the judge is planning to keep the trial open to the public. I hope it will be televised. Once Bishop finishes that trial, she’ll have to go to Massachusetts and face murder charges in the shooting of her brother in 1986.

There’s already a true crime book out about the Bishop case.

The Amy Bishop story inspires fear, confusion, and now 258 pages of true crime drama.

Attorney Mark McDaniel says the lawyers involved in the case will be hurrying to read the book.

McDaniel says, “I promise you the defense lawyers and the prosecutors are reading that, probably reading it today.”

And then there’s the Whitey Bulger trial. Bulger pled not guilty to 19 murders today.

The retired state police colonel who oversaw the unearthing of the remains of several of the people James “Whitey” Bulger is accused of killing from crude mass graves said he felt some personal satisfaction yesterday in seeing his notorious nemesis “a broken man” in chains before a judge.

But retired Col. Thomas J. Foley said that for the families to hear Bulger, 81, plead not guilty to 32 charges, including 19 murders, extortion, machine-gun possession and money laundering, “I’m sure had to be a difficult pill for the families to swallow.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly said that should the case go to a trial, he expects prosecutors will need at least a month to present evidence and up to 40 witnesses.

J.W. Carney Jr., Bulger’s public defender, would not say whether his client, who faces life imprisonment here and could face the death penalty in murder cases pending in Florida and Oklahoma, is interested in striking a plea deal.

Boston Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis is asking Whitey’s politically powerful brother Billy Bulger to get Whitey to talk.

William M. Bulger, former president of the state Senate and the University of Massachusetts, sits in the front row in a charcoal business suit, a look of implacable rectitude frozen on his pale face.

Around Billy in the courtroom are the wives, brothers, sons and daughters of some of the 19 people Whitey is accused of killing. Billy knows they are there, but never acknowledges them. Strange for a man who began his star-crossed career as a lawyer taking cases in South Boston District Court.

As this circus lumbers forward, it will become increasingly obvious that the only man who can clear a path to something called justice is Billy Bulger, the man some people still think of as “The Good Brother.”

Billy should do what he refused to do 10 years ago before a grand jury and a congressional committee. He should have the courage to confront his brother and urge him to give some small semblance of peace to the families he’s wounded by coming clean. Billy should ask Whitey to take ownership of his sins.

I’ve got a few reactions to the verdict in the Casey Anthony case. James Wolcott says he didn’t follow the case closely, but based on what he did see he wasn’t surprised at the not guilty verdict.

I seemed to be one of the few whose world didn’t flip sideways–I wasn’t that surprised and if anything pleased that the jury made up its own collective mind in defiance of the lynch-mob clamor on the cable channels.

It can’t be said that the know-nothing know-it-alls on Fox News and Nancy Grace’s Sweeney Todd cooking school accepted the jury’s verdict with modesty and maturity. After expressing shock and taking turns to tell us how “stunned” they were, they accused the jury of suffering from Stockholm Syndrome (staring at Casey Anthony’s face somehow melting their reason and resolve), appearing to resent that fact that the defendant might be freed soon (since she might be granted time-served on the lesser charges, having already served years behind bars), and acting peevish that they didn’t get their way, having already convicted Casey Anthony on the airwaves for years now and treating the trial as an audiovisual demonstration of what to them was self-evident.

“Appearing to resent” and “peevish” are too mild, actually–many of the instant commentators on cable were visibly, audibly angry at the AUDACITY these acquittals.

Failed OJ prosecutor Marcia Clark thinks the verdict in the Anthony case is even worse than what happened with OJ.

…it was a circumstantial case. Most cases are. But the circumstances were compelling. Maybe not sufficient to prove premeditated murder—and I never believed the jury would approve the death penalty—but certainly enough to find Casey Anthony guilty of manslaughter at the very least.

Why didn’t they? My guess, since I’m writing this before the inevitable juror cameos, is that the jury didn’t necessarily believe Casey was innocent but weren’t convinced enough of her guilt to bring in a conviction. The thinking goes something like this: Sure, Casey’s behavior after her daughter’s death looks bad—dancing, partying, lying—but that doesn’t mean she killed the baby. Sure, that duct tape was weird, but that could’ve been done after the baby was already dead—no way to know who or when that tape was put on the baby’s face. Sure, the chloroform computer search seems damning, but that may not even have been done by Casey (her mom took the fall for that one).

And so, every bit of evidence presented by the prosecution could’ve been tinged with doubt. At the end of the day, the jury might have found that they just couldn’t convict her based on evidence that was reconcilable with an innocent explanation—even if the weight of logic favored the guilty one.

It’s a thoughtful article, highly recommended. Clark may be right about the jury, because at least one juror is already talking. She says she felt sick to her stomach at having to vote not guilty.

I wonder why she didn’t push for manslaughter then or at least child endangerment?

Jeralyn wrote a couple of good posts on the Anthony case yesterday: The Meaning of a Not Guilty Verdict and So Many Ignorant Reactions to Casey Anthony Acquittal. She had a few choice words for the HLN vampires.

HLN…proceeded to blast the defense team for holding a victory party and sharing a toast of champagne. Excuse me? This team didn’t work as hard as the prosecution? With fewer resources? The defense team saved a life today. That’s as close to G-ds work as it gets for criminal defense lawyers. Why shouldn’t they be proud? They held the state to its burden of proof and the state failed to meet it.

[….]

One viewer said the jury got it wrong because unlike everyone else, they weren’t privy to what was being said on Facebook and Twitter. The host agreed, saying the jury was in a vacuum in the courtroom. Hello? The jury was in the courtroom and heard and saw all the evidence. They were sequestered so they would be free from outside influences and prejudice. The jurors were the ones who received the judge’s instructions on how to apply the law. Did anyone bother to post or read all the instructions on Facebook and Twitter?

[….]

I wish the news media would stop saying no one will ever be held accountable for the little girl’s murder. It hasn’t be proven there was a murder. The defense argued it was an accident. The state took its best shot and came up short.

Congratulations to Jose Baez, Cheney Mason and everyone else on the defense team. They represented their client with pride and dedication, and with enormous sacrifices to their personal lives and law practices. They successfully battered the junk science, and prevailed in the long run — despite the unprofessional conduct of a prosecutor who smirked throughout their closing argument.

Modern day wombat

A fossilized “mega-wombat” has been dug up in Australia.

The fossil of a car sized mega-wombat has been unearthed in northern Australia, scientists said Wednesday — the most complete skeleton of its kind.

Weighing in at a whopping three tonnes, the herbivorous diprotodon was the largest marsupial to ever roam the earth and lived between two million and 50,000 years ago.

A relative of the modern-day wombat, the diprotodon skeleton was dug up in remote Queensland last week — the most northerly specimen ever discovered — and scientists believe it could shed valuable light on the species’ demise.

Mega-Wombat

Along with Australia’s other megafauna, which included towering kangaroos and gigantic crocodiles, diprotodon became extinct around the same time that indigenous tribes first appeared and debate has raged about the role of humans.

Very cool.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?


Breaking… Verdict Reached in Casey Anthony Trial

Casey Anthony

The jury informed the court a short time ago that a verdict had been agreed upon. The result will be announced at approximately 2:15.

ORLANDO, Fla. — The jury has reached a verdict in the murder trial of Casey Anthony, who is accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. Judge Belvin Perry says he will read the verdict at 1:15 p.m. Chicago time Tuesday.

The Florida jury deliberated for more than 10 hours. If convicted of first-degree murder, the 25-year-old Anthony could get a death sentence.

She could also be acquitted or convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter.

She is also charged with lying to sheriff’s detectives investigating her daughter’s 2008 disappearance.

The panel of seven women and five men appeared briefly in the courtroom Tuesday before Perry sent them to continue their work behind closed doors. The jurors had worked through much of the long weekend, hearing closing arguments Sunday and Monday morning and deliberating for six hours that afternoon.

Such a short deliberation time sounds bad for the defense, good for the prosecution. Of course the OJ jury only deliberated for four hours, but he had better attorney’s and a biased jury.

I’ll add more info as I get it. Let us know what you’re hearing.


Tuesday Reads: Voodoo Economics, Whistleblowing, Torture, and Violence against Women and Children

Coffe and Morning News, by Tim Nyberg

Good Morning!!! Gee, that title doesn’t look so cheery, does it? Sorry, but please read on. Since we just ended a long holiday weekend, there’s not a whole lot of news happening, but I located a few interesting reads for you.

Dakinikat has been hammering away at the lack of economic knowledge in the media and in our government. Yesterday, she pointed me to this great piece by Mark Thoma in which he once again explained what actually caused the economic meltdown and why our “leaders” are doing the wrong things to help the economy recover.

I’ve written about this so much it’s hard to muster the will to take it on yet again, especially with the attitude it deserves, and I liked the second column better. But with David Brooks, George Will, and a new book by Gretchen Morgenson and Josh Rosner recently pushing the idea that Fannie, Freddie, and Democrats caused the financial crisis it’s important to push back. The right is very good at repeating their story line over and over and over, and if that redundancy goes unmatched — if they are allowed to have the last word many, many times over — they stand a good chance of capturing the narrative.

Actually, they’ve already “captured the narrative,” and President Obama has bought into it too. I don’t know if I can excerpt this piece, you really need to read the whole thing. But here’s just a bit:

…the targets for home ownership that supposedly led to Fannie and Freddie’s aggressive entry into subprime markets were set in 1992. If these targets were the problem, why didn’t the crisis occur sooner?

….if Fannie and Freddie had never existed, securitization would have likely happened anyway. As Barry Ritholtz notes, “securitized credit card receivables, auto loans, small biz loans, etc. took place without GSEs. I assume there would likely have been a private sector version for conforming loans, the way there was a private sector securitizing response to the demand for non-conforming (sub-prime) loans.”

The bottom line is that the case that the CRA, Fannie, and Freddie – and by implication Democrats supporting these institutions – were key players in the crisis is at odds with the evidence. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots for reasons to be concerned about Fannie and Freddie, and I’m not trying to defend them or their choices, but the idea that support of these institutions caused the financial crisis is wrong.

Hey, I’ve said this till I’m blue in the face, but I’ll say it again. We needed to put a Democrat in the White House in 2008.

Paul Krugman is also lamenting the economic ignorance in high places.

Watching the evolution of economic discussion in Washington over the past couple of years has been a disheartening experience. Month by month, the discourse has gotten more primitive; with stunning speed, the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis have been forgotten, and the very ideas that got us into the crisis — regulation is always bad, what’s good for the bankers is good for America, tax cuts are the universal elixir — have regained their hold.

And now trickle-down economics — specifically, the idea that anything that increases corporate profits is good for the economy — is making a comeback.

On the face of it, this seems bizarre. Over the last two years profits have soared while unemployment has remained disastrously high. Why should anyone believe that handing even more money to corporations, no strings attached, would lead to faster job creation?

Nonetheless, trickle-down is clearly on the ascendant — and even some Democrats are buying into it.

Once again, if we had put a Democrat in the White House in 2008, perhaps things would be different….

Via Kevin Drum, this article about NJ Governor Chris Christie contains some priceless quotes from NJ Senate President Stephen Sweeney.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney went to bed furious Thursday night after reviewing the governor’s line-item veto of the state budget. He woke up Friday morning even angrier.

“This is all about him being a bully and a punk,” he said in an interview Friday. “I wanted to punch him in his head.”

Sweeney had just risked his political neck to support the governor’s pension and health reform, and his reward was a slap across the face. The governor’s budget was a brusque rejection of every Democratic move, and Sweeney couldn’t even get an audience with the governor to discuss it.

“You know who he reminds me of?” Sweeney says. “Mr. Potter from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ the mean old bastard who screws everybody”….The governor’s budget, he says, is full of vindictive cuts designed to punish Democrats, and anyone else who dared to defy him. And he is furious that the governor refused to talk to him during the final week….“He’s mean-spirited,” Sweeney said in the Friday interview. “He’s angry. If you don’t do what he says, I liken it to being spoiled, I’m going to get my way, or else.” And: “He’s a rotten prick.”

Jeeze, why doesn’t he tell us how he really feels?

Glenn Greenwald has a great post up about Bradley Manning’s motives for whistleblowing, drawn from some recently released “chat logs and other on-line communications” between Manning and another young man. The information was published in New York Magazine in an attempt to make Manning look psychologically troubled, but Greenwald reads the information differently. Here’s how Manning responded when asked what he was trying to accomplish:

hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms – if not, than [sic] we’re doomed – as a species – i will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens – the reaction to the [Collateral Murder] video gave me immense hope; CNN’s iReport was overwhelmed; Twitter exploded – people who saw, knew there was something wrong . . . Washington Post sat on the video… David Finkel acquired a copy while embedded out here. . . . – i want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.

Greenwald goes on to argue that many of Manning’s goals have actually been achieved. He made a difference, and that’s why our government is persecuting him.

At Danger Room there’s a very interesting review of a new book by former CIA operative Glenn Carle. The memoir tells the story of a CIA “black site” and a supposed senior al-Qaida operative that Carle was assigned to break. Eventually, Carle realized the man was innocent.

Uneasy with the CIA’s new, relaxed rules for questioning, which allow him to torture, Carle instead tries to build a rapport with the man he calls CAPTUS. But CAPTUS doesn’t divulge the al-Qaida plans the CIA suspects him of knowing. So the agency sends him to “Hotel California” — an unacknowledged prison, beyond the reach of the Red Cross or international law….

Carle provides the first detailed description of a so-called “black site.” At an isolated “discretely guarded, unremarkable” facility in an undisclosed foreign country (though one where the Soviets once operated), hidden CIA interrogators work endless hours while heavy metal blasts captives’ eardrums and disrupts their sleep schedules. But Carle — codename: REDEMPTOR — comes to believe CAPTUS is innocent….

“We had destroyed the man’s life based on an error,” he writes. But the black site is a bureaucratic hell: CAPTUS’ reluctance to tell CIA what it wants to hear makes the far-off agency headquarters more determined to torture him. Carle’s resistance, shared by some at Hotel California, makes him suspect. He leaves CAPTUS in the black site after 10 intense days, questioning whether his psychological manipulation of CAPTUS made him, ultimately, a torturer himself. Eight years later, the CIA unceremoniously released CAPTUS.

The jury has begun deliberations in the Casey Anthony case. I have continued to watch the trial closely and listened to all of the closing statements.

I know I’ll probably get yelled at for saying this, but if I were on the jury, I would have to go with one of the lesser charges, because there just isn’t any evidence to show how the child was killed. I do believe Casey Anthony should go to prison for a long time, but this trial has turned into a witch hunt.

If a man had done what Anthony did, there would never have been this much publicity and this amount of rage against the perpetrator. I shouldn’t have to point out that both men and women kill their children every day in this country. Both women and children are devalued in this country, and they are routinely abused and murdered. There are a number of reasons why this woman has been treated differently, but what she did is far from unique.

I honestly think Casey’s father George was involved with the disposal of the body at least. What motive did he have? I’ll tell you. George and Cindy Anthony thought the father of the child could have been either George or Casey’s brother Lee. I am convinced there was sexual abuse in that family. I can’t see how Casey could have become what she is without severe abuse. JMHO, based on personal experience and serious study of the effects of child sexual abuse.

Until we get serious about protecting children in this country, children will continue to die at the hands of their parents and other caregivers.

There is some possible news in the other case I’ve been following–the young Indiana University student who disappeared about four weeks ago, Lauren Spierer. The body of a woman has been found in a creek in Indianapolis. There are a couple of other missing women in Indiana, so it’s not clear this is Spierer. I just have a feeling it might be.

Police investigating the disappearance of Indiana University student Lauren Spierer are awaiting the results of an autopsy Tuesday of a decomposed female body found Sunday on the northeast side of Indianapolis.

The body, found a month after the Edgemont, N.Y., native went missing, had not been identified as of Monday night, and Bloomington, Ind., police have given no indication whether it may be her.

Spierer disappeared after a night when she had told her boyfriend she wanted to stay home. There are reports that they had had a fight. After midnight, she went out with some male friends, spent some time with them watching TV and then went with one of the young men to popular local bar. When she returned to her apartment with him, a group of men (possibly friends of her boyfriend) accosted them and punched her companion in the face.

The two then left and supposedly went to this young man’s apartment where he passed out. She then went to another apartment where another male friend lived. This man claims to have seen her leave his place at 4:30AM and turn the corner on her way home, but there is no independent confirmation of that.

At first this was investigated as a stranger abduction, but Spierer’s “friends” have all clammed up, and several have refused to talk to police and have retained lawyers. Most of them, including the boyfriend and the last guy to see Spirer, hightailed it out of town almost immediately. So now it looks like something bad happened to Spierer that night and these “friends” know something.

Since I grew up in Indiana and my sister lives in Bloomington, I’ve been following this case pretty closely. But women “disappear” every day too. Why do Americans tolerate it? Why do so many Americans seem to see the pervasive violence against women in this country as somehow normal?

That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?


SDB Evening News Reads for 063011: Free Trade Abortions and Stupid Spectators

NARAL Pro-Choice America

Kansas Planned Parenthood Update below!

Anyone wonder if and when young women will realize just how bad these new PLUB laws are for their Reproductive Health.  Kansas no longer has on demand abortion services, I can’t believe it has come to this:  Kansas Denies Abortion License For Planned Parenthood : NPR

A Planned Parenthood clinic in Kansas has been denied a state license to allow it to continue performing abortions as of Friday.

That means Kansas will become the only state without a clinic or doctor’s office performing abortions, at least temporarily.

There is more info at this link below, but since it is an AP article, I won’t quote from it…just go and read it yourself.

The Associated Press: Planned Parenthood denied Kan. abortion license

***Updated AP article*** I have a link to Atlanta Journal Constitution here:

APNewsBreak: Kan.: Abortion clinic to get license  | ajc.com

The Kansas health department now says that one of its three abortion providers will receive a license to continue performing abortions.

Joseph Kroll, right, director of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment bureau that wrote new rules for abortion clinics, talks with Kathy Ostrowski, left, in white, the legislative director of Kansans for Life, Thursday, June 30, 2011, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. They are speaking after a state board allowed the rules to take effect, as of July 1, 2011. Planned Parenthood disclosed Thursday that its Kansas clinic had been denied a state license to continue performing abortions as the group filed its own lawsuit to block new state rules that will make Kansas the first state in the nation without an abortion provider. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Kansas Secretary of Administration Dennis Taylor, left, and Secretary of State Kris Kobach, right, listen to a presentation on new regulations for abortion clinics, Thursday, June 30, 2011, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Taylor and Kobach are members of the State Rules and Regulations Board, which is allowing the regulations to take effect on Friday, July 1, 2011. Planned Parenthood disclosed Thursday that its Kansas clinic had been denied a state license to continue performing abortions as the group filed its own lawsuit to block new state rules that will make Kansas the first state in the nation without an abortion provider. (AP Photo/JohnThe Kansas Department of Health and Environment did not name the provider Thursday.

But Planned Parenthood officials said that state inspectors returned to its Kansas City area clinic for a second visit Thursday after denying it a license previously.

The state’s two other clinics have not been inspected for licensing under a new law taking effect Friday, along with health regulations for the providers. If none of the clinics were to receive a license, Kansas would become the first state in the country without an abortion provider.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

And hey, check out what Senator Orrin Hatch (R) is trying to pull now:  Hatch Aims To Tack Abortion Ban on to Trade Pact | Mother Jones

What does the Korean free trade agreement have to do with abortion? You got me. But Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) plans to offer an amendment in today’s markup of a handful of trade bills in the Senate Finance Committee that would bar Medicaid funding for abortions.

The amendment is described as seeking “to close the loophole that sends taxpayer dollars to fund operational costs for abortions.” It would block Medicaid dollars from being used at “any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed.” It’s hard to begin on how bad this would be. Basically, any facility that offered abortion for any reason—even a hospital providing it as life-saving emergency care for a woman—would not be able to accept Medicaid payment. The effect would be that hospitals and clinics that currently offer abortion would likely stop doing so in order to be able to continue accepting Medicaid money, and the low-income women who rely on Medicaid would be effectively denied abortion coverage entirely.

The article goes on to say it will more than likely not pass, but what the hell? The fact that it was even put into this Korean free trade agreement is proof enough that these PLUBs will try anything to get their anti-woman agenda passed.

Whitey Bulger was assigned a defense attorney today, and not just any suit in the Public Defender’s office:  Judge taps high-profile defender for mob boss Bulger | Reuters

Former Boston mob boss and accused murderer James “Whitey” Bulger will have a high-profile criminal defense attorney, J. W. Carney, represent him at public expense, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler rejected the prosecution’s argument that Bulger should not get publicly funded counsel in his pending trial for racketeering, 19 counts of murder and other crimes.

There was no evidence that Bulger had the means to pay for his defense, Bowler said, setting his arraignment for July 6.

As far as the $800,000 in cash they found on Bulger when he was taken into custody last week:  Bulger victim wins lien freezing mobster’s $800k – CBS News

In other criminal news, the Defense rest in the Casey Anthony trial.  Not much more to say about the trial, this headline pretty much does it…

Casey Anthony Won’t Testify – The Daily Beast

Since the defense rested today, closing arguments will probably be heard on Saturday…then comes the media’s jury watch that may rival the one when OJ was on trial. Back when the jury was deliberating whether OJ did it or not, social networks were not as prevalent or ingrained into our society as it is now.

I will end with this nugget of stupidity that was seen at the end of court today.  Matthew Bartlett, a 28-year-old waiter at TGIFriday’s flipped a bird at Prosecutor Ashton while the jury was in court…fortunately they did not see it!

Ashleigh Banfield

He has to also pay $223 court cost, so a total of $623 in fines and 6 days in the county jail…for this,

OSCaseyAnthony‎ Pix of spectator Matthew Bartlett busted for busting out middle finger to Ashton. #CaseyAnthony yfrog.com/hs3f8dbj

What a dumb ass…

Well, that is all I can say about that.

If you have any news links you want to post, please do so in the comment section below.