Georgia Says No To KKK, Detour on Burning Crosses for now…

Good Evening!

After keeping up with the situation in my hometown of Banjoville, it was so wonderful to see this headline tonight.

Georgia official: KKK won’t be allowed to ‘adopt’ highway – CNN.com

Citing safety concerns and the organization’s history, Georgia transportation officials said Tuesday they would not allow a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan to “adopt” a one-mile stretch of highway in North Georgia.

The Klan chapter wanted to clean a stretch of Georgia State Route 515 in Union County, Georgia, according to paperwork obtained by CNN.

The application was filed by the International Keystone Knights of the KKK on May 21.

Keith Golden, commissioner for the state Department of Transportation, wrote the chapter’s secretary that officials determined the mountain roadway, with a speed limit of 65 mph, was not a safe place for cleanup volunteers to work.

Golden’s letter to April Chambers cited other concerns.

“The impact of erecting a sign naming an organization which has a long-rooted history of civil disturbance would cause a significant public concern,” he wrote. “Impacts include safety of the traveling public, potential social unrest, driver distraction or interference with the flow of traffic.”

Video at the link.

I know that April Chambers, the Keystone KKK secretary is reported to have said….”We’ll see them in court.”  The ACLU has received a request for assistance and is looking into it…DOT rejects Klan application to adopt highway, legal challenge likely  | ajc.com

Harley Hanson, who filed the application for the Klan, has pledged to sue if he was rejected.

Missouri lost a lengthy legal battle to ban the KKK from adopting a road in that state.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal urged state Transportation Commissioner Keith Golden to reject the Klan. In an e-mail to Golden on Tuesday, Deal’s chief of staff, Chris Riley, said the governor “does not support the approval of the application.”

In other news…

George Zimmerman wife arrested: George Zimmerman’s wife arrested, charged with perjury  This is really no surprise, she lied on the stand and the Judge was not “happy” about it. There is something to be said for seeing the mug shots of both the Zimmermans on that link.

  • Seminole County jail mugshots of George Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie Zimmerman.
Seminole County jail mugshots of George Zimmerman and his wife,… (Seminole County jail, Seminole…)
prosecutors say Shellie Zimmerman spent the days before that April hearing shifting tens of thousands of dollars out of her husband’s account, then deliberately lied to the judge.On Tuesday, she was arrested on a perjury charge and booked into John E. Polk Correctional Facility. It’s the same jail her husband has called home since the deception was revealed earlier this month, leading the judge to revoke his bond.”The prosecutor sent a strong message that you have to tell the truth in court because it is the whole basis of the American judicial system,” said Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Trayvon’s family, after learning of the new arrest.

In an affidavit, prosecutors revealed new details about Shellie Zimmerman’s alleged efforts to hide money from the court.

Four days before she testified to having no knowledge of the funds, the affidavit says, Shellie Zimmerman began a series of transfers into her account — totaling $74,000 from April 16 to April 19.

The affidavit says about $47,000 more was transferred from George Zimmerman’s account to his sister’s. Shellie Zimmerman withdrew about $18,000 more in cash, prosecutors say.

Prosecutors say the Zimmermans used a rudimentary “code” to discuss the money in recorded jailhouse phone calls — referring to $100,000, for example, as “$100.” At least two of the calls, the state alleges, were made while Shellie Zimmerman and her husband’s sister were at a local credit union making the transactions.

Zimmerman told his wife to “pay off all the bills” with the money, prosecutors said, including an American Express card and a Sam’s Club card. He also instructed her on how to pay his bail.

According to the affidavit, after her husband was released on bond days after the hearing, she transferred more than $85,000 back into his account. A branch manager at their credit union told prosecutors he knew the couple and saw Shellie Zimmerman talking to her husband on the phone April 16.

The manager said he had helped Shellie Zimmerman transfer control of George Zimmerman’s account, at one point speaking directly to George Zimmerman by phone.

I have a couple more news links for you:

Top conservative says read my lips: Don’t sign ‘no new tax’ pledge

As a conservative Republican, Lindsey Graham has never had a problem promising not to raise taxes.  Like almost every other Republican member of Congress, he has signed the anti-tax pledge put forth by Grover Norquist’s group Americans for Tax Reform.

But now Graham says the debt crisis is so severe that the tax pledge — which says no tax loopholes can be eliminated unless every dollar raised by closing  loopholes goes to tax cuts — has got to go.

“When you eliminate a deduction, it’s okay with me to use some of that money to get us out of debt. That’s where I disagree with the pledge,” said Graham.

Jeb yesterday…Graham today…hmmmm…

And, remember that post I did about the only newspaper in the city of New Orleans going to digital? Well, here ya go: Times-Picayune lays off nearly one-third of its staff | NOLA.com

Managers at The Times-Picayune are informing more than 200 members of the newspaper staff today that their last day at the company will be Sept. 30. The Times-Picayune, according to company executives, is shrinking its overrall staff — including news, advertising, circulation and other departments — by 32 percent, or 201 employees.

Times-Picayune editor Jim Amoss on announced changes
Times-Picayune editor Jim Amoss on announced changes
Times-Picayune editor Jim Amoss talks about the recently announced changes coming to the newspaper and its online partner, nola.com. Watch video

In the news operation alone, 84 of the 173 people currently employed in the Times-Picayune newsroom were notified Tuesday that they will lose their jobs and be given severance packages.

Finally, I want to leave you with a  couple of cartoons…Mike Luckovich is back!  6/13 Mike Luckovich cartoon: Economic policies | Mike Luckovich

6/12 Mike Luckovich cartoon: Adopt-a-highway | Mike Luckovich


Just another threatening night in Georgia!

Well, this post was originally going to be about the heightening security in my home state of Georgia, for those doctors offices and clinics that provide LEGAL abortions. The reason for this beefed up police patrol? Crazy people who seem to care more for a clump of cells than for the finished product.

However, instead of just focusing on my state I will take the time to do a commentary on the PLUBs in general.

First…let’s see what is going on down in Georgia.

I mentioned this first link from the Atlanta Journal Constitution in a comment on Friday morning. Women’s clinics on heightened alert

Heightened fears about a series of burglaries and fires targeting abortion and OB-GYN clinics around metro Atlanta have triggered heightened security across the country.

The FBI, which is leading a joint investigation, , is looking at the cases as possibly domestic terrorism or civil rights violations based on federal laws against intimidation, according to ATF spokesman Richard Coes.

Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, FB, FBI The FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI Atlanta Civil Rights Squad on Wednesday night released surveillance images of a gray Mercury Marquis with tinted windows and large chrome wheels. The car belongs to a man investigators want to speak with regarding recent fires at obstetrician/gynecologist offices in Cobb and Gwinnett counties.

“We are concerned about the escalation and activity,” said Vicki Saporta, president of National Abortion Federation, which sent out notifications to all member clinics about the Atlanta incidents twice this week, urging them to take additional precautions. “It’s not a good sign when one arson follows another, after following several burglaries. Something clearly is escalating there and we’re hoping that the strong law enforcement so far can stop it.”

The National Abortion Federation is also sending a two-person security team of paid staffers to Atlanta on Wednesday to help law enforcement and the clinics. Each of the four clinics targeted here are linked to doctors who either visited the state Capitol or voiced concerns to lawmakers about new abortion restrictions that were signed into law this month.

Today, Boston Boomer sent me this link…which she and I both agree, should be on the Front Page. We both are encouraged by the FBI and ATF response to the obviously connected crimes.  My guess is, this is the possible reason for the terrorist attacks.  OB-GYNS worried burglaries, fires are retaliation

“You hate to point fingers, but when you start to see a pattern I think it’s a little more worrisome,” said Dr. Richard Zane, whose Atlanta Women’s Health Group office in Sandy Springs was burglarized March 4.

Act 631, signed by Gov. Nathan Deal earlier this month, reduces the time period for when an elective abortion can occur from about 26 weeks to 20 weeks. Some doctors said restricting medical exceptions to abortions between 20 and 26 weeks would prevent them from treating mothers who are having difficult pregnancies.

The crimes began shortly after the January legislative session started.

The FBI and ATF are really taking the threats seriously. These are clearly being correctly investigated for what they are. Terrorist Acts.  FBI steps in as attacks on Georgia women’s clinics escalate

The FBI and ATF are conducting a joint investigation of what appears to be a sharp escalation in a campaign to intimidate and threaten providers of women’s health care, including abortion services.

In recent weeks, clinics specializing in women’s health services have been the scene of three burglaries and now two fires. The first fire took place at a private OB/GYN office in the north Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett on Sunday, the second just Wednesday at the Alpha Group GYN offices, a large and bustling facility in Marietta.

Raw Story asked Jaime Chandra, Communications Manager for Atlanta’s Feminist Women’s Health Center, if she believes that the attacks are related to Georgia’s recent passage of stringent new anti-abortion measures. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” she said, “I would love to believe that it’s not related and that we live in a civil society, but, no, I don’t think it’s coincidental.”

Chandra pointed out that all of the doctors targeted so far are part of a group of OB GYN physicians who spoke out against the state’s controversial HB 954, a so-called “fetal pain” bill that placed tight new restrictions on late-term abortions and was passed into law on March 29. Under the new rules, physicians and other health care workers who provide abortion services outside the confines of the law are subject to criminal prosecution.

It was after the physicians’ group had made their resistance to the law known that the first break-in occurred. On Sunday, March 4, the North Atlanta Women’s Specialists’ offices were burglarized by a thief who stole two laptop computers that contained employees’ names and personal information. A second break-in took place on Saturday, March 17, when a suspect broke into the offices of The Georgia Obstetrical & Gynecological Society, again stealing laptop computers with staff members’ personal information.

The Raw Story article continues…

Dr. David Byck, president of the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society told The Suwannee Patch, “The police officers said that the break-in looked well planned, and it’s frightening that the personal and family information of our membership has been stolen. There cannot be a good intent behind such a crime.”

The FBI has released images of the suspect,

He is described as a male between 5-feet-10-inches in height and 6-feet-one-inch. On Wednesday, he wore khaki pants and a blue polo shirt. He was driving a gray Mercury Marquis with tinted windows and what the police called “large, chrome wheels.”

Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, told the Journal-Constitution that the crimes are alarming because of their rapid escalation. “It’s not a good sign when one arson follows another, after following several burglaries. Something clearly is escalating there and we’re hoping that the strong law enforcement so far can stop it.” The National Abortion Federation and law enforcement agencies have issued warnings to staff and patients at women’s health centers in and around Atlanta to exercise reasonable caution and to be aware of their surroundings at all times.

When asked if she fears for her safety, FWHC’s Chandra said that she and her organization have been very impressed by the coordinated response by law enforcement, who are on the premises at all times, in both marked and unmarked cars. Threats, she said, aren’t really something she concentrates on. They’re just another part of doing business.

“We’re not afraid,” she said, “We’re confident about the safety of our patients and staff. The most important thing is for us to serve the women who need our services and to treat them with dignity and respect.”

Watch this report on the attacks, which aired Thursday, May 24, embedded below via Atlanta’s Fox 5 News

Go to the link to watch the report.

Here is the PLUB response to the crimes:

FBI probes fires at women’s clinics in Georgia | Reuters

Georgia Right to Life, which opposes abortion, said in a statement that it “categorically condemns violence of any kind. Such actions are abhorrent and have no place in a civil society.”

I guess that is something, but the way these nut PLUBs spread their hate…and their “pro-life” beliefs, what else would you expect.

Which leads me to this, a few articles from around the globe on just how wacked up the GOP is…and what the recent Gallup poll suggest American’s feel about abortion and gay marriage.

Why are we becoming more liberal on homosexuality but not abortion? — Politics — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

People view a display of images at the University of Maine Monday, April 9, 2012. A group called the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, protesting abortion, displayed images it calls the Genocide Awareness Project.

Gabor Degre | BDN
People view a display of images at the University of Maine Monday, April 9, 2012. A group called the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, protesting abortion, displayed images it calls the Genocide Awareness Project.

Advocates of abortion rights, responding to the Gallup report, point out that calling yourself pro-life doesn’t mean you support every restriction. The “vast majority of Americans continues to support legal abortion in all or certain circumstances,” observes NARAL Pro-choice America, adding that “other independent polling shows little change.” NARAL cites data from the Pew Research Center showing that most Americans still think abortion should be legal in most cases. Planned Parenthood offers the same rebuttal: “A majority of Americans still believe abortion should remain a safe and legal medical procedure for a woman to consider if and when she needs it, and these fundamental views have held steady for more than a decade.”

But that’s the puzzle. At best, support for abortion is barely holding its ground, way below support for contraception, while approval of gay sex and gay marriage are soaring. Something about abortion continues to alienate people who are willing to take a more liberal view of birth control and homosexuality. What is it?

Pro-choice groups see abortion as an issue of women’s rights, reproductive freedom and respecting privacy. But look at long-term data from the General Social Survey, a multi-decade project of the National Opinion Research Center. The survey shows that over the past 40 years, public opinion has shifted in the pro-choice direction on all three of those themes. And yet, contrary to the pro-choice inference, it hasn’t shifted on abortion.

From 1972 to 2006, the percentage of survey respondents who said premarital sex was “not wrong at all” rose from 28 to 46. The percentage who said gay sex was “not wrong at all” tripled, from 11 to 32 percent. And from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s — the years during which the survey asked about women’s rights — opinions moved clearly to the left.

The percentage of respondents who approved of a married woman earning money even if her husband could support her increased by 15 points. The percentage who disagreed that women should stay home and let men run the country rose by 20 points. The percentage who said it was OK for a wife to refuse to have children even if her husband wanted them also increased by 15 points. Eighty-two percent of respondents took that position, affirming a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions.

But the abortion numbers didn’t follow. From the 1970s to 2006, the percentage of General Social Survey respondents who said it should be possible for a woman to get a legal abortion shifted two points to the left in cases where the woman “wants it for any reason,” six points to the right in cases of a “strong chance of serious defect in the baby,” and seven points to the right in cases where the family “cannot afford any more children.” By 2006, the last year these questions were asked, only a minority supported legal abortion in the “any reason” or “can’t afford” scenarios.

Where is the data on the polling question, “will you be willing to personally pay benefits for low-income women and their children after they were  forced into carrying the pregnancy to term?” (And don’t give me the adoption angle, having an abortion is way more different from carrying a pregnancy to term and then being in the position to give the former fetus up. )

Polls don’t settle what’s right and wrong. But they do challenge our assumptions about the structure of beliefs. When public opinion turns toward gay marriage without abandoning fidelity and family formation, it calls into question our fear that extending marriage to same-sex couples threatens the institution.

And when public opinion turns toward reproductive freedom and equal rights for women but continues to oppose abortion, it punctures our dismissal of pro-life sentiment as a vestige of right-wing sexism. Spin and sound bites won’t make the evidence go away. Sooner or later, you’ll have to face it.

Evidence of public opinion?

You know how opinionated I am about the right to choose.  The bottom line is this, whether you choose to have an abortion on not…it is your own business and it is your own right. Don’t give me shit about killing these rights, and at the same time, bitch about the government getting involved in you choice of lightbulb.

Here is an op/ed from LA Times, which like the link above is right leaning.

Whither ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’? – latimes.com

Now for the next question: Should people continue to refer to the “pro-choice” and “pro-life” movements? Over the years journalists have struggled over whether these terms are neutral placeholders for wordier formulations such as “pro-abortion rights” and “antiabortion.” But in political discourse generally I think they have established themselves as pseudo-proper names, rather like Democrat or Republican.

Mention the “pro-life movement” and most everyone visualizes someone carrying a sign calling for life to be protected from the moment of conception, maybe even in cases of rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s life. Likewise, the term “pro-choice movement” conjures up a spokeswoman for NARAL or Planned Parenthood, not someone who reluctantly endorses abortion in rare and extreme circumstances.

One reason I think these terms will survive as movement descriptors is that activists on both sides of the abortion issue tend to be purists (or extremists, if you prefer). It’s hard to rally a crowd on behalf of a finely textured position such as “legal in the first trimester, illegal after that except for rape or incest or the likelihood of this birth defect but not that one.”

The full Gallup poll results will be spun by both “pro-” groups as proof that one unnuanced view or the other is closer to majority status. No surprise there. The abortion wars have always included a war of words.

Make you wonder, with all the past comparisons to livestock, cattle, goats and whatever other animal you can think of, at what time will women find that their dog has more rights than they do?

Check this out here, from the Irish Times, it is their take on the Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein :  Republican Party too ‘wacko’ to still be considered mainstream – The Irish Times – Sat, May 26, 2012

AMERICA: Two prominent political scientists say the Grand Old Party has become more loyal to party than to country and is to blame for dysfunction in the US political system

THE REPUBLICAN presidential candidate Mitt Romney embraces the idea that climate change is a hoax.

His immigration policy is so extreme it’s been endorsed by Russell Pearce and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the architects of Arizona’s law.

Allen West, a Republican representative from Florida, accused up to to 81 Democratic congressmen of being members of the Communist party. No one called him on it.

At a Republican primary debate last year, the audience cheered for the idea that an unemployed man who loses his medical insurance should be allowed to die.

These examples are cited by two prominent political scientists, Thomas Mann of the liberal Brookings Institution and Norman Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, as evidence the Grand Old Party is no longer mainstream.

The GOP, they write, has become “an insurgent outlier – ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition”.

Here is a link to Joe Scarborough, if you are interested: Gay marriage, abortion and the independent voter – POLITICO.com

Despite large swings in the way voters identify themselves on this issue, politicians should also take note that the majority of Americans tell pollsters they still believe abortion should be legal in some cases.

So what does it mean? Perhaps that attitudes on abortion are changing, but not overnight. The same is true of gay marriage, as Team Obama learned earlier this month. Chicago privately concedes that President Obama is now more likely to lose the swing state of North Carolina because of his recent statement on gay marriage.

Republicans are just as likely to lose suburban women and other swing voters if they dart too far right on abortion over the next six months. The GOP presidential primary campaign underlined that fact in bright red ink earlier this year.

Still, attitudes are changing on both issues. And any politician who believes he can blindly follow a tired party line will soon find himself out of touch and out of office.

Well, my response to all these opinion pieces on the Gallup poll…and the heightened terroristic threats is this.

Spanish Doctor Botches Abortion, Forced to Pay for ‘Oops’ Baby

A 24-year-old woman in Spain gave birth to a baby boy — not terribly newsworthy, except for the fact that she’d already had an abortion.

The woman had her abortion at seven weeks, then returned two weeks later for a scan. The doctor assured her that the fetus was gone. When she finally realized she was pregnant — and got a fresh scan for confirmation — the young woman was told it was too late to have an abortion.

She sued the doctor for damages: first, to support the child he’d supposedly aborted, and second, for the emotional stress of not being sure if the baby would be born healthy following a failed abortion attempt. (Thankfully, he was.)

The doctor will now be paying 1,000 euro a month in what amounts to child support.

Hey, if these PLUBs are so intent on passing laws to force women into motherhood, or making it “legal” for a doctor to misrepresent the health of a fetus to their patient, then they should be held accountable for the cost of these former fetuses. The word “they” includes the Governors, law makers, voters (who voted for the damn law)…including but not limited to….the taxi driver refusing to drive women to planned parenthood clinics, and the doctors, pharmacist and nurses, who have to answer to their “higher believe” in holding a fertilized egg higher than the life of the woman that is carrying it.


Wednesday Reads: Austerity, Headlights, Pontoons, Tetons and Knockers

Good Wednesday Morning

Today I am going to focus on a few states and the crazy things the governors, mayors, council members and lawmakers are doing. It is going to get you fired up! Well, at least the article about Topeka, Kansas will.

Lets start out with Obama’s latest “heartbroken” moment, Obama ‘heartbroken’ NBA season will be delayed – The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room

President Obama said Tuesday that he’s “a little heartbroken that the NBA season is getting delayed” at a fundraiser in Orlando with Magic star Dwight Howard.

NBA commissioner David Stern announced Monday that at least the first two weeks of the basketball season would be cancelled after players and owners were unable to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement. Obama said he had discussed the situation backstage with Howard, and hopes to see players back on the court “soon.”

The president is an unabashed basketball fan, often playing pickup games with staff and friends. The president attended an NBA game between the Washington Wizards and his hometown Chicago Bulls. Last August, Obama invited a dream team of NBA greats to play basketball with him on his birthday.

Oh, give me a freaking break! The man has this to say about the NBA lockout, but is silent when it comes to Georgia executing a man on eye-witness testimony alone, which I might add in Troy Davis case…was clearly a matter of coerced witnesses…that recanted their testimony.

Here is the latest crazy ass scheme out of Georgia…Georgia Considers Replacing Firefighters With Free Prison Laborers | ThinkProgress

Forcing prison inmates to work as unpaid laborers is not a new practice, but GOP-controlled states are increasing taking the idea to extremes as they face budget shortfalls and refuse to raise taxes. Under Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) anti-collective bargaining law, at least one Wisconsin county replaced some union workers with prison labor. Inmates are not paid for their work, but may receive time off of their sentences.

Now Camden County in Georgia is considering tasking prisoners to take on one of the most dangerous jobs there is: fighting fires. Using prisoners as firefighters is a cost-cutting measure that’s expected to save the county a bundle:

A select group of inmates may be exchanging their prison jumpsuits for firefighting gear in Camden County.
The inmates-to-firefighters program is one of several money-saving options the Board of County Commissioners is looking into to stop residents’ fire insurance costs from more than doubling. […] The inmate firefighter program would be the most cost-effective choice, saving the county more than $500,000 a year by some estimates. But that option is already controversial, drawing criticism from the firefighters who would have to work alongside – and supervise – the prisoners.
The Camden program would put two inmates in each of three existing firehouses, and they would respond to all emergencies – including residential – alongside traditional firefighters. The inmates would have no guard, but would be monitored by a surveillance system and by the traditional firefighters, who would undergo training to guard the inmates.

The inmates are not going to get paid to put their lives in danger fighting fires…but in the same realm of slave labor i.e. the Georgia Works program, they are eligible to get jobs as firefighters, five years after their conviction dates…instead of the usual ten.

Naturally, many are questioning the wisdom of asking prisoners to put their own lives at risk in a dangerous job they don’t necessarily want to do. Not only would the program jeopardize inmates’ safety, but their potential lack of enthusiasm and training could jeopardize the lives of fire victims they are supposed to be saving. Firefighter Stuart Sullivan told the Florida Times-Union that firefighters choose the profession because they have a passion for serving the public and helping people, while the inmates would only be there as an alternate way to serve their sentences.

Many firefighters are speaking out against the idea, and don’t relish the additional responsibility of having to guard and worry about inmates as they are trying to put out fires and save lives. This distraction could be another life-threatening consequence of the measure. The program also runs the risk of inmates escaping — all in all a very dangerous proposition for public safety just to save money.

California is already using 4,000 firefighting inmates throughout the state…

On to Florida, and Voldemort’s, I mean Rick Scott’s vision for higher education.

Rick Scott to Liberal Arts Majors: Drop Dead | Mother Jones

Florida’s unpopular tea party governor, Rick Scott, wants more of the state’s youths to pick up college degrees… but only if the degrees are useful to corporations and don’t teach students to question social norms. “You know what? They need to get education in areas where they can get jobs,” Scott told a right-wing radio host Monday morning. He continued:

“You know, we don’t need a lot more anthropologists in the state. It’s a great degree if people want to get it, but we don’t need them here. I want to spend our dollars giving people science, technology, engineering, math degrees. That’s what our kids need to focus all their time and attention on. Those type of degrees. So when they get out of school, they can get a job.”

It’s no idle sound bite. The governor, an ex-corporate CEO with a checkered business past, is pushing a plan that would all but kill liberal arts and social sciences at the Sunshine State’s public universities—and he’s got support from the Legislature’s psychology-hatin’ GOP majority.

Read the whole article, I can’t believe this guy is Governor! It makes me even more frightened about a possible Cain presidency…it can happen.

The next link I have for you is one I’ve mentioned before, only now the thing is a reality…not a proposal.  Domestic Violence Law Repealed By Lawmakers In Topeka, Kansas

Leaders in Kansas’ capital city repealed a local law against domestic violence late Tuesday as part of a controversial plan that supporters blamed on budget concerns but victims’ advocates chastised as austerity run amok.

Topeka’s city council and mayor voted 7-3 to approve the repeal, saying such cases are better handled by county or state courts. They also said retaining the ordinance would muddy the debate over the county prosecutor’s recent decision to stop prosecuting domestic battery cases.

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor stopped pursuing domestic battery cases and other misdemeanors in September, citing deep cuts to his office’s budget. Topeka, the largest city in the county, responded by proposing to repeal its domestic violence ordinance, saying it didn’t want to be stuck with the bill for picking up those cases.

Advocates for abuse victims were outraged by both plans, saying they went too far.

“I just asked everybody to consider the message we’re sending,” said City Councilwoman Denise Everhart, who voted against the repeal.

But interim City Manager Dan Stanley said Tuesday’s vote puts Topeka in a better position to negotiate with county officials.

“It removes the ambiguity,” he said after the vote.

Oh sure it does…It just means that if you are a resident of Topeka, your domestic violence case gets ignored transferred to a county or state court. (Not guaranteeing the DA, Chad Taylor will pursue the matter…because he won’t.) As this post at RH Reality Check points out:

In 7-to-3 Vote, Topeka City Council Fails to Reverse Decision Releasing Domestic Abusers From Jail to “Save Money” | RH Reality Check

Domestic violence abusers will continue to roam free within Topeka city limits, now making Topeka, Kansas the homophobia and domestic violence capitol of the world.  A vote by the Topeka City Council tonight to repeal their municipal city ordinance allowing domestic abusers to leave jail to save money–defeated 7 to 3–leaves the women of Topeka with no recourse against abuse within the city.  If they wish for justice to be served, they will have to be geographically located outside of the city limits, within Shawnee County.

Mayor Bunten, who has made numerous promises of working toward a compromise, admitted tonight that he hasn’t even talked to Shawnee County DA Chad Taylor in ten days. Ten days of batterers being let free to repeat their abuse.

Mayor Bunten also stated that the Shawnee County DA would be forced into the position of prosecuting domestic violence crimes with the repeal of the city ordinance.  That statement was incorrect, in fact, the DA’s prosecutorial power is discretionary.  This leaves the women of Topeka without any recourse against their abusers.

Going back to the HuffPo article, Rita Smith, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, had this to say about the repeal…

“I can guarantee that people who are abusing are using this as a way to say, `See, I told you that nobody cares’,” she said.

And she is right! Taylor said his “hand was forced” because of budget cuts, he considered things like employee furloughs and laying off staff, but instead decided to go with putting women and children’s lives on the chopping block. Okay now look at this:

Topeka has had at least 35 reported incidents of domestic battery or assault since early September. Those cases are not being pursued, and as of last Friday, 18 people jailed have been released without facing charges, according to Topeka police. Prosecutors and police have refused to discuss details of the cases out of concern for victims’ privacy, making it difficult to assess in what situations suspects aren’t being prosecuted.

Can you believe this shit! It is unbelievable and sick!

“It can’t continue like this. They have to be prosecuted,” said County Commissioner Ted Ensley, a Democrat. “Supposing they’re charged and they’re not prosecuted and it ends up they go back and cause a death of a woman or a child.”

Hey Ted, news flash here…it doesn’t matter if this asinine repeal causes the death of a woman or child, they don’t count has human beings, they are only chattel. It is obvious that most of the politicians in your state don’t give a fuck what happens to former fetus women and children.

So, what kind of man is DA Taylor?

shawnee county district attorney: chad taylor

Chad Taylor grew up on his family’s farm as the youngest of three boys. Chad attended Topeka Public Schools through 5th grade and graduated from Silver Lake High School. Chad was active in sports and debate competition while at Silver Lake.

Chad graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelors in Accounting and Business Administration. He then attended Chicago-Kent College of Law where he received his law degree.

After graduating from law school, Chad worked in the Public Power Industry. In December of 2001, Chad opened his private practice in Topeka, Kansas. The Law Offices of Chadwick J. Taylor argued a broad range of cases in both federal and state courts.

Chad has served the City of Topeka as a Municipal Court Judge ProTem, and as an administrative hearing officer. Additionally, he serves the State of Kansas as an Administrative Hearing officers for State Worker’s Compensation Fraud and Abuse Unit. Chad has served as Chairman of the Shawnee County Civil Service Board and as a member of the Shawnee County Planning Commission.

Chad is a member of the Active 20/30 club, volunteering time for the betterment of children in Shawnee County. He is a member of the 25th Anniversary Class of Leadership Topeka.

His spare time and hobbies consist of riding motorcycles and working on the family farm.

Chad and his wife Karily share their Topeka home with two dogs, Farley and Reagan.

No sisters and no kids, my guess is he made sure to check Karily’s teeth before he said “I Do.” How else can you explain the callous attitude toward women and children from a man like Taylor.  (Did you get the crap about being a member of a club for the betterment of children?How hypocritical is that?)

Here is his contact info:

sncoda@snco.us • 785.233.8200×4330 • Fax: 785.291.4909
200 SE 7th Street, Room 214, Topeka, KS, 66603

Twitter and Facebook

But we can’t put it all on Taylor, after all he only stopped reviewing and enforcing the domestic violence cases…the Mayor of Topeka and 7 of 10 council members voted for the repeal, which insures the city won’t get the cases dumped on them.

The vote came after interim city manager Dan Stanley recommended the governing body approve the repeal to make it clear that only the district attorney’s office is legally empowered to prosecute domestic batteries committed in Topeka and can’t “dump” that responsibility on the city.

[…]

Taylor said Sept. 8 he would no longer prosecute misdemeanors committed in Topeka, including domestic battery, because his office could no longer do so after county commissioners cut his budget by 10 percent. Taylor said the move would require the city attorney’s office to prosecute those cases, an obligation Stanley said the city was unprepared to execute.

I tried to get the names of the members who voted for the repeal, but there is nothing on the city’s government site…however, they had the info here:

City repeals ordinance banning domestic battery | Cjonline.com Mobile

Mayor Bill Bunten and council members Karen Hiller, John Alcala, Sylvia Ortiz, Chad Manspeaker, Bob Archer and Andrew Gray voted in favor of the repeal, while council members Denise Everhart, Larry Wolgast and Richard Harmon voted against it.

Here is the contact info for the City of Topeka – City Council

city of topeka logo
Contact Us

FaceBook Twitter YouTube Flickr

Austerity Basturds!

Give those folks an earful or an email full…according to the RH Reality article,

Kansas NOW was told that as of this morning the City Council had received 3,000 emails, almost causing a crash to their system.  I challenge those infuriated by the action of this Council to send more emails, make more calls and hold them accountable for this action of dangerous consequence.

Kansas NOW thanks council members Denise Everhart, Larry Wolgast and Richard Harmon for standing up for the women of Topeka and not letting petty political fights interrupt the pursuit of justice.

Sigh…oh that made me mad…if that part of the post seems a bit convoluted, sorry.  I found that RH Reality Check article after I wrote this post.  It just made my point more clearer. And since my headache is bursting, and I am pissed off, I tend to go off on tangents, and just wanted to make that clear.

Okay moving on…

This past week my daughter broke up with her “boyfriend.” She has always had little boys after her, even in kindergarten…but she has the attitude that she can take ’em or leave ’em. I am very fortunate she is not “boy crazy” like her best friend. This recent breakup was one she kept to herself. It was a boy who was playing football for the first time and from all accounts, was a bit of a “dumb” jock who has a reputation for being cocky and something of a jerk.

Since most of the boys on the football team are kids she has known from a time when she was just out of diapers, they are a lot like an extended family of brothers. It was great to see all these “brothers” taking care of her by staring the jock down and making reference to the fact that they had their eyes on him.

So why do I bring this little story up? It relates to the last link I want to share with you…My daughter found out that the only reason this kid was “going out” with her was because of her “headlights” and by headlights we are talking about her boobs. (Lets just say she is…blessed.) She did the right thing when she found out he had ulterior motives, she told him to fuck off, in those exact words…what can I say, the girl is just like her Mama. It makes me think of the Seinfeld episode were Jerry sends Elaine to find out if his girlfriend’s breast were “real.” You may remember the line, “They’re real, and they are spectacular!”

Here she is, 13 years old and already has experienced the male agenda when it comes to the subject of breast, she is going to be dealing with this kind of stuff from here on out right?

So the headlight break-up is fresh in my mind when I see this article over at Huffo: Lee Woodruff: The Many Splendors of Boobs

By the time a woman reaches the age of 50 in America, she has heard just about every loveable, awful, demeaning, eye-rolling, cute and hysterical term for those two globs of fat that sit on her chest.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to take stock of how to take care of our breasts, ourselves and our sisters who are battling this insidious disease.

In honor of those brave Warriors in Pink whom I know and those I have never met, this is for you. Laughter is the best medicine and hope cannot be prescribed in CCs and IVs. No one ever has the right to take your ability to hope away. So, what’s in a name? Well, I’ll tell you…

Woodruff then begins the funny breakdown of what terms of endearment those “globs” are referred to…and sarcastically explains what is wrong with it.

HOOTERS – If breasts made noises, men must imagine they would hoot like a horn with joy. Perhaps that’s how this mystifying nickname came into vogue. But alas, like the giraffe on the Serengeti, breasts are silent creatures. The fact that an entire adult restaurant franchise is named Hooters (and their logo is an owl whose eyes are two boobs with nipples) lets you know just how fun AND wise-like-an-owl this slang word is. Hooters connote the sexy librarian who takes off her glasses, lets her bun down and unbuttons her shirt. You go in for chicken wings and beer and end up with a face full of hooters! This is party city baby. If you’re hootin’ and hollerin’ around, this is the term for you. No AA cups need apply.

BREASTS – An anatomically correct term for those globs of fat that sit on our chests. It’s more delicate, like a wide champagne glass. “Breast” says classy, manageable. You can say breast in public. Hell you can ORDER chicken breast in a restaurant. It’s acceptable without being clinical or denigrating. Breasts are the Limoges demitasse cups of the coffee world.

TITS – This is farm animal territory. It’s two steps away from teats, a word that makes me shudder. I picture a cow’s udders hooked up to hoses. Tit is a rough and service oriented term. It might also apply to that stage of motherhood where nursing Moms under extreme sleep deprivation believe they may actually now BE Bessie the Cow. And for the men who are too lazy to make their women feel loved and respected, this is the term for you. Good luck getting a home-cooked meal.

BOOBS – This word says sorority girl collegial and locker room cheerful. Boob just sounds fun, bouncy, no strings attached. Boobs don’t have brains; they are ninnies, all harmless window dressing. It’s a word you can write and say backwards or forwards. And fun, fun — yes, even men can have boobs too! (Increasingly known as “moobs” which is short for man-boobs) The ambiguously ambidextrous quality of the word makes it a very safe and PC term in public.

She then goes on to describe Bosoms, Knockers, Rack, TaTas and The Girls…making a point to explain why she left out the other various terms like, melons, cans, fun bags, jugs and gazongas. She also neglected to include my Nana’s pet name for them, eggplants. Woodruff then turns it back to the reason she wrote the piece…ending with this:

So for every friend- sister- mother- daughter- wife- lover- partner- woman who has removed a lump, gotten a scare, lost a breast, had a mastectomy, taken care of and nurtured someone who has brushed up against the evil of “The Big C” – I salute you. Stay in the race, and keep fighting.

I salute all of us, who have been touched by breast cancer, so this month give your balloons a voice…and speak out for breast cancer, wear something “pink” or give to the Susan G Komen for a Cure.

That is my PSA for the day, what are you all reading and writing about today?


Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

As I’m writing this, the Supreme Court is considering whether to stay Troy Davis’ execution. I’m following a blog on NPR. From NPR at 9:04PM Wednesday Night:

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that more than a dozen Georgia state police in riot gear have moved into the area outside of the prison. “They were met by choruses of ‘Shame on you’ from the protesters,” reports the AJC.

Larry Cox, the executive director of Amnesty International, which has led protests in support of Davis, told Democracy Now! they don’t know much about what’s going on. He said they’ve met with protesters to try to prepare them for bad news, he said, so they could react properly and within the peaceful spirit of the campaign.

“All we can do is wait and pray,” said Cox.

At The Nation, Richard Kim offers some background on the SCOTUS justices and their past statements about the death penalty.

It does seem that Georgia’s government is determined to kill Davis tonight. Earlier today Davis was refused an opportunity to take a polygraph.

Sadly, everything I wrote above is now moot. I’ve just heard (10:24PM) that the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Davis’ stay request. What a sad day for the so-called justice system. Texas killed another man tonight and Georgia may yet follow suit.

UPDATE: Troy Davis died last night at 11:08PM. From CBS News: Troy Davis executed, supporters cry injustice

Strapped to a gurney in Georgia’s death chamber, Troy Davis lifted his head and declared one last time that he did not kill police officer Mark MacPhail. Just a few feet away behind a glass window, MacPhail’s son and brother watched in silence.

Outside the prison, a crowd of more than 500 demonstrators cried, hugged, prayed and held candles. They represented hundreds of thousands of supporters worldwide who took up the anti-death penalty cause as Davis’ final days ticked away.

“I am innocent,” Davis said moments before he was executed Wednesday night. “All I can ask … is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight.”

Prosecutors and MacPhail’s family said justice had finally been served.

From The New York Times:

“It harkens back to some ugly days in the history of this state,” said the Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church, who visited Mr. Davis on Monday.

Mr. Davis remained defiant at the end, according to reporters who witnessed his death. He looked directly at the members of the family of Mark MacPhail, the officer he was convicted of killing, and told them they had the wrong man.

“I did not personally kill your son, father, brother,” he said. “All I can ask is that you look deeper into this case so you really can finally see the truth.”

He then told his supporters and family to “keep the faith” and said to prison personnel, “May God have mercy on your souls; may God bless your souls.”

One of the witnesses, a radio reporter from WSB in Atlanta, said it appeared that the MacPhail family “seemed to get some satisfaction” from the execution.

Family members of murdered police officer Mark MacPhail

How can anyone “get satisfaction” when the wrong man may have been murdered by the state? I just don’t understand that. In my opinion, the U.S. cannot be considered a civilized or even moral country as long as we murder people in the name of the state, not to mention in the name of profit in our so-called “health care system.” In this country, it is still a crime to be poor, to be black, to be “illegal,” to be muslim, to be different.

The family of Troy Davis

Amnesty International:

“The U.S. justice system was shaken to its core as Georgia executed a person who may well be innocent. Killing a man under this enormous cloud of doubt is horrific and amounts to a catastrophic failure of the justice system. While many courts examined this case, the march to the death chamber only slowed, but never stopped. Justice may be blind; but in this case, the justice system was blind to the facts.

“The state of Georgia has proven that the death penalty is too great a power to give to the government. Human institutions are prone to bias and error and cannot be entrusted with this God-like power. The death penalty is a human rights violation whether given to the guilty or the innocent, and it must be abolished.

“Our hearts are heavy, but we have not lost our spirit of defiance. Millions of people around the world now know of Troy Davis and see the fallibility of the U.S. justice system. As this case has captured the American conscience and increased opposition to the death penalty, Amnesty International will build on this momentum to end this unjust practice.”


__________________________________________________________________

In other news, this story from Mexico is unbelievable. I hope this isn't what the U.S. has to look forward to as we sink into third world status: 35 bodies dumped in Mexican city as president begins effort to woo tourists

As Mexican President Felipe Calderon was unveiling a new campaign and TV program Tuesday to draw wary tourists back to his country, a gang dumped 35 bodies at a busy intersection in the tourist zone in the coastal city of Veracruz….

The images from the travel television program, called “Mexico: The Royal Tour” — clips of gray whales, Mayan pyramids and glasses of amber tequila — clashed with shaky videos captured by cellphone cameras of panicked commuters, wailing police vehicles and half-naked bodies dumped on an underpass near the Veracruz beaches.

Authorities in Veracruz said the 35 bodies included 24 men and 11 women. They quickly tried to calm the public — and foreign visitors — by saying that most of the dead were criminals who were killed by a warring drug cartel.

That wouldn’t calm me one bit!

A couple of new polls have come out that show Obama continue to loose ground in important areas. A new Washington Post-ABC News Poll show his favorability ratings are dropping with African Americans.

New cracks have begun to show in President Obama’s support amongst African Americans, who have been his strongest supporters. Five months ago, 83 percent of African Americans held “strongly favorable” views of Obama, but in a new Washington Post-ABC news poll that number has dropped to 58 percent. That drop is similar to slipping support for Obama among all groups.

“There is a certain amount of racial loyalty and party loyalty, but eventually that was going to have to weaken,” said Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University, who studies African Americans. “It’s understandable given the economy.”

African Americans have historically correlated approval ratings of the president to the unemployment rate, she said. The slip in the strongly favorable rating continues the decline Obama has seen among all groups, but black voters have been his staunchest supporters. Overall, they still hold a generally favorable view of the president with 86 percent saying they view him at least somewhat favorably.

Gillespie’s view that the decline is tied to the disproportionately high jobless rate faced by African Americans correlates with the drop in their view of Obama’s handling of the economy. In July, only 54 percent of blacks said they thought Obama’s policies were making the economy better compared with 77 percent the previous year.

And a new Gallup poll shows that a “slight majority” of Americans blame Obama for the state of the economy.

A slight majority of Americans for the first time blame President Obama either a great deal (24%) or a moderate amount (29%) for the nation’s economic problems. However, Americans continue to blame former President George W. Bush more. Nearly 7 in 10 blame Bush a great deal (36%) or a moderate amount (33%).

Gallup found a substantially wider gap in public perceptions of how much responsibility Bush and Obama each bore for the economy when it first asked the question in July 2009, the sixth month of Obama’s presidency. That narrowed by March 2010, caused mainly by a jump in the percentage blaming Obama a great deal or moderate amount, and has since changed relatively little. However, the results from a new Sept. 15-18 USA Today/Gallup poll are the first showing a majority of Americans, 53%, assigning significant blame to Obama. Forty-seven percent still say he is “not much” (27%) or “not at all” (20%) to blame.

I managed to find a little humor for you. Elizabeth Warren has gotten quite a bump after her announcement that she’s running for the Senate in Massachusetts. Although Scott Brown’s campaign claims he’s not concerned, a little birdie overheard Brown talking about it on the phone and then told Talking Points Memo.

A Hill staffer, who spoke with TPM by phone, sends this dispatch from the Senate side in the wake of today’s PPP poll showing former White House financial reform adviser Elizabeth Warren leading Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA):

“Just walked passed Senator Brown’s office and in the hallway was the man himself, lamenting into his cell phone, ‘I don’t understand how she can be down 20 points one week and is now up 2. What is going on?’”

Our tipster describes the scene:

Was heading to a meeting after just having read your reporting on the new poll. Was just about to walk by Senator Brown’s personal office when he walked out of the main door of his office, cell phone in hand. He was mid-conversation but was responding to something on the other line with the line I reported. Was kind of dumbfounded to hear that kind of candor in a very public hallway. I’m guessing he realized that too, because he then looked over his shoulder, saw me, and hurriedly entered a side down to his office down the hall.

As a Massachusetts voter, I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear that Pretty Boy Brown is a little freaked out by the competition.

That’s it for me. What are you reading and blogging about today?


Breaking: State of Georgia to Kill Troy Davis Tonight

I just heard on MSNBC that Troy Davis will be executed in half an hour. That will be around 11:10 Eastern time. From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

JACKSON, Ga. — The Supreme Court late Wednesday rejected an 11th-hour request to block the execution of Troy Davis, who convinced hundreds of thousands of people but not the justice system of his innocence in the murder of an off-duty police officer.

The court did not comment on its order late Wednesday, four hours after receiving the request. Davis’ execution had been set to begin at 7 p.m., but the high court’s decision was not issued until after 10 p.m.

Though Davis’ attorneys say seven of nine key witnesses against him have disputed all or parts of their testimony, state and federal judges have repeatedly ruled against granting him a new trial. As the court losses piled up Wednesday, his offer to take a polygraph test was rejected and the pardons board refused to give him one more hearing.

A video of Troy Davis’ sister speaking about his case:

UPDATE: Troy Davis died by lethal injection of animal tranquilizers at 11:08PM.


Troy Davis: Clemency Denied

I just got an e-mail from Amnesty International, and I’m copying it here:

It is with a very heavy heart and a deep sense of outrage that I let you know that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles voted to deny clemency to Troy Davis.

This means that very little is standing in the way of the state of Georgia executing a potentially innocent man this Wednesday, September 21 st at 7pm.

The actions of the Board are astounding in the face of so much doubt in the case against Troy Davis. However, we are not prepared to accept the decision and let anyone with the power to stop the execution off the hook.

Join us in calling on the Board to reconsider its decision, and on the Chatham County (Savannah) District Attorney Larry Chisolm to do the right thing. They have until the final moments before Troy’s scheduled execution to put the brakes on this runaway justice system.

We have seen an unprecedented level of support from our members, coalition partners and all sorts of concerned individuals across the political spectrum.

I was blown away as I carried one of the many boxes containing your petition signatures up to the Parole Board office last Thursday. Close to a million signatures have been collected from the many organizations working with us. I looked back as we were marching down Auburn Avenue in Atlanta Friday night and I could not see an end to the crowd. About 3,500 people came out!

The movement here is very alive. It is electric. And I have no doubt that we will raise the volume together against what could be an unthinkable injustice.

Join your voices with us – we will not allow Troy Davis to be executed, not in our names! Troy Davis and his family have counted on us for many years now and we will not let them down. Please take action – human rights and a human life are on the line. Please contact Georgia’s District Attorney and urge him to stop the execution of Troy Davis.

Make the state of Georgia hear you! Tell them that executing Troy Davis will only deepen the cycle of violence and injustice.

In Solidarity,
Laura Moye
Director, Death Penalty Abolition Campaign
Amnesty International USA

P.S. We’ll be organizing a Day of Protest today to express our outrage at the recent decision to deny Troy Davis clemency. And on Wednesday (Sept. 21), we’re calling for a Day of Vigil on Troy’s impending execution date. If you are able to organize locally for either of these events, please tell us about your plans.

Minkoff Minx is very passionate about the Troy Davis case, and has written several excellent posts about it. She’s involved in family business today, but perhaps she will still find time to comment on this terrible decision.

From the Guardian:

Davis, 42, was put on death row 20 years ago for the 1989 murder of a police officer, Mark MacPhail, in Savannah following a fight with a homeless man over a bottle of beer. Since then seven out of the nine key witnesses who implicated him have recanted their evidence, several saying they were cajoled by police into giving false eye-witness statements.

Another 10 have come forward to point the finger at a separate man present at the scene of the murder, Sylvester Coles.

Meanwhile, no forensic or DNA evidence linking Davis to the shooting has ever been found, and nor has the murder weapon.

The denial of clemency by the parole board prompted an outpouring of anger and despair from hundreds of Twitter users and several celebrity supporters of Davis’s campaign. The prisoner’s lawyer, Brian Kammer, said he was “shocked and disappointed at the failure of our justice system at all levels to correct a miscarriage of justice”.

Amnesty International’s US branch, that has championed the case, said: “Allowing a man to be sent to death under an enormous cloud of doubt about his guilt is an outrageous affront to justice. The case against Davis unraveled long ago.”


Sunday Reads: Curvy is cool…

Good Morning…

After being away from the computer for 36 hours, I went online and found that my reader had under a 100 items unread. Usually I can judge if the day is a big news day by how many new rss items there are.

Dak had a post last night that I want to bring to your attention, you may have missed it…

Dakinikat’s Joblessness 

Boston Boomer has a post called The Solyndra Story Just Keeps Getting Worse, which is scheduled for noon today, so be sure to check that out.

Okay, as far as today’s morning reads, here are a few links I found for you.

Monday is going to be a busy day for Obama, he is going to beg for a new minimum tax rate for those people who make more than a million dollars a year.  Obama Tax Plan Would Ask More of Millionaires – NYTimes.com

President Obama on Monday will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, according to administration officials.

With a special joint Congressional committee starting work to reach a bipartisan budget deal by late November, the proposal adds a new and populist feature to Mr. Obama’s effort to raise the political pressure on Republicans to agree to higher revenues from the wealthy in return for Democrats’ support of future cuts from Medicare and Medicaid.

Mr. Obama, in a bit of political salesmanship, will call his proposal the “Buffett Rule,” in a reference to Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor who has complained repeatedly that the richest Americans generally pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than do middle-income workers, because investment gains are taxed at a lower rate than wages.

Let’s see if it works out in a positive way, personally I think Obama will be calling for this new Buffet Rule with his fingers crossed behind his back.

In other Obama news, Obama admin reworked Solyndra loan to favor donor  | ajc.com (Be sure to read BB’s post on this, it has more details!)

The Obama administration restructured a half-billion dollar federal loan to a troubled solar energy company in such a way that private investors — including a fundraiser for President Barack Obama — moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment in case of a default, government records show.

[…]

The loan restructuring is one element congressional investigators are focusing on as they look into the federal loan guarantee Solyndra received under the economic stimulus law.

Under terms of the February loan restructuring, two private investors — Argonaut Ventures I LLC and Madrone Partners LP — stand to be repaid before the U.S. government if the solar company is liquidated. The two firms gave the company a total of $69 million in emergency loans. The loans are the only portion of their investments that have repayment priority above the U.S. government.

Argonaut is an investment vehicle of the George Kaiser Family Foundation of Tulsa, Okla. The foundation is headed by billionaire George Kaiser, a major Obama campaign contributor and a frequent visitor to the White House. Kaiser raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for Obama’s 2008 campaign, federal election records show. Kaiser has made at least 16 visits to the president’s aides since 2009, according to White House visitor logs.

Madrone Partners is affiliated with the Walton family, descendants of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. Rob Walton, the eldest son of Sam Walton, contributed $2,500 last year to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Hmmmm, billionaire Kaiser and the Walton family…nah, money doesn’t matter does it?

We’ve been talking about a couple executions lately, one in Georgia and one in Texas. I wanted to give you some updates on those.

Troy Davis’ life in board’s hands  | ajc.com

This Wednesday marks the fourth time the state has set a date for Davis to be put to death by lethal injection.

In July 2007, the state parole board granted Davis a stay after he’d said final goodbyes to visitors. A year later, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in less than two hours before he was to be placed on the gurney. Seven months after that, the federal appeals court halted another planned execution, leading to an almost-unprecedented U.S. Supreme Court order that granted Davis a new hearing that ultimately proved unsuccessful.

Anneliese MacPhail, the mother of the slain officer, said she is cautiously optimistic the execution will be carried out this week. “I want to get it over with,” she said. “I want to have some peace.”

After Davis’ new execution date was set, it appeared there was nowhere for him to turn because his appeals are exhausted. But the parole board quickly agreed to again consider Davis’ request for clemency. It set a hearing for Monday and did not say when it will issue its decision.

The parole board denied clemency to Davis three years ago, but the five-member board has three new members.

The board is expected to hear from witnesses who did not testify in its prior hearings. This includes a woman who has signed an affidavit saying she heard Sylvester “Redd” Coles, who was at the crime scene, say he was the real killer. Davis’ lawyers are also expected to submit sworn statements from at least three jurors who sentenced Davis to death, but who are now asking that Davis be spared execution.

“Because there is evidence that creates doubt about Mr. Davis’ involvement in the shooting, I do not think Mr. Davis should be executed,” juror Isaiah Middleton said in an affidavit signed Sept. 11.

I urge you to read that entire AJC article because it describes all the new evidence and what witnesses have recanted their testimony…when you read the summary of doubt that has come forward, it is unbelievable that this man is still scheduled to die on Wednesday.

There have been 51 executions in Georgia since capital punishment was reinstated 35 years ago. (In Texas, Rick Perry has overseen 234 executions since he became governor 10 years ago…) Speaking of Texas, here is a rundown on what’s next for Duane Buck…Duane Buck: what happens next? | World news | guardian.co.uk

Duane Buck was granted a 30-day reprieve in Texas on Thursday night, but a series of legal obstacles remains before his execution is commuted to a life sentence.

Duane Buck, who has spent the last 16 years on death row in Texas, narrowly avoided lethal injection on Thursday. Now he must await another tense standoff as his lawyers attempt to have his execution commuted to a life sentence.

Buck was granted a 30-day reprieve this week, in a case that put the spotlight on Texas governor and would-be Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry. Perry refused to act on the case, which has been criticised for the involvement of a controversial psychologist who said Buck’s being black could contribute to his “future dangerousness”.

Now Buck’s lawyers have asked the supreme court to look at the case, but legal experts believe it will eventually come back to Perry.

That just does not inspire any confidence, I doubt Perry will do the right thing, do you?

This next story is heartbreaking.  I thought it would resonate with many of you who have experienced cancer first hand.  A woman and her toddler fight dual cancers – CNN.com

Kezia Fitzgerald and her 15-month-old daughter are both blondes with bright blue eyes. They both giggle easily and share a love of peaches.

The mom and daughter have more in common than Fitzgerald would like. Five months after Fitzgerald received a cancer diagnosis, so did her little girl, Saoirse.

Their cancers, albeit different types, had spread throughout their bodies.

“It’s frustrating. It’s unfair,” said Fitzgerald, 28, who lives in Danvers, Massachusetts. “At the same time, there’s nothing you can do to change it. The only thing you can do is heal and treat yourself.”

Give the rest of the article a read, it is interesting to see how mother and daughter are both dealing with fighting the cancer, but at the same time it is amazing what a positive attitude this family has while dealing with such a difficult situation.

From Minx’s Missing Link File:  Two brothers from Memphis got a chance to see each other for the first time…There is a photo in this article that possesses so much emotion, I wanted to share it with you all.  Conjoined twins Joshua and Jacob Spates say hello after separated by life-saving surgery | Mail Online

I know you! The moment the boys see each other for the first time

It’s you! The moment Jacob and Joshua see each other for the first time at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, where they were born

They were tiny newborn twins, delivered by frantic doctors in an emergency caesarean in January, six weeks before they were due.
And born conjoined at the base of their spines, their chances of survival were made even smaller.
In what is being hailed as a medical miracle, little Joshua and Jacob Spates have survived being separated after a gruelling 13 hours in surgery.
And as this heart-warming picture shows, the boys – who had never been able to see each other – have now been introduced face to face.
The eight-month-old twins from Memphis, Tennessee, are continuing to recover under the watchful eyes of doctors but they have already overcome what is likely to be the biggest obstacle they will ever face.
The twins were joined at the rear of the pelvis and gastrointestinal tract and had to be separated because of the severity of Jacob’s heart condition.
[…]
Jacob remains in intensive care and needs a few more operations, while Joshua is already out of the unit and is being prepared to go home.

The doctors expect Joshua to live a normal life, his brother Jacob has a serious heart condition, hopefully the treatment will be successful.

Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week:  This article made me smile.  Misty Copeland On Prince And The Curvy Ballerina Revolution

Wednesday’s episode of the new documentary series “A Day in the Life” from award-winning documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock stars superhot, utterly gorgeous and uber-talented classical ballerina Misty Copeland. The native Californian beauty has not only broken down racial barriers to become American Ballet Theatre’s first African-American soloist, she’s also in tight with Prince. Clearly, she’s doing something right. Copeland’s “Day in the Life” episode features the dancer chilling with kids at the Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx and working with choreographers at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She talked with us about the episode, her new dance-wear line for curvy girls and, yes, her relationship with Prince.

[…]

How do you address the notion that the bodies of black girls and women were not made to be ballerinas?

I speak about it all the time. My body is very different from most of the dancers I dance with. I might not have the stereotypical “black body,” but I definitely am more curvy and have a more athletic build from most ballet dancers. I actually have a dance-wear line coming out especially for curvy women, because most dance wear is made for professional dancers who are very petite with small busts and no real curves. I also have a plus-size line coming out that focuses on support of the bust, while still being very fashionable and elegant.

I often wonder if promoting this whole idea of “plus-size” isn’t actually hurting us in the long run. What do you think?

Most of the women I’ve talked to who are plus-size don’t even want to make that first step of taking a ballet class or going to the gym because they feel so unattractive, or like the athletic or dance wear out there doesn’t flatter them. They don’t want to put on a big T-shirt and a sports bra that doesn’t fit them properly. So I think the plus-size line is more about promoting a healthy body image and getting women to take those first steps to becoming healthier.

ABT is getting ready to perform a new version of a ballet called “The Firebird,”  with Misty in the lead as the firebird.  I can just imagine how wonderful this production will be, with a dancer like Misty…

Misty Copeland, Photo by Mesiyah McGinnis

That is it for me, have a wonderful Sunday, and hopefully I will catch up with you all in the comments later on.